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The Sum of Small Fears

5 February 2016

Sunday night I was watching the NHL All-Star Game, which is a somewhat surprising activity for me, because of all the All-Star Games across all the sports I watch, the only event I actually enjoy is MLB’s celebrity softball game.

A Sedin existed and a Gopher fan named Jerrid tweeted to me that he hates the “Sedin Sisters.” I responded as I always do, saying that I don’t like the Sedins but that’s no reason for sexist language. He told me it was a joke (thank you, I understand it is a joke, that is irrelevant) roped in his “buddy” Brad, saying it was a joke. Brad doubled down by tweeting a couple memes at me, which I have seen before because I use the internet but which he thought were novel and hilarious. He tweeted a Sedin sisters meme as well as a “Two Girls No Cup” meme, as if it would change my mind and I’d say “oh hahahah ur so funny omg girlz are icky d*kes who can’t play sports!”

I told him I got it, he hates women. He told me he doesn’t hate women because he has a wife and his daughter plays college hockey.

His daughter plays college hockey. If a man whose daughter plays hockey at a high level can display this level of misogyny (not to mention cognitive dissonance), there is literally no hope for humanity.

His daughter, Amber Schaack, is a junior top-six forward for Concordia. I doubt she worked her butt off through youth hockey, high school hockey, and college so that her father could use her gender as a pejorative toward male hockey players.

He told me his daughter thinks it’s funny. I didn’t reach out to her for a quote so I can’t verify this, but it is irrelevant. I’m always told this. I’m always told to lighten up, it’s just a joke, other women think it’s funny. I doubt Brad is smart enough to comprehend the concept of “internalized misogyny,” but internalized misogyny is when women believe that lies and stereotypes about women are true. It doesn’t matter that a woman thinks “Two Girls No Cup” is funny; that doesn’t negate its sexist nature.

What message does it send a female athlete when her own father thinks “girl” is a put-down for a player he dislikes? Really, what message does it send a daughter when her dad uses “woman” or “girl” as an insult in any setting? What message does Jerrid send his son when he makes the same sexist remarks? What message is this sending to anyone?

Those questions are rhetorical, of course. The message is clear. A defective man is a woman. A woman is always less than a man. A woman has no traits or qualities a man could ever find desirable in himself.

(This same man then posted disgusting, misogynist memes regarding Hillary Rodham Clinton on a mutual friend’s Facebook wall, and called me a “stalker” because I happened to see them. But he doesn’t hate women, because he has a wife!)

I asked Brad to think about what he was saying, and to be better. He told me “Thanks, mom.” Apparently he doesn’t think much of mothers either. I oinked at him in response, because what else was there to do? He didn’t want to be a better person. He just wanted to continue to believe himself better than women.

People (of all genders), when you make a sexist joke, like Cindy Crosby, Chrissy Pronger, Sedin Sisters, or any of the other myriad ways you put down ordinary or extraordinary men who you see as failing in some way, you’re not making the joke in a vacuum. I’ve heard it before, or if I haven’t, I’ve heard something just like it. All women have. Your piggish remark is a drop in an ever-growing ocean of sexism that will eventually drown us all. These unfunny, stale “jokes” are added to the Kanebros lathering to defend him, the snide remarks about menstruation anytime a woman shows any emotion, the catcalls, the fat-shaming, the rape jokes, the impossible standards of beauty and conduct to which women must conform, and worst of all, the horrible crimes of domestic violence and rape committed overwhelmingly against women (who are then shamed and blamed). Don’t tell me to lighten up. Be better. Consider what you’re really saying, what you’re really doing, what you’re really contributing to.

And don’t use your own daughter to try to shield yourself from criticism.

Cats and Dogs

27 January 2016

Back when I was promoting #FromTopShelfToFoodShelf, I was informed by my friends at BC Interruption that they would be doing a similar promotion in February, during the Beanpot.

The time is upon us, and it could not have happened at a better time, both because tUMD men are playing cat-related teams the next two weekends, and because both teams need some motivation to start scoring again. Therefore, I’m thrusting my support behind #MeowsternBias, a pledge drive for Gifford Cat Shelter in Brighton, MA.

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My cat is cute.

I’ve pledged $5/tUMD goal over the next two weekends, which are Beanpot-adjacent. Pledging #MeowsternBias is even easier than FTSTFS. This link takes you to a pledge form, you fill it out, all is well.

