By and

It happened quite by accident. There I was, fiddling with a dysfunctional remote-in the usual way: by hitting it repeatedly-when I stumbled upon a strange ritual being performed by heavily uniformed men on a sheet of ice. What a curious spectacle! I thought to myself, “Brrrr!”

As I sat there, mesmerized, I realized that this wasn’t just some extravagant Pagan frozen aquatic ceremony, which was my original theory. No, these folks were actually keeping score-it was 3-3 at the time, a dead heat! By golly, this was an honest-to-goodness sport. This particular event was between the “Carolina Hurricanes” and the “Edmonton Oilers,” and they were in the middle of something called the “Stanley Cup Finals,” which I think is some sort of championship or something.

What good fortune for me-one minute I’m trying to fix a channel-changer, the next I’m discovering a grand new sporting event that all of America is sure to embrace. I mean, how could you not get caught up in such a graceful and magnificent game as this?

Well, I did a little research and (now, you’re going to want to pay attention here, folks, because I’m certain this is going to be the next big thing, and you don’t want to get left in the dark when it explodes into popular culture) apparently it is called “hockey.” Curious name, I thought, sounds like phlegm, but I’ll go with it.

What happens is players use curved wooden sticks to slap around a hard, round, rubber disc called a “puck.” When the opportunity presents itself, players shoot the puck toward the opponent’s net to try to score a “goal.” Of course, scoring chances are impeded by “goaltenders.” Also, players can’t really use their hands to handle the puck-sticks only, please.

You know, now that I think of it, it’s kind of like soccer-except faster, more physical and more unpredictable. To make things tougher-I completely forgot to explain this!-they play on a thick rink of ice. I mean, have you ever tried to walk-or play a sport, even-on ice? Well I have, and let me tell you, it is slippery!

But don’t worry-hockey players are wearing ice skates, so as to help them move around a bit easier and limit the number of times they fall-down-go-boom.

Hockey players skate all over the place, they score goals, they beat one another up, they hit one another with sticks-I really think this game just might catch on in the States. That is, if The Man (i.e., the powers that be in the NFL, MLB, NBA and PBA) isn’t too threatened by such a radically subversive phenomenon.

In fact, it got me to wondering why “hockey”-I hope I’m pronouncing that right-hadn’t become known in this country before yours truly pulled off the amazing discovery. (Just call me the Columbus of sports-the accidental hero.) Turns out, it was popularized in Canada. You know that huge mass of land at the top of North America? Yeah, that’s Canada-which was news to me, too. I thought it was, like, Montana or something.

I’ve watched the entirety of the Stanley Cup Finals, and it’s pandemonium, I tell you. In fact, tickets for tonight’s Game 7 (8 p.m. ET/6 p.m. MT, NBC) are going for thousands of dollars on eBay.

Enjoy! And you can thank me later!