Monday, February 22, 2010

USA, Canada, and more reasons we love hockey.

We're proud of the USA hockey team.
That's that.
We're not going to rub it in, make a post full of "take that!" or generally act like we have some sort of agenda to throw down against Canadians as Americans the way we feel the need to throw down against Caps fans as Penguins fans.
Generally that's why we don't feel the need to recap such games; we're rooting for USA because the day you can't root for your own country's sports team is the day you are as bad as those who don't choose their own NHL team for the Cup win. Even if you're a Lightning fan, you should be screaming about how this year - along with every other year - is your year for the Cup.
Whatever your country, you should have your eye on the gold.
It's called pride and we have it.

America doesn't have the star power that the Canadian team does, so every victory is in some way like a Blue Jackets victory, and we're down with that. Ryan Miller was out of his mind. The team did some great things and the game was just a beautiful display of athletics. It was a good game, Canada. We shake you warmly by the hand and wish you all the luck in your games, unless they come between us and the gold.

Now, we'd like to touch on a little on an important topic to us.
Haaay there sexy, we miss you.
We'll agree with any other Sid fan in saying this: Sidney Crosby fuckin' deserves gold. He just does.
Does he deserve it this year? Sure, whatevs. Will he deserve it more next time the winter Olympics roll around? Yes.
We can't root for him. It's just against the things we believe in. But we will be endlessly happy if he gets it, any time. We're just saying, we'd rather him get it in 4 years when he's the captain of Team Canada.
Write it down.

Olympic hockey shows the world in a broader, slightly less personal way, some of the major reasons we are in love with hockey.

Your team is your team for a reason, be it where you live, the people you grew up with, the people you choose to associate yourself with, what have you. There is a sense of pride that connects you to your team, and you are trusting them to do right by that pride.
In the NHL season, we stand by our home town, something that we feel represents us as people. Zoe and I have talked about this a number of times and have made multiple posts to the effect; Pittsburgh is more than a place to us, it is an idea. The hard work, the friendliness, the slow pace of life, and the things and people that we love the most are all what we see in Pittsburgh. So when we put that pride into the Penguins, we are putting a part of ourselves into it. They fight for us and we have unwaivering faith.

In the Olympics, we stand by our country. We have both lived here the majority of our lives, and while sure, we have attachments to other places and know that the USA isn't perfect by any means, it is the place that we consider home. And Curry knows we love our home. So our faith is with the USA hockey team, and we will stand behind them, unquestioningly. Even if that does mean rooting against some people we really like and some places we're quite fond of. Home is home.
As Herb Brooks said, you're looking for players whose name on the front of the sweater is more important than the one on the back.
And of course, the long time favorite that we always blushingly think of as a hockey quote despite it being about war or some shit, GK Chesterton once said "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
We don't hate you, Canada.
We just love home.

Another reason we love hockey is that in the Olympics - as in the NHL, as in the minor leagues, as in most all sports - there is a winner and a loser.
Life is ambiguity. In all situations, even if we want a winner and a loser, it is more complicated that that. There are grey areas and mixed emotions and different perspectives. Sometimes you think you've won only to find out that you are losing, and terribly. People let you down, things fall apart, and even when everything is wonderful, there's never a total feeling of security.
In sports, we have that.
When you win the Cup, when you win the gold, no one can ever take that away from you. You will always be remembered for having that win in that year, for being those heroes.
In life, things can be taken away from you arbitrarily and with no real warning. Love and success and sex and money, they can all just vanish. But no one can ever take that victory away from you.
Life is so much simpler with heroes and villains, winners and losers. Rules, guidelines, limited, solid time frames, all of it makes us love the idea of sports, particularly hockey. While the wild unpredictability of hockey in spite of the rules makes it the most beautiful sport, at the end of the day, there is a winner. It will never let us down (even if the NHL does.)

Through good times and bad, no matter what is happening in our lives or in the world, we have hockey. It's one of the few things that keeps us sane. If everything crumbles and we are dying alive in the fashion of JJ, we can still have faith that somewhere nearby, sometime soon, we can catch a hockey game.

And that makes everything better.

Go Penguins.

P.S.- If you want your brain to melt, check it out. We don't know how to process that.


Katie said...

i've been a long time stalker, but this whole entry was so wonderful, i couldn't help but comment. this was WONDERFUL. and made me feel pretty horrid about throwing my support behind team canada, haha.

i miss everyone. can we stop this country thing and just get our boys back together?

