Dearest Mark and the Funky Bunch over at NBC,
Though I have never played hockey at the NHL level, or any sport for that matter, I still grow a playoff beard. Admittedly the last two playoff beards I grew were in 2013 and before that 2004, (YES I am a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs). Call it a superstition or a tradition, but the playoff beard is something I treasure like the memory of connecting to a BBS for the first time, listening to my old Modem beep bopping away, anticipating play my first day on L.O.R.D.
Back on June 9th, Mark Lazarus, NBC network’s chairman, told the Chicago Tribune many weird and wild things:
“The players won’t like this, but I wish they all would stop growing beards in the postseason,”
Ok Mark, I challenge you to knock on Brent Burns’ door and ask him to shave his beard. Better yet, call Jason Garrison and plead with him to be clean-shaven. Both men, like myself, treat their beards as artwork, requiring care and grooming 365 days a year, they would most likely give you the good ol’ BIRD. And I don’t mean a Blue Jay.
“Let’s get their faces out there. Let’s talk about how young and attractive they are. What model citizens they are. (Hockey players) truly are one of a kind among professional athletes”
“Let’s get their faces out there.”
Why do we need to see their faces Mark? They wear jerseys with their names and numbers on them. It isn’t 1987 anymore. We are not huddled around Grandpa’s 27” colour wood cabinet CRT television. We are watching on massive 50+” HD TVs (well most of us). At 1080P resolution, I have seen a snot rocket hanging off a player as they skate by a camera during pre-game warm ups.
I can tell who a player is on my team by their shot (Kessel), position on the point (Gardiner) or just by how great or poorly they skate. Oh, and you may have forgotten that you do employ play-by-play guys on the network. They tell us who has the puck, Mark.
“Let’s talk about how young and attractive they are.”
Please don’t tell me this is some way of gaining popularity with female fans. If it is, let me correct you, Mark. My wife, and also an article I found at the Business Insider from Feb 2015, says this:
- “According to a 2013 Australian study, the most attractive beard length is “heavy stubble,” which comes after about 10 days of growth.” — About the length of the first round
- “An intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive, while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring”
- Beyond attractiveness, researchers also found that facial hair affects perceived fertility as well. The more facial hair a man had, the more masculine a woman perceived him to be
- “Thus, beard quality, thickness, and fullness would signal to potential mates that he was sexually mature and prepared for fatherhood,” Myslewski writes. “This makes beardedness a sexual characteristic that is potent to women.”
All 4 points are confirmed by my wife. I then asked, “If didn’t have a beard would you have even looked at me?”
She replied, “No comment.”
Her brutal honesty is what makes our relationship work so well.
“What model citizens they are.”
Listen here Mark, I don’t know what bearded Disney villains scared you in your youth, but I have a had a fully groomed beard since the early 2000’s. The only time it has gotten out of control is during the viewing of playoff hockey (though this has become a rarity for Leafs Nation). The only time I shave it is during the month of November to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
Now before someone tries to peg me a sheep, I am one of the board members for Movember in my city, and have been active with the organization since 2007. Hopefully the greasy styles of ‘stache I have become known to grow have made men think about their own health. (SIDENOTE: It is never too early to go get an exam. Yes, it is very uncomfortable when other men and women are poking and prodding you where only a loved one should, but trust me, earlier is better. My best friend may have grown up with a father, if George only knew that a couple exams could have caught it earlier.)
I, and my beard, have volunteered my time to Boy Scouts of Canada and other non profit organizations around my hometown. Can you tell “the model citizen” part really pissed me off?
Since this is a Dallas Stars blog I will bring up their model-ness, with some links:
Since I am a Maple Leafs fan writing in enemy territory, here is some model-ness the Maple Leafs players provide.
- Community Hockey Development Program
- MLSE Foundation
- Sunlife Financial #HelpingBuds
- Make-A-Wish Garrett Gamble
One Of A Kind
“(Hockey players) truly are one of a kind among professional athletes”
This Mark, is very true. Hockey players are one of a kind.
- They play one of the toughest sports on the planet according to Bleacher Report, only behind Rugby (Agreed), Boxing (Maybe), Aussie Rules (Agreed), Waterpolo (Agreed). (I have played those three I agreed upon, and am still recovering from my bruises, bites and chlorine bleached skin. This was fourteen years ago.)
- They play the one sport in the world that is rated “The Hardest Trophy To Win” Link 1 Link 2. Interestingly enough, that second link was written by someone at NBC. Me and him? We’re cool.
What is point? DEDICATION. It takes dedication to play and win in the NHL. You know what else takes dedication, Mark?
Growing a damn beard!!!!
The initial 3 weeks of growing a beard are a grueling time for anyone capable of growing a masterpiece. They itch, they hurt, you get ingrown hairs and (#tmi) sometimes you develop a rash. It sucks. So in some weird way I guess what I am saying is that the playoff beard, in my mind, shows a player’s dedication to winning in the sport he so loves.
“I know it’s a tradition and superstition, but I think (the beards do) hurt recognition. They have a great opportunity with more endorsements. Or simply more recognition with fans saying, ‘That guy looks like the kid next door,’ which many of these guys do. I think that would be a nice thing.”
- It is a Tradition
- It is a Superstition
- They do not hurt recognition. Case in point: my kids know who lives behind my beard
- Gillette doesn’t only have razors, they have beard trimmers as well, NHL beards can endorse their ProGlide Styler
- I dunno about other people but I have always yearned to look older. From the days of Fake ID’s to even now, I want to be older. I mean, Aaron Ekblad went from a Rookie Boy Baby Face to Bearded MAN. In a couple weeks he went from 18 year old Daytona Beach party boy to 33 year old “Dream Dad”. Whilst on the Aaron Ekblad topic, am I the only one who thinks he looks a lot like Slider or IceMan circa 1986 Top Gun? See for yourself: SLIDER ICEMAN EKBLAD
- A nice thing? A nice thing would be use the sidewalk and not cut across my corner lawn.
Well my clean-shaven friend, I hope you get the point…tails don’t wag the dog, the dog wags his tail. BARK BARK BARK, Markie.