I am a reluctant hockey mom.  In truth, it would be more clear if I said it this way.

I hate hockey.

As the granddaughter of one of the founders of the amalgamated OMHA, I have stuggled against this sentiment.  My grandpa is mentioned on the Hockey Hall of Fame website.  I should be a fan.  I should be hardcore into hockey but I just can’t stand it.  I know that this is bordering on sacrilege and, yet, I am powerless to amend these feelings.

I have always hated hockey.  In every way.

I’ll begin on a serious note.  People are unnaturally consumed by hockey.  I know that this also applies to a mountain of other professional sports teams. I have wondered many times what the world would look like if we invested into healthcare, education or helping children in war torn or third-world countries, even ten percent of the energy and financial resources people devote to watching sports.  Why do people care so much about something that is virtually unrelated to their own efforts or even the general good of the world?  It baffles me how much ownership and esteem people derive from an NHL team’s success or failure.  If the team wins, they are excited and proud.  If  the team loses, they are frustrated, angry and disappointed.  They have done nothing to effectuate a win or a loss.  They are sitting on a couch, drinking beer and eating caramel corn.    I just think it makes more sense to put emotional energy into something that makes a real difference.  This results in authentic pride in one’s own accomplishments, instead of someone else’s.

On a lighter note, I think that the helmets look stupid.  I also resent the fact that the protective gear required for the sport completely masks every single potentially interesting rear end or rippling muscle on these guys’ bodies, so I can’t even feign interest while I secretly drool over men half my age.  I feel ripped off.

And what is with all that padding anyway?  Hockey players “need” shoulder pads, chest protectors, elbow pads, shin pads, neck guards, mouth guards, groin protectors, helmets, face masks, gloves, and thickly padded shorts.  Seems to me that these so-called tough guys are really big wusses.  I figure skated for years.   All I had between me and the boards or the ice, was a pair of panty hose and a bodysuit with a ruffled skirt. What a bunch of babies!   Da hockey-wockey pwayers need their paddy-waddies in case they fall down and go boom?  Try falling from shoulder height.  

Tough guys, my arse.

Speaking of tough guys, I detest the fighting!  I do not think that fighting is “part of the sport”, as so many like to claim.  I think it is just an interruption to the game.  I believe the reason that most players decide to drop their gloves is because they are losing or because they lack the skills needed to compete with superior players.  They often use a fight to throw off another team that is dictating the pace of the game.   Truly skilled players rarely fight.  Case-in-point?  Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, Niklas Lidstrom, Joe Sakic.  Arguably greats of their own time, some greater than others, and some even recipients of the Lady Byng Award.  They didn’t need to fight every chance they got.  They were hockey players that actually played hockey.  What a concept.

What disgusts me even more than the fighting, is the fans’ response to the fighting.  Cheering, pulling shirts off, watching with glee and yelling, “Fight!  Fight!  Fight!”  People who weren’t paying attention are suddenly absorbed with the violence, watching and shouting with their children at their sides, mimicking their parents’ insanity.

It sincerely nauseates me.

From time to time I can tolerate playoff hockey, mostly because my television is monopolized by it, but also because the players are actually playing hockey, instead of spewing testosterone.

…and if it’s part of the game, then why isn’t part of any other game?  Could you imagine Woods peeling off his glove, dropping his club and tackling McIlroy on the 18th because he was two strokes ahead?  I don’t think so.  I know that there have been a few big bench clearing brawls in baseball, but it is usually between umpires and players who don’t like a call or the result of a jack-ass pitcher hitting someone with the ball for the third time that night.  These fights are situational.

Being a pro-athlete requires a level of intensity and competitiveness that can result in explosions of temper, but I maintain that hockey is different.  Players look to cause fights; deliberately getting chippier and chippier.  They want someone to finally snap.  That is just plain thuggish behaviour and I have no interest in it.  How can that be called part of the sport?  It just isn’t.

Take a page from women’s hockey.  Just play the game boys.