It’s not something that I’m ashamed of. In fact, I’m quite proud of my addiction. I’m helplessly hooked, irrationally obsessed and, quite frankly, unwilling to stop myself. I admit it: I’m a Haboholic and I don’t want any help to overcome my dependence.
My infatuation should not be confused with Habs groupie-ism: I don’t stalk players for autographs and photos, and the ones I have been fortunate to get have all been acquired through non-stalking methods. Except for that one time in the late 80s, but I won’t get into that. All you need to know is that my purple skinny jeans and crimped hair were not part of a disguise, and that I did get Carbo’s autograph that night but it washed off later in the shower. And FYI, if you’re going to have someone sign your arm (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), a ball point pen is the wrong way to go. I still have a scar where the number 21 was etched into my skin. It’s been a Sharpie or nothing ever since.
I’m a carrier of the CH gene which makes me susceptible to a lifetime of compulsion. Blame it on being born in Montreal; blame it on a past crush on Yvon Lambert; blame it on the silverware: something got me hooked and I keep coming back for more. For me, the smell of the Bell Centre is an aphrodisiac. I have eleven scalpers on my contact list. The arrival of autumn doesn’t make me want to drive up north to see the changing of the leaves; it makes me want to call Videotron to assure myself that my sports package is up and running. In early October my friends say “see you in June, Habschick”.
I confess: I’m a junkie. You’re a junkie if…
1. You spend the months of (May, June), July, August and most of September experiencing withdrawal symptoms and watching Habs classics.
2. While watching Habs classics, you cry every time the Habs lift the Stanley Cup, and mumble incoherently about the good old days. Then you experience an irrational desire to rip up a picture of Mario “Mastermind of the Dark Years” Tremblay.
3. You look forward to UFA Day more than you look forward to your summer vacation, and the start of training camp is the happiest day of the year. On the day of the first regular season game you can’t get Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” out of your head.
4. You refuse all invitations to special events if the hosts are insensitive enough to hold them during the playoffs. If your attendance is mandatory (i.e. your best friend’s wedding), you go and then hold a grudge until the beginning of the following season. During the reception dinner of the wedding, you are conspicuously watching the game on your iPhone which causes you to miss out on winning the centerpiece.
5. You set the date for your own wedding for the off-season. Good planning helps you to avoid future conflicts like having to choose between an anniversary dinner and a Habs game, and looking like an uncaring moron when you choose the latter. If you pick a date anywhere between April and June, then your priorities are a little suspect.
6. Even your non-hockey watching friends and spouse download the Habs schedule so that they know on which nights they can contact you only via Twitter and text messages. On game nights, it becomes routine practice for your spouse to text you “Goodnight” before going to bed.
7. You take the day off from work on Trade Deadline day, knowing full well that the likelihood of your team busting any major moves is zero to nil, but don’t want to miss a miracle if it happens.
8. You know that the Leafs last won the Cup in ’67 and the Bruins in ’72 but you don’t remember your mother-in-law’s birthday after 18 years of marriage. Hey, it isn’t my fault that she was born in March which is crunch time. And it isn’t my fault she doesn’t have a cell phone so that I can text her between periods. Even my 72 year old father has a cell phone.
9. You were at the hospital for arthrographic injections in both rotator cuffs when Halak was traded and all you cared about, despite your pain and anguish, was that the Habs had kept Price, which made it a good day overall.
10. You have a Habs jersey that hasn’t been washed since 1986 and only comes out of its box during the playoffs and in emergency situations like a slump.
11. You wake up in the middle of the night moaning Jarome Iginla’s name and you realize that you were dreaming of…your team’s need for a big power forward.
12. You really believe that Youppi is a curse. Really, he is. Trust me. Ask the Expos. And he’s orange, FFS. Orange is the Flyers’ colour.
Wow; when I see it in writing even I have to admit that it’s kind of freakish.
But I have no regrets.
I bleed bleu, blanc, rouge and will go wherever this team takes me.
I’m a Haboholic.
Read more by Habschick at Chicks and Sticks.