Monday, July 14, 2014

The Hab It Her Way Summer Reading Project is underway...

...and I probably should have just picked up a copy of Gone Girl or some Bronte instead. But this will be fun, because sarcasm and eye-rolling are two of my favourite hobbies, outside of making hockey puns and watching 30 Rock.

Here's my unfortunate book selection for the inaugural (and maybe only) Hab It Her Way Summer Reading Project:

Yes, really.
Reading this book might be the best way to keep my snarking skills sharp during the offseason. It's my equivalent of flipping big-ass tires or breaking rocks on Travis Moen's farm.

A little background:
I bought this book a few years ago, back when I was still very, very much a rookie. It cost two dollars. (No, it literally cost two dollars. Maybe three.) I bought it because it was cheap, because I had time on my hands, and because I thought it might help answer some burning questions like "Why are there rules in hockey that I still don't understand?", "What do all the positions in football mean?" and "Why on earth do people watch car racing for fun?" I read a few pages and gave up. It was not a book for smart girls. I kept the book, though, mostly as a handy tool to squish spiders. And now I'm going to try giving it another read.

Ironically, summer is traditionally my busiest season at work, and with Just for Laughs upon us, I might not get to write weekly posts as I'd like to. But I will try my hardest, because it'll be worth it.

The author has the best of intentions, but unfortunately, she seems all too ready to accept a gender binary and act like all women be shoppin'. Some women be shoppin' for a new Habs shirt after some unfortunate free agent moves, okay? Without even getting to the foreword, I can tell you that the author doesn't seem to know many women who watch sports, or many men who don't. She's written an entire book, but hasn't used those pages to go beyond the absolute basic stereotypes that my dad's generation believes to be true. I'm not sure how many women have read this book and turned from pink princesses into beer-drinking, stat-spewing die-hard fans, but my guess is that she might have missed her mark. (The book does not discuss archery.)

Anyway, it was written as a "helpful guide." Over the next few weeks, I'll find out just how helpful it is.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Top 5: Things Hockey Should Borrow From Soccer

I may not watch much soccer outside of international tournaments and the occasional Impact game, but it can be a great spectator sport. It has global appeal and a great culture, so it brings people together just the way that sports would in a perfect world. Unless, of course you're one of those people who believes that you can't cheer for any country other the one you live in. I skipped the World Cup opening ceremonies (why is it that Pitbull is so unappealing as a recording artist, and so adorable as a breed of puppy?) but I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the tournament.
Oh and by the way, yes, I call it "soccer" and not "football" or "futbol." Sorry, I guess.

Top 5 Things Hockey Should Borrow From Soccer

Ultras. Hockey has passionate fans. I know. There are the people who've had season tickets for decades, the people who go to the World Juniors and paint their faces, and the people who throw stuff on the ice when officials make terrible calls. But most hockey markets don't have the same kind of loud, insane fans who have an arsenal of pre-rehearsed chants and who turn fandom into its own sport. I mean, okay, some cities have those jerks who'll vandalize stuff or riot, so hockey has THAT in common with soccer, but you'll rarely hear the steady background vocals of a hockey crowd like you will at a professional soccer game.

Commentators who yell a lot. I mean, some of that yelling comes from obvious homerism, but the rest just comes from from passionate commentators who still appreciate the game and don't spend all their time trying to sound like the voice of authority. (Let's be honest: the occasional hockey broadcaster just sounds like they're asleep at the wheel.) Goals are exciting! I wish more commentators would acknowledge that.

One-named athletes. Why do soccer fans get to have all the fun, cheering for guys named Felipe or Chicharito? These guys are like the Beyonces of the sports world, and hockey fans are stuck cheering for dudes with names like "Mike Richards" and "Sidney Crosby." Why does the NHL get all of the Debbie Gibsons and none of the Beyonces?
(Note: Yes, I am aware that hockey has some cool-ass names, like "Ryan Malone" and "Zemgus Girgensons", but they're still your regular old first name-last name combos, like any regular human has. They lack the magic, the punch, of a one-name wonder.)

Jersey swaps. The handshake line is good, it's great, okay? Don't hate me, hockey purists. Jersey swaps are great, though, because the players need to take a little more time to interact. Seriously, why doesn't hockey do this from time to time? ...other than "Because the hockey card companies want to buy up all those jerseys and chop them up."

A Champions League. The Olympics and other international tournaments are great in that fans get to see dream teams - players from the same country hand-picked from pro teams across the league. How cool would it be to see the teams we know playing against the best teams from across the world? It would make the Spengler Cup look like... um... the Spengler Cup.

Happy World Cup month, everyone!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Worst Thing About a Playoff Round Against the Bruins

I couldn't be happier that the Habs beat the Bruins and are on their way to the conference final. (Okay, I could be, because I'm still in disbelief. When it sinks in, I'll be even happier.) There was so much in this series that I loved.

And lots of stuff that I didn't.

Some of it was the standard stuff you see every time the playoffs heat up, or anytime the Habs face the Bruins: players getting a little too angry at each other, fans engaging in inappopriate/racist/sexist/homophobic language, and hockey sticks hitting delicate areas. But the worst thing, by far, was having to face this reality:

I've been in denial about Jarome Iginla ever since he signed with the Bruins. You know how people say they remember where they were when they found out Kennedy was shot, stuff like that? I remember exactly where I was on July 5th, 2013, when I found out Jarome Iginla signed with the Bruins. I was at the Bell Centre, which is supposed to be my happy place. And I've been trying to forget that moment ever since. Okay, actually, I've been denial about all this ever since he left Calgary:

I made it through the entire regular season just by exercising the kind of denial that is probably rarely seen among healthy adults. I would pretend I didn't see him in that black-and-yellow jersey, that it was another #12. I couldn't get away with those denial tactics through seven playoff games. And that is how I found out that Jarome Iginla isn't the same player I used to love with all my heart.

