There’s a scene in the 2004 American movie classic “Miracle” where legendary 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team Coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) visits the dorm room
of his team’s goalie, Jim Craig (played by Eddie Cahill) to ask the player why he hadn’t completed a multi-page test the coach had instructed each player to fill out.
Paraphrasing, the goalie replied to Brooks, “It’s nothing against you or anything but I just didn’t know what taking this test has to do with stopping a puck.” Satisfied with the Bostonian’s response, the coach turned around and walked away, saying, “Never mind, you just took it anyway.”
Brooks was essentially interested in whether each of his players had the right mindset to play on his very demanding team, the one that would eventually gel together as a unit and end up defeating what many considered the premier hockey squad on the entire planet at the time, the Soviet Union’s Red Army Hockey Team (stocked with Russian club professionals… the best of the best).
I can’t speak for the late coach, but Brooks must have been picking his players’ brains to determine what they needed to do to individually thrive and still contribute to the whole. Jim Craig’s job was to stop pucks. Period. It wasn’t to demonstrate acumen in psychology or creativity. It wasn’t to advance some inane social cause or to make a political statement against an international opponent’s government. No, Craig’s sole task was to keep the other teams’ shots from getting past him.
Simple, isn’t it?
The scene came to mind the other day when the establishment news media reported, with some degree of delight, that Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to take a type of “test” of his own, namely to willingly take part in the team’s “Pride Night” by donning a LGBTQIA+++++ (or whatever) supportive warm-up jersey and then wear a patch on his regular uniform to honor the left-leaning community.
Provorov’s gesture was atypical enough to generate national headlines, though the player himself suggested it was only his personal religious beliefs that motivated the action. In a piece titled “NHL player skips warmups, refuses to wear Pride night jersey”, Heather Hamilton reported at the Washington Examiner:
“Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov boycotted his team's Pride night and did not step out on the ice for warmups before the Tuesday night NHL game. Prior to the Flyers’ game against the Anaheim Ducks, players wore a Pride night jersey and used sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape.
“Provorov cited his religious beliefs as the reason for choosing to skip the pregame skate. ‘I respect everybody. I respect everybody’s choices,’ Provorov said after the game. ‘My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.’ The defenseman, who said he is Russian Orthodox, declined to go into further detail.
“Following the game, the Flyers organization affirmed its support for the LGBT community but did not comment specifically on Provorov’s choice to boycott the Pride promotion.”
The team’s higher-ups were likely terrified that rainbow clad losers would call for supporters of their “community” to demand that Provorov henceforth be branded as a bigot, be compelled to wear a scarlet letter “B” on his uniform and then to make a public service announcement prior to each home game, tearfully admitting his guilt and saying how sorry he was for speaking out -- and to issue a reoccurring vow to receive further “education” and sensitivity training in diversity, equity and inclusion.
With a side course in Critical Race Theory as an extra enlightening punishment.
As I often find myself saying when I read reports of athletes – or corporate employees or ordinary folks off the street – standing up for their individual God-given rights and principles in the face of greater and greater pressure from oppressive “woke” corporate masters to stifle themselves and keep quiet about it, I couldn’t help but utter, “Why are we even talking about this?”
I suppose the answer is, “Because we’re being obliged to do something against our will that has nothing to do with one’s ability to function on the job, that’s why”. In my mind, everyone has a stake in what Ivan Provorov did the other night. For if he’d just gone along with the “woke” crowd, sports fans everywhere would automatically assume that all hockey players champion “alternative” causes that go against their deeply held mainstream beliefs.
Who is the deviant here, the guy who professes a belief in Jesus or the ones who tout violating Biblical teachings behind closed doors? How upside down is our society today?
If put to the test, I’d imagine my reaction to such a dictate would have been similar to Provorov’s – or Jim Craig’s – which loosely translated means, what does wearing a “Pride” jersey have to do with defending my professional hockey team’s goal? Hockey defensemen like Provorov play behind the forwards, and though some do become proficient at scoring goals (or setting up shots for their wings and centers to shoot), a defenseman’s primary responsibility is clearing the space in front of their own net and making sure the guys with the other colored jerseys don’t score on them.
Defensemen are paid handsomely to keep the other team off the scoreboard, not to go on “offense” by promoting non-related social causes that have no relation to what goes on inside the arena – or at least on the ice surface.
Again, I can’t say for sure, but I doubt there’s a clause in any player’s contract that stipulates he or she must go against his or her religious views to advertise a sexual orientation. If there were such conditions, would any player sign it? It’s not the player’s fault in this circumstance, it’s the team management overstepping the bounds of the sport in ways that don’t influence the outcome of the competition in any tangible way.
Do the Flyers sell thousands more tickets because they have a “Pride Night”? Doubtful.
As far as I know, there isn’t a team solely dedicated to preserving the LGBTQ “community’s” right to live the way they want to live and be free from private discrimination. Human beings of all sexual orientations or beliefs have been attending hockey games since, well, the origins of playing hockey games, haven’t they? If not, what has stopped them?
In all honesty, probably at least half the team – or more – felt the same way Provorov did but didn’t wish to rock the boat or upset the executives by openly defying a basic order to wear a piece of equipment that differed from the norm for one night. I’m guessing most of them reasoned, ‘Is it really worth the trouble it would cause to “grin and bear it” for a few hours?’
It doesn’t really matter in the overall scheme of things. As Provorov indicated, he was “being true to himself” by making the stand, the type of explanation leftist cultural tyrants gladly honor when it comes to female children deciding to surgically remove their breasts and take hormones or male youth opting to have a doctor amputate their testicles.
But leftists only revere being “true to oneself” when it has to do with defying religious beliefs or traditional cultural norms. And even there, the bullies are hypocritical. What if a Muslim player – in any sport – refused to do the same thing Provorov did? Somehow the move would be swept under the proverbial rug, because it’s okay to bash on observant Christians and Jews but a devoted Muslim is just a different type of persecuted minority in their eyes.
Everyone knows spoiled ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick became a liberal national celebrity for kneeling during the national anthem half a decade ago. Weren’t Kaepernick and all his fellow kneelers just “being true to themselves” like Provorov was? You mean it’s okay to insult the American flag but it’s not acceptable to honor your religion by not wearing a “Pride” jersey?
For those who made a hero out of George Floyd for dying of a fentanyl overdose while being arrested and roughly handled by Minneapolis cops, did Floyd die only for the Black Lives Matter cause, or did he also carry the truth of the LGBTQ+++ folks along with him? Will these confused and misguided people label Ivan Provorov as public enemy number one?
It now appears that anyone – like Provorov – who unwittingly draws attention to himself because of perfectly defensible religious views is turned into an outcast by the left. Just last year, for example, actress Candice Cameron Bure (who is married to a former hockey player) was roasted for leaving the Hallmark Channel because of its “woke” new direction. Like Provorov, CCB didn’t bash “alternative” lifestyles or the things they represent. She simply indicated she wanted to make movies with Christian traditional marriage themes at the heart of the presentation.
It's a sad commentary on our culture today when a hockey player generates national scrutiny simply for “being true to himself” and highlighting his religious beliefs. Leftists will continue trying to force their agenda on everyone who disagrees with their interpretation of “normal”. We can’t let them get away with it. Shut up and stop the puck, leftists.
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