I would say 95% of the people who read this didn’t know me in high school. Had you, you would have known I was a huge fan of hockey and the SJ Sharks aka my potentially unhealthy obsession. I mean, I don’t think it was THAT bad…but my mother definitely did.
Most junior high and high school girls had posters of NSYNC, 98 Degrees (that was the Nick Lachey band, right?) or Backstreet Boys…I had one poster I bought with some friends at the mall of Backstreet Boys. I didn’t purchase it because I liked them; I purchased it because as far as I could tell most of my friends were Backstreet fans over NSYNC. In addition to my one Backstreet Boys poster, I had a wall and a half (if I remember correctly) covered, no white wall showing through kind of covered, in hockey pictures.
My high school English speeches were almost always hockey or Sharks related. I studied the game: its history, rules, changes, expansions, player contracts, player association-league relationships. In my planner I had every game color coordinated (I’m still a girl lol) schedule written in, at the completion of the game I’d fill in the new team standings as well as scores, basic player stats, hits, shots on goal, etc. On game days I made sure to wear Sharks memorabilia and usually donned something Sharks related on other days. I begged my parents to let me go to as many practices as possible, they’d let me around 2 times a month. I have ALBUMS of player pictures. Albums wouldn’t be such a big deal if I had enough other pictures to create albums of those too…but I don’t. The ONLY full albums I have are filled with Sharks pictures.
In high school I was not at all in the “cool” group of kids. I wasn’t really in a group. Kind of a loner I guess. I had a couple close friends the first two years, a semester in a different school and acquaintances the remaining year and a half. My parents were also pretty strict so I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to enjoy extracurriculars…outside of school sponsored extracurriculars. Now that we have a basic understanding of my “fanship” and lack of a social status in high school…I would regularly be stopped by jocks to discuss Sharks news/scores/standings. Yep, that was how people kind of related to me…well the jocks, not so much other people lol. People really didn’t know much about me, which was sort of my fault I suppose, I was pretty quiet…aside from my teal clothing.
THEN…I moved out. And then moved back in. It’s a whole long story that really shouldn’t be blogged about. But when I moved out I left with a hockey room, when I moved back in I had yellow walls, porcelain dolls displayed daintily and a floral bedspread. Upon my return it was loudly expressed that hockey was too much of an obsession. I watched games, but I wasn’t allowed to yell/cheer/talk at the TV or at the games. AND, I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my hockey friend anymore. That was during the 02-03 & 03-04 seasons.
The strike…it was horrible. I was diagnosed with Type1 diabetes in August 2004. The lockout began Sept 2004. Then came the onslaught of medical confusion. And in May 2005 I moved to AZ. I didn’t have a tv for most of the 05-06 season. For the remainder of the 05-06 and all of the 06-07 season I didn’t have cable.
In May 2007 I moved back to California. By the time hockey season started the Sharks were almost an entirely new team-the albums of photos I had hardly resembled the team…AND I was working CRAZY hours. I was working on the campaign, there was no time to watch. There were the late night highlights and newspapers, but that was it. January 2008 I was out of the campaign and I no longer got Fox SportsNet. Thankfully the guy I was dating at the time was a sportsfan too and I could watch with him.
Between the end of 07-08 and the start of 08-09 I kind of took a break from sports in general. I guess I was worn out. As avid of a fan I had once been before, I guess I was worn out from paying attention to so many and scheduling around it. It was kind of nice not to care about every college football team…it helped that my Michigan Wolverines were PAINFUL to watch. By last Spring I was ready to end my break. It’s weird, I know, I don’t really know a better way to explain it. I think I just needed a break from NEEDing to know what was happening in the sports world. It was nice to just not know for a while, but because I really do love sports, I didn’t need too long of a break. In early 10 I wanted to know what was going on again, I missed sports. So lame…I don’t think any guy sportsfan would really think that way or have that issue, but whatever. I don’t think I’ve ever claimed to be exactly “normal”.
April 10 sent me to Idaho. I kept a few tabs on baseball over the summer and followed the NHL playoffs as best as possible. This past August I came back to California: sick and unemployed. Just in time for hockey. The NHL didn’t fail me this time. So, despite my lack of ability to watch my (VERY different) team on TV, I’m glad to listen. I’m happy to have the opportunity to follow them, just because they’re the team I’ve loved for nearly 15 years.
So it’s taken me a couple hours to type this, not because it took a lot of thought, I get distracted easily. But I can promise you I didn’t really mean for this to sound as sappy as it has come out. lol, oops. I’ve mentioned sports movies are the only ones that can make me cry, right?
Anyway, the real point to all this: it’s SO easy for people who regularly identify with being a “patient” to get caught up in just that, being a patient. We go on and on about how there’s so much more to us, but it’s taken a lot of effort lately for me to think of myself as anything but a patient. I see friends a couple times a month, usually hiding how crappy I feel; see doctors regularly; talk to the state and schools about disability related stuff – SO much of me is about being a patient.
Last Saturday (the day the Sharks broke the losing streak!! & my first full game all season-watching) was one of those days where I bucked up and saw a friend. I saw a friend I hadn’t seen since high school – before I was a T1, before I had Crohn’s…or a stupid root canal that won’t heal. Halfway through watching the games (both football and then the Sharks) I realized how much had changed, but sports hadn’t. There was still that. It seems a little silly and more sappy than I like to admit, but it was nice. If you’re a sportsfan, it doesn’t matter if you’re a diabetic, accountant or bodybuilder.
We, in the DOC, always talk about meeting so many people we wouldn’t have otherwise. We come from different places, do different things, are different ages, have different family’s and a lot of different interests. It’s something I think about all the time. But the Sharks or Wolverines or whatever team fans have that in common. You can be SO different, but it brings you together.
Going to practices so long ago, you met SO many different people. Old, young, in between. I went to a Sharks practice with a friend and my sister where the team was away traveling but the injured players were still skating; they invited the three of us and the couple others there to skate on the ice with them. I mean, it’s cool. You can go to a different state and meet a fellow fan and suddenly have a great conversation.
Maybe it’s me and I’m blind and just completely missed the similarity. I think the difference with the DOC and Crohn’s patients (I swear I need to come up with a word b/c it sounds stupid and cold…the other option is I could just move on…) is that we initially connect because of our disease and become friends; and then mention their disease casually as you discuss life. Reality is, our lives are filled with our disease. Not that it’s who we are, but that it’s something always on our mind. That’s not to say it’s always on the forefront of our minds, but it’s there. Knitters, sportsfans, gamers, athletes, car people (can you tell I’m not one? lol), whatever you’re into: most of the time you connect to “do” whatever it is you’re interested.
Does that make any sense? Maybe, hopefully, it at least does to people with chronic diseases.
Before I got on the second mushy-yay-DOC topic, I meant to say: I hope I start writing about more than my health. It doesn’t look like that’s getting any better ANY time soon (or in the long run), I should expand my horizons. I mean it kind of (actually REALLY does) sucks right now. Doctor told me on Friday that “we’re not actively controlling” my disease. She also said I should probably see the actual doctor in a couple weeks; I typically see the PA. Also my mouth is still swollen, still hurts and is still infected, I’m on a new, stronger, antibiotic. I guess for a while the Sharks had a bit too much attention and now I feel like my stupid health has too much attention. It isn’t going anywhere, so I’m just going to have to expand my attention giving capacity.