Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Beavis and Butt-head Do (In) Hockey (and other thoughts on the state of sports in the USA)

I've been more than a little pissed lately, and not because of the lack of romance or other things in my life.

It's because my favorite wintertime sport - hockey - is literally on ice, thanks to a couple of chumps named Gary Bettman (Beavis) and Bob Goodenow (Butt-Head).

Bettman, the National Hockey League commissioner, and Goodenow, the NHL Players Association chief, both managed to torpedo an entire season because of their single-minded devotion to making the other blink, say "uncle" and ultimately destroy one another.

Bettman insisted on a salary cap. Goodenow insisted there wouldn't be one. Both went back and forth for a long time. Bettman and the NHL owners then locked the players out in September. Last week, even after some movement came from both sides - finally - Bettman called off the entire season.

And what did we devoted puckheads get for our troubles?

The business end of a goalie's stick rammed up our collective asses - with no lube at all. (For those readers with more sensitive feelings, my apologies.)

The more I think about it though, it's just a symbol of how corporate many pro sports - and even big-time college sports - have gotten. Leagues, owners and players suck up to the big corporate dollars, thanks to mega-luxury boxes, suites and other things Joe Fans like myself will never get close to - unless we hit the lottery, know someone or are already rich beyond reproach.

Look at the typical crowd behind the plate at a Cardinals game, for instance. They've got cell phones and they're talking on them during the game and waving at the cameras (hey, I'm on teee veee!!). If someone does something good, it's a quick cheer (oh good, we did something - what happened anyway?) and then back to the schmoozing or the closing of another big-bucks deal.

I've sat in seats like that and acted like a normal fan would - cheering, yelling, screaming. When that happens (and I've heard similar stories), people have looked at me like I'm nuts, as if I just ruined their latest huge deal or tryst or something.

A couple have even told me to go to the bleachers at Busch. But even the bleachers at Busch are so freakin' expensive these days - $11 during peak times during the summer.

Regular fans like myself have been priced out of the park and the arenas when we're the ones who REALLY keep the games going.

Too bad we're the last ones anybody thinks about when it comes to what happens with out teams. No wonder I'm so disillusioned by sports these days - even at the high school level.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a bit shocked at some of the imagery you present in this post, Brent. Rather graphic.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Brent said...

I'll admit it probably wasn't the best thing I could have said, but I wasn't sure how else to say what I thought about Bettman/Goodenow.

That's why I put in the apology afterwards. I figured not everyone would be pleased.

If you have any ideas on how it could have been said better, by all means, let me know!!

And again, my apologies if what I said offended you.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Gordon said...


Here's a suggestion for rephrasing,

"How did it make us feel? Like we at the business end of a hockey puck during a busy game."

At the very least, the imagery you gave - although graphic - was honest, and didn't offend me in the least.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone does something good, it's a quick cheer (oh good, we did something - what happened anyway?) and then back to the schmoozing or the closing of another big-bucks deal.

Brent, you are SUCH a loser!

2:43 AM  
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