Gifford Cat Shelter was founded in 1884, if you can even fathom that. It’s the first cageless, no-kill shelter in the US, and they even have kitty cams so you can watch cats playing at the shelter. While you’re at home or on your lunch break, bien sur.

‘Dogs, let’s help some cats! But only domestic cats, not Wildcats or Tigers!

Darkest Days

25 January 2016

tUMD 2, Buttmidji 3/tUMD 0, Buttmidji 2

Well, this is certainly a low point. The first time ever that Bemidji has swept the season against tUMD. And if tUMD men don’t figure something out for the makeup game in February, tDogs will go 0-6 against the buck-toothed hicks. (Possibly worse, depending on match-ups in the post-season for the women.)

I don’t want to live in a world where tUMD loses to Bemidji on the regular. I just don’t.

I missed Friday’s game, which is rather pathetic because I have complained about not being able to make Friday games. I could have gone but I was tired and fighting off a cold and I’m glad I didn’t because hockey was so depressing. So very, very depressing. Between tUMD men, women, and the Wild, my teams went 0-5 on the weekend.

Saturday I did attend the game and was inside the lobby at puck drop. I know it’s hard to believe. This is partially because I was running errands before the game and finished them early.

I don’t want to say I wish I hadn’t gone, because I want to support the team no matter what. But it is incredibly frustrating to continually lose to teams against whom tUMD is evenly matched (specifically UND & BSU). It is SO hard to watch. And it makes no sense. Obviously the main difference is goaltending: UND and BSU have goaltenders who steal games for them on the regular. tUMD hasn’t had a game-stealing goaltender in years. Rooney is a freshman and perhaps will be that woman, but she isn’t yet.

Of course, tUMD made neither SAB nor Mowat work very hard for their wins. The men and women have similar scoring issues: almost every shot is routine, almost telegraphed. Excellent, positionally sound goaltenders are not going to misjudge boring old shots. tUMD started scoring on SAB last weekend because they got her moving. tDogs couldn’t solve Mowat because she didn’t have to move.

tDogs are playing tOSU this weekend, bringing Jenny Potter back to Duluth for her head coaching debut. I would like 6 points. I would like to be uplifted by two hockey games where I can cheer and get excited and celebrate goals. tDogs have a relatively favorable schedule to end the season, thanks to their horrendous front-loaded schedule that pitted tDogs against UMTC, UW, UND, and Harvard in one torrid stretch, as well as away games at Boston College the second weekend into the season. Steal a game (or two, why not?) against UMTC and pound the crap out of the other 3 opponents. Sounds good to me!

Police: Escaped Convicts from Minnesota Attack Local Sports Team

24 January 2016

from the Denver Post

Tragedy struck at a hockey game at Magness Arena in Denver, after a band of escaped convicts from Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility disguised as a hockey team from northern Minnesota violently pummeled the University of Denver’s hockey team, a team comprised of altar boys, readers to the blind, and cherubs from the Sistine Chapel ceiling come to life.

Perhaps the officials should have seen this coming, as captain Andy “The Hatchet” Welinski was seen sharpening his teeth into pointy fangs in the locker room pre-game, and visibly salivated at the words “Grant Arnold.” Defenceman Carson “Widowmaker” Soucy, convicted of three murders and linked to seven other open homicide investigations in his home province of Alberta, was seen making a slashing motion across his throat as he skated by Denver wing Danton Heinen, choirboy and fixture at local soup kitchens. Several men in track suits with lots of gold jewelry were seen picking up tickets at the will call window left for them by organized crime king pin Dominic Toninato.

Fans were assured by UMD’s coach Scott Sandelin that the team “[wasn’t] sh*tty,” but there were no assurances that the team wasn’t homicidal.

Sandelin, who served time in federal prison for quadruple homicide before key witnesses mysteriously recanted their testimony, coached the Bulldogs through a relatively tame first period, before surrendering two goals to the Pioneers, who knelt in prayer after each goal and then made a donation to fight world hunger. While the Bulldogs were without top-six forward Kyle Osterberg, whose most recent death row appeal was denied, pundits say the team still should have had enough offensive firepower to mount a comeback. Instead, eyewitnesses say the Bulldogs “stopped playing hockey” and started attacking the innocent Pioneers.

