Bringing in a "New" Playoff Tradition
Anthony Curatolo and Courtney Beckham of ChicksWhoGiveAPuck present their thoughts on how female hockey fans can get involved with playoff traditions.
Social media sure has a way to get a topic started.
Recently, I posted a twitter poll asking female hockey fans how they celebrate playoff traditions and help root their teams on when the playoffs begin.
I came across the “ChicksWhoGiveAPuck“, and I must say I was instantly impressed.
Like many things for the Chicks, it also started with social media. We at The Hockey Guys tweeted asking for female playoff beard equivalents and Courtney Beckham of the aforementioned “ChicksWhoGiveAPuck” replied that some of their writers were not going to not shave their legs or armpits but that there were hopes in finding a suitable alternative.
Together we set out to collaborate on something that would allow females to participate in the crazy hockey playoff traditions and superstitions.
This year, I personally started my playoff beard early. A week early to be precise. The team that I root for underneath it all were in a tough battle for playoff positioning down the stretch and since it was the equivalent to a playoff atmosphere I decided to treat it like one.
Fast forward into today. It might look natural but the discomfort that comes from actually growing a beard is annoying. A man’s face gets very itchy at a certain stage, the one I personally like to call the in-between stage. It is in-between scruffy and all out beard. This is where the scratching and rough terrain of a male’s face becomes somewhat out of control.
However, when it comes to playoffs it comes to tradition and superstition it was an unfair advantage that we, as male fans, had over the females. Therefore, I stand tall by tradition especially due to the fact that my team is a playoff team yet want to make sure that every fan has an opportunity to equally take part in the joy that is playoff hockey.
With that, let’s take a deeper look at this tradition shall we?
Over the years, more and more female fans have really taken a liking to the sport of hockey. Not only have they become true fans, they have become passionate ones.
Courtney Beckham feels that it is great for both the sport as well as all the boys who follow the sport. It could make for two people finding their actual soul mates. But we will not get into that.
“What we can get into is, since men have the tradition and ability to grown facial hair what can women do in order to have a similar tradition, possibly one that we can even start on our own and get credit for?”
Obviously, easier for males due to the fact that a beard is not frowned upon. Therefore, we cannot have women going out in public with skirts or shorts or even capris on and showing a leg full of fur. I know it sounds like a battle of the sexes but women themselves have even stated it is not something they would want nor be comfortable doing.
A male and facial hair are accepted, leg hair on females, err….excessive leg hair on females is deemed inappropriate; unfortunately.
With the “Chicks Who Give a Puck” and “The Hockey Guys” attempting to team up to find a way where the girls can get involved on tradition, we sat down and came up with an attempt on a new tradition. However, in order to do so, we had to take a look at not only the history of the playoff beard but the work that goes into it and what it represents.
The playoff beard started in hockey and has expanded to most of the major sports in North America. The New York Islanders are credited with starting it in 1980, the year they won the cup. The Islanders went on to win the cup three more times, back to back to back to back. Quite impressive.
Since then hockey players and fans alike have taken to putting down the razor and focusing on the game. The idea is that one is so focused on the task at hand (winning) that personal hygiene takes a back seat. Wives and girlfriends had to silently suffer from the sandpaper effect that I, as mentioned earlier, call the in-between beard.
Fast forward almost twenty years and we find ourselves in a dilemma. What about female fans? What about their dedication to the sport, to their teams and their following of superstitions?
Being that we are looking for a common trend, it was discussed by Courtney and myself that it would have to be something natural, affordable and similar to the “playoff beard”.
Courtney Beckham provides her thoughts:
“I started a list of things I could think of off the top of my head. Don’t shave legs. Nope, employer doesn’t allow facial hair on men, let alone letting women roam the hallways with Tarzan looking legs of fur. Don’t thread/tweeze/wax eyebrows. No thanks. Freida Pinto may have been able to pull this look off but this does not show the effort that men display when not shaving their face. This portrays a woman who is lazy or does not care about her personal appearance. Don’t thread/tweeze/wax upper lip. Nope. No one wants to look like a hot mess, almost transvestite like (no disrespect to those who are gender confused). Don’t shave underarms. Negative. While French is the second language of hockey the hygiene habits have not carried over. Thank God. Kane is rocking a mullet, what about that? NO. While men can simply shave this off afterwards women are stuck either rocking the mullet or cutting their hair to a butchy length. Eww.
How about dying one’s hair or even a highlight or two? Of course there are the obvious setbacks, some of us (yours truly) have extremely dark hair. Dying or highlighting would consist of not only stripping the color but also dying the hair and finding the right color to do so. I support the Avalanche, so am I to put silver, blue and burgundy streaks in my hair? Maybe just burgundy (reddish) but any girl who has gotten highlights (or studies the color spectrum) knows that certain colors fade out faster than others, red being the fastest.
