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Bulldog Latitudes

6 October 2016

tUMD men are on their first road trip of the season, making it much more difficult for locating Bruce Ciskie. If you are in Lowell, Mass., and have a Bruce sighting, please take a photo and report the sighting to Twitter with the hashtag #WheresBruce.

In the off-season, RWD comrade and three-time NCHC Dan of the Week Dan J. created a custom Google map with the location of all NCAA Division I hockey arenas!

The map features:

Name, capacity, dimensions, and address of each arena
Home team for each arena
Filters for men’s and women’s hockey
Color-coded icons for each conference
Updates as new facilities are commissioned and in-use

Dan created this map originally while planning his long-term goal to attend a hockey game in each D-1 arena (he’s at 13 active rinks so far!). I convinced him to share the map with the greater college hockey world. Put it in your bookmarks; you’ll never know when you might want to know the dimensions of LaBahn Arena or the capacity of Lynah Rink.

Rock Chalk Bulldog

5 October 2016

Monday I attended an event for season ticket holders, which you may know if you follow me on Twitter. I really can’t recommend that you do, especially if you have a heart condition or a brain condition or just a delicate constitution, but eh, it’s out there, live a little, learn some new swears.

This event was billed as an AMSoil Open House, with a tour of the players’ lounge, weight room, and locker room, and then chalk talks by Coaches Sandelin and Crowell.

I went by myself because I couldn’t find anyone available to go. Well, people were available, but both Bruce Ciskie and Dan of the Week rejected me. I skulked along by myself.

I arrived basically on time and followed a small group of people to the doors on the lower level that are under the main entrance. Apparently that was not the way to go. I followed some children around to the correct entrance. We stopped to pick up posters. I already had a women’s poster, so I grabbed a men’s poster. The kids grabbed a women’s poster, only to realize it was not a men’s poster, and then said “We don’t want that!” and put it back. I wanted to give them the back of my hand. Congratulate me on my restraint.

I guess the first tour had already started because I didn’t get to see the weight room or players’ lounge. Annoying.

I caught up to the tour in the men’s locker room.

image1-6By the end of the tour, I was absolutely dying to step on the Bulldog. Like, never in my life have I wanted to step on anything more. Not even the time I was working as a janitor and a cockroach crawled halfway up my pant leg.

image1-7

Hunter Miska’s pads up close. Pretty sweet design, but what happened to the lift bridge mock-up? That would have been the greatest set of pads in the history of pads.

image2-3

Squirrel’s station! Apparently his real name is Sebastian. I did not know.

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How do people take actual good selfies? I cannot. My eyebrows look good though. Here is Blake Young’s spot. Nice practice jersey, I have the real one, sucka.

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IDK how to make my head not huge so you’ll have to suffer. This is Osterberg’s stall.

They have a sauna in the locker room, but I didn’t take a photo. So Finnish.

image4

“Don’t steal sticks,” says Josh Berlo, which immediately makes me want to take one.

The next section of the tour took us to the athletic training area, where Dr. Suz gave a short speech on her duties and the facilities available to the players. We went through the hydrotherapy room, where there’s a cold tub (50 F) and a warm tub (90 F) with a treadmill. It goes 7.5 mph, so I would drown in seconds.

image5

No diving. *Snicker*

I am generally afraid of talking to tUMD hockey folks, but I screwed up my courage and talked to Suz for a little bit. We talked about how she treats players in-game; she says she usually tries to treat them in the hallway, due to cameras. I commented that they don’t have far to go if there’s a real injury, as the training room is very close to the bench.

What stood out the most for me is that injured players are almost always treated at tUMD from start to finish; the AT staff has extraordinary capabilities and skills. Suz told us that players very rarely need to go to hospitals or clinics, and when they do it’s generally for diagnostics.

After we toured the training room, we returned to the locker room to await the Great Sandelin. This was very awkward for me as I had nothing to do and no one to talk to. Everyone else there was either old or a parent. I stood there for like 10 minutes refreshing my Twitter feed, desperate for something interesting to discuss.

Sandy finally arrived. He is looking really buff these days. He has some impressive forearms. Not that you can tell from my vantage point.

image7

By all means, sir. Stand directly in front of me.

Sandy started off by saying “I don’t have a chalk talk,” which is ridiculous. I wanted some Xs and Os, preferably written on a whiteboard, and I wanted to be pointed at several times while attempting to puzzle out which X is me, or if I’m even an X at all. This is my impression of what a chalk talk is. Disabuse me of that notion if you must.

