To Sing of Contests

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To Sing of Contests is a story written by Okō. It ran in Issue 73 at


Nicholas Larsson is pretty happy with his life: sure, he's a closeted NHL player in a relationship with a teammate who's got even more to lose than he does, but things seem to be going okay. Then the Sochi Olympics turn everything on its head, and Nick has to cope with Kolya's fear, his own uncertainty about the future, and the very real pressures of Russian propaganda law on top of the baked-in homophobia of so many hockey players.


The fifth and final hockey boys story, this follows One May Hide Another, A Voice Once Swallowed, Higher Than Hay Bales, and The Secret Between His Teeth. This storyline runs chronologically parallel to To Join This Song, which is from Isabelle's POV.

Author's Notes:[edit]

This is a S2B2 story: things work out okay. But, like the other hockey boys stories, this is set in the world of professional sports, in which there are a lot of homophobes, and there's a lot of internalized and externalized homophobia, and some people are just plain jerks. There are also some really stand-up characters, and supportive people, but this story is a little rougher than some of the preceding stories, because of where and when it is set.

In this story there are a lot of homophobes and bigots, and a lot of fear: we're talking being queer and being outed in Russia in 2014, and that's really damn scary. While things work out okay in the end, it's bittersweet, because not everything comes out perfectly in the wash.

If you're interested in more information about Russian propaganda laws, you could do worse than the footnotes on Wikipedia. If you're interested in You Can Play (which is trying, but is, quite honestly, pretty ineffective in hockey, as far as I can tell) check out its site. If you're curious about why I keep dunking on the construction quality of the buildings in Sochi, seriously, just run a web search, information on that is ubiquitous.

Nick would, if he knew the terminology, think of himself as either grey-ace or demisexual: he distinctly doesn't know the terminology, and so thought of himself as asexual for a long time, and then just as strange. Being in a relationship with and having sex with Kolya doesn't "heal" him of being demisexual. Why? Because it's not something that's wrong with him. Having sex doesn't change that aspect of his nature. It also doesn't make non-ace people's sex drive make sense to him.

Related Works:[edit]

One May Hide Another, A Voice Once Swallowed, Higher Than Hay Bales, The Secret Between His Teeth all directly precede this work.

To Join This Song, which is from Nick's sister's POV, runs chronologically parallel to this one, and informs some of the background, but is not necessary to understand what is going on. Consider it an easter egg, not mandatory reading.