So I’ve been sitting here for quite some time trying to figure out what to do with my first post for Gongshow, and this dear Gongers, is what I have come up with; a brief introduction of me, and how I fell in love with Hockey. First and foremost, I am not going to have the puck bunny conversation again, I think that Top Shelf Beauty handled that nicely and I’m on board with her as far as that is concerned. Now that we have that out of the way, lets move forward shall we?
I am not going to sugar coat this at all, pretend I know stuff when I don’t, try to make you believe I am something I’m not, and I will openly admit right now that no, I don’t understand every single rule and nuance of hockey but I can deal with that if you can. Things that I am: a lover of the sport of hockey, a sucker when it comes to ODR nostalgia, a protector of the hockey players I am honored to call friends, a girly girl with a rough side, not simply an NHL addict but an avid follower of multiple leagues throughout North America and then some, impatient when my teams aren’t performing well, gracious when my teams lose (unsportsmanlike conduct is incredibly ugly), open to learning aspects of the game I don’t understand, down to hang out with the beauties that play but I’m hard to wheel (I know the tricks of the trade boys haha), a Top Shelf Beauty, a Minnesotan, a former Hockey cheerleader, and last but certainly not least, I am simply a person who wants to spread the incredible world of hockey to every corner of the earth.
If you read any of my opening paragraph you shouldn’t have to ask how it came to be that I love this sport. If you still aren’t sure I will clarify it one last time for you, I’m from Minnesota and grew up watching the UMD Bulldogs play, and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Clear enough? Good, moving on. So why the love of the ODR? In my little Minnesota town you could practically fall out of anyone’s back door and be standing on a rink. Paying for ice time was a foreign concept to me unless we were going to indoor skate at the old barn for some reason, and I spent countless hours at local ODR’s as a child watching the boys learn the rules of the game. I would love to say I was that obnoxious figure skating girl and at least give myself some credit for my skating chops…but I wasn’t. Did I learn how to skate in my little white figure skates with a Canadian Maple Leaf on the sides of them? Yes. Can I still skate? Yes. Was I interested in figure skating? Only on TV. I made it through a handful of actual figure skating lessons as a five year old before my parents realized they should probably spend more time on my brother’s Hockey training and less time forcing me to twirl. In hindsight I kind of wish they had because learning to skate and cheer as a teenager was a monster since I didn’t have awesome spinning skills! Regardless, while the other little girls twirled on the utility rinks next to the Hockey rinks, I would sit in a snowbank watching and learning the art of being a Hockey spectator. (For the record, I had no desire to play hockey either, just obsessed with watching it.) When I got too whiny and girly I would head into the warming house, where I would learn the other aspect of Hockey…the lifestyle.
I can’t say that the Hockey culture has ever been foreign to me, and I knew what a Gonger was far before I knew the terminology for it. I learned to speak Hockey as I grew up and never flinched at the language or the brutal nature of how players would speak to one another on those dark Minnesota winter nights. It wouldn’t be until years later as a teenager that I would learn deeper aspects of teams and how they worked on levels unseen to the general public, and even years beyond that to be exposed to the inner workings of semi-pro and pro hockey team relationships, but I always knew they were different and that intrigued me. Their world is one I have a lot of respect for and will always happily wait my turn to see my Hockey playing friends, I understand that “the boys” always come first…that and I don’t want to pay their fines haha!
An observer by nature I find an eery sense of calm when watching hockey in any medium. I am generally pretty quiet while watching games, taking in every movement I can, allowing myself to get lost in the game in front of me. I love watching practices, not because of who may or may not be on the ice, but because I love to observe how individual players skate…I swear sometimes I will recognize a skater by his stride far before I will recognize him by his face. The other thing I cannot get enough of is the sound of blades on ice and if I were to ever go blind, I would still love the sport of Hockey based simply on the way it sounds…music to my ears.
So Gongers, that’s me in a nutshell so you understand where I’m coming from. I promise to always be honest and fair in the blogs I write for you, and to never ever say something without taking it under serious consideration first. I feel like this initial blog would be incomplete if I didn’t include a quick thank you to the men who have not only helped me learn the game and lifestyle I so dearly love, but to the men who have brought me into their world, those who have tried to wheel me and taught me the rules of engagement so to speak, those who have simply been amazing friends, those who have come and gone, those who love this sport more than the oxygen they breathe, and the other Top Shelf Beauties who have been there along the way to help me navigate a world not many girls maintain a lasting presence in unless they marry a player. To all of those mentioned above, and to all of those who will continue to fuel my passionate love affair with this incredible game and the lifestyle that makes it so unique, thank you for the front row seat to the Gongshow.