How to Ruin Hockey for Yourself: Part 2 – Follow the Lockout
Finally, it’s Part II of my ongoing series on how to ruin your hockey experience. Part I dealt with learning how to watch the game in such a way that you just-…you just wanna wreck something. Just wanna break something. Well this time, we’re going to be exploring that which currently ails hockey fans, but seems to be doing a bang-up job of making sure that their un-enjoyment holds up.
2 – Follow this stupid lockout
I don’t know if you are aware, but they are locked out of hockey right now. “Who is they?” you might ask. I would correct you with, “You mean who are they?” and then I would indulge you by saying ”anyone” unless you count the KHL, ECHL, AHL, CHL, SPHL, LNAH, FHL, some IIHF games here and there, some crazy Russian league I can’t pronounce or spell, a bunch of places in Asia, Europe, a league in Mexico, Austria, Germany, Croatia, Hungary, college hockey, high school hockey, bar leagues, and anything else on this page that I don’t feel like typing out. Other than those outliers, everyone in the world is banding together and locking out their teams.
Now I could rant and rave and get into how Gary Bettman is now overseeing the third lockout of his career. Or I could talk about league revenues and how their profits have absolutely skyrocketed since 2006 as though they were laughing in the face of a recession. I could yap all night about revenue sharing or honoring contract lengths or being happy with climbing out of the basement and back into the running as a legitimate sports league or I could go on and on about how they insist on putting an ice hockey team in the middle of the desert and now they’re all shocked that they can’t get anyone to buy it.
But that would all be pointless. Because anything I do in that regard is just adding to the noise. All the noise noise Noise NOISE! If you haven’t ventured into the veritable hellhole known as Twitter in a good long while, go ahead and stick your head through this peephole. Upon glancing while writing this, the search “nhl lockout” gave me the following to digest:
- The Sabres’ goaltender stating that the lockout is to satisfy egos. Nice job Millsy, that’ll sure calm down the flames.
- About twenty reporters giving me updates. Twenty reporters giving me updates on how there is no hockey. Twenty reporters telling me that there won’t be any hockey. Reporters. Whose full time jobs currently consist of saying, “Nope. Still no hockey.” Samuel Beckett wrote a play about what these reporters are doing.
- No less than four astute individuals offer the following advice to end a labor agreement: “JUST DROP THE PUCK ALREADY!” They must be lawyers.
- An election ad. Because why not.
- A rumor source saying that the league will cancel all games through November.
- A rumor source saying that the sides are close to an agreement to start playing games November first.
- Oh look…something I tweeted. That’s embarrassing.
- Poll results that give us a very telling tale:
We can’t even agree on who to be pissed at! But I’ll guarantee one thing. Everyone that took that poll is pissed at everyone else that took that poll because there’s a poll to take because we aren’t getting our fix. And we’re watching this big ol’ pot of water all damn day, and it’s just not boiling because the NHLPA wants owners to honor existing contracts and the owners think the contracts are absurd and the players want their millions and the rest of us just want it to end.
It’s a lifeless whirlpool of vitriol. There aren’t any gladiators in the arena. There is nothing for us to hang over people from other cities and taunt them about, or hate on them for overlooking. There is nothing for hockey fans (except for a whole bunch of hockey leagues that aren’t the NHL). Sure, we can watch other sports, but it’s not quite the same if you don’t burn with that passion. Without an outlet for what we want to tune in to see, we’ve started to turn on each other and hate anything that isn’t an end to this nightmare.
THIS IS WHAT PHILADELPHIA FANS FEEL LIKE EVERY DAY OF THEIR LIVES.
We’ve tried to cope, I know. I’ve watched. I’ve listened to radio hosts yell at fans over the phones, and I’ve seen the ugly result when they are called out for their actions. Did I say ugly? Because that was awesome.
Here’s a heartbreaking picture of a small child whose dreams are being crushed. The player on the ice is his love of the sport. The glass is the expired CBA that really needs to last more than seven years. Notice the gleam in his eyes. Notice his hand reaching out. That was us, all of us, back in July. This is a fact: that child is now 82 years old.
For God’s sake, we’re simming the season. I appreciate all the effort that some people are putting in, and they’re keeping great track, but that’s just sad. Not sad in a “wow, you have no life” way. It’s sad in the way this video is sad. <~~ DO NOT CLICK THAT LINK!
The farther and farther we go into it, the more pathetic the examples of coping with the lockout become.
Once you start down this road, hockey fans, that’s all it is…a road. It’s barren. There isn’t an end in sight. There certainly aren’t a ton of leagues playing that you could find a way to watch on the internet. Every time the league and the player’s association teases at reaching an agreement, it’s a cruel joke on your behalf. We are doomed to forever roam the earth, seeking nothing but the life that was. But it’s gone now. Now it’s a fight for survival.
What happens when our gladiators aren’t in the arena? What happens when we cannot sate our blood lust? We turn on each other. Fight the lockout, fear the locked out. Every direction you turn, you’re going to meet someone else with a different view of who’s wrong in all this. Good friends of mine side with the owners, others with the players, still others with neither. They start snarling at each other, clawing and biting, picking each other apart. Tearing each other down.
Oh sure, maybe those feelings have always been there. I’ve always felt that The Buffalo News and WGR are a bunch of hacks, just like most fans in most cities can’t stand the fact that somebody gets paid to watch their games. Except now, they’re getting paid to tell us there isn’t a Santa Claus. In some cases, they aren’t getting paid, and so that anger’s getting channeled right back at us.
And the worst part of all? After we’re done fighting it out, there still won’t be a season until those millionaires that we love to hate and those billionaires that we don’t even know reach some sort of agreement. And at the end of the day, that agreement will be how to divvy up our money.
…or you could just not follow the lockout. Go outside!