Sarah Palin elicits mixed reaction from hockey moms
now, nearly every American knows the punchline to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s quip in her Republican National Convention Speech about the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom. The joke mushroomed into confusing metaphor when Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama responded with a one-liner of his own about pigs, lipstick and Sen. John McCain’s policies, and then a point of contention between the opposing political camps.
It has been three weeks since Palin burst onto the national political scene at the Republican National Convention with a speech that would make Ronald Reagan envious, and it has remained one of the major talking points of the campaign ever since.
The candidates have talked at length about education and economy reform, but the question of lipstick and hockey moms has become, in a word, solipsistic. At the heart of the debate is not just Palin, but the hockey mom herself.
The Park Record attended Park City High School’s game Wednesday at the Park City Ice Rink against rival Sky View. The Miners lost the game 10-1 but their moms were still cheering them on and talking about the economy, injury, change and, yes, lipstick.
Maddy Selby of Park City started a business with her husband. She has three kids, two boys and a girl. Her son Wesley is a forward on the team and started playing when he was 10 years old. In that time, he has played hundreds of games. His mom has been in the stands for all but one.
SCENE: What makes being a mom in hockey different from other sports?
SELBY: There’s not a whole lot of ice out there, which means your ice time is limited, which means you may have to travel to get to your ice and the equipment is expensive and it’s quite a commitment on the part of the kids to make it to practice because of the cost and the ice time.
SCENE: Do you identify yourself as a hockey mom?
SELBY: Oh absolutely. If you’re a hockey mom you just know. It’s probably one of the longest seasons of most leagues. It’s usually a six-month season. So you get to know the other parents and your players. I’ve been so fortunate because we have a really dedicated group of parents. They come to all the games and they’re faithful to their kids.
SCENE: What was your first reaction when you heard of Sarah Palin?
SELBY: I think you can relate to her and you can understand the commitment as a parent and her dedication to her kids. I had not heard of her prior to her being elected and I like her. I like what she has to say and what she hopefully will offer if she gets to the White House and the job she’ll do.
SCENE: How does the experience of managing a kid in hockey help you develop leadership skills?
SELBY: I think any mom would identify as a leader. There’s no doubt that moms kind of [shape] the home. I keep the schedules of everybody, my husband’s and my kids, and we own a business so I can relate to trying to run a business and trying to get kids to their appointments on time and making sure everything is running well.
SCENE: Do you have any desire to be the vice president of the United States?
SELBY: I personally wouldn’t want it but I don’t think being a mom would hinder her at all. There are many executives out there, women, who run their own companies. My husband and I started our company 17 years ago and I’ve raised our kids with the company and our kids don’t suffer at all. Everyone gets nannies or day care or parents and the kids don’t suffer at all. I think she could do a great job.
SCENE: Do you like her because of what she’s accomplished as a governor or because you feel personally connected to her?
SELBY: I don’t think her personal life has anything to do with running the country. I think anyone if given the opportunity can do many things. And just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she can’t do it.
SCENE: Would you vote for her or support her or vote for her because she was a woman?
SELBY: No, I would not. I would not vote for her or support her because she was a woman or a hockey mom. I’d support her for her abilities. I think it’s her track record and her accomplishments. Forget what anybody says and just look at her track record and I think that’s how people need to vote. Vote on her accomplishments.
SCENE: Were you a Hillary Clinton supporter?
SELBY: No. Not a bit.
What makes Sarah Palin more appealing to you than Hillary Clinton?
SELBY: I think for me, I’ve never liked someone coming out and just bashing anybody, whether it’s a woman or man or anything and coming to the table with nothing. You know, I think she yells and screams a lot but I don’t really believe she meant it. And I don’t think in public she can play the sexist card. You know, once in a while she would start crying and saying, ‘They were so mean to me,’ and another time she would use it in her favor. And you know what, just get out there. If you’re going to play politics, play politics. Don’t play the woman or man game. Just get out there and do your thing.
SCENE: Would you vote for McCain because of Palin or would you just look at the top of the ticket?
SELBY: I think both. The VP has a lot to offer and they’re going to be doing a lot.
A coach’s perspective
Bill Keller coached little league hockey and roller hockey Peewees in Texas. He was the head coach of the Miners last year. His son, a Park City High School graduate, is a freshman at Texas A&M.
SCENE: Are there common traits among hockey parents?
KELLER: Every parent I had to deal with was a classy parent.
SCENE: What did you think when hockey became part of the national political scene?
KELLER: I think it was great. I think hockey doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So for Sarah Palin to make a joke in her speech about being a hockey mom and what separates a hockey mom from a pit bull? Lipstick. To me, I loved it. I’m married to a hockey mom. I know a lot of hockey moms.
SCENE: Will it influence how you vote?
KELLER: No. I mean, I’m conservative so it was nice to see a conservative on the ticket for a change. I know that’s not real popular in Park City.
Leanne Parry and Susan Pearlstine huddled together near the top of the bleachers. Parry, whose son is a goalie, was out with an injury. She said Palin’s lipstick line was "cute," but it didn’t sway her vote. On the other hand, the nomination of Palin to the Republic ticket swayed her friend’s vote. After listening to Palin’s speech, Pearlstine made her decision, and contributed to the campaign of Barack Obama. Her son, Michael Foster, is a junior. She has recently rejoined the workforce.
SCENE: What lipstick are you wearing?
SCENE: Do you think of yourself as a hockey mom?
PEARLSTINE: Well, my son’s father is the coach so I don’t schlep to practices. I don’t buy the uniforms. It’s all been on his father. I just show up with my lipstick.
SCENE: Does Sarah Palin being a mom make you more likely to vote for her.
PEARLSTINE: Not at all. I’m disgusted with the choice. I wish they had chosen a woman or a man who had the experience to be president . . . There was a great speech writer behind Sarah Palin’s line.
SCENE: Do you normally vote for Democrats or Republicans?
PEARLSTINE: I’m a definitive Democrat. I’ve also been Independent, but I want to see the economy improve. My issues are the economy, community work, and I’m ready to have a gentler, nicer society. It’s become very fear-based and angry. I’m leaning toward opportunity and growth.
SCENE: Does that spell Obama/Biden for you?
PEARLSTINE: It absolutely does. But I still wear lipstick to all the games. I always wear red lipstick.
SCENE: Were you a Hillary Clinton supporter?
PEARLSTINE: I would have been happy with Hillary and I would have been happy with Obama. But the minute that Sarah Palin was nominated was when I sent my contribution to Obama I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. She’s got a full family to raise. I don’t think she really represents the progress we’ve made as working women to be so visibly absent from your family and Alaska is a long way from Washington. It’s made me more passionate than I’ve been about the Obama campaign.
SCENE: You don’t buy the argument that women might vote for McCain/Palin because she’s a woman?
PEARLSTINE: It’s scary because I think a lot of women will. But it seems hypocritical to me that the same women that said, ‘Stay home with your children,’ are now supporting her. Now it’s OK. I’m just now back in the workforce. I checked out because I figured I could be as good of a business woman as a whole lot of other people, but I could only be a great mom to my three kids, so I really wanted to get that job done. Right now, I’m just looking to see if they’re safe or injured. I don’t know if that makes me a hockey mom.
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Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson has decried what she called a lenient sentence in a child sex abuse case in which a 20-year-old reportedly attempted to impregnate a 12-year-old. The perpetrator was sentenced to 20 days in jail and 10 years of probation.