He did talk about the team’s routine during the week: when they watch video (Thursday), when they lift (M-Th), team meals (Blackwoods when at home, which is a good tip for me as I like to avoid seeing anyone from the hockey teams in public), and… some other things. Something about an AHL “After Hockey League” involving the coaches. Then he took questions.

Naturally the first question was about his son, Ryan, who committed to Mankato on Saturday. He said that the assistants pushed hard to get Ryan to come to tUMD, but ultimately:

I can’t fault that. It really sucks to lose a top-end local talent, but I felt the only way that Ryan was ever going to come here was if Sandy left. I had a theory for awhile that Brett Larson was brought back into the fold because Sandelin was planning on making a career move (what that was, I do not know) and then he would make Ryan’s signing one of his last moves as a Bulldog coach. I had that theory up until Sandelin signed his extension.

Ah… then he talked about recruiting, and then someone else asked a question I don’t recall.

THEN I ASKED A QUESTION. OMG.

After I stepped out from behind Mr. Blue and Black Jacket, that is. I asked a rambly question about recruiting, saying “kudos to your long game” on signing Joey Anderson before he was able to get his learner’s permit, and then asking if that was a once in a generation signing or what. I mean, I didn’t say it like that.

It appears that I asked a good question and didn’t sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher because he gave a long, thoughtful answer that involved him making eye contact with me. Due to the eye contact I couldn’t remember a lot of what he said but he said he was on a committee regarding recruiting practices but it’s very hard to gain agreement.

BUT I ASKED A QUESTION. HUZZAH.

Then this happened.

I can’t even tell you how fast that answer came out of his mouth. Someone asked if he was glad that Derek Shepherd had retired and he said he didn’t mind Derek but doesn’t like Brad. Fascinating stuff. I guess Sandy just has no f***s to give anymore.

He said some stuff about the weekend series, I can’t remember what prompted it. Oh, someone asked if Miska was the #1 goalie. I think the answer was yes. Then he said something about how there was a difference between Friday and Saturday night’s games and then said Miska was better on Saturday than he was on Saturday. Puzzling.

Someone asked him about the schedule and he said he likes to schedule Buttmidji, Tech, Mankato, etc. He likes that they are bus trips. Sandy also appreciates the history between tUMD and Michigan Tech.

Apparently making the schedule is a big pain in Sandy’s butt. Someone asked if we are going to schedule Wisconsin and he said “I’ve been talking to Tony,” Wisconsin’s new coach, with whom he is on a first name basis. I resisted the urge to say “Don’t give in to their stupid 2 for 1 deal!”

Then a guy asked if there was a team chaplain, and how many players met with said chaplain. The answer is yes, and it’s Chico, which is… something. I think he said like 8 or 9 guys regularly meet with him but I don’t know, that’s kind of a personal question. I guess we know that 2/3 of the team are godless heathens, just the way I like them.

The talk ended and we went to the women’s locker room. I stopped and talked to Brett Larson and restrained myself from groping him because I respect boundaries. Oh la la.

The majority of people from the tour came to the second chalk talk. I was concerned that people would bail in droves and was pleased. I will note the children who didn’t want the women’s posters didn’t show up, nor did their parents. Terrible.

This beautiful sight greeted me.

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I wanted to steal one SO BADLY. Why didn’t I? Sid wouldn’t miss this.

Coaches!

image9

Coach Crowell had more of a prepared speech. The whole staff (a former Harvard coach, Harvard alumna/former coach, and a BU alumnus) was very stoked about beating BC, and they were very upbeat about the team.

Crowell praised many individual players, and discussed some of their plans for improvements. She mentioned they are working on getting tougher.

A lot of people had questions for Coach Crowell, which was great. Someone asked her where she went to school (as well as her position and how successful she was as a player):

Toothpaste indeed.

I asked how she liked Duluth, because I’m a stupid shill. She said it feels like home, and said Lake Superior reminds her of the ocean. She said that it’s one of the first questions recruits ask her, to which I responded “Well they’re not going to believe either of these two,” pointing at the assistant coaches, who we know are both from here and thus have Stockholm Syndrome.

Afterward several little girls wanted to meet Coach Crowell and I left feeling uplifted.

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Sorry, St. Cloud.
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I didn’t get to ask what this was about. The two dog tags say “Boston College,” so I’m guessing it’s the teams they beat. So awesome! Unless I am wrong.

