A November to Dismember: Storms, Shortages, and a Strike

November 2012 hasn’t been too kind to New York City. And aside from the Knicks starting out stronger than they have in recent memory, (yes, I make a big deal about being 3-0, for after all, they are the Knicks) uplifting news is as scarce as an open, fully equipped gas station. The storm left most of New York without the urge to celebrate marathons, the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays, and with a Nor’easter about to hit us, without the urge to have a white Christmas, etc.  If you don’t believe me, just ask those families who lived in a place once called Far Rockaway. If you haven’t seen coverage of the damage there, you should.  Youtube it please. Calling the Rockaways a demilitarized zone is such an understatement that I feel it almost insulting in its inability to describe the horror I’ve seen with my own eyes, never mind saddened that focus is elsewhere and that my measly effort here will do nothing to help my brethren across the way.  But this blog is about sports, especially hockey. So, to sum up: my family and I were quite fortunate: we have our home, heat, food, and power. I hope yours fared just as well. For those who did not and for some reason happen across this piece: my prayers are with you. Seriously. Prayers won’t feed your family, keep them warm, etc. Know that many of us are thinking of you.  Stay strong.

All the aforementioned notwithstanding, New Yorkers are tough and equally resentful, just ask A-Rod.  We expect things to be a certain way and let everyone within an earshot know how we feel when they are not, just ask A-Rod. When success or ease or reliability or clarity or transparency is lacking in any way, we boil over and demand action of some sort, just ask…You get my point. Hockey is just a sport and it isn’t.  Sports aren’t that important but they are, otherwise millions upon millions of dollars wouldn’t be at stake, and there are.  Should we allocate funds differently as a society? Should we, for example, forego spending $75 to $80 for mediocre seats at our favorite sporting event, donate half of the aforementioned ticket price toward education, healthcare, etc.?   Shouldn’t our children emulate academic role models or civic-minded ones at the most, instead of hollowed-out sports figures and equally vacuous political ones? (Oh, today’s Election Day, in case you’ve forgotten.) In another lifetime perhaps, but actually sports all over the globe is as essential as education, food, healthcare, and the state of the union.  Moot point to disagree, but you have a right to complain!

Nevertheless, I will go on the record and say that even if the season is saved I will not go to games this year. I side with the players to a degree, and understand the owners to a point. But three months in the offseason should’ve resolved the issues.  Are you kidding me: New York City civil servants were able to dry out train tunnels, reroute buses, re-power entire boroughs, sweep up the chaos (most of it anyway) within days. And the NHL cannot get their act together? Something’s rotten in Denmark, for sure. I hate saying this because it makes me sound ignorant to the issues that I assume are much more complicated with regards to negotiations: Greed is fueling the schism between the parties at hand. Greed. What else can it be? How else to call it?

I recently read via Facebook that the Islanders have been doing all they can to help families hit by the storm. I was truly proud of hearing such things, and I assume they are not alone.  But…

Play the damn game already. You’re not the Red Cross, Islanders. And you’re not what’s wrong with hockey. But the spread the word: Play the damn game already. There are more important things to be bickering about. Split your hairs, sign on the dotted line, and play the game I played GRATIS for fifteen years!  With all the misery that surrounds us on a daily basis, won’t you please just play the damn game already. Players, you have a right to protect yourselves from being fleeced by the owners; owners, you have a right to garner profits from your investments. Okay? Done. Now, just play the damn game already! Work it out and play the damn game. 

I’m leaving now to ask my father if he still needs me to make a four hour line for gas, because, see those things are important. Are you listening NHL? You’re important to me and to many, but you’re not. Play. The. Damn. Game. Already.