Hello fellow hockey-crazed lunatic.
Are you, too, sick and tired of the dog days of summer and its lingering poop-on-a-shoe-sole stench?
By that, I mean the current National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and NHL owners’ (NHL) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) whiney bitch wimp slapfest.
Here we go again – just seven years after the last display of posturing and grousing between about 750 millionaires or ‘near’ millionaires and 30 groups of ultra rich assholes who approve the overpayment of said millionaires the rest of the time and then fiercely oppose them when they dare to ask for more, another labour war has begun.
On one side there is the noddy-headed smugness of the human ferret, Gary Bettman, who represents the owners and on the other there is the stern rotundness of Donald Fehr (appropriately pronounced ‘fee-her’), who is leading the NHLPA charge.
It is now appearing as though there will be, at best, a work stoppage that will carve into the 2012/13 season, because the initial salvos fired by both sides have been laced with intransigence.
I could not care less, times a hundred million, what they are arguing about. My eyes glaze over and I refuse to listen to or read about why those miserable pieces of ungrateful shit are pulling one another’s hair again.
Fact one: NHL players make stupid amounts of money.
Fact two: NHL team owners/consortiums are bloated with wealth – so much so that they can afford to buy and run a professional sports team and they all know going into the transaction that there are heavy levels of risk involved. Some make buckets of money; others lose buckets and then recoup those funds when they find another shmuck to buy the team.
Fact three: The players, who the fans pay silly wads of cash to see perform, are the show and they want their fair share.
Fact four: Every time these two sides square off in the Arena of Shrill Petulance, it is the fans who suffer.
Fact five: No fans means no millionaire hockey players and no forum for uber-rich owners to dally about in with their spare hundreds of millions, making them de facto celebrities only because they are spending money like drunken syphilitics.
Fact seven: Here we are again.
The two sides will tug and pull and pull and tug and bored clowns (not you Sara Orlesky or Kate Beirness, because you two rock) better known as ‘sports reporters’ will try to explain why to fans who don’t care during the dog days of summer when most people are more concerned about how they’ll get away for the weekend than they are about whether they’ll have to carve into their kids’ college funds or add thousands more to their debt load in order to buy season tickets, with many only going to half the games because the 41 game burden is simply too much to bear for most folks who have actual lives.
That the two sides waited until mid-August to get serious about talks says two things to me. One – they’re clearly living in the spaces where out-of-touch millionaires tend to live and time moves as slowly as the Columbus Blue Jackets’ improvement arc. And two – it says they don’t give a flying diarrhea dump about the people who are, in every essence and every angle, the hot centre of their existences – the fans.
The fans are the ones with the bucks. They are the people who decided to spend thousands of dollars every year to support a given team and the league. They are the people who put the ‘cha-ching’ into the steps of each member of the NHLPA and every wet fart sitting on a NHL team’s board of governors or ownership circle.
We all know the NHLPA are giving it 110% to make sure the season happens. And obviously, the ownership 30 is linked arm-in-arm in solidarity, bound by time-worn and won honour to do what is RIGHT FOR THE GAME, which explains why one large market team will savagely outbid a small market club (hello Philadelphia and Nashville) for a player’s services. That kind of solidarity is exactly why the free enterprise portions of the world are slowly sinking in a rancid quicksand of their own greedy design.
Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the NHL owners are locked in a brutal war where they try to crush one another, and the NHLPA, when accepting more money to play a single NHL game than most people earn in a year, are also trying to crush each other. But come the time for labour negotiations, out trots the standard posturing.
Each time the NHL and NHLPA clash, the game dies another death in America, while in Canada, it seems to take a step forward as die-hard fans shrug off the lack of the big pro game and go back to supporting grassroots leagues. And when the NHL is back on track, Canadian hockey fans race back to arenas like rats fleeing flooding aqueducts, clutching wads of cash that usually belong to banks or credit companies.
The sports media, their minds severely dulled from having to do division and multiplication rather than the standard addition and subtraction, gleefully declare ‘game on’ and tales are told of how the game will only be better moving forward.
I’ve been a frothing hockey fan since Davey Keon captained the Leafs, Bobby Orr dazzled from the D, Bobby Hull snatched the big cheque from Ben Hatskin’s meaty mitts and when (“Little Piggy” as my dad called him) Foster Hewitt croaked from a black and white TV set and Danny Gallivan spewed Canadian/Canadien poetry in cannonating volumes.
Suffice to say I rate as a form of fanatic. Rather than spend time learning about what is happening in the more depressing parts of the world or finding out about uplifting things, I pour over hockey stats and read inane postings about trade rumours and who the next ‘sleeper pool pick may be.’
