Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reader's Diary #45- David Adams Richards: Hockey Dreams (up to p. 15)

To some of you, me choosing to read a book about hockey isn't all that shocking, but for a certain few (i.e., those that know me) the idea of me reading about hockey is like the pope reading Da Vinci Code. Okay, so that's an example of hyperbole. But my point is, I'm not exactly known for my love of (or skill in) hockey.

That's not to say I dislike the sport. I'm ambivalent for the most part (despite Richards' assertion that "no one is indifferent to hockey in our country."). This either says a lot about me or the sport itself, because I'd have plenty of reason to resent the game if I was the sort of person who went around resenting games- I'm looking in your direction Scotland Yard.) It was bad enough having a sport being a source of discord between me and my father, but there were times growing up in Canada when I felt like he had the entire country on his side. Oh I tried to like it, I really did. When my cousin got drafted into the NHL (which apparently is a big deal- who knew?) I cut out clipping after clipping of Calgary Flames stories and statistics from the Hockey News and pasted them in a scrapbook entitled the Life of Gary Roberts -or something to that effect (my apologies to my many other cousins who have yet to earn their own scrapbook). But alas, cutting and pasting didn't work. Hockey never really did it for me, maybe because I'm a horrible skater- but maybe I'm a horrible skater because I never liked hockey. Anyway, all that's behind the reasoning I chose Hockey Dreams. It is subtitled "Memories of A Man Who Couldn't Play" and I took this to mean (mistakenly) that David Richard Adams was perhaps some sort of kindred spirit, reflecting on being ice-challenged in a pro-hockey culture. But when the book arrived from Amazon, I quickly figured out that wasn't the case. While I haven't yet figured out what is meant by the subtitle, it is clear that Adams played hockey and is in love with the sport. But I've come to terms with my eccentricity as a non-hockey-worshipping Canadian and even "get it" to some extent. I remember going into a Chinese restaurant in downtown Calgary and being wrapped up in the excitement with all the businessmen/cowboys while they hooted and hollered for the men's Olympic team during the Salt Lake City games. I respect anything that demands that much respect even if I myself don't understand it, get it? (Why does that sound like something Chrissy Snow would say?). And I'm a little interested in Adams' writing because he doesn't seem to fit the mold of author- especially a Giller Prize winning author. Why is it that arts and athletics seem so far apart? I like it when exceptions come along, even if I, personally wouldn't be such an exception.

As you'll notice I haven't commented much on the book this time around. That's because I'm only 15 pages in, and I felt perhaps a little explanation was in order (perhaps as much for myself as for anyone else). But I will say that so far I like his style; conversational, witty, and elegantly put. A favourite line so far is, "The snowflakes were as big as sugar cookies."

So what if the book is about hockey? It's a part of this country and if I can't enjoy it, at least I can try to understand it a little more.

1 comment:

Christina said...

I hear you, John. I'm married to (your cousin) a guy who loves hockey, collects hockey cards, loves Gary Roberts and is slowly but surely training our boys to do likewise.

Although I don't hate hockey, I don't really like it either. Actually, I just have no feelings of any sort toward it. I don't care! How un-Canadian of me...tsk, tsk.

We should start a self-help group or something.

Anyway, I hope your book is good as far as writing goes...subject isn't everything!!!