Kevin Erdahl Quotes in Beartown
All the love this town could thaw out was passed down and still seems to end up devoted to [hockey]: ice and boards, red and blue lines, sticks and pucks and every ounce of determination and power in young bodies hurtling at full speed into the corners in the hunt for those pucks. The stands are packed every weekend, year after year, even though the team’s achievements have collapsed in line with the town’s economy. And perhaps that’s why— because everyone hopes that when the team’s fortunes improve again, the rest of the town will get pulled up with it. […] So they’ve coached their junior team with the same values their forebears used to construct their community: work hard, take the knocks, don’t complain, keep your mouth shut, and show the bastards in the big cities where we’re from.
Even in Hed people recognize them, and they get slaps on the back and congratulations. After the movie, when Amat thinks they’re on the way home, Lyt turns off the main road just after the Beartown sign. He stops by the lake. Amat doesn’t understand why until Kevin opens the trunk of the car. They’ve got beer, lights, skates, and hockey sticks in the back. They put their woollen hats down to mark the goals.
They play hockey on the lake that night, four boys, and everything feels simple. As if they were children. Amat is amazed at how straightforward it is. Staying silent in return for being allowed to join in.
Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes much easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard. It makes demands. Hate is simple.
So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe— comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy. There are many ways of doing that, but none is easier than taking her name away from her.
She will always be this to them now: at best the girl who got raped, at worst the girl who lied. They will never let her be anyone but that. In every room, on every street, in the supermarket and at the rink, she will walk in like an explosive device. They will be scared to touch her, even the ones who believe her, because they don’t want to risk getting hit by shrapnel when she detonates. They will back away in silence, turn in a different direction. They will wish that she would just disappear, that she had never been here. Not because they hate her, because they don’t, not all of them: they don’t all scrawl BITCH on her locker, they don’t all rape her, they aren’t all evil. But they’re all silent. Because that’s easier.
“It’s never your fault, is it? When are you going to admit that it isn’t ‘hockey’ that raises these boys, it’s YOU LOT? In every time and every place, I’ve come across men who blame their own stupidity on crap they themselves have invented. ‘Religion causes wars,’ ‘guns kill people,’ it’s all the same old bullshit! […] YOU’RE the problem! Religion doesn’t fight, guns don’t kill, and you need to be very fucking clear that hockey has never raped anyone! But do you know who do? Fight and kill and rape?”
Sune clears his throat. “Men?”
“MEN! It’s always fucking men!”
Ana feels like pushing her neighbor up against the wall and telling him that the locker room where those boys sit telling their stupid jokes ends up preserving them like a tin can. It makes them mature more slowly, while some even go rotten inside. And they don’t have any female friends, and there are no women’s teams here, so they learn that hockey only belongs to them, and their coaches teach them that girls are a “distraction.” So they learn that girls only exist for fucking. She wants to point out how all the old men in this town praise them for “fighting” and “not backing down,” but not one single person tells them that when a girl says no, it means NO. And the problem with this town is not only that a boy raped a girl, but that everyone is pretending that he DIDN’T do it. So now all the other boys will think that what he did was okay.
My name is Amat. I saw what Kevin did to Maya. I was drunk, I’m in love with her, and I’m telling you that straight so that you lying bastards don’t have to say it behind my back when I walk out of here. Kevin Erdahl raped Maya Andersson. I’m going to go to the police tomorrow, and they’ll say I’m not a reliable witness. But I’m going to tell you everything now, everything that Kevin did, everything that I saw. And you won’t ever forget it. You know that my eyes work better than anyone else’s in here. Because that’s the first thing you learn on the Beartown Ice Hockey Club, isn’t it? ‘You can’t teach that way of seeing. That’s something you’re born with.’
Inside the house his dad is sitting with a newly opened bottle of whisky in front of him. They didn’t get everything they wanted this evening, but they haven’t lost either. Tomorrow their lawyer will start to prepare all the arguments why a drunk young man who is in love with the young woman is not a credible witness. Then Kevin will start playing for Hed Ice Hockey, taking his team with him, almost all the sponsors, and all their plans for life will be intact. One day very soon everyone around them will simply pretend that this has never happened. Because this family does not lose. Not even when they do.