What is it with boys and hockey trivia? My kids know the names of all the players in the NHL, but can’t remember to flush the toilet. I mean seriously!
Evan likes to quiz me on hockey trivia as we drive in the car. It’s safe that I won’t know the answer and he likes to humiliate me. Delightful child.
But one day driving to Martock, I surprised him, and myself.
“Hey Mommy, Do you know the legend of Bill Barilko?”
I didn’t, but I was a big Tragically Hip fan in High school and I remembered that the lyrics of Fifty Mission Cap were about this Bill Barilko person, and I have to admit, at the time I had no idea who it was or that the lyrics would one day serve me well.
“Why yes, Evan, I do. Bill Barilko disappeared that summer in 1951. He was on a fishing trip.” Dah dah, dah dah. “The last goal he ever scored, in overtime, won the Leafs the cup.” Dah dah, dah dah. “They didn’t win another until 1962, the year he was discovered.” I literally had to sing it in my head. I looked in the rear view mirror to see my son silenced. He looked at me with an admiration that he never had before.
“But…was he a forward or a defenseman?” He quizzed. He’s kind of hard to impress.
I sang the rest of the song in my head, but it gave me no clues. I guessed defenseman as I thought that would make for a better story, and he informed me I was right.
I hope to God he never hears that song.
Which brings me to another piece of hockey trivia that I only know because my son is a big hockey fan. And allow me to step on my soapbox for this one. I do so with great trepidation as the last time I was on this box I was told I’d be going to hell. Beware, morons walk among us.
My friend and esteemed colleague, Patrick Hirtle, writes a column called Bleacher Bum for the Bulletin and Progress. I read it mostly because I like his writing style and because he writes it in a way that you don’t need to be a life long fan of sports to understand. This week he wrote about the reaction of Alexander Ovechkin after he did a little jig after scoring 50 goals. In case you didn’t catch it, here’s a link. And while I adore Patrick, I disagree with him, sort of. I think our friendship can handle it.
I thought it was terrific to see Ovechkin get excited and do a jig. I’d much rather that than see him pound the shit out of another player. But according to Don Cherry, pounding the shit out of another player is a part of hockey. Apparently Don thinks that you need to get penalties in order to be a “role model” or to have “class”. In the clip, he says, “Good guys like Malone say’s he’s (Ovechkin) gonna get a pay back.” Yes Don, that is being a role model and a “good guy”. And according to Don, doing a celebratory dance is a “spectacle”. Don Cherry…talking about being a spectacle…crickets chirping. I digress.
I love to watch golf. I remember when Tiger Woods came on the golf scene and the golf channel went crazy when he’d do his fist pump or point to the hole. “This is not what Golf is all about. This is a gentlemen’s sport. And he doesn’t even have a rod in his ass,” the commentators would say. Well, not that last one. And what did he do? He single handedly revived golf, and now if he doesn’t do it, they’re all, “why isn’t he doing it? This is part of what he does. And still, no rod!”
Would it be a bad thing for hockey to change? To be able to watch an entire hockey game and not see a fight, to not see blood, or a stretcher on the ice, or to see a hockey player, aside from Wayne Gretzky be able to form complete sentences and not be all punch drunk? Sure, it’s been that way since forever, but maybe it’s time hockey changed in more ways than abolishing the hockey mullet.
That’s the lowly opinion of this hockey mom who never watches a hockey game with her two boys because she cannot stand watching grown millionaire men act like stupid children. But I’ll admit, when the Capitals play, I watch for the chance to see my boys’ eyes light up watching hockey, and no, not because of a fight, but because of the celebration from Ovechkin.
And now, that I have officially stepped down off of this soapbox, let the fighting begin.