January 13, 2010
He stands straight with his chest out past the gleaming toes of his shoes. In one hand he grasps a hockey stick like a palace guard’s pikestaff and, in the other, a set of hockey skates by the blades.
His long wool coat is houndstooth and his pants, visible beneath the hem, are GAP Original Khakis in the colour known by that company as “cedar” though it is a sandy beige, a shade lighter than his skin.
His head is shaved, but not recently. His beard—trimmed close to his square, meaty jaw—is styled into a goatee with thin blades of hair extended towards his ears.
Though his stance is solid, imposing and resolute, there is a self-conscious weakness in his eyes. He is uncomfortable with the attention he is drawing. He seems apologetic for the inconvenience he’s caused by the extra gear he is carrying though it is not encumbering anyone at all.
Two days later he is wearing the same coat but does not have the hockey equipment. Instead he is accompanied by a woman he guides off the train by the elbow with a slightly domineering air.
June 16, 2009
On Friday I was wholesale tricked into going to a sports bar for game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Mandi’s friend Tara likes to go to this place called Bryden’s for their pulled pork nachos. I’ve been reticent to join them because, well, it’s a sports pub but also the site of the only murder in Bloor West Village in the last five or ten years. I’d been reassured on many occasions it’s not really that sports-oriented and that the pulled pork nachos are worth it even if it is.
Both statements are perhaps true. But perhaps on nights when it’s not game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The place, though decorated more like a café than a violent sports pub, was packed with sports fans swilling beer and watching game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Loudly. I haven’t been in a bar that loud without a band playing… ever. Strangely they were rooting for Philadelphia and not Detroit even though Detroit is sort of a sister city to Toronto. I don’t understand sports or sports fans but I assume there’s a reason for this. A reason I had no real interest in learning. It was perhaps one of the most unpleasant evenings of my life. Except for the pulled pork nachos which were delicious until we ordered another round and I began to feel like I’d been filled by a fire extinguisher loaded with cheese and beer. Which, I suppose, was sort of half true.
Eventually we were able to leave and let actual hockey fans have our tiny table. I assume somebody won the game as it was midway through the third period when we left with ringing ears and gurgling bellies.