Pads? Helmets? No hits above or below a certain part of your body? 14 seconds of action for every 5 minutes of downtime (not to mention commercial breaks, and time-outs)? Locker room bullying? Seriously? That last one really gets me. The bullying. How sad have we become as Americans? The total pussification of a once great sporting event.
Jeni & I follow the NHL, specifically the Detroit Red Wings (for about the last 20 years now). Ice Hockey. A real sport. They still wear pads & helmets, and they still officiate all the hits with due diligence, but for the most part, the puck (and the action) keeps moving throughout the course of the game. And, they do it all on a 1″ thick sheet of frozen water. Unlike basketball, you only get one time-out (better use it wisely). Also, you may get lucky and see a fight from time to time. I know we’re from Northern California and we should be Sharks Fans. But I hate the Sharks (except for Brad Stuart when he was playing for Detroit). I hate Drew Remenda & Randy Carslyle who call the game for Fox Sports Bay Area, and more specifically, I hate the fans. Not the ones who buy a hoodie, just half-assed follow the team, and don’t ever go to a game. I’m talking about the little Bay Area princesses with season tickets who dump mustard and beer on anyone NOT wearing teal. Yeah, that’s right. Spend $150+ per for glass seats, 3 hours each way in traffic driving to and from the game, $20 to park my car, $50 in concession stand refreshments, all to come home smelling like a hot-dog-brewery in my Red Wings sweater. Well worth it when the Wings kill the Sharks, but still… I’ve been to about 20 games at the “Tank” in at least as many years, and I can say without bias that Sharks fans are a lot like (from what I’ve heard) Oakland Raiders fans (if I bothered to follow football).
Back in 2010 Jeni & I helped move her parents back to Texas, and then did a follow up visit that Christmas. We managed to coincide that trip to Texas with a game where the Detroit Red Wings played at the American Airlines Center. The arena was great, the Dallas fans were very well behaved, and Detroit destroyed the Stars 7-3. Win, win, win. They also have cheerleaders in halter tops and yoga pants that skate out and scrape the ice during commercial break. Add in one more win.
Last weekend we went up to UC Davis to see Jeni’s cousin in a rugby match vs. UC Santa Barbara. I remember when he was about 3 feet tall and I could lift him up over my head. Things change and we all get older. Now he can lift me over his head. Even though I don’t know the slightest thing about Rugby (except for the movie “Invictus”), I can say with certainty, it’s way cooler than football. No pads, no helmets, and definitely, no cry-babies. No wonder most everyone in the world (except us) follows the sport. We even saw one kid icing down his kidney after the match, and I though “Damn. He played the whole game, and fixed it on his own time.” THAT’S athleticism for you. The ball keeps moving, the clock keeps ticking, and we keep cheering. Also, as is usually the case with ice hockey, when you watch rugby live it’s pretty easy to pick up on the general concept of the game, even if you’re totally oblivious like me.
Davis whooped on Santa Barbara 19-3, and I got some great footage with my GoPro. Jeni brought the Canon 20D with the 75-300mm lens and snapped some pretty sweet still shots that she uploaded into our photo gallery. Check it out, and enjoy. Now you’ll know why we don’t waste 5 hours sitting in front of the tube on Sunday mornings… except when it’s “Laundry Sunday” and the Wings are on the big screen at my local laundromat.