Why I’m a Colorado Avalanche fan

SB Nation recently rebranded all of their sites. They ran a series of pieces in which their writers explained how and why they became hockey fans to commemorate it. Although I’m not an SB Nation member, I figured I’d do my own anyway. –JSG


What is it we love most about hockey? In my case, the answer changes generationally. To me, it’s the sport I grew up watching with my dad, learning names like Selanne, Carbonneau, Sakic and Olczyk. (Yes, even Eddie Olczyk. I thought his name was pronounced “Oz-lick” at first, which made me laugh.) To me, it’s a whole host of memories — most of them faint — of Tom Mees and Gary Thorne, of mullets and Molson commercials, of turning on our Sega Genesis and pitting the Whalers against “Long Island.” It was also, of course, having my dad to share it all with.

I know it’s at least some of those things to my dad too, but it’s also the sport HIS dad, my grandpa, passed along a passion for. To my grandpa, hockey is also a whole host of memories — made faint by five decades of passing time — but his memories are different. His are memories of love. Not for a team or a player, but for my grandma, Evelyn.

See, after my grandparents were married, a lot of their dates were trips to Portland Buckaroos games. He was a World War II vet and a self-employed carpenter; she was a transplant from South Dakota working retail to build a life in Portland. They met after he returned from the war and, they both still insist, it was love at first sight. Isn’t it always?

Hockey was part of their common ground and their social life. League affiliations were tricky back then, but the Buckaroos were part of the post-WWII Western Hockey League. (And one of Portland’s only options for live sports.) They were sort of the precursor to the modern Portland Winterhawks, even though the Winterhawks are really just the relocated 1976 Edmonton Oil Kings. Still, my grandparents spent plenty of nights at Memorial Coliseum, where a $2.50 ticket let them watch guys like Don Head, Connie Madigan and Doug Messier take the ice. I have no idea if we’re a hockey family because of that or in spite of it, mind you. God knows I’ve been on dozens of dates where I was only focused on the girl I was with, not the activity. Besides, I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Ours isn’t to question love, it’s to observe and appreciate.

I got to observe and appreciate that love earlier tonight. I watched as my grandma held my grandpa’s hand as he drifted in and out of consciousness, all while his doctor outlined the options for hospice care. Hospice, for those who aren’t familiar (as I wasn’t before today), essentially means a patient has no more than six months to live. It’s not a treatment plan because, well, there’s nothing to treat. The body and mind don’t last forever, and no amount of medical care can stop the inevitable. The nurse paraphrased it as “doing things for him rather than doing things to him.”

Love finds funny ways of showing up in these instances. My grandma, being told that her husband of nearly 70 years might not last another 70 days, asked only that we make sure he’s comfortable and that he knows how much he’s loved. And then she said something that stuck with me: “I want him to live, not just exist. Neither of us want to get to the point of just existing.”

I’m a pretty composed, even-keeled person, but that got to me. In literal terms she was talking about my grandpa’s mortality, but it’s hard not to think she was talking about her own as well. Truth be told, I’m sure they’ve both been facing it for a while — they’re each in their 90s and haven’t been truly independent in a long, long time. But now the end is really in sight, and all she could think about in that moment was him. In one of their very worst moments, the full depth of their love was on display.

Hockey has been, and always will be, a significant part of my life. I picked the Avalanche as my favorite team in fifth grade because my grandpa always spoke so highly of Joe Sakic, and the year the team relocated from Quebec I boldly (and baselessly) declared they’d win the Stanley Cup. My prediction spurred my interest in the team, and watching guys like Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote drew me in further. Watching my Stanley Cup prediction come true that year sealed the deal. I was ecstatic for myself and for my new favorite team. Naturally, my grandpa was happiest for Adam Deadmarsh, former Portland Winterhawk.

In a way, I owe my entire hockey fandom to my grandfather. In a way, I don’t owe him any of it. He went to Buckaroos games as dates; I didn’t see a live game until I was in my mid-20s. Hockey games were his social events, my after-school TV viewing. I don’t know that he even has a favorite NHL team. He still watches every game he can, but more with appreciation than anything else.

And hey, who can blame him? Hockey helped bring my grandparents together. It’s been almost 70 years since they married, and it’s no exaggeration to call that a “lifetime” — it’s about as literal as it gets in this context. Sports are often characterized as tribalistic, and there’s truth to that, but being part of a tribe isn’t just about the other tribes. It’s mostly about the bonds you form within your own. It’s about the love you share and the things that bring you closer together.

Hockey is the common thread tying our last three generations together. It’s the last minute of the third period of my grandpa’s life, and we’re all going to miss him terribly. But as with any loss, the hope is to take something from it. Hockey will go on without him, and so will our own lives. I’ll still be watching games whenever I can. And somewhere, so will he.

Why I’m a Colorado Avalanche fan

Hey, someone wrote a Bill Belichick post about Chip Kelly!

Image Via BleacherReport

No, for real, check it out. It’s right here in the ESPN archives and it was written…huh, seven years ago? Oddly good job forecasting, ESPN! And don’t worry about all those typos — I’ll touch them all up for you:

To understand [Kelly], look what he did with [Eagles]

Continue reading “Hey, someone wrote a Bill Belichick post about Chip Kelly!”

Hey, someone wrote a Bill Belichick post about Chip Kelly!

Oh Hey, I Didn’t See You Guys There

Pretty funky stuff, if you ask me.
Pretty funky stuff, if you ask me.

So we ARE alive — even though it’s been months since I’ve posted here, I think about this blog and you wonderful readers every day. Okay … a couple times a week. Well, every so often.

I think about you all every so often. Isn’t that enough for you?? What do you want from me?!?!

