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OPINION

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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How to become an NHL fan in time for playoffs BOB HAYES

DAILY COLUMNIST

After a long, freezing winter here in Evanston, the weather is sort of beginning to heat up, which can only mean one thing: it’s finally hockey season! It’s nice that hockey is a springto-summer sport so that hockey fans can escape the unbearably hot 40-degree spring days for their pleasantly cool icebox-turned-sportsarenas. What’s that, you say? Hockey has been going on since October? Who knew? In all honesty, hockey is a great sport, but it is tough for fans to get into during the regular season because the 82 games feel relatively meaningless. Fans often make the same argument regarding the NBA, but it carries even more weight for the NHL, since its playoffs annually display far more parity than the NBA playoffs. It is tough to find data on the subject, but if you go through the playoff results over the last decade, the frequency of upsets – including a 7-versus-8 Eastern Conference Finals in 2010 –stands out. Thus, simply getting into the playoffs, as 16 of

the 30 NHL teams do, is mostly what matters. Even if you did not realize your city had a playoff hockey team – I’m looking at you, natives of Columbus, Ohio – now is the time to act like you know hockey has been going on for months. The parity is a significant part of what makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs so exciting. Anybody in the entire tournament has a shot. Because of the harsh salary cap in the NHL, all of the teams possess rosters with relatively equal talent. And because of the small sample of scores in a game – especially since playoff games generally have lower goal totals – one goal can swing an entire series. Most exciting of all, there are few things more fun to watch in sports than sudden-death overtime in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The teams go until a goal is scored, and since playoff hockey often features red-hot goalies, it is common for playoff games to go deep into the night. Due to the new division realignment, you can actually make a Stanley Cup Playoff bracket. You know what they say:

there’s nothing like that first Wednesday of the Stanley Cup Playoffs! Wait, that was yesterday? Oh, shoot, guys, we missed it already. Anyway, the new alignment of the divisions makes it so that there actually is a concrete playoff bracket, which makes the playoffs easier to follow for newer fans. So what can you do to act like you have been watching? Assuming you at least know what color sweaters your team wears on the ice, the next step is to check who your team’s captain and goalie are. If your team is lucky enough to

Graphic by Kelsey Ott/Daily Senior Staffer

What we’ve learned from the Civil Rights Act JONATHAN ROACH

DAILY COLUMNIST

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As we commemorate the breakthrough piece of legislation, it is worth asking what lessons we learned from it. When President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed the nation before signing the bill, he articulated that its purposes, among many, were “to end divisions” and “to promote … a deeper respect for human dignity.” Although we have made a lot of progress on both of these goals, there is still work to be done and many obstacles to overcome. Recently it occurred to me that it is widely accepted to refer to a woman sexually interested only in women as “a lesbian.” However, it would be considered at best weird and at worst pejorative to refer to a man sexually interested only in men as “a gay.” Instead we say that he “is gay” or “is a gay man.” Why does the difference matter? It is demeaning to refer to a person only by one aspect of her identity. That is to say, when we refer to her as “a lesbian,” we are reducing her from a person with wonderful complexities to only her sexual

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orientation. Sexual orientation is significant and should not go ignored, but the most important thing is a person’s human dignity. While this might be dismissed as merely a call for political correctness, it is instead a plea for correctness of thought. Continuing to use terms that obscure someone’s human dignity will not directly influence others in the way that politically incorrect words such as the N-word or the C-word do. In fact, chances are that nobody who hears or reads the utterance will feel offended. For example, in all the discussion of this year’s Best Picture winner at the Oscars, I never once encountered someone arguing that the title should be changed to “12 Years Enslaved.” Rather, the language you choose directly affects yourself. Every time you refer to people without making an effort to emphasize their human dignity, you train your brain to understand them as less than people. For example, at Northwestern it is common to hear someone define themselves or others by their major, as in “He’s a theatre major, she’s a theatre major.” There is a notable difference in saying instead “a person majoring in theatre.” Through mere terminology, we make ourselves forget that majoring in theatre is not the only thing that matters to the person. To be clear, it is not our language alone that reduces people to their demographic names. Often

such language stems ultimately from maliciousness, ones that intentionally attempt to obscure a person’s human dignity. But, to invoke the argument made by George Orwell in “Politics of the English Language,” an effect can become a cause, one that reinforces the original cause and intensifies the effect. Namely, our language preserves the sentiments of those who wanted to diminish others. At some point, it may seem that this type of language is awkward and cumbersome. The argument may even follow that it gets in the way of the efficient communication needed to solve more urgent issues. Are we going to worry about a few lost syllables when same-sex marriage is not even recognized in most states in the country? I sympathize with this rebuttal, but it misses the main idea. When we think about other people, we still have the choice to focus on what divides us or on what unites us. When we use language, we can reduce people or we can promote a deeper respect for their human dignity. We can either let the legacy of the Civil Rights Act fade away or we can revive it and make it stronger than ever. Jonathan Roach is a Weinberg sophomore. He can be reached at jonathankramerroach2016@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

lift the Stanley Cup, as mine has twice in the last four years, your captain will be the first to hoist the Cup. More importantly, your goalie will likely be the most valuable player on the journey to the Cup. The most important thing you are probably wondering is why you should even bother pretending that you are an avid hockey fan. Well, while hockey has fewer fans than other top American sports, its fan bases are all exceptionally passionate about their respective teams. Go to a restaurant, bar or watch party this weekend and feel the energy when your team scores its first goal. By June, you will understand how amazing it feels to score 2 goals in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup. If you really don’t feel like watching guys in beards figure skate with wooden poles for months, you can do what half the city of Chicago did last year and shamelessly bandwagon your team’s Stanley Cup parade in June. Is there a better way to celebrate a sunny summer day than skipping work to enjoy beverages with your local ice-fishing – I mean, hockey – squad? Bob Hayes is a Weinberg freshman. He can be reached at roberthayes2017@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

The Daily Northwestern Volume 134, Issue 102 Editor in Chief Paulina Firozi Managing Editors Joseph Diebold Ciara McCarthy Manuel Rapada

Opinion Editors Julian Caracotsios Yoni Muller Assistant Opinion Editor Caryn Lenhoff

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR may be sent to 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, via fax at 847-491-9905, via e-mail to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com or by dropping a letter in the box outside THE DAILY office. Letters have the following requirements: • Should be typed and double-spaced • Should include the author’s name, signature, school, class and phone number. • Should be fewer than 300 words They will be checked for authenticity and may be edited for length, clarity, style and grammar. Letters, columns and cartoons contain the opinion of the authors, not Students Publishing Co. Inc. Submissions signed by more than three people must include at least one and no more than three names designated to represent the group. Editorials reflect the majority opinion of THE DAILY’s student editorial board and not the opinions of either Northwestern University or Students Publishing Co. Inc.

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The Daily Northwestern - April 17, 2014  
The Daily Northwestern - April 17, 2014  
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