The hard work of chronicling Hockey Fights
Joyce Park stashed this in The Sporting Life
The motto of my university is "Crescat scientia; vita excolatur", which is elegant Latin for the awkward English sentence: "Let knowledge grow and human life be enriched". Ironically I quit the university and moved to Silicon Valley to become a web developer when I realized that the greatest force for these goals in my lifetime was clearly going to be the Interwebs. And when you come down to it, the Internet is but a wonderful platform for real people to express all of their obsessions, aesthetic judgments, hidden talents, and unnameable emotions.
Which is why I have long held that Hockeyfights.com is the essence of what makes the Internet so great. There is little glory in chronicling hockey fighting, a lot of controversy, and certainly no money. But as long as young men play full-contact sports on skates, there will be fisticuffs of the type which demonstrate Newtonian motion. And there will be a subculture of guys in basements -- led by their captain, David Singer -- who capture, share, and comment on said battles. Before the Internet, there were just "THOSE WEIRD HOCKEY FANS" who cherished Tiger Williams or Wendel Clark jerseys while muttering lines from _Slap Shot_ at inappropriate moments. Now they are a community with a canon, an ever-growing chronicle, and a routine during the season. New fans who find themselves thrilled by hockeyfighting can quickly be indoctrinated into the history and lore of the enforcer.
The Internet particularly rewards those individuals who are willing to work tirelessly and unselfconsciously on tasks that seem pointlessly repetitive to the outsider. In real life you only see these people in the gym or the science lab; but the peculiar flavor of online expression lies in all the things you would leave out in a book but have plenty of room for on a blog. In real life a taste for tedious completionism is rarely rewarded; but without that trait the online world would be poorer indeed. This article zeroes in on the dedication or stubbornness necessary continue to produce a long-running project, night after night, for nothing but the gratitude of some hockey nutballs like me.
Singer is a curator who demonstrates why the Internet is great.
His passion for a very specific aspect of hockey benefits anyone else in the world who shares that interest:
On a freezing night on Long Island, David Singer left his wife and two sons and locked himself in his home office so he could pursue his hobby: watching men beat each other senseless. Singer is the founder of the site hockeyfights.com. When it comes to brawls — “scraps,” in hockey argot — he is a curator and a critic and an external hard drive for the NHL’s institutional memory. On this night, Singer left open a chat window so I could follow along as he collected violence.
He inspires, connects, educates, and entertains through his website.
And I think any great website does all of those things.