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This Week in Disrespect: Everyone lookit the new guy!

December 28, 2009

We are sure that you have, in the past, heard of the term “beginner’s luck.” Such a phenomenon is defined by Wikipedia as being, “When someone with limited experience achieves better than expected results it is referred to as beginner’s luck. The term is most often used in reference to a first attempt in sport or gambling.” And we think that, even if you haven’t heard the wonderful Lightnin’ Slim (don’t bluesmen have the best names?) standard “If It Wasn’t for Bad Luck,” you’ve probably heard the idiom espoused in its chorus, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”

Believe us when we tell you, then, that it is, in our experience, very rare indeed that someone so new to something can be so phenomenally and calamitously bad at it. But here we are, faced with evidence to the contrary from some new pro-UMass Amherst blog, imaginatively titled “Fight Mass” and containing writing that you’d imagine to be on par with that level of brilliance.

The author of said blog, one Edward Maxwell “Max” Bitter according to his About page — imagine the pomposity — decided to review the season so far for his Minutemen. And we say “his” Minutemen because he constantly, and embarrassingly, refers to the team as “we.”

Things were going along fine. He disavowed any knowledge of the exhibition loss to New Brunswick (and who wouldn’t?), and overall he was not effusive in the praise of his beloved team, which we can understand as it is, as usual, not all that good. But then we got down to the part about Amherst’s hilarious 5-3 loss in Lowell earlier this month, and what began with a warning that a “rant” was forthcoming quickly devolved from “rant” into “eyeroll-inducing sobfest” that was so emphatically and categorically wrong on so, so many points that it needed addressing.

So, Mr. E.M. Bitter (you should totally go by that, by the way), please hold still while we do this to you and we might just take it easier than you deserve. It’s for your own good. And it will hurt us a lot more than it hurts you.

But not really.

12/5 at Lowell

Warning: Lowell rant forthcoming.

My 22nd birthday was the Monday following this game.

No one cares. Including your parents.

Now, the worst thing that happened to me this weekend was Rivers Cuomo getting in a bus accident and getting my birthday Weezer/Motion City Soundtrack concert in Boston cancelled.

A life-threatening bus accident for a member of a band that hasn’t put out a good album since Pinkerton! What a terrible thing to have happened. To you.

But this was 2nd – yes, even worse than losing to BC.

Let us say, without going any farther, that we are extremely glad to hear that Lowell could have made your life worse in any way, shape or form.

Now, last year, it would’ve been different. I liked Lowell, I really did.

Thanks.

They were a scrappy bunch of kids that gave BU all it could handle in the HEA championship game (I still rooted for the Terriers, of course, but that’s just personal bias).

You realize this is like rooting for WalMart to run Ma and Pa’s Grocery out of business?

“UMass Jr.” was an affectionate little name for these guys. It was good to see someone else from the middle of the HEA pack succeed. It gave us hope.

Who, exactly, is the “us” in this example? Don’t try to glom onto Lowell’s many clear successes just because your team, which we’ll point out is funded by nearly double what Lowell’s is for about three-quarters of the results in a given year, had one good season ever. Amherst is government waste and pork barrel politics as it lives and breathes. Nearly two million dollars a season right down the old toilet. Don’t come to us acting like you’re the little guy just because you can’t spend your big-guy money effectively.

This year, something happened to these guys. They fell in love with themselves.

What evidence do you have that this is the case?

Mostly because, with so many big names in HEA graduating or fleeing to the NHL, everyone looked at the team who had the most coming back. (This involved overlooking UMass, due to their seven graduating seniors; completely ignoring the fact that a bunch of those guys were dead weight at this point, and that all the guys who carried UMass to being a goal away from knocking off Northeastern last year were coming back a year older and wiser.)

Because heaven forbid anyone overlook a team that finished seventh and eighth in the past two years. The “dead weight” Amherst lost accounted for 34ish percent of its scoring, if we’re remembering correctly. And that’s from a SEVENTH-PLACE TEAM. It’s not like the Hockey East coaches picked the Minutemen to finish ninth (not that they shouldn’t have); they were picked to finish seventh. At or above where they’ve finished all but two of every season they’ve ever contested in Hockey East. This is not unreasonable, as unhappy as that may make you personally, Maximilian.