MouthGuard said...

Aw man now I'm all verklempt and weepy and shit. Fuck!

Good lord - that photo. Speaks volumes! It's almost like seeing a tiger eating her young in slo-mo. Or if Orpik and Chachi were part of the Donner Party, stranded in the snowy Sierras for months with nothing but bark and lichen for sustenance, and at dinnertime Orpik goes feral and simply can't handle his hunger pains any longer and he can't hardly stand it and he hacks off one of Chachi's succulent beefy orb asscheeks and roasts it over an open fire. And then Chachi chokes him for free candy. It's wrong, but it's also hockey. :)

@Katie: "Can we stop this country thing and just get our boys back together?" Halle-fucking-lujah!

captain badger said...

You guys are pros at articulating pretty much exactly the way I feel about things like this. And making me miss Pittsburgh at the same time. <3

EHisCDN said...

Saw that group and it made me think of this blog, enjoy!

Bradford said...

@megs. Check out this link about Jagr. The article is only a few days old. For all those interested in JJ coming back to the pens for this cup run you may wanna read it too. I for one think it would be great for the team and the city. Also i want to create a new show called Life with the Lemieuxs. If Jagr comes back and moves in with mario that would make an awesome awesome reality show. Mario JJ and sid all under one roof? lol Tell me you wouldn't watch that show!

Katie said...


and can i just keep piling on the love for this entry? especially the pittsburgh part? which is EXACTLY WHY i am so through with nyc and want to move to pittsburgh asap but everyone thinks i'm weird for wanting to leave nyc?

basically, girls, you are amazing. i've been recommending your site to friends of mine left and right. i just wanted to say all that and now it's out of my system. phew.

Katie said...

and by girls, i mean, zoe, kim, and intern ann. (can't believe i forgot that cardinal rule.)

ANovak017 said...

It took a friend of mine to remind me of the chant post world junior game to seal my allegiance to the U.S.
Reading this has brought the guilt trip of a lifetime on for almost not supporting our boys.
Thank you.

P.S. Can we please just relish in the fact that the US Women play for the gold on Thursday..There's a Robert Morris alum on the case you weren't aware.

Terri said...

Great post. I had a rough day yesterday and this post gave me some inspiration in an odd way.. Good job!

Ashferddd said...

I'm sooooooo glad I feel the same way you bitches do. I love Sid as much as any other Pens fan, but I can't root for him when he's not wearing a Penguin or USA logo on his chest. Yes, he deserves gold, but I'm the ultimate patriotic homer right now. Bobby Ryan and JMFJ (aka the number two and three picks in the Sidney draft) MAKE ME PROUD. Unless Sid suddenly becomes an American citizen, I can't root for him during the Olympics. I just can't. Freedom Candy for all.

And Ashley (Novak, that is), keep preaching about the women's team. Those ladies need some love. USA! USA!

CrackerLilo said...

When it comes to my NHL team, I simply went with what I liked. If I'd gone hometown, I'd be a Lightning fan, and if I'd gone with my adopted town, I'd be a Rangers fan. That's no way to live! However, because of my Central Florida roots, I consider the Daytona International Speedway sacred ground and always want to know how the Orlando Magic's doing even though I hate basketball.

I consider the idea of supporting any team besides USA during the Olympics unthinkable because, you know, that's my country! My Beloved's parents dragged her over here from Siberia (yes, really) when she was 14, and while she's a citizen and loves this country, she became a Red Wings fan because of the Russian Five and considers support for anything besides Russia in the Olympics unthinkable. I'm okay with that, too. I think it's perfectly understandable that people will put their roots first, whatever and wherever those roots are. Thank you for expressing it so well--it's not about hate, or wanting to stomp on some other country. It's about pride and respect for your roots.

All that said, the picture of Orpik and Crosby as opponents did hurt a little bit. Oh, they can't get back into the same sweaters soon enough! If there was a way for Crosby to get that gold without Canada (and Pronger, Richards, and Brodeur) also getting it, I'd support it.

I wonder if GK Chesterton was a hockey fan. ;-)

@ MouthGuard: You do have a way with imagery.

@ Bradford: That would be, like, a thousand times better than the Real Housewives or Jersey Shore or those shows about freakishly huge families. A reality show about interesting people--what a concept!

@ ANovak017: Hell yes, we can relish the USA Womens' team playing for the gold on Thursday!!!! They've been awesome!!!! I'd love to see more professional opportunities for female players, but it's nice that we don't have any ambiguity whatsoever when it comes to that team.

