I was never exactly a devotee of the Miss America Pageant, but it shows how far the event has fallen in the public consciousness that it’s happening tonight - and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say anything about it. In fact, to watch it on TV, you have to find some channel called TLC. Well, there might be a little bit of a reason to tune in tonight.
You probably don’t think “Miss America” and “hockey” belong in the same sentence (believe me, I didn’t either), but Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler has moved on from being the starting goalie on Penn State’s women’s hockey to being one of tonight’s pageant finalists. And she still has all of her teeth! In fact, Wheeler has been traveling around raising money by challenging men’s teams to score on her in a shootout.
Wheeler told FOXSPORTS.COM that she’s trying to challenge the conventions of what a pageant girl should be:
I think it’s good for the Miss America Pageant right now because there’s a lot of negative stereotypes about pageant girls and I’ve found out that they’re definitely not true. So being a hockey goalie means more attention drawn to our program because it’s someone who’s a little bit different. I’ve had a lot of encouraging responses by being a pageant girl who a hockey goalie. My Lady Icers teammates at Penn State were making fun of me when I told them “Hey, I think I’m going to try a pageant,” but half of my Lady Icers team is going to be in Vegas watching the pageant and their families are coming so everyone has been really behind me.
Wheeler says that she still gets to play pickup hockey every once in a while, though her duties as Miss Virginia keep her pretty busy. She says the charity shootouts she has with the boys put them in an awkward position, since hockey dudes aren’t exactly known for being the sensitive type. And that all led to this quote, which becomes much more hilarious when taken out of context:
The guys at Virginia Tech, they went all-out on me and that was a lot of fun. But I see that I put these guys in a really rough spot because if they try to score on me, then it looks like they’re trying to get less money raised for charity and they don’t want to be the jerk that hurts Miss Virginia. But if they try really hard to score on me and I block it, then they’re going to be embarrassed.
It’s OK, Tara. I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble finding guys who want to go “all-out” on you.