I hope they do this again and I can do more awkward live tweeting. Leslie Jones is my hero.

Everything Under the Sun

3 October 2016

tUMD 3, BC 3/tUMD 5, BC 2
tUMD 6, MTU 0/tUMD 4, MTU 3

A lot has happened in a short period of time. I’m very overwhelmed by hockey starting. Four games in three days plus this talky event at AMSoil this evening.

Friday
Friday I went to the game with a baby.

President Lincoln takes in his first #umdhockey game. Doggies tied BC 3-3! #umdwhat #runninwiththedogs

A photo posted by RWD (@runninwiththedogs) on

It was his first Bulldog game, and he enjoyed it. He enjoyed meeting Champ and sitting in his own seat, and of course shoving pretzels into his face while his aunty RWD held him. And I didn’t throw him when we scored, either.

I arrived late on Friday, as per usual, although I was in the hallway to the arena when the game started. This means I was getting my ticket scanned when BC scored their first goal. Alas.

tDogs looked great, though, much improved over last year, and competitive the whole night. Ashleigh Brykaliuk scored a hat trick, countering each of BC’s goals with one of her own. Due to holding a baby (and chatting with the baby’s parents and his other friend), I am not able to provide any other detail on the game, but the fine folks at BC Interruption have a recap that is second to none. I really suck at blogging compared to them. They had lots of praise for our ladies, so read that.

Saturday
Saturday I had to prepare myself. Back to back hockey games is very taxing for players, so you can imagine that it’s even more taxing for spectators. Plus there was a jersey auction during the men’s game which was stressing me out. I cannot hand over my money fast enough when a jersey is involved.

I arrived at the women’s game early enough for a Bruce Ciskie sighting. Of course it is easy to have a Bruce Ciskie sighting when he sits with you for half the game. If you have a Bruce Ciskie sighting in the wild, be sure to document it with a photo and tweet it using the hashtag #WheresBruce. Note that it is not an exclusive hashtag.

I got to watch most of the game with the entire Ciskie family, which was a treat. And tUMD put on a show for us. The BCI fellows were beside themselves, but still pulled out some unreal analysis. Look at the breakdown they have for the 4th goal.

Meanwhile, me:

textatgame

Photo courtesy of @umdhockeygifs

I really dislike being on the big screen. Also my hair looks terrible. ’80s throwback is on point.

tDogs were leading 5-0 at one point. 5-0! It was absurd! And glorious! And I can tell you the 2 Harvard alumnae (well, one is a Harvard coaching alumna) and 1 BU alumnus on our bench are pretty darn pumped about the win.

Demi Crossman starting things off (I never get goals right when they’re tipped, thought this was Sid’s):

(Tip: these GIFs won’t show if you have AdBlocker enabled. IDGAF if you do or not, because I don’t profit from this site, just passing on that tidbit.)

Schugel gets her first goal as a Bulldog, another goal I thought was Sid’s:

I’m visually impaired. But I saw this beauty gino thin mints from Lara Stalder:

And even Ray Charles saw this one from Bryks, and he’s both blind and dead:

And finally, the important scoring ended with Katie McGovern’s goal:

This post might be long. I sorry.

After a brief interlude at Green Mill with Biddy and some nerds watching college handegg, we returned to the arena for the first game, and saw six more goals. Are you ready for 6 more GIFs? I FREAKING HOPE SO.

I’m kidding. You can see GIFs of the goal on the @UMDHockeygifs account. I suggest following.

Anyway, tUMD beat the crap out of Tech, so much so that I felt badly, since my soul mate MeanEgirl is a Tech fan. It was a very relaxing game, which was nice because I bid on a jersey and was already anxious about it. Six different Bulldogs scored goals, including 2 on the PP (one on a major) and 2 that were the players’ first in a Bulldog jersey. Not that I would know since they had no nametapes on the jerseys so we were puzzled the whole game. I wonder if there’s like a website or some other type of resource with that information. After the 6th goal I said “Oh goody, this presents an opportunity to find out who #26 is.” It’s Jade Miller, and his glorious hair. Oh, sorry Jade, but you’re The Jade Monkey now.

