Last night, in search of stuff that was 'like' (for a given value of 'like') Yuri!!! on Ice
, I stayed up late reading through Check Please
from the beginning.
Rather than explain it in depth, I'll just link to this (spoilery) primer: The Queer Hockey Bros Webcomic You Should Be Reading
I enjoyed it and found it a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Although my current assessment is "doesn't hold a candle to YoI," I remember that my first assessment of YoI on Dreamwidth was the notably lukewarm "I may be kind of enjoying it... the romance is rather sweet." Interestingly, although the relationship between Jack and Bitty in Check Please has zero ambiguity, we see less of its development than we do of the relationship between Victor and Yuuri. I felt that the narrative skips over a lot, but I suppose that just leaves space for fandom to fill in. There definitely seems to be some good fic available, and a surprising amount of it – over 5000 works!
• It's an achievement that this managed to make me feel sympathetic about hockey bros. To be fair, they're Massachusetts liberal arts college bros, who may be a slightly different breed.
• Unlike YoI, this is set in a universe where homophobia exists, but embedded within a basically homophobia-free college and sports team. I feel like we're going to get a collision with the wider world soon, as the characters are closeted beyond the sphere of friends and family, and wonder how it's going to turn out.
• It's interesting how this has many of the same themes as YoI but combined in different ways. YoI if Victor had Yuuri's anxiety and JJ's pushy Canadian family.
In conclusion, or perhaps in a complete derail, I really want to read a proper longfic from someone who knows their sports where Victor ends up going into hockey instead of figure skating. Including his journey from KHL to NHL. It would be most obvious to have him playing for SKA Saint Petersburg – which means he'd still be based at Yubileyny Sports Palace! – but I love the names of some of the other teams. Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Traktor Chelyabinsk, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Victor is slightly shorter than the average NHL player (though they'd probably just lie and say he was 6 feet even), and certainly a good deal lighter, but the latter would be mainly down to the difference in training regimens. Anyway, it would be interesting, but very much not something that I could write.
ETA: Dear God, I just realised that 'Check Please!' has an exclamation point in its title too. This really is a metric of how gay a source text is, isn't it?
ETA 2: Evgeni Plushenko plays hockey on an amateur team!
How did I not know this? So interesting.