November 19 2012 01:59PM
The year is 2024. The NHL lockout is FINALLY over and behind us and we never have to think about it again, for independent thought has been deemed illegal. We all survived that Bristol Palin poker celebrity cruise show that aired on Sportsnet every night in place of NHL broadcasts. The locusts, in the end, were merciful invaders and moved onto greener pastures, leaving us with mere crumbs, which we devoured gratefully and without shame. But at least the Mayans were wrong, so high five on that.
Your Calgary Flames return to the Saddledome, no longer a bunker for those of us not consumed by the hive mind, refreshed and relaxed after an extended break away from the rink. With FlamesNation having a tremendous, some would say inappropriate amount of access to the team, coupled with the bluster to do what we want that only comes from knowing there's no one out there who can stand in our way (being as we're among the very, very few survivors), we approached the Flames to provide us with short essays documenting how they spent their lockout vacation. Which is what we're calling it now. Again, because we can.
So withough further adieu, here is ACTUALLY Cory Sarich, and totally NOT a parody essay fabricated by The Book of Loob, on his Lockout Vacation.
So the FlamesNation crack team of lawyers informs me that I need to go ahead and tell everyone that this is in fact a parody essay, and in no way constitutes anything that Cory Sarich has said or will ever say. BUT YOU CAN IMAGINE THOUGH, RIGHT???
It's a Hard Knock Life, Cory Sarich
Hey guys, it's your boy Sarchy! Yeah, people call me that, I swear! You might remember me as the 6th/7th defenseman for the Flames of Calgary with a $3.6 million cap hit, or the 6th/7th defenseman for the Flames of Calgary with a $2 million cap hit.
I, for one, am so glad this crazy lockout nonsense is over. Because, A) financially, it was a real bummer. Case in point, if you look at my private jet, the Air Sairich, you'll notice it no longer boasts it's own dedicated cleaning staff.
But also, let's say more importantly, because B) the love of the game.
It's true, though, as much as I've got going on in my full, exotic life, afforded to me by my vast opulence, the Saskatoon farmboy in me still gets wistful when not experiencing the thrill of slowly ambling down the ice, dilligently digging the puck out of the back of the net. What a rush!
Now that it's over, I can start putting the glee back in Corglee Sarich. The lockout truly amplified the highs and lows of being a professional hockey player, which I most certainly am. I spent the bulk of the work stoppage reflecting on this notion, and it really got me down.
Sarchy Sings the Blues
I have a jacuzzi filled with money on the second deck of my yacht. It's really quite something. The basin is solid gold and the trim is all replicas of my Stanley Cup ring which I totally earned. I had it installed because I'm crazy rich, but also because when I feel a little depressed, which happens sometimes, even to millionaire playboy athletes such as myself, usually a dip in a lagoon full of hundos really takes the edge off.
So I thought this would be the tonic for what ailed me when I was feeling apprehensive about not getting the chance to sit on the bench next to my good buddy Anton Babchuk all season. A vigorous money bath to wash all the troubles off of my delicate skin. But I found this to be oddly ineffective. I just kept adding more and more money, because I can, but I just couldn't shake the overarching sadness of the whole labour situation and how it was preventing me from chasing all those speedy forwards and mildly slower than speedy forwards all around our defensive zone, all while Miikka yells at me in broken English.
What a sense of humour that guy has!
That's when I knew I was in deep. I was a man without a country (more on that later though. Real estate is a bit of a leisurely pursuit of mine). I'm passionate about a lot of things. There's a lot of activities out there that bring me a lot of joy. I've tried them all. Because I can afford to.
I'm Cory Sarich.
But lately, these hobbies of mine just have not been enough to slake my thirst for playing 8 minutes a game on the third defensive pairing. A long lockout like the one we just endured is liable to make me go Stephen King mental if not for the fact that I have access to the best medical attention the world has to offer. Which is why I was able to get very experimental anti-psychosis pills from Bulgaria sent to me. Express delivery! Tasted like blueberries too!
Always Something There To Remind Me
A lot of guys would jump at the opportunity to take the kind of vacati...er...forced work stoppage us hockey players had, but not me apparently. I've always been a bit of a workaholic. That's what people always say about me, what a hard worker I am. Darryl, and Brent, Rich Preston, my Mom, and everyone like that, that's what they've always said when people asked about me. Or at least what I assumed they would have had anyone asked.
A by-product of this is that I see pieces of my game everywhere. On TV, on the street, on my private beach in Maui, everywhere.
For example, a month ago I was smoking cigars with Thein Sein, the President of Burma (I was in town looking at the possibility of buying Burma as a Christmas gift for my wife, but I decided it was just maybe a bit too Republic-ey for her liking). Ol' Albert Theinstein got up to get us some more tea when he tripped over his own feet, and all I could think of was were highlights of my career. My skating with the puck, my slapshot, my breakout passes, everything. The simplest little action of Thein tripping on nothing was all it took to conjure up the greatest moments spent with my true love: being paid millions to ride the pine when the balance of the game is at stake. The Rhett Warrener of a new generation. Thein and I both had a good laugh and drank a toast to what he called a "Cory Sarich Dangle", but I was mostly feigning my good cheer at that point, because all I could think of was not being able to trip on the blueline while turning the puck over to a surprised forechecker on the other team.
Cheer Up, Cory
I know not everyone can relate to being a professional hockey player. We have unique perspectives on life and society that you, the average serf, cannot fathom because you can't afford a fleet of Escalades or a night alone with The Killers playing a private show in your living room. You know, the simple things.
So I tried to break down the lockout into more universal terms we can all comprehend, so we can all get a good idea of how much it sucked to be me during the break. And I think I've finally got it:
Playing NHL hockey is like beluga caviar, while not being able to play is only like whitefish roe caviar. Understand my plight now? Good.
But now, here in the near future, I can finally reclaim a piece of me that's been missing for far too long. I just have to put my skates on and go after it. In my minds eye, I can see the fans rolling their eyes out of respect, and the silent awe that hushes the crowd whenever I step onto the ice pulses through my body. The fans are the greatest, that's why I do this, really. This is probably exactly how Muhammad Ali felt before every fight.
Furthermore, it's going to be nice to go out there and start earning my meager 2 million dollars a year. Yeah, I took a paycut, but in this economy I suspect I'm doing nearly as well as my neighbour, if not better. The money isn't the reason I play the game anyway, it's all about the game. That and dusting myself off when forwards leave a vapor trail passing me.
And I guess the money too. Man I love money.