the state of hockey

corrie is in guatemala for the next 5 days. sigh.


with all the german bars and sub-zero days i’ve survived, i feel like my true baptism into minnesota came last night at my first real nhl hockey game. some minnesota friends of our scored some sweet minnesota wild tickets and decided the backward kansans needed some northern exposure.

apparently the handful of thunder games i attended (usually for dollar beer night) weren’t legit. i learned fast that i really don’t know much about the game. mainly, aside from hockey’s own extensive glossary or plays and calls, i had no idea how much this game meant to people who live their lives encased in ice and snow.

 i hesitate to label hockey a game or a sport because to the people of the dirty north, there is nothing “game” about it. while southern soccer moms are buying shin guards and swatting moquitos at little league games, northern babuskas are slapping their kids around with hockey sticks and throwing them out onto some frozen lake. dads brag about how young their kid was when he got skates and how he can carry more than his 50 lb. weight in pads and helmets.

those kids grow up to play for their middle school, their high school, and if they’re good enough, some obscure college in the north. they relive those hockey memories over beers at the pub for the rest of their lives. those who remain in shape join broomball leagues until they blow a knee at 35 and have to settle for every U of M game of the season on fsn north.

northerners are a little befuddled when you try to explain to them that you don’t know anything about hockey, mainly because the rest of the world (other than canada, which incidentally gets its flag flown in american hockey arenas?) doesn’t really care about it. it just doesn’t make sense to them. i mean, what’s not to love about skating around and hitting a puck on ice? little do they know that there’s a grand ol’ world out there that doesn’t have to make up games to enjoy ice.

i really don’t have anything against the game, but i don’t see myself ever becoming an authentic uniform-wearing wild fan. the flow of the game seems so random and isn’t much condusive to my adhd disposition. professional hockey, however, carries a commonality with other sports that allows me to embrace it and perhaps visit again before the twins open…the beer stand is right at the top of the stairs. we added 6 pieces of plastic “team of 18,000” glassware to our collection last night.


opening day can’t come soon enough…


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