Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Seeing past Sarah Palin’s ‘hockey mom’ persona

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Originally published on on Tue, 10/14/2008 – 10:09am

I’ve been watching a lot of hockey over the last few days. It’s the start of the NHL season, and NHL Center Ice is having a free preview. And one of the games I watched last night was in Philadelphia, where Alaska Governor and self-proclaimed hockey mom Sarah Palin received a typical Philadelphia reaction. Boos and lots of them.

Palin appeared surprised by the reaction, noting that her daughter, Piper, wore a Philadelphia Flyers jersey.

Booing is what Philadelphia sports fans are known for. This is the city that booed Santa Claus. This is the city that has one fewer baseball championship (one) than the Chicago Cubs.

There are two reasons Gov. Palin was in Philadelphia to drop the ceremonial first puck: she’s a “hockey mom” and the Republicans want to do well in Philadelphia. And Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider is a major Republican donor, so that didn’t hurt.

In the drive for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is vital for Obama to do well. Not just to win the area but draw as many people as the campaign can to counterbalance any issues in central and western parts of the state stemming from the bitter Democratic primary in the state.

So Palin’s presence was a counterstrategy. She likely figured that she would be greeted well because, well, she’s a hockey mom. However, Philadelphia is Obama country, and fans will boo anyone, especially a politician.

But also, maybe they see past the “hockey mom” pose and see the real Sarah Palin.

“Hockey mom” is supposed to be a variation of “soccer mom,” getting up early or driving kids to practice and games after school. It’s a way of connecting with parents who overschedule their children and take them to all of their activities.

And Track did play hockey, and was a pretty good player, so Palin is a hockey mom. But there is a different side to a hockey mom where soccer moms can’t relate.

Sometimes, for hockey players to succeed, they have to leave home, even in high school, to get better opportunities. Track Palin spent part of his senior year living in Portage, Michigan, just outside of Kalamazoo. Palin lived with a hockey family during his senior year and played hockey until he separated his shoulder.

This may sounds unorthodox, but actually it isn’t, in the hockey world. But most soccer moms don’t go through this.

True, Palin likely did a lot of the driving when Track was younger, and followed his career. But she hadn’t driven him around for awhile.

Admittedly for different reasons, Track and his sister, Bristol, spent time away from the family unit during their high school days. (Bristol lived with her aunt in Anchorage during her junior year.)

Again, this isn’t to disparage the family situation. Each family is a little different. But Palin’s portrayal of a “hockey mom” is designed to blend in with soccer moms in the Lower 48, even though her reality is different.

Working mothers (and fathers) who struggle to make ends meet, get errands done, drive their children to activities, and have enough money to pay for necessities deserve our support. Palin tries to fit into that mold, but with children living in different cities and living on a $200,000 salary plus however much Todd Palin makes, she isn’t one of them.

This isn’t to make fun of the Palin’s situation — each family is different and there are different paths to family success. But the idea of Palin being a “hockey mom” in the way she conveys is patently false, and quite insulting to the parents who struggle financially to make ends meet and give their kids more than they had in life.


Written by democracysoup

October 14, 2008 at 10:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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