Monday, April 27, 2015

Hockey? Me? Really?

The Montreal Canadiens eliminated the Ottawa Senators in NHL first round Stanley Cup playoffs. I rarely watch an entire game, but of this one I missed only five minutes or so at the beginning of the third period. Having seen that first and decisive goal, I could appreciate the sentiment candidly expressed by Carey Price in an after-game interview. He seemed to attribute a large part of winning and losing to “the way the puck bounces for you.”

Luck, in other words.

More astute hockey watchers will protest that you make your luck; you can't score from the penalty box and you can't get lucky at the opponents' end when the play is always at your own end. This may or may not be a metaphor for life.

The arena was full, sold out. Fans were dressed in Senators Jersey's and did the “swinging white towels over their heads thing, chanted “Go Sens Go” in unison, and occasionally did that piece of musical doggerel borrowed from soccer, I think: “Na na, nanana, Hey, hey, hey, Clog bangh flome! (Don't know what these last three words are, never figured it out.) 

I'm not sure what fans paid to get in, but I know that prices for the Eastern Final games range from $220.00 – $445.68

I've heard sports called “metaphors for life,” and although I find it hard to apply any such definition to professional sports, I can see that in the playing of games the striving-to-win, learning-to-lose features could be said to replicate in a nonthreatening way the stuff we're about when we're active in the world.

No doubt, cheering for a team that's winning provides a pleasurable feeling as if you yourself had conquered. Carousing in the streets after a winning game looks a lot like soldiers celebrating a battle victory. Fans seem to “live” or “die” vicariously through the success or failure of their teams.

Of course, the corporate business side of all this can't be ignored. Professional sports is not dissimilar from any other production/consumption model; a corporation produces a product (entertainment) that consumers (fans) will pay good money to consume. Last night, I consumed an entire hockey game—almost—along with copious commercials including our federal government touting it's achievements using my tax money.

Meanwhile, I probably missed a really great documentary on the mating habits of chimpanzees.

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