So should a female hockey fan have to spend more money than a male hockey fan to show her loyalty? For me, highlighting my hair would cost a trip to the salon ($120) plus color tinted conditioner ($15) and once the playoffs are over dying my hair back ($120). Hardly seems fair.”
However, though not as simple as it may seem, there are inexpensive ways to have a dye-it-yourself type of job done. A small piece, or chunk if you will, of hair with the main color of the team you support.
This could be the winner however, let’s continue the discussion.
Courtney goes on by asking:
“What about facial paint, jewelry, outfits, etc?
No, no and no. Facial paint isn’t practical or logical for ladies who work (or stay at home for that matter.) Jewelry can be bought, taken off at night and has no true significance for loyalty to one’s team.
Outfits? While we all know most women love to shop, spending hundreds to thousands during this economy is not only financially illogical but impractical for going to work decked out in hockey paraphernalia.
Some fans, male and female alike, have suggested wearing the same pair of underwear for each game. Washing only while showering or after the game. While it is completely revolting to me (and if you were honest, to you as well) it defeats the point of what we are trying to do: Find a female equivalent to the playoff beard in discomfort as well as it being something that can be seen (not smelt.)
What about painting one’s nails the team colors without allowing touch-ups or removing of the polish? Men are not allowed to trim or touch up their beards and with that they become scraggly and disgusting looking but it’s a part of the process in showing loyalty to one’s team. The showmanship works, the alternating colors (team colors) work because it will make people ask why they are painted that way.
How about the discomfort? While some females would find nail polish chipping and looking sloppy to be uncomfortable. Many men would find this easier than what they have to deal with for playoff beards, but it is a close comparison.”
Die hard New York Rangers fan, Crystal Gagliano, when asked stated that it is indeed an unfair advantage that females do not have it as easy as men do when taking part in tradition. She goes on to say:
“The equivalent to a males playoff beard would indeed be for a female to either let their leg hair or the hair under their arms grow. However, unlike a male and his beard, which does not come as something that is frowned upon, a female would not look appropriate with their legs and/or under their arms un-shaved.
As a female hockey fan, I think the best idea would be either for the female fan to dye a streak of their hair with the main color that supports their team. For instance, I am a New York Rangers fan and I would have no problem putting a healthy streak of blue color into my hair to support my boys in a playoff run. Unfortunately, they did not make it this year so I have no reason to take part in such “tradition” though in the future I most certainly will. I will also say that the nail polish idea is something I would also take part in. It is affordable and is something most, if not all, females enjoy.”
Su Ring, a die hard Pittsbrugh Penguins fan, of DailySu states:
“These are truly interesting ideas. I, personally, usually wear the same shirt which is my Evgeni Malkin jersey for the Pittsburgh Penguins and my Manchester Monarchs t-shirt for the Kings. I’m boring, I know however, I would not be opposed to the nail polish idea. Especially for those of us in professional environments where non-traditional colors in ones hair would not be considered appropriate. I also just read on twitter that many female fans will not be shaving their legs as a “new” tradition. The thought just made me a little sick.”
Long time Hockey fan Katrina Doell says she would participate in a female equivalent of the playoff beard:
“Of course I would represent my team with such a tradition. Although my team isn’t in it, I would most definitely pick up some superstitious behaviors. I think it would be fun to go through the playoffs wearing a particular item of clothing every day. However, I work in a professional environment where I can not dye my hair. If I could, I would. Simple as that. I can, however, see myself taking part in the painting of the finger nails. Maybe even spread it to my toe nails being that playoff hockey time usually means nice enough weather to not have to wear sneakers or shoes.”
So what are classy, kick-butt, hockey loving females to do?
Our suggestion, based on the social media discussion is as follows:
Females should either change their hair (highlights/dye) or use their nails to show dedication. Why are we discounting jewelry, undergarments, etc? Part of the tradition of hockey is the beard, a beard is a natural occurance, the body naturally grows hair. The tradition for women should encompass the same foundation, something that our body naturally does. Nails and hair grow. Undergarments and jewelry were man-made, synthetic, must be purchased types of things that can not match the equal value of a beard. Both can be taken off, whereas the beard is not taken off. While nail polish and hair dye can also be taken off, it is similar to the steps necessary to that of taking off a beard; grooming.
Are you a female hockey fan? If you are and are taking part with our suggested playoff tradition or another one all on your own, send pictures to email@example.com or to us here at The Hockey Guys by emailing Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you that do take part, we will have a special feature on our site for those of you who best support this “new” tradition and The Hockey Guys will bring you on as a guest to their radio program.