6 Things: Spoonful of Sugar Edition

If you’re like me you, last night you went to your orchestra rehearsal and carefully shielded yourself from the Sabres score so that you could race home, pour yourself a nice glass of boxed wine, and crochet granny squares while watching the game on DVR delay. You watched the first period and thought, “The Sabres are so scrappy and fun tonight! Yaaaaay! This is exactly what Sabres fans need, a nice easy win. So what if they gave up a last minute goal in the first period, it’s still 3-1. It’s all good.” Then you poured yourself a second glass of boxed wine, and as soon as the Flyers scored their second goal you thought, “The Sabres are definitely going to lose this game.” And you would’ve been right. Basically at this point Sabres fans would be stupid to expect the Sabres to hold onto a 3-o lead at home.

By the midpoint of the game I was so certain of a Sabres loss that when Drew Stafford scored the late tying goal only part of me said, “WOOOOOOOOO!” The other part was like, “Eff you, Staffy. Don’t score a late tying goal and then expect me to forgive you for everything you’ve put me through. I can’t even look at you right now.”

Yep. It’s like that these days.

After I finished the game at 11:30pm, in an effort to be less cranky, I ate half a loaf of olive bread. Unsurprisingly (in retrospect), that didn’t make me feel better at all. When I woke up this morning I had a stomach-ache AND I still had a resounding sense of “hmph”-in-my-heart in regards to the Sabres. So, I was forced into my plan of last resort. I had to look at this picture:

I maintain that it's impossible to look at this picture and remain grouchy about something as stupid as hockey. Especially if you add a little baby rhino voice in your head that's singing a song with lyrics something like, "I am a tiny rhino, Doo dee doo dee doooo. I've got hay between my rhino toes. Tra la la la laaaa"

I’m not sure why looking at cute pictures of animals makes me feel better about stupid stuff, but it does. It’s weird because in real life I’m sort of lukewarm on animals. I like them, but they’re often smelly and they leave fur on your clothes and your couch and they’re rarely as cute in reality as they are in picture form.

In the absence of rhinos, baby giraffes will do in a pinch.

Even though I’m pretty disinterested in thinking seriously about the Sabres right now, I do feel some obligation to discuss the Sabres on my Sabres blog, so I’m going to give this a try. But let’s face it, asking Sabres fans to read blog posts about the Sabres in addition to watching the Sabres the play hockey is a pretty big favor at this point.

I’ve tried this before, and it worked pretty well, so we’re going to try again. If you read something that you find upsetting or too frustrating to bear, please QUICKLY look at one of the helpful animal photos that accompany this post. (And I should admit here that all these pictures were lifted from Cute Overload. I canNOT recommend Cute Overload highly enough for all your make-me-feel-better-about-something-stupid needs.)

Let’s begin:

Don't think too hard about the Sabres' home record. Instead, look at this small, grumpy-looking rabbit.

1. The Sabres SUCK ASS at home. Of all the ways a team can be bad, consistently melting down in front of your home crowd miiiight be the worst possible way. In an ideal world the Sabres and their fans would sign up for some group therapy so that we can figure out why our relationship is so dysfunctional, but sadly, this is not an ideal world. As much as I wish I could convince everyone in FNC to communicate with the team only use “I statements” when watching a Sabres game (accusations never work, people!), I know it can’t be done. (ex: “Marc-Andre Gragnani, when you pass the puck directly to Claude Giroux during overtime, I feel deep sadness in my soul.”) Consistently losing at home has taken its toll. There is almost no trust between the team and the fans right now. The team can fix this by ripping off about six home wins in a row. Other than being nicer and hoping that niceness somehow makes the team less spazzy, the fans are pretty helpless. The only solution is big beers, and lots of ’em.


2. It feels like all we ever do now is argue about who should be suspended, and for how long. Personally I take no enjoyment from this conversation. I’m not sure what the solution is here because there is just no way we’re ever all going to agree on everything Shanahan does. There is literally no way. Here are some of my answers to the burning questions surrounding suspensions and non-suspension:

Do I think some of Shanahan’s decisions have been totally wackadoo? Absoluuuutely.
Do I think Shanahan is better than Colin Campbell? Sure.
Do I think there is a vast conspiracy against the Sabres? Uh, no.
Do I think the Bruins get special treatment? Oh for fuck’s sake. I don’t know. Maybe. Probably not. This is stupid.
Do I think it’s open season on goalies Ryan Miller? Hard to say. kinda
Do I think Lucic is a tool? YES.
Should this dog be suspended for his egregious public digging?

