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Hocku of the Week

Is it worth spoiling breakfast?
The Leafs are not good
Keep it on your plate, Leafs fans
The Indigestible
Hockey is a terrific sport for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it embraces its own relentless stupidity. In fact, the utterly ridiculous is nothing less than one of the sport’s defining cultural traits.
Disagree, do you? Then name me any other sport where a guy like Derek Boogaard – a player of deficient capabilities in the most fundamental basics of the game – not only has a roster spot in the best league on the planet but where he his celebrated and highly compensated for his one and only skill: punching other people while wearing skates.
A fuller debate about just how wonderfully dumb hockey is will have to wait for another day, however. I raise the point only to explain how yet another weird idea makes perfect sense in the hockey context. During the month of December Toronto Maple Leafs fans began throwing waffles on the ice during Leafs games. The phenomenon became a sensation and even drew the attention of The Grey Lady.
As best as I can tell, the fad was a goofy, explosive flash in the pan that has already died down, especially since a participant has been charged by the cops and most folks realize that throwing things onto the field of play is dangerous and stupid.
The obvious question: Why waffles? The New York Times article cited above sheds light on the subject. Apparently, the Canadian school system produces the kind of creative and deductive minds that can reason out what those of us with our marginal US educations might have misunderstood as a recondite reference requiring an unlikely leap of logic, because according to the protestor, “[The Maple Leafs] need to wake up and eat some breakfast. I’m just trying to help them out with a balanced diet.”
Of course, given the explanation and the hockey setting, it all makes perfect sense now, doesn’t it? Sure, it is still stupid and a waste of a breakfast treat, but it is not as blithely odd as it seems at first blush. One can at least see the logic – as it were. And it got me to thinking: What odd food choice would make for a similarly (il)logical protest for some of the prominent Minnesota franchises? Allow me to offer a few possibilities.*
Minnesota Timberwolves – Plantains
You know what is really delicious and nutritious and easy to eat? A banana. Once you peal a banana you are ready to enjoy it. You know what looks like a banana but is much more starchy and takes much more preparation and effort to eat? A plantain. Once you peel a plantain you are still not even halfway home. You can’t eat these things raw. You have to season them and prepare them and fry them or cook them in some other way that is going to take time and effort and probably reduce their nutritional value. I like plantains, but it they often don’t feel like they are worth the effort. So it is with the Timberwolves. They are beginning to resemble a legitimate NBA team, but they are still far from it. They do not have the peel-and-enjoy ease of the Lakers, Celtics, or Heat. They require more work from their fans for far less benefit.
Minnesota Wild – Garbanzo Beans
One of the family recipes that we like to make in the Rocket household is a spinach-garbanzo bean-pasta dish that is pretty quick and tasty and nutritious. The first few bites are always fantastic. The contrast of textures and flavors blend together really well. However, as the meal goes on the garbanzo beans seem to take over the dish and for whatever reason they go from delicious to all right to bland to not great to do-I-really-have-to-eat-any-more-of-these. Unfortunately, the recipe tends to make a lot, so there are a lot of leftovers. Thus, what started out as a good meal with a nice balance becomes, by the third meal of the week, a struggle to choke it down. And since it is a vegetarian dish, there is a sense of obligation to keep eating the beans so as to not miss out on the protein that would otherwise be missing. So it is with the Wild. They were a lot of fun and a real attraction when they first set up shop in St. Paul about 10 years ago. But they have increasingly and steadily gotten less and less palatable. Yet, I think many of us feel a sense of obligation to keep ingesting this product, because the last time Minnesotans dared ignore a perpetually mediocre NHL product it was taken away.
Minnesota Vikings – [Redacted]
So, there you have it. I invite any other food suggestions and/or waffle stories in the comments.

*Please do not actually take any of these items and throw them on the playing surface. I am not an advocate of non-Stu-suffering-violence, but idiot “fans” who turn arenas from emotionally hostile to the other team into legitimately dangerous for players, coaches, refs, other fans, or anyone else at the game ought to be publicly flogged.

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