Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hockey Makes You Smarter...

It’s recently occurred to me that thanks to my lifelong addiction to hockey, my head is now filled with an insane amount of random bits of trivia. I’m not just talking about player stats and team records. I mean actual, non-hockey related knowledge. For the most part, these little pieces of information are completely useless, but someday I’m going to win a game of Trivial Pursuit because of it, and then the joke will be on whoever I defeat. So now, because I can’t contain my excitement over the return of hockey, I bring you proof that hockey does indeed make you smarter:

• Thanks to the Wings’ trip to Sweden, I now know that ‘ljumsken’ means ‘groin’ in Swedish. I have no idea when in the future this will come in handy, but you had better believe that if I ever make it over to Sweden on vacation, I’ll find a way to work it into conversation.
• I can point out places like Sverdlovsk, Vasteras, Red Deer, Njurunda, Peterborough, and Cranbrook on the map. While this info may never help me pass a geography exam, I once saw an article that said that a significant number of Americans can’t even point out Germany on a map, so I think I’m ahead of the game.
• I also discovered that there is a city in Minnesota called Redwing. My little brother and I are going to take a roadtrip there some day, just so we can take pictures with the city welcome sign. Then we’d turn around and come back home. It would be well worth the drive.
• The Phoenix saga has taught me some of the intricacies of bankruptcy law. There’s been more legal mumbo jumbo bandied around hockey blogs in recent months than I ever expected to see. But you had better believe that the next time somebody brings up bankruptcy in conversation, I’ll be ready to jump right in. This hasn’t happened yet, but with the economy the way it is, it’s only a matter of time until it does.
• Due to the hours I’ve spent watching hockey broadcasts, I can pronounce just about any French, Russian, or Swedish name that you throw at me. Names that would trip up most Americans roll right off my tongue without a second thought. Watching hockey was like Hooked on Phonics for foreign names. I’m not even joking.
• Typing up my blog entries has caused my spellcheck to inform me that ‘deke’ is not a real word. It turns out that it’s a Canadianism that’s short for ‘decoy.’ This was kind of a shock to my system, as I’d always taken it for granted. I don’t know how to break the news to Gordon Bombay.
• My many pilgrimages to the Joe have caused me to learn to navigate downtown Detroit very well. This is quite possibly the only real-world applicable bit of knowledge in this entire post. Whenever I go down to the city with friends, I drive because I’m the only one who knows my way around. The confidence that comes from not being afraid of getting lost has led me to explore even further. And I’ve discovered some great things along the way. I love it when people from out of town look at me incredulously when I tell them that I frequent the city.
• Greenland is covered with ice, and Iceland is very nice. Okay, so that doesn’t come from watching real hockey, but that movie was very much intertwined with my childhood love of the sport. And no, I’m not going to say which movie that comes from. You should know that on your own if you’re a hockey fan worth your salt. If not, google it and feel ashamed.
• Brian Burke taught me a new word when he spoke about wanting truculence. I’m eagerly awaiting the day when I get to use it in a paper for class. I’m willing to use that desire to guide my topic choices if it comes to that.
• Stemming from one of the controversies of the summer of ’09 I now have a working knowledge of the vagaries of international flight law. It also turns out that cabotage is a term for the right to operate airlines within the domestic borders of another country and not, in fact, a way of tampering with cabbage. Who knew?
• Injury reports have given me a detailed knowledge of the human muscular system, joints, and basic surgical procedures usually only acquired by first year med students.
• One of the benefits of having the Wings in the Western Conference is that I can tell you in which time zone almost every major North American city is located. This comes in handy when you go on roadtrips out west and you don’t need to look up what time it’s going to be when you arrive at your next destination.
• My first introduction to the fact that the Cold War had existed was through listening to the stories of how the Russian players had defected. I was only three when the Berlin Wall fell and I came into my own as a Wings fan during the heyday of the Russian Five, so the thought of these guys having to sneak away from their homes and families to come play hockey in North America seemed bizarre to me. Yeah, that’s right. I, the ultimate history buff, got my first taste of world history from watching intermission interviews with hockey players. We all have to start somewhere, I guess.

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