Trapper On Sport

My three cents on sport, its players, its fans, its magic, its follies, and it's impact on our lives.

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Location: Huntingdon, Great Britain, originally Evensville, Tennessee

Ever go to a sports website or see a TV show about sports and wonder why they don't talk like real guys? They try but end up being just a bunch of washed up celebrities laughing at each others joke. I'm here to try and change that and give you a different perspective on the world of sports.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

OH, THE HUMANITY

A couple of days ago Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer, collapsed on the bench during the first period of Detroit’s game with the Nashville Predators, he went into a seizure, and actually had his heart stop for a short period. He received CPR from team doctors and was rushed to a local hospital. The cause of the seizure is unknown, but he is doing fine now. That’s great to hear, but it’s not the best part of the story in my opinion.

The truly interesting part of the story is how the NHL, the teams and the fans reacted. Hockey IS a violent game. With all of the hard hits, and break-neck speed at which it’s played it’s no wonder when players get injured, nor is it a surprise when a player decides to go psycho and purposely try to hurt or injure another player. Occasionally these guys will even drop their gloves and do an impression of Hagler vs. Hearns. In fact all of this is to be expected, not necessarily condoned, but expected. It’s like the old saying about two guys going to a fight, and a hockey game broke out, we’re used to it being violent

But never before has a hockey game been postponed due to player injury. Players have broken bones, fractured necks and spines, been concussed (yes it’s a word before you ask), and been knocked unconscious, but the game was never delayed much longer than it took to get them off the ice, even though some of those players could have died. But the other night was different, the league, Fischer’s Detroit teammates, and players from Nashville some who play with him on the Czech national team, refused to let the game go on. The league felt it was inappropriate to continue and the players were too shaken to be able to play on, so the game was postponed, and not one fan protested. In the past the league would have kept the game going, probably because of revenue, the fans would have yelled for the players to suck it up and keep playing, and the players would have done it.

Hockey has changed. It’s refreshing to see a league, players, and more importantly the fans realize that sports aren’t the most important thing. A man’s life was in danger, and everyone at the Joe Louis Arena rose to the occasion and did whatever they could to put his safety, the welfare of his family, and the overall well being of the players and the game ahead of their lust for sport and competition. Even after the game was postponed and the teams had left the ice, thousands of fans stayed in their seats waiting on any news of Jiri Fischer’s condition. No yelling, no obscenities, to crass jackasses howling “GAME ON”. Instead they all put it in perspective, and not one sports writer, analyst, fan, or man on the street has criticized them for it, thankfully. In fact the actions of the league, players and fans have been universally hailed as an example of how things ought to be.

This is a good example of how things are changing, it may be slowly but it’s changing, for the better. People are starting to put things in perspective. Who would have thought Hockey of all sports would be leading the way. Think the NFL would do the same, I seriously doubt it, they didn't even stop the game a few years ago when Mike Utley broke his neck in a game, and he also played for a Detroit team. How's that for irony?

In the age of “look at me” players, commercialization on an obscene scale, and faceless corporate bottom line mentalities, it’s great to see the humanity put back in sports. Too often we look at our heroes on the field,rink,court or track and think of them as demi-gods in the manner of Hercules. We forget that not only are these great athletes, but they’re also people, just as frail and with the same basic needs, worries and concerns as the rest of us. And like as R.E.M is fond of singing…EVERYBODY HURTS.

Something we all need to remember.

There's my three cents...how about we raise a toast and wish Jiri a speedy recovery

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