Certainly, Lowell had a lot coming back as well, but people seemed to conveniently forget that these guys didn’t actually win anything last year. They rode a hot streak into the playoffs, and came one pretty horrible officiating decision short of stealing the Hockey East title.

They won three playoff games (and earned a draw in the final one). All of the mathematicians on TIIL’s payroll say this is roughly three times as many as the Minutemen won last year. Is this something on which we’re hanging our hats? No. Is it something that is a) a more notable achievement than that of Amherst, and b) something that could possibly be construed as potentially attributable to the ongoing development of a hockey team that graduated just THREE players and would be senior-laden and star-powered for this campaign? The answer to both these questions is, obviously, yes.

But the expectations and swagger displayed by their rabid fanbase far overstretch what most people look at as “reasonable,”

Prove it.

to the point where not being picked to win Hockey East, something they’ve never ever done, was seen as outrageous disrespect. Umm, okay. Whatever.

Yes, “whatever.” You just said yourself that Hockey East would be going through a down year. Is that something upon which we can agree? So given that, and given the way Lowell ran roughshod over Hockey East in the latter part of the prior season, and given that Lowell returned 83.9 percent of its scoring, wasn’t it within the realm of possibility that Lowell could perhaps win Hockey East? We know that Amherst fans specialize in a particularly vexing brand of cognitive dissonance. How could they, given their imperious self-importance, do anything but? The way in which they consistently talk up their team every April through December, then put them down as Squanderers of Great Potential (helpfully capitalized to highlight the gravity perennially lent to such insultingly mediocre teams) every January through March. Then, suddenly and magically, they forget the many ways in which their team has once again let them down as gently as the Fat Man hit Nagasaki and the process, as with everything else in those coldly warm springtime months, is born anew.

What grinds my gears more than anything, though, is this notion that Lowell is somehow a far superior hockey program to UMass.

Oh we can’t wait to hear this one…

Yes, Lowell has had far more success in the season series. They’ve had our number, in good years and bad.

Strike one in the “UMass Amherst is not appreciably worse than Lowell” argument.

For whatever reason, we don’t match up well with the Loch Monsters (or is it River Hawks? They both sound like AHL teams).

Clever. And for the record, it was “Lock Monsters,” not “Loch Monsters.” The Tsongas Arena isn’t on the banks of Loch Lomond, you absolute moron. This was just the first in a slew of factual errors contained herein. And for the further record, the reason Amherst does not match up well with Lowell is that it is almost always worse at hockey. We thought that would have been fairly clear.

But we’ve been to one HEA championship game. They’ve been to two.

That’d be strike two.

Neither of us have won it all yet. Meanwhile, we’ve been to the NCAA tournament once, and even pulled an upset in it. They…haven’t. Ever.

Strike three.

Oh, really, Max? Hmm. We don’t recall 1988 as having been a year that didn’t exist. We’re fairly sure, too, there were events in 1994 that were in some way significant that must surely prove that the calendar did not jump from 1993 to 1995 with little or no explanation from Alberuni’s The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries; heck wasn’t that the year UMass Amherst’s hockey team properly blighted the world with its second campaign to rid civilization of all its goodwill and human joy? And we’re fairly certain that 1996 was the year in which one of us graduated from junior high school, so that’s a thing that must surely have happened as well.

In fact, we’ll put it in terms you can understand. In both the years 1994 and 1996, your favorite band in the whole wide world, Weezer, put out its only two good albums. The band’s self-titled release, often referred to as “The Blue Album” was released to widely positive reviews in May of 1994. The followup, Pinkerton, came out to critical raves and indifferent consumers in February of 1996. Both of these albums are on our iPods, so that’s pretty decent evidence that these years did indeed happen, thus validating at least two of the years you seem to have conveniently forgotten when appraising Amherst’s paucity of relative success against that of the River Hawks’. We’re also hard at work determining something of any cultural significance to your mortifying and culturally bankrupt generation that occurred in 1988.

Oh but wait….

