I'm going to the Vancouver Giants' game Friday night. Part of me is looking at it as another Christmas morning. Part of me of scared to bits.
I've covered the Giants for the Province (shameless plug for my employer) since the 2004-05 season and I'm freakishly at home at the Pacific Coliseum. I know all the arena staff, all the little shortcuts, all the tricks. And I love feel of the building -- the Giants have a hockey-savvy, blue-collar fan base that appreciates hustle and isn't shy about it. (The joint should be rocking on Milan Lucic Night.)
The problem for me in all of this is that I'm not ready to walk and I'll have to go in a wheelchair and a motorized one to boot. (I'm on restricted movement since ripping out some stitches on Saturday.) I wonder what people will think. To me, the motorized chair doesn't fit, since I'm feeling the best I've felt since November, when we were just dealing with cancer. (Remember when we just had cancer? Just a Solitary Plasmacytoma tumour in the T-2 vertebrae? That was cool. Now we've got these seven surgeries on the back to recover from.)
I know that's my problem, I know that's in my head. I know that's my stigma. I hate that that is the way I feel, but, to quote a famous Canadian, it is what it is.
I went to a Giants' game on a walker earlier this season and it was the same way. The Giants' staff are good, good folk, and, for what it's worth, they went out of their way to make me feel better about it. I told play-by-play man Dan Elliott (shameless name drop), who's a longtime buddy of mine and slopitch teammate (more shamelessness) that I didn't feel too stable and was a tad wobbly, and he looked me in the eye and said, "Nothing bad will happen to you in our pressbox. Nothing, I tell you."Sure enough, he assigned an intern to look in on me every five minutes or so, and then checked in himself during intermissions. (Jumbo, flat out, is one of the best people I know.)
Intermission host Brook Ward (shameless name drop), too, was very kind. I complained about the walker, and he said, "I'm sure I'd feel the same way, but you're the only guy here who really sees the walker. We're just happy that you made it out."
As Sports Talk listeners can attest, that's one of the more eloquent speeches that the Brookster has ever uttered. And one of the shortest. (Like it was going to mushy all the way through. Get over it, Brook.)
It's funny how being this sick for this long plays with your head. I have massive guilt about how this has affected Carol-Ann. My Cancer Coach Bif Naked (yet another shameless name drop) says that it's quite normal -- patient guilt, she calls it.
Carol-Ann told me recently that her field hockey playoffs were coming up and her team might be short players, and then asked who I might want to come hang out with me when she was away playing. I had completely forgotten that her league had re-started when the weather started to get better. I felt like a jerk that she had stopped playing and I didn't realize it, because I know how much she loves to run around and get some frustrations out.
Now, Carol-Ann's sharp. Super sharp. And if she wanted to play in those games and take a break from being with me, she would have found a way to do it. It's her decision. I get the logic, but the emotion isn't quite catching on just yet.
To that end, I'm going to see G.F. Strong staff psychologist Dr. Brad Hallam Friday and talk about the things that are troubling me. I have no problem admitting that I'm going to see a psychologist; I gave up trying to be cool long ago. To pretend that this hasn't been as hard on my mind as it has on my body is foolish.
I just hope the guy likes hockey and wants to talk a little about the Giants' game.