For years, I have scoffed at the doomsdayers, the preppers and the militias who were convinced that tyranny and oppression were just around the corner. This is America. Land of the free. Home of the brave. This is the country that saved the world from fascism. We once nearly destroyed ourselves over the critical assertion that all men are created equal. I am proud to share with my children the history of how hard our nation has fought and struggled to better itself and the lives of people throughout the world.
To be that beacon on the hill.
To offer that last, best hope.
Ours is a country where just this week, an iconic symbol of masculinity and virility could pose on a magazine cover with new lady parts and enviable cheekbones. Whether you celebrate the transformation or are confused by it, as an American, it should be understood that each person is granted the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit happiness.
I am not concerned with Caitlyn. To each her own. No biggie. Whatevs. I’ve got kids to raise and wine to drink.
Truth be told, I am far more focused on MY inalienable rights.
Forget the Patriot Act. Forget the NSA listening in on my super awesome telephone conversations. Forget all those freaking Chicago red light cameras.
For today, my concerns are more grave and pressing.
Today, I am forbidden to purchase a Blackhawks ticket in Tampa Bay (if I could actually afford one). My zip code has marked me as undesirable. Instead of a scarlet letter, a noble Indian warrior has ignited a second Cold War inside the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay. Blackhawks fans are not welcome there. Go home, Chicago mommies, GO HOME. And take your jerseys with you.
Who would have ever believed that 1950s McCarthyism could reinvent itself as NHL paranoia and isolationism? Has nobody explained to the Lightning management how the devoted will always cross into enemy territory during times of great confrontation to bare their colors?
Sherman burned his way through Atlanta.
Napoleon froze his way through Siberia.
The Normans invaded England, and the Greeks invaded Troy.
Things did not always go well for the out-of-towners, but it was a risk worth taking.
The Chicago Blackhawks were once the red-headed stepchildren of the biggest and most fanatical of sport cities. They are now in the midst of an unprecedented dynasty. Games are finally televised. The fan base grows weekly. Kids around town are tossing aside their soccer balls in favor of goalie pads. It is the Golden Age of hockey here in Chicago.
And fans cannot be thwarted.
Athletes and soldiers have always shared a common vernacular. This fact does not honor soldiers as much is due them, but the similarities exist for a reason.
The athlete, like the soldier, represents something far greater than himself. We look to find the best versions of who we are in these icons of humanity. Strength. Fortitude. Excellence. Sports have historically played an immeasurable role in international politics. Jesse Owens destroyed Hitler’s view of German supremacy in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Soviet Union once forbade baseball from being played given is capitalistic roots.
So if tyranny has indeed taken control of all that hockey and a nation hold dear, I cannot help but think of Robert Frost, “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.”
If the doomsdayers are actually correct, the parallels are all there. We’ve got a team called The Lightning playing ice hockey.
Fire and ice.
I suppose I would prefer my tickets on the glass. Front row seats to the end of the world would be cool, and I can’t imagine a better way to blow the kids’ college education fund. I’ll be wearing #19 no matter how many security guards tell me to take it off.
Jonathan Toews. Coo-coo-cacho, Mrs. Robinson.
George Washington once started a revolution over taxes. I may start mine over the NHL’s best center.
Like I said before, to each her own.