Things To Like About Hockey If You Don’t Really Like Hockey

Winter sucks. During the winter it’s cold all the time and you either build a fire in the middle of a rainstorm or you’re turning the thermostat up to 75 degrees in the middle of a blizzard, enough snow on the road after twenty minutes to prevent your shitty Domino’s pizza from getting delivered.

Sometimes just a light sweater isn’t enough even when you’re inside and it gets dark really early, which is mildly annoying. Plus hockey season is going on, seeing as the game is played on ice and you don’t see frozen lakes in July (unless you’re at one of the Poles, I suppose, but with global warming I’m sure Al Gore will eventually tell us what we’ve done to those previously frozen lakes). I don’t know much about the sport besides some of its more obvious rules, like when the puck goes inside a net, that’s a goal. However, I am coming to genuinely love the game for a variety of unique, fun, and painful reasons.

What’s nice is that you don’t have to genuinely love hockey to enjoy it, and believe it or not, there are some things to like about hockey even if you don’t like hockey.

All The Fights

As just mentioned, hockey fights are pretty entertaining – it’s two bearded Nordic dudes twirling around together on the ice, gripping each other’s jersey as they use their other fist to throw punches, not always connecting. Some guys are really good at it, and they lack some teeth to prove it; others have noses that look like Mr. Potato Head was melted in an oven.

Fights can break out without warning, usually under the following conditions:

  • A teammate got blindsided with a vicious check, forcing another guy to defend his honor with de-gloved fists.
  • Too much shit was spoken, reaching a boiling point
  • Someone scored and taunted the opposing bench
  • Someone had a very punchable face
  • A mother was insulted
  • Someone got bored playing hockey and decided to start a brawl

The Lines On The Ice

I love the lines on the ice indicating where stuff is; the two blue lines, the weird center line, the four circles where the faceoffs are done, and the icing lines. I love them all.

Ice is boring, but the lines and stuff are kinda cool. Is it paint? Dye? Only Canadian person Martin Short knows.

The Tiny Net

The goalie wears a lot of padding, which makes sense since the puck isn’t exactly a Nerf ball. They look ridiculously immobile, blocking the entire goal while they hold a giant stick. Goalies are actually very agile; it seems like it would be hard to score, which it is, but some games can reach scores of 7-5 on occasion, so it’s not like the goalies are perfect. The tiny net is pretty funny when you finally notice it – some huge mass sliding on the ice in front of it, going to great lengths to prevent the puck from hitting the back of the tiny, tiny net.

I like when someone scores and the goalie’s Gatorade bottle flies off the top, which the goalie then has to go and grab as the sirens blare in celebration of a goal; they always look dejected in their giant outfits and detailed masks.

Very Fast Skating

Fastbreaks in hockey are amazing: centers, wingers, and defenders huffing and puffing down the ice, throwing their limbs about like they’re trying to punch a ghost as they skate along. I don’t get how they see the puck when it’s being passed so quickly, but they lash it around with keen accuracy for a sport played on ice all the while skating on said ice, and they don’t fall or run into the wall every time. Well, actually they do hit the wall a lot, usually with intent to commit assault (legal in hockey).

They’re basically running on ice and passing a weird disk around very quickly and they do it while not hitting each other in the mouth (most of the time).

When A Guy Loses His Stick

It’s great when someone loses their stick. This usually happens when it was:

  • Stolen
  • Broken
  • Eaten by a dog

When the game is going on and you’re on the ice without a stick, you’re a walking target and utterly useless to your teammates. Sometimes the guy will pass the puck with his skates, which is comical and genius but it doesn’t work very often, obviously.

Once when a stick was broken a player gave their stick to the guy who just lost his while they were stuck defending their goal; the charitable guy went up front in front of the opposing player who had the puck and tried to block his shot. Hockey players are a different breed.

If the puck is at your feet and you don’t have a stick to move it, chances are you’re getting smashed while some Russian dude skates off, muttering something you don’t understand, but feel in your heart. Also, your ribs were crushed, and one might have punctured a lung.

It’s okay, your line is up in three shifts, which is in like three or four minutes, so use your one good lung to catch some air, you’ll need it.

Line Shifts

Speaking of lines, hockey has lines. Yeah, they have the paint (dye?) ones, but in this case, it means players are on the ice in different groups of five. Each group is called a ‘line’, and each line goes on shifts together. It’s like a little squad going to battle while the other guys breathe heavily and use those bottles to spout Gatorade into their mouths.