EDIT: Just kidding, further research shows that they actually have made it on 3 occasions, with a grand total of 2 wins in those trips, making it further in the tournament than UMass exactly zero times.

We’ll speak in language you can understand (read: excuse-making). Lowell hit a post in overtime of the NCAA quarterfinals against Minnesota in 1994, but that was back when they didn’t let 16 teams into the tournament so a bunch of Johnny Come Latelys like Clarkson and, well, Amherst could get in.

Yeah, yeah, they were a successful D2 program back in the day. Good for them. Doesn’t count.

It only doesn’t count to you because the Minutemen don’t have a goddamn thing in their trophy case except for the First and Last Annual NCAA “We Beat the Nos. 4 and 5 Teams in the Country That One Time” Trophy, awarded just once to the team which best built up its fanbases’ hopes and dreams and dashed them so spectacularly that it made the boys from TIIL laugh until tears streamed down their cheeks and their stomachs and faces hurt.

Look, I’m not trying to say the Minutemen are in the BC-BU-UNH-Maine level of Hockey East prestige.

No, you’re just trying (and somehow failing) to imply it.

We’re not. At all.

These are the only two cogent, thought-out sentences we’ve read so far (only one of which, by the way, was a complete sentence, but then we’re guilty of the above offense as well, so perhaps it’s just best for us to let it go by).

But neither is Lowell, not even close.

We think it’s been made quite clear that we only believe this to the year that Lowell will batter down that particular door, rather than it, having already done so, pulling up a chair and overloading its plate with some of the nicer foods on the table.

Of late, we’re both middle-of-the-pack teams, with an opportunity to break out of that rut this year.

For Lowell, yes. Amherst is already being pulled, screaming, into that rut as though it were the Bridge at Khazad-Dûm and Don “Toot” Cahoon a hapless, ineffective Gandalf. Of course, we already covered the endless cycle that is Amherst fans’ hope springing eternal and then dying on the vine. So we’ll only mention it briefly again: it’s never not incisively funny.

By the way, your saying “of late” can be interpreted as your saying that either Amherst was once good (a laughable argument) or Lowell was. The latter argument, while technically true, refutes your earlier, wrongheaded assertion that Lowell has never done anything of note in its history. This is Debate 101 stuff, kid. Try to keep up. We’re running laps around you and we’ve not yet broken out of a steady trot.

They’re on the same level as we are.

Strike four. Categorically incorrect. Heck, you just covered this.

Which, I guess, is all you can ask for when you’re Lowell,

Which, we guess, is kind of really good for a program that gets literally less than half the funding of the one you support, even if your argument were based in fact, which it is not.

because that would be the ONLY thing Lowell Community College has that is on the same level as the University of Massachusetts.

Again, funding. Oh and also Lowell owns the Tsongas Arena, which is quite a bit nicer than Amherst’s shabby, feckless rink, or indeed anything at Amherst, by any measure.

(That goes back to my hatred for the question “Which one?” but that’s a whole other rant which I’ll get to someday soon.)

Yeah we hate it too. We do not like people thinking we went to Amherst, as that implies a certain boorish quality with which we are not at all comfortable.

Which is why this loss hurts so much more.

Oh this must be the good part!

We had them on the ropes,

Wrong. Strike five. And that’s the number of fouls you get in kickball. And only the tragically unfit kids used all five strikes.

they lost 3 straight before this game,

Verb tenses, look them up. “Had lost.” That’s a good jumping-off point at which you can start.

and proceeded to suffer maybe the worst loss in Hockey East this year (3-2 at home to Princeton, which had been winless on the road) the very next weekend.

We’d think losing to New Brunswick would be worse, but fair enough. We understand we have to grade on a curve here, so a semi-inarguable point by you counts as gospel for now.

“Tailspin” doesn’t begin to describe it.

No, that’s true. But we would have loved for you to continue to go down a path that further approached describing it. We’ll help: “It was an unpleasant, foundering effort by a team that was, despite its gross incompetence and a cavernous disparity in quality both at an individual and collective level, inexplicably able to secure a fairly early two-goal lead and, through a merely Darwinian course of events that saw this team’s betters grasp the contest by its throat, frittered away what could have appeared to the unrefined layperson as a winnable game.” But we’re sure you can cobble together words that approximate the sentiment. Go on then.