Sunday
I am out of practice a bit, because I thought 1. the game was at 7 and 2. the jersey auction ended at the start of the 3rd period, not the 2nd. It’s a good thing I wasn’t left to my own devices.

tDogs kind of sucked for a lot of the game, and didn’t lead until 15 seconds remained in the game. I was very anxious about the game result for many reasons. I was very thankful that the jersey auction ended after the first intermission, because I didn’t have to worry for another period. I won Blake Young’s jersey! But then I was kind of cranky because I didn’t want to go have to get a jersey after a loss. I wanted a jubilant exchange of commercial goods. Thank you, IAFALTO.

All the jersey winners (as well as some wanna-bes, I guess) assembled in the Champions Lounge (or whatever it is called) to wait for our players to come up. This is always an awkward moment because the players don’t know who got their jersey (unless it’s their mom or something) and so everyone’s sort of hesitantly looking around like it’s a blind date situation. A tUMD staffer helped bring Young & me together so I could get my damp sweaty jersey. We had a very nice conversation about the Saskatchewan Roughriders and how terrible they are. We also discussed how great the jerseys were; he said everyone loved them. I told him that my women’s tickets were hand-delivered by the team, and he told me that he went along when they delivered the men’s tickets, and one recipient accepted the tickets from Kotyk, thanked him, and then closed the door. So I guess we know why I made the news: no one else made for good TV.

We attempted a photo.

We’re both laughing because he had just asked if he should crouch down so we could both get in the photo. This is probably the #1 greatest in-person interaction I have had with a men’s player, with #2 being when Mike Montgomery liked my Nirvana shirt and #3 occurring when I was at the Wild camp a few years ago and told Jack Connolly while in the autograph line that his mom was waiting for him.

Since this photo did not include the jersey, Brian Dozier helpfully offered to model it for me.

And you can see my jersey in action here:

And here (getting an assist on this Exellent goal):

I was very happy and satisfied with my acquisition until the next day when tUMD came out with the away jersey for the women and I wept for my bank account. More on that later.

Pardon the Interruption

29 September 2016

tUMD hockey OFFICIALLY officially begins on Friday, when the women take on Boston College at AMSoil. I look forward to seeing you all there. I will be attending with some friends.

My friends at BC Interruption are always keen to talk college hockey, and with our teams meeting again this weekend, my comrade Grant and I exchanged some questions and answers. You can find my answers to his questions over on their site. Hello to all 3 people who clicked through to mine.

RWD: Did you ever reveal the total money raised during Meowstern Bias? Did you actually keep that money for yourselves?

Grant: [BCI writer] Joe was handling this with his Eastern Bias podcast co-host so he has the details, but I think the final number was $507.66. And if by “for yourselves” you mean “for our own personal joy of sending money to help KITTIESSSSSSS” we certainly did!

For those of you who are unaware, Meowstern Bias was a fundraiser around the Beanpot last year where BC Interruption and the Eastern Bias podcast raised money for the Gifford Cat Shelter, the oldest no-kill cageless shelter in the United States.

For those of you also unaware, the Beanpot is a hockey tournament formed by and enjoyed by God himself, as noted in Philippians 3:14.

RWD: Why do you keep choking in the national tournament? You have an extremely long history of choking.

Grant: Listen Minnesota is REALLY GOOD okay?? Have you ever seen them play?? They’re SICK.

But we won a Frozen Four game this time so that erases all history of us ever choking in anything. Ignore that Harvard game two years ago. And all the other times we lost in the Frozen Four. And all those Hockey East championship games. That’s how it works. Hey, I don’t make the rules.

Also Hockey East has been pretty godawful most years and getting into the NCAA tournament and facing top ECAC and WCHA teams after a full season of WHEA dregs is like going up to the plate after warming up with a wiffleball bat.

And BY THE WAY, Jessica Koizumi’s goal was definitely bullcrap because Molly Schaus was definitely interfered with. Jerks.

RWD: When do you think you’ll choke this year? In the quarterfinals, semis, or national championship game?

Grant: I’m a bit bearish on BC’s chances this year, at least relative to everyone else’s expectations, although I’m not as down as I was before I started digging into the roster for season previews. I would be really surprised if BC made it all the way to the NCAA championship game this year. Getting to the Frozen Four would be a very strong measure of success for this season. So I guess I say if we have a good year we’ll “choke” against the Badgers or Gophers in the semifinals.

The thing is, even if you knew how good each team is, it’s so hard to predict how the Pairwise is going to shake out. The ECAC has about 6 teams with a legitimate chance to earn an NCAA tournament berth. Will they beat each other up to the point that only one or two are in the top 8? Will the Badgers and Gophers split wins and knock each other down from #1? Will one go undefeated and knock the other down to, say, 4th, and be forced to face each other in the semifinals? Is Hockey East so bad that BC will run the table again and back its way into #1? I mean, serious questions. It’s all a complete wild card.

