Hockey boys: their culture and vernacular

Emily Kruse

Feared by non-athletes and underclassmen alike, the hockey boys are considered to be the epicenter of popularity. It’s accepted as basic social conduct not to bother the god-like athletes; however, I have been recognized as a repeat offender of this rule.

The school lunchroom, for example, is prime territory for me to display my fatal attraction to the hockey team. One particular Wednesday afternoon, I subconsciously ignored this rule crucial to social acceptance when I innocently meandered the lunch room aisles to throw away my trash.

I was slighted by a squished grape on the floor, bringing about my ever-so-graceful fall onto six of BSM’s Adonises. To add effect, I unintentionally made a hiccup-snort noise while tumbling to my social demise. I was in a state of utter shock as I lay sprawled on top of the manly crowd, observing with horror their response to my fall which happened to be a realistic portrayal of my spaz-like qualities.

After suffering a few minutes of extreme anguish, I recovered and walked–carefully–back to my table, only to be mercilessly ridiculed.

Unfortunately, this had not been my first brutally awkward encounter with the boys’ hockey team. Many times have I found myself apologizing for accidentally launching myself in front of one of the athletes in the hallway and grasping a jersey for stability on the way down. My hereditary awkwardness–I have come to learn–is much easier to accept than deny, but I still feel the pangs of inferiority when I accidentally defy the gravity of my social status and disturb or bump into one of God’s gifts to hockey (and all other sports and aspects of life, for that matter).

I have developed a guilty pleasure for immersing myself completely into the hockey/lax-bro culture, when I––ahem––occasionally eavesdrop on their conversations of the utmost importance, usually focused on the previous night’s game or why chicken-fried steaks are served in single portions instead of a stack of three on one plate.

While mainly composed of grumbles, snorts, and mostly indecipherable utterances, I have found that it is sometimes possible to pick up on hockey lingo such as ‘duster’ or ‘bender’ when listening in on these fascinating interactions. I have yet to learn the meaning of these, since, my go-to guide and social bible, does not offer very believable definitions.

However, my most humorous series of encounters with the hockey team, and possibly one of the most spiritually fulfilling experiences of my life thus far, was my creative writing class during sophomore year. God blessed me when the divinely inspired Mr. Backen seated me between the two captains of the varsity hockey team––whom I had previously encountered––for the entire semester. Even though I was not fully acquainted with the jocks at the time, I was aware of their incredible amount of swag and knew I would keep entertained throughout the semester.

After the first few weeks, the novelty wore off and I grew tired of the ever-present smell of peanut butter that wafted from the athletic bags on either side of me. I was annoyed every time I noticed the very faint bruises staining the sides of my ribs from being elbow-punched nearly every day while the hockey players transitioned from “discussing last night’s game with much enthusiasm and physical description mode” to “writing mode”.

Thank you, Mr. Backen, for allowing me to experience this literary enlightenment. I fear that––without the seating chart you prepared––my understanding of the English language may not have been fully developed otherwise. Who knows, I might even start wearing Timbs this week.