An open letter to the women at the rink last night.

Fuck you all for cowards.

No, really.

We demand equal treatment, we cry foul when our strength is called into question. We want the same things the men have. The same rights, the same respect, the same privileges.

You know what?

You can’t have something for nothing. You can’t show up at the rink, skate in a little knot at the far end, you can’t fail to integrate and expect to be somehow, magically integrated. You can’t fail to talk to anyone and then expect this to be your community. You can’t bunch together in a silent, exclusive knot and expect that you’ll be included and welcomed.

But most of all?  Most of all, you ladies at the rink?

You don’t fucking leave when scrimmage starts.

You don’t leave. Do you hear me? You don’t leave when it gets rough, you don’t leave when the physical contest starts, you don’t leave when you might be embarrassed or humiliated or hurt. You don’t leave when the yelling starts. You don’t leave when they watch, and judge, and measure. You don’t leave when it counts… you stay and be fucking counted.

I was the only woman left, and we started with six. Six of us, and I was fucking over the moon to walk into a skills and drills and have so many women there, skating. Representing.

Then drills ended and we got sorted out for scrimmage, and it was just me and the goalie and I looked around at all the men and thought what just happened here?

Why was it just me and the goalie and no other women left?

I was furious. I don’t care how novice you are. Guys out there could barely stand up. They waved their sticks and fell down and one guy shot on his own net. One guy got his bells rung and went off the ice listing and weaving. I took a wrister to the ankle and I’ve got a glorious puck hickey there today and do you think I care? Do you think any of us cared? Not a bit.

So how dare you.

How dare you show up only to bail when it’s most important to stay. You want to play hockey?  You want to fucking play hockey? Then play.

This is the proving ground.

No one’s going to hand you women anything. If that’s what you expect then fuck you, you put on your skates and came to the wrong place. 

Lace it up. Suck it up.

Prove yourself.

Play.

12 thoughts on “An open letter to the women at the rink last night.

  1. Yeah! Seriously, you rock.

    Okay, I’m not tough. Well, not hockey-tough. But I’m tough in other ways. Farm-style work? I’m on it. Moving across the country knowing only one person at the other end? Got it. Starting a business with no money in the bank? Did that. Twice. Being “that kind of mom”? I have the responsible kids to prove that one. And I have little pity for those who start the talk but won’t walk. Life is about standing up and standing strong. If you step up to the plate, you better be ready to swing.

  2. I’ve never played hockey or ice skated so yes, I would be at the far end clinging to the wall.😉 But once I got my “ice legs”, you bet your bottom dollar I’d be scrimmaging for my life. Post cancer recovery has forced me to take it easier than I normally would have but that’s just the smart thing to do.

    I used to hate the girls that wouldn’t go balls out in kickboxing class. Especially when Sifu would make us take off our gear and do it bare knuckle. You were expected to fight with restraint (just because I can break your jaw doesn’t mean I should) but still with guts behind it. We would go bare knuckle to also get used to getting smacked around in case we were ever in a fight.

    • I think the implications of this problem are larger, because of what you’re saying. If you don’t have the experience of fully committing and risking, if you don’t learn to face the physicality, if you don’t push yourself and go through these kinds of crucibles, I feel like there is some core strength, some core belief in self that goes untested.

      And that isn’t to say that something like cancer tests us – it does. But I dunno, for me, it made me feel weak, not strong. Maybe your experience was different.

      But I think you and I come out of a martial arts class or scrimmage with the same sense of our own personal strength, and a confidence that we might not have otherwise.

      And it pisses me off and worries me that women are avoiding the circumstances where they would get that huge, confidence and strength-making moment, and never achieving that.

      • While I felt physically weak during cancer treatment, I felt spiritually stronger. It helped me reevaluate what was important and what’s worth getting stressed over. It also just helped to really reinforce the fact that I have a wonderful husband and an amazing group of family and friends. I think it made me emotionally stronger.

        I guess my point was that it’s one thing to back down when things are painful or it’s just unsafe. It’s lame to back down because it MIGHT be tough or it MAY hurt (in a good way). You don’t grow physically or emotionally if you keep yourself wrapped up in bubble wrap.

    • Sorry, ran out of reply links, so re-replying.

      Maybe my experience wasn’t hard core enough. I mean genuinely, I think that’s it, and the difference.

      And yeah, about painful and unsafe and even then, sometimes you have to gauge if the benefits outweigh the risks, if you go for it.

  3. I swear I think I just fell in love. You ROCK! Once you commit, you commit, 100%. Those men didn’t give a crap if they embarrassed themselves once or twice, shot it into the wrong net, got their bell rung or whatever. They went balls out and will be back for more. No easing in for them, and none for you either. Hazzah to the “Fuck you,” my friend! Give those women some figure skates and a Dorothy Hammill haircut…. (FYI, I really LIKE Dorothy Hammill, so don’t go hatin’ on me, OK?)

    • LOLOL!

      I get the sentiment.

      Dorothy Hamill is an amazing athlete, and I have total respect for anyone who does that kind of thing on the ice without full gear. O.o

      But yeah. If you’re not there to play hockey, don’t bother showing up at all with a stick and gear like somehow that makes you a hockey player.

  4. I have never understood why. I don’t get it.

    I avoid hockey because of worry of what could happen if I hit in the wrong place with my effed up spine..but when I did play sports, it wasn’t this lame ass limp wristed flounce about. You brought it to what ever field, rink or court you came to.

    I used to be the only girl who played basketball with nine guys, and they realized after the first game where I elbowed them in the ribs and other illegal stuff, that they didn’t need to treat me like I was breakable.

    The whole point of ourselves, our mothers, grandmothers fighting for equal rights is the right to be treated like anyone else.

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