Hockey Headlines

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cracked's Crackpot

The guy on the left? That's Adam Tod Brown. Adam makes a decent living, I assume, by posting stuff on a prominent comedy and satire website known as Cracked.com. His articles are normally worth a smile and a laugh, and they are not to be taken with too much seriousness as he is writing for a site that takes shots at all facets of life. In short, you can't be too offended when a Cracked writer posts something that has meaning to you because they are all about satire and not taking themselves too seriously. I get that, and I accept that because if you offend everyone, no one can be singled out as being "hurt". South Park has enjoyed many years of this type of success.

However, I did find myself taken aback by Mr. Brown's most recent article entitled "5 Supposedly Fun Activities Nobody Actually Enjoys (Part 2)". While his satirical look at the other four things may tickle your funny bone, the portion about hockey leads me to believe that he's never actually attended a professional hockey game in his life.

How did I arrive at this conclusion? Mr. Brown wrote one specific line that left me shaking my head:
"I can honestly say that there is no sport that's less interesting to watch in person than hockey."
Wait... WHAT?!? I'm not certain about this, but Mr. Brown might have been under the influence of something when he wrote that because it's the exact opposite of the casual American hockey fan's opinion of the game.

For years, the NHL has tried to find ways to make the game more appealing to American audiences by changing the way that hockey is depicted on TV. Remember the glowing puck that Fox experimented with? Yeah, that wasn't because the people in the stands had trouble following the game. Heck, they didn't even have the benefit of seeing the glowing puck through the boards!

As I read further into Mr. Brown's article, it became apparent that this entire spiel about hockey was either one really bad joke or one man's opinion, despite it being a poor one, of a sport about which he seemingly knows little. I'm more inclined to give Mr. Brown the benefit of the doubt because his previous articles have been humorous, so let's just pretend that this joke went off the rails.

The following quote actually is what makes sports, in general, good:
"It's the only sport where, nine times out of 10, you don't even know that someone might score a goal until they've actually scored."
Um, yeah, that's why people love it. When a hockey player scores, you can actually see the joy and exuberance on his face because it was a battle to move that piece of rubber 200-feet until it found itself lying inside a cage. It takes real effort, and a goal is spontaneous excitement. It's the same reason why people love when a baseball player tries to steal home or when a football team runs a trick play that catches everyone off-guard. We, as fans, love the unexpected because these plays shatter all ideas that we had preconceived about what was about to happen.

People complained about the neutral zone trap that brought the game to a grinding halt offensively because that unexpectedness that we cherish so much was gone. No longer were players free to skate and dazzle offensively because it was a game of piggy-back. With the game opening up, the unexpected razzle-dazzle plays that we, as fans, watch with jaws agape are the entire reason hockey is awesome.

Mr. Brown continued with his assault on hockey:
"They literally have to stand by and let people come to blows from time to time just to make things seem interesting.
Between Canada and the USA, which country offered more "fight night" promotions? It definitely wasn't the Great White North. And if you don't think that people love a good hockey fight, check out how rabid the crowd is during a fight. Again, it's a spontaneous emotional release, much like a goal, only this release is far more physically engaging. Fans go out of their minds when a fight breaks out because it can happen at any time, and both competitors in the fight are throwing haymakers.

It's not like a sissy baseball fight where a pitcher and catcher slap at each other until 40 other guys come out to break the girl-fight up. But every time there's a bench-clearing brawl in baseball, SportsCenter has it covered. If you ask any baseball fan about their favorite baseball fight, the Nolan Ryan-Robin Ventura fight is usually high on the list because it featured actual fighting!

And let's be realistic here: comparing a hockey fight to boxing or UFC is like comparing Mr. Brown doing somersaults to an Olympic gymnast's floor routine. Both have somersaults performed, but I doubt Mr. Brown would even come close to achieving an artistic value for his performance. A hockey fight is a raw show of emotions where two combatants have decided to throw down the gloves and unleash fury for 30 seconds to a minute. There are no rounds and there's no gloves. It's just 16,000 judges, a lot of knuckle chucking, and five minutes in the box to relish that unexpected and spontaneous moment while the judges let you know how you performed in the battle. That's as raw as fighting gets. And that's why it's loved by fans on both sides of the border.

This statement is exactly why I believe this is a satirical piece and not a serious commentary:
"Baseball might be boring to watch in person, but at least you have a little bit of advance notice before something exciting happens. When people start making noise, you have plenty of time to look up from your book and take in the action."
Mr. Brown admits baseball is boring, admits that he would prefer to know in advance when something exciting happens, and often reads books when attending sporting events. FYI - if you're interested in a good book, a library card is much cheaper than season tickets.

To be honest, I found most of the article quite enjoyable, but the part about hockey is grossly misguided. Again, I'm not offended as much as I am shocked that someone would write something like this unless the author was being entirely UNserious. It's just too ridiculous to be a valid argument against hockey, and, if that was the intended purpose, a job well done.

Most things on Cracked.com will trigger a smile from me at least. Parts of this article did. But the hockey portion didn't see me crack a smile once.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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