It Gritty

Hey, party people. So, funny story: a couple weeks ago, I was watching old episodes of Passions on YouTube and bumped my laptop. Not like, super hard, but hard enough to make it crap its pants. The hard drive is still shipshape, but Sheridan and Luis suddenly had crazy green and purple lines all over their faces and a big black box covered a solid fifth of the screen. Not only did the replacement part cost $800 that I do not have, but the part is now stuck indefinitely at the border, presumably due to some NAFTA bullshit.  The result is that A) I cannot record my podcast until further notice, B) I am profoundly broke, and C) I had to watch the entire “Sheridan falls in a river” arc on my phone LIKE A PEASANT. 

I’m not going to give you the whole “plz halp me i am disabled uwu” speech, but I am going to try to write little blurbs on my lunch break for the next little while and link to my Ko.fi page because it’s hard out here for a girl, especially one who enjoys things like “using electricity” and “living indoors.”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or you’re like, European), chances are that over the last week, you’ve become extremely familiar with Gritty.

it me

It him.

Gritty, the recently unveiled mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers, appears to be the demented lovechild of Youppi! and Sweetums from The Muppets. He wriggles, he jiggles, he does the Macarena, he falls down – you know, normal stuff. We stan a #Relatable legend. He is beautiful and terrible, an exquisite abomination. Naturally, the Internet fell immediately, irrevocably in love.

Gritty is our best friend. Gritty is the Alpha and the Omega. We would die for Gritty. We would kill for Gritty. Gritty is our God now.

gritty dance.gif

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

In all seriousness, Gritty, in all his lunatic glory, is probably the best thing that’s happened to the Philadelphia Flyers in ages. I mean, really. When was the last time you thought about the Philadelphia Flyers B.G.? (B.G stands for Before Gritty. This is how we measure time now. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules.)

The correct answer, unless you are a Flyers fan, is “Uh, I don’t know? I guess whenever we played them last season?” Which, you know, fair. They are the Philadelphia Flyers. But now Gritty is here and the Flyers are suddenly the rulers of Hockey Twitter, uniting players and fans from across the sports world in pure meme bliss. Gritty is such a perfect distillation of neo-Dadaist Millennial internet humour that the Flyers have gone from being the Binky Barnes of the NHL to the really cool rabbit chick with the denim vest. Everybody wants to be, if not outright followed by Gritty, at least Gritty-adjacent. He is social media currency in its purest form.

Most importantly. he’s goofy. In the self-important, super-serious world of NHL marketing, Gritty is a necessary breath of fresh air. Hockey, at its best, is big dumb fun, and no team has ever epitomized big dumb fun quite like the Philadelphia Flyers. Gritty is 100% industrial-grade Big Dumb Fun. It’s the Age of Gritty, y’all. Better get on board because this train is bound for glory.

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Same.

If you’d like to see more quality Gritty content in future, you can donate to my blog here.

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Church & Carlton – S1, E13 – Pyramid Power

The great Red Kelly: cat lover, hockey superstar…new-age spiritualist? Well, not quite. As with everything here at Church & Carlton, the truth is stranger than fiction.

My Patreon is here if you want to throw a couple of bucks my way. Today’s episode references a previous episode on Ned Hanlan – I think they make nice companion pieces to one another.

Full transcript under the cut. See you in two weeks!

E.C.

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Church & Carlton – S1, E12 – Whither Taro Tsujimoto?

Punch Imlach didn’t typically use his trolling powers for good, but when he did, it was a thing of beauty,

If you like what you heard, my Patreon is here. Perks included high quality downloads of Josh Labelle’s soundtrack and your very own Fighting Baseball name.

A full, plaint text transcript of today’s episode can be found under the cut. As always, you can reach with me with any concerns about accessibility at ecmarconTO@gmail.com

E.C.

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Church & Carlton – S1, E7 – Honky The Christmas Goose

A dramatic reading of last year’s Christmas post, “Honky The Christmas Goose” tells the story of my favourite piece of Leafs esoterica. You can hear the original song here.

My Patreon has already helped me to buy a nice pair of snow boots (Thanks!), so from here on out, it will mostly be funding my research trips to the Toronto Archives and the Toronto Reference Library (subway fare, printing costs, caffeine, etc…). If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

-E.C.

CHURCH & CARLTON – S1, E2 – The Flying Fathers

flyingfathers

Tonight’s episode focuses on the uniquely Canadian intersection of hockey and faith through the story of Fr. Les Costello, the promising young Maple Leaf who gave up a  hockey career to become a wildly unconventional Catholic priest.

On the subject of Irish Catholicism,  I’m loath to ask for money, but if you want to give me tremendous pangs of Catholic guilt, you can support me on Patreon.

  • E.C.

Joe Bowen Bingo

Leafs play-by-play announcer Joe Bowen calls his 3000th Leaf game tonight. In light of this astonishing achievement in masochism, I have decided to honour one of the most prolific and influential sportscasters in hockey history with the best game I could hastily make in Microsoft Word.

