Why Hockey Sucks
December 13, 2006 4:03pm CST
Ernest Hemingway had some peculiar ideas about what qualified as a sport. He said something to the effect that the only true sports were bullfighting and auto racing. I think there might have been a third one and I forget what it is but it might as well have been shotgun-barrel-eating because that turned out to be the only thing Poppa Bear was ever really and good at. Some might say he could right, but come on, have you read The Sun Also Rises? I have and trust me when I tell you as a writer E.H. was a great big-game hunter. My point is ol’ Ernie had some strange ideas about sports. A lot of people have some strange ideas about sports. Some people still try to convince us that golf is a sport. I’m sorry but any sport where John Daly can do well is not really a sport. The man is a known alcoholic and weighs roughly 81/2 tons. Sure, I enjoy watching Tiger Woods, but I still don’t think of it as a sport. It involves way too much walking. Does it take skill? Sure, but so does table tennis, Scrabble, Monopoly and Chess. Golf is a game and until they allow either land mines on the greens or tackling of your opponent that is going to remain my opinion thank you very much. For me the only two real sports are baseball and football. Growing up in Chicago, football is in my very DNA. Honest to God and hands to heaven one of my very first words was “Butkus.” Two teams of large men lining up on either side and smashing into each other? Hell yeah! All just to gain a little bit of ground. It’s gladiatorial. It’s like war without bullets. For me the best sport is baseball. I love baseball. Lord in heaven I love baseball. I am diehard White Sox fan and I eager look forward to each game. I will watch a baseball game for three plus hours and when it ends I am depressed and want to watch more baseball. Home runs are great but the real game is getting the lead off man on base and then having him steal or bunting him over. Then you get the second guy on or he sacrifices to move the runner and then you put up your big hitter. He then smashes one over the wall and you get multiple runs. It’s a thing of beauty. A truly great hitter knows what pitch he is looking for and in the instant it takes for that ball to leave the pitcher’s hand and cross the plate the great hitters can actually see what the ball is going to do and either hold off or adjust their swing appropriately. Hitting a small round thing going nearly 100 miles per hour with another round object is about the hardest thing in sports to do and it’s not just me thinking that but it’s been said before. I have a friend who loves hockey. No, he really loves hockey. He LOOOO-OOOO-OOO-OOOOOO-OOOOO-OOOO-VVVVVV-VVVV-VVVVVV-VVVV-EEE-EEE-EEEE-EEE-EEE-SSSS-SSSSS-SSSS-SSSSS hockey. It is the end-all, be-all of sports. I have had him come around a bit on football which means there may be hope for him yet, but in truth he still honestly believes that hockey is the ultimate in sports. There may be a lot of hockey fans out there. There might be someone reading this right now who loves hockey nearly as much. That’s fine, but I have two very important words for any of you who believe that hockey is the ultimate sport and I want you to listen to them and read them and take them to heart: you’re wrong. There are several reasons that hockey sucks. Here is a list: 1. It’s played on ice. You cannot have a real sport that involves artificially frozen water. I’m sorry, this immediately disqualifies it as a sport. Ice was not meant for sport. It would maybe be a sport if you had to play it out on frozen lakes. Now that would be something if there was an actual risk of the teams falling through the ice. The thought of the Detroit Redwings flailing about in frozen water, bashing chunks of ice feebly with their hockey sticks as their equipment and saturated sweaters pull them under is a pleasant one. I would pay money to see that. The fact that it is on ice leads to the second problem with it. 2. You have to wear ice skates to play it. I don’t care how much you try to butch up the skates the fact is it’s essentially the same piece of sporting equipment used by Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen and Peggy Fleming. It’s a small blade and with a few minor adjustments you have the same devices as figure skaters. I like the image of mincing and jumping hockey players, however. The fact it requires both ice skates and ice leads to the third problem. 3. You can’t play a pick-up games of hockey. You ever see those home movies of the Kennedy clan playing games in the yard? Did you ever, just once, see them play hockey? No, of course not. What are you going to do after a big meal, freeze the yard and spend half an hour strapping eight thousand pounds of equipment? They played football which can be played without the equipment. Of course this family also played some version of football that involved throwing a ball while skiing at 90 miles an hour which has to make you wonder about swimming around in that particular gene pool, but my you get the idea. A real sport should be one kids can get together on a summer day and play in a sandlot, parking lot or playground. Hockey does not qualify. 4. It’s BOOOOOOORRRIINNNNNNGGGGG. Here’s the typical hockey game: Two guys meet in the middle. The Ref stands there and holds the puck. The guys twitch like epileptics on a roller coaster. Suddenly the ref makes a motion and one of the guys has to step out. Why? No one knows. Finally the puck is dropped and people skate all over the place. Then NOTHING happens for what seems like four days. A guy will break away and everyone gets excited. Hey, this looks promising. Then he crosses the second blue line and???? Dumps the puck into the corner where a bunch of men then collide and smash into each other. Maybe you get a fight and that looks promising but just when things get really good the refs step in and stop it. If you are one of those people who get excited watching goalies play here is my suggestions. Get rid of the other players, reduce the size of the rink and just have the goalies. Now have the goalies whip hockey pucks at each other. There you have it. You can have the same visceral experience by going to a park and watching two people play catch. 5. What’s with the three periods and two long breaks? Everyone knows that real sports either need to be a top and bottom inning and there should be nine of them or there should be four quarters with one half-time. What is the deal with three periods and the two long breaks between them? That’s just unnatural. 6. It’s Canadian. I don’t really care where hockey was invented. The fact is that the sport became popular and reached the level it has reached in Canada. Right there is enough reason to hate it. The entire country of Canada needs to be torn down and paved over for parking lot purposes and. The entire population of Canada then needs to be taken as our prisoners and forced to build sphinxes and pyramids to our great Americans. I digress… For any of you hockey-heads out there I want to prescribe a therapy regimen for you. Starting today get yourself to the nearest baseball diamond. I don’t care what level of play it is. If it’s little league, then watch little league but make sure the parents don’t think you’re some kind of child molester. Watch the joy as the kids play. Watch the parents. Watch how the game is played. Then, when you get the chance, really and truly watch a major league baseball game. Watch the strategy. Watch how the pitcher strategizes and how the manager will move the fielders around. Watch how the hitter with strategize and direct the ball to the right spot on the field so it will fall and get him on base. Watch how a hit and run works and begin to appreciate the beauty of a well-placed bunt. Know that you are watching the game that is as much a part of American history as the Constitution itself. The game “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Reggie Jackson, Carlton Fisk and Nolan Ryan played. There’s still time to save yourself. At the very least go play a game of touch football.
18 Jul 07
Am amazed at how a game which is as scary as hocky should be this glorified. Every time hocky is being played, I ask if a Doctor is nearby because I expect blood to splash anytime given the clubs they wield about, it is the goalkeeper I pity,he is the most edangered, and theway the goals flow him he mostly looks irrelevant! Hocky, no. it is not my kind of thing!
• United States
18 Jul 07
Hockey is not a sport for the television but if very entertaining to see liva and up close. I have seats one time on the and I've never experienced hockey like that. Great sport live, horrible on tv because you can get the full effect of the speed and skill.