Friday, January 25, 2008

I think I've ranted here before....

Pennsylvaniagate and the reports I read after it last night got me thinking about respect issues. I know I've chewed over and over fan respect issues, here, there, and everywhere, but respect for players seems to be starting to leave as well, and both as an athlete in a very public-based sport and as a sports fan, I'm not okay with that.

Here's my problem. In a Bears/BabyPens game last week, this is what I saw...
Curry, the WBS Pens' goalie, is hurt. Obviously hurt. Hurt on the Bears powerplay, so they're down in the WBS end. Curry goes to his knees, and doesn't get up. Can't get up. Tries to get up, and goes back down, and basically is forced to finish the penalty kill on his knees in the crease. The refs don't call a thing, even though the coaches are screaming at him. FINALLY, the penalty kill ends or they dump it or something, but play stops and he makes it pretty obvious that he's in pain. The trainers come out and work him over, the backup is masking up, and he's definitely seems to be favoring one leg. Lo and behold, however, he takes a few laps back and forth and decides that he can stay in for the rest of the game.

Cue booing Bears fans.

Honestly, I don't care which team you cheer for, when you have a hurt player who decides he can gut it up and stay in, you applaud. When you have a hurt player who can finally get up and leave the ice under his own power, you applaud. If you have to have a player stretchered off, but they showed some goddamned gumption about getting the injury you applaud. If they're there putting their motherloving lives on the line to entertain you, (because that's what pro sports come down to, as they wouldn't be playing for money if it weren't for the audience,) the least you can do is show that you appreciate the fact that they're playing hard and getting hurt FOR YOU.

The showing of booing Talbot at the Wachovia Center last night was just disrespectful. I don't care if you're a Flyers fan or a Penguins fan or what, if someone's hurt, you give them some respect, you don't say "Well, he deserved that" even if he did. These are humans we're talking about. Big hefty humans who know what they're getting into when they start playing the sport, granted, but humans none the less. To treat them like their lives and bodies don't matter because they're on a sports team specifically to entertain you is nothing short of shallow and when you think about it, really kind of horrifying. You wouldn't boo an actor on the stage if they twisted their ankle or had pneumonia and STILL went out there to do the show (both of which I've seen firsthand) so why should a sports figure be that different? The actor AND the hockey player are both there to be entertaining, so what the H-E-double hockey sticks is the difference in respect levels?

Just, really, people. Think about what you're doing before you follow the lead of a few idiotic and disrespectful fan sheep. I'd love to believe that people are mostly good, but between the recent few incidents at Bears games and the continual disrespect I see coming out of some other major hockey markets, you're making it hard right now.

Also over at THTM


Dare said...

I dunno if I would say that they're getting hurt for the viewing population. I mean, it's not like their playing is wholly altruistic; maybe they're playing hard to make the jump to the NHL, or even just because they're getting paid to do so. It's entertaining sure, but I would argue that the entertainment of others factor isn't the primary motivating criteria for (most) players.

I personally get pretty annoyed too when someone goes down like they've been shot, gets the whistle, rolls around for a minute or two, and then magically decides, 'hey, I'm actually feeling great!'. Did it magically stop hurting?

I've actually never understood the clapping for injury, really...especially when they're being stretchered off. I think I interpret it along the lines of 'well, we clapped when buddy over there got up...and you haven't...but we better keep clapping...because that's what we do...'

Anonymous said...

See, I find it hard to see it as anything BUT playing for an audience, because as much as they all may love the game, without the audience the NHL is just another beer league with not too much money. When you throw money at it like that, I think it becomes an entertainment issue whether we want it to be or not.

I also have to pick at your assessment of someone rolling around for a minute or two. I've taken some pretty mangling roller derby blows and had jams stopped on account of me doing the roll and moan, but made it over to the sidelines, assessed what hurt, walked it out a little, and come back in. And I don't make $5 to play, much less $500,000, so I don't really have that motivation to get up and go back in if I'm really hurt.
Unless it's a soccer move, where they fall down and there wasn't anyone within 10 feet, I have the tendency to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Finny said...

I have to applaud YOU on this post, Teka. I know exactly what you're talking about and have seen it myself happen at NHL games.

More than once, I've gotten up and lost my cool when someone was idiotic enough to cheer an injury to the opposing team.

I've seen some opposing players go down, and I have enough respect for people - players, fans, scum of the earth, even - to shut up and wait for movement. And when they do, I don't care if I hate a player's guts on the ice (i.e. Avery), I will applaud. After all, these athletes are just doing their jobs. And it is totally uncalled for someone to glory in another's injury. It is, when you think about it, their job and the wellbeing of their family on the line.

Not cool.