Football is to Texas as Hockey is to Minnesota

I don't know how this happened, exactly. I'm a nice Midwestern girl who grew up in the suburbs. No one in my family hunts pigs (or any other animal, for that matter). I've only been to a rodeo once. I've never eaten at Sonic. I've never had interesting neighbors. (Unless you count the dreadlocked hippie who grew vegetables in her front yard. But that's not that weird. Not in California.) I have never -- and I mean never -- watched a college football game from start to finish. I don't even know what A&M stands for.

But somehow, I've fallen into a whole slew of blogs written by Texans -- and I'm loving it.

Maybe it's because I grew up eating grits slathered with butter and drinking sweet tea. Or maybe it's because I say "y'all" at least once a day. (I even sling an "all y'all" every once in a while, thanks to my Texas-born-and-raised friend Tammy.) Or maybe it's because I understand this one very important thing about Texans -- they love their football. They are fanatical about it. It's more than a pastime; it's a passion.

And right there, we have something in common. For while I like football -- my husband played; ergo, I'm a fan -- I'm downright nuts about the sport of my home state, which is hockey. I love everything about the game -- the slightly sweaty smell of the rink, the crisp sounds of the blades on the ice, the creak of the boards when a player lands a well-placed check. I especially love the game in its purest form -- which is to say, when it's not a boxing match on ice.

And where can a hockey fan revel in the competitive grace that is hockey at its finest? Why, at the Minnesota State Boys' High School Hockey Tournament, of course, which wraps up today. It's a contest, an institution and a love-fest, all wrapped up in one glorious weekend. My favorite part? It's not about fighting -- at least, not gratuitous fighting. It's about skating -- skating fast and with flair. And shooting the puck using skill and teamwork. It's about sportsmanship and decade-old rivalries and the sheer love of the game.
Teams that come from small, Canadian-border towns like Warroad and Roseau travel to St. Paul to compete against high schools that have more students than their entire town population -- and they usually win. Many of these boys learned to skate as soon as they learned to walk, and they've spent many a cold winter day playing hockey in backyard rinks until their toes were numb.

So why am I writing this ode to hockey? Well, it's about all I can do, seeing as I live "outstate" right now, and I can't watch any of the tournament on TV. (It's broadcast live in the Twin Cities.) I can only sit at my computer and wait for updates on the Web -- which, as you can imagine, is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Thus, I've decided to channel my frustration into positive energy -- you sensed that, right? -- and do something constructive. And now, I'm off to pop some popcorn and grab another handful of Dark Raisinets. The final game is 7:00 PM tonight. I'll need stamina to hit reload 358 times.


  1. If you can throw in an "all y'all" every once in awhile, then that definitely qualifies you for honorary Texan status.

    And, we would love to play hockey, but you know, ice is a little hard to find down here.

  2. Kelly,

    Thanks for your post. It was great to hear from you. I have been reading your blog and I am now crying. Thanks. :-) Really, I should stop reading on the middle of campus or these college kids will think I'm a wimp. Seriously, it is really encouraging to read your thoughts. Keep in touch.

    Josh ("the little guy that you and your hermanos used to play with) :-)

  3. I feel for you living away from home when exciting things are going on. A&M means agricultural and mechanical - in other words farming and engineering. Exciting stuff! I'm so glad you're enjoying being indoctinated into all things Texas. You definitely need to stop in sometime for a rodeo, a cherry limeade from Sonic, and a Whataburger. Maybe you can give us a hockey tutorial while you're at it.