The Jarome Iginla I saw during the playoffs wasn't just an amped-up version of the strong, all-around player that everyone knows he is. He was a Bruin, through and through. He put that jersey on, played with that team, and he turned, like a gremlin someone fed after midnight. He was aggressive, and not in a good way. He was angry. I no longer had any interest in seeing him make a run for a much-deserved Stanley Cup. I just wanted to see him go back to his old self. He wasn't the same guy whose T-shirt I wore, whose hockey card I bought. And it sucked to have to face that.

There are lots of reasons why I don't like the Bruins, but right now, ruining Jarome Iginla is the only one that matters.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Put A Spell On You

I checked my Facebook during one of the many intermissions in Game 1 of the second round. (It was either that, or bite my nails down to unrecognizable nubs.) One of the beer companies held a contest where people could win a beer glass shaped like a hockey skate if they guessed who scored the game-winning goal. Or something like that. Honestly, I just wanted to win a glass shaped like a hockey skate, so it didn't really matter what the contest was.

Anyway, for whatever reason, lots of people couldn't spell players' names properly. So I put them on some jerseys.

There were the accidental typos:

I feel your pain, person. The B and the N are right next to each other. 
SubAnn? Is that like DicAnn? Like RaggedyAnn?

The "this is what it sounds like when my uncle in Trois-Rivieres says it":

The Don Cherry specials:

The... To be honest, I don't even know what these are:
The one jerk who picked a Bruin AND misspelled his name:
And, the joke that would probably have killed 10 years ago, if it weren't (surprise!) misspelled:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Things that might happen during the Habs-Bruins series and how to deal with them

I'm trying to be better at planning for the future, so I've been preparing for some possibilities in this playoff series.

Might happen: One fanbase makes T-shirts or memes that are more heinously offensive than fun and competitive.
How to deal with it: Change the subject, argue about who has better beer or street food or something.

Might happen: On-ice hits that turn into tussles that turn into brawls that turn into at least one player being done for the season.

Might happen: Bruins fans make fun of Habs fans who don't speak English.
How to deal with it: Remind them that not all Bostonians are that great at English, either. We've watched Wahlburgers, okay?

Might happen: The Bruins win a game.
How to deal with it: Three glasses of wine, a Nutella sandwich, and go right to bed. Wake up and have another Nutella sandwich (wine optional.)

Might happen: Milan Lucic spears someone in the balls.
How to deal with it: Send him to the penalty box.

Might happen: Bruins fans complain that refs are biased toward the Habs because Milan Lucic got a penalty for spearing someone in the balls, and he didn't get in lots of trouble last time, because the NHL rulebook doesn't say anything about making ball kabobs.
How to deal with it: ...Point out that making ball kabobs is not very nice.

Godspeed, Habs, and may your delicate parts remain intact.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wishin' and hopin': 2014 playoffs

Yes, I'm writing a postseason kickoff about three days too late. No, I didn't forget that I run this blog. My predictions post was just no good at all, so I let go of it, like an Oilers fan lets go of hope that their team will ever make the playoffs.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: I hope the Habs win and make it a short series, as I have a previous engagement on what would be the night of Game 6, and I want my friends to be able to make it without missing an important game. (They get a free pass in the event that there is a Game 6.) I also hope that bandwagon Habs fans will read the playoff posters and towels and remember that they have to say "Go Habs Go" and not just "Go Habs." The second "Go" is important.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: I want this series to last long enough to help cement the Jackets' reputation as "NHL team nobody hates." I also wish that this series would have minimal closeups on Sidney Crosby's face.

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers: This series is 99% "go meteor." The other 1% is my sincere hope that Wayne Simmonds does something great, just to spite the obnoxious Rangers fans that sat behind me at the season closer.

Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings: I just wish the Bruins' playoff run lasts the exact number of games that it would take for Donnie Wahlberg to realize that marrying Jenny McCarthy would be completely insane. I don't know how many games it will take. Hopefully four.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild: I want the Wild to beat the Avs so hard. I also wish Colorado's goalie and coach would be at least a little bit less repulsive.

St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks: I hope this series lasts long enough to make everyone everywhere realize that Jonathan Toews is like really great and stuff. (Apparently some people are not yet aware.)

Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars: I hope that no hockey bros will look at both teams' logos and make a stupid "she wants the D" joke. But I also wish that Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu could play forever and ever amen.

San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings: I hope a team from California wins this series.

Overall, I hope to be able to share these playoffs with any readers I have left, and not drop the ball on it, like I did just now by making a non-hockey sports analogy.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saying goodbye to How I Met Your Mother (sort of)

This was supposed to be a much more special post. Like a Top 5 with fun pictures, a quick brag about the time I met Ranjit, or a really long and sad eulogy for How I Met Your Mother, as I am wont to write every time a beloved long-running show ends.

But I just don't have it in me right now. I love writing more than anything, and I still love watching TV, but it's been a long few weeks at work and I've been pretty busy. But if there's anything I've learned from nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother, it's that growing up sucks, but we all have to do it in some way or another. We all at some point end up working with a Sandy Rivers or a Hammond Druthers, or we have to clean up a mess we made, or we have to admit that we're too old for this... stuff. It happens. But it's not always so terrible (unlike a few episodes from season 6 and 7.)

So, thanks, HIMYM, or as I've called you for the last nine seasons, "Ted." It's been a good run. Maybe someday when I have enough time, I'll sit down and write you something real.