Much like Lucic's hit on Miller, I'm sure this dog didn't mean to do it. NO suspension.


We live in a world where this super awesome seal exists. The NHL and their hateful playoff scheme cannot take that away from us.

3. The whole league was realigned. I don’t have particularly strong feelings about the realignment (although, I secretly wanted Detroit in our division), but I HATE the current playoff format being bandied about. Please Hockey Gods, DO NOT let this happen. Why do we have to mess with a perfectly good playoff format just because the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg?

I hate the argument that hatred makes for better playoff matchups. That’s stupid. Hatred makes for more hateful playoff matchups, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be more fun or interesting. And why do we want our passion for the playoffs fueled by hate, anyway? I mean, geez. I like smiling. Smiling’s my favorite. I especially like smiling during the playoffs.

Two rounds of playoffs within the division is TOO MUCH.


4. And about the realignment (and I acknowledge that this is just a minor quibble), but if the NHL winds up calling the new groups “conferences” I’m going to be irked. Those are divisions, NHL.

"The lady said no (to calling them 'conferences'). I'm going to have to ask you to back off, NHL."


From now on, I'm going to look at this guy instead of watching hockey fights.

5.  This is a difficult topic for me to write about right now, but I feel the need to say something about fighting in hockey.

I was sincerely rattled by the New York Times 3-part series about the life and death of Derek Boogaard. I think this series should be required reading for every hockey fan. Please, please read this story.

I’d prefer not to debate the tactical merits or drawbacks of fighting on the pages of this blog right now, but I will say this:

I’ve spent most of my time as a hockey fan feeling pretty neutral about fighting in the NHL, but this season has really been different for me. The new information about the effects of concussion combined with a broader awareness of the depression and substance abuse problems that many of hockey’s enforcers face has pushed me out of my neutral position. I used to tolerate most hockey fights, and even enjoy a bout or two per season, but now I outright hate it, every time. I took no comfort in the fight between Gaustad and Lucic. None. For me, that fight (and everything leading up to it) was upsetting, and nothing more.

Hockey fighting is a genuinely difficult issue, so here's the back of a panda to help us get through this portion of this blog post.

This issue has really begun to effect my enjoyment of hockey. Maybe this anti-fighting sentiment is something that will come and go in waves for me. Maybe I’ll learn to tolerate fighting again. Maybe more evidence will swing my opinion in a different direction. Maybe I’ll simply find a way to make peace with fighting in hockey. Maybe I’ll stop taking fighting so seriously. I don’t know. But right now, hockey fighting really, really bothers me on a core level.


6. This has nothing to do with hockey, but here goes:

After a lifetime of indifference towards my physical fitness (or lack thereof), this summer I began to take baby steps towards trying to get into shape. (And I DO mean baby steps. Little baby steps on little baby walks is how I started.) Then about a month ago I joined a gym and started to work with a personal trainer. I’m not sure why my mindset was different this time (I’ve joined gyms before), but for some reason this time I was able to say to myself, “Self, you’re not in shape now, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to do this even if you feel stupid at first.”

My problem with gyms in the past has always been that my pride had not allowed me to just be sweaty and out of breath. I hated the feeling of struggling within eyesight of other people. I honestly don’t know what’s changed, but this time I’ve embraced the humility involved with going to a gym. Sure, sometimes I’m kind of embarrassed when I can’t do something, but mostly I can just sort of laugh and think, “Hm. I wonder how I’ve been managing to SIT UPRIGHT all these years with this ridiculous lack of core strength.” Then, I do the plank pose for a few weeks, and I actually see improvement. It’s been pretty cool to feel myself getting stronger.

I guess I’m just saying that going to this gym has been an absolutely wonderful experience for me. If you are someone who struggles to stay fit, I encourage you to keep trying. You just never know when exercising is going to “click” and become something other than a terrible chore.