All that is a long winded way of me saying that how the NCAA tournament field shakes out will determine exactly how far BC can go this year. I can’t in even the rosiest of scenarios see BC getting through both Wisconsin and Minnesota, and frankly I think BC will be fortunate if they can earn home ice in the quarterfinals.

RWD: Is it possible that [UMTC alumna] Coach Kennedy is sabotaging you?

Grant: HA – let’s be real, if BC didn’t have Coach Kennedy the last several years BC doesn’t have nearly the success they’ve been able to put together. She’s a huge part of our recruiting.

I have to be honest, when the UMD job opened up, I was certain that Coach Kennedy was going to leave BC and take that job. I think she’s easily the top assistant coach in all of women’s hockey. She’s actually our associate head coach now – her and Coach Crowley are almost co-heads at this point. I’m so glad she didn’t leave.

RWD: Are you nothing without Skarupa and my Sister-From-Another-Bobby-Carpenter?

Grant: Nah, we’re going to be fine. We didn’t get enough credit for how deep we were last year. Last year we had THIRTEEN of the top 100 in scoring. Hell, BC has 8 players in the top 70 of returning scorers – and that was with the superline double shifting for half the game last year. It was a testament to just how good Skarupa and Carpenter were that people didn’t realize how many people were scoring points. To top it all off, we have a solid freshman class, including one player who is going to win a Kaz before she leaves.

Also, we have one hell of a defensive corps. We held the NWHL champion Boston Pride to 25 shots last week.

RWD: Do you ever wish you were in a real league with actual competition?

Grant: Yes, although with North Dakota and Bemidji almost certainly taking a massive step back, there’s going to be a whole lot of crap at the bottom of the WCHA this season. Welcome to our world.

Seriously though, I really wish the bottom of Hockey East would get its ish together. Half our games are glorified exhibitions. Things will be more competitive this year with us being brought back to the pack a bit, though.

RWD: Do you think Boston is supersaturated with options for women’s hockey fans? Has BC noticed any drop or increase in attendance/fan engagement since women’s professional hockey came to town?

Grant: Boston is supersaturated with options for sports fans, let alone women’s hockey fans. All we ever hear about regarding football and hockey attendance is “oh, it’s a pro sports town, BC will never be a real player in the world of Boston sports.”

For women’s hockey attendance, I think it’s just a cultural east/midwest thing more than it’s a “there’s so much to do, no one’s going to go to women’s hockey games” thing. People aren’t exactly packing the rinks anywhere out east, although I will grant you that the schools in the middle of nowhere (hello, Dartmouth and RIT) definitely punch above their weight.

BC’s attendance has picked up considerably the last two years in particular (yes, 434 people per game is “considerably” – we were pretty thrilled with attendance last year), but being honest here, I doubt that had anything to do whatsoever with the CWHL/NWHL and everything to do with the fact that the team was trying to go undefeated, in the news, and that people actually knew they existed.

RWD: Why can’t you people pronounce consonants correctly?

louisckboston

Grant: Look at this map. Look at it. Don’t come around here talking linguistic trash when you have this nonsense looming over you like a black cloud.

RWD: Will you be sending any envoys to Duluth this weekend?

Grant: Is there even a road that goes up there or can you rent sled dogs from Minneapolis?

Actually according to my google searches, you guys have an actual airport. That’s amazing. And it’s such a cute wittle airport! First I was like “Duluth International Airport?” But then I realized that the short hop to Minneapolis is technically international because you’re, you know, Canadian.

Anyway nah, I don’t know of anyone other than, like, parents, who are going to make the trip. I’d love to go, but that’s a $500 battle with the Mrs. that I would most definitely not win.

RWD: What is your prediction for this weekend?

Grant: Duluth played us as tough as anyone last year, and they were a young team with a new coach. I don’t have a good feeling about BC coming out of The Great White North with a sweep. Duluth is playing at home, they’re a year more experienced, they have a full year under the new coach… and this all spells trouble for BC. The gap has closed.

I realize Duluth was well under .500 last year, but I’m pretty certain they’re going to take a big step forward and be the #3 team in the WCHA this year. I do think Duluth wins one of these games and BC stumbles out of the blocks with a split. I’ll call it 2-1 UMD and 2-0 BC.

