Before I start, this is my third attempt/concept for writing about the labor (dis)agreement. The level of dissonance, and mental anguish I put myself through as I anticipate the impending doom of another lock-out would give J.P. Sartre, Franz Nitzche, and – my favorite existentialist – Charlie Brown insight.
My first thought process was to write about the economics of the league. You know, topics like ‘term,’ ‘escrow,’ and ‘cap-floor.’ But quite frankly, I am not educated enough to speak about such things with confidence.
Then, I thought I should write about ‘profit sharing’ and the disparity of NHL franchise values. But, yet again, not smart enough to articulately explain: Maple Leafs are mean to the Coyotes (that’s basically all I had).
That is when it dawned on me, the reason why I feel so torn-up about this impending lock-out is not because I feel like the players are getting a bum deal, or that some teams have a financial advantage over others. It is because this labor dispute is going to deprive me of hockey!
Let me make this perfectly clear, my name is James Minger, and I am a hockey ADDICT! It has been a week and a half since my last skate, and each day that goes by without a some puck, my skin crawls a little more.
So far, it has been impossible for me to evaluate this labor dispute with objectivity because it effects my too subjectively. I cannot help but be reminded of the Occupy movements that protested the American economy’s top %1. I am a 27 year old, recent college grad, and I make less than $35 K a year, i.e. I am the 99% (and chances are that you are too).
Knowing this, I put this to you faceless NHL public relations person:
How can you ask me to take sides in an argument between millionaires and billionaires when I have a hard time scraping together $70 for a last row ticket to watch my beloved Philadelphia Flyers? What do you mean Ed Snider, owner of the Western Hemisphere wants more of my money so he can increase his bottom line and finance a $100 M, 10 year deal for one of his “employees?”
Coming back to objectivity, I do appreciate that hockey is a business, and a rather lucrative one at that. The players deserve to be compensated handsomely because they can perform a job that most people can’t, and at the same time, the owners deserve a return on their investment because capitalism kicks ass. However, me and the rest of the 99% cannot understand closing up shop so that some rich guys can take more money from other rich guys, in hopes of becoming even richer guys.
What kills me the most is that on top of being part of 99% economically, I am one of the die-hard, live for hockey fans who’s allegiance the NHL knows it can exploit. The league knows it can cancel an entire season and no matter what happens, I’ll be ravenously await the NHL’s return. Sure, hockey may lose casual fans but it will never lose its’ blindly devoted fan base.
Hopefully, this concern is just that. However, in 2005 our fears became reality and we lost one of things that gives peace to our impoverished, 99% lives. We fans know we can live through a lock-out but nobody wants to.
Hockey is the drug. The NHL is the dealer. We are the addicts.
My name is James Minger, and I have a problem
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