So here we go - I may get sued for plagiarism - I wrote this up last night - filed it in my drafts - and TODAY it's a big story - almost verbatim..................
As I read it to John last night - he said You're Wrong - Hockey will never lose it's importance here
Well, I don't know about that anymore......................
Promise I'll have a makeover on Monday - but I AM curious on everyone's thoughts
on what Athletes earn today - over the top crazy?
Or well earned?
Let me know
I'm Canadian - and if you know anything about Canada at all, you certainly know this.
WE. LOVE. HOCKEY
I'm a Montrealer to be specific - home to where the game originated and so it's almost a genetic thing for most of us - it really is in our blood - and it's most definitely who we are in the winter months.
We're fiercely devoted to our teams - this mild polite country is unapologetic when we claim that we produce the best hockey players in the world. We can turn into raging animals over this game, seriously, raging animals and Montreal in particular has been the source of many embarrassing riots through our obsession - and still we remain unapologetic - nothing comes between us and our beloved sport. Nothing.
During playoffs I become someone I don't even recognize - running around the house - screaming - doing happy dances on the couch or the bed - or walking around with a heart so heavy it's almost unbearable.
AND this sport can be far more polarizing than politics could ever be - it also has a way of uniting our country in ways politics never could. When we're at a game it doesn't matter if you're a conservative or a liberal we're all on the same team for 90 minutes - sharing the same dream.
Each province believes "their" team to be far superior than any other ( and we justify it when we lose, trust me, because we still keep believing that unconditionally )
We hero worship our players - we bow down to their greatness - and we wait with baited breath for the first game of the season before our winters kicks off - it's as Canadian as, well, snow and maple syrup.
We grieved here in Montreal when they gutted the famous Montreal Forum ( one of the first hockey arenas in North America and for many decades the protocol for arenas that were built after ) even though it was time to build a bigger and better one. We have monuments to some of the greatest hockey players that ever lived.
WE. LOVE. HOCKEY.
And we always have.
We love hockey so much that many of the GREATEST players that ever lived, would go to work all day in a factory - punch out their time clock - and rush to the Montreal Forum sometimes by BUS to represent the Montreal Candiens that night - they played for the love of the game - with very little benefits - with very little pay ( which was why a lot of them had to have day jobs ) and of course that was a huge miscarriage of justice. With corporations getting incredibly wealthy on the backs of these extremely devoted men.
It took many years before players were compensated for their expertise in this franchise - many many years.
( I suppose it was the same in the U.S. with football and baseball as well ) BUT......................
These were the days when anyone could afford to go to a game....................I can remember paying 2.00 for tickets in the 70's - and with a pop and bag of chips or chocolate bar maybe 5.00 - horrible seats? yeah, for sure - but we were THERE, a perfect night out for 5.00.
WHERE'S THAT SOAP BOX - I USUALLY KEEP IT HANDY - OH THERE IT IS - JUST WAIT UNTIL I STEP ON IT PLEASE.......................
OK - where was I?
Oh Yeah - 5.00 for a night out to watch our favorite game..............................
That was the 70's -
by the 80's it was getting a little pricier - but what the hell - the players were finally being compensated and because we love the game - and the players so much - we happily paid the going rate and continued spending our winters in cold arenas screaming and cheering our boys on.
By the 90's people were starting to grumble about the cost of taking the family to a game - it was getting a little high for the average Joe Blow to splurge on an evening out for 4 - so it happened less and less - corporations began taking over - literally - buying corporate packages - so if you were lucky enough to work for a company that supplied the tickets it was a great " perk " to have.
By the 2000's it was getting out of hand - I can remember John and I going into shock at the concession stand one evening - when 2 beer ( draft - not even in a bottle ) and a snack cost us over 40.00 - and I actually told the man who served it to us that I thought he had made a mistake. No Ma'am - that's what it costs.
When did it become ok to charge 75.00 or 100.00 a ticket to sit and watch a game for 90 minutes?
How can families possibly be expected to bring their kids more than a couple of times a year - how can you justify spending 500.00 for 90 minutes worth of entertainment when there are so many other expenses to consider when raising kids? AND when the hell did sports - something that grew to the magnitude it did because of working class people - become something only the well off could enjoy?
Hockey has come to a stand still in North America this season - because of negotiations between players and management - millionaires and billionaires both stubbornly gridlocked - in a battle royale -
Between greed and spoiled brats literally.
And for the first time in my life I am not on the side of the players - and don't get me wrong - I most certainly am not on the side of management either. In fact, I'm on neither side. Do what you want guys, I'm one Canadian who has folded away my Canadiens jersey - it's tucked in the bottom of a box along with other memorabilia that I no longer need. It's comforting to know it's there - along with my graduation ring - and prom photos - but it belongs to yesterday now - with other memories I hold dear.
As for today?
Well I no longer look at those photos to be honest with you - and there'll come a time in the not too distant future when I'll no longer care about the sport that was such a part of my life.
You are no longer the game I cherished -
You are no longer the players I admired -
You are no longer a game of the people - by the people - for the people
You've become unrelatable and that's a dangerous thing
And before too long - you'll have negotiated your way out of too many hearts my friends,
I feel it coming -
It's in the air -
And as surely as snow will still come to Canada this winter - less and less fans will care whether professional hockey does or not. It'll end up back in the alleys and the parks where it began.
And maybe, just maybe, that's not a bad thing after all.
I'm sharing with!!!
The Rustic Pig