The Second City Hockey team thought it would be helpful to share some things we’ve been doing to keep our minds occupied during the COVID-19 pandemic. Join the discussion in the comment section and let us know what you’ve been up to during your quarantine.
Book: “Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey’s Greatest Coaches” by Craig Custance
TV shows: “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” “Ozark,” “Peaky Blinders,” “The English Game,” “The Good Place,” “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” (All on Netflix)
Hobbies: Eating, running
Albums: “Lamentations” (American Aquarium), “Gigaton” (Pearl Jam), “Neon Cross” (Jaime Wyatt)
Podcasts: Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Bader Show/FloWrestling Radio Live, House of L (Laurence Holmes), The Pat McAfee Show, Too Many Men (Sara Civian, Shayna Goldman, Alison Lukan), Wrestling Changed My Life (Ryan Warner)
Before the pause started Scott King pushed “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Ozark” as shows to watch. I liked the latter and haven’t started Curb yet. Maybe that’ll be next after catching up on “Better Call Saul.” I’ve watched all those shows above, so if there’s another one other than Curb you think I should watch, let me know. I also took to YouTube to watch all five Bears playoff victories during my lifetime. I’ll probably track down Juventus’ 2011-12 season and watch those matches again at some point.
I was training for a half marathon at the end of April, but it was postponed until the fall. Running feels empty now with no races in sight to train for. Eating is a hobby. I like snacks.
“Lamentations” doesn’t come out until May 1, but American Aquarium already released the song “Long Haul” from the album and it’s a good one. I got hooked on Jaime Wyatt’s music after seeing her open for American Aquarium a few years ago. One cannot be a Blackhawks writer if they dislike Pearl Jam. Them’s the rules.
If there’s a good MMA or amateur wrestling podcast out there, I’m listening to it since those are my two favorite sports. If you like Chicago sports media and haven’t listened to House of L then I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your life. I generally don’t listen to hockey podcasts, but I’m friends with Shayna so I’ll support her “shit talking” as she calls it. WCML has both current and former wrestlers and coaches, including Illinois natives, sharing old stories. Warner is also helping raise funds for Beat The Streets Chicago, which is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering youth through wrestling.
Book: A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
Albums: After the Party by The Menzingers, Vheissu, by Thrice, The Artist in the Ambulance by Thrice, To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere by Thrice, From Here to Infirmary by Alkaline Trio, No Closer to Heaven by The Wonder Years, Between the Heart and Synapse by the Receiving End of Sirens, The Physical World by Death From Above 1979, Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
Video Games: Madden 20, NHL 20, FIFA 20 (soon), Dynasty Warriors 8, Age of Empires
TV Shows: Letterkenny (Hulu), The Staircase (Netflix), Manifest (NBC)
Podcasts: Lead Singer Syndrome, SVPod, Hoge and Jahns, 100 Words or Less, Live From the Five Hole, Productive Outs
Hobbies: See the five paragraphs above
I’ve long been fascinated with the Vietnam War, especially the societal/cultural happenings during that time. Believing there are lessons to be learned from that time that remain relevant in 2020, I dove into a book recounting one soldier’s experience on those battlefields, authored by a Chicago-area native and former Chicago Tribune reporter. Highly recommend.
With music, I’ve relied on my all-time musical favorites to navigate the plethora of time at home. Thrice has been my favorite band since high school and I still can’t pick a favorite between the two multi-worded albums listed, Vheissu was played in its entirety during Thrice’s most recent Chicago appearance, so it’s been getting attention as well. The Wonder Years’ album expresses frustration and anger with aspects of American life in a way that resonates heavily right now. The Menzingers’ album was a change-of-pace in a genre largely comprised by younger crowds, offering songs from musicians who crossed into their 30s asking, “What do we do now?” Alkaline Trio’s music never leaves my ears. Receiving End of Sirens was touring for the first time in over a decade and was supposed to play Bottom Lounge in May before obvious it was canceled. And I’m still holding out hope that I’ll get to see My Chemical Romance play at Riot Fest this fall. I could go for another 2,000 words on music things alone, but let’s not.
I play a lot of sports video games. FIFA is going to be purchased soon, given the massive spring sale from Playstation right now. The other two games are family traditions.
I’ve been carrying the Letterkenny banner for multiple years and will continue to do so: it’s a brilliant show, it’s unlike I’ve ever seen and it’s absolutely worth your time. Hockey fans, especially, should be into this show because there are endless NHL references. And the jokes are so subtle that it requires multiple viewings to catch everything.
My podcast habits usually lean toward music, too. Lead Singer Syndrome is hosted by Silverstein frontman Shane Told, talking to fellow singers who all seem to originate from the punk rock umbrella. Ray Harkins’ 100 Words or Less podcast has a similar theme but isn’t restricted to singers. The other podcasts account for my sports fix when I need it from a podcast.
Albums: SOUND & FURY - Sturgill Simpson; Mercury Falling - Sting; In Concert/MTV Unplugged (Live) - Bruce Springsteen
Video Games: MLB the Show 20; Minecraft
TV Shows: Chef’s Table (Netflix); Westworld (HBO); The Witcher (Netflix)
Hobbies: Chess, billiards, roller blading
Podcast: Joe Rogan and Graham Hancock
I highly recommend picking up the five book box set of A Song of Ice and Fire, especially if you enjoyed the Game of Thrones TV series. I’ll admit that the novels are a significant time investment, but in the end it will be worth it. It’s the best series I’ve ever read and will help you get your mind off all of the craziness going on in the real world.
I’ve also started to learn how to play chess on lichess and have been watching agadmator’s chess channel on YouTube to expedite the learning curve. It’s a therapeutic mind exercise and will challenge you to take risks and think three or four moves in the future, which is a useful lesson that can be utilized in many different areas of life.
When it comes to podcasts, I’ve linked up the first of several episodes of Joe Rogan with Graham Hancock. Hancock is in incredible storyteller and the real life version of Indiana Jones. Your mind will be blown listening to what he has to say about ancient and lost civilizations, history, the evolutionary timeline of humans, politics, drug culture, society and much more. It has sincerely made me a more curious, thoughtful and imaginative person listening to this podcast series.
Books: The Game by Ken Dryden; A Theory of Justice, John Rawls
Albums: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: David Bowie; Supernova: Caitlyn Smith; Purple Rain: Prince; Color Theory: Soccer Mommy
Video Game: Retro Bowl
TV Shows: New Girl; West Wing; Nailed It; Parks and Rec
Podcasts: All Fantasy Everything, The Press Box, The Big Picture, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
I’ve been reading a ton of philosophy and religion in the vast wasteland of time now available, because why not come out of this a better person. Still, if you want to pick up a lighter book and read about hockey while there’s none being played, Dryden’s is perhaps the greatest book about hockey ever written.
I listen to a lot of 70’s/80’s music, simply because that’s the best period of music (I’ve found), so Bowie and Prince have both become incredibly important in my life. In terms of new music, I’ve not found a better country singer than Caitlyn Smith and Soccer Mommy is some of the best alternative out there right now. The podcasts are for keeping your mind off of it (AFE, Conan) or for staying tuned (Press Box, Big Picture).
New Girl and Parks and Rec are the two best sitcoms of the past decade and Nailed It is the funniest cooking show.
Unlike Brandon, I don’t actually train for races, I just run, and that has continued to be one of the very few options available to me when I need a break from reading.