The Stanley Cup playoffs were a lifetime ago, it feels like, but I thought about something we kept talking about throughout the playoffs when I read about the comments made about Marion Bartoli after her Wimbledon win. Not John Inverdale’s on-air comments, which were asinine, but the ones compiled in this depressing and enraging post here.
Basically, a bunch of idiotic sexist assholes think she didn’t deserve to win because her looks are not pleasing to them.
We used that word a lot during the NHL playoffs.
When there were some amazing close games between two amazing teams, or two not-so-great teams, we said they both deserved to win, or to lose.
When teams lost games despite absolutely dominating their opponents because of an unlucky bounce here or there, we said it was a shame because they really deserved to win.
When lesser teams worked hard, we said they deserved to win, even though they had no hope in hell.
When good teams had to exit early because they were playing against equally good teams, we said they deserved a better fate.
We said Toronto, Detroit, and the New York Islanders deserved better because they scared or even almost eliminated teams that were varying degrees of superior.
We said San Jose deserved better because we kind of would have liked to see them finally win a damn Cup.
We said Pittsburgh didn’t deserve to win because of that whole “loading up at the deadline also why does everything always come up Pittsburgh” thing.
We said the Bruins didn’t deserve to win because of that whole “Jeremy Jacobs is Satan” thing.
Then we all asked if we could just. stop. already. with this whole “deserving to win” thing.
You know what we didn’t say?
We didn’t say teams deserved to win because their players were more attractive than their opponents. We didn’t say teams didn’t deserve to win because their players were ugly.
We talked about how Patrick Sharp is a very handsome man, because he is. We said Zdeno Chara was scary-looking, because he is. We’re not above shallow comments about players’ appearances. We said we would miss Hank’s eyes and Higgy’s abs and that we were glad to see the last of Chris Neil.
But what we didn’t do was assign deservingness (if that’s a word) to players and teams based on their appearances, our opinion on which is pretty subjective to begin with. At least , not in any way that hockey media or mainstream hockey fandom noticed, or that I know of at all.
So why, when a woman wins at Wimbledon, do a huge chunk of people think it’s okay to say she does not deserve it because she is not as attractive as her opponent? When are we going to stop assigning value to women based on their looks, ignoring their accomplishments completely?
To her credit, Bartoli handled it amazingly well. And I dare any one of those sexists to go tell Sabine Lisicki that it’s okay that she lost after getting all the way to the final, because she is more attractive than Bartoli.
So here is a video of me talking about something important to me.
In case you haven’t heard, I’m running a half-marathon in San Diego this Sunday (aaaaaaa) to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you’d like to help by sponsoring my run, you can do it by clicking here. Every single cent helps.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about it, and I’ve been meaning to put up a video of myself as part of the #selfacceptanceproject, so here goes:
My video turned out a little awkward and the angle was a bit unflattering but watch it anyway. If you’ve donated or helped me fundraise, there’s a message in there for you.
And if you haven’t and you’d still like to help, here’s the link. You can donate by credit card, via PayPal, and if you’re in Canada you can even send me money via Email Transfer and I’ll deposit it myself, let me know and we’ll work it out.
Thank you, all of you, so very much. I’m glad I didn’t cry on the video, but I can’t promise I won’t on next week’s.
So your team didn’t make the NHL playoffs. I’m really sorry to hear that. In some cases. Like maybe about 15 per cent of cases. In any case, that doesn’t mean you have to stop watching hockey for the year. After all, it was a shortened season, so take what you can get.
But who to cheer for? Which team should you get emotionally invested in for two weeks until they inevitably disappoint you?
Here, in the order of their league finish, are all the teams that are in the postseason, with at least one reason to root for each one.
- Chicago Blackhawks: Honestly if you’re not about these guys, I don’t want to know you. Jonathan Toews. Jonathan Toews. JONATHAN TOEWS.
- Pittsburgh Penguins: Because you want to see Jarome Iginla finally win a Stanley Cup. Other than that, fuck those guys.
- Anaheim Ducks: Teemu is the answer to every question.
- Montreal Canadiens: I can’t answer this question because I’m biased, but if you don’t want the Canadiens to win the Cup then you hate joy, and puppies, and babies, and joy, and happiness. Are you a dementor?
- St Louis Blues: I guess it would be nice to see Jay Bouwmeester go really far after waiting so long to make the playoffs.
- Los Angeles Kings: Because they’re awesome and fun to watch and their Twitter account drives Vancouver Canucks fans absolutely insane and it’s hilarious.
- Vancouver Canucks: Because let’s all admit that Roberto Luongo backstopping them to a Cup would be an awesome storyline.
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Because watching the ACC take the “Thank You Kessel” chant back from the Bruins fans would be so satisfying that you need a cigarette just thinking about it.
- Washington Capitals: Because you want Alexander Ovechkin to score five million goals so Mike Milbury has to shut up five million times.
