Chicago Blackhawks fans chanted “Basketball, basketball!” at Washington Capitals player, Smith-Pelly. He rose to challenge them, and they didn’t let up.This type of ugliness remains rampant across the country, especially at sports events and bars and especially by white men. The question remains: what are we actually going to do about it?
I studied his name tag – Ji-Young – as he changed another $200 into reds. “How do you pronounce your name?”
I tried again.
“60%.” He continued to deal.
I continued to lose. “Yi-juan?”
And then I had a small run going, almost two hundred of money back, but slid again. A new dealer arrived, Dan from Chicago, a fan of the Blackhawks, and I started to win again until Ji-Young returned and with him, my bad luck; I had to buy more chips. It was late, 3 am; the shift changed arrived. My new dealer, Rebecca, was from Korea. I broke even with her and then started to lose again until an affably drunk guy from Santa Barbara sat down. “How you doing?”
“Not so great.”
“I’m drunk.” He looked at his cards; he had a 3 and a 2.
“Should I hit that, Rebecca?”
“Should I hit?”
“You have a 5.”
“Should I hit that?”
She stared at him, irritated her shift had to start with this trouble-maker. “It’s a 5.”
“You from China?”
“Would you hit that in Korea?”
“You want a card?”
He tapped the table. “Hit it.”
“What should I do now?”
“You have a 9.” She was curt.
“A 9? Huh.” He looked at me. “Should I hit it?”
“That’s what the book says.” I always said that.
“Okay.” He tapped the table again.
Rebecca delivered a 6.
He looked up at her, considered it for a moment and then waved his hand. “Stick.”
Rebecca flipped her cards, revealing a 16 and went bust. And It continued like that, the Santa Barbara Drunk giving Rebecca a hard time, only after long deliberation, hitting his 7s and 8s, and Rebecca then going bust. Things began to turn; I was getting my money back.
The heathen fanbase of teams across the continent – be they in Montreal, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles or Chicago – simply do not understand. They think it is about winning, hugging and celebrating in a crass display, that this is the point of the game. And I feel sorry for them.They don’t understand that it isn’t this at all, but, as Camus wrote in The Plague, instead is a reminder of our “never-ending defeat.”The Toronto Maple Leafs are only for those who can take it, not the world as we dream, but as it truly is: empty and unrelenting.
Yes, the Leafs are only for pure existentialists. Their recent travails – an eight-game losing streak – has even brought The New York Times on the Being and Nothingness train, citing the “disturbing situation”, “devastating slump”, and Leaf coach Carlyle’s catch phrase, “Just breathe. Take it easy. Breathe.” But they don’t understand. They use these words devastating and disturbing like they’re a bad thing, like they aren’t needed, like they can be avoided. They don’t see the wall behind us, the epidemic that’s surrounds. No. All they see is putting the puck in the net. And it’s just so sad.