Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"What phony dog poo?" - Omar Sharif, Top Secret

Original Post Date- 1/30/05

This was my second post. I was happy with it (it was a great work of Western Literature in my unbiased mind) until I re-read it. Major editing, and I'm still not exactly happy. There's a good joke about a tie being better than a loss, but I can't quite get there. I think I'll just call this one a sister-kissing tie.

College hockey - religion of the future?

The (pregnant) Mrs., The Boy and I went to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) hockey game last night. Hockey in Alaska is an experience not to be missed. As soon as little kids in Fairbanks can crawl, parents put skates on their feet, a stick in their hand, and teach them how to check an opponent into the boards and then throw down their gloves and pacifiers and hockey-fight. This explains why all five-year-old children in Fairbanks have wonderful hockey scars and missing teeth. The Mrs. says that the missing teeth are all about “growing up” or some such nonsense. Silly The Mrs.

The mascot of the UAF team is the "Nanooks," or, when the fans are feeling romantic, the 'Nooks. Alaska fact: nanook means polar bear. The Nanooks were playing the Lake Superior State team, who have picked the highly inventive “Lakers” as a mascot. Although the Laker mascot was not in attendance, I’m assuming its costume is a bucket of tepid water.

There were approximately 3,700 fans there last night, which might sound small, but the population of Fairbanks is 32,000. And, it was nearly twenty below, Fahrenheit, not communist metric units. Inside, though, the action was as hot as the oven at George Foreman’s house on “Pie Night.”

The Boy was about as interested in the game as a four year old can be. The Boy watched a (little) bit, but was mostly concerned with attempting to kick the somewhat balding man sitting in front of him. So, in other words, he was a completely normal four-year-old. The Boy did, however point out that he thought that some of the one-timers that the Nanooks were attempting from near the blue line would have been better converted into scoring chances if they crashed the net. After that exchange I started kicking the balding man in front of me.

I was thinking that hockey was like church for some of these folks. But, then I came to the conclusion that many of the folks at the arena (most of them non-students, I'm assuming that all of the students were engaged in study of subjects like "numerical approximation methods for partial differential equation applications in really cold places" at the library at 8pm on a Saturday night, rather than yelling and doing party-stuff) hockey wasn't like a religion, it is a religion.

  • The folks that showed up paid to get in, kinda like a weekly hockey tithe.
  • They prayed during the game.
  • They looked for the hockey gods to help the puck find the net.
  • There was goodness (the Nanooks), evil (the Lakers), and demonic influences (the referees).
  • At the end of the game, some sort of theological balance was struck, resulting in the tie.
And, hockey fans are a bit more devout than some folks who go to church regularly. For instance:

  • You never hear a fan say "hockeydammit."
  • You never hear a fan say "Waaaaaaayne Gretzky" when he or she smacks a thumb with a hammer.
I'm not sure what the hockey sins are yet, but I imagine they're fairly easy to follow and mostly self explanatory, like, don't root for the Lakers and make sure that you flush.

As it is, I'm quite sure that the sins are easier to figure out than most hockey rules. There are lots of lines on the ice, but their function seems to be to be ignored in most cases. The goalie has a blue spot in front of the net (called a 'crease,' but I saw no trousers) that seemed to fill no purpose whatsoever. As for the Pizza Hut logo, I could not for the life of me figure out how that impacted gameplay whatsoever. But it did make me hungry.

Like other sports, the referees wear black and white. Which (going back to religion) makes them a perfect combination of good and evil. The Nanook fans felt that the demonic influence was greater this night. When the (chief, head, king?) referee was hit by a puck traveling near the speed of sound in his upper calf, the fans cheered. So, this night at least in the First Fairbanks Church of Hockey, he was an agent of that darkest pit of the abyss, the Lakers. (As an aside, when he sent Lakers to serve penance in the penalty box, he got a cheer, or at least an "about time" from the fans.)

Late in the third period, the score was tied, 1-1. I know that sounds like it might be as exciting as watching various sissy Europeans bounce a ball back and forth across a lawn, but in the case of hockey, when a score can happen at any time from a slapshot across the ice at 100 mph, that increases the tension. Of course the game ended in a tie, so that tension was only relieved when it froze off of my body and fell to the packed snow/ice parking lot on hitting the air.

End result, a good game, no frostbite, and I went home and cleaned up dog poo.

A tie is better than cleaning up dog poo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok so that really messed with my head! But I did see that you are doing reruns but I got a bit excited, thinking you moved back to Alaska.

Keep em coming!

Did I see you say the Mrs is with child??? I have been busy and not keeping up to date here. Something has to give. Must stop working. :)

6:53 PM  
Blogger John said...

She was. Pugsley fought his way out two years ago. (old post)


8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol... got it! You threw me for a loop posting re-runs! But I will promise to read and retain before posting. :)

5:53 AM  

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