Recently, a friend of mine encouraged me to become a hockey fan. "It's the fastest game in the world!" he exclaimed.
Maybe he was referring to the speed of the puck, that flat, poor-excuse-for-a-ball — the size of a ham sandwich — that they use in the sport. Heck, when I watch hockey on television, the snow on the screen is larger than the puck. The fact that it moves so fast is hardly something to be proud of. After all, I don't go to skeet-shooting competitions to watch the bullet glide through the air. Why should I watch a hockey game when the puck slides across the ice at about the same speed as a 747 at takeoff?
Maybe he was talking about the speed at which a forearm hits another guy's face. I guess that would be exciting if it was legal. I mean, isn't the idea to get the ball — I mean, puck — in that little net thing at the end? If you put an elbow in somebody's ribs, you should have to go sulk in timeout or something, shouldn't you?
And that's another thing. You know why hockey games are so low-scoring? Because the net is too small. The idea is to move the ball — I mean, puck — down the field — I mean, the ice — and deposit it in a little net with a 300-pound gorilla standing in front of it. Isn't that called goal-tending? Wait a minute, that's basketball. But isn't that illegal? More timeout time, I guess.
Anyway they shouldn't make them put it in a net; just crossing the end-zone line should be enough. It works for football. You can cross the plane of the goal line anywhere between the two out-of-bounds lines and it counts. Even in baseball, you can hit it anywhere between the foul poles. But no, in hockey, they give you a target the size of a car door.
But I digress.
Maybe he was talking about the speed of the action. Yeah, that's it. A game that ends with a score of 1-0 is exciting because it has a lot of action in it. Uh-huh. Sounds like a soccer score, and that's not any better. At least with soccer, the ball is the size of a cabbage so you can see it. And those little kids look so cute in their shorts. Oh, do grown men play soccer, too? I didn't know that.
Sorry, hockey is not the fastest game in the world. Nor is it the most exciting. Nor is it one that makes any sense at all.
People can't even play hockey, they can only watch it. When you were growing up, did your neighborhood friends ever knock on your door in the middle of July and invite you to play in a pick-up hockey game on the school grounds? Heck, they didn't even do that in January.
Nope, hockey is a stupid, wimpy sport. Everything I need to know about sports I learned by watching Tom Landry coach the Cowboys from the sidelines. When his guys got into a fight on the field, did he throw trash cans on the field? No, he stood there with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face.
Now, there's a real man in a real sport.