All right. You've met Jen. Now it's time to journey into the world of desert tortoises and pro wrestling. Robby tackles the Sleek Questionnaire after the jump...
1. First of all, give a quick bio about yourself, whatever you feel like divulging – who are you?
My name is Robby, and I ’m a 25-year old writer that lives in Beaumont, CA. I was born and raised in San Diego, which I still miss dearly. I moved to Beaumont when I finished my undergraduate studies at the University of Redlands.
I’m married and am expecting my first (and only) child sometime in November. My wife and I have five cats, two dogs, and a California Desert Tortoise that chills out in our back yard.
I’m currently attending Cal State San Bernardino part-time in their MBA program. I currently work for a software company in Redlands as a Web publications writer/editor, which is a fancy way to say I manage the messaging of our Web sites and I lead our efforts on Twitter.
When I'm not at work or at school, I'm watching Ducks games, Padres games, or Chargers games. Hockey is not my first love, but it's probably my fiercest. As someone who grew up on baseball, I feel really really guilty that I have a full-season ticket package for the Ducks and only buy occasional tickets for baseball, but c'est la vie. In my other scant moments of free time, I love me some video games, TV, and movies.
2. Secondly, what on god’s green earth drove you to become a fan of a Disney-owned team named the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim?
In the interest of full disclosure, I used to think hockey sucked. My first experience with hockey that I can remember was back when Fox used to broadcast the games and they superimposed the blue halo on the puck and added a tail on slap shots. Other than that, I once went to a San Diego Gulls game and was thoroughly unimpressed.
My wife works with a die-hard Ducks fan who has a full season package (like I now do). He was trying to get rid of some tickets one night, and my wife and I decided to take a chance on the Ducks. It was a game I will never forget. It was last February (February 11, to be exact) against the Flames. The game went to OT, and at the end of regulation, there were offsetting penalties, meaning that OT would start 3 on 3. As a baseball and football fan, I couldn’t really comprehend the notion of 3 on 3. But the excitement in the building was palpable and it was impossible not to get swept up when Scotty scored the game winner.
The next day, my wife asked her coworker how many other tickets he had available. We wound up attending a few other regular season games and went to Game 4 of both rounds of the playoffs. It literally took just over 60 minutes of hockey for us to become immediately and irrevocably hooked. I owe my entire fandom to her coworker.
3. Who is your favorite Duck of all-time? Favorite non-Duck of all-time?
Given that I’m only about 100 games into being a Ducks fan, my favorite "all-time" Duck is Bobby Ryan. For whatever reason, I tend to crush hard on rookies in every sport, and I love everything about his game. I started researching him a bit and saw some of the ridiculous goals he had scored (like the third goal against Quick earlier that year for his hat trick), and I’m still amazed at his ability to completely dominate an opposing team when he wants to. His goal against columbus this year on December 12th reminds me a lot of that ability.
I would say that my ties to Bobby were further strengthened in the Olympics this year. My wife and I had the opportunity to attend team USA’s first round game against Switzerland. We had paid through the nose for our Bobby Ryan Team USA jerseys and we had multiple people throughout the day ask us who Ryan was. When Bobby rifled that puck over Jonas’ glove-hand, we practically exploded and shouted to everyone around us, "THAT’S WHO RYAN IS!!!" The day was pretty much cemented by the hug between Jonas and Bobby at the end of that game. That was a pretty special moment.
I also have a serious affection for Jonas. I came in when Giguere had pretty much already lost the starting job to Hiller in 2009. Watching Jonas pretty much carry the Ducks into and through the first round of the playoffs made me fall for him hard. I love watching him play and seeing his performance against Canada in the Olympics was a thing of beauty.
As for my favorite non-Duck, I’m going to have to punt on this. I guess I could say Brian Burke since he drafted B-Ry and bailed us out on Jiggy this year.
4. Mostly because I’m curious: What was your favorite goal from the 2003 postseason? Favorite goal from the 2007 postseason?
Again, this is way before my time. So I’ll go with my favorite goals from the 2009 playoffs and from the 2010 season.
I know this will be a total shock, but my favorite goal from the 2009 playoffs were both of Bobby’s goals in Game 4 of the first round against San Jose. In my first ever playoff game, it was a treat to see my favorite player set the tone for that game. I can’t confess that I remember the specifics about those goals at this point, but seeing him dominate the Sharks was a thing of beauty.
