The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, January 8, 2021

Let's Talk: Racism Edition — Renee Hess gets real — Must-click women's hockey links

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Let’s Talk: Racism Edition

Once again the world around me has drained me and made it harder (but not impossible) to tap into the joy covering women’s hockey brings me. In at moments like this, I wish I could share encouraging words and discuss what is happening in the world.

Unfortunately, the hockey community hasn’t found its voice. Some have and they are included as we go. But overall, we still have work to do.

I am not surprised, I am not mad, but I am disappointed. I find myself wanting to have a space in this community to discuss what I am really feeling. Yet, I am not sure exactly where to go.

This is a critique, yes. But not because I have any desire to force any one player or team to say or do the “right” thing. It is more to show another example of how far WoHo has to go to get involved. Most of the dialogue around the recent events in the United States is coming from the same people who always step up, who always speak out.

What more can I say? What will make you watch my conversations with athletes? What will make you believe them?

We are at the point where others must enter the conversation. No gesture of kneeling, jersey patch, shirt or other show of material support can replace what I need. I need to feel understood. I need to feel seen, appreciated, and loved in this moment.

I don’t usually use such language, even as I type I am criticizing myself. But it’s true. What that love looks like is different for everyone. For me, I’d like an acknowledgment that the world is not okay. That this IS who WE are. This is not a debate. I will not tolerate semantics. THIS IS WHO WE ARE!

You might hope it isn’t. You might, like me, aspire for the United States to be different. But please miss me with the “this is not who we are” takes.

In her IGTV video entitled PSA: Cut the Shit, Amanda Seales correctly calls out such (false) affirmations cognitive dissonance. Seales goes on to say:

“You were able to put yourself in that bubble of protectedness and cognitive dissonance because you [long ass pause with an apropos eye roll], unfortunately, have still got some white supremacy going on in you.”

While some may read or hear white supremacy and think that’s harsh, well. The reality is that imperialism and white supremacy have fueled a lot of what governs our society, both by way of the social code and the rule of law.

We must all confront this and accept it, including accepting that being in the United States (and especially being born in the United States) makes us beneficiaries of this ugly truth. It is also true that perpetuating this truth makes its reality less accessible to certain communities.

And here is why WoHo should be better. Women’s hockey should know all too well that arbitrary limitations have without question impacted the sport’s ability to have a viable future.

The collective we says there isn’t enough talent or there isn’t enough money. What our society means is there is no good reason to support women in hockey. The same is true for the excuses we spout for not making hockey more inclusive.

When we say BIPOC people don’t play/watch hockey, what we mean is they don’t belong, they are not like us. What we say is here are a list of resources for our community to engage in. What that feels like in the past few days is, we did something so stop asking us to do more.

So, I’m going to put it all out there. Maybe it’s time for hockey to take a Let’s Talk approach to racism in addition to mental health. Because I’ll tell you, my mental health is not in a good way these days. So yeah, let’s talk. Let’s talk about racism. Please.

Here is more about the Bell Let’s Talk initiative a 4 Pillars

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This Week in Women’s Hockey

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Must-Click Links

There was a lot of news, actually. However, you will have to research that on your own. I am taking a page from the WNBA and conducting my own media pause to reflect. I’ve shared some tweets worth following in my monologue for the week.

Please take care folks and care for someone else. Let’s Talk about racism.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Renee Hess featuring Saroya Tinker

This is from June 2020 and captures how I’m feeling this week. Please listen to Renee’s open and stay for her conversation with Saroya Tinker.

In her open, Renee asks, “Sharing and supporting Black folks is trending right now. My question to you is what will the hockey community do when the protests are over?”

I’d like to know.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Sarah Kellam @sarahkellam, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Erica L. Ayala