We are now in the thick, THE THICK, of the winter hockey season. Between our eleven-year-old’s travel team, our seven-year-old’s league and fun skates, and Kyle’s job with the hockey agency, we spend so much time at various rinks that I’m thinking about getting an Airstream and rolling it from parking lot to parking lot so that I can take my
pants shoes off between games.
While we spend the bulk of our non-work waking hours at the rink – a couple of Sundays ago, Kyle was there from 6:30am to 8:00pm and I was there from 8:00am on because I am the suckier parent – we don’t actually spend any time together. One kid is always in the locker room or on the ice, the other is running around with his friends or at the concession stand, and Kyle is as far away from me as physically possible without having to actually leave the building.
Kyle likes to watch hockey. He likes to WATCH it. He does not like to chit-chat about post-game lunch, or browse the wares at the concession stand, or hold my coffee while I go outside to the car to take my
pants shoes off. He likes to WATCH. HOCKEY. He likes to WATCH IT.
He also wants to remain married to me. He wants to REMAIN MARRIED. Because he wants to remain married to me, he cannot say, “Amanda, shut your piehole about the meltiness of the cheese at the concession stand and watch frickin’ hockey,” and so, instead, Kyle has found a way to avoid me by streaming the games on Facebook Live for his twenty-person throng of adoring fans.
He streamed for the first time last year. We were in Devils Lake, and he stood at the back of the bleachers on the side of the rink opposite from me and used the camera on his phone to follow the play.
“I’m doing this for your dad,” he told me. “He wanted to see the game.”
“That’s nice,” I said.
He streamed again the next day in Grand Forks…at a place with a Rink Cam that could be accessed online. This time, he called out penalties and goals and player names.
“Your dad can’t hear the sound on the Rink Cam,” he said. “It’s for your dad.”
“That’s nice,” I said.
The following weekend, Kyle started doing play-by-play for his audience of three: my dad, and two grandmas who didn’t want to drive in the cold. He also added in some light color, notably by proclaiming that the stream was sponsored (it was not) by a business owned by one of our friends: Great Plains Plumbing and Heating.
“This game brought to you by Great Plains Plumbing and Heating,” he said into his phone. “Great Plains Plumbing and Heating: We’re coming in hot!” (That is not their tagline.)
Both my dad and Kyle thought he was very funny.
A few days later, my dad presented Kyle with two lavalier microphones that plugged into his phone and clipped onto jacket lapels. A month after that – now with ten-plus grandmas and grandpas on the stream who tuned in primarily to hear their grandchild’s names and secondarily for Kyle’s commentary (“We’re broadcasting live from Minot; so close to Canada you can smell the taxes”) – the other parents gave him a t-shirt with “NACHO AVERAGE COMMENTATOR” written across the back. And, with that, Kyle became the self-proclaimed official gameday network of all of our sons’ hockey teams in perpetuity.
Less than thirty days later, Kyle’s official status became a bit of a problem at the start of Eleven’s spring hockey season because another dad on the team (a different group than the winter season) was ALSO the official gameday network of his own sons’ hockey teams. Fortunately, that dad had a nicer phone and Kyle had a nicer microphone setup, so they joined forces with the other dad on play-by-play and camera work and Kyle on color and microphone ownership. His Emmy-nominated line of the season was, “Looks like he’s getting that penalty for, um…reasons.” Great Plains Plumbing and Heating was, once again, an unwilling and unpaid sponsor.
Fast-forward to this winter season. Now a seasoned broadcaster, and the owner of a gimble thanks to a generous gift from another hockey family (while Kyle’s commentary is spot-on, his camera work leaves something to be desired – especially since he likes to WATCH HOCKEY and sometimes forgets that he’s holding a camera), Kyle’s production has been taken to the next level. For example, he has more unsigned sponsors, including Spicer Container and Salvage (“Spicer Container and Salvage: Get That Stuff Out of Here”) and North Dakota Nice (“North Dakota Nice: [Our street address]’s most popular blog, 2021”). He has added in a section called “Profiles in Profile,” in which he turns to whomever is seated nearest to him, points the camera on the side of their face, and asks what they think of the game (Spoiler: everyone thinks the boys are doing a good job).
Kyle also has taken to including guest announcers whenever possible – selected, like “Profiles in Profile,” based on proximity. As most of the parents have figured out that if you sit next to Kyle he’s going to hand you a mic, the majority of his co-commentators are children. Our own seven-year-old did the first period at a recent game, during which Kyle asked him how he expected the next hour to go.
“Well, it’s either going to go really, really good, or really, really bad,” Seven said.
“Hard to contradict that,” Kyle said in response.
Fortunately, Kyle’s demographic is almost entirely over 60 or under 8, so these guests do very well. In fact, one of the grandmas routinely asks for updates on her own granddaughter sitting in the stands.
Another one of those grandmas also suggested that Kyle stream her other grandson’s Peewee game.
“Haha,” Kyle said, but not in a real HAHA way, more like in a “Maybe” way, which made me a little nervous because we don’t really need any more rink time. I’m considering asking him to start a lawn dart league so I can at least sit outside (pants optional).
Last weekend, our son’s team played the other Grand Forks team at a tournament. It was quite the competition – for the dads – because pictured here is Kyle and his co-presenter (the dad mentioned above) having to call the game on two separate, competing streams. This is as close as I was allowed to get.
Bring yo’ kids’ best smiles; the North Dakota State College of Science Allied Dental Education Clinic is providing free dental work on February 10. (Wahpeton Daily News)
Cavalier’s Ava Robinson won the junior Beargrease as a 14-year-old and is now preparing for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. (Valley News Live)
Best of luck to Wyndmere’s McKinnlee Haberman, winner of the local 2023 Poetry Out Loud contest, who is now headed to the national competition. (Wahpeton Daily News)
For communities without a public library, there is now a book vending machine. (Hillsboro Banner)
The Fargo community came out to support a new supermarket, owned by a brother-sister duo who came to North Dakota after escaping Vietnam. (Fargo Forum)
I did not know this was a thing until now: congratulations to the winners of the Barnes County Wildlife Annual Coyote Calling Contest – the results of which (by number of coyotes called) are listed here. (Valley City Times Record)
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