More cookies for the customers. More overeating. Less special, more mundane. And all resulting in more injuries to players in a league already beset with a concussion crisis -- a league purportedly acting with the best interests of its greatest assets in mind -- and injured stars subsequently being replaced by less-talented players. All of which equals a dangerously diluted product.
Even the sacrosanct Toronto Maple Leafs have had three names in their history, migrating from the Toronto Arenas (1917-1919) to the Toronto St. Patricks (1919-1927) to today's Toronto Maple Leafs who honour the region's love of grammar. Change is possible and welcome and please do this because I cannot take it anymore.
I'm Canadian. I like sports. I like hockey. I also happen to be Black. That's why it was such a point of pride to see P.K. Subban on the ice; the NHL was finally making good on its intention to court more non-white fans. Then I watched P.K.'s teammate, George Parros, get wheeled off the ice on a stretcher, and I wondered how many new fans thought they just saw a man die.
It's hard to put our finger on just how much fans care about the proverbial losing team. They managed a good amount of success in the Vince Carter days of the late '90s and early 2000s, and even started to look towards the championship with a couple of runs at the playoffs under Chris Bosh in the 2007 season... but since then, the Raps have found themselves in a downward spiral and constant team-building situation, disappointing fans in Toronto and around the country alike.
Why would millions of kids walk away from sports which are meant to be fun? Well, the reason is it's not fun, not when Mum and Dad are "Yellers". Children are embarrassed by parents behaving aggressively on the sideline of junior sports event, especially their own. Telling a 16 year-old, "you're not trying hard enough" or, "you'll be cut from the team" is bad enough. But telling a 6 year-old is, surely, unacceptable.
In a story appearing in Sports Illustrated's May 6th issue, a professional athlete publicly acknowledges that he is gay. The riveting, first-person story by the thoughtful and sincere Jason Collins opens, remarkably enough: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay..." Is the sporting world ready for this? Within the fantasy realm of professional athletics, there are people whose heads are buried so deep in the sand, they are unable to grasp the concept of reality, or the basic laws of averages. Which is to say there are people who, Jason Collins be damned, are fully convinced that there are no gay men in professional sports. Right.
I was in Grade five when I fell in love with basketball. Michael Jordan fuelled my over-the-top obsession with the sport. Being a kid with a disability didn't stop me from dreaming of dunking or playing one on one with Michael Jordan. Defying people's expectations has been one of my missions in life.