Monday, August 13, 2007

The Tournament

There are very few things that I miss about Versus. One of the things that I dearly missed during the 2007 playoffs and continue to miss is The Tournament, a mockumentary about a youth hockey team that is actually more about the parents. The NY Times has a really good review of the show: "Hockey Is a Lot Like Life, Only Colder".

I came across this show during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. One day the BF mentioned that he saw a TV show about hockey and DVR'd it because it thought I might like it. I immediately became addicted to the show and would squeal with glee whenever VS aired a marathon.
I never played ice hockey so I can't exactly directly relate to the kids, parents, or families. However, I did grow up playing soccer and began playing club soccer (i.e., traveled around SoCal) at the age of 12. Knowing how crazy some of the parents and coaches were on my team and others and how apathetic some of the kids were, I can only imagine that youth hockey is like that but 100 times worse, or funnier, however you see it.

The Tournament touches upon the realities of almost any youth sport, such as: waking up at 4am to drive to a game, the devoted mom who keeps her family in line, the other mom who is more than willing to drop her kid(s) off with the devoted mom, the dad who thinks his kid is the star and needs more playing time, or rather, should play the entire game even if that's impossible in hockey, the dad who envisions his kid will be a pro athlete even though the kid is only 8, the ridiculous and completely unnecessary competition among the parents, and the boy who just wants to play hockey...and take jazz dance classes.

The characters in The Tournament may seem far-fetched and ridiculous but they seem so real and I think the actors who play them do a lovley job in bringing the comedy and realness to their characters. I love how the devoted mom always looks so beat down, will do anything for her son while patiently holding her tongue as her crazed hockey husband does one idiotic thing (tells his wife that she has hair like Bobby Clarke) after another. I liked her, felt her love and devotion to her family, and yelled at the TV when she didn't put her husband in his place and didn't stand up for herself when the other mom used her. I even supported her when she contemplated having an affair with an old friend, who is deeply in love with her, not because this man is so dashing and wonderful, but because I wanted her to be happy and could see the giddiness in her whenever she was around him. The other mom is so out of touch with reality that it's comical. Sure, she may have recently become single and is dealing with how to raise a son by herself, but I had to restrain myself from throwing rotten tomatoes at her when she thanked the devoted mom for taking her son to practice because she really had to go to the gym. The devoted mom's husband is so enveloped in the notion that his son will be in the NHL that it made me wonder how far he would go to get his son there.

All the main characters on the show each have their own extreme quirks that come together to make youth hockey seem like one fucked up experience for the kids and parents. Each episode is chock full of hilarious moments and I can't believe The Tournament isn't one anymore (or at least I think so). This is definitely a show I would watch on a regular basis and hope that it does come back for more seasons.


kristin said...

Ohmygod...I caught a few episodes this year. I think they were on during the all star break maybe...I can't recall.

At first, I thought it was the stupidest show ever (especially because it was on and hockey wasn't) but it grew on me. Just about the time I started to appreciate it/look for it, they took it off the air. Just like every other show I like!

kristin said...

Oh, and you can get the DVD on Amazon for like 20 bucks or something! Might order mine today!

KMS2 said...

I just checked Amazon and it's selling for $12!

Steph said...

Wow...I can't believe I never saw that at all! Of course, that was right around the time I didn't have cable and relied on Chinese internet TV to give me hockey...but still.

Sometimes VS really is (gag, ew) wonderful. Like when they do things like this. And when they play cheesy Van Damme movies at 3 am.

KMS2 said...

We might have to have a movie night with The Tournament. Although, I wonder if it is readily available at Blockbuster or other local rental stores.