The warrior paradise...Valhalla...filled with shields and mailcoats, haunted by wolf and eagle, and provided with hundreds of doors through which the warriors...pour out...[to] an unending battle, continuing forever because those who fall each day are restored to life again in time for the feasting in the evening...*
Hockey season is upon us. We're at the moment when #IsItOctoberYet? yields to breathless bits of hockey chatter. The young prospects bent on showing what they can do, hoping to crack the opening night line-up for the first time. The veterans out to prove their continuing worth, to overcome injury or age, to bring something new this season. And always everyone determined to win: win the majority of the 82 brutal regular season games, and, if the hockey gods smile, win the sixteen increasingly-more-brutal games necessary to hoist the Stanley Cup next June.
One might think that, after a lifetime of warfare and (most likely) a grisly death in battle, Odin's chosen warriors, granted a seat in Valhalla, would kick back, drink some mead, play some video games, and enjoy the company of the valkyries. And they do. They feast and party all night, every night. But in the morning it's back to the battlefield, where they fight all day, are slain, and then revived to party some more and fight and die and be revived, party and fight and die and be revived, ad infinitum.
It seems exhausting, right? But these hockey players can't wait to get started. They're desperate to get into the routine of the season, the flow of games, where, whether they win or lose, they're going to hit the ice the next morning to fight again. It's their Valhalla, their warrior paradise.
So, my friends, welcome. It's #JustAboutOctober. Time for us fans, too, to revive ourselves (again) for the season ahead.
*quote from H. R. Ellis Davidson, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe