This is what's been happening.

I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Our NHL team is called the Edmonton OIlers. Four or five hours south of us lays the city of Calgary. Their hockey team is called the Calgary Flames.

After a shitty season, the Oilers had just started to shape up. Unfortunately, "just started" coincided with "end of season," and they did not make the playoff cut. Calgary, however, did. Fairly resoundingly.

In this province, there is a fair rivalry between the two hockey clubs, and Edmonton fans, specifically, are known for their fanatic support of their boys (even though Jarome Iginla, the Calgary team captain and all-around decent player, lives in St. Albert, a suburb of Edmonton, about a fifteen minutes drive from my place). Calgary's team is primarily known by their ability to get stomped, at least in the last five years or so.

And now, they're in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Stanley Cup Final. The enemy's in the Stanley Cup Final. The twist is that Canadians are insanely patriotic, so we have to side with our own..

I have lived in this city for six years, and as such have not formed a great bond with the Oilers. I do enjoy the fact that they are, by and large, a young, violent team. The other side of that coin is that, in all truth, they are not a very good team. I have been inundanted with enough Oilers propaganda, however, to like them enough to root for them, in a very general, yet unabashed, way. After all, I was here when they renamed Capilano Drive--a fairly important east-end thoroughfare--to Wayne Gretzky Drive.

So it becomes a test of wills, really. Do we swallow our pride and root for the enemy hockey team, against the American Enemy? Or do we turn traitor against our beloved country, the true north strong and free? The decision is clear.

I guess what's been happening is that this story is on everyone's lips. It comes up in just about every conversation you'll hear. It is difficult to go five minutes, walking around any area of the city and not see some news of the Stanley Cup Final. The front page of the Sun has been showing hockey-related pictures for at least the last three days. It's on television, in coffee shops, on the radio, in smoky bars, in oxygen bars, in t'ai chi classes, at work, at home, at play, at your girlfriend's place. It's fucking insanity. It never goes away. It follows you home. Game two's coming on in eight hours' time.

So, I'd better get a nap. I have to go cheer for Calgary, but be aware that next season, all bets are off and I'll be laughing while Edmonton beats the shit out of them.