Hello friends, great first day at the Democratic National Convention, right? There sure was a lot of talk about revolutions there, which is why I think it’s a good time to sit down and have an honest chat about the historical record on revolutions, and how they actually work.
The first time I went to a Pittsburgh Penguins game in person it was March 15, 2015, an afternoon game against the Red Wings. It was the second of back-to-back afternoon games, and Evgeni Malkin had been injured the game before against the Bruins. The whole team was injured and trying to battle through it – that game, Patric Hornqvist would crack his ribs but play through them to the end of the season.
I hardly remember the game, honestly. I was in such a haze of overwhelmed excitement that unless I had pictures, I’d think going to it was all some weirdly vivid dream I had. One of the pictures I took was of this guy:
Holy shit, you’ve been matched with someone on a dating app! Or maybe it’s a dating site. Maybe you’re using a site that doesn’t have the now-ubiquitous left or right swiping mechanism, but you found a profile you liked. Maybe you’re really old-fashioned and you just see someone you like at a bar, or coffee shop, or in the park.
But let’s say you’re on Tinder, and you see this ever-familiar screen while Jeopardy music begins to play:
Don’t be like me and let this happen to you, kids!
You could do one of two things. One, you could keep staring at the time go up as you and your match play a fun game of romantic chicken, or two, you could talk to them.
When I got into hockey about five years ago, it was mostly because the game itself was so interesting to me. It’s fast, it requires a ton of skill, it has a lot of “holy crap can you believe that” moments, and everyone hugs after scoring. That’s my kind of sport. But a big reason, I think, that I stayed so invested in hockey was the fact that the hockey community is so intensely invested in initiatives to de-stigmatize mental health issues. As someone who has dealt with a lot of mental health issues (anxiety, depression, ADD), has been in therapy on and off (but mostly on) for over twenty years, and has been on psychiatric medication for about 17 and a half of those years, this was an enormous weight off my shoulders. At the time I got into hockey, I was nearing the tail end of my seven year episode of being housebound due to agoraphobia, and it was such a relief to be around people I felt like I didn’t have to lie to. Not that I told everyone around me the intimate details of my mental health, or really any details at all, but the knowledge that I could, that I didn’t have to be closeted if I didn’t want to, was a huge weight off my shoulders.
Every year the hockey community (because the hockey community is largely Canadian) explodes with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, which donates $0.05 to Canadian mental health initiatives every time it is shared on social media and also encourages the frank and open discussion of mental health issues. In the last few years, even though Bell is a Canadian company, it’s become a big thing not just in the hockey community. As of me typing this, #BellLetsTalk is also trending second in the United States. And frankly, not that many people are hockey fans.
Since today is for sharing about mental health, and since I have spent so much of my life being mentally ill and going through every type of therapy and/or medication regime there is, I thought rather than share my story (which is not very interesting – I was sick, then I worked really hard and now I’m better), I’d share the seven iron-clad mental health rules that I have learned and that I wish everyone, mentally ill or not, knew.
The bond between athletes and popular board game Settlers of Catan is not a new one. But until now, we didn’t know that it had spread into hockey.
This Tuesday, the Penguins posted the annual holiday gift baskets that each player creates and then is auctioned off for charity. While most Penguins fans don’t have a cool $500 to drop at minimum, it’s always amusing to browse them and see what each player considers “important”. (Nick Bonino’s basket, for example, is all for dogs. Good man, Nick Bonino.) And Eric Fehr apparently considers Settlers of Catan essential to the “spend a day like Eric Fehr” starter pack.
Which begs the question – what would it be like if the rest of the Penguins players all picked up Settlers of Catan the way the Green Bay Packers did? After much thorough research and investigative journalism, I was able to determine that this is how games between the team would go:
We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!
Love, Nico, Rizzo (and Julia)
Here’s the problem with being a hockey fan in Boston: it’s wicked expensive to see it played live, especially at a professional level. I’m not even a Bruins fan (sorry, guys), and just attempting to see [team name redacted because I want you to like me enough to keep reading this article] maybe once a year was something I very quickly decided was not worth it.
I got into hockey about five years ago, and women’s hockey was something I settled on as a way to see good hockey without NHL prices. Conveniently, Boston also had a team that had all my favorite Olympian players, and by going I supported women instead of Jeremy Jacobs, real-life Scrooge McDuck, so it was a win-win. In terms of gameplay, the only real difference between women’s and men’s hockey is that there’s technically no hitting or fighting in women’s hockey. (Technically.) Checking still happens a lot, and once in a blue moon, there’s even a fight. Personally, though, I’ve never really enjoyed the “physical game” aspect of hockey, I much prefer the speed and skill aspects of it, which women’s hockey has in spades.
Hopefully by now you’re thinking “hey, that does sound like a great time, how do see one of these games?” Good news! Thanks to the NWHL starting this year, it’s now really, really easy. Just follow my handy tips: