Saturday, 19 January 2013

Like Lance Armstrong, we all need our fix

On Monday night, the cars will be streaming to Scotiabank Place as the Ottawa Senators finally begin their season. It's a well known scene, a highway parking lot of sorts, almost comical with grown men in cars with painted faces battling sad public servants on their way home to their bedrooms in Kanata.
It will be a scene reminiscent of Field of Dreams, only in the snow and ice.
A Bill Kinsella moment.
If you drop the puck, they will come.
All is forgiven with a little help from free beer, popcorn for a buck and discounted jerseys.
How it must irk the soothsayers who predicted that fans would shun the Boys of Winter, turn their backs on them, make them pay for their greed and self-centredness.
Yeah, right.
The NHL could play its season in the dog days of summer and people would still show up. Fans would still hoist a glass at various taverns and compare statistics.
Because Canadians love hockey and nothing -- not even a bunch of millionaires and billionaires haggling over every greedy dollar-- will change that.
It's not just hockey. We need our sports.
We need the Olympics to make us "believe". We need football and baseball and curling and soccer. Watching sports takes away our pain and loneliness. It gives depression a timeout.
So we will forgive the NHL if we can just have two hours of cold breathless bliss.
Just as we will forgive the other sinners in sport  -- Michael Vicks, Tiger Woods Alex Rodrigues, Ben Johnson and Pete Rose, even Lance Armstrong.
These are individuals who committed heinous crimes.
They disrespected and dishonored their sports and their fans.
Doesn't matter. It only matters that we get our fix.
There's no crying in baseball or hockey.
It's never about the individual and his/her deeds.
It's about our collective need to be entertained.
It's all about the game.
So play ball, as they say.
Drop the puck.
Let the games begin.
Just like Lance Armstrong, we all need our fix.

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