(I always miss part of my mouth when using those bottles like they do, and have to just put the thing directly up to my lips to drink; while it is pathetic, I do have all of my teeth and my nose isn’t bent in three different directions, so, yeah.)

Everyone On The Bench Sitting Together

When guys skate past the bench, you get a shot of everyone sat down, holding their sticks, visors reflecting the light, obscuring the top half of their faces and it looks very cool.

The only downfall is guys can glide right past you after they score a late goal, pretty much choking out the last bit of confidence one could have, and that happens to the entire bench.

It’s a great way to look really cool or really dumb. The bench also taps the floor with their sticks when a teammate gets in a fight and wins in show of respect, which is yet another thing to like about hockey even if you don’t like hockey.

Slamming Each Other Into The Glass

If you happen to sit on the bottom row at a hockey game, you’re bound to see some guy smash an opponent against the glass barrier right in front of you. Most people flinch as if the players are going to cascade through it and onto your lap, but all you see is one guy’s face pressed very hard against the glass, staring at you awkwardly. They grimace, attempting to break free but they only struggle as their opponent pushes harder.

The Penalty Box

For such a violent game, the penalty box is something that adds a bit of comedy to the sport. There’s a spot dedicated to players that have been especially bad, breaking rules like using their stick to poke at another player in an attempt to slow him down, or using it to knock the absolute crap out of him. Opposing players can both be sent to the sin bin, but unfortunately, they don’t sit together. They can continue to threaten one another through the glass, but no punches are thrown until they’re on the ice again.

Slapshots

When a player raises his stick behind him, standing over the puck you know he’s about to slap the shit out of it, and if he gets it just right, it’s going right into the net. If I was a defender there’s no way I would ever get in front of someone about to shoot a slapshot – I’m not about to lose half my jaw for the sake of blocking a shot that probably won’t go in on its own. It is cool when you see a slapshot go in from long range, but most of them just ricochet off the glass barrier behind the goalie.

The Mighty Ducks Movie Series

You can have a hatred for frozen water that knows no bounds and still enjoy The Mighty Ducks series (at least the first movie). Quack quack quack, Mr. Duckworth! The Flying “V”. Goldberg. The awesome team name. Emilio Estevez. The big kid Fulton Reed knew how to take a perfect slapshot, one that can spin so fast yet so slowly in mid air that everyone in it’s way can see it and avoid it, even the goalie. That was an iconic 90’s film, but it sucks if you watch it today.

It’s cold inside, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of where the puck is at any given time, but hockey isn’t too bad. Winter is still terrible.

Rappers We Like That Don’t Suck At Basketball

It’s cool when people are really good at more than one thing. Neil Armstrong could walk on Earth and the moon. LeBron James can carry Larry Hughes and Kevin Love to separate NBA Finals. Michael Scott can revive a dying paper company multiple times while verbally backhanding Toby every day.

Those are pretty cool things, but those are to be expected from cultural giants such as those esteemed gentlemen. What isn’t expected, but is still really dope, is when rappers we like don’t suck at basketball.

Rappers love to rap about how great it would be to play in the NBA, and ballers love to talk about how great it would be to be a rapper. Some do both, and most of them only do one of those things even marginally well. Very, very few are good at both.

Damian Lillard can spit hot fire, but he’s much better at shooting threes in your eye over and over. Lil Uzi Vert can make hit songs about all the dead presidents he’s got (you know, money) but he’s really exceedingly awful at basketball. There’s a short clip of him “playing basketball” on the internet, but it’s like watching a baby bird fail to fly. It’s depressing. You should watch it.

There are a few talents that can crossover (sorry) to either basketball or rapping, doing either thing pretty well. If you ask me, there’s only four that are worth considering, and obviously, they’re listed below.

J Cole

J Cole got cut his freshman year then managed to get playing time here and there in his final two years of high school, mostly as a wing with his long reach, and pushing 6’3” he was one of the taller guys on a rather small squad. They still did work, as they had the Coach of the Year and Player of the Year of their conference, but this did limit Cole’s minutes.

Cole’s highlight:

On Senior Nighthe had a one-man fastbreak after swiping the ball, rushing down the court all on his own. No pressure, right? Nope, all the pressures were felt.

