Woodbury, MN — An increased workload and recent threats of company-wide layoffs kept local insurance executive Andrew Blankenship from loudly berating and belittling his 6-year-old son Connor during his youth hockey game on Wednesday evening.
The game between the Woodbury Red team (1-11) and the Woodbury Blue team (10-1) marked the first time Blankenship was not in the stands showering his son with a crowd-pleasing combination of unfounded criticisms and profanity-laced personal attacks, a milestone not lost on the plucky second-grader.
“It made my heart cry tears when I didn’t hear my daddy screaming in the bleachers,” said Connor, a fifth-string center on the Woodbury Red squad. “He always makes my friends laugh real hard when he yells for me to pull my head out of my ass or screams ‘Connor sucks dog tits!’ as loud as he can. It makes me feel special, because my friend Andy’s dad just sits there and claps.”
Blankenship’s son was not the only one affected by the lack of spiteful cursing and disappointed looks on Wednesday evening. While the Woodbury Red team gained their first win of the season against the previously undefeated Blue team 16-12, the prevailing emotions emanating from the victors’ locker room after the game were sadness and disappointment, with several children stress-vomiting blood as a result.
“This team doesn’t really have much to look forward to each week, outside of Mr. Blankenship’s inappropriate, often racist taunts of his son,” said Woodbury Red team coach Derek Lintell after the game. “I have a feeling these kids would give back every goal they scored tonight, if they could hear his patented ‘Why the hell did we ever adopt a kid that can’t skate for shit?'”
Before missing Wednesday’s game, Blankenship, the VP of Communications at the St. Paul-based Countrywide Insurance, had attended parts of each of Connor’s previous four games. However, with an impending merger between Countrywide and Tanner Mutual on the near horizon, Blankenship expects that his already jam-packed schedule will make Wednesday’s absence an increasingly common occurrence.
“Trust me, no father worth his salt wants to miss his son’s hockey game,” said a solemn Blankenship said from his office. “Hell, between this new work schedule, my various bowling leagues, volunteering at the VA, and driving around the neighborhood waiting for my wife to put the kids to bed, I barely get to see the little rug-rats at all.”
While other parents tried to pick up the slack left by Blankenship’s absence by throwing empty juice boxes at Connor during timeouts, many of the parents bemoaned the noticeable lack of anti-Semitic barbs usually targeted at the younger Blankenship by his father.
“As far as I know, the Blankenships are Catholic,” said Susan Felcher, a parent of one of Connor’s teammates. “But hearing Andrew scream for Connor to ‘stop counting your money, and get your Jew-ass down the rink’ always brought smiles to our faces. It never made much sense, but we sure did miss that sentiment tonight.”
For her part, Blankenship’s wife Julie also tried her best to pick up the slack at Wednesday’s game, twice yelling “Eat shit, Connor!” and even spitting on her son as he walked to the locker room between the second and third periods. Her maternal instincts and lack of experience, however, drew more jeers than cheers.
“I don’t know what the hell Julie was trying to do,” snarked fellow parent Gary Ronnin. “If Andrew had been there to witness her carrying on that way, he would’ve knocked over her soda and told her she didn’t look nearly as hot as the day they got married or something. Something like that. Whatever he would’ve done, it would’ve killed.”
Asked if he had considered taking a break for his son’s game and resuming work afterward at home, Blankenship said he had tried similar options in the past, but found that doing so caused him to miss the midnight rerun of Seinfeld. A number of Blankenship’s coworkers have also suggested Andrew skip the weekend trips to Duluth with his administrative assistant Amanda in favor of spending quality time with his children, a notion Blankenship termed “pointless as all fuck.”
As they’ve always done, the Blankenships intend on pushing through this latest setback and focusing on a future that will hopefully be filled with more time spent at the hockey rink and fewer late nights at the office.
“It’s been very difficult on the entire family,” said Julie. “You’d like to be able to be there to support your children in all that they do. Hopefully, once the merger goes through, Andrew will be back in the stands launching a ‘you look like a retarded moose on skates’ in Connor’s direction or screaming ‘lose weight or sink already’ to our fat daughter Lindsay at her swim meets.”