Swing and a Miss

What the puck?

Thomas DeLapp

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Swing and a Miss
May 10, 2023

Photo by Marisa Valdez

To celebrate the quaint whimsy of nature giving us a taste of an 85 degree spring then saying “SIKE, LOSER, HAVE SOME WINTER AGAIN, BOZO,” I’d like to talk about the quintessential winter sport: hockey.

Every day for the past two winters, I’ve walked down Water Street to school, risking life-and-limb as I slipped-and-slid all over the icy sidewalks. This basically qualifies me as a professional hockey player. Also please, please, please, just salt your sidewalks. 

Loyal readers of this column — or anyone who has looked at me — will know that I am mostly confused by the hype around sports. Hockey is no exception, and may be the sport I understand the least. If this is your first time reading this column, I’m from Minnesota. Not liking hockey in Minnesota is basically a death wish.

Let me defend myself. Hockey is not wholesome, warm or fuzzy. Hockey is cold and mean. Literally. It’s on ice and everyone beats each other up. Ask any dad for their best hockey joke, I guarantee they’ll say “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.”

Part of my hockey resentment probably comes from my insecurity about not being able to ice skate. I’ve never been able to even stay upright on the ice for more than two seconds at a time, let alone actually skate. 

As mentioned above — it’s traumatic enough just getting to school, why would I purposefully go onto ice “for fun?” Falling on your tuchus is not fun.

On the other hand, it’s adorable to see kids trying to play hockey, because they just fall everywhere. Faceplants galore. As America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV) can attest, the best humor is the kind where someone faceplants. 

But hockey fans are gung ho about their chosen sport. Good for them. Particularly in the great north of Minnesota — Wisconsin too, I’ll be generous — hockey fans are rabid. And who can blame them? We spend so much of our year encased in ice, we might as well find a way to make it fun.

Swing and a Miss, as readers will know, is famous and widely-lauded for its in-depth critical sports analysis, particularly regarding uniform colors and team logos. Here it is this week: The Minnesota Wild — no bias here because I don’t like hockey — have the best sports uniforms, colors and logo of any professional sports team. 

I know, I know, that’s probably a hot take. But I will stand by it, even though you’d never catch me at a Wild game. Here’s my reasoning: “Wild” is dope. Too many teams are animals. We need more mascots that are just, like, a concept.

Secondly, the Wild colors are so nice. Wikipedia lists the official color names as “forest green, iron range red, harvest gold and Minnesota wheat.” 

These colors go together so, so well. For those not in the know, the Iron Range is a belt in middle Minnesota where the accent comes out the strongest, so it’s nice to have local flavor in a color. Also, Minnesota wheat? Everyone knows wheat is the best grain.

Finally and most importantly is the Wild logo. Oh, be still my heart. For years, when I was a dumb child, I thought it was just a funky landscape — which it is — but it’s also a bear. When I found out about that in third grade, my life changed. It’s just so cool and classy. 

Again — I do not like hockey. I will not watch it. But I want a Wild jersey. 

Just like every other sport I write about, when it comes down to it, I want people to have fun. If falling on your face in-between rounds of punching people (while you’re allegedly meant to be playing a game) is fun for you, then do it. Just keep the ice on the rinks and off the sidewalks.

DeLapp can be reached at [email protected].