Kukla's Korner

Above the Glass

From the Dub: Gone campin’

The regular season and playoffs are like a compass for hockey fans. They guide us through our everyday lives with an unwavering sense of direction, hope and purpose. The off season, however, is another story. While some people use the off season as a chance to kick back from highly disciplined regular season fitness and nutrition, some of us head in the opposite direction. After nine months of living on a strict diet of barbecue nachos, beer and cupcakes, it’s time for the nutritionally challenged like myself to get it back in gear. As local fans count down to the start of Portland Winterhawks training camp later this month, it’s time for a fan training camp of our own, in which we engage in various activities designed to improve cardiovascular fitness, tone our muscles and prevent unfortunate and regrettable nutrition choices.

For those who are already hitting the gym on a regular basis, eating from the four food groups, refraining from alcohol and sleeping 8 interrupted hours on a nightly basis, good for you and carry on. But if you are like me and need a little extra help staying on track with fitness and nutrition, may I suggest the following:  

Do not look at the nachos, do not touch the nachos, do not eat the nachos. I firmly believe that a pint or two of Guinness constitutes a nutritiously balanced meal, if you include the obligatory bangers and mash on the side. Ditto for the beans and chicken in barbecue nachos, which qualify as “protein.” Therefore, I propose a daylong workshop in which the nutritionally challenged like me relearn some food fundamentals. Attendees will begin by reviewing the food pyramid and conclude by participating in a short quiz in which we must correctly identify both the categories of the food pyramid and an example of healthy foods, such as a piece of fruit or a bowl of sugar-free breakfast cereal. Participants who fail this test will be forced to wear an ankle bracelet that is directly connected to a Brendan Shanahan-like Director of fan nutrition safety, who then calls a disciplinary meeting to determine the length of punishment: one game suspension for slipping up occasionally by doing one of these things, two games or more for repeat offenders.

  • Drive through McDonald’s or any other fast food establishment because hey, it’s there and no one will know, right? 
  • Eat chocolate cream cheese “muffins” (cupcakes) for breakfast.
  • Attempting to purchase any of the following during a grocery or convenience store run: Stauffer’s french bread pizza, Cheetos, regular soda, Twinkies (well ok, maybe one to celebrate their return to shelves, but that’s it), macaroni and cheese or any frozen food bearing the TGI Friday’s brand.

Break for a little pick me up. In place of traditional weight lifting, this strength building workout would include the following: 

  • Beer carrying exercise to hone our skills at transporting multiple beverages from the bar to our seats: 2 for relative newcomers, 4 for the more experienced fans.
  • Stand up/sit down exercises similar to squats to ensure the optimal fitness needed for jumping out of our seats at random intervals for goals, bad calls, fights and smacking the head of that first class wanker in front of you who doesn't honor the "wait for a stoppage of play to get up" rule. 
  • Upper body conditioning, consisting of various overhead weight lifting exercises to better prepare us for throwing our arms in the air at bad, non or blown calls and vehemently flipping off opposing players who take obvious dives or cheap shots on our team. Because said actions tend to increase during playoffs, increasing the amount of weight lifted or adding additional exercises during the stretch run is recommended.

Listen up!, Finally, training camp will conclude with this off site tour of local record stores, designed to introduce attendees to artists that are rarely or never heard in hockey rinks. Strictly forbidden are purchases of “The very best of AC/DC” and the latest remix of “Gangnam Style.” Highly encouraged is the purchase of CDs by the following: Miles Davis, Black Flag, the Rollins Band, jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood and Great Big Sea.

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com