“We were simply trying to play hockey!” reported DU blogger Nick Tremaroli. “We could hardly skate, these unsportsmanlike criminals were hacking at our ankles, punching our kidneys, and even spearing us in our no-no areas.” Mr. Tremaroli’s mother then replaced his pacifier in his mouth and put him down in his crib for the night, as it was past his bedtime. No further comment was available.

Pioneers coach Jim Montgomery spoke to the media after the game, pearls clutched so hard his knuckles were white. “I could sense UMD’s frustration; that is expected, as some of these players have been incarcerated for many years. I just don’t understand how they were allowed to take the ice, these are some of the country’s most violent offenders.”

A DU player, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Mr. Montgomery’s assessment. “During a face-off, one of them shanked me with a sharpened toothbrush while the referee wasn’t looking.” When asked to identify the offender, the player refused, stating he would only comment if offered entry into the federal witness protection program.

There’s some question as to how officials allowed this game to get out of hand. Derek Shepherd, one of the referees, told the Denver Post that he wanted to call more penalties. “I wanted to throw the whole team out of the building, but I was under instructions from the league to let them play. It’s fishy, because this morning I noticed that [NCHC head of officials] Don Adam was driving a brand new Mercedes.”

Mr. Adam was less than forthcoming when asked about implications of bribery by Bulldog fans. “I’m sorry, I can’t disclose any information about those fans’ secret, illegal arrangement.” Others describe the alleged bribers as a female in her early 30s and a male in his late 20s, last seen twirling their mustaches and laughing in a sinister manner.

The violence was not contained to the ice, according to reports from the press box. Radio voice of the Pioneers, Jay Stickney, was hospitalized after a run-in with Bulldog radio personality Bruce Ciskie, who notoriously slaughtered seven college hockey officials with a rusty chainsaw in 2009 following a dispute over whether or not a penalty should have been called. Witnesses say Mr. Ciskie became enraged when Mr. Shepherd called an unwarranted penalty on Mr. Welinski. Mr. Ciskie and Bulldog beat writer Matt Wellens stormed through the press box and bludgeoned Mr. Stickney with their laptops. Mr. Stickney is listed in critical conditions. A GoFundMe has been set up to assist with his medical bills, which are projected to be extensive.

Bulldog players and staff alike, on advice of attorney Ron Meshbesher, unanimously invoked the fifth amendment, despite reminders that the press conference was not a trial. Denver PD was seen loading players into paddywagons after the press conference was completed. “You’ll never take me alive!” shouted one, later identified as Blake Young, Saskatchewan’s most notorious serial killer. Mr. Young was then struck by the club of the arresting officer and his limp body was loaded in with his teammates.

The University of Denver Athletic Department is offering free counseling to any fans who were traumatized by the event. Fans who have suffered emotional distress due to Saturday’s hockey game are directed to contact Peg Bradley-Doppes, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation and RC Operations.

How Was Your Weekend?

18 January 2016

tUMD 1, Fhawks 2/tUMD 3, Fhawks 4 (OT)
tUMD 1, SCSUCKS 3/tUMD 1, SCSUCKS 2 (3on3OT)

Well, at least I had one leap-out-of-my-seat-with-joy moment for the weekend, when North Dakota scored on themselves with 22 seconds to go to tie up the game. I had previously given up on the game when the FHAWKS had gone up 3-1 with under three minutes to go in the game. Sidney Morin answered a little over a minute later, and then a scramble led to UND putting the puck in their own net, followed by a short review, and then some whining from UND’s coaching staff.

I’m struggling a bit with motivation to attend hockey games. I suppose since all three teams I follow are slumping or struggling, it’s not surprising. Friday afternoon, I missed the women’s game, since I was still at work. I sauntered in to the men’s game halfway through the first period, for no reason other than pure laziness. Saturday I started my workout late, and was just hopping into the shower when I should have been leaving for the women’s game. I ended up arriving during the first intermission. I went home between games, so I managed to be late to the men’s game as well, though only by a few minutes. I probably would have been later if I’d been going by myself. I’m radiating apathy at this point.

Really the only way to describe the men’s season right now is massively disappointing. There’s no reason for this team to score so few goals. Yes, we have a tough schedule. So? We’re not AIC. Good teams have to beat other good teams. The best seasons of tUMD hockey are the seasons they’ve won the games they should and the games they shouldn’t. They won games in 2010-11 and 2011-12 that they had no business winning. This year they’re not even winning the games they should *coughbemidjicough* and it sucks. It’s really hard to get motivated to go out in sub-zero weather and see only one lousy stinking rotten goal, considering the offensive firepower this team should have.