Sensing that a dunk was inbound, the bench players stood up, anticipating a nice one-handed jam, one of them probably with his arms out, sort of implying that he’s going to need to be held back during the dunk celebration, but there was no need.

Cole can rap better than 99.999999999999% of us on this planet, but like 99.999999999999% of us, he can’t dunk. Well, he can dunk, but it isn’t clean, and this wide open dunk on Senior Night violently bounced off the rim and high into the air.

Everyone was sad, but only for a moment; Cole quickly gathered himself and the ball, finishing with a layup that got the crowd almost as loud as if he’d made the dunk. It’s like he showed up to a party without any beer, but brought some shitty half-empty bottles of alcohol instead.

His senior year also coincided with LeBron James’ final high school campaign, which is just a little somethin’ for ya.

2 Chainz

It’s easy to see that 2 Chainz (Tauheed Epps to the Feds) played basketball before he started delivering hilarious punchlines and wearing two chains.

A staunch 6’5” in high school (that’s when he stopped growing), 2 Chainz could handle the ball well and did his best to stay out of the key. When you’re skinny, it’s hard to maintain a physical presence under the basketeven when you’re tall, and when you can shoot, scoring from 2 feet away from the hoop is pretty boring so he stayed around the three-point line.

If you’re imagining a young Chainz dropping no-look dimes and draining fadeaway threes, then you’re practically Nostradamus; he’s been flashy since day one and loved to yack ‘em whenever he got the chance. If And-1 mixtapes were around in 1995, he would definitely have one.

Able to play any position at the high school level, 2 Chainz played a major role during his senior year, leading them to a triple-overtime win against their local rival (he hit a buzzer beater to send the game to OT, then did it again to go to a second OT).  

2 Chainz’s highlight:

Due to his length and skill, Tauheed got some looks from D-1 schools like the University of Memphis, but they passed on him because of his lack of girth. (They had just lost Penny Hardaway to the NBA, and he was skinny, but apparently 2 Chainz was just too thin.)

Think about that – a 6’5” guy with handles and a silky jumper who could play point guard as well as a wing, was passed on because he had trouble gaining weight. Good thing though, because if Memphis had signed him, we might not have the “Birthday Song”. Thanks for having a crazy fast metabolism, 2 Chainz!

Alabama State’s coaching staff were able to recognize a real one when they saw it, and thus Tity Boi became a collegiate athlete. He didn’t play much, but hey, he got a spot on a college basketball team, which is much better than Lil Uzi.

Sheck Wes

Potentially the best hooper on this list, Sheck Wes is a 19-year-old rapper/model/baller from Harlem. He’s got soooo many flows, and girls keep calling his phone. It’s a problem.

Anyways. At 6’2”, Sheck is thin and lanky, making him an adept player who is hard to defend. Unfortunately, there’s no video of him playing that I can find, but he managed to play AAU in New York as a youngin’, which is about as easy as breaking out as a rapper in New York. 

Sheck’s highlight:

After being chosen to appear in Yeezy Season 2, Sheck had a tough decision: make his break as a model, or miss the entire high school season. If he went to the show, Sheck wouldn’t be able to play at all after missing too many classes that year. He chose to hoop, and you might think that he made a dumb decision, as who wouldn’t want to model for Kanye’s shit, but it worked out just fine; Sheck would appear in Yeezy Season 3, choosing to wear Kanye’s clothes instead of playing in a playoff game.

How is that a highlight? Well, it’s not a basketball highlight, but it’s related to basketball and it launched Sheck’s career, so it’s a highlight of some sort. I don’t know. If he played in that game, we might not have “Mo Bamba” to play really loudly over and over again, so thanks to Kanye, I guess. 

Quavo

Quavo, the self-proclaimed “Head Huncho” of the Migos trio, makes this list despite his lack of legit hooping experience. He never played in high school, but that’s because he was slinging a football around (which he was pretty damn good at).

He makes this list for swatting the absolute shit out of Rachel De Mita and winning MVP of the 2018 Celebrity All-Star Game. He scored 19 points against celebs who are absolutely terrible at basketball (minus Rachel, who played college hoops), but that’s still a worthy accomplishment.

He rebounded well, played defense, and managed to score more than everyone else who played, thus earning the MVP trophy (which should have been iced the fuck out).

Quavo’s highlight:

For once, here’s video so I don’t have to poorly describe what he did/make it all up. 

Not bad, not bad at all.