Stella Cup to overthrow Stanley Cup |

Stella Cup to overthrow Stanley Cup

Robert Valko
Dear Darwin
Vail, CO Colorado

The first thing I noticed at the women’s hockey game was a doubled-over, 4-foot tall hot dog. Its head and torso kept hurling toward each other in a ‘ketch-eleptic’ seizure. Scratching an itch can be tough when you’re a kid cocooned inside a hot dog costume. Nonetheless, he went for it. His head and torso collided as a bun-wrapped paw lurched upward from inside a starchy straitjacket. Kids these days.

The next area of concern was a gaggle of male cheerleaders in the front row. Hair on their chests and backs was Chia-Petting straight out of the necks and sleeves of their T-shirts. Then, when they lifted their shirts to reveal the full Chia compliment, the letters they’d crop-circled into their chest hair came into view. “YOU ROCK CARISA,” the “hairo-glyphs” read. Each man a letter unto himself. Maybe. (The contents of this story may have settled in a highly fictionalized way during shipping.)

So what exactly is the Stella Cup? It’s the playoff series that leads to the championship game for the women’s “A league.” That league plays teams between Denver and Aspen. Vail residents Molly Vitt and Carisa Keltner play for the Vail Breakaways. The Breakaways played against DU at home on March 21. Vitt and Keltner helped advanced their team to Stella-fest 2010 by scoring 3 and 2 goals respectively.

Shortly after the period bell sounded, short stack – boy in a bun – wobbled over to the men’s restroom. The staggering was apparently brought on by over-indulging in the mustard. He – the mascot for the DU women’s team – failed to stay within the legal mustard limit. On the way back from the washroom, he was pulled over and asked to walk the lines of the rink. He failed the test miserably and was issued a MUI, for mascot-ing under the influence.

Had enough Alice in Wonderland hockey antics yet? If you’ve read Dear Darwin in the past, you know that I always give the proposed evolutionary basis for a given behavior. In this case, the predominant activity is women’s sports.

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller was the first in his field to suggest that, among other human pursuits, sports, the arts, humor and even kindness are products of sexual selection: evolutionary pressure to attract mates. For example, men become well-known comedians, writers, composers and athletes to increase the odds that at least one female will be attracted to them. Hopefully, that female won’t be a praying mantis. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. In many cases, though, their efforts pay off and they land trophy wives.

So how do we explain female comedians, writers, artists, and athletes? Are they trying to collect some trophy Joeys of their own? Possibly. As with all else female though, the answer is not as clear-cut for women as for their K-9 counterparts (men). Nonetheless, it may be that this evolutionary road is a two-way street and women who create art and play sports do so to display their creativity and athletic prowess. Seeing that women usually have the upper hand in mate choice however – especially in the Vail Valley – this may not be the case.

Research has shown that younger females “value group membership” more than younger males. They also tend to have more friends. Why? Because people – women maybe more so – are social by nature; they are happiest and healthiest when their part of a group.

Other benefits of group membership include: a strong sense of self, peer integration, status, and the dirt on those in the local area, which may include briefings on which males are slackers and which are hot dogs. If there’s an evolutionary reason, the slacker/dog differentiation might be it.

When asked why they play hockey, Carisa Keltner and Brynna Wilson (who plays in the “B league”) answered by saying that it’s fun and it’s a great workout. Something tells me I should take these chicks with sticks seriously.

The Breakaways sure had fun that night; they won 9-0. The hot dog, not so much, he’s up for parole in 2025 though.

Robert Valko is a graduate of Northwestern University. For a list of the academic sources used to write this article or to suggest column ideas, e-mail Robert at

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