This post has pretty much nothing to do with hockey. Well except for perhaps eliciting some measure of sympathy for the Seawolf hockey team who are enduring the misery that appears to be Colorado Springs. So if you aren't interested in reading a scathing disrespectful review of some goings on in that place then stop here.
Let me say up front that every city has it challenges and dark moments. Whether it be the tendency of youth in Anchorage to attempt to settle their petty differences with guns or the rampant racial problems suffered by the city of New Orleans; it wouldn't be difficult to dig up dirt on virtually any community, point to it and decry the place as unworthy. That said, the poor bastards that live in Colorado Springs (and no doubt some of them are probably proud of their community) sure seem to have more than their share of ugly dysfunction.
You wouldn't think that'd be the case upon first glance. It's not a huge city. The median income is fairly nice. There are beautiful subdivisions and quaint parklands. And it appears to be one of the most religious places in the U.S. It is home to the New Life Christian Church (over 10,000 members) which apparently is so big they have to put maps of the joint on their Internet website in case anyone gets lost. Sadly, this church was the site of a recent murder spree which you may have seen on the news. That event was significant and heartbreaking for the victims families but I have to ask myself about the reasons behind it. The founder of the place was Ted Haggard. Now if you don't know who Ted is let me enlighten you. He is the self-righteous bastard who was deeply involved in Republican politics; known for his strong stances against homosexuality and drugs. He was forced to resign after it was discovered he'd paid a male prostitute for meth and sex over a three year period. Pretty foul. Oh ... but he went to three weeks of intensive therapy and was pronounced heterosexual again! Yeah ... a pretty despicable character no matter where he is from (he was born in Hoosierland). I wonder if Ted moved just down the street to a church know as The Refuse which is a daughter organization of a church called Scum of the Earth. Maybe that's where James Dobson (head of the Republican front organization called Focus on the Family and Family Research Council) goes to worship? Dobson believes that women belong at home barefoot and pregnant and that "diversity" and "tolerance" are so-called buzzwords. For my Anchorage readers ... these guys make Jerry Prevo look pretty tame. Dobson had Karl Rove in his pocket (or at least he assumed he did ... did you know Rove is an atheist?). And he doesn't dig John McCain. Anyhow ... thats enough of all that seedy right wing sleaze merchant stuff. It's creeping me out ... I'm afraid if I look into it further I'll find Sen. Larry Craig (Mr. Minneapolis wide-stance in the toilet) involved with these fruitcakes.
I can only guess that the repression and outright demonizing these guys have done to any number of groups of humans had something to do with the nutbag who broke into the prayer meeting with guns-a-blazing.
All that horror is seemingly just the tip of the iceberg in "The Springs". Every year it seems there are some disturbing events at the Colorado College. As a prelude let me say that I've read some disturbing things about the state of racism in "The Springs". Much of it is the sort of thing you'd expect in Jackson, Mississippi. It runs the gamut from hockey fans being shouted down at the World Arena as "niggers" to hockey players dressing up in "black-face". The latter event was duly apologized for and the members of the team that participated subsequently attended some "racial harmony/sensitivity" events as penance for their mis-deeds. Nevertheless, the fact that students at a college filled with rich white kids ($44,330/year and only 18% of students are classified as an ethnic minority) felt OK to do so speaks volumes about attitudes in the area. CC has a pretty strict student code and more than a few hockey players that have played there over the year have run afoul of one part of the policy or another. Last year it was widely believed that Aaron Slattengren was dismissed for some form of cheating. This year two players received lengthy suspensions but for the sake of these player's privacy word never "leaked" out as to the cause. Cody Lampl was suspended from school until January 2009 and Derek Patrosso was suspended until earlier this week when he re-enrolled and is magically eligible even though he hasn't been anywhere near the school for almost 4 months. Nice how that works out for the hockey program eh? The school was named by the Princeton Review as one of the top pot smoking universities in the nation so everything there isn't completely crappy I guess. For a school that is basically a liberal arts college it sure doesn't sound too "liberal". In 2002 the student run newspaper ran what it later termed a spoof article describing a new TV network called "Niggalodeon" with blackfaced "Rugrats" and references to crack, crime, fried chicken and watermelons (I shit you not!). I don't think it'd be an unfair characterization to call the place elitist and intolerant. And just in case you were wondering, there is a black person on staff at the New Life Christian Church (39 white people too). It's good to see at least they're "inclusive" eh? Seriously, if you can find one other picture of a person of color on their website I'll send them a $10 donation.
It makes one wonder if perhaps it is something in the water? But a with a bit of research I learned that Colorado Springs is one of the brave cities in the United States that (in 2002) have removed the evil flouride from their water. LOL. Hopefully, my readers are smart enough to realize that the stupid paranoia about flouridated water has been debunked over and over again. Maybe "The Springs" needs to put the flouride back in? The more I read about this city the more I long for a visit to Fairbanks. Maybe it's the slightly lower atmospheric pressure that is responsible for the weirdness in that place? Water boils there at about 200 degrees instead of the 212 degrees the rest of us are used to.
Now for my only two experiences in "The Springs". I thought I killed a kid there once. In a soccer tournament while playing for the Lakewood U-16 team against the New Mexico All-Stars (after I'd scored a sweet goal with a beauty of a left-footed in-swinger directly from a corner), I was in the middle of the field and the ball presented itself to me that was a natural for an overhead volley. So of course being a show off I took the opportunity and played it that way. Well, this poor kid on the other team had decided he'd go up for a header on the same ball and on the follow through my foot connected full on with the front of his face. He went down like a sack of potatoes and didn't move. He was taken off (still not moving) with about 5 minutes left in the game and I spent the next 15 minutes on the sidelines gazing across the field watching people run to and fro while attending to him but apparently by the time the ambulance arrived he was conscious again. Freaked me out at the time (oh yeah .. we won the game 1-0) but at least nobody called me or anyone else on my team a "jungle bunny". The last time I was there some right-wing deeply repressed religious nutbag tried over and over again to make me run into him with my 35ft Winnebago by stopping short purposely over a couple of miles in rush hour traffic on I-25. I don't know why Randy May thought I was following too closely. I wasn't but at least he didn't call me a "zipperhead gook".
Man. I hope UAA beats the snot out of those honkees.