[Editor’s Note - Aaron R. Davis is playing with a basket full of adorable kittens, so please enjoy this special guest column from former HoboTrashcan writer Brian Murphy.]
The Olympics were great for the sport of hockey. Canada and Team USA put on an instant classic that immediately became the lasting memory from Vancouver and, as a result, more Americans tuned in for the gold medal game that damn near any other program on TV in recent history.
Since the closing ceremony, I’ve heard countless blowhards postulate that this is a great thing for the National Hockey League. The story goes that casual sports fans have been drawn back in, so now hockey is once again relevant. Because, you know, the sport was nonexistent just a few years ago thanks to a lockout that cancelled the 2004-05 season.
With all the buzz, it’s only a matter of time before ESPN remembers to work the NHL back into their highlight rotation. I mean, wouldn’t you rather see American heartthrob Ryan Miller stand on his head rather than be subjected to a 14th NBA highlight during a 30-minute sportscast?
Well, here’s the funny thing. We don’t want you. There. I said it. Hockey doesn’t need you. The sport is just fine without you. Besides, the game you’ve been draw to isn’t really what we’re about anyways. What you watched during the Olympics was glorified pond hockey.
Automatic icing? For pansies. No fighting? No thank you. No commercial breaks? When am I supposed to get another beer?
That’s not how the NHL works. Real American hockey polices itself. If I so much as touch your best player – even if it’s a legal play – or look at him cross-eyed, you’re required to retaliate. You know it and I know it. As soon as I brush past your superstar, you are required by martial law to drop everything, take a run at me and start throwing haymakers. Them’s the rules.
The people who think it’s barbaric and that there’s no place in our culture for mindless violence are the same hypocrites that order UFC pay-per-views every month and have season tickets for their favorite football team. People get carried off on a stretcher a helluva lot more often in the NFL than in hockey, but that’s a sport that can do no wrong. Baseball is a bunch of cheaters, so football has now become the new American past time.
So when a middle linebacker leads with his helmet and ends up a vegetable, well, we look the other way. Football players know the dangers of the sport. If they’re willing to risk paralysis for $30 million guaranteed, then fuck ‘em. That’s what he gets for choosing a big pay day over staying with the team that drafted him. What ever happened to loyalty anyway?
But hockey can’t have fighting because they have sticks and an assortment of other weapons. I mean, didn’t some pyscho named Chris Simon step on someone a few years ago with the blade of his skate? Clearly this sport is cockfighting … well … if cockfighting involved stepping on your opponent with a razor blade. John McCain would shit himself if someone actually televised this stuff.
And besides, hockey is a niche sport. It’s for Canadians and those pretentious pricks who use to love that band you just discovered – right up until you discovered them. It’s impossible to follow on TV (probably because no real network airs it), even though it looks really spectacular in high definition.
And there are too many teams. I mean, Florida is where old people go to die. Not to watch Panthers battle Lightning. Maybe if half the league was comprised of Canadian teams and the other half was made up of American cities that are worthy of professional sports, then we could get all xenophobic and cheer for our country and shit.
But until that day, just pass on hockey. Stick to watching the NFL combine. Because, you know, football isn’t played in pads. It’s played in ‘tighty whities.’ It doesn’t matter if that kid getting paid under the table to attend your favorite college dropped every pivotal pass thrown his way. He can run really, really fast in a straight line with a radar gun pointed at his ass, so the Raiders are definitely going to trade up to steal him in round one. Mel Kiper’s hair just told me, so it’s gotta be true.
Throw in a few insightful comments from Deion Sanders and what more could a sports fan ask for? I mean, not only does he tell you about a player, but Deion tells you how that player reminds him of him. Sure, it starts out as a Darren Sproles highlight, but then ‘Prime Time’ finishes it with a story about the time he picked off Jake Plummer to singlehandedly secure Jerry Jones another victory. That’s what happens when you go against America’s Team.
Hockey’s for losers and fat chicks. And everyone knows they only follow the sport because they can hide in a baggy sweater. Do a sit-up and buy a Kobe jersey.
No one cares about hockey. The best player is a guy named Sidney. Half the hockey fans out there hate him. Probably because he lives in his boss’ basement.
Maybe you used to like that Ovechkin guy because he reminded you of Lawrence Taylor on skates, but then he got too full of himself. Everyone loved his hit on Jaromir Jagr, but what about the one he put on that little girl who was recording him in a Vancouver hotel lobby? Michael Wilbon said she suffered bruised ribs or something. Dude should be thrown in jail like his name is Ben Roethlisberger.
So who needs hockey? Nothing personal, it’s just not America’s thing. You and your Canadian counterparts can enjoy it along with your indie-rock bullshit; America will stick with King James. LeBron has his own black Muppet, so you know he’s the real deal.
Brian Murphy is an award-winning sportswriter who also goes by the name Homer McFanboy.