I do think we’re going to learn a ton about both of our teams right off the bat, though. So that’ll be good for setting expectations the rest of the year.

Thanks for the fun interview, Grant! Your team sucks!

99 Luftballons

19 September 2016

…Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont

Wednesday the 21st is the Balloon Sale at tUMD Stores! And I am here to give them free advertising because I am a conspicuous consumer of Bulldog gear.

The balloon sale is not an opportunity to purchase balloons at a discount, but rather a chance to pop a balloon and receive a discount of 25%-80% on your purchase. One person gets their entire order free. Last year I was in the store when the free balloon was popped. Then I popped a 25% discount balloon of sadness.

If you’re struggling with what to buy, I have some suggestions, and asked some tUMD hockey celebrities to give the RWD Army their top picks for Bulldog gear. I think they actually sell more stuff in the stores than they show online, so it’s best to browse through the whole store for some impulse buys before leaving.

jackets
If money were no object, I’d go for this jacket, probably not in white, even though it looks so crisp!

mug
Mr. RWD has been carrying around the same broken travel mug for several years, so perhaps it’s time for him to get a new one. There are several other style of mug, but I like this one best.

ornament
Since I graduated from tUMD last December, I should probably advertise that on my Christmas tree. I would like this better if the ornament said “alumna.”

skatinghoodie
“I’m partial to the skating Bulldog hoodie,” says tUMD men’s hockey vox Bruce Ciskie. And why not? It’s snazzy, especially that maroon-lined hood, and it has a nice lace-up detail.

shorts
Bruce’s son, Hunter, youth hockey and lacrosse double threat, tells us that as a hip young person, he would choose these shorts. I will trust in his knowledge of fashion trends, since this is me:
fellowkids
It could be worse, I could be…
pjfleck

Road trip warrior and RWD Army General Biddco will be keeping warm this fall with this jacket:


His sales pitch: “Are you a passionate Bulldog fan? Have you seen other fan bases wear team logo jackets and want one? But you don’t want to wear leather in public and can’t grow a mullet? Well, this jacket is for you. A beautiful maroon color with gold Bulldog Head (as it was meant to be) and BULLDOGS printed on the back. This is a must have for any fan who wants to stay warm come winter.” I will also note that Biddco is an enabler, as I was going to try to avoid the balloon sale, but he has given me authority to act as his proxy in all tUMD gear related transactions.

cap
Ben, proprietor of @umdhockeygifs, suggests this hat. Ben says “you can never have too many hats and every fan should be prepared for a hat trick.” Considering the embarrassing trickle of hats one usually sees after a tUMD hat trick, I would be taking Ben’s advice if I were you. If the hat is 80% off, you won’t feel so badly about chucking it onto the ice.

And finally, if you would like to be murdered by a mob, I would suggest purchasing a pair of these and bringing them to all hockey games: home, away, neutral, pro, college, youth, pickup, pond, field, roller, or otherwise.
slapclap
These look a little like the toes from Double Dare obstacle courses of yore. I spent 3 minutes doing a Google search for an image, but all I could come up with was the nose from Pick It! and the ear from In One Ear. Ewwww.

I predict a 1000% growth in sales due to this post alone. Sorry in advance if the Slap-n-Clap is sold out before you could get there!

Nightmare on Eleventh Street

14 September 2016

Being a season ticket holder for tDogs comes with some nice perks. Renew your tickets early, you win prizes. Maybe a fan of the game award from Cold Stone, if you’re a nice person. Discounts for being a multi-sport ticketholder. Etc.

There’s also another perk: every year, tUMD athletes hand-deliver season tickets to a select group of season ticket holders. I always joked that if that happened to me, I would keel over and die.

Well, I lived.

Last Thursday, I was lounging in my messy house on my couch in mismatched clothing, playing a game on my computer, watching Star Trek: Generations, when I heard a noise outside my door and then the doorbell rang. I assumed it was going to be someone trying to convert me to their religion or remind me to vote, but no, a crowd of women in hockey jerseys and a dude with a camera standing on my front steps.

Naturally I don’t have any photographic evidence of the encounter. But it happened, I swear! I even told them I write this old rag here, which is a giant leap forward in confidence for me.

The excitement doesn’t end there. While I was having a fantastic conversation with these bright, kind women, Camera Guy was recording it all. I assumed it was for promotional use for tUMD athletics. We know what happens when we assume. I got in to work on Monday (had Friday off!), ready to tell my coworker what had happened, and he stole my thunder.

