Right or wrong, there will forever be a stigma that comes along with being a female hockey fan (actually any kind of female sports fan) and I, as I'm sure all of you have experienced at one time or another, have been the brunt of enough "puck bunny" comments, articles, blog posts, etc., to realize there just isn't a right or wrong answer and that it's all a matter of opinion. It is these opinions that we, as females, do not necessarily have to agree with but should at least think about respecting.
However, what I will always have a hard time dealing with is the idea of making your point at the expense of someone else. You don't like me or my blog? Fine. Just make sure you don't visit again (and that way, you won't find the need to make it or inappropriately include it in a topic of one of your posts - simple). I am a BIG BELIEVER in "live and let live."
I think what bothers me the most about all of this is the fact that the majority of times it's female(s) accusing other female(s) or, perhaps "degrading" is a better suited word, and that the majority of times I've had to defend myself it's been to another female fan. What is it that stirs up the worst in all of us with that? Seriously ladies - we defeat ourselves with this behavior and the men just sit back and laugh. We should be sticking together and uniting as one strong force to rise above this stigma - not proving it to everyone!
What actually made me sit down and think long and hard about this is the fact that it just hit me that it wasn't so long ago that I found myself on the other side of this argument. I was actually questioning another female's reasons for being a fan. Who am I, or anyone else for that matter, to say what does and does not make someone a "real" hockey fan - male or female? It's easy to judge someone superficially, but maybe we should just take the time to look harder into the soul of the fan especially the female fan!
Yes, there is NO DENYING there are what we ALL refer to as "puck bunnies," but let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt instead of judging what we think we see! And, honestly, ALL red-blooded females (AND MALES) have a tendency to look upon the opposite sex in this way, so there's really no way of denying it no matter who you are (fan or not!)! None of us have a switch to turn the hormones off and on when we watch sports (REGARDLESS OF AGE) which is why this blog came about in the first place and is another story for another time.
But to better illustrate this, I'll give you the story of when and how I became the avid hockey fan that I am today (even if that means disclosing how old I really am - as far as I'm concerned, a fan transcends all time!):
I was 18 and graduated high school the very day the Pens won their second Stanley Cup. The [female] friend I was hanging around at the time had a [male] cousin who was a year or two younger than us and was NO DOUBT a diehard Pens fan (his entire family was). All three of us hung out alot that summer and, of course, the Pens were a big topic - he, as a Pens fan, made it infectious.
Prior to that, this friend and I did attend a few Pens games on bus trips, but it wasn't anything like it was that summer. I even remember going to the store to buy hockey cards with them and he let us open a pack - even showed us "how" to open them (I was HOOKED after that one pack which is also why I collect hockey cards to this day - which is also another story for another time).
Anyway, I began to fall in love with the Pens as a team; I remember watching the Cup celebration at Three Rivers Stadium from home on my TV. My favorite (even still to this day) was Jaromir Jagr, "Mario Jr." - "it is very sunny tonight, NOT!" His jersey was the first Pens jersey I owned and was a Christmas gift from my aunts that Christmas. I actually learned how to say "Happy Birthday" in Czech and called up the restaurant the Pens were celebrating his 21st birthday and the phone call ending with a lady tellling me, "uh, he's a little busy right now."
I still have TONS of old Pens stuff that I collected from back then; to name a few -- the Jagr / Mario Wheaties box, the Coke cans, a few Jagr rookie cards, autographed program from an exhibition game I attended in York, PA where we sat right next to the radio booth of Mike Lange and Steigy. Joey Mullen cards I had autographed along with the picture I have with him the time my dad took me to his signing at a car dealership in Indiana, PA a few days before my birthday.
As friends, we went on to college and kept in touch, but I continued to be a fan and watched games every chance I got. I even met, became friends, and eventually roomed with other bigtime Pens fans in college.
I can tell you where I was / what I was doing when Mario announced at a press conference that he had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Then I met my husband who loves the Pens just as much as I do. I even remember on our first date giving him a large chocolate chip cookie with a Pens logo on it that I had bought at Giant Eagle. That may actually have "sealed the deal" - I remember him being so psyched about it that he actually showed his dad (YES - I can still feel the embarrassment!)!!
Ah, the memories! Over the years, I eventually fell in love with hockey as a sport and not just Penguins hockey. My story as a fan has many twists and turns to it along the way, but that's the basic foundation of it - a little over 17 years of highs and lows; the very reason why you can't always judge a book by it's cover. I'd say that I've paid my dues and I am a "REAL" fan! This blog is only part of the story and so I hate for it to be the judge of who I am as a fan, but no matter what, it's a part of who I am as a fan and it makes me proud and no one should question that. [Can we just keep it in the context it was created in, PLEASE?!!!]!! Aside from that, if you don't like this one, [shameless plug!] you can always check out my OTHER one which is for the more "serious" Pens fan!!!
So maybe I'm not as confused about where I stand as a female hockey fan as I thought I was at the beginning of this post and I may just needed to take a look back myself and appreciate all the great times I've had / collected as a fan.
We females should start supporting each other and stop knocking each other down and this is my little way of beginning to do that!