Friday, July 22, 2011

What Are You Doing Here?

I have never been very good with math or science.  That's probably the reason why I'm blogging, but I digress.  You don't care about that.  I did take one thing collectively away from all of my science classes in the history of ever at that was from my high school biology class.  We had a semi-kooky teacher who always wore a huge belt buckle that said "DAD" on it.  He was very enthusiastic about science, and from what I could tell, loved to teach.  We began the class with human biology.  One of the first things he told the class was the basic needs for all human:  "The basic needs all human beings strive for," he said, "are food, shelter, and a mate."  Food, shelter, and a mate.  Simple (I thought, 'what about water,' but this probably fits in with food, and had I been paying better attention, this may have been made clear).  This became the basic mantra throughout the rest of the year.  A mammal's main instinct is to procure food, shelter, and a mate.

So, if there are three basic things all humans need, where do sports (and entertainment) fall in?  Well, nowhere, according to science.  We don't need sports to live.  We don't need sports to survive.  Why do we play sports?  Why are we here?  Where are we going?  Why do we watch sports?  Things and stuff?  Politicians?  The mayor is on my ass and blah blah blah?

Take this recent post by Christmas Ape on the NFL comedy blog Kissing Suzy Kolber (changed text is in parentheses):

Most everything about sports is pointless and stupid. That we get emotional about people we will never meet who play a game for a living is stupid. That we live and die with the fortunes of teams, whose chief aim is to take our money in exchange for letting us be their supporters, is stupid. That government places sports above the needs of its citizens is stupid. That we care about players’ personal lives is stupid. That supposed professionals can dedicate their careers to saying deliberately trite and lazy things about sports in print and broadcast and call it a respectable – and sometimes lucrative – living is fucking stupid. That the blogosphere exists in large part only to point out just how trite and lazy the things that the established media says about sports is stupid. None of it matters. Spent energy that could be better utilized elsewhere. None of it will change the course of civilization in any meaningful way, other than maybe some of our cities will be reduced to rubble in a post-championship riot.
(Hockey) is fun. Like most things in life that are fun, it is pointless, stupid and ultimately bad for us. It also happens to be one of a million types of escapism available to the average American (and Canadian), no more practically useless than any of the others. So if you catch flak for being excited again for (hockey), be sure to take aim at whatever non-eating-breathing-procreating hobby the complaining dickhead in question favors. Chances are, it’s fucking up the world somehow, too.
More to the point, when football (or hockey aren’t) around, I’m forced to deal with larger, knottier life questions than who’s in my fantasy line-up. I’d just prefer not. It’s really a lot more uplifting to imagine (Zdeno Chara using the turnbuckle to destroy someone's) face.

Sports, and recreation in general, defy the idea of basic human survival.  They don't do anything; as an athlete you exercise, and as a spectator you sit and watch.  The two forms of human motion, active and resting, at work, but not at work to do anything productive.  To a passionate spectator, sports only help to raise blood pressure and increase the possibility of having a stroke or heart attack.  Otherwise, they don't improve society or humanity.  Athletics go against the Idea of Progress.  They are not necessary for existence.  Yes, yes, yes, I know, sports provide a certain economic impact within a society (jobs, money spent, etc. etc.) but none of us are going to the arena or stadium because it will somehow sustain our basic needs (although yes, they serve food, provide shelter, and have plenty of 'mates').  Sport exists as a luxury.

Sometimes I cringe to think that some of the most fun I had while in high school and college were at Kansas City Royals and Mizzou games, or celebrating being in the presence of such things.  Why?  What did it all matter?  I could have been reading, learning a foreign language, playing an instrument, developing a new skill, working to provide for my future, inventing something.  But no, I was idling, and being a crazy, avid nut.  But dammit, I had a fucking blast.  As Ape writes above, it kept my mind off of other shit that I would rather not think about.  School, work, my own mortality, the concept of pure reason vs. practical reason.  I'm not saying that being ignorant of life is the objective, but have some fun.  Sports, for me provide the joy past just acquiring food, shelter, and a mate.  Sports and hobbies are the definition of #firstworldproblems.  Until I struggle to obtain these basic needs, watching and playing sports will be a hobby of mine.

