Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Ducks not dead yet, except the one

Thanks to a special shark fin turnover recipe, the Ducks came back to life and won a road game.  It was a Boxing Day miracle, possibly the first on record:

@PollakOnSharks: “Perspective: Ducks have won 10 of 35 games this season, three against #sjsharks. Of only three Anaheim road wins, two are at HP Pavilion.”

Ugh.  What more can I say?  There was Colin White’s disappearance. He played a little over 8 minutes, and not at all in the third.  That bodes ill.  Who would have guessed the Sharks would need more than eight defensemen? Beyond that, let me refer you to Fear the Fin, Working the Corners, and Sharks Talk for all the gory details of how the Sharks lost yet again to the Ducks.

The sidebar story to the Sharks losing is that someone brought a dead duck into the Tank, held onto it through two periods and two intermissions, and threw it on the ice during the third.  Eeeee-yuck.

Not all dead things bring good luck. In fact, most dead things are not good luck tokens.  Cemeteries are not popular places to stage a wedding.  If you have a dead thing, you should eat it or bury it.  Carrying it around for a couple of hours and then throwing it onto the ice during a hockey game is probably not a good plan, and the chances are people will not consider it a classy thing to do. Mostly, they will think you stink, and they’ll be right.

There are exceptions, there are traditions of animal sacrifice and ritual use of cadavers, even in hockey. Red Wings fans do it, but the animal they use is not a representation of the opponent.  The octopus has a symbolic connection to playoff victory requirements from days gone by.  Even the Panthers fans have a better claim to throwing rats than Sharks fans have to throwing anything.  They throw plastic rats, because carrying dead rats around is universally repellant.  There is no NHL team called “The Rats.”  The symbolism of the act is connected to the history of the home team.  It isn’t just a stupid, empty, and frankly gross commentary on the opponent.  If you’re going to have a ritual act, come up with your own.

People joke that in California people get into trouble for killing and torturing animals outside proper slaughter facilities, even though such laws exist all over the developed world.  There’s some hypocrisy in all that (“kill here, this way, not there, that way”) but there is a difference between slaughtering a cow with a bolt gun and setting fire to the neighbor’s cat.  We know perfectly well that people who like to kill animals in unconventional ways also tend to do stuff like burn down houses and sometimes they turn into serial killers.

I doubt that the serial killer concern was why a teenage boy was charged recently for shooting Bay Area ducks and geese.  Even if they can’t make the animal cruelty charges stick, there is a property damage case to be made, and intervention is in order.

So do we do a CSI investigation on the duck thrown on the ice at HP, to determine if it was purchased at a market or strangled in the local park?  Probably not.  Probably security has a talk with the person and then they start searching people a little more carefully on our way into the Tank, which will be a pita for all of us.  Thanks, duck-tosser.  Thanks a lot.

What is wrong with being a place that doesn’t throw dead animals, that finds it unfunny (unless accompanied by a loud pronouncement of “I fart in your general direction!”) and even treats it like a crime?  What if that is part of our local identity, that we don’t do stuff like that?  Hey, it’s an identity, it’s our identity, not a cheap knock-off of Detroit’s.  I think it’s funny that you could get busted for doing that.  I also happen to think it is right and good to discourage the cavalier treatment of living things and their bodies, whether or not you plan to eat them or killed them in a humane manner.  Children play with dead things, monkeys throw feces.  Put them together and you have random duck-tossers.

I know San Jose has a thing about wanting to be recognized as bigger and badder than San Francisco, but even if Joseph wasn’t quite so into animal rights as Francis, I doubt he would approve.  Did Jesus’s mom’s husband play with dead things?  I don’t think so.  Seems like he was revered as a protector and educator, and St. Francis was among the saints who identified him as someone important.  I don’t think he would have thought that if he knew Joseph didn’t like animals.

Stereotypes are usually inaccurate portrayals of any group.  Yes, many people eat meat in California, lots go shoot things for fun.  A lot of us do feel strongly about free-range food, not only because it is cleaner and better for you than things raised in sewage, but also because it’s nicer to let the little animals walk around and be little animals, even if they will shortly be killed and eaten.  We say poh-tay-toh, not poh-tah-toh, and Ore-gun, not Oray-gone.

We don’t need to act like other fans.  We have our very own legit claim to hockey fandom.  By trying to imitate someone else, you undermine that legitimacy, make us look like craven wannabe-somebody elses.  If you need to throw something, throw daisies.  They would make a bigger mess, but at least people would know where you are if they saw it on tv.  Throwing flowers in the face of conflict has a history in the Bay Area, you could even call it iconic.  Dead birds?  Not so much.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, colin+white, dead+ducks, hockey+fan+rituals, hp+pavilion

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net