I've talked about it here before, but my favorite goal this season was Lubo's game-tying goal against the Islanders on March 19th with 32 seconds left in the game. There was just something about that game, and that goal that was so electric. Hope was still alive at that point during this season and it seemed like one of those season-altering moments.
5. Name the five teams that it pains you the most to see beat the Ducks. Your five personal rivals.
It’s a toss-up between the Kings, Sharks, and Wings for that number-one spot. As a die-hard Padres fan and a born-and-bred San Diegan, I hate all things Los Angeles. It’s seriously part of my DNA. The fact that Kings fans typically act like Dodgers fans only furthers my disdain for them.
As for the Sharks, I was generally ambivalent about them until this year’s home opener. My god, what horrific fans they have. I distinctly remember walking out of that game after our shellacking and seeing a group of Sharks fans in our section just flipping off everyone after the game. I think I said something along the lines of "way to be classy" and it was met with a string of expletives.
The thing about Wings fans is that they’re a lot like Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs fans in baseball. They’re everywhere, and they have this galling sense of entitlement. Like every team has to lose to them just because they’re the Wings. The other thing that gets me is most of these "Detroit" fans probably couldn’t tell me what state Joe Louis Arena was actually in. So it’s more of a comment about their fans than the team itself, but then again, that’s true for the Sharks and the Kings too.
The two other teams I hate to see beat the Ducks are probably Pittsburgh and Columbus. Columbus just seemed to have our number this season for some odd reason, and I hate the fact that losing to the Penguins (and losing to them badly) seems to reinforce the notion that the Ducks aren’t a great team.
6. What’s up with Anaheim Calling? What got you into blogging?
I don’t know what’s up with this blog. It was started by a bunch of douche bags that bitch and whine . . .
Seriously though, Battle of California was the first Ducks blog I commented on and read routinely. I really enjoyed Earl’s cartoons and sense of humor, and I honestly thought that Arthur and Daniel were a little too serious.
However, as I grew as a fan and learned more about hockey, I came to appreciate the differences between the two blogs. It’s sort of like with the Padres. There’s the serious blog, Ducksnorts, and the slapstick blog, Gaslamp Ball. While the slapstick blog tends to draw more comments and traffic, I tend to find the discourse a bit more elevated here. This is not meant to slight Earl or BoC in any way, sometimes I just prefer a little more analysis with my hockey commentary. But then again, Earl’s recent illustrated histories of BoC is probably one of the most fantastic things I’ve ever seen on the Internet.
I’ve always liked the idea of blogging. As someone with an English: Writing degree, I find that participating in blogs is a good way to sate my creative need to write, especially since I can’t do much creative writing at work. Blogging is a good way for me to blow off some steam and stroke my ego. After all, most writers live to see others read their work. Blogging gives me a very practical platform for this.
7. Link love: what are some of the sites you enjoy reading?
I’ve already listed some of them, but here they are again in bullet form!
8. Let’s imagine: you have the opportunity to have a sit-down interview with former Ducks GM Brian Burke, and you’ve somehow injected him with truth serum. What’s one question you’d ask him?
What was it like going from a market that cared nothing about hockey to one that cares about nothing but hockey? How has life changed for you on a daily basis because of this?
9. How did you cope with the hockeyless lockout season of 2004-05? Will you do anything differently when the 2012 lockout rolls around?
I actually have an interesting perspective on the 2004-2005 lockout. While I wasn’t a hockey fan at the time, I spent August to December of 2004 in Quebec City as part of my semester abroad in college (I also have a major in French). It was really interesting to see how Canadians were handling the lock-out first hand, and Nike came up with an absolutely brilliant commercial about the lockout that I thought was pretty powerful.
My only real hockey experience during my time in Quebec City was I believe the Junior champsionships. The pub at the university I attended (Université Laval), was packed one night during the championship game, and they had one of those giant projectors set up so that anyone in the pub could watch the game. It was amazing to me that this many people were so psyched about a non-professional game, but I suppose it really is akin to most people’s interest in the Little League World Series.
There was also Nordiques stuff everywhere, but I wasn’t anywhere near smart enough to appreciate it or pick any of it up. I seriously regret that I didn’t pick up a jersey while I was there.
When the 2012 lockout rolls around, I will weep openly and I will probably drive my wife insane. My sports universe was complete when I became a hockey fan as I literally now have a sport to watch year-round.
