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The Halifax Xplosion

Bad taste knows no gender limit.

Halifax has its first women's tackle football team, which I suppose is good news for those into that sort of thing. To celebrate this, and to capture a piece of the city's history, they've decided to name themselves the Halifax Xplosion, which also, I suppose, is fine if you're into that sort of thing. It even has that funky mis-spelling to make them feel funky and young, which apparently they require as part of the "branding" for the "market".

However, what is getting them the most press is not that they are playing football, or that they can't spell, rather that they are dancing on the memories of a couple of thousand people that actually died during the explosion and the storms that followed it. Naturally, the coach has said that they are "hounouring" the dead, not mocking, using, or defaming them in any way.

No, of course you're honouring them and this is all a silly misunderstanding, one that I'm sure the fans of the Hamburg Holocaust football club or the New York September11's baseball team are all too familiar with.

A request to the members of the Halifax Xplosion. First, spell the goddamned thing right - you are not divesting yourself of any responsibility by changing the word - if anything, it further mocks the event. And second, before you put on your jersey again take a walk down to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and go see the explosion memorial. Check out the list of names and ages of people killed, and see the blood-stained dress of the two-year old wounded daughter of the telegraph operator who died at his post while sending for help.

Then, if you still feel you are "honouring" anyone, go back, slap on your uniform and practice your sweeps and sneaks. And when you're out on the field under the bright lights, wave to the members of your family that showed up - they'll be easy to identify because they will be the only people standing at the sidelines.

I have looked over many blogs and when I found this one I thought - there is a rational and respectful tone here - I did think it disappointing that all the contributors were men, but that's not your fault. Then I read your righteous indignation on the Halifax team and it seemed well-reasoned but just a little over the top on the emotional side - but what bothers me is the condescending tone "I suppose it's good news for those into that sort of thing" (twice). Perhaps the real problem is the gender thing? After all your outrage is not directed at the "Redskins" sports team or the many other teams with names that denigrate something or other. So I guess my question is: why the condescension? Is this blog for men only?

Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I hadn't thought that my comments would come off as condescending, a little bit disrespectful maybe, but that's as far as I wanted to go. It didn't strike me that anyone that would name a team as they did deserved more than a wave at respect, so I didn't really try. Generally speaking, we do try to maintain a tone of respect and I really, really hope that I never have to resort to moderating comments.

As for the chromasomal distribution of the blog, that is purely accidental. I started it a few months back and after the blog addiction set in, invited a few friends with whom I complained and moaned about politics with and whose opinions I respected. At no point in time had I thought that this blog would represent any more than our opinions, and I have, to now, made no effort at inclusion. If you are interested in joining the team, send me an email at kevvyd@eastlink.ca and let me know the kind of things you'd like to write about and I'll pass the message on to the rest. I'm personally all for expanding the range of views represented here. Provided they stay sort of left-centre - I don't want things to get too out of hand. ;)

There are those on this blog that actually like football; me, I can't stand it, whether it is played by men or women. I personally think that it is a strange modern mutation of sport in which every participant, instead of being an athlete, which implies some overall athletic ability, becomes a hyper-specialized cog in a machine. Now that billions of dollars go into sport, it is happening to all of them, but football seems to me the most advanced along this sad road. No, gender did not enter into it - until now when you assumed that all guys like football, I suppose, but I take no offense. I just reread my post and I can see where the misunderstanding springs from.

In my mind one of the greatest modern sporting events happened today on the streets of Boston.

I expect I could go on and write an article about the Redskins and the Braves, they are despicable, and many others for that matter, but this is my town, not Washington or Atlanta. And in many ways, I feel responsible for what happens in it.