Ahem. Sorry. I’m getting back into the swing of things.

Anyway, in case you’re curious I’ve been publishing fun baseball stuff over at a baseball site. It was really just a matter of time, seeing as how like 99% of these posts are about sports anyway (and the other 1% are spent arbitrarily ranking things that are unrankable). It’s over at a place called the Triple Play Tribune, and I’m currently covering the Oakland A’s, a team full of androids invented by Taiwanese electronics manufacturers for the sole purpose of ruining baseball. I also publish some other random features, like one where I ranked the best Japanese baseball logos. It’s a lot of fun! I mean, I can’t swear there, which is fucking fucked (have to get it all in while I can!), but it’s still pretty awesome. Plus the site is SLIGHTLY prettier than this one in terms of the layout and features. I know, I know — hard to believe, but true.

Lastly, there’s a funny update based on an old post you might remember. It turns out if you Google “pretentious Portland,” my article is the FIRST result. Yeah — crazy. What’s even crazier is that it shows up ahead of a blog that’s LITERALLY NAMED “PRETENTIOUS PORTLAND.” So yeah, safe to say I’m pretty much crushing it on that writing game. You’re welcome?

(Pic unrelated.)

Oh Hey, I Didn’t See You Guys There

The Term “Dream Job” Gets Thrown around a Lot These Days

But if I had one, I like to think it’d be writing things like this fake commercial from the incomparable Parks and Recreation:

This is just all-around magnificent in every single way. Really, all of the fake commercials in last week’s episode were (I love the idea of an Indian casino having a mascot named “Coinsy the Wolf” — just amazing). I know writing things like this isn’t a job — being a comedy writer obviously is, but fake commercials isn’t a job in and of itself. But man…how amazing would that be? I think I speak for all of the GG writers AND audience when I say: What are you rambling about, you crazy person? Was this just a flimsy excuse to post this video from Parks and Rec?

…………………….maybe.

The Term “Dream Job” Gets Thrown around a Lot These Days

Come on NHL, Have You Learned *Anything* at All?

The Stadium Series game at Levi’s Stadium is tonight! Sharks! Kings! Bright lights! White pants! Excitement all around!

Much like last year’s Ducks-Kings affair at iconic Dodger Stadium, the NHL has set up a high-quality sheet of ice on a relatively warm night in California — this is, of course, amazing that they’re able to do this so consistently at this point, even/especially in warm weather markets.

So let’s celebrate! It’s a California-based event, and last year LA had KISS on hand, which led to one of my favorite pictures ever:

I seriously almost put this in a frame and hung it on my wall at work
I seriously almost put this in a frame and hung it on my wall at work

 

So the floor is yours, NHL: it’s an otherwise unremarkable night in the sports world, so let’s really kick things up and impress people with a cool music show! Who’d you get this year? Someone hip and cool, right? Someone that screams California energy, no doubt. Someone like…

Wait…what? No, hold on.

Hold on.

This can’t be right. This just…this just can’t be right?

You got…Melissa Etheridge and John Fogerty? To play music? At the game??

I just…I just don’t know what to do with you anymore, NHL. And the game, as I type this, is being kicked off with music from some American Idol contestant named Chris Kris Allen? At least he’s got the windswept hair and leather jacket I might have expected from someone cool, and it looks like he’s got an orchestra behind him. This is actually extremely cool work, NHL. It’s almost enough to make me look silly for writing a thing lambasting your marketing/pr departments, until you go back and consider that MELISSA ETHERIDGE AND JOHN FOGERTY ARE GONNA PLAY LATER.

Melissa Etheridge is 53 years old. John Fogerty is 69 — he was borh the year WWII ended, for fuck’s sake. Kris Allen is 29, which I think makes him the youngest performer at any NHL event ever by roughly 60 years. I mean, I know this isn’t the Super Bowl and you’re never gonna get a Katy Perry-level spectacle, but come on. Were Imagine Dragons busy? I bet Metric would do it, seeing as how they did that Heritage Classic a few years back. I’m just saying there are options, guys.

Hell, just get everything from Katy Perry’s show except for Katy Perry herself. (Was this just a flimsy excuse to post my favorite GIF ever? You decide!)

I guess what I’m saying is: go Sharks?

Come on NHL, Have You Learned *Anything* at All?

glitchgoals Gatekeeping: Great Moments in Spam IV

This one comes from a friend of the blog! Well, a friend of me. She is no doubt 100% unaware of this blog and, in the event she is, has wisely never brought it up to me, because a series of awkward pauses and sighs and eye rolls isn’t much of a conversation. Anyway:

“Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to
be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of.

I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they plainly don’t know about.
You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects
, people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more.”

All formatting preserved from the individual post, mind you — I think it adds that little something extra, you know? Not that the content itself is lacking — I love this thing like my child. Actually: more so, since I don’t have any kids because kids are lame. Fuckin’ kids, am I right? You aren’t the future. I’M the future. Bitches.

Anyway, there’s a lot to unpack here. I mean, who doesn’t get irked while people think about worries that they plainly don’t know about? And who hasn’t ever hit the nail on the head top? And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how nice it is to have a whole topic defined without…side…effects. I can take a signal, you know!

I think my favorite part has to be how it’s just glowing comment after glowing comment and the whole thing ends with a “will likely be back to get more.” Just the idea that there’s any uncertainty after all of that makes my brain smile.

Ahh…this is by far the lamest and lowest-effort recurring bit I do here but it’s easily my favorite. Never, ever change, comment spam. Or as I always say: “Unquestionably believe that which you stated!”

(Image Via)

glitchgoals Gatekeeping: Great Moments in Spam IV