On Friday night, my family attended the Harvard vs. UND hockey game at the Ralph. This seems to have become an annual occurrence during the Thanksgiving or Christmas trip each year, and our family truly enjoys it. Living in gopher country is very oppressing for this Sioux fan. It is also difficult to have children who are not necessarily 100% Sioux fans. For example, I said, “the Ralph” in passing, and my son had no idea what I was talking about. Once I explained it, he then attempted to reason with me before he mocked me about it. I did not really see the issue, and I still do not.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I love to have great seats – and we had great seats on Friday night! We were in the third row from the ice just to the right of the visiting team’s penalty box. We could see all of the swearing and the referees doing the two Harvard goal reviews. I have no idea if the calls were correct or not, but it was fun to be so close to the action. We could practically feel the plexi-glass moving when the Sioux hockey players checked the Harvard guys against it. The one downside of the seats was that we could not see the jumbo-tron very well; however, that was not a horrible thing as the action in front of me was pretty awesome…with the exception of the fact that the game ended as a tie when it should have resulted in a win for the Sioux.
I am thrilled that we went to the game as it was the second to last game with the Sioux nickname. Other bloggers and writers have written volumes about the loss of the nickname, the change of the logo, and the battle that has gone on for the past several years. I did a Google search using the words “und sioux logo controversy,” and over 35 pages of articles and pages popped up. I do not plan to recap it all in this post because enough people have done that, but I have some thoughts about how this will forever change the way we experience hockey in North Dakota. Let me say for the record that I understand why the controversy has to end the way that it is, and I believe that it is the best way for our teams to move forward in what they do best - play sports.
That being said…
I cannot imagine growing up in Grand Forks, North Dakota, without being able to cheer on the Fighting Sioux. I had a great time being in junior high during the late 80s when Jensen (#14) and Archibald (#15) were on the team, led in scoring, and spent a lot of time in fights – and then the penalty box. I had a pillow on my bed that had the players’ pins on it. I cannot imagine having a NoDak sweatshirt instead of a Fighting Sioux sweatshirt. Going to the games and cheering on the NoDaks just would not be the same as cheering on the Fighting Sioux.
For my entire Fighting Sioux life, I have mocked the UW and U of M rodent team mascots. If they (whoever “they” is) determines to return to the former name of flickertails, I will be one of the most unhappy people around. How will I be able to face the gopher fans whom I have mocked here in Minneapolis? It will be very embarrassing…not to mention the fact that, even if we add “fighting” in front of the name of flickertail, a squirrel is actually worse than a gopher or a badger.
What will I do?
Honestly, I think I would rather have no nickname at all than be a rodent.
I am at a complete loss at how to proceed in my life as a UND hockey fan and can only hope that some great leader will swoop down and save us all.
Out of curiosity, is this how the rest of the Fighting Sioux nation feels?