We grabbed a 2-0 lead, everything was looking up, and then we blow a long 5-on-3, Ortiz takes a dumb penalty, and it was downhill from there. After we fell down 3-2, there was even hope when Syner tied it up early in the 3rd, but for the first time I think all season, we got badly outplayed in the 3rd period.

Well, close enough. And as to the larger point that you, Maxwell, seem to have forgotten, it’s almost as though Lowell is indeed better than Amherst for what must be the hundredth year running.

Whatever. Lowell desperately needed this win, and it showed.

We’re confused. Don’t all teams in all sporting endeavors need every win to which they can lay hands? Is there some reason Amherst did not need to win of which we were previously unaware?

But the battle of the state schools in mid-January will probably be two of the biggest games of the year.

For you, maybe.

A sweep for us would bury their season.

That’s a cute thought.

A sweep for them would put them right back in it,

Forgive us if we’re wrong here, but hasn’t Lowell spent pretty much all season more “in it” than Amherst?

and we’ll never hear the end of it.

You wouldn’t anyway.

I’ll be there for both games so we damn well better win one.

And doesn’t your hope against hope that Amherst emerges with one victory from three contests underscore our point nicely? Thank you for that.

I’m still owed a birthday present.

Maybe Lowell won’t make you cry again!

And here, we must be fair: Mr. Bitter, he of the hilariously apropos surname, has, in the time since we learned of the above post, posted something that almost resembles a retraction, the text of which follows.

Oh, would you look at that, Lowell made NCAA tournaments in ‘88, ‘94, AND ‘96!

Good work to ferret out the scoop, Edward R. Murrow.

They’ve actually won a grand total of ONE more tournament game than we have.

Translation: Twice as many as the number about which the entire Amherst fanbase has been bragging for years.

My [swear word]ing bad, I had no idea they had such a rich and prestigious history. Why, they’re practically the Notre Dame of ice hockey!

Well that’s a heck of a point, typing things into Google is rather difficult.

My point remains valid, kids.

Well, no it doesn’t, because to “remain valid” something must have been valid in the first place.

But all this anger, seemingly out of nowhere. It seemed odd. Misplaced, even. Almost as though someone has been taking the words on this blog a bit too seriously, just like so many others. So we poked around on this joker’s pathetic excuse for a blog and, luckily for us, stumbled upon this, from the first-ever post at Fight Mass:

My inspiration for this blog comes from a few of the established ones I’ve been reading throughout the ‘o9-’10 season, namely Fear the Triangle and Tri-Corner Blog,

Also known as “garbage” and “rotten garbage with a shameless ‘Marcou For Hobey’ shirt that is as horribly-designed as it is a reprehensible attempt to turn a profit from the accomplishments of an athlete whose status as an amateur is mandated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, who we’re sure would like to know about this unauthorized product.”

as well as The Ice is Life, which is admittedly a very witty and well-written Lowell blog.

Ohhhhh, okay. We get it now. This is an attempt to get daddy to love you, isn’t it, Max? Any attention from your blogging heroes must be good attention. So, as punishment for this masochistic and childish behavior, now we have removed all links to your revolting blog from this post and will refer to you as Baby Max at any point at which your name is mentioned in the future, which will hopefully be never.

And by the way, you don’t have to say that this blog is “admittedly” very witty and well-written. It is “objectively” very witty and well-written.

And while those are all excellent in their own right, I hope we can blaze our own path with this one, focusing more on the student fan perspective to go along with analysis as this exciting season progresses.

Well, Baby Max, at least you’re a lot like the program of which you constantly claim to be a part. You’ve taken this blog, so full of promise and, by late December, already failed. You don’t become a loser, you’re born that way. Amherst fans know that better than anyone.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. FuzzyHatFan permalink
    December 28, 2009 2:52 pm

    Beautifully executed. My (fuzzy) hat’s off to you.