It’s nutjobs such as myself who blow the hot gas into the centrifugal force that floats the pro hockey boat.
And that leads me to this warning to the NHL and NHLPA. I’ve had enough. Enough, do you hear me? I am talking Aaron Asham-throat-slashing-sign done enough of all this damaging posturing by a bunch of men who are beyond lucky to be playing a game for untold millions. Like millions of other men, I would have killed to be good enough to play pro hockey.
Rather than earn almost $50,000 A GAME (as a player making $4 million a season earns), most of us earn that much A YEAR.
But it isn’t the players I hold at fault. It’s the owners who need to feel the crushing weight of fan scorn.
Most of the NHL franchise owners happily accept and right off losses incurred by owning teams, and some others roll in profits on the blood, sweat and tears of the masses who earn less or a tad more than their mid-level players are earning A GAME.
Just watching Gary Bettman talk, with the sound off on the television set, makes me think, “what a lying little prick!” Is he not the snidest looking little bastage this side of Julias Caesar’s senate floor? He’s the perfect symbol representing the ownership groups, which have already warned of a work stoppage unless the NHLPA bend over backwards.
So when are we, as fans, going to call a work stoppage?
It is time for fans to collectively shout, “Fine, lock the players out, we don’t give a shit. Because we’re done with you idiots. Our hard earned shekels shall henceforth be spent on aiding needy causes or on our children’s educations and you lot can go get stuffed!”
The NHL is big league number four in North American sports and it can be argued that auto racing, mixed martial arts, golf, horse racing and rhythmic gymnastics are bigger in America than hockey. But that doesn’t matter to both sides because here they are again, risking inflicting an infection into their league that could result in the loss of a leg.
There is a very simple cure for fans who are fed up with these constant threats to our idle-time whimsy. It’s a word that strikes terror into the hearts of any wise sports league owner and should strike even greater fear into the hearts of the professional athletes who would be shining golf clubs, fetching drinks, selling used cars, reporting on sports or flipping burgers otherwise.
That word: boycott.
Are you sick and tired of shelling out hundreds of dollars you don’t have to waste in order to attend a single NHL game with your spouse or a single child? If you are taking your family – you’re more than likely taking a hit of $1,000 or more.
The simplest cure is to just stop spending that money. Take a couple of hundred bucks and donate it to minor sports or arts programs or buy yourself that upgrade to a toy you’ve been dreaming about, or take your kids to a theme park for a weekend. Why hand it over so some rich asshole can more easily afford to pay another rich asshole? Why don’t we enrich ourselves for once?
It is decades beyond the time we sports fans, world-wide, said in no uncertain terms that those pampered assholes have taken enough of our money.
It is time for an Internet-led boycott of all professional sports, except the Canadian Football League. Those guys actually make less to play a dangerous sport than most Canadians earn to wipe toilets clean.
I say, even if the NHL and NHLPA stop pulling each other’s hair and come to some form of labour agreement, that sports fans should conduct a boycott.
I know that sucks for people employed by the teams and arenas but we fans have been sacrificing for decades – so… tough.
A boycott would bring pro sports to its knees. Owners and players would take massive hits to their bank accounts and a semblance of reality would begin to seep back into their heads and then, just maybe, pro sports could again become the distraction for the masses, as opposed to those who can barely afford it.
Our world is lousy with distractions that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. We can get by without what basically boils down to being a childish diversion.
It’s time everyone grew up and became aware of the real world that changes each and every day – fans, players and franchise owners.
Because at the end of the day, professional sports are a fringe luxury that define the out-of-touch fantasy headspace most in our society dwell within, myself included.
It’s time to disconnect and disengage in order to make the statement that needs to be made, and heard.
Fans are the sun around which players and owners orbit. Ours is not to be grateful for players and owners. It is the other way around and until that most basic of facts is restored to reality, ridiculous pissing and moaning will continue from players and owners and nonsensical childishness will continue to rule the day.
Meanwhile, Buddy Sports Fan A is racking his credit card to the max and far more important aspects of his/her life are being foolishly ignored and who ends up hurting in the end?
It won’t be the millionaire players or the richer swines who whine about paying them so much, even though they are the ones who approve the expenditures in the first place.
Watching them posture, at this time, makes me want to puke. One rich asshole saying another rich asshole isn’t doing enough to enrich him is the most worthy of arguments to witness, isn’t it?
Great googly moogly.
Who’s with me? Boycott! Boycott! Boycott!
Ian Cobb/e-KNOWTags: Collective Bargaining AgreementGary BettmanIan CobbKootenay CrustNational Hockey League Players’ AssociationNHL
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