“Goal Cookies” is a weekly look at the little tricks or treats from around the NHL. The Pup (my loyal sidekick) has been well trained that goals scored by the “good guys” lead to treats. She is also becoming equally well versed in the tricks necessary to garner my attention for off-season goodies. With this spirit in mind, I’ll take a swing at the obvious (or maybe even the oblivious) happenings across the league. Each week I’ll find something worthy of goal cookies; and something else that could use a little obedience training. But really, how can any of us refuse a goal cookie??
Ok, so like everyone else I am ready for October’s arrival. However, unlike some (who shall remain nameless) I am not about to try and create a story out of thin air or swipe someone else’s work *cough*NESN*cough. As the ache of August looms over us and our deep desire for the arrival of October, these are the things worthy of goal cookie treats; and the trickery worthy of the raised eyebrow and some obedience training.
Goal Cookie – the NHL Community (Players, Team Personnel, Coaches, and Fans)
For the second time this year the NHL Community mourns the loss of one of its players with the passing of Rick Rypien. As fans, we have put the players and our favorite teams on a pedestal; sometimes build of bedrock, sometimes seemingly set upon a see-saw. We expect a great deal from these young men playing our game for our entertainment. Often, we expect them to be larger than life. And many times we find it hard to accept they are human. It is especially troubling if they fail to meet our lofty expectations, on or off the ice, but they are human – a fact we often forget when we are being rabid fans. However, despite the best of misguided intentions and damn near impossible expectations of perfection from young men 18-40, the tight-knit community always seems to pull together. Even more in times of tragedy. Players and fans from across the league shared thoughts, stories, and sentiments of sympathy with the loss of Rick Rypien, as they did earlier this spring with the passing of Derek Boogaard.
Perhaps it is the social networking community, and especially that of the hockey friendly realm of Twitter which has brought together fans of the game from around the globe. Perhaps it is actually the interaction of some of these players on Twitter which has brought the game closer to the fans. Or perhaps it is because, as it always has been, hockey is different. The game and the players have always been more accessible to fans, and the more the fans embrace the game and its players, the more deeply rooted they have become in their communities.
Those looking for a cause and effect link between the role Boogaard and Rypien played on the ice and their struggle with their demons are missing the entire point, and taking a far too causal pass at who these men were at their core. Rypien and Boogaard were men who struggled with the same issues millions of people around the world struggle with everyday. They tragically lost their individual battle, but in their passing have shed much needed light on the void of recognition, acceptance, and support for issues of mental health. Rypien and Boogaard serve as a reminder of ripple effect their struggles have on the people who love and support them, something often forgotten in the wake of these tragedies.
The hockey community often comes together to celebrate, but some of the strongest alliances, which consistently blur the traditional lines of rivals, have been forged out of tragedy. This week the hockey community again came together not solely to mourn the passing of Rick Rypien, but to join together in solidarity and in the hope that his battle will not have been entirely in vain. I am proud to be a member of the hockey community and proud to stand up with my fellow fans as we join with the teams, their management, the NHL and the players as together we strive to appreciate and support mental health initiatives. It is true, and most certainly in the hockey community – you are not alone.
In Need of Obedience Training – The Blogger Vs. the Mainstream Media
No kidding, October needs to get here as soon as possible. Not just because I am afraid of the next #NHLinsertmemehere meme (although I was a HUGE fan of #3NHLWords), but mainly because of the boiling cauldron of acid between the hockey blogging community and members of the mainstream media.
Now it comes as no surprise that the blogging community has made an even bigger splash with the advent and accessibility afforded by social networking, podcasts, Tumblr and nearly limitless writing opportunities created by content thirsty blogs. There are a plethora of talented people entertaining the masses with satire, human interest angles, and insights from on high of various rafters throughout the NHL, AHL, OHL, and probably the KHL (sorry I struggle just trying to read Ovie’s tweets).
The line between the bloggers and the mainstream media (M$M) has become more and more blurred of late. It seems some M$M have dipped their pen in the ink of satire, fallen victim to becoming “fans” instead of impartial reporters, and then others have rightly recognized brilliant ideas and modified them slightly and then claimed them as their own. Of course the latter brings to light the ongoing struggle to define the “intellectual property” and who gets to stake a claim in what has become a nasty territorial battle, which of late has resembled “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours in mine too, as long as I put my name on it.”
The oddest facet is utter, inexplicable distain toward crediting someone else’s work. Where is the harm in saying, “in the report of so and so,” and then continuing by writing your view or take on their piece? I recognize for many who earn their livelihood on the interwebz that it has become the almighty “hits” and since I am merely a writer (fortunate enough not to need to worry about these things) I will not even pretend to understand the value of calling something that is not entirely yours, entirely yours.
But here’s the rub, people are reading EVERYTHING and the savvy consumer is onto your games mainstream media. We know who gives credit when and where it is due and we know who is cutting the corners. Those that skim someone’s idea are far more likely to be called out by readers than by the true author (many of whom have resigned themselves to the fact that there is a snowball’s chance in hell they will be linked or receive credit for their original work.) It’s a sad commentary considering many of today’s NHL media/writers caught a break or two by having some of their work read and recognized in the right place, at the right time.
So M$M, how about you stand up for what is right the next time your editor wants to cut out the link or credit to the original piece? You and your organization would move heaven and earth to rectify the situation if another M$M outlet raided, “re-imagined”, or flat out plagiarized your work. So maybe it’s time to give a “stick tap” or god forbid, a link back, to a story which got your creative juices flowing (especially in the draught of August). There is value in doing it, not solely because it is right, but it also demonstrates an understanding and recognition of the work that goes into cultivating a story, its part of “The Code”.
Bloggers: we are not immune to the need for obedience training. Just because most of us are not making our living writing does not mean we can disrespect The Code. Cite your fellow bloggers and members of the M$M, give the link backs and stick taps, especially if you are going to take them to task for failing to do the same.
There is plenty of room on the interwebz for all of us. The number of articles and blogs I have to read on Instapaper is proof that there are some amazingly talented people out there who are worth the read. So play nice boys and girls or you may be forced to go back to paper training.