  2. This blog used to be awesome. permalink
    December 28, 2009 8:10 pm

    But now you’ve taken to responding to criticism from UMass.

    • RHHB permalink*
      December 28, 2009 8:14 pm

      to be fair, we did point out that his rant “devolved from ‘rant’ into ‘eyeroll-inducing sobfest’ that was so emphatically and categorically wrong on so, so many points that it needed addressing.”

      this was a thing we had to do to help Baby Max grow as a person and a blogger. think of it as a public service.

  3. Matt permalink
    December 28, 2009 9:24 pm

    Wow, wasting so many words attacking a 2 week old blog that counts you as a fan. With so many personal attacks? Real mature

    • RHHB permalink*
      December 28, 2009 11:33 pm

      “so many personal attacks?” what are you talking about?

      • Matt permalink
        December 29, 2009 12:01 am

        Responding to a blog post about a hockey program by personally attacking the poster?

      • RHHB permalink*
        December 29, 2009 12:03 am

        what personal attacks?

      • Roy permalink
        December 29, 2009 4:21 pm

        I’m going to have to agree with Matt.

        You are attacking the poster of that blog.

        Don’t believe me, reread it.

        There is an attack on his birthday. To quote you exactly, “No one cares. Including your parents.”

        Or how about this, “Ohhhhh, okay. We get it now. This is an attempt to get daddy to love you, isn’t it, Max?”

        You’re entire intent of this post was to verbally attack him.

        Honestly, if you are representing your school, you should probably refrain from personal attacks. It just makes you look bad.

      • RHHB permalink*
        December 29, 2009 5:02 pm

        we’ll address your separate points now and then we’re done with this conversation because we cannot believe it is taking place at all.

        1) if you think the birthday thing is anything besides a joke, then you need to have a friend drive you to the nearest emergency room because you have, at some point in the recent past, fallen and hit your head on something.

        2) you are willfully taking the “love me daddy” thing out of context because it serves your otherwise easily-refuted, asinine point. it is a reference to howard stern, who taunts those shock jocks that shamelessly and poorly rip off his style (as has happened here) with the same phrase. all Baby Max wanted was some attention from us and he got it, so mission accomplished.

        and to your larger point that the entire post was an attack on him, well, we’ve got two points to address there as well:

        1) have you ever in your entire life read this blog ever ever ever?

        2) it was an attack on his absurd post and ridiculous assertion that amherst is or ever was on the same level as lowell.

        maybe if this moron had done some basic fact-checking instead of running his mouth in a post, this wouldn’t have happened. you gotta tiptoe through the tulips about lowell if you want to not incur our wrath.

        badmouthing lowell is a “civis romanus sum” situation with us. since we are sure that, as an amherst fan, you don’t know what that means, we’ll explain it. about 2,200 years ago, a roman citizen could go anywhere he liked in the length and breadth of the known world without fear of harm befalling him because he was armed with the words, “civis romanus sum,” or in english, “i am a roman citizen.” so great was the retribution of the roman army, universally understood as certain, should any harm befall even one of its citizens, that no one dared tempt its wrath. likewise, any insult visited upon lowell is an insult visited upon us and we will strike back as though bringing the fury of god himself to the doorstep of any who dare breathe a bad word against our beloved alma mater.

        there is no such thing to us as “proportional response.”

  4. Alfred permalink
    December 30, 2009 7:10 pm

    I’d like to point out how apt Max’s observation is here:

    “This year, something happened to these guys. They fell in love with themselves.”

    I’d say ‘try and disprove that’ but it’d be hard in comparison to this post and also I really just plain don’t want to waste my time reading another one of these. But in the future, you might want to try to approach an opposing viewpoint with a little class rather than letting your argument be completely overturned by pointless personal attacks on the writer. Professionalism is generally appreciated.

  5. Gotham permalink
    December 30, 2009 7:23 pm

    ” But the expectations and swagger displayed by their rabid fanbase far overstretch what most people look at as “reasonable,”

    Prove it. ”

    ^ He doesn’t have to- your blog post does that on its own. You’re flipping out over something someone wrote that speaks poorly of your team. I’d say that classifies as “rabid”.

