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Hockey Pools

It is a rite of spring. While other hockey teams are competing for the Stanley Cup, my own team has been eliminated from the playoffs, and the ice in the arena has been allowed to melt. Hence the term “hockey pools.” The pools are seasoned with the salt tears of the fans.

Participants in hockey pools compete by trying to predict which playoff teams will win. I ran a pool for members of my family last year. It was strictly amateur. No money was involved. I am a writer, and “no money involved” is typical of many of my ventures. There was, however, a replica of the Stanley Cup, constructed from tin cans.

I inserted into the pool an anonymous additional participant whose predictions were based entirely on the rolls of a pair of dice. In the pool, the dice-roller finished in the middle of the pack. The winner of the pool and of the Armchair Stanley Cup was my daughter, who knows nothing about hockey.

This demonstrates that sports are unpredictable—which is part of the fascination they have for us. We never know when a victory, a defeat, a flash of brilliance, a glaring mistake, a sudden injury, an unexpected illness, or a penalty for breaking the rules will occur and change everything.

Much like life.

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