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Goodbye to Hicks & Herr

by christo_the_hawk

If you’re like me, you were lucky enough to come into this league while it was being run by Brian and Sarah. If you’re old as hell like Rich, you’ve seen a lot of things in terms of league management. Some good, some bad, but none as hashtag efficient as this dynamic duo who are ending a 2 term (that’s 4 years!) stint.

Non hockey garb…I know, it’s unsettling

I remember seeing some guy in an Egyptian Pharaoh hat halfway through my first season thinking…wow that guy…is interesting. It was Hicks. Imagine my surprise to find out he also ran the league. Meeting Sarah instantly quelled my fears that my newly beloved hockey league wasn’t going to be run into the ground.

It’s no small feat to be the commissioner of a ~500 person hockey league. It’s also no small feat to undertake the job when you just started dating your co-commissioner. They’ve changed the league a lot and made it more efficient—and even got married when they had a free weekend away from hockey. I could go on but I’ll leave some room for y’all to actually read the interview.

Please briefly regale us with the story of how you met, for old times sake.

Hicks: Like most things in life, it’s Glanzer’s fault. Week 1 of the 2017 btsh season, my team at the time (Fuzz) blew a 3-0 lead in the second half to the rehabs. In OT, the rehabs scored at which point Welch wooed with open arms towards our bench. As anyone who knows Rich knows, he HATES wooing (it’s more unforgivable to him than if the NL added the DH). So Rich chased Welch down and shoved him into the fence. This process took a while because as you know, Rich doesn’t have a very high top end speed so he basically had to wait for Welch to slow down. Because of this, Rich was suspended for two games. But let the record reflect that had he been a bit faster, he probably would’ve been suspended for less, but the DC clearly felt his speed was so offensive it merited a second game. 

Anyways, fast forward three weeks and I’m at the courts before my game. Rich is making his glorious return and is reffing. Flawlessly I might add. Absolutely beautiful form with the hand raise on delayed calls. He looks like he’s even gotten faster from all the CrossFit he did during his two week suspension. I start cheering him on and letting him know how flawless his reffing is. An attractive girl who happens to be vertically challenged looks back to see who this Rich fan boy is and smiles. We make eye contact. Sparks fly. I make a note that there is a cute girl in the league I haven’t seen before, but I’m currently chugging pre workout and blasting hype up music so introducing myself will have to wait. 

About a month later, May 21, 2017 to be exact, we played tonsil hockey at ACE Bar (us being there is also Glanzer’s fault as he demands the league go to his birthday at that bar after games one Sunday in May. every. single. year.). True love.

SPH: This is how we met, but it’s worth noting that despite having my phone number, it took Brian another three months to actually ask me out. My baby brother (yes, for those who know him, Gardie) subbed for Math one Sunday, and not knowing that I had brother, Brian mistook my much taller and blonder brother for my boyfriend, and he was devastated. He finally asked me out in the always atmospheric Parkside Lounge, amidst the romantic background noise of Beer Olympics. He also had a Duck Dynasty beard at the time, and no one — including me — can believe I said ‘yes.’ 

Aforementioned duck dynasty beard

What made you want to become joint commissioners? Did you have any hesitations about sharing it with someone you recently started dating?

Hicks: Popack bamboozled me & Diane bamboozled SPH. Once we realized we’d both agreed to run for the same job we chose to do it together. 

SPH. By bamboozled, he means bullied. 

Hicks: I think there were some reservations at first, but we’re both pretty good at identifying the other person’s strengths and letting them have that space to operate.

SPH: We both knew that we were either going to work well together or we weren’t, and if we weren’t, wasn’t it better to find out sooner rather than later?

What do you think is each other’s best quality as a commissioner? 

Hicks: Sarah’s best quality is her ability to write emails that convey her annoyance with anyone who questions her ruling style and therefore dissuades people from arguing. Really saves us a lot of time. 

SPH: I’m forever grateful for Brian’s math and reasoning skills. One time, I tried to be helpful and make the opening and closing schedule — not even the real schedule — and I messed it up. Badly. Brian had to redo it. Making this season happen was a lot of work, but writing a schedule for 19 teams definitely would not have happened without Brian, beer, or the University of Michigan’s engineering school. 

What has been the most challenging part of this job? 

Hicks: If I have to pick something, it’s probably the weather and dealing with all of the amateur weathermen and weatherwomen in the league. It’s even better when the weather stuff happens during playoffs.

A close second would be the skateboarders and their toys.

SPH: If I’m being snarky, people confusing the commissionership with a full time job, with benefits.

