The National Hockey League season isn’t even two weeks old and already I am sick and tired of hearing/reading/tweeting/discussing suspensions and what players did to deserve them.
Enough! What happened to talking up great goals? Dissecting great plays? Revelling in teams’ great starts? Languishing in their poor ones? If there are two things in sports I do not care about…they are how much a player makes and how long a suspension should be.
I got fully immersed in sports in the late 1960s. I remember watching the Tigers come back on the Cardinals to win the 1968 World Series. I remember the Miracle Mets of ’69. I remember Bobby Orr’s flying-through-the-air Stanley Cup-winning goal. I loved the Steel Curtain in Pittsburgh. The Broad Street Bullies were fun to watch and detestable – all at the same time. Watching Rick Barry lead the Golden State Warriors to a who-the-hell-thought-that-would-happen 1975 NBA World Championship was fascinating. (Working with Barry 25 years later was extremely cool).
The point is that I got interested in sports because of…the sport. The great plays. The superb athletes. The absolute drama of the event. Today’s preoccupation with dollars and dimwits (yes, I mean you, James Wisniewski) is really starting to wear thin.
I don’t know how the hell young men and women today are to begin embracing the game – any game – by simply appreciating its beauty. It’s simplicity. We are innundated with “the cap.” Why this guy or that guy was sent to the minors. Why the goaltender of the Stanley Cup champions can’t simply return to the same job the next year. That’s nuts!
If I wanted to get a full serving of finances with my sports, I would have become an accountant at a golf course. I don’t care if so-and-so is earning the money paid to him. I care if he’s playing well. Is he working hard every game? Is the coach exploiting his strengths and concealing his weaknesses? Everything today has to compare something to something else. Is Player A a better bargain than Player B? I don’t care.
I understand that players must be disciplined for indiscretions, but why must the vortex of speculation immediately begin discussing how long the suspension should be? The NHL will decide. That’s their job. And what’s hilarious is the surrounding discussion about the relative merits of the number of games received. That talk is centred around players who won’t even be participating in the next game!
I just want to enjoy the sports. I want to watch elite athletes do what they do best. And I truly do not care how much they get paid to do it. Or how many thousands of dollars they won’t be getting by having to sit out the next three.