Me: [Coworker], you won’t BELIEVE what happened on Thursday.
Coworker: You were on the news!
Me: WHAT.

I hope the camera got my good side. Although what side is good when one is wearing a navy sweater and purple running shorts? If I had the footage, I’d post it here, but KBJR doesn’t seem to have it online. What a shame. Also a shame: no footage of my cats.

I'm rich, biotch! #umdhockey #umdbulldogs

A photo posted by RWD (@runninwiththedogs) on

This serendipitous event can only portend a successful season for tDogs. Ten more days until hockey!!!! I can’t wait!

Let America Be America Again

8 September 2016

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

-Langston Hughes (read the entire poem here)

I don’t watch NFL handegg anymore, out of protest, but I am a human being living on the grid so I’m aware of the manufactured controversy involving the Geriatric Prospectors’ Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to pretend that there’s racial harmony throughout the land.

This controversy has made its way to the NHL, the whitest sport that doesn’t involve horses or water, as John Tortorella, coach of Team USA in the upcoming We’re Going To Ruin Olympic Men’s Hockey For You But Leave You With This Shoddy Substitute Cup of Hockey, told ESPN: “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.”

Okay, so, this isn’t really the same thing, because Kaepernick is playing in a pro sports league on a team owned by the Mafia, while Tortorella is coaching a team representing the USA. I can see that, that must be his reasoning, but–nope.

“We’re in a great country because we can express ourselves. And I am not against expressing yourselves. That’s what’s great about our country. We can do that. But when there are men and women that give their lives for their flag, for their anthem, have given their lives, continue to put themselves on the line with our services for our flag, for our anthem, families that have been disrupted, traumatic physical injuries, traumatic mental injuries for these people that give us the opportunity to do the things we want to do, there’s no chance an anthem and a flag should come into any type of situation where you’re trying to make a point.”

Ok. The national anthem and the American flag represent every American, not just our Armed Forces. And standing during the national anthem isn’t going to treat PTSD, re-grow a missing limb, halt sexual assault of female service members, or abate the appalling rate at which veterans are committing suicide, so let’s not pretend there aren’t real, horrifying ways in which we are letting down and disrespecting our active duty military members and veterans every single day while we pat ourselves on the back for standing reverently during the anthem.

Plus it was super funny when Michael Phelps laughed during the anthem because Baltimore bros, AMIRITE.

“It is probably the most disrespectful thing you can do as a U.S. citizen is to bring that in. Because that’s our symbol. All for [expressing] yourself. That’s what’s so great. Everybody does. But no chance when it comes to the flag and the anthem. No chance.”

That’s so weird, that exercising one’s Constitutional right in order to call attention to the mistreatment of other Americans is the most disrespectful thing you can do as a U.S. citizen. I would have thought it would be something else, like an actual crime, but considering how the NHL ignores domestic abuse, rape, racism, and homophobia (to say these things are disrespectful would be an understatement, but they are), I guess I can see where those things don’t seem too disrespectful to someone like Torts, deep inside the system.

I’m getting to how this is relevant to this site, calm down.

tUMD alumnus JT Brown, now with the Tampa Bay Lightning, responded to Tortorella’s comments thusly:

jt-brown
Well.
philosoraptor
Frog Coffee, indeed.

JT made a statement to the Tampa Bay Times to expand on his position, without the pesky 140 character limit. His statement included the following:

“I could have been quiet and just kept my opinion to myself, but I don’t want young minorities who love the game of hockey to think that what’s going on in America today is going unnoticed by the hockey community. I love America and thank the military for protecting our freedoms, as well as law enforcement for protecting and serving our communities, but that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge that there is still racism today. I am glad my tweet provoked a discussion, because we need to start having a conversation about racism if we want to work towards a better America.”

I mean, wow. Who knew there was some other way to be patriotic, besides shouting “LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT” at anyone who doesn’t fall into line? That’s so weird. Who knew one could appreciate the military and still admit that this country is deeply flawed? Who knew it was possible to respect law enforcement while acknowledging there are serious issues of systemic racism that affect how police interact with black people?

Thoughtful, informed protests backed up by meaningful, sincere actions to promote positive change are one billion times more patriotic than standing during the national anthem. I am so proud that JT Brown represents my alma mater and my favorite hockey program, and so glad to live in a country where people still want to make life better for each other.