If I’m not, the time and personality management. Everything got easier once we knew the personalities and the sometimes not-so-personal histories of people in the league. Also once we learned about the Governing Document sometime during our third year. 

What’s one thing you wish you knew before becoming Commissioner?

Hicks: being commissioner doesnt fast track you to the HOF, you still need ten years of playing, per Rich’s rules. 

SPH: Everything that’s in the aforementioned Governing Document.  Also, what the heck, Rich? 

What’s one thing you’d tell someone who signs up for the job next season?

Hicks: Run.* Also check out the feature most emails have that lets you send emails at specific times. It’s ideal for when you’re hungover and don’t wake up early to send the league email.

Or just marry someone who will write the league email (sorry about the few weeks there wasn’t one cause she was out of town). 

Also, set up a glanzer filter on your commissioner inbox, your personal inbox, and your work inbox. Just do it. Change your cell number too. 

*Editor’s note: I’m not sure if he means ‘run for commissioner’ or ‘run away from the thought of signing up for this role’

SPH: It’s all fugazi. If it’s not in the rules or the governing document, make the captains vote or use your judgment (unless you’re Rich, in which case use Eli’s judgment). 

What’s one project/new feature in the league you’ve implemented that you’re particularly proud of?

SPH: Improving communication and transparency between league management, captains, and the league as a whole. A lot of people before us worked hard to standardize the rules, ensure we were appropriately incorporated as the correct kind of non-profit (501c-7, tax nerds), write the bylaws and more, but there wasn’t much administrative infrastructure. When I joined the league, people only knew about league events if their captains bothered to tell them. Instituting things like distribution lists, the Captain’ Manual, and the weekly league emails were all done to help improve communication across the league and make it easier to know what was going on, and it’s my hope that it also makes things easier for the next commissioner(s). 

Hicks: Getting attendance into a more digital state (albeit with the help of a pandemic) was something I’ve always wanted for the league, so it was cool to see that start to happen this year. My only regret is that we never implemented BTSH Bracketology.

If you could create a brand new team what would you name it and pick 1 person from each team in the league to be on it.

Hicks: The Perverts. Jack McGinty gets the A.

I’m also taking Moe from the rehabs because that’s my linemate. From Karma, give me AK so we can crush Taco Bell together before games. Give me Craig from the biters so we can win a title together unlike our beloved lions. From Fuzz, I’ll take Rich but only so I can cut him after week 1. From lbs, give me Frey so I can consult him on how we can circumvent rules. From filthier, I’ll import the Annimal back from Austin. 

From the hookers give me Cheeky so that we can have weekly dumpling bets and from cobra Kai I’ll take Russ. Full credit to him for this expansion team. From fresh kills, give me Lily, but I’ll probably have to text her that she’s been selected since she never replies to my d5 emails. From what the puck, I’m taking Hogg ? and from the butchers, give me Akhil.

From the gremlins, give me Marcella so that she can be freed from Walker’s +\- tracking. Demons, I would take d ro and Sammy, but I’m worried their dog will show up and yap at me all game, so I’ll take popack instead if she promises to not talk about the cowboys. 

Rotten Math- gotta take the wife. Happy wife, happy life. I’m taking Eli too cause I need an enforcer and there are only 19 teams. From the riots, I’ll take David. From Mega I’m taking Shelly (duh) and from the sky fighters, I’ll take Westley. From rainbows I’m taking Jess so that we get positive media coverage since we know she’s the one running the show. 

SPH: I don’t know how to follow that response, so I’m not going to. 

If you could make up a random rule in the league for a day, what would it be?

Hicks: if you’re in the semis or finals this year you have to wear a costume. MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

SPH: Refs can make people who yell at them run Herbies. And those people have to ref the next game. Preferably while wearing costumes. 

What’s something underrated but super appreciated that players in the league can do to make your jobs easier?

Hicks: stop yelling at the refs

SPH: stop yelling at the refs and volunteer more. The same 6% of the league does all of the work. If more people did a little bit, things would be a lot easier for everyone.*

*Editor’s note: hmu if anyone wants to VOLUNTEER to be part of the media next year…

What’s your favorite part about being Commissioners? What will you miss the most?

  • Hicks: Meeting everyone. I think we both met more people through this than we would’ve otherwise. I will very much miss threatening to suspend people knowing full well I never had that kind of power. 
  • SPH: Telling people I run a league that is bigger than a lot of companies. And the nice thing Brian said about the people. 

Hicks & Herr, Sultan and Sarah, Meatbox and Mrs. Meatbox, whatever you lovingly refer to them as, we’d all like to thank you for the 4 years you’ve put into this league and the impact you’ve left on it for the future. 

Had to bring back a classic. Credit to Russ.

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