Arthritis Can Suck It

I didn’t write this. That’s all the introduction you need.


I’m from Australia where my peers loved Aussie rules football and my European family loved soccer… but that’s not why you should hate me.

I’m an ex-ballerina that wrinkles her nose at the barbaric necessity of winners and losers by herds of Neanderthals, or what you call ‘sports’. It’s not as though my audience ever ran outside the theater and beat each other senseless while lighting cars on fire (yes, yes, I know, that’s more basketball than hockey). Well, our beloved Surly put me in my place when he reminded me that I wanted to stomp out my rivals and that placing broken glass in another dancer’s pointe shoes is not just a cliché.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am the fiancé of Surly Jacob. I ran into the back of his car 9 years ago and we’ve been together ever since. At first, I knew very little about hockey but was soon Clockwork Oranged by Surly… I had to watch it, listen to it, and hear about it endlessly. I confess, when the games were suspended for many months back in 2005, I was quite delighted. Yes… hate me ever more.

I reluctantly went to games, wore the stinky jerseys he forced upon me and climbed endless stairs to our peanut gallery seats. I did this on my arthritic worn out knees. I zoned out, mostly. I imagined the players as highly skilled figure skaters. My mind attempted to recognize a choreographic sense and an aesthetic shape in the players’ movements where there was none. None to the balletomane.

When the Kings would score, I realized that it’s wise to stand up and high five everyone around me. Ballerinas are polite. When the Kings won, it was good for me… I’d go home with a happy Surly. Do you guys even realize what I’ve had to endure every time the Kings lost?! I’ve been taking many for the team, the team that was a losing team for the first several years I knew them.

Eventually, after being forced to go to many more games than I cared to but far fewer than Surly gave me credit for attending, I began to understand the game. The rules, plays and positions were drilled into my skull. I started to appreciate the level of difficulty and how incredible these men really were. They were the Baryshnikovs of Hockey. I wanted to see them beyond the heavy jerseys and gear… I imagined their rippling powerful thighs and what kind of training and talent it must take to be who they are. I was beginning to see the passion they shared with one another as they skated in battle as brothers. The fans became a vast and vital hockey spirit glowing around the Kings like their giant, collective aura.

I think I like this game now… I’m listening to it in my car driving away from work. Shit. Well alright then, I like it now, that should be enough. Right? It can’t get better than that for me, the ballerina who turns her nose up at competitive sports. Or so I thought…

If only I had arrived this time last year to the place within myself that found me tonight. If only I had felt the way I did tonight last year when we won the Stanley Cup. If only I could have shared the many moments over the years with Jacob as I did in just one moment last night… the moment, ladies and gentlemen, that changed everything. It’s the very reason I write to you now.

So it’s 7pm and I’m sinking into a sofa at Surly’s dad’s house. I’d just come from work. I’m tired and disgruntled. Surly Dad, Surly Stepmom and Surly Sister are there and the boys are in their Kings jerseys. It’s the third period and I see Handzus playing for the Blackhawks and say “hey there’s an ex-King.” Surly Dad looks at me like “You know that?” A little later I randomly ask “What ever became of Frolov?” Surly Dad is so perplexed. I guess it’s all in there somewhere; Surly clubbed me over the head with it.


There is 14 seconds left in the third period and as you know, the Kings are down 3-2. They are 14 seconds away from being axed from the playoffs. My altruistic side feels doom and gloom for my sweet Surly and how much this will hurt him. My selfish side says “yay! Shave that fucken beard!”

And then…

A timeout is called. I go into a trance. I see the team meet and discuss. A couple of players skate out, continuing to converse and nod at each other. I feel overwhelmed with their sense of connectivity. I already know they’ve pulled the Titan, Quick. The overview shows that the puck will be dropped in Chicago’s zone… it will be a desperate scramble.

Or will it? My head swam in slow motion to the possibility that their plan could work. That the one in a million shot would resurrect them. It was like the most beautiful choreography I could ever imagine, for the exact play would have to be perfect without the exact play ever being rehearsed until this moment. I turned to Surly Stepmom and said quietly, “This could be spectacular.” She nodded.

It happened… my eyes became the play itself. The dream unraveled as my reason lost its grasp. My mind imploded while my soul exploded as I birthed a new sun that shone its rays through the screams that escaped my deepest being. The Kings were Royal Knights of my universe and I had not felt this high, ever. The high fives made sense now and my arthritic knees were jumping for the first time in years. I felt euphoria. I felt a joy that resonated through the entire city with my newly found fellow Kings fans. This moment was better than ballet!

It matters not that the Kings lost, for they won a new fan. There will be more Stanley Cups in the future, but more importantly, I will join you all now, in those sacred moments ahead of us which will bind us together with the Kings, forever.

It only took nine years, but I’ve arrived.

I ask that you all show mercy and forgive my ignorance. Forgive me my Aussie football, silly soccer and ballet sins. Please accept me as a humble servant to our Kings. Include me at your round table or at the very least, have me clean up your scraps until I earn my way into the circle.