I would like to put two cents in here if I may. First I would like to say that the team name is not one I would choose. I think the WindJammers, had the right idea. I, however, can understand the team's reasoning behind the name itself (not the spelling... really stupid idea!). If you look at it from the prespective of Halifax citizens triumphing over incredible struggles from both the explosion and the winter storms that followed. You can see the strength of human character our past Haligonians possessed. The team may see this as a core value to add to their strength on the field.
Is it honouring the dead? No. There were heros who died saving further deaths (i.e. Vince Coleman, Dispatcher, etc.), but I do not think that calling a team the Xplosions is doing that.
Honouring the Survivors? Once again no. Mostly by choosing the spelling that they did. It becomes almost cartoonish which does nothing but insults the heritage.
Since they are going ahead with this name regardless of the comments from Blevkog, they should before they beginning of each game have two minutes silence to remember and honour those who were there.

I would like to ask our fellow bloggers, what would be a good name for our new intrepid female football team.

I would suggest: Halifax Hurricanes (There is an event they can latch onto!)

Hey Paul,

Of course you may put your two cents in! The problem I see with the name is that it celebrates the actual death of people, not the survivors or the events afterward. If they had picked something involved in the rescue or rebuilding operations, that would be different, but they didn't.

I honestly don't care what they call the team - like I said, I don't pay much attention to football. However, I think that what they've chosen is mighty tasteless.

I'll agree it has a certain degree of tastelessness, but no more than a lot of things I can think of - my nephew's under 5 soccer league a year or so ago had their teams named after natural disasters, including one called The Tsunamis, which I'm sure might have jarred any Sri Lankan parents. But I do think you're suffering from tunnel vision on two points, Kev:

a. complaining about hyper-specialization in football without acknowledging that the same exists in baseball, and more and more in hockey - about the only positions a hockey player can switch are the right or left wing and the centre.

b. complaining on the team's spelling - once again, it's a fairly common phenonomen - and not even a recent one, for example I was always taught that the plural of 'Maple Leaf' was 'Maple Leaves' - and yet Toronto seems to have missed that grammar lesson.

a. I did say that it was happening in other sports, but that it appears to me to be more advanced in football. I also clarified that I just don't like football, which also fogs my vision on stuff like this. I do not, have not, and will not ever claim to be objective on this forum and do not want to be held to that criticism. I write my views here. Reports I save for work.

b. You leave my Leafies out of this! And the playoffs, for that matter. Sniff.

Speaking of work...

Thanks for the response and the invite - I'm not sure my tone or content would be appropriate to your blog but you can check it out and let me know - just google blogspot susan.com.

It's interesting to me that someone who has NO interest in football and no knowledge of the game and probably no involvement or investment in the sport whatsoever has such a passionately obstinate view on the NAME of a team.

As far as I remember the word "explosion" was around alot longer than when it actually happened in Halifax and in my opinion it's a great name for ANY team. As far as I know the team wasn't named Xplosion specifically because of the Halifax Explosion. I think it may be associated with a club of that name. And just an FYI there's a women's football team in Atlanta called Xplosion and they are part of the IWFL. Then there's the Memphis Xplosion football team and the Pittsburgh Xplosion Professional Basketball team. I wonder if they've ever had any explosions in their cities. So basically are you saying that because people died in the Halifax Explosion citizens of the city of Halifax, in your opinion, cannot use the word "EXPLOSION" in any title, name or brand that may, in your opinion, not respect the people who died or survived in the HALIFAX Explosion. So after Pearl Harbour, we should never use the word PEARL or HARBOUR in anything because it would disrespect those who fought in the war. Unless you're from NFLD and THEN you could get away with it because you would say, ARBOUR! But otherwise, I think your ranting and raving is absolutely dumbfounded and narrow-minded and if your so GUNG HO about HISTORY you should be celebrating the fact that the Halifax Xplosion is a team of so many determined and committed female athletes who are the FIRST Nova Scotia females to EVER play organized tackle football in a competitive league in the Maritimes. This is a VERY huge accomplishment in women's sport, which I can appreciate that being a man you may not recognize, but many women have been fighting for generations to even be able to PLAY ANY organized contact sport in this country and now we are slowly but surely able to have the choice to either sit on our ass and watch TV all night or GEAR UP and kick some ass on the field. Alleluia!
At least someone is looking forward and with a positive and productive mentality!

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