I have lots of friends, even male friends, who don’t watch sports much and even more female friends who don’t. They consider sports to be uninteresting, not vital to life. They read books and actually do things like going on hikes and being active instead of just passively sitting in front of the tube watching high paid athletes do stuff.
I respect those friends. But I have other friends who really follow sports, be it baseball, football or, the eventual topic of this column, hockey. I’m not football, especially college football or any college sport. I view that past time, college sports, as a massive fraud on the American psyche as a way for Nike to push the swoosh in front of more eyes and for colleges and universities and the gambling industry to rake in millions while paying the coaches insane salaries while paying faculty members who do things like study advanced molecular structures far less per year. So something is wrong. It’s no one’s fault. It’s “the system”.
Nevertheless I put economics aside and like professional sports for the love of sport. I prefer baseball since the game has no clock. But hockey is the most exciting to watch. If you take your eyes off the action for a few seconds you are going to miss something. The players are the best skaters in the world while also being endurance atheletes and phycially strong sons of bitches.
This year, the Los Angeles Kings are the Stanley Cup Champions. It is supposed to be a fun hockey season.
So this morning I wake up to read today’s Los Angeles Times article that the NHL is cancelling the first two weeks of the scheduled season. Note the term “NHL” in that title. Who is that anyway? And how can they cancel our hockey season? The reason is simple, it is not our hockey season. They own it. They are the owners. The people who make the most millions due to what they own and not what they do. The people doing the work, i.e., the hockey players and the ticket sellers and the janitors, they are what create the hockey season. The owners are smart people, they solve complicated problems such as how to put together teams and organize and promote the season. Sure, they do some work. But that is not what makes them become absurdly wealthy men (and in the Canadian culture of hockey it’s even more men than in other sectors of society that sometimes actually includes women in the power structure — my father was French Canadian so I can bash Canadian maleness if I feel like it and I feel like it right now). No, what makes these sons of bitches too wealthy and what gives them too much power, enough power to cancel our hockey season, or part thereof (they actually cancelled the whole damn thing in 2004-2005) is because the own it, i.e. they can.
It’s not just hockey that is like this. It is everything. Everything.. The way capitalism works.
I heard a funny joke this morning on KPFK I believe. The joke goes like this. Capitalism is a system where some people dominate others. Under socialism, it’s the other way around. The guy saying this joke was a Hungarian who claims to be one of only two Marxists he knows who left Europe after the Soviet breakdown. If anyone is reasding this (a dubious proposition I admit) and happens to know who this guy is, please send me a link so I can refer to him by name. He has an eastern european accent and eastern european humor. Very smart, very funny. I think we’ll be hearing more from him soon.