Chapter 7, Part 2: Jock-O-Rama!
Edmonton is a sports city. Thanks to 5 Stanley Cups and 13 Grey Cups, there is good reason to be proud of living in such a city that can rival other great cities. The 2 New York teams only have 4 cups each, for example, and have been around for more than 30 years. We celebrate our athletes and tend to idolize them & associate them with one of the leading reasons which make this city sooo darn grand.
On a different level, high school football in the States is one of the most religious past times for All- American boys. By being a competitive mean challenger and champion, you can win the fame and respect from your community, state, and if things keep going well, your country. With this fame comes fortune. Despite any salary caps, society places such a high value on its athletic champions that they make up the most well-paid people on earth, next to CEOs and movie stars. In addition, overzealous sponsors offer millions of dollars to these guys to either hit a ball, tackle an opponent, or make the free throw.
So where is this going. Well I was really turned off of sports for a while because of how utterly stupid sports can be. The 2004/05 NHL lockout really just ticked me right off. I saw nothing but money-grabbing lazy uneducated oofs that had dog fight parties, injected steroids, took cheap shots at eachother (eg Bertuzzi and S. Stevens, and Zidane), robbed pawn shops (Mr. OJ), cheated on their wives, chewed bubblegum and scratched their balls. The inability for these "champions" to make sport legit and being better role models for our youth finally caught up with me. Even CFL'ers, despite being paid less than anyone in all of pro-sports, would run around celebrating like little girls after the TD. Why should these people be rewarded for acting so stupid? Isn't some modesty/humility an attractive quality at all anymore? How about integrity and morality?
I played hockey for 13 years so I definately know the thrill in the challenge, the win. As well as the empty hole left after losing the finals in Minor Hockey Week or Playoffs. I know how fun it is to act like a total idiot (have you met me?), whether it be getting into a fight or getting the over time winner. But this competitivism often goes too far. If you are just rubbing your opponent's nose in it, that's one thing, but it usually comes to more than that.
In these team sports, there is so much competition. There is the expectation to do well both within your own team and within your division/league. All-Star Role Model goaltender Patrick Roy was accused of encouraging his own goalie son to get into a fight last Spring, after his boy had been out-scored 7 to 1. There is pride and reputation on the line after all.
So what about it? Nobody got seriously hurt. True. But what about those times when things get totally out of control? Today's society has less restraint than I have ever seen before. You can get beat up for wearing the wrong team colours walking down a street at night if not careful, depending on the degree of belligerence/drunkeness. Pride. Toughness. Power. Some people neeeeed these things in order to have enough confidence to get through life. Back in Southern California in the early 80s, punks and jocks would get into fights all the time because of the different schools of thought. Without the ability to conquer another group of people, or team, how could a guy show that he has what it takes to be a an honorable leader. How can he prove to be a reasonable provider or care-giver for his family?
I used to be somewhat athletic. I ran & played hockey. I used to love performing when certain girls were in the crowd. I would get some of the best times in long distance races and would often be called up to play higher-tiered hockey. I was awesome. Without athletic ability, guys can be really limited as to ways they can attract members of the opposite sex. The one biggy is through myoozik. Piano lessons is often a starter step towards rock & roll stardom but if you aren't playing guitar or bass by highschool, usually that dream can get flushed away too. BRAINS and HUMOUR are the alternatives, if the athleticism and musical ability are not quite there. But neither of these are really quite the same either, especially if the person who you might be attracted to is the least bit athletic or musically inclined. Sure, sure, opposites attract. I mean, look at the (current) wives of Dennis Kucinich and Donald Trump. Yozwza! So I suppose if you have enough brains to make it through real estate, politics, or comedy - Jim Carrey is with Jenny McCarthy?!?! - then the power to you. But then again, a lot of the time, people just aren't that darn funny.
So sports. The easy, most obvious way to be able to hold your head high. Pound that chest. Try to be +500 on the season and don't shame your team by sleeping with your line mates wife. I'm going to the gym.
GO OILERS GO!!!
(...i'm not really going to the gym...)