Sports entertain us.  That's all it is; entertainment.  And sometimes that entertainment needs to come in the form of grueling competition or with a disclaimer saying Someone may get decapitated during this event: Viewer discretion is advised.  Humans are just wired to be sick, twisted fucks.  It's what separates us from the animals (which, by the way, also search for food, shelter, and a mate).   A violent battle to the near-death is nothing more than a pissing contest between fans of those that watch the battle.  Then, at the end, some one guy or team get a trophy and are told to get back to work two weeks later and do it all over again.  That doesn't help society or humanity, but as I implied, we aren't perfect.  A utopia may exist without sports, but can a utopia be achieved?  For the sake of argument, let's say 'no.'  Is a utopia just the existence of people who want food, shelter, and a mate?  There is all of this political stuff and people following an ideal yada yada yada, but at the end you just end up chasing a fat kid with a spear.  So, maybe we have already achieved and are still achieving a more perfect society.  But, I don't see sports or recreation going anywhere.  They just change over time.  People inherently need something else to fill their lives than just scavenging.

So, don't feel bad watching hockey or football or whatever crazy-ass sport you like.  Cricket?  Not my game, but whatever.  Lacrosse?  Sorry, but who am I to judge.  Baseball?  If you can watch the MLB you are a better person than I (or from the Northeast and aren't a Mets fan).  But, who am I to judge?  I watch hockey, and if someone doesn't like it, I can look them in the eyes ask them what they do with their free time.  If they say anything other than "Be Jesus," I will know we are all in this together...


I decided to follow hockey at about eight years old.  Before that, I subconsciously chose to follow the Los Angeles Kings when my grandpa pointed out Gretzky as his favorite player during the '93 finals (I know what you are thinking, but that was before I started to follow hockey.  I didn't really start following the Kings until 1998ish).  Due to extensively playing NHL 1999 and 2000, I was sad when guys like Vladimir Tsyplakov and Donald Audette left the team.  The Jozef Stumpel and Glen Murray trade crushed me.

My experience playing hockey is limited.  At the age of 13 I decided I wanted to play, but my skating skills were still a tad shaky, suffice it to say it took a long time to learn how to fall correctly (and I had a looooooot of practice).  I nearly puked during my first practice, had the flu for the next week or so (missing more practices), and never went back.  An injury two years ago slowed my progression back onto the ice, but I hope to cast off the demons of my hockey playing past over the course of the next year.

I have lived in Kansas City most of my life.  Therefore, I have seen very little professional hockey.  I won't go through a long drawn out history of hockey in KC because you can look at that at the KC Hockey History link on the right side of this page.  I was a big Blades fan, and they folded.  I was an Outlaws fan, and they went bankrupt.  By avoiding the Missouri Mavericks I give them a chance to survive.  I never knew the NHL in KC (Scouts 1974-76) and only periodically see NHL games when I travel or when exhibition games come to the Sprint Center.  And since I didn't get Versus in college, the internet has been my only outlet for hockey (long live the great ruler INTERNET!!!).  I want to take a moment to thank all of the streamers and bloggers of hockey, because, without you, no one in a non-traditional hockey market would care about the game.

So, why do I want to write about hockey?  Well, my journey starts from my first love of baseball and being a diehard fan of the Kansas City Royals.  Recently, the MLB slowly killed my love of watching baseball.  If you really want to know why, live in a small market.  It just isn't fun anymore and I can't keep drinking the Kool-Aid.  Football is great, but everyone has an opinion.  I like to watch it, discuss it and all that, I just derive little joy from actually writing anything about it.  I don't feel like I know enough about how to play to be able to accurately write about it.  Plus, half of the posts would probably be titled "What a Douche..." and that gets us nowhere.

Why hockey and why KC?  Hockey because it will be an honor to join such a wide universe of hockey bloggers.  Hockey, and the NHL, are pretty cool (despite some odd business decisions) and not a lot of people outside of the Internet-o-sphere around the USA really talk about it.  Hockey is like an adopted child to me; baseball and football will always be my favorites, but I need hockey in the winter time after I get pissed off at the other two because they have let me down once again.  Recently, it has become a full-time obsession.  KC, because it does not have a team, but may possibly, maybe, sort of, not really, perhaps, doubtfully get one since the Sprint Center exists, teams are having financial issues, AEG (who owns the Kings) owns the arena, etc.  This is your KC hockey blog because, from what I can tell, very few exist.  So what do we talk about?  Well, basically this will consist of the possibility of teams coming to KC and other such news.  I will follow a few teams, take a few pictures, share a few laughs.  It will be loads of fun.  Plus, I really have nothing else to do over the course of the next year or so.  By then, we should know more about the Islanders, Coyotes, etc. and their stability in their perspective markets.  Until KC gets a team, that's how it will go.  After that, professional bloggers can take over and act like they know what they are talking about.  

But, like I said, let's have some fun with it!  Any suggestions are welcome.  Let's bring a team to KC (or at least discuss such a possibility) and remember......

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