Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Beauty of Chaos

It's about this time of year that the disappointed Rockies fans start searching for something else. They often find hockey. The bored NFL fans start tuning in the Stanley Cup Finals. This inevitably leads to the declaration by said novices that hockey is luck, what with all the bouncing around of the puck. Off the knee and in the goal and you call this skill? they ask me.

What they don't understand is that hockey is the ultimate game in which opportunity is created out of chaos.

Football fans should be especially appreciative of this aspect of hockey. Some of the most memorable plays in NFL history are pure chaos unfolding in the course of the game. What about the hail Mary? What about the fumble? What about the Immaculate Reception?

In hockey it occurs much more often and why shouldn't that be appreciated? It's freakin' fun! The mad scramble in front of the net for the puck and the ability of a player to pick it out of the mess with his stick, gain control and roof it for a goal. The puck that lands on a players stick when he's not ready for it and the poise to send a backhand shot at the net. The man in front of the net that bats the puck out of midair for a goal.  Sure, there's plenty of chaos and the beauty of it all is how they turn it into a  scoring chance.

Opportunity from chaos.

What's a more memorable display than that of a goalie making an amazing save on an impossibly chaotic bounce of the puck? When a goalie is standing on his head (or 'on fire' for the novice fan) making save after impossible save, you begin to realize that the goalie actually anticipated the possibility of that crazy carom and was prepared for the possibility. Chaos controlled!!

It's the only major sport where the athletes are expected to do everything sans hands. It reminds one of, no it doesn't. Anyway, the game is perfectly balanced by moments of grace and the highly controlled skill of a give-and-go, the tic-tac-toe goal of a power play and the break away.

It's not just crazy bounces and dumb luck. So sit back and enjoy some beautiful chaos.

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