Thursday, May 24, 2018

How I Spent My Spring Vacation

My ten-day vacation is halfway over, and today is the last day I'll have the house to myself; my wife and daughters have tomorrow off.

For the past three days I've been digging through my closets, pulling out summer clothes and sports memorabilia. Eventually I'll show off a few of the items I uncovered. Some of them will be made available in the Sports Card Tour giveaway draft. The tour is halfway over, too.

It's so refreshing to be away from my debt collection job for a few days and do something fun. I've been able to play my music loud while cleaning the house. There are bands I listen to on sunny days and bands I listen to on rainy days..and then there's Pvris which has become sort of an "all-weather" band for me.

My wife and I saw them open for Muse/30 Seconds To Mars last year. I was very impressed. I'm never impressed by an opening act. Pvris is really good. If you haven't heard them yet I highly recommend you give them a listen.

I've also been staying up late every night - because I can. Before my girls were born I was a bit of a night owl. When work grinds me down I'm ready to sleep by 11pm (10pm if I don't get my nap in) All this week I've been staying up past 2am binge-watching The West Wing.

I've been an Aaron Sorkin fan since Sports Night but I never got into The West Wing - mostly because I was still a teenager when it debuted and I had no interest in political affairs... but also because my ex-girlfriend loved the show so much she ran a fansite (or blog?) called Political Affairs. I think it was mostly dedicated to Josh and Donna; I seem to remember her shipping them (and now I know why...18 years later)

Equally as dramatic and entertaining are this year's Stanley Cup playoffs.

I've been in a semi-abusive relationship with hockey for years, and part of the reason why I've pared down my hockey card collection is because the sport seemed to be getting so very predictable. Certain teams and certain players never get beyond a certain point.

That seemed to be the case for my favorite NHL player, Alex Ovechkin.

Like a lot of you, I get very excited about baseball at the start of Spring Training, right around when the NHL has its all-star game and I can ditch hockey for a week or so. If my team is in a playoff race (which the Devils were this year) I'll follow it closely every night in March - and then pause to get excited for baseball's Opening Day. After the first Red Sox series and/or the Sox' home opener I turn my attention back to the NHL when their season ends and the playoffs begin. 

Usually I'm back on baseball by the first week of May; in the past 15 years I've supported NHL teams who either miss the playoffs entirely or are eliminated in the first round every year except 2006 and 2012. (Every six years..hmmm) Then I cheer for Ovechkin and the Capitals until they are inevitably eliminated in the second round.

I haven't been following my Sox since that 17-2 start to the season. I know a lot less than I should. Sorry baseball, but I just can't take my eyes off this insane NHL postseason.

  • The Devils made the playoffs, but lost to Tampa in five games. Predictable..but at least Taylor Hall got there for once.
  • A first-year expansion team made the playoffs. And won their division. And swept the Kings in the first round. Surely the Golden Knights wouldn't win their second round series...
  • The Capitals dropped the first two games to Columbus. Predictable. Then they won the next four just as everyone started to snicker "same old Caps."
  • Washington's second round opponent was of course the Penguins. Predictable. This time they beat the 'burgh - which was beginning to feel like the Red Sox-Yankees "rivalry" before 2004.

  • The Golden Knights won their second round series. Then again, they beat the Sharks - and the Sharks are Washington west (sorry, Fuji.) In 25+ years of watching hockey I've learned that some teams just don't get to sip from Lord Stanley's Cup. 
  • The Caps won the first two against Tampa in Tampa. Then they dropped three straight. Losing the series in six, in front of their tortured fans, would be the most Capitals thing they could have done. And just felt like this time - this team - was different, even to my pessimistic self.
  • Vegas somehow went up to Winnipeg, silenced those frenzied fans, and beat the Jets in five. I'm not surprised the Jets lost; Canada always gets eliminated eventually. But I'm surprised that they lost to a first year expansion team. In the conference effing final.

And then, last night. Washington won Game 7. I didn't want to say it, but it just felt like once they won Game 6 this was inevitable. You might even say predictable. And so Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Braden Holtby, and the once-cursed Caps finally get to play for the Stanley Cup.

The Vegas Golden Knights have home ice advantage. In the Stanley Cup Final. In their first season. Predictable, right?

You know...finally getting to the final and losing to a team that didn't exist sixteen months ago would be the most Capitals thing imaginable. But maybe this is Ovie's year. Maybe hockey isn't so predictable after all.

Anyway, the series doesn't start until Memorial Day. The end of my vacation. By then I should have time to read a book, watch another season of The West Wing and write two more blog posts. I'll have a Sports Card Tour standings update as well. 

And I should probably see what's going on in baseball. Are the Yankees still struggling to stay above .500? No? They upstaged the Sox, went 17-1, and are breathing down Boston's neck in the AL East?




  1. Huge Sorkin fan here. TWW really is the best TV show ever, at least until Sorkin leaves. (Season 5 is pretty bad, other than The Supremes which is a great episode. It gets somewhat better after that.)

    If you've been binge watching the show, check out the episodes of the West Wing Weekly podcast covering episodes you've recently watched. They're a lot of fun.

  2. Sounds like a week well spent to me! I was off last week and spent much of it cleaning and organizing like you did, felt great!

  3. LET'S GO CAPS!!

    And I'm looking forward to the extra day off to stock up on blog posts too!

  4. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  5. I'm more in the anti staycation camp. I need to leave town in order for it to feel like a vacation. Otherwise my brain goes back to all the shit I need to be doing at work. With all that being said I really do need a week of just organizing cards. That seems like it would be therapeutic.

  6. I don't even follow hockey too closely, but I think it's awesome what the Golden Knights are doing. I mean, an expansion team in the Stanley Cup finals is nothing short of awesome.

  7. Washington West huh. Ugh. I just hope I live long enough to see the Sharks win at least one title.

    P.S. Love that UD mini jersey. That was such a great product!