Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm Growing a Lockout Beard

The NHL players have been locked out. The owners wanted the players to lower the percentage of hockey revenues they got paid, instead of sharing revenues with smaller market teams. The idea the owners had was that small market teams could afford to pay players the same as big market ones, and big market teams could pocket all their additional profits. It's not surprising that Jeremy "Ebeneezer" Jacobs is spearheading this greedy endeavor.

There are two kinds of greed in this world. Short-term, avaricious, 7 Deadly Sin kind of greed that seeks immediate gain, forsaking all consequences and repercussions. And intelligent, productive, ambitious greed that "has marked the upward surge of mankind." There's greed that urges you to take all the pennies in the dish by the counter, and there's greed to start a business and produce something.

The NHL owners are hungry for immediate profit. And this foolish kind of greed will destroy this game.

Do you hear much outrage over the NHL lockout? Do you hear wailing in the streets, the sounds of large appliances being hurled through drywall as millions of angry fans struggle to cope with the loss of hockey?

No. Hockey is a regional sport, with a core of fanatic supporters, and a large contingent of casual fans. These casual fans are in football mode, fretting over their fantasy teams. And in February, when football stops, if there's no NHL they'll just watch college basketball and drink more.

For most sports fans in America, the NHL is like a girl you occasionally hook up with when you can't get anything better, and you don't have any strong feelings for. They threaten to never talk to you again unless you get serious with them, and you're kind of fine with that.

The NHL has done decently since the lockout. Total revenues are up. Ratings are better. The big market teams are doing well. Chicago, Boston, LA, New York, and Philly are tuning in to the game. This should be the opening stages of an upward trend for the NHL, not another massive hiccup.

This is no time for ultimatums, or short-term cash grabbing. This might be a time for small changes, but not major readjustments to the owner/player balance. The players are the entertainment. They're the ones with the skills. They're the ones making the plays, scoring the goals, unleashing the hits, taking the risks.

Why should they get less?

Until the owners can adequately answer this question, or until they realize they should stop asking the question at all, I'm letting my beard grow. I trimmed it Saturday. It's a blonde/black/ginger mix, so when it grows it gets sketchy. Tendrils of red hair curl over my lips. Patches of black hairs mix with blotches of blonde on my cheeks. It's not pretty.

This league seems to not want to take care of itself, groom itself, and keep itself presentable. So I will do the same.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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