OK, right out of the gate, I have to admit I don’t like hockey.
I guess part of the reason is I grew up in a place that didn’t have a hockey team, so I didn’t pick up that mindless attachment to “the team” that true hockey lovers have.
Also, I always disliked winter and anything that reminded me of it. Like seeing guys on skates sliding around on ice for two hours. But mostly it was the boredom of watching these yoyos on TV frantically chasing that little piece of black plastic that you could hardly see. Back and forth, back and forth, etc., etc…
Sensing that boredom, the hockey establishment over the years has tried to pull in more TV viewers and fill more seats by allowing fights between players. Yes friends, this is the one athletic endeavor outside of boxing that focuses on fighting and calls itself a “sport.”
Now hockey is obviously an intense physical activity requiring great endurance and superb skating skills. I get that. But for a lot of hockey fans, that’s just not enough. They want blood and fists flying every so often to keep them awake.
Collegiate hockey doesn’t allow fighting. Players who do are immediately ejected. Same for European hockey. But the National Hockey League and other North American professional leagues, such as the Central Hockey League that includes our own beloved Colorado Eagles, do allow it. They even encourage it by not immediately having referees step in and stop fights and by imposing relatively meaningless penalties.
Two minutes in the penalty box – ouch.
Recently, several fights erupted in one game between some Eagles players and players for the Odessa Jackalopes, leading to one Jackalopes player suffering a broken nose and broken jaw and requiring 18 screws and metal plates to put his face back together.
On the plus side, this guy is going to be hard to hurt in the future with that kind of facial reinforcement. And here he is-Metal Face!
And the crowd goes wild.
But think about it: Is this the kind of entertainment we want to take our kids to see? Obviously a wonderful example of good sportsmanship. Hey, does anyone besides me see this as yet another sign of the downfall of Western Civilization?
But if we’re fine with allowing such sickening barbarity on the ice in the name of entertainment, ratings and money, why not all sports?
So let’s say two tennis players are playing an intense match and one doesn’t like a fast serve that almost hit him or her on the head. Shouldn’t we let them settle it at the net with the fine art of fisticuffs?
Or how about a football player who gets tackled too hard? Shouldn’t he be able to jump up and clock the guy who flattened him and maybe only have to sit on the bench a few minutes before he’s allowed to come back on the field?
I say if it’s OK in hockey, why not in all sports? If it increases ratings and advertising sponsorship and ticket sales, what’s wrong with the idea?
And don’t professional sports all come down to money anymore anyway?