    I stopped reading halfway through because it was too long. If you want to comment on hockey leave out personal attacks. Not very professional!

    You use lots of long and uncommon words to seem smarter and it comes off as pompous. It sounds like you’re hiding behind words instead of making a real argument. Btw, collegeboard.com tells me the average verbal SAT score of kids in Amherst is higher than at Lowell. We actually understand what you’re writing! (who woulda thought!)

    Also, you criticize him right off the bat for referring to Amherst as “us”- you refer to your side as “we” an awful lot throughout your rant- pot calling the kettle very black!

    PS the Tsongas Arena isn’t that great. It’s no better or worse than the Mullins.

    • RHHB permalink*
      December 30, 2009 10:27 pm

      we use “we” because there are two of us that write this blog. all these things are spelled out in our wonderful ‘about’ section, which should really be recommended reading for all first-time commenters.

      we apologize that our vocabulary is better than yours, too.

      • Gotham permalink
        December 31, 2009 5:53 pm

        K. You have no idea if I have a large vocabulary or not, so now you’re making assumptions. I just made a comment on your writing style- if you’re writing to the masses make it comprehensible for everyone.

        You also didn’t respond to my other criticisms- is that because you have no counterargument? I know you have no trouble writing on a weblog for excessive periods of time, judging from the length of this post alone, so it couldn’t be that you didn’t have time.

    • December 31, 2009 8:09 pm

      Professional? It’s a freakin’ blog for God sakes. There’s no requirement to be professional.

      Secondly, Mullins is nowhere close to being as nice as the Tsongas. Plus the Tsongas serves beer. :)

  6. Alfred permalink
    December 30, 2009 7:25 pm

    And also, a piece by piece dissection of the article? Line by line? Really? What is this, high school?

  7. Dan permalink
    December 30, 2009 7:39 pm

    This post isn’t really witty or well-written. Maybe the idea of a hockey meta-blog is just too ridiculous for me to take seriously, but I could only read this as some douche picking a target and grasping pathetically for ways to attack it.

    Also: “Admittedly” implies “objectively” in this instance. You are a UMass Lowell blogger, and thus an adversary. By saying you’re “admittedly” a good and witty writer, he’s saying that even though he would like to say that you’re an idiot, he can’t because you’re not.

    I can though. This was a chore to read, even skimming most of it. I don’t know what the first rule of writing is, but “Don’t write if you don’t have anything to say” should be it.

  8. Bernadotte permalink
    December 30, 2009 8:03 pm

    Firstly, “civis romanus sum” was a legal defense rather than a threat of violence. It was a declaration that Roman citizens could not be treated by their rulers the same way barbarians were treated by their warlords. Even your source of choice agrees with me. Therefore, the analogy you are making is that by virtue of being a Lowell fan you can talk shit, but the fans of other schools are forbidden that right for some reason or another? Sounds like a classic case of someone who can dish out more than he can take.

    Secondly, I am glad you realized how much free publicity you were giving this man’s blog. A good chunk of your readership is now his readership. (Hint: Removing the link doesn’t help much in this great Google era.) Which is exactly what you were afraid of. Have to take the competition down before they become popular, especially since they support a rival school.

    To close, I know Lowell. I know some Lowell players. More importantly, I know Lowell fans. You, sir, are no Lowell fan. You are merely a ghost, filled with hate for being forced to live vicariously what you could not live yourself. Respect your team. And respect other writers.

    PS. I am vastly amused by your threats. “Fury of god” appearing at my doorstep would be very interesting to see. Unless of course, my doorstep happens to be my blog (make Google your friend), and “fury of god” is merely another few thousand ill-composed words. In which case, you can keep it to yourself.

  9. Patrick permalink
    January 1, 2010 7:18 am

    Do we really want to worry ourselves about a school where the Chem Engineering practicum involves finding and empirically determining the optimum burn rate and temperature of a 1995 Ford Escort?

    Frankly, I wouldn’t care so much if it weren’t for the state going “all glory be the money hole” when it comes to the “flagship”… “we’ll make UMass a top tier school… just give us a D-1A football team and it’ll all work out”… yeah, how about no and no.

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