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Never giving up, even when you really should.

Thursday, May 31, 2007
You ever notice how it's always the little things that make you snap? It's never, for example, the traumatic experience that sends you over the edge, but that tiny, pea-sized anecdote in your life sometime after the traumatic or emotional experience that makes you finally lose it, one way or the other.

So as I was going through Kukla's Korner over the past several days like I always do, seeing the loud and venomous editorials and articles by "mainstream" American sportswriters left and right about hockey being a dud, the Stanley Cup Finals having no buzz at all, and the sport probably only barely within the Top 10 list of sports in the United States, I just sort of shrugged it off. I mean, as a hockey fan, you learn to grow a thick outer shell to much of what is said about the sport. And if you don't, you just burn yourself out with frustration and stress at what you see nearly each and every day.

You roll with the punches, to put things succinctly.

But there's always that one thing that will set someone off; and oftentimes it will be something so inconsequential, so small, that it seems like such a worthless thing to get riled up by. Like last year, when I snapped at seeing Ian O'Connor's article on MSN.com about hockey and why hockey is "given the cold shoulder," in his own words. Back then I said I was sick of smiling and nodding, and just brushing aside articles like this, let alone the regular commentary made about how pathetic of a sports product hockey is in the United States.

This morning, the 2nd biggest headline on ESPN.com's NHL section was Stanley Cup finals Game 1 ratings plummet in U.S.. That's right, they plummeted. And it's important enough to mention that it is right near the top of the headlines, too. People tend to dismiss the placement of things on websites as trivial, but everything -- everything -- is done for a reason. The place of the NHL link at SI.com, for example, all the way behind college football, basketball, and even golf. Or the placement of the NHL link so far at the bottom of ESPN's "Sports" tab that it ranks behind the generic Auto category, and ... wait for it ... woman's basketball. You know, the one that teaches fundamentals.

I'm not about to get in to an argument with anyone about the definition of words or the talented use of semantics and link/name placement to sensationalize and/or sway readers one way or the other. It'd be a waste of time, as well as a waste of my energy. Suffice it to say, it's been the little things I've seen over the past week that drove me to vent like this today.

Paul, in his NHL.com blog, wrote just a couple days ago that we just don't care about what the mainstream media thinks anymore. To an extent, he's right; like I said, many hockey fans have had to grow a thick skin to handle the daily berating and mockery we receive for being fans of a sport so low on the food chain that "hockey mockery" has become a sport in and of itself.

But I was never one for peaceful protest, let alone turning the other cheek. Sorry, but Christian morals of giving your shirt to your enemy, or letting your foe give you a black eye to match the first one he gave you aren't going to work here.

With that said, while we don't care, I'll be damned if I believe hockey fans should sit on their asses and say or do nothing. Back in my entry that I linked to, I said I was sick of taking things in stride, because there was no other recourse or action that could be taken. I didn't think there was anything that could be done.

But the thing is, we hockey fans have always been considered the more superior fans of all major sports in America. Go ahead, say I'm being unabashedly cocky for proclaiming such a thing ... but it's been researched, time and again, that we're the most educated and most affluent. Besides, what are you going to do, NASCAR fan? Southern accent-talk me to death? "Git r done" and whatnot, right?

The thing is, hockey fans need to stop just quietly moping to just one another about being disrespected. We need to start harassing and contacting people in the NHL, at ESPN, at Versus, at NBC ... in essence, we need to be heard. Phone calls, e-mails, snail mail ... whatever. The fact of the matter is that no one in these organizations is actively seeking enlightenment outside of their own, insulated environments where they believe that "hockey is dead", or "NBC/Versus gives the NHL the respect it needs". Maybe it's simple-minded, and who knows? Maybe it's also futile ... but it's something. And frankly, we -- as hockey fans -- are the very reason that the NHL is still alive today. So we might not be front office big wigs or even Gary Bettman, but we can make some kind of difference.

I didn't start blogging for the sake of an NHL team, despite the fact that this blog has had and always will have a predominant focus on the Columbus Blue Jackets. I did it because I love hockey. And I do it because by the time I finally graduate from college with a major in Sports Management in 2009, I intend to spend every waking hour trying to get involved with the NHL in some way or another, so that I can actually try and make a difference with a league that is so discombobulated that it makes the abstract art of Jackson Pollock look neat, orderly, and purposeful.

I must have missed the realist bus or something, because I'm reminded time and again that such an idealistic and naive view, especially when you're 24 years old, is not only silly, but also pretty depressing to see from someone who should just grow up and face reality. Then again, I never really was that quick on the uptake.

I'm off to see Hot Fuzz. Here's your daily Dis or Dat, folks:





Labels: , ,

1 Comments:
  • At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Skraut said…

    ESPN had a spelling bee on this afternoon.

    Funny what they do and don't consider a sport these days.

     
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About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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