Anna. said...

This made me feel like a horrible person for cheering for Team Canada. Call me anti-American, not patriotic, or whatever the hell you wanna call me... but I have found myself cheering for Team Canada (I suck, I know). I have nothing, I repeat, NOTHING against Team USA. I happen to have a lot of respect for them and I would be very proud if they did win gold. Maybe I am a horrible person. Maybe it is wrong that I have always dreamed of living in Canada. I really don't know.

I may be the only person who feels like way, but I think it would be awesome if the Olympics would go back to being non-NHL players. I love everything about Team USA in 1980.

I really miss Pens hockey.

MouthGuard said...

@Anna: I couldn't agree with you more, beeotch. A huge part of what made the USA victory in 1980 so special was that it was a bunch of scrappy, fugly, AMATEUR little nobodys who came out of nowhere to kick the shit out of the Red Menace. Of course, on the not-so-downlow, the Red Menace were really subsidized pros (and not really amateurs at all). It was and still is a fantastic story for the ages. MouthWash, my nemesis, is so offended to the core by how things are now, he WON'T EVEN WATCH OLYMPIC HOCKEY because he thinks it's a big fat corporate joke and it's not at all funny when pro teams like Canada, Russia and the States kick Barbados' ass 43-0. Poor Team Barbados, MON. They never stood a chance because there is no official Weed Eating event in the Olympics. Yet. ;) The patriotism gets annoying and the allegiance thing gets complicated in the Olympics. It started out all about athletics - celebrating athletics and cultural differences instead of being "in yo' face" about which country's better and trying to attract/intensify corporate attention and rah rah rah wooooo. Sigh. I have always enjoyed special tournaments like the Canada Cup, wherein countries can mix it up with pros and amateurs and it can be more of an egofest, if need be and corporate sponsors can do their thing overtly instead of on the not-so-downlow. Whatev.

I'm with Cracker. Cheering is complicated when you have lived in different places and have affection for a lot of different people and cultures. I'm 8 different nationalities, I'm a split personality, I have perfect pitch and I have a strawberry mark in a very embarrassing spot. So what to do? Root for mostly everybody most of the time? I just want to see stellar, well-played hockey worthy of a gathering that was supposed to be about celebrating friendly competition amongst the best of the best (initially on an amateur level) and I want to see people having some fun. When the pressure to win at all costs cancels out the fun, things start to suck.

CrackerLilo said...

@ Anna: I wouldn't mind it being all amateur again. It's not just hockey, either--look at the very good livings that athletes like Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn can make as "amateurs".

@ MouthGuard: I'm kinda glad I could unreservedly cheer for Canada tonight, and not just because of Crosby. I'm beginning to like Eric Staal and his beat-up face, not to mention Shea Weber and his shot. (Could anyone else think of a few people or things they'd like to ask Weber to shoot a puck at? ;-) And now tomorrow I'll be cheering against them and for Russia, as well as for Team USA. Think Geno and Gonch thoughts, think Geno and Gonch thoughts...

But the most conflicted person I know would be Beloved's cousin, who moved from Russia to Canada when he was a kid, then recently left Canada for America and, um, my redneck girl cousin! He's just cheering for no injuries at this point. It's a much smaller world now than when the Olympics first started.

All that said, I think everyone here can agree that Brodeur looked especially slappable on the bench tonight and that the German goalie's shark mask was sick, right?

JadoreFleury2925 said...

I'm a stalker-non-poster, but...this was amazing. I swear you channel what I'm thinking. Thank you guys so much. :)

How about a USA gold and Canada silver? :)

Need Ice In Phoenix said...

I work for a company of just over 300 employees. About 290 are in the US and the remaining few work for our subsidiary in Kelowna, BC (Go Rockets!).

Not a single person here in the US office has mentioned the Olympic Hockey that is going on. However, I have a non-stop stream of emails going back and forth with my Canadian co-workers.

Here in my office it is just another olympic event. In Canada it is CELEBRATED 24/7! This is why I cheer for Canada to win this tournament. While I completely respect those who stand by their national loyalties, I feel no guilt when I cheer for Canada's hockey team.

But I really can't wait for our boys to come back together in the good ole Penguin sweaters so that Orps will stop looking at Sid like he's a fava bean.

Boxers Under Pants said...

omg. this post is fantastic. you have such a talent for putting into words everything i'm feeling about the sport but cannot articulate. XD

also, i almost died when i saw that picture.

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