Crank up your AM radio, crack open a beer, and play along as the great Joe Bowen and his stalwart sidekick Jim Ralph call the game like a hoser Timon and Pumbaa.

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Mumps 2: The ReMumpening

The Vancouver Canucks have mumps.

Mumps, a nasty little virus that causes hilarious yet painful swelling of the salivary glands, is highly contagious. Transferred through saliva, it is currently laying waste to Toronto’s bar scene. The NHL had its first mumps outbreak in 2014 – you may remember this iconic image:

Of course it happened to Sid. Of course it did. 

The outbreak passed, teams gave out booster shots, and everyone promptly forgot that dozens of professional athletes had the mumps. But now the virus is back to terrorize the hapless Canucks, leaving us all with the question: What caused the Great ReMumpening?

Several theories have been floated, ranging from the mundane (sharing water bottles) to the disgusting (saliva spray during checking) to the tragically improbable (hot player-on-player action.) But the fact remains that this is a group of health-conscious adult men in peak physical fitness. What are they doing with a 19th century children’s disease?

The answer may be surprisingly simple. Before 1996, the prevailing wisdom in Canada was that we only needed to be inoculated against mumps once. Now, the recommendation is that children need to get the mumps vaccine twice. This means that Canadians born  between 1970 and 1992 are still susceptible to mumps even though they  received their childhood vaccination. The NHL is mostly comprised of Canadians born between 1970 and 1992. If they’re anything like every other Canadian Millennial, their parents lost their yellow immunization card circa 1998. Like all those poor saps who got infected on West Queen West last week, they probably didn’t know that they were supposed to get inoculated twice and have now passed on Canada’s most unfortunate export since Justin Bieber to their international teammates.

The Canucks aren’t exactly playoff-bound this year, but if the outbreak spreads, other Western Conference teams could find themselves incapacitated at a crucial point in the season. The Canucks play the San Jose Sharks tomorrow night. Brent Burns was born in Barrie in 1985.

I hope he’s had his booster shot.

Five Things Seen and Observed at the 2017 CWHL All-Star Game

  1. There is absolutely an audience for women’s hockey.

There’s a persistent argument that the reason women’s sports don’t get much attention is that there simply isn’t an audience for them. 8000 people attended Saturday’s game, and while some shitty dudes predictably whined about it online, the social media response has been overwhelmingly positive. The crowd at the game was an impressive mix of ages and genders and the level of enthusiasm and crowd engagement was on par with any Leafs or Marlies games I’ve been to. If it’s good hockey, Canadians are going to watch it. Not airing or discussing or writing about women’s hockey because “there’s no audience for it” is an excuse borne out of laziness as much as sexism.

2. Haters gonna hate.

Poor Brandon. (I’m using Brandon here, but you can substitute any generic hockey bro name.) Brandon had to watch a commercial for women’s hockey and now he is Mad Online™. Brandon does not like women because his mom told him to stop playing Overwatch and put his Meninist shirt in the hamper. Brandon logs on to Twitter and tweets “Women’s hockey? I’d rather watch paint dry!” so that the other Pepe the Frog avatars will now that Brandon is a Real Man™ and not a media party cuck like James Mirtle.

3. Tween girls will be total goofs if given the opportunity.

That weird limbo between childhood and adolescence is a tricky time for girls. Between peer pressure, the media, and the daily reality of patriarchy, they’re encouraged to abruptly leave childhood behind and devote their entire existence to what boys think of them. The CWHL All-Star Game was packed with tweenage girls and as it turns out, when there’s no pressure on them to be anything but hockey fans, tween girls are goofy as hell. They giggle, they shriek, they dance like dorks to make their friends laugh. They flail around on the Jumbotron and tackle each other for free t-shirts. In a judgement-free setting where powerful women are celebrated and applauded, little girls can feel free to be little girls.

4. The hockey world needs to quit sleeping on Jess Jones.

Forget the women’s game – Jess Jones is one of the world’s best hockey players full stop.  The Brampton Thunder forward was drafted into the CWHL after a dominant stint in the EWHL, and her explosive speed and uncanny hockey sense have led to a team-leading 32 point season. (In the scoring race, she sits only behind Ann-Sophie Bettez and Marie-Philip Poulin, who are maybe the world’s best hockey players.) Jones scored a hat trick for Team White at the All-Star Game, and probably had the most vocal cheering section in the building. And yet she remains a relative unknown outside of a small circle of Thunder fans. When Jess Jones is on the ice, the game becomes nine players chasing Jess Jones. She is a generational talent, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as players like Natalie Spooner or Meaghan Mikkelson.

5. There’s no wrong way to be a woman.

Whether you’re tall and willowy or short and squat, whether you’re blonde or brunette, whether you’re butch or femme, there’s a place for you in women’s hockey. You can tuck your hair up under your helmet or tie it back in an elaborate braid. You can ring your eyes in black eyeliner like Natalie Spooner or wear no makeup at all like Jamie-Lee Rattray. You can play a physical game like Rebecca Vint or a finesse game like Jill Saulnier. In the CWHL, you can be whoever you want to be in whatever way you want to be, and no one will tell you you’re doing it wrong.