Sunday, December 26, 2010

The decision to stay in grad school or pursue more permanent full time work has been my main concern since my research papers were turned in and I had spare moments to think. While I love studying literature and planning my thesis, Roosevelt has not been as academic as I expected. Considering my thesis has been my main motivation to continue and just get my Masters Degree now.

At the same time, I fear that my Masters will never lead to a PhD program or any teaching position. Just another expensive piece of paper. Here are my thesis ideas so far:

1) Harry Potter and the book's ability to teach Children how to read by each book adding new layers of complexity and improving young adult interest in and ability to read literature.

2) Parody Literature what it says about contemporary culture and our views about classic like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.

3) The reoccurring theme of the orphaned child and adversity faced without parental protection and love as seen in Jane Eyre, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and research more classic books.

I hope to come back to these ideas next summer do some real research and make a decision. I am afraid that the school would not approve my thesis ideas.

I'm still writing about the Blackhawks at but have found minimal time to do this. I hope to start doing more freelance writing in the future and freelance jobs in SEO or copyediting/proofreading.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Welcoming the Cup back to Chicago

By Colleen Boyle

Since the Stanley Cup was carried ceremoniously off a chartered plane on June 10th around 4am, I have not been able to comprehend the transition my life would have to make. I turn on the tv this evening, but the only channels in my head at Comcast Sports Net and Versus.

Earlier in the day, I was at the mall with a friend and everywhere I looked, someone was wearing a 2010 Chicago Blackhawks Championship t-shirt. The phrase hasn’t even sunk into my head, and the reality still hasn’t taken a hold of me.

Last Friday, I made my way to Michigan Avenue with 2 other million people from the chicagoland area to glimpse at the cup myself. I watched it slowly creep down the street on top of a doubledecker bus with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and all I could do is hold my breath and soak in the goosebumps as they traveled around my body.

Growing up in Chicago, I come from a generation of sports fans who complain about the Chicago Bears and argue over the Cubs and White Sox. But rarely did I find a fellow hockey enthusiast. My boyfriend and I began our relationship partly for our shared joy of watching hockey together.

However, today in Chicago, almost the entire city rallies behind the Chicago Blackhawks. It began last year during the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs when the Hawks made it as far as the Western Conference finals but defeated by the long-time rival, the Detroit Red Wings.

I was afraid that in the following year, we would fail to make it to the playoffs again and that people would lose interest and curiosity. I was wrong.

The 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks spent the entire year at the top of the Conference
and in competition with San Jose who ended up taking the top spot but losing in a four game sweep to the Hawks in the Conference Finals.

The roster that Coach Joel Quenneville managed was unstoppable all the way to the end. And I found myself overwhelmed with joy and completely numb in shock when Patrick Kane scored the game winning goal in game six against the Philadelphia Flyers.

I mean that very literally. I was numb and motionless for nearly two minutes. The bar I was at for game six erupted in screams and laughter. In the corner of my eye, I saw all my friends hug and cheer and smile while I stood paralyzed by the thought that we actually did it.

This means a lot to a city in doomed sports. I grow more impatient with the continued complaints of a dismal football team. I have no tolerance left for arguments about baseball and which team is better/worse. But I can finally share my love of hockey with millions of others.

A lot of the loyal and long-standing fans dislike the newcomers. People at bars yell ‘kick the puck in’ without knowing that a kicked-in puck is always ruled a ‘no goal.’ But I don’t share their sentiment. Maybe I will when the bandwagon fans forget about hockey and put their sweaters to the back of their closet. But I like to think that hockey gained millions of new fans that won’t forget or lose interest.

I expect the cup will not be long from Chicago’s reach for another 49 years. With the new owner, Rocky Wirtz in charge, the team has taken all the right steps. While the off-season will provide many changes to accommodate a salary cap, I hope to see a similar team of talented and hard working players and hope to move up on that season ticket waiting list.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Can't women be sports fans too?

by Colleen Boyle

"these girls really need to stop with their bullshit comments that make it seem liek they're fans of the sport. i swear to christ if I read another status update from some clueless bitch about 'go hawks' i'm gonna punch her in the taco."

I have already ranted and raved about this on facebook, but I felt a formal post to explain why I am really infuriated was well over due.

I am a woman, and I love sports. I like Hockey; I like soccer; and I like rugby. You can make fun of my love of sports and call me a lesbian, but sexual orientation has nothing to do with this. I know lesbians who could care less about sports, it's just a matter of who and what you fancy in life.

People have made the assumption that my love of sports-more specifically my obsession with the Chicago Blackhawks can be traced to my boyfriends interest in the sport. It does not take long for people to realize that this is not the case.

