We Were Gods: Notes On An XBOX Stanley Cup

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On tue un home, on est un assassin. On tue des millions d’hommes, on est un conquérant. On les tue tous, on est un dieu.” [Kill a man, and you are a murderer. Kill a million men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god.] —Jean Rostand

We were gods.

We were crimson Victory, borne upon flashing steel and bearing blades, the cutting brumal winds of Boreas at our backs and the broken bodies of our opponents at our feet. We were the greatest hockey team of all time—past, present, and future—and unbowed, rarely tested conquerors of the gelid domain, a domain so cold as to lack all blood, all flesh, all soul, a league populated by ever-thinking, corporeally perfect automata. We were the coldest and most clever of all these.

Named for a collegiate in-joke which materialized from the acrid tendrils of a marijuana cloud, these Chicago Blackhawks were dominance incarnate, their superiority stamped upon their chosen plane empirically and spiritually. Greatness can indeed be measured, and its numbers read as such: 82-0-0, an amassment of 164 points; 553 goals, killing at a rate of 7 strikes per contest, whilst allowing slightly less than a scratch in turn; 115, 71, 64, 61, and 58, the respective scores of a proliferation of talented hunters—Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Michael Frolik—who, even amongst the finest assemblage of their peers imaginable, managed to comprise fully half of the very upper echelon.

They pushed forward relentlessly, with an offensive strategy best likened to a cannonade, a saturation bombing consisting of every manner of projectile and flight path, from missiles which would scream in from the unlikely reaches of the blue line and the seemingly benign environs immediately beyond to snapping fusillades at point blank range. The forecheck was as unnavigable as the Planctae; the backcheck would run down streaking foes, alight upon them like the wendigo and eliminate all threats and, with them, all hopes. Stick checks struck with the ferocity of king cobras and the precision of laser scalpels; bodies were battle-dored across boards and ice, glass and teeth and blood falling like rain.

Deadly when wounded, our shorthand unit punished our aggressors with the potency of the neon vengeance pulsing beneath a xenomorph's carapace. Our glories extended to the heavens themselves, various iterations of our own inevitably the three stars, laying across existence like Orion’s belt.

Oh! to hold those powerful sticks in hand; to know that a flick of the scepter could bring about crushing victory and moderate, if unimpressive, life (could this be how God feels while masturbating?), that the simple depression of one’s index finger could trigger the subtle action, set forth the proper variables to unleash, firstly and finally, the merciless tide. In the real world, our chosen avatars, animated by those exhibitions of physical expression which we so unrequitedly and eternally long for, can fail, can be slaughtered. Our heroes, and, perhaps worse, our villains, fade, decay, die; the halo tarnishes, the fangs dull, the body—the glorious impermanent! the poetry incarnate! the tactile weapon! that which us allows us to affect ourselves upon them, upon it—breaks and rends and atrophies and dies.

But these Blackhawks—our Blackhawks—live forever, or at least a satisfactory facsimile thereof; they are implements of our will, forces acting directly upon our whims and commands and their universe, a small, primal scream of victory—an endless, perfect homily—echoing across a small grey box

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