As you may or may not know, I am a huge basketball fan but especially the NBA. It has frustrated me to no end to have the season not open on time for the second time in the last twelve years. Both sides have valid points but both sides are equally to blame for the mess that they have created with the NBA. They just had one of the best five NBA seasons of all time and they are just willing to throw it all away. Owners do not need to be signing the Travis Outlaws of the world to five year 35 million dollar contracts. Players do not need to check out once they get the big pay day like Eddy Curry or a host of other mid to lower level players. Equal blame can be assessed to both sides but people and fans move on when it is not out in front.
While the two sides meet with a federal negotiator, October is rolling full speed ahead with the sports calendar. The NFL and college football are rolling right along with great storylines. In the NFL, you have the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, the chase of perfection by the Packers, and the Ravens asserting themselves amongst the elite of the AFC. In college, you have the juggernauts of the SEC (LSU and Alabama) pummeling teams and other teams competing to get the elusive second spot in the BCS championship including the surprising Clemson Tigers and Oklahoma State Cowboys. The World Series is kicking off and if last night’s Game 1 is any indication, this should be a long competitive series between the Rangers and the Cardinals. The UFC has put on some monster pay per views recently with four titles being defended in a three week span which included two of their rising stars Jon Jones and the real life Rocky, Frankie Edgar. With the void of the NBA, I have checked out all of these as usual but also decided to get back to hockey which I followed regularly as a teenager about 10 to 15 years ago. It is kind of like running into an old girlfriend and realizing time has treated her very well.
I have been excited by the opening of the hockey season and have enjoyed the speed and grace with which it has been played. They have cleaned up the game and made it more enjoyable to watch with not having the neutral zone traps and added the coolest extra time of any of the major sports with the shootout. It is also cool that the team I rooted for as a teenager that had a lot of success has rebuilt and has started off the season very well. Learning the new player’s names has been a challenge but also cool to still see some vets on the team who were there when I followed previously. The fans of hockey bring it every night and are passionate about their team. When you look in the Verizon Center and see a sea of red, it is pretty amazing. Of course, one of the best things about hockey is that they police themselves with the fighting and I have seen some really good ones especially the fight between the Caps and Pens. I know I am not the only person to check out hockey this year with the NBA lockout in full swing and I have been happy to make the switch.
Like anything else in the world, if you don’t stay relevant and in people’s face, you will fade to the outside. I hope the NBA works out their issues but I am not nearly as bummed as I thought I would be.