The other night during warm-ups for a Washington Capitals game, hockey player Brett Connolly decided to pitch a puck into the stands for an excited fan. This hardly seems like news, right? But the video of the event went viral because it reflected a frustrating element of sports culture.
Check it out below and see why it’s both heart-lifting and infuriating.
Show this video to every pro athlete today pic.twitter.com/bU6Iuls9jA— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 16, 2018
Connolly singled out that little blonde girl to get his puck. He demonstrated this by tapping the glass in front of her. But that didn’t stop a grown man from snatching the puck before it reached her, and handing it to the boy on her right. So, Connolly tries again, getting another puck. Tapping the glass to confirm that it’s intended for this girl. AGAIN the man grabs it, and now hands it to the boy on her left. It takes the third try for the man to FINALLY give the little girl a pitched puck. And there was much rejoicing, as she holds it up, jumps excitedly, and smiles broadly. So happy ending! Eventually. But what’s that thieving dude’s deal!?
When this video hit Twitter, many jumped to defend the man who gave not one but two pucks to the boys on either side of the little girl. Like the second announcer in the clip, they assumed this was the dad of all three kids, and oh ho! Wasn’t he tricky, managing to get all of his brood their own special memento! Which look, even if we assume that guy is all three kids’ father, what kind of lesson is that to teach his daughter? ‘No matter what you do or desire, I’ll always value your brothers’ needs first. Boys just matter more than you.’
But the girl’s mom spoke out on Twitter to set the record straight:
Hi guys! This is my daughter from last nights game! Just want to clarify, the “Dad” catching the pucks was not her father, & she is an only child. Need to say that since her dad was there but about 7 rows back as to not take up space for other kids & he’s an amazing father!— Lauren Moxley (@Moxser) April 16, 2018
Others online related to Moxley’s daughter, noting that being a woman in a male-dominated community (like sports fans) can be an alienating experience.
This was so frustrating to watch. Girls know this feeling all too well.— Madelynn (@LaMadelynn) April 17, 2018
i know i’m supposed to focus on the positive of this situation, but i hate this video. so many parallels to be made here for females who love sports.— hg (@hollyrene44) April 16, 2018
We, as women, are used to being put in this situation, being treated as second or even third to boys whose experiences are prized over ours. It's not a "cute little video," it's a player trying to give a puck to a little girl and both of them being disrespected.— Callie 🐿️ (@WhoNeedsGoals) April 16, 2018
Just try to empathize with us, here. This happens all the time to girls/women. We're not "politicizing" something when we want bad things to stop happening to us all the time. For you, you can brush it off. It's not happening to you. We can't ignore it being inflicted on us.— Callie 🐿️ (@WhoNeedsGoals) April 16, 2018
Later, Moxley offered a response video of her daughter, Keelan Moxley, sharing her story. See it below, courtesy of CBC News: The National.
You may have seen the video of Washington Capitals’ Brett Connolly trying to give a little girl a puck, only to be intercepted twice by a man standing behind her. We asked Keelan Moxley for her side of the story. #TheMoment pic.twitter.com/ElTILGgsUk— CBC News: The National (@CBCTheNational) April 17, 2018
In the end, the male anchor asks, “Why did he hand the puck to anyone but her? I don’t know the answer.” Cool, dude. We bet your female co-anchors do. Ask them.