Obscene Gestures

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Chapter 25

“The NHL has made it official, folks! There is now a WNHL with twenty two teams spanning across the US and Canada. There are four Canadian teams which just blows my mind!” Veronica Wilson was live at DeVole Arena for the evening news broadcast. She was strolling around the rink, talking animatedly to the camera. “We can look forward to the ladies playing on opposite nights from the men so fans don’t have to pick which team they want to watch. So, Detroit you can actively support your Sounders and your Fury! I, for one am looking forward to some new ‘blood’ on the ice. These gals are as ferocious as they are gorgeous. It’s going to be a groundbreaking year in the world of professional hockey!”

Up in the conference room, Tess sat with Meda and Karina going over the schedule of games. Their season would last just as long as the guys did. What they were uncertain of was a championship. The Stanley Cup was the one to strive for in the men’s league but since the women’s league was brand spanking new, what would be their ultimate goal? The first women’s hockey championship was played during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Karina had been on that team. It was the year Meda and Apollo were born, along with Tess three months later.

“Well first things first, we need to work out the logistics of having a championship that isn’t bound by Olympic rules. There are a few of these women’s teams that are now considered ‘major league’ though they’ve been around several years. Now that the Fury has started this avalanche of women’s equality in sports, they’ve surfaced and brought others along with them. When you compare the Women’s World Cup to the Stanley, you can see significant differences. I think we need to push for a Cup that’s mirrored after the Stanley.”

“Good point, Karina and I like where you’re going with this. The WWC is broken up into minor teams with a complex system of brackets. While I admire the fuck out of the ladies who play, we need a championship tailored for us.” Tess spun in her chair, trying to keep up with her racing mind.”

“Lo, why don’t you do some research on the differences between the two cups. I want a solid plan to present before the powers that be. I want it so solid they collapse under it.” Lo nodded her head and her fingers went flying. Before long she had a bulleted list of each, complete with pros and cons, flashing up on the big screen.

“Damn girl that was fast!” Meda giggled. Lo winked and sipped her soda. Karina stood and positioned herself on the edge of the table in front of the screen. She muttered to herself, made some quirky hand gestured, then nodded.

“This is an excellent start. I’ve got some experts who can help us lay down the rules and regs we will need and they’ve already started on the charter. I want to set up a meeting with all the coaches and work this together. I don’t want to be responsible for making all the decisions and it’s a good way to promote sisterhood in our sport.”

“I’ll get Aster to make the calls and get the meeting scheduled. You good with virtual?” Karina nodded.

“Yeah it will have to be. I don’t see any of us being able to leave our home cities to hash this out in person right now, not this close to the start of the season. This may not even happen this season since everything is so new. We’ve got a much different demographic now that we’ve gone mainstream so I expect there to be many growing pains.”

“Makes sense, Coach,” Tess huffed. “I think we all want this done right. It’s going to take the league as a whole to make this work and keep it from being a passing fad, you know?” That was the last thing any of them wanted. They wanted this to be a permanent revolution, a permanent fixture in the sports world and one that rocketed women’s athletics to the stars.

“Yep, that’s true, Tess. We are all women fighting for the same cause, our right to play whatever the hell sport we want and be taken as seriously as the men. If you look at women’s programs all across this country you can see the unfairness in spades. Just look at salaries, for God’s sake! Before now, a female hockey player barely made enough to get by. Hell, they couldn’t even get by on what they were being contracted to play for. While the men get these multi-million dollar deals and sponsors out the ass, we were stuck in a corner barely scraping the bottom of the barrel.

“When I played for Denver, I made twenty thousand a year. I had newborn twins to raise alone and I couldn’t do it on that shitty salary. I worked two and three jobs to get the basics. Thank God for my mother because without her, I would have lost my shit a long time ago, not to mention I’d have lost my kids. Even as a two time Olympic gold medalist, I still wasn’t worth a decent salary.” Karina shook her head, trying to dispel her rising anger. “This movement is vital, ladies. It didn’t come along to help me and other women athletes my age but it has finally come. And it will shake the wide world of sports like a Grade 10 earthquake!”

“In the words of Lucy DeCapo, fuckin’ A right Coach!” Karina threw back her head and laughed.

“I love that girl,” she giggled. Tess chuckled and propped her feet up on the table.

“Yeah she’s our definite ray of fucking sunshine. What say we call it a night, go to Mickie’s and grab a bit with a brew? You all down for that?” Karina looked at her watch.

“Ah shit. I can’t. I have to pick up the boys from practice. I didn’t realize it was this late. Raincheck?” She took out her phone to send off a quick text but Meda stopped her.

“Hold on there, Coach. I got this.” Meda fired off a quick text to Blake and received a quicker one back. “Your boys are taken care of. Blake is going to pick them up and take them to eat with some of the other guys.”

“You are the shit, Meda!” Karina exclaimed. “But are you sure? I mean, my boys are pretty good most of the time but they can be a handful. Add raging teenage boy hormones in there and you can have a ripe recipe for disaster.”

“No worries, Coach! Blake has Pollo with him. If anyone knows how to handle teenage boys it’s my man. He grew up with five older brothers. They totally got this.” Tess rose and stretched. “Now let’s go. I’m starving up in here!” Karina finally agreed with a broad grin. Everything was shut down and the women prepared to leave. Karina’s phone was buzzing like crazy when they got to the parking lot.

“Jax and Roan are just a bit excited about having dinner with the guys,” she giggled, showing the others the string of incoherent texts she was receiving from both boys. “Good thing I speak their language.”

“Told you they’d be fine,” Tess laughed. The short car ride landed them at Mickie’s. They eagerly stepped through the door, chatting away. Once seated, they ordered their food and beers. The place was busy but not packed. Sean made his obligatory greeting, stopping to chat a bit as he always did. Shannon was there, serving while Marcus slung the booze behind the bar. It was nice to see the place in a good flow. Tess noticed a lot of new male faces, all with their eyes glued to Shannon. “I see your new waitress has boosted business.” Sean laughed.

“Aye she has. She’s a beaut, my little sister but she’s tough as nails. They don’t know they don’t stand a chance of getting into her iron drawers anytime soon.” The ladies laughed along with Sean, especially when Shannon delivered a slap on the back of his head. “Ow ya bloody brute!”

“Oh come on you big baby. I barely tapped you,” Shannon giggled. She sat down next to Tess, giving her a side hug. “How are my two favorite girls doing these days?” The chit chat was informal and Shannon was as laid back as ever. When one of her customers waved her over, she rolled her eyes and stood again. “Well duty calls, my lovelies. Have this old miser give you a round on the house.” She kissed Sean’s cheek and walked off giggling.

“Things didn’t work out between her and Pop,” Meda sighed. “Damn shame. I really like her.” Tess sucked down the last of her beer.

“Yeah but Uncle Dom has his eye on her now. And I’ll bet my little red Corvette he gets in her iron drawers.”

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