10. Personal Bragging: Name one skill or achievement you have that will (a) impress less than 10% of readers, but (b) will really impress the hell out of the ones who know what you’re talking about. Example: It took a few frustrating days, but I finally beat that David Cross-voiced radio-controlled airplane mission in San Fierro in GTA: San Andreas. That level is fucking bullshit.
I used to referee for independent professional wrestling promotions throughout Southern California. At one point, I was very active, reffing an average of 3 shows a month. I have been involved in TV tapings and I have an IMDB page. At one point, there were preliminary discussions about creating a specialized gimmick for me as a ref and touring Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling, but those discussions never really went anywhere.
11. If you had the power to magically injure any NHL player for the duration of the 2009-10 season, who would it be? Bear in mind the player’s team would get long-term-injury cap relief because of your evil voodoo.
I would probably cripple Drew Doughty. I’m really sick of hearing about him and I think the Kings would implode without him. As a general rule though, I try not to hope for people to get hurt. Even on teams I hate. It creates bad juju.
12. I’ll certainly take your input on the Niedermayer vs. Pronger debate-- who in your mind was the better defenseman for the Ducks during the three-year stretch when they were teammates?
I have limited data to use for this judgment, but my feeling is that Nieds is still more valuable than Pronger.
Even when saddled with the black hole that was James Wisniewski, he still managed to be a shut-down defender. Pronger seems to do really stupid things from time to time, while Scotty seems to manage his temper a lot better.
13. Ever meet anybody famous, NHL or otherwise? That’s always worth a few search engine hits, right?
Well, I did referee a match with the Honkey Tonk Man once. I also met several old time wrestling legends at the Cauliflower Alley Club one year.
I’ve gotten autographs from a ton of sports players over the years, but there’s not much special about that. I did meet Jeremy Bulloch once—that was pretty neat.
14. Brainstorm time: what’s one thing the Ducks could or should do to gain popularity in Southern California? Or does that even concern you? (I, for one, kind of like half-empty arenas and shorter lines, but I’m not always thinking about the "greater good".)
I think the Ducks should really seek out or create some cross-promotional opportunities with the Angels. Since Arte Moreno has taken over that team, their fan base has swelled to the point that you could consider them one of the more popular teams in the country. Since the majority of the Angels fan-base is local (unlike Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, or Red Sox fans), the Ducks have a real opportunity to reach the exact same people who attend games only one block away from Honda Center.
The other thing that the Ducks should do is push for a better media deal that would give them penetration into the San Diego market. I know that my parents would watch Ducks games more often if they had more opportunities (they are able to watch a few games when the Ducks play on FS-West). The San Diego Gulls had a pretty loyal fan-base in their day, and I still maintain there’s a market for hockey in San Diego that is currently untapped. It would be a great idea for the Ducks to create something like a San Diego traveler’s package of weekend games.
15. How do you feel about drinking? What I’m really asking is, tell a quick story of one time you made a hilariously bad decision because of alcohol, if you’ve got one.
This goes back to my time in Canada again. One of the last weekends I was there, I went out with a bunch of people in my program as sort of a last hurrah. Suffice to say, I got smashed. The story is a whole lot juicier, but in order to save a discussion about social and political issues, I’ll fast forward to my frantic sprint from the pub back to my apartment, all the while looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t being followed by someone who was more interested in me than I was in them.
The last thing I remember is making it back to my apartment building and making it inside of my specific apartment. Some indeterminate period of time later, I awoke in nothing but my boxers, slouched against the wall of the hallway in my apartment building. As I groggily took stake of my surroundings, I checked myself for signs of sexual trauma and began trying to get my key into the lock of my door (in some stroke of luck, I had managed to take my keys with me on my jaunt outside of my apartment). When my key failed to open the lock on the door, I looked hard at the number on the door and realized I was on the wrong floor of my building.
I promptly took the elevator down to my floor (somewhere, there is a video of a drunk American in his boxers in an elevator at 3 am) and went into my apartment. To this day, I have no idea what happened to me during those hours and how the hell I got out of my unit.
16. Back to hockey, make a wish: which current Duck – under the age of 30 – would you most like to see play the rest of his career in Anaheim?
I know you’re all expecting me to say Bobby, but I will surprise you all and say Jonas. I think he has the capability to be a franchise goalie and the Ducks don’t appear to be a team that cycles through goalies the way some other teams do. I know it’s probably not the popular pick, but I truly think that a strong goalie can change everything (see Montreal vs. Washington).