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Too Many Men On The Ice: The Dude Does Not Abide

Winning for the sake of winning? The exact BS that will cost us a season.


Erin, Stanley Cup of Chowder:

Hey, you know what I hate? The lockout. Wait, you too? Weird! But here's the thing: I hate it so much, and I especially hate it because at this point, it's essentially become a you-know-what measuring contest between the NHL and the NHLPA. If we lose a season because Bettman and Fehr are in engaged in a battle of ego and masculine pride, hoo-boy.

Although, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. One of the great bastions of competitive/normative masculinity in modern North America is professional sports. Another one? The boardroom. Bring the two together, and what do you have? CBA armageddon, in which the aliens attacking the planet are being played by dudes who have masculine pride on the line, and the fans are the helpless denizens of earth hoping that Will Smith and/or Jeff Goldblum can save the day, wherein the day is the hockey season/our SOULS.

It's not like Fehr and Bettman woke up one day and decided to suddenly be ultra-competitive, ego-obsessed dudes, though; they operate within the aforementioned worlds of sports and business, worlds where winning is paramount and being a ‘pansy' is just about the worst thing you can be. That world, in turn, operates within a much larger discursive framework of gender performativity that influences how men perceive and are perceived in the world (sorry, sorry, the gender studies gal in me came out for a second, I'll go back to talking about aliens).

In that context, of COURSE Don and Gary and their (dude) number twos are engaging in all this posturing BS. They both want to win. Is some of that because they believe their cause is the right one? Sure. Is part of it because it's literally their job to win for their constituents? You bet. There's a percentage of that desire, though, that's driven by a need to win for winning's sake, to be the top dude in an epic battle of manly egos. No compromising, god no, that would show weakness. A victory should be decisive and unquestionable. That's the kind of (manly) win these guys want.

You know who might NOT feel the same pressure to win at any cost? Ladies. Look, I'm the last person who wants to essentialize people by gender - I'm never going to argue that ALL women are this way or that ALL men would act that way. The fact of the matter is, though, this current nonsense is being exacerbated by a dudely need to not be seen as weak. A lot of women in power don't have that issue; they're expected to compromise and to make concessions. It doesn't mean they're weak, or that they don't want to win. It just means that maybe, just maybe, if there were more ladies involved in this whole brou-ha-ha, the whole thing wouldn't be getting derailed by issues like length of contract and duration of the CBA. Hey, it's one reason that the lady U.S. Secretaries of State have been so freakin' awesome -- they haven't had that mentality of WINNING AT ANY COST that so many dudes in positions of power seem to have. And you know what that leads to? Compromises. Wacky, I know.

Perhaps, for example, women would look at how close the two sides are and say ‘hey, you know what? I bet we can make this deal work because 6 years for max contract length is a nice happy medium between 5 and 8 and also because treating these negotiations like the result will be a commentary on the size of one's junk is lame as hell.'