I don’t find the women’s season surprising, so it’s not quite as upsetting. I don’t like seeing the team struggle, but it would have taken a miracle to avoid a backslide. A new coach, a short bench, and improvement from the bottom-feeders of the league have put tDogs in a terrible position. This can’t continue, but I’ve gritted my teeth and accepted that this season won’t be perfect.

The Wild also suck right now, so that doesn’t help.

It’s going to warm up again, both literally and figuratively speaking. The men and the women have winnable games coming up. Neither team has been mathematically eliminated from postseason play. Today is the last horrifically cold day in the extended forecast. Weekends can be enjoyable again! It is possible.

See you all at AMSoil on Friday night !

On The Turning Away

14 January 2016

If you would like to take some drugs prior to reading this post, I invite you to now.

No more turning away from the weak and the weary
No more turning away from the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It’s not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there’ll be no more turning away?

November and December were a little rough on tUMD men’s hockey fans. Even January was a bit of a struggle, considering tDogs went down 0-3 to the Teenagers before winning in OT, and then it seemed they would never score against Miami. tUMD women offered no solace: a shortened bench against Wisconsin is not a formula for success, never do that again.

No more turning away.

tDogs are both in action at home this weekend against UND (women) and SCSU (men). Both are tough teams, though St. Cloud has been in a small slump (lost to the Teens and split with CC) and UND does weird things like beat the Gophers and then lose to Syracuse.  Some wins this weekend will do a lot for my confidence in both teams. And my confidence is what’s important.

No more turning away.

It’s time to face the season head-on, and accept it for what it is. Entertainment. Both teams are having tougher years, one expectedly and one unexpectedly. Does that really matter? At some point I need to quit mourning the season I thought tUMD would have. So the men didn’t march to Tampa like Sherman marched to the sea. So Coach Crowell hasn’t magically blasted through the WCHA and returned tUMD to prominence immediately. Big deal!

No more turning away.

I’m ready for three fun hockey games this weekend! (This Friday afternoon women’s game nonsense is preventing me from seeing all 4, I have to work.) Everyone’s back in the swing of things, the students are back, the oxidation has been shaken off, and we shall show our opponents no mercy.

No more turning away.

From Top Shelf to Food Shelf: Year 3

7 December 2015

I’m truly blown away by the generosity of college hockey fans.

In years 1 and 2 of the campaign, fans raised $943 total. I was pretty excited for that, it was a fun way to give back, and make some new friends.

This year the campaign took off in a way I could never have imagined. I could barely keep up with the spreadsheet I’d created. Without the hashtag on Twitter, I’d have missed quite a few pledges, as the campaign propagated through the NCHC fanbases into the other D1 schools, the NWHL, the ACHA, and the English Premier League. Coaches bid. The NCHC Commissioner bid. People rounded up, or came up with additional pledges halfway through the weekend

There are still some bids outstanding (the EPL game in question has yet to be played, and some folks bid for next weekend too), but here’s where the campaign stands:

$2548 and 311 food items.

That’s 2.7x the cumulative money raised over the last two years, and probably about 50x the cumulative number of food items pledged. The grand total for the three years of the campaign is $3491.

About 20% of the monetary total comes from Dogs fans, thanks to the 19 goals scored between the two teams. UNO, UNH, and SCSU fans came up big, too.  Wisconsin fans can thank the donors from their fanbase for motivating the women’s team to sweep the Gophers, and the men’s team to… score a lot of futile goals in a loss and tie. The BC men were motivated to come storming back in the 3rd period of their game yesterday, thanks to the efforts of the BC Interruption crew. I am very sorry that SCSU fans were not able to make good on their pledge of $2 million if the men came back to win on Saturday night.

Thank you all so much for participating, through pledges or publicity. We’ve made a small difference in a lot of communities this year. Small differences add up to real change in the world, so thank you for being a part of something greater.

I will keep updating if I get additional information, but this will be the last big post about the campaign. Remember it for next year!

As far as making your donations, just send your money or food directly to your chosen organization. I don’t need proof; I trust that everyone will follow through on their pledge. If your pledge got a little beyond what you thought it might (there were some high-scoring games!), there’s no harm in spreading it out over a few paychecks or a few months.

I wish you all a very happy holiday season, and I hope the kindness and generosity you’ve shown through From Top Shelf To Food Shelf returns to you, and then some.


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