The use of social media has certainly changed the sports culture. One thing it has done is closed the gap between athletes and their fans. Case in point - the Trees for Goals campaign currently happening at Stanley Cup Of Chowder. Initially, Andrew Ference, a defenseman for the Boston Bruins, tweeted out a joke after the NFL lockout ended.
For every NHL pass, a tree will be planted. Every NHL goal, a solar panel will be installed. Wait… what? Those proposals didn’t get in?!?— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) January 6, 2013
SCOC manager sarahconnors decided to see if that could be turned into something more.
Okay, @ferknuckle. We're ready for the season. For every goal you score, we'll plant 50 trees. plantabillion.org Get going. #Bruins— StanleyCupofChowder (@cupofchowdah) January 7, 2013
He retweeted and responded:
@cupofchowdah You guys are awesome! OK, I’ll match that offer but I’ve seen my career stats and will plant for @tylerseguin92 goals instead.— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) January 7, 2013
Now the SCOC community has gotten involved. People have pledged for everything from fights to goals to shutouts. Rival hockey blogs have gotten in on the act; Eyes On The Prize is pledging for hits on Bruins players. Even the NHL jumped in by pledging for hat tricks!
I emailed with sarahconnors to get the skinny.
Q: So what made you come up with the idea after seeing the tweet?
sarahconnors: The idea actually was born in one of our "morning skate" open threads; the tweet had been posted and one of our commenters, losted125, joked about "well, we should tell Ference that we'll plant trees for every goal he scores." So we looked around, found the Nature Conservancy's "Plant a Billion" campaign, and sent OUR tweet that Ference actually responded to. Truthfully, we weren't surprised that he responded (he's great on twitter!) but we were shocked that he responded in as big a way as he did!
Q: Give us the basic outline of how the program works.
sarahconnors: Our Plant a Billion campaign page is here: http://support.nature.org/goto/treesforgoals. Basically, every time Ference scores a goal, I donate $50 - or fifty trees. Every time Seguin scores, Ference will do the same. From there, other people have jumped in, pledging to donate for various other milestones. One person donates every time an AHL (American Hockey League) callup gets a point. Someone else donates every time Shawn Thornton gets in a fight, things like that. One of our writers, lilybraden, has even taken it upon herself to create a spreadsheet where she tallies every countable instance where trees are owed. It's become this huge community thing, I love it.
Q: Other blogs are getting involved now?
sarahconnors: Other blogs have definitely gotten involved - notably, Habs Eyes on the Prize - although they tend to donate trees for BAD things that happen to the Bruins (dumb penalties, goals against, etc.) It's awesome that we've even found a way to bring the rivalry into it. And the NHL has even gotten on board - they set up their own fund, also through Plant a Billion, where they donate trees for every NHL hat trick. I think there have already been five or six around the league this season this year, too. We definitely welcome anyone else to get involved with us, whether in the Bruins' favor or not!
Q: Is Andrew Ference now a friend of the blog?
sarahconnors: I would definitely consider Andrew Ference a friend of the blog. He is our second professional hockey player Friend of the Blog, in fact! He's been great throughout the whole thing, from following us on twitter, to tweeting emoji trees at us when he was sad the game was cancelled on Saturday - it's been incredible so far. Big thanks to Ference for all he's done!
There's more to this world than just sports, but when you can mix your sports with doing something great for the environment, then the world just got that much better. Cheers to Stanley Cup Of Chowder and Andrew Ference!
You can help too, visit this page and donate to the cause - Trees for Goals. #treesforgoals