I have vivid memories of being a few feet tall and tripping in a hockey jersey far too big on me, for my dad bought both me and my older brother the same size jersey. I remember being about eights years old and sitting on the glass at the Chicago Stadium and fearing for my small little life that the glass would break every time a player was checked into the boards.

Likewise, I also recall ice-skating as a small child and a few incidents where my head was cracked open from falling or when my hand and skate hit one another and I needed stitches. Some of my fondest memories have been on ice skates with my family.

I also could not forget the Southwest Ice Arena-best mozzarella sticks on the south side in my seven year old self's opinion. My dad played for the Vikings, an adult league, and my brother Shawn and I took turns refilling their water bottles.

And around eight years old, I played field hockey in a league dominated by boys. I can only recall one other girl in my league or at least on my team, Shannon Walsh who is still a huge hockey fan and often see her at the United center.

My generation has not been exposed to hockey like my aunts and uncles were. It's unfortunate that one bad owner could drive away a city of potential hockey fans. But the team has turned itself around. What was once a team that couldn't fill the United Center is now a team in the playoffs and has nearly reached capacity all season long.

The problem that I am ultimately here to discuss is the attitude that sports should not be enjoyed by women. Yesterday's playoff victory put Blackhawks fans in a good mood. I logged into facebook and viewed some photos from the game and one comment read as follows:

"these girls really need to stop with their bullshit comments that make it seem liek they're fans of the sport. i swear to christ if I read another status update from some clueless bitch about 'go hawks' i'm gonna punch her in the taco."

How should this make me feel? I am a 25 year old woman who loves this sport and has had hockey a part of my life since I was a small child. The underlying message is that women aren't real fans of sports and not just women, he said 'bitches'. The hate in this message is so clear, so straightforward.

What is it about sports that is so manly a women cannot even enjoy watching it on TV and then talking about it on facebook. I did not know that sitting in front of the TV and watching a sports game was so complicated that only the large brain males of society could do it.

The overall hatred in what he said and the threat of violence towards women who dare toe the line of male sports is another example of how gender roles can produce narrow minds and hatred when the roles are not strictly followed.

You could argue that I am overreacting. You could say, 'it's just facebook and that comment has no effect on society.' But that attitude will one day be a direct effect in that person's life. The person who said it could one day chose to hire a male over a female and not give women the same opportunity.

The attitude we have towards the other gender is subtle but has a profound effect on society, and someone who outwardly threaten violence against women for trying to do things he thinks are only for men is absolutely ignorant and hateful.

If you still think that gender should dictate your likes and your interests, then you live a narrow and unimaginative life that will always be dull. If you define your life based on what society tells your gender that you must do, then you will never be happy with yourself and you will always find hate within yourself towards those brave enough to find what they truly love in life regardless of the roles society attempts to place on us.

While gender should not be the sole basis of how you define yourself, there will always be people there to remind you when you have stepped across their imaginary lines.

Was that his way of calling me off-sides? I'd like to known who made him a ref.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Steroids in Hockey? A parody

March 25, 2010
By Colleen Boyle

A study has been implemented today to test whether or not the appearance the controversial television show Jersey Shore has a relationship to the sudden onset of Ovechkin’s steroid use and recent fist pumping tendencies.

The Washington Capitals are leading the league and was the first team this season to clinch a number one division spot. But to some of Ovechkin’s teammates, winning is not worth what they have to endure off the ice.

An anonymous tipster went to a local police station early in the morning but refused to give his identity in a very detailed and desperate letter explaining why Ovechkin has been the top goal scorer in the NHL and has had a recent boost in performance.

The letter claims Ovechkin began watching MTV’s Jersey Shore and that’s when the hair gel fiasco began. The first time Ovechkin used the hair gel, he did not let it dry and was unable to remove his helmet at the end of the game and the next day was stuck to a hotel room pillow.

Teammates immediately noticed a change in behavior and became suspicious of steroid use when his over-aggressive behavior soon caused him to break a treadmill in the team’s private gym. Rumors in the locker room spread that Ovechkin had even admitted the steroid use to a few players but those witnesses have refused to come forward.

“Alex even got himself a two-game suspension when he pushed that red-headed kid from Chicago into the boards. I mean, we all know not to do that… coach told him before the game to not push anyone” the letter is quoted to explain.

The anonymous teammate drew the line and finally decided to come forward.

“Just stop the fist-pumping, please. I just can’t take no more fist pumping.”

Sidney Crosby was not available to comment on the recent breaking news about his arch enemy.