A few half-hearted waves to keep up appearances, then it’s time to get down to the real reason you’re at the game: devouring that turkey leg.
It’s the NHL playoffs, specifically the semi-finals in case you live under a rock. Every year around this time I have to constantly hear why hockey is the greatest sport, and the players are the toughest athletes, blah blah blah. My Facebook explodes with people who feel the need to defend hockey for whatever reason. If the players are so damn tough, let their play and their athletic ability speak for itself. By the way, the only people who chirp about hockey are ex-hockey players. It’s like playing the sport for so many years inflicts an intense inferiority complex that lasts a lifetime. Relax people, it’s a great sport, we get it! There are no other fans on Earth that bitch and moan about their sport not getting enough attention. If you think your sport isn’t getting enough attention place blame on the NHL execs; it’s not the sport, it’s the poor management of the league itself.
Before we start talking about who the toughest athletes in the world, let’s all just take a deep breath and say to ourselves, “What does it really matter?” I’m not going to sit here and take away from what Campbell did the other night. What he did was nothing short of incredible, through pain and agony he finished his shift. But let’s consider the circumstances. He broke his fibula, and important bone to say the least, but did it snap in half like Kevin Ware’s tibia, the weight bearing bone in the lower leg? I suppose he should’ve gotten up and limped around until the next whistle. All I’m saying is there’s instances of heroism in the face of injuries in every sport, but every hockey player in the world get’s a purple star if one player gets hurt, like they all endured it. Let’s give Campbell credit instead of everyone who’s ever picked up a hockey stick. Another question is “Was it a smart move?” What Campbell did was heroic, but if it were the middle of the season, we may be singing a different tune. I can hear the pundits, “He should’ve stayed down, he could’ve furthered his injury and missed more time of the season.” I’d like to refer to Exhibit A: RGIII playing with a torn up knee. As it is he’s only going to miss about 5 games (because the Bruins are going to sweep this and the next series).
If I had to choose the toughest athletes in sports I have to go with offensive and defensive linemen. The big guys, the trench men, they undergo anywhere from 45-60 snaps a game of head to head collisions that are equivalent to small car accidents every single time. Literally, the only stats that ever gets mentioned is snap count and starts, so if they endure less that 45 small car accidents a game, they’re considered below average.
And can we stop it with the whole “fighting is allowed” thing? It’s a penalty, you go to the box. That’s like saying tripping, slashing and high sticking is allowed. Fighting is allowed in football too, your team just gets a 15 yard penalty instead getting put in timeout. Now it’s smart to put your team a man down? Consider the potential for injury, punching someone in the face is a good way to get a boxer’s break, or a break in the fourth or fifth metacarpal, now you’ve just lowered your value to your team as well as your resign value. No wonder why hockey players get paid less, more chance of injury ; but hell, have your cake and eat it too! “Sean Lite, that’s why you have goons to go out there and pick fights with their best players.” To which I reply, “so your sacrificing on-ice talent in the hopes the other premier player loses his cool and swings back?” I don’t know, doesn’t seem like a sound strategy to me, not saying all hockey teams try to do this, but it’s the way it gets explained.
You must think I hate hockey, this is not the case, I thoroughly enjoy watching the sport. Personally it falls in third of my list of favorite spectator sports, just behind college basketball and just before Olympic curling (can’t wait). Yes, professional hockey players are tough while being very athletic and, let’s face it, graceful; as much as diehard hockey fans would hate that word. The sport doesn’t need saving, stop forcing athleticism and toughness down the casual fan’s throat; it’s not a good look.
End of Rant. Out of breath.
P.S. Go Bruins.