Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.
I’m not typically a Rah-Rah-America type of guy. I feel fortunate to have been born in the United States, and understand the advantages I have as a result and am grateful for them, but it’s not that often that I feel like hopping on a giant bald eagle, grabbing a second-amendment protected assault rifle, and firing it into the sky as I wave the stars and stripes. Except, of course, when the Olympics come around.
Every two years (Summer Games alternating with Winter Games) I throw all notions of nuance aside and decide to flip the double-birds to every other country while rooting on the good-ol’ U S of A. It feels good to be jingoistic every now and again. It’s easier when it’s the Summer Games and I know I’ll have the USA Men’s Basketball team to watch crush other countries’ teams into submission. But with the USA Men’s Hockey Team I can also take hold of that most cliched of American narratives (Amerratives?), that of the Underdog. See, Canada, Russia and Sweden are all favored over the United States in this year’s games in Sochi, so I not only get to unironically wave the flag for the team from my homeland, I also get to smugly root for a team that’s not the favorite. What’s better than that?
In honor of the US Men’s Hockey Team, who begin their quest for Gold today, and the likely ignoring of their exploits by ESPN in favor of former football players crammed into ill-fitting suits to discuss NFL offseason moves, I will break out an oft-used Organized Sports gimmick and play Chris Berman for a spell, giving all of our hockey players Berman-style nicknames. Imagine these in your head as you get up at 7:30am Eastern Time to watch our boys play.
Goaltenders (also known as “Goalies” or “Netminders”)
Jimmy Howard “the Duck”
Ryan Miller “Tastes Great, Less Filling”
Jonathan “Cut to the” Quick
Defensemen (also known as “D-men”, “backliners” or, in Canadian spelling, defencemen)
John “Tucker” Carlson
Justin “What the” Faulk
Cam “Technical” Fowler
Paul “Dean” Martin
Ryan McDonagh “Reed”
Brooks “Number 4 Bobby” Orpik
Kevin “Captain James T” Shattenkirk
Ryan “Peggy” Suter
Forwards (mostly just known as forwards)
David “Baby Got” Backes
Dustin “Encyclopedia” Brown
Ryan “Dirty Harry” Callahan
Patrick “Adam Raised a” Kane
Ryan Kesler “Syndrome”
Phil “Han Solo Made the” Kessel “Run in Under 12 Parsecs”
TJ “It puts the L’” Oshie “In the Basket”
Max “Nicotine” Pacioretty
Zach “We’ll Always Have” Parise
Joe “Dr. Leonid” Pavelski
Paul “Vital” Stastny
Derek Stepan “a Crack, Break Your Momma’s Back”
James “I Live in a” van “down by the” Riemsdyk
Blake “Heart Like a” Wheeler