– Surly Woman XOXO

Categories: L.A. Kings News


16 replies

  1. Welcome, Surly Bride. :)

    Please convince Surly Groom to post a pic of his shorn cheeks.

  2. Welcome to the family Surly Woman!!!

  3. Great article!! SurlyV is now a fan!!! Your surly offspring are gonna be great surly writers too,,, nicely composed V !

  4. very very cool surly woman.. first thought.. you write well.. important in the Surly world.. secondly I like your style.. female thinking alwayS appreciated by another female. You really had no choice but to come to love this awesome sport.. welcome.. there is nothing else like it.
    I woke this morning, after time to reflect last night.. (and I will be sad for a while).. glanced at the Times articles.. and then sent my fellow Hockey Fans.. and I have recruited a few with my
    LOVE of the game and our KIngs .. my thank you for their support of me and the Kings during the season and I am Still and Forever Proud to be a King Fan. I am thankful we were able to see last night in OT what we all know exists.. A group of Players willing to give their all for each other and for Us. They are Champions! I know as men and athletes they are bitter/pissed off/ mad that they did not get to defend in the Finals. I understand that. I also know they will recover mentally and physically and be back next season as Great as ever..and more Hungry to get Lord Stanely back in our Possession.
    Your words lifted my spirit as this Blog does so often.. Thank you!!!
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  5. P.S. Mentioning Zeus.. He is one of a couple of guys I wished had been able to be on our Stanly Cup team.. so now if Chi wins I will be Happy for him..
    And you mentioned my beloved Fro.. for that you go to the top of my list :)

  6. Awesome read!

    • Also, let me say, the intelligence of this blog is a bit intimidating at times. I agree with Nick, a beautifully composed piece, Miss-Mrs Surly Jacob.

  7. Love it for the sheer amount of anxiety and drama it produces.

  8. An excellent piece of writing Ms. Surly…I wasn’t sure that you had anymore interest in hockey than before until I saw your reaction to the tying goal. No one can fake the exuberance you had at that moment. Sharing it with my wife, my son, and my daughter and finally you is something I won’t soon forget. Now if I could only get you to pronounce “ballet” properly, my work here would be done.

  9. Very eloquently transcribed piece, sis. Welcome to the elect.;-) As for my house we had a full-on pile up(!) in my living room when Richards shot tied it with 10 seconds left. IT WAS INCREDIBLE!! And we just KNEW that we would win that game and bring it back to Staples for Game 6….but when that was suddenly extinguished on a breakneck 2 on 1 that resonated throughout Southern California with an ominous thud, it was like taking a 2 X 4 to the skull….painful and NUMB……BUT…I AM PROUD OF OUR TEAM AND CAN’T WAIT UNTIL OCTOBER TO IMMERSE MYSELF INTO THIS EXCLUSIVE CAMARADERIE FOR A FULL SEASON OF THIS INDELIBLE, TRUE SPORT OF KINGS…

  10. That was…sniff…Awesome!

  11. So what you are saying is that I shouldn’t let my daughter take up ballet?

  12. Surly Woman you have put into beautiful words the exact way I felt when I was begrudgingly brought into the world of Kings hockey 15 years ago by my now husband of 10 years.

    I too would attend those games where we would lose time and time again. The games where he would take me to the die hard seats. I did everything in my power to always purchase seats at the lower level just so I wouldn’t have to climb those damn sky high seats. While seating in those nose bleeds I would think to myself, “how the hell am I suppose to jump out of these seats, scream, yell, high five drunken fans and avoid falling to my death down below”. Yes that was me!

    Fast forward 10 years or so and add two little mini Kings fans/future high skilled figure skaters I am a hooked die hard female fan. Life around our home revolves Kings hockey. My boys (3 and 5 years old) walk around the house saying, “mommy can I have some apples before the game starts” or when they wake up in the morning after a game, “mommy did the Kings win the Stanley Cup yet”. The countless times I have driven from my bubble that is Valencia all the way to El Segundo just to watch the Kings practice for 30 minutes with two screaming toddlers, yes that is what I have become. It is a passion that is shared in our entire family. My husband has even stopped, looked at me and said, “You might be a bigger fan than I am now”. When hooked our female passion can farther surpass a man’s… so Surly watch out ;-) And Surly Woman I welcome you to the Kingdom!

    • Nice!
      Toyota Center is my ‘Happy Place’.
      The one time driving the freeway with the enevitable crap traffic..bjg rigs..etc and I barely mind.
      Let’s try for a meet up once training camp starts again. That would be very cool.
      Dermatologist today..saw my King wrist band..let the talking usual after a minute of my passionate talking I get
      ” You really are a fan” :-)..or You really do know Hockey…uh yeah.
      And I did tell him to go to El Segundo with his kids for a free close up of our Boys.
      And the office help..gave him the S&S site..did my job for the day.
      GO KINGS GO!!!


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