Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wow. Just heard something about Hockey

So I'm listening to a little sports radio right now. WFAN to be specific (I'll be sure to hit them up for advertising money). I heard something that almost made me spit my coffee out. These two guys are talking about Olympics hockey and commenting on what a high level of intensity (as is always part of the lexicon concerning Hockey) is being displayed during each game. And then I heard something that I've only heard about the NBA: "Too bad that if/when the casual fan tunes into regular season hockey, once the Olympics is over, they will be disappointed because the intensity level isn't like that during the regular season. During the playoffs its intense, but not the regular season."

Whaaaat? I thought that only the NBA was guilty of this? Only those millionaire hooligans with the tattoos didn't play with all-out intensity during the regular season. Why is this the only time I've heard this about Hockey? Maybe because whenever I've listened to sports radio and Hockey is brought up, I switch stations quickly and look for some Nas or Jay-Z. If I'm being totally honest, I'll leave Cyndi Lauper on if it'll mean getting me away from Hockey.

I guess the point I'm bringing up though is that this rarely is brought up, if ever. When I do listen to people talk about Hockey, its always in this tone that all should revere Hockey as it is the last bastion of true, competitive sport. There aren't spoiled millionaires with entourages and they get all the super models too to boot (for anyone speaking Canadian, I wrote "boot", not "aboot", or about).

I've never considered Hockey to be a real "sport". Besides the athletic aspect of a competition being a sport, in my book, there should also be an element of, um, no sanctioned fighting. And yes, I know there is a penalty box when you hit someone with a weapon (hockey stick). But its still allowed basically, as is fighting.

Maybe Hockey gets a pass because its on ice? Like, "Grease on Ice", or, "Cats on Ice", etc. It makes everything cuter and cuddlier I guess. So fighting doesn't seem so bad if guys are slipping a little while trying to incapacitate someone by pulling their jersey over their head so their defenseless and THEN punching them in the face (because ordinarily, that's a fair fight?). Maybe that's it? Because I can't even imagine the uproar that would take place if America, or the heartland of America, seeing Lebron pulling Kobe's jersey over his head so that he couldn't defend himself and then punching him in the face. That ultra-human known as Lebron would be in jail for murder because he might decapitate someone in that situation. Does that guy with that very business-like mullet on ESPN ever say anything semi-negative about the NHL? I don't know.

I can't quite place my finger on why there is this disparate difference in the coverage of the two sports? Can anyone help me?


Anonymous said...

Wow, a lot said in this. Let's first address the 'Hockey as a sport' comment. Hockey exceeds all of the requirements for being a sport--in that it requires a high degree of athletic ability, techincal skill, strategic awareness, and unlike a number of sports truly relies on a team effort.

While fighting did become a significant element of the game for a period of time in the 80s and early 90s, most people understood it was a sideshow and not the game.

Canadians, who started the game, are passionate people and maybe they marred the imabe of the game a little but at the end of the day at least they aren't pulling pistols on each other in the change room!

-Colin P

Luis M. Espinoza said...

Besides baseball, I dont know of other sports that do not require team work. Football requires the most team work of ANY team sport.

It is a sport for the reasons you outlined, but in my mind, the sanctioned fighting cheapens the sport. Moreover, the coverage of said fighting, to me, makes it even worse. Ive heard ridiculous statements trying to make the fighting more palatable: Its ingrained into the culture of the sport, it makes it more exciting, etc. The league knows that their fan base wants to see the fighting, so they allow it. Thats it. They could end the fighting by doing what Stern did: immediate suspensions for the parties involved. Period. Once they do that and take themselves seriously, then maybe I will too. Well, besides those great 1-1 ties. And with 20 minute intermissions between periods to boot.

I have never heard about this passionate demeanor that Canadians have. Does this explain canadian bacon? Honestly, im sure that one of the hunting enthusiasts in an NHL locker room has carried a gun to the arena. They probably had better sense than Arenas to pull the gun out, in jest or whatever, but im sure that there has been a gun in there before.

The thing that made me post something on hockey anyway was the coverage of the sport. I finally heard that the players dont go all-out during the regular season. All ive ever heard was that these guys are insatiable competitors.

Anonymous said...

It not that other sports don't require but not all require as much involvement in as many plays. E.g. for baseball most of the game is the pitcher and the lu(aka the catcher) and who ever happens to be at bat.

As for fighting, it probably is ingrained in the sport, like steroids in baseball, or concusions in football... and that's unfortunate, because it really is a pure sport.

As for the gun in the locker. It ridiculous to assume that because basketball player toted guns to the change room hockey players do as well. On top of that, it wasn't just Arenas with the gun, the other guy had one too... wtf!

KudoSurf Me!