Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jordin TooToo Acts a Fool

(x-posted to Objectionable Conduct)

I've been doing a lot of thinking recently (scary thought I know - but dumb blondes who party with the boys are actually capable of thinking) about why fighting is acceptable in hockey.

You see the incident pictured above occured last night during a game between Dallas and Nashville (bad TooToo Train bad) and it will, inevitably, lead to another storm of controversy about why fighting is acceptable in hockey when it is not acceptable in any other professional sport.

First of all, I would like to point out that that is not entirely true. Bench clearing brawls are as much a part of baseball as fighting is in hockey. Fighting is completely acceptable in the NLL as well (National Lacrosse League).

However, my thinking has led me to several conclusions about fighting in hockey, and why you cannot eliminate it from the game.

Many people ask why fighting isn't acceptable in basketball, but it is in hockey? Many people then bring about the issue of race - the majority of basketball players are of African descent, while the majority of hockey players are as white as the ice they play on.

I don't see this as a race issue at all, I see it as a logistics issue. Look at the seating at your typical basketball game. There are courtside seats, and nothing between the players and the fans. When basketball players brawl, it inevitably spills over into the stands. Someone not involved in the game gets hurt or worse, does something stupid and gets involved.

Now look at a hockey arena. The glass seperates the fans from the players. The gates keep players off the ice from getting involved. There are rules about leaving the bench during a fight. Those who are not involved are not going to get involved, nor will they get hurt.

What about football? You ask. The simple fact is, there are plenty of dirty shots in the pile ups that officials don't see. There is so much contact in football (more so then hockey) that the need to fight simply isn't there. Add to it the fact that the average play in football last no more then 30 seconds and there's a whistle?

Well it makes it hard to really start anything. The pace of the game simply doesn't allow for it. Not to mention the number of people on the sidelines at games - despite the seperation of fans from the players there are any number of people on the sidelines at most pro football games and much of the security is in the stands. Someone who wasn't supposed to be involved would get hurt.

In soccer, you have to eliminate fighting, because, world wide, what happens on the field spreads to the stands and then to the streets, without fail. Vancouver and Montreal have both experienced hockey riots. This escalation in violence has resulted in the Italian League going on a brief haitus this year. It is this without fail escalation that makes fighting unacceptable in soccer.

In baseball, the pace of the game doesn't really allow for regular, boiling over anger. However there are still occaisions when players charge the mound and the benches clear. That is viewed as a part of baseball in much the same way that fighting is a part of hockey. You cannot eliminate it from the game.

I maintain that fighting isn't just about violence. It's about passion and emotion - either feeling it or creating it in the building to help your team.

I don't believe that trying to put a stop to fighting will do ANYTHING to prevent incidents like the Chris Simon incident OR the Jordin TooToo incident. Sometimes people do stupid things. They happen in every sport. Ron Artest did something stupid in Detroit. Carmello Anthony did something stupid in New York. Plenty of football players (can you tell I don't really follow then NFL? Except during playoffs of course) have done stupid things in practice, fighting with teammates. Not to mention the spitting. I seriously don't understand what it is with football players spitting on each other.

Stupidity is the most destructive force in the history of humanity, and unfortunately we cannot eliminate stupidity without even more big brother style interference.

One of my favourite authors wrote these words for one of her characters:

"He was stupid. If I killed everyone who was stupid, I wouldn't have time to sleep." - Alanna of Trebond/Tamora Pierce

We can't eliminate stupidity. It just isn't possible, and to me the problem in the NHL isn't the fighting. Its the stupidity of some of the people doing the fighting.


Shan said...

"Many people ask why fighting isn't acceptable in basketball, but it is in hockey?"

I think it has more to do with the fact that there is bodychecking in hockey. In order to protect the highly skilled players who are not as big and tough, fighting is allowed so that those players can be protected.

Plus, the whole method of fighting is intrinsic to the game. The clothing, the helmets, the ice, all plays into the way hockey fights work. One guy is grabbing on to the other guy's shirt for footing and then swinging, it's not the easiest thing to protect yourself and still hit the other guy. When I try to envision to basketball players fighting, it's just ugly like a barfight.

Bethany said...

Watch the video again...and watch Modano and what he does with his stick...he hits Tootoo across the back...not cool...and I hate Tootoo but there it is again where someone is using their stick as a weapon.

Objectionable Conduct said...

Shan - that's something I hadn't considered, but it makes a lot of sense.

Bethany - Yeah I saw that. Not cool at all.

Lost in Randomosity said...

Fighting may be a part of hockey historically, but that doesn't mean it should continue to happen. Fighting in hockey, seems to me, to be about violence. It just seems that grown men should be able to find other ways to express their passion and emotion at the time being. I agree...the fighting is sometimes addicting to watch. It's like watching a fight on the playground (this never happened at my school) and wanting to be a part of the drama and gossip of it the next day.
Plenty of people have speculated how well the NHL would do if it banned fighting altogether.

This is a recent article by Damien Cox about fighting in the NHL.