Once upon a time, I met a girl who didn’t understand a lick about football.
Or basketball. Or golf. Or fantasy football. Or beer. Or funny movies.
Off-the-bat, we had nothing in common other than the fact that I love hot chicks and she was–definitely still is–a chick who is hot.
Though she failed my Diner-themed Baltimore sports assessment, I married her anyway. It was our shining moment of compromise, due to the fact that I was apparently being held to some sort of standard as well–I failed her health requirements of long walks after dinner and proposed reduction of my caloric intake.
As the story goes, she’s taught me a little about eating vegetables and hot yoga; I’ve taught her what a Mike-Backer is. She’s helped me understand “normal people portions” of wings and ice cream; I’ve helped her understand why and when Buck Showalter tinkles the game away by over-managing.
Recently, though, we’ve run into a conundrum of sorts. She’s curious about hockey–and due to her childhood, she even has an idea of how the game is played. Naturally, being a sports guy and now a writer for WNST, she took it for granted that I knew something about hockey.
It’s like one of those deep dark secrets that now, in the first year of marriage, is finally coming out. The other night, when the Kings took game one, she asked me who their best player was, and my answer propelled the fertilizer to hit the fan:
“Wayne Gretzky.” Yes, I said Wayne Gretzky.
All the cliches of people who don’t know sports started flooding my brain. From the goons roaming Camden Yards once per year wondering when Cal Ripken is batting next, to the dummies who still think Matt Stover is booting field goals at The Bank, I’ve never been among the cretins of general sports knowledge–until I said “Wayne Gretzky.”
Of course I know Gretzky retired years ago. But it was the only answer I had. I shot back to the one-season-Saturday-morning-childhood-cartoon Pro Stars, that featured Gretzky teaming up with Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson to save the world. I remembered he wore Kings garb. It was all I had to go on.
Naturally, in my emasculated state of mind, I ate some raw ground beef and did what any manly sports man would do: I Googled things. Let me take you through a little play-by-play:
- Off-the-bat, I saw that there’s a puck–okay, cool, I knew that. This is easy stuff.
- I learned there’s a rule called “Butt-ending.” A penalty where a player jabs another with the end of his stick. Ok, sounds kind of weird.
- Next I stumbled on rules like “Checked from Behind,” “Spearing,” and “Hooking.” Um, yea, maybe I should move away from the rules.
Next I started to look up things like “how to play hockey.” Let me walk you through that one:
- Ah, great, an article that will tell me how to play this foreign game.
- First point “learn to skate properly, even if you’re a goalie.” Okay, I might have started a little too far back.
- Next “pass the puck,” and “get in good physical condition.” Yea, this is worthless.
At least I can say I tried to learn hockey. As for my wife, well, she’s still way ahead of me; she curbed my misguided disdain over the self-fabricated idea that the NHL sold the naming rights of The “Stanley” Cup to the Black and Decker guys. Who knew?
She educated me on four specific reasons why I should root for the Kings heading into game-two of the Finals:
- They’re playing the Rangers, who are from New York, meaning that naturally, some Yankees fans will be susceptible to disappointment and heartbreak. Sweet.
- They play in LA, meaning that naturally, some Clippers fans have a chance to feel good about something. I’m cool with that.
- Wayne Gretzky was a member of the team. I enjoyed his cartoon.
- Wayne Gretzky’s daughter, Paulina, is a hot chick. I love hot chicks.
It all makes sense now. Go Kings.