Today, one minute of plank pose without dying. Tomorrow, the world!

16 Responses to “6 Things: Spoonful of Sugar Edition”

  1. 1 Amy December 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    That seal is cracking me up!

    I’ve been looking at Fluffington Post during the last few particularly horrible games. I mean, the urge to throw Stafford and/or Roy-Z off the roof of the arena diminishes greatly when you’re looking at a photo of a poodle puppy in a sweater.

  2. 2 Meg December 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Cute animal pictures are the best.

    I agree with you on the fighting. I’ve never particularly liked or enjoyed it, but I also haven’t felt all that worked up about it. But with all the new information coming out about concussions, mental health issues, etc. it just seems so unjustifiable.

    Way to go on the gym front! I find that the atmosphere of a gym makes a big difference to me. When I’ve worked out in nice, light-filled, modern gyms I’ve felt much more motivated. And I also prefer not to be surrounded by super-fit people. I feel better if other people are also sweaty and incompetent. I think finding the right place for you can make a huge difference!

  3. 3 elise December 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    This is the BEST POST EVERRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. 4 facefirstintotheboardsSam December 8, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Oh man I just literally laughed for a good minute about that seal. That may be the best picture ever. Thank you for introducing it into my life. As a person who doesn’t really like animals, other than looking at them in the zoo, I don’t search random animal pics online. But that was amazing.

    You rock.

    And good on you for going to the gym!! I’ve gone through some bouts of exercising and it comes and goes but never gets fun. I’m glad you’ve found a groove. :)

  5. 5 Wally December 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Totally agree on the fighting. The fights themselves are stupid. The way enforcers engage each other is stupid. I hated watching gaustad’s eyes when he challenged lucic. I don’t know why we still tolerate this. Especially with all the new and old info on fighting and brain injuries (ie Muhammad Ali DOES NOT have Parkinson disease). And especially after reading that times article. It’s not only stupid but disgusting and I feel like our society shouldn’t tolerate that in such a great sport. Stupid NHL.

  6. 6 tpsabres December 9, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Would you happen to be a violist in the BPO?

  7. 7 cdr December 9, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I don’t know why but the digging dog picture especially has me trying not to crack up at work.

    It feels like the Sabres have already faced a full season’s worth of adversity this season. Think about how long ago the Europe trip feels, and it’s only been a couple months! Hopefully that will be a good thing in the long run.

  8. 8 Caroline December 9, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I feel the exact same way after reading that NYT article on Boogaard. Now when I see players fight I seriously worry about their well being and where they’ll be a few years down the road. I don’t know. Sometimes fighting is fun (bench clearing brawls between two teams that HATE each other), but more often than not I just see it as a distraction.

    I’ve never been to KC’s Fitness before, but my good friend Seb teaches Muay Thai classes there!

  9. 9 Browndog December 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    KC’s…good folks, good place. Not to mention terribly convenient for you.

  10. 10 Coolguy Thrawn December 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    That was like six great blog posts in one.

  11. 11 elise December 9, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    p.s. Even my eyes are fans of the Bruins: I read “Do I think Lucic is a tool?” as “Do I think Lucic is cool?”!!!! I was so happy and surprised (at first) when you responded “YES”!

    Ah well. At least I don’t have his jersey.

    Still, best post ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That seal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. 12 Mike in Idaho December 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Hey Katebits, good for you for exercising! I actively hate gyms so if you don’t like exercising with others, do what I do and ride bicycles when it’s warm and play hockey when it’s cold. My wife plays women’s adult hockey here and if they have women’s hockey here, I’m sure they have it in Buffalo too.

  13. 13 sallypants December 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Ah I haven’t posted here in forever! Good on you for getting all buff and thank you much for the animal pictures (my rabbit, Lula, used to look just like that little guy).

    I’m going to the game tonight and I’m excited! I will keep an eye on the press box to see if there are any strung up hot dogs are dangling out of it…

  14. 14 sallypants December 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Also, that Boogaard story is SO sad and we miss him greatly.

  15. 15 mikespub December 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Loved the whole whackjob of a post, filled with witticisms that I wished I created. And that just makes me kooky-ier

  16. 16 beginner bass guitar lessons July 13, 2014 at 3:10 pm

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