Just because I write a lot about sports doesn't mean I'm ignorant of the classics.
A personal favorite is George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. A one-sentence recap: Winston lives in Oceania, one of three totalitarian states remaining on the globe, where his job is to rewrite newspaper articles to make them friendlier to Big Brother, the face of The Party watching us all.
One of the acts Winston participates in to demonstrate his loyalty to Big Brother is the "Two Minutes Hate," in which everyone is required to think nasty things about the latest enemies of the state.
So please join me in a few minutes of hate against an enemy near and dear to my heart: The North Dakota Fighting _____.
Of course, they've renounced the S-word now after giving up on their multi-year fight for their right to offend people for the sake of tradition.
It's a battle I've seen fought repeatedly. My alma mater, Central Michigan, still uses a Native American-derived nickname (Chippewas). To be clear, I couldn't care less what CMU or North Dakota choose to call themselves. But unlike several donors to both institutions, my support of my school is about the success of the team and the educational welfare of the students and student-athletes, not contingent upon what is or is not stitched on their athletic apparel.
You can probably bet on this being the last time UND slums around here, thanks to they and the rest of the band of mutineers that formed the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. You may remember the NCHC as the league formed to avoid undesirable (and more importantly, untelevised) trips to places like Houghton, Mankato and Anchorage and replace them with occasionally televised places like Oxford, Ohio and Kalamazoo.
They're very excited about this, as the NCHC is already sending out regular releases on each future member's progress, even though league play doesn't begin until next season. It's a job Winston from the book would be proud of.
I'm sure everyone the television industry is beating the door down to go to Grand Forks in January to show the Fighting _____ play Western Michigan, though I wouldn't mind seeing how they're going with uninstalling all the _____ logos paid for, and demanded by, Ralph Engelstad's hard-earned casino money.
I hope the Engelstads don't cut them off for changing the nickname, which they threatened to do halfway through the building's construction. Someone's got to pay for the upkeep on the granite floors and cherrywood-framed leather-upholstered seats.
The Fighting _____ played Denver, another mutineer, last weekend at Engelstad's Taj Mahal. It is unknown as to whether or not current WCHA Commissioner Bruce MacLeod was invited for the purpose of dropping the puck at center ice and then being hit in the back with a steel chair like the WWE while both teams raised each other's arms in the air and celebrated.
Of course, that's over and done with. I can continue railing about the NCHC and it's not going to change.
You can't change it either, but it is my hope you pack MacInnes Student Ice Arena this weekend and give the Fighting _____ a reminder of what it is they're leaving behind: a magical tradition in which even the out-of-the-way places like Houghton, Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie can be the top of the world and a community gathers at an arena not to cheer on a "brand," but to cheer on a team representing a school representing a community.
Keep it clean, but keep it clever. Fake money gets the point across so much better than the F-bomb. And please, do not throw objects on the ice. Seriously, just don't. This is not Marquette.
Until they face their reckoning at the hands of a member of the new WCHA, just remember this: North Dakota changed its nickname, but it's still all about the green.
"To die hating them, that was freedom." - Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part Three, Chapter Four.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.