This is an entry in Fangirlish’s What Sports Mean To Me series, where our writers discuss memorable sports moments and how sports have impacted their lives.
A few years ago, my list of “sports wishes” was a very long one. I wanted my favourite players to win trophies, I wanted good players to fill out various holes in my team’s lineup, and maybe some success for my favourite team. You know. Normal sports fan stuff.
Things have changed since then.
As I said in my earlier post about sports hate, things are not exactly going well for me right now when it comes to sports, as I am a fan of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, and everything sucks. It’s hard to even think about such superficial things when your team is very bad, will probably be very bad for a very long time, and the owner is trading everyone you love out of spite. Do normal fanbases care about their team’s place in the standings? Mine doesn’t. All we care about is what happens off the ice.
Sports Wish #1: A new fucking owner, please
This is literally all I want out of sports right now. If a genie appeared right now and gave me one wish, I might actually choose this over enough money to pay for school or a horse or any other much more useful wish. I’ve been wanting Eugene Melnyk out of Ottawa for what feels like forever, but his tyranny has reached a point where I honestly don’t think the Ottawa Senators can move forward as a franchise until he leaves.
I need #MelnykOut, because once he leaves, I can go back to enjoying sports the way I used to.
Sports Wish #2: All my favs back
Okay, I liked. This is the only other thing I want, okay? All my NHL favourite players were traded in the last year (I’m not even exaggerating), and I just want them back because I love and miss them. Erik Karlsson needs to come back to me. So does Mark Stone. And Kyle Turris. And Freddy Claesson. Even Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. I would add Mike Hoffman to this list but his departure was kind of justified. They all need to come back to Ottawa and be happy and on my favourite team and I need to go back to watching them play every night. I’d even be able to tolerate Melnyk staying as the owner and the team always being in last place for the rest of my life if I could just watch my favourite players play.
My standards are very low these days.
Sports Wish #3: For Erik Karlsson to be recognized as the generational talent he is, win the Norris trophy every year for the rest of his career, and be hailed as a god until the end of time
Erik Karlsson may not play for my team anymore, but that doesn’t mean my love for him has diminished in the slightest. Take it from someone who watched almost every game he played in the NHL until the trade to San Jose: he is good. Not only is he good, he is the best defenseman in the NHL right now and one of the best of all time, and I will listen to no arguments on the contrary.
Sports Wish #4: For all my most hated teams to be immediately relegated to the minor leagues (or at least be really bad for a long time)
As I said in my last post in this series, sports hate is the one thing upon which I can always rely, even when my team is a flaming pile of garbage. The Sens have suffered, so now it’s time to say goodbye to the Leafs, Habs and Penguins. Fair is fair.
Sports Wish #5: More support for women’s sports
Moving away from NHL hockey for a bit, I also want to talk about how women’s sports are awesome and deserve so much better than the limited resources and coverage they get these days.
Much digital ink has been spilled about the gender pay gap in sports, so I won’t waste too much time on it, but it is absolutely ridiculous that in a time when men can make tens of millions of dollars a year playing professional sports, most female athletes need to work on top of competing at the highest level. Lots of women’s sports teams have even been a lot more successful than their male counterparts on the international stage!
It’s past time people finally give female athletes the respect and admiration they deserve.
Sports Wish #6: A CWHL team in Ottawa (or Halifax)
I don’t have much faith in my team being any good, so now I’m just hoping the Canadian Women’s Hockey League gives me a new team to cheer for. I was so sure they were about to expand to Ottawa a few years ago, but they went to China instead, and I’m still salty about.
Give me a women’s hockey team in one of my cities.
Sports Wish #7: A picture of Liv Chu-Ouellette sitting in the Clarkson Cup
This one is simple. The CWHL’s Clarkson Cup will be awarded this weekend, and while both Montreal and Calgary are great teams, I have to cheer for Les Canadiennes because two of their former players, Caroline Ouelette and Julie Chu, have a baby named Liv and she is the most precious person on this earth.
If Montreal wins, she might get to sit in the Cup. Can you even imagine how cute that would be? I need it to happen.
Sports Wish #8: The ability to enjoy hockey without constant misogyny
This should go without saying, but honestly, it’s so exhausting just existing in this space as a girl. One day, I hope I’ll be able to just… enjoy sports… without constantly having to deal with sexist comments from people (not just men!) who can’t understand that women like sports too or why that attitude bothers me. Do I think that will ever happen? Not really. But a girl can dream.
Sports Wish #9: For the world to finally recognize horseback riding as a real sport.
I’ve mostly focused on hockey up to this point, because I am a Canadian stereotype, but my first sports love was horses so of course I have to throw this in here. I know it’s cool to dunk on horse girls these days, but honestly, equestrians deserve way more respect!
It’s really hard to make non-equestrians understand how difficult this sport – and I’m calling it one sport, but really it’s a discipline that encompasses many very different sports – is. Too many people think that because they once did a trail ride on a horse that had been specifically trained to follow its friend down a specific path without doing anything weird, all riding must be that easy. But it’s really not! Dressage is one of the most physically and mentally demanding things I have ever attempted, and I know it looks like the rider is just sitting there not doing anything, but believe me when I say that 1) that rider is working incredibly hard and 2) it takes years of training to be able to look like you’re not doing anything. Showjumping is all about split-second decision making and instinctively knowing exactly when you need to stand up in the saddle for the jump. And believe me, it takes a lot of training just to teach a horse to walk in a straight line, let alone jump a course neatly and without falling on its face or accomplish any of the moves you see in professional dressage.
Anyways, it might never happen but I wish people would finally wake up to the fact that equestrian sports are real sports and horse girls are real athletes.
Sports Wish #10: For every old cishet white misogynist in sports media to be immediately replaced with a cool progressive woman
Sports media is SO boring, and one of the reasons for that is its lack of diversity. Also, shitty journalists and analysts are upholding a really toxic culture of misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and racism that should have died out years ago.
Fire Don Cherry into the sun, along with every sports media person like him. Then give their jobs to people who could do them much better.
What are your sports wishes? Share your thoughts here and on social media using the hashtag #MySportsWishes!
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Reader, fangirl and aspiring writer. Obsessed with horses, hockey and Herondales. Frequently has her heart broken by fictional characters and terrible hockey teams. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.