- San Jose Sharks: Because you want Patrick Marleau to score five million goals so Jeremy Roenick has to shut up five million times. Unfortunately Patrick Marleau is not Alexander Ovechkin, so you’ll settle for Roenick shutting up like five or six times.
- New York Rangers: Something about redemption storylines I don’t know because the Rangers weren’t at all fun to watch this year so I didn’t.
- Detroit Red Wings: Moar Datsyuk.
- Ottawa Senators: Because you want Daniel Alfredsson to go out with a Stanley Cup. So basically this is a bandwagon team for Ottawa Senators fans.
- Minnesota Wild: Because the possibility of an upset in their series against Chicago is so hilariously impossible that it would be the most entertaining thing to happen in the playoffs in decades.
- New York Islanders: Because you wouldn’t just be cheering for the Islanders. You would be cheering for humanity.
Before PTSD, I wanted to go to law school. Sometimes I still think about it. But my mental health had other plans. So I
struggled survived my way through university and made it out with a GPA that put law school out of the question, and if my GPA hadn’t torched my chances, my persistent lack of faith in myself would have.
Anyway, while I was surviving university, and searching for ways to escape all the things that go on inside my head, I found some healthy ways to do that and some really unhealthy ways to do it. Like drinking.
I joined one of the campus papers kind of on a whim. I showed up at an open house kind of meeting and, for reasons I will never be able to explain, decided to join the news team.
I think it was the first time someone other than my parents told me I was good at something. The news editors would completely rewrite everything I wrote, every week, and then tell me I was really great at what I was doing. I didn’t get it at first, but I loved it enough to become a Student Journalist. You know the type. I love thinking back and remember how seriously we took ourselves and everything else. I’d give anything to feel like that again.
(Because everything relates to hockey, I got through the cancelled NHL season because by that time I’d become a news editor and basically spent my life in the Tribune office.)
Anyway. I don’t think I ever really thought about doing that for a living at the time, and I quickly realized, once I was in the real world, that I couldn’t do it for a living in the real world.
This week, I saw what I might have become, and the idea makes me a little sick.
There are a lot of journalists and specifically news reporters I have a lot of respect for. That will always be true. And this isn’t about them.
But I am tired of seeing, on Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube—when you post that you were running in the Boston Marathon on Monday but you’re safe, or that someone affected by a tragedy was your friend or your relative, or your video of the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas—a comment from a reporter, identifying his or herself, who he or she works for, and could you speak to them about your experience, or your loved one, or what you saw, for a story? I’m all for doing what it takes to get the story, but it often comes as putting desperation to file a story ahead of sensitivity.
Also, does that ever work?
I am tired of reading stories like “Canadian who witnessed tragedy is back home, says it was terrifying.” There are a lot of Canadians in the world. A whole bunch of us right here, in North America, in fact. I don’t want to seem like a jerk, but who the fuck cares whether or not someone who witnessed a horrific attack was from down the street from me or not? I want to know that the people who were there are safe, and that Boston will be okay, and who did this, and how, and why. Saying someone who was there is a Canadian like me doesn’t make me want click on your stupid story. (I don’t know if your story is actually stupid. I didn’t click on it, because of the title.)
I am tired of seeing shit like what CNN did or what the New York Post did. It used to be that when something happened, you would hear about it and turn on CNN. They’d be on it. If CNN wasn’t working for you, there were other networks. Now everyone wants to be first, or most sensational or most gory. Last night, as the fires burned in Texas, I followed my friend’s tweets. She was reporting what the local news was reporting. I basically trusted someone livetweeting what was happening on her TV over news networks and news websites.
I don’t even fucking know where to go to get my news, because the news sure as hell isn’t bringing me it.
I realize that this is how a lot of it’s done, now. I get the part about social media, and about how everyone feels the need to be first. I get the part about our insatiable need for all of the details as quickly as possible. I get the part about how when you’re trying to make a living as a reporter, you have to do what it takes to keep your job as a reporter.
I don’t know enough about the media industry or its consumers to know if this will become how everyone reports news, or if this will eventually get better. Either way, I could never be a news reporter. Not because I feel like I am above all these things.
Because I’m scared I wouldn’t be.
So I’m down a few pounds.
Also, the other day I decided it might be a good idea to try and make an effort to look nice for a whole month (not starting today, FYI anyone who runs into me).
And then the question hit, as it always does whenever I lose a few pounds or get dolled up to go out.
Doesn’t all of this weight loss and makeup and stuff directly contradict the whole idea of trying to love the way that I look? I wouldn’t say I feel like it’s hypocritical as much as I feel like it may be counter productive.
What do you think?
At the time this post is scheduled to go up, I’ll be out running in my weekly group training session.
We’re doing 16K this week. And when I say “we” I mean the other members of the team who are running the half-marathon in San Diego. I’ll probably end up doing a bit less, because I am the slowest runner, and they make you turn back after you’ve run half the scheduled time.
I think I’m roughly halfway through this crazy idea I had where I decided to run a half-marathon for charity, even though I had never done any kind of fundraising before and am kind of fat.
