19 June, 2009

Playoff Beards

Playoff beards are the subject that led me to finally sit down and make the account to start this blog. Playoff beards, for those unfamiliar, are beards grown to celebrate a hockey team's entrance into the Playoffs for the Stanley Cup. They are based on superstition and the desire of (at the very least) Pittsburgher's male population to be manly, rugged, and just hardcore fans, because without fans, everyone knows that the Penguins could not win.

Aside from the obvious problems with such a phenomena - the superstition, the increasing lack of attention paid to everything else during playoff season, etc. - there is one thing about Playoff beards that I hate.

Playoff Beards encourage those who cannot, or should not, grow beards to do just that. From 14 year olds to 60 year olds, to 30 year olds that look like they're 14, these men just will stop at nothing to attempt that beard. This results in the opportunity for the most ridiculous and gross-looking facial hair one could possibly imagine.

There are a few particular beards/goatee/mustashe-beard combos that I must highlight.

First, the moldy neck beard. Any lady out there knows what I'm talking about. This is the beard that at least one guy in your life will have during Playoff season - possibly during the whole hockey season (it also rears its ugly head during the first few weeks of deer season). It starts out as a little scruff on his chin. It looks kind of unkempt, kind of like when you put the hair on one of those Wooly Willy toys. Then, overnight, it's like the creature from the Black Lagoon rubbed all over this guy's face. He's got this gross, unwashed thing just sliding down into his collarbone from his chin. That, my friends, is the moldy neck beard.

Second, I want you to think back to 8th grade. This was the year that most young men were just developing facial hair. You remember that one guy, the one who was so proud of his new mustache and chin scruff. He called it his goatee, right? You knew better, even then. Those Shaggy-like pokey-hairs sticking out of his upper lip and chin weren't even anything remotely like a beard, let alone something reminiscent of cackling bad guys from silent films tying women to tracks. He had no handlebar mustache. It's the kind of facial hair would see drawn in Peanuts - a few straight lines bunched together, bundled up with Linus' unwillingness to wash. Kind of pedo-like. If you know a man who has this, of any age, find him right now, and smack him upside the head and hand him a razor. No man should have this. No boy should have this. Respect the beards!

Last, but certainly not least, we get to my least favorite. This is the full-on beard, mustache, sideburns, and uncut hair combo. There is a way to do this right, but it is so seldom executed. What typically happens is this: Hockey season is upcoming, and a man with the ability to grow facial hair becomes ecstatic! It is his time! All of the ladies in his life grimace as he gets scruffier and scruffier, and turn up their noses. Then, like magic, he suddenly has so much hair, he looks like a wild man from the Catskills. His hair starts to look a little lank, his sideburns poof out and his beard comes in full and strong, and his mustache grows so that it rivals Colonel Sanders. He is a MAN. And then, overnight, it's all over. The beard begins to look a little grimy, and the mustache curls into his mouth. His hair gets tangled. His sideburns look like a colony of ants is having an orgy.
The worst thing happens: He doesn't trim it. He lets it grow more. He doesn't care for it, condition it, or wash it properly, and then, it looks like he's homeless for a few weeks. His friends, coworkers, and family cheer when the Playoffs end - regardless of whether their team wins or loses - because dear goodness, he looks human again, because he had to shave that inbred West Virginian movie villian beard. Hurrah!

These are the worst things about the Playoff Beard. In a corporate environment, these things are multiplied by the thousands, and frankly, I think I could do without this particular sports phenomena. Here's to hoping that someday, the Playoff Beard will be more like the International Beard Competitions, instead of like the back room at the B-movie bad guy convention.



  1. I won't lie, fans growing playoff beards doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Though this past year the Pens had a big charity thing going on, people growing bigger beards raised more money to be donated. You can't argue with that.

  2. That is somewhat different. It's still kind of gross if they aren't well cared for.