Monday, November 12, 2012

Punishment

I watched a lot of my friends get excited in the past week because it looked like there finally might be an end to the NHL strike/lock-out/general fuckery. Of course it didn't happen. Because neither side has lost enough money yet to make it worth while.

Look, I'm not the biggest hockey fan in the world. The only reason I followed it when I was a kid was due to peer pressure more than anything else. A kid who did not like hockey when you're eight or nine years old is targeted. And really, kids can dig and find ways to make your life miserable, so why give them an easy target.

But it's just never been my sport. I think I've written that you follow the sport your father goes for and my dad was never really a hockey person. I haven't asked why, now that I think about it, but he was always baseball. So I grew up a Montreal Expos fan and later, grudgingly, a Blue Jays fan. But I just wasn't interested in the sport. But I have to admit, over the last few years, I've had a steady growing dislike of hockey. I suspect it's going to escalate into loathing and hatred in short order.

That's because it's a dumbass sport, with dumbass players, run by dumbass owners and watched by dumbass fans.

The only part of that sentence above you can argue with me about is the sport. I may concede that point. The rest of is pretty well spot on.

Look, I'm still bitter about the 1994 baseball strike. That strike cost the Montreal Expos an almost certain play-off spot and possibly a World Series. They were that good. The Expos were never the same after that year, to the point where they eventually left town. The main reason they left is the fans never forgave the owners and the players. It's easy to remember the laughable crowds of the late 90s and early 2000s, where free hot dogs still only generate crowds of 10,000 people. But back in the mid-80s, the Expos were huge. I remember my dad going to catch a four game series against the Cardinals around '84. All four games were sold out; more than 50,000 people in attendance for each game.

Montreal fans punished the Expos for their sins. It took a long time for baseball to bounce back from that strike. Some would argue they never recovered. Baseball went from being America's #1 sport to #2, maybe even #3 behind football and basketball.

But hockey....no, hockey fans need their fix.

Look, I get you love the sport, but if you don't punish these silly bastards once this is all over - and I honestly hope the season is lost at this point - then you're nuts. Because they'll do it all over again in a few years time. Because they're deeply stupid people. But the best part is they think you're even stupider than they are. Because they expect you to forgive them. They view you as ATMs on legs and nothing more.

Seriously, punishment needs to be dished out. Love your sport if you must, just ignore the NHL. That means no buying of tickets to games. No buying licenced merchandise. No watching games on TSN. If at least two franchises don't fold because of this idiocy, then you haven't done your job. The punishment needs to last at least until the next set of negotiations, so that they actually remember the cost of being this stupid.

By the way, I'm really serious about not watching hockey on TSN. I blame TSN for a lot of the sins of sports in Canada right now. I've enjoyed watching the silly bastards put on old hockey games and sports movies because they have nothing else to put on, because they've spent so much time focussing on hockey to the exclusion of almost anything else. And don't point out the CFL to me, because if TSN put 1/100th of the money and energy into the CFL as they do hockey the CFL would have 16 teams by now. They deserve to spend the winter suffering for their sins.

Harsh? Maybe. But as I don't see a Fan's Union starting up anytime soon to represented at the negotiating table, this is the only option. Players and owners may not have given up on the season yet; as a fan, you owe it to give up on them for this year...and longer.

Last Five
1. Be the one - The Ting Tings
2. Crazy - Me First and the Gimme Gimmies
3. Original sin - INXS*
4. But, honestly - Foo Fighers
5. Love is nothing - Liz Phair

1 comment:

Way Way Up said...

I'd much rather watch a junior hockey game here than travel 400-odd kilometers down to Edmonton to watch the Oilers choke.