Some of the greatest debates of our time revolve around the issue of sports. Not only about which teams are better or who has the best draft picks or who's going to win the championship this year, but also about which sports, in general, are better. As a general rule, you have two groups of fans: those who like football, hockey, and basketball, and those who like soccer, baseball, and tennis. Then you have the people who love all sports and the people who hate all sports. We'll leave these two groups alone, as they don't really play into the discussion. There are the groups who like really random sports, like cricket, rugby, and, curling. And there's the group that will watch most sports, but they really have a soft spot in their hearts for just one.
I would fall into this last group. I will watch many sports, including swimming, football, water polo, figure skating, some gymnastics, etc. A lot of things. But there's one sport that I'm currently having a full-blown love affair with, a sport that I could watch all day everyday and never get bored of. That sport is hockey.
Now I used to have a relationship with Football, but when I met Hockey, it was love at first sight. I haven't quite been able to end it with Football yet, so what I usually end up doing is sneaking around behind Football's back and spend a lot of time with Hockey. I feel really terrible about it; all my friends like Football so much more (and every girl knows how important it is for her friends to like her significant other), but I just can't get Hockey out of my head. To help me sort things out, I'm making a pros and cons list.
In reality I'm just going to discuss why hockey is better than football in general.
Now, I have to preface this by saying that I really don't have anything against football. This is especially relevant and dangerous right now, as Joe Paterno just won his 400th game two days ago; as a Penn Stater, I have to take pride in that on principle. So let me reiterate: I don't have anything against football. I just like hockey better.
For starters, hockey is just more interesting. Football is great, but it's extremely stop-and-