Normally, I like to tour the Michigan Tech campus before I write my Winter Carnival week column.
Sometimes I'll get an idea from a statue I can frame things around. Sometimes I just get inspiration from the scene. Always, I play the ice miniature golf course designed by the Pep Band.
This year, I just didn't get out. I wish I could say it was because, at the time of this writing, the wind chill was minus 17 and that I had the good sense to avoid that sort of thing, but in actuality, I was just too busy.
For the first time, the Wing Ding hockey game was on the Wednesday of Winter Carnival week. Many of you know because it drew an excellent crowd. We've got less than a month in a winter sports season that feels like it gets more intense and more complicated every year and you want to know about it. Furthermore, my column does not yet write itself.
My hope is when the last buzzer sounds for whomever makes it the farthest, that our staff and I will have produced something we, and you, can be proud of. It is our passion, as evidenced by the conversations we have in the office after deadline, normally over the most minute details of the games we saw the night before.
It's OK if we have to tailor Winter Carnival to our schedules because Winter Carnival is a time in which we bring our passions to the surface.
For the Michigan Tech hockey team, that passion paid off big in a sweep at Bowling Green last weekend, potentially the most encouraging results the Huskies have put up since a pair of home wins over Michigan State back in October.
This weekend's series against Alabama-Huntsville is an important opportunity for Tech to turn a good weekend into a season-defining winning streak. The Huskies, currently in a three-way tie for fifth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, can land as high as third by the time the fireworks are lit off over the Portage Canal Saturday night.
Despite the Chargers' 1-26-1 record, it won't be a walkover. After all, you know where that win came from? At Bowling Green, just like Tech, and the Falcons are ahead of both teams in the standings right now. But mix some skill with a little passion and there's a good shot at four points.
Below the hill, there's passion too, whether it's for an organization raising funds or raising fun for the people going around the campus. It takes passion (and a whole lot of crazy) to be out there building given how bad the weather has been lately. And when it's all over, it takes dedication (which is simply another form of passion) to hit the books hard and make this a good semester.
It takes passion for our community to press on through this winter, which I can safely say even now is the worst I've been through since I moved here.
I realize, unless you're a diehard, there's been a lot of hardship. Maybe your pipes froze again this week. Maybe your snowblower is in the shop and it's been hard shoveling lately. Perhaps it's been tough to heat the house. But when you're passionate about where you live and the neighbors with which you live, that's the best way to get to the thaw, whenever that comes.
Large veins of copper used to run underneath this region, leaving bits of the precious metal to occasionally float to the surface. Large veins of passion still do: passion for fun, passion for history, passion for ethnic heritage, passion for sports and even passion for winter. This weekend, they float to the surface. There will be a lot of pieces to pick up on campus, but even in town and around the Copper Country, you can find a nugget or two just about anywhere.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.