“I wish it could be more.”
I get this a lot. A lot a lot. When I thank people for donating. When I thank people for getting the word out there. When I thank people for giving me running tips. When I thank people just for asking.
Here’s the thing though. It is more. It is so much more than you know.
This is more fun and more rewarding and more inspiring than I ever thought it could be, but it’s not easy. It’s not easy to train for a half-marathon when your body is only trained for window shopping. It’s not easy to ask people for donations when you’re shy and awkward and quiet (except when drunk).
It’s not easy to drag yourself out of bed on Saturday mornings to go train, when you think about it. It’s really not easy to have a naked Zdeno Chara avatar on Twitter for a week, either, come to think of it.
Anyway, basically what I’m saying is that this shit is hard.
What I’ve learned in the last two months is that people are amazing, and there are more people out there that care about this cause (or me or both) than I had imagined. Total strangers have donated. A Twitter follower I’d never interacted with has donated. Old friends and new friends and internet-only friends and random acquaintances have donated. Someone I not-so-secretly idolize, who has no reason to know who I am, has donated. People I literally hadn’t spoken to in seven years donated. People who have never met me donated through retweeted links and Facebook shares.
And people who can’t donate have helped in so many other ways, like getting the word out, donating their time, their skills, or their stuff to help raise money.
People are amazing.
“I wish it could be more.”
Every cent counts. Every single one. It all adds up. At the end of the day, however long it takes me to run this thing in San Diego, what it’s about is raising money to help fight cancer. Until there’s finally a cure, we all wish it could be more. So every dollar is a huge deal. Every retweet, every share, every running tip, every music suggestion, every “how’s it going,”every single thing that’s going to help me get to the finish line and raise this money is a huge deal. It’s more than you know.
My run right now should be going well, because I carbo-loaded and went to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s probably being fueled by the fact that last night, someone who’s never met me donated through a link my friend shared on Facebook, in case you think for a second you aren’t doing enough to help when you share the link.
But I still have a long way to go in terms of raising money to meet my goal. I just want you all to know that everything you’ve done to help me get this far, and everything you do to help every day, means more to me than you’ll ever know.
A few weeks ago, I did something stupid. Monumentally stupid. I’ll bet it’s not uncommon, though. In a fit of writerly self-loathing, I deleted an entire work of fiction I’d been working on, THE thing I’d been working on, having decided that it was complete and utter shit and that I needed to start from scratch. I don’t know if other aspiring failed novelists do this, or if any successful writers do this, but I’m willing to bet a good many of them have.
Maybe you’ve done this crazy thing, too.
And if you’ve been there, you’ll know the feeling, having completely erased all traces of the work itself (other than perhaps your initial notes when the idea first came to you), of stopping dead in your tracks while you were going about your day, as you come to the realization that you trashed some really good shit. Or the potential for some really good shit, anyway.
And you’ll also know the feeling, as you scramble to remember and recreate what you’d thrown away, of wishing someone had caught you in the act and smacked some sense into you, because again, you probably trashed some really good shit. Or the potential for some really good shit, anyway.
I don’t really know what made me do that, but I have one guess.
You see, I am tired of writing about me.
As you’ve probably already figured out from having spent two seconds with me or reading my blog or Twitter feed or whatever, I am completely and profoundly and thoroughly messed up. And for the past couple of years (and sadly, not longer than that), I’ve been working on becoming unmessed up. And what happens when you try to get unmessed up from how messed up I was is that you first have to get to know yourself, and all your issues, and all the reasons for those issues, as well as you possibly can.
So right now, there is nothing in the world I know better than I know me and my issues. Not the people in my life. Not the people who aren’t in my life. Not my job. Not the things I love, like sports and traveling. Not the things I hate, like inequality and the Boston Bruins.
You write what you know.
And I am tired of writing about how messed up I am. For one thing, it’s incredibly narcissistic, and for another, it’s really boring. I work on my issues all day, every day, and then I sit down to write, and find my issues on the page, just disguised with different words. It’s exhausting.
So, in an effort to know other things and consequently write about other things, I decided to shamelessly borrow an idea from a friend, and made a list of 30 things I would like to do before I hit age 30, in August. Adventures, tasks, experiences, accomplishments, you name it. I’m not sharing the list here just yet, although some friends and my sister have seen it (accountability, yo), because I’m going to write up a blog post for each thing I do. Some of them are frivolous, others are practical, many are just things I have always wanted an excuse to do. The one thing they all have in common is that they are a break from Working On Myself (although some of the things might have a positive effect on that front).
I promise this is still a hockey and life blog, although it’s been light on the hockey lately (all the hockey stuff has been on Eyes On The Prize, so go look!). There will be hockey on here, I promise. And there will be some sports stuff I’m pretty excited about. And there will also be 30 posts, between now and my 30th birthday, in no particular order. Pass, fail, half-accomplish, whatever, I’ll write one for each.
Anyway. This blog is still alive, and I hope you’ll come back and read it and possibly laugh at me.