This season, the Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds of Bentley’s hockey team, its players, supporters, employees, and fans have all involved one term that unites them: JAR pride. Reflecting an attitude and a uniting philosophy, what started out as a seemingly harmless hashtag blew up into a full-blown mentality, state of mind, and direction of living.
I really didn’t know how to open this whole thing because it’s hard to provide a true pop or hook to something that defies explanation at times. I wasn’t really sure how to open it because JAR pride transcends any dramatically written or jingoistic introduction.
The truth is – JAR pride started out as something innocent, a little rallying cry before a game on Twitter to tell the players that people were with them. This was before the interactions between parties really got going, before they all became one unit. It was just a hashtag that became something more.
JAR pride has become a rallying cry for the Bentley hockey family. It’s become something bigger, a way of thinking, a guidebook for what to do on and off the ice. It’s an attitude, a state of mind, a perception stating that no matter what, we can band together and dole out some punishment equal or worse to what we’re taking.
JAR pride is Mike Switzer taking those hits we’ve discussed on this site, bouncing right back up and nearly scoring after blocking a vicious shot. JAR pride is Zach Marginsky defending his teammate in a post-whistle scrum, then continue to want a piece while skating off the ice. JAR pride is Jamie Nudy picking himself off the ice after being targeted for a hit for an entire shift at home in the playoffs.
JAR pride is Ryan Kayfes stepping back to a blue-line role when his teammates go down hurt. JAR pride is Zach Ledford taking a shot, cradling his arm gingerly as he skates off the ice, then returning to power through it. And JAR pride is Micah Williams stepping out of a suit and into his uniform the next night to replace Ledford in the lineup.
It’s Dan Koudys skating every shift like it’s his last one. It’s Brett Gensler answering the bell to score the goal every time it’s been asked of him. It’s Alex Grieve and Brett Switzer playing as the best freshmen in the league, wise beyond their years. And it’s Aaron Stonacek skating up ice to score a shorthanded strike after someone heads to the penalty box.
JAR pride is playing a home schedule in a dingy building, without the comforts of a Daktronics or JumboTron video board. It’s the holes in the ceiling, the fiberglass insulation holding back gallons of water, the board runner glass that falls out and gets displaced with a vicious hit.
JAR pride is a sign hanging above the stands, strung up with hockey laces. JAR pride is a group of students researching the other team’s likes and dislikes so they can accurately pick on an individual from the stands, and JAR pride is the constant stream of chants and songs that come from the 20 members of the Falcons Nest who used to number in the area of “less than five” guys who’d walk to games from campus.
JAR pride is the chip on your shoulder, the one that says, “Never be satisfied.” Winning is nice, but it’s all about the next win until you’ve done something that’s never been accomplished before. It’s the ability to not give up when hope is lost, when you’re losing by one with less than 10 seconds left, with one shot left on that opposing goalie. That goalie – he’s thinking about his shower. You – you’re thinking about the red light and the pig pile after you score.
It’s an attitude, one that says never quit. It’s about rallying back from a loss when you probably shouldn’t have, to take your lumps and get back on the horse. It’s the ability to stand up and take punches, take shots, and still power on. It’s the ability to say, like Rocky Balboa, “If you want to beat me, you’re pretty much going to have to kill me.”
JAR pride is Michael Eden. It’s a teenage boy whose adolescence maybe embodies the meaning of “JAR pride” more than anyone else. It’s someone who is suffering from cancer, trips to the hospital, and medical procedures. It’s someone who would have every reason to sit back and just feel sorry for himself. But instead, it’s someone who’s inspiring with his rally, his ability to power through anything. If he can get to a game, if he can pick himself up and put on that Bentley jersey to stand in the stands and cheer on the teammates who’ve adoped him as one of their own, then the team can power through anything. Anytime it looks bleak, just look at that gold #8 in the stands (in New York, I might add… that’s right, he made the trip to Rochester), and it’ll give you the power to charge back over the boards, wake up the next day, and tackle everything head on.
JAR pride is going 500 miles west to play a team that’s never lost a playoff series in its true “home arena” since coming to the Division I level. It’s going 500 miles west to stand toe-to-toe with one of your league’s glamorous programs, one that two years ago stood with Wisconsin in the Frozen Four. It’s going 500 miles west to compete with a team that didn’t lose a home conference game all year. It’s going 500 miles west to play a team that swept you in your barn. JAR pride is traveling 500 miles west with your backs against the wall, and that’s just the way you want it.
JAR pride will take the ice on Friday night at Ritter Arena. Bentley might not win this series, and there might not be a return trip to Rochester, NY next weekend for the Atlantic Hockey Association semifinals. But RIT is going to have to earn it, and they’re going to have to find a little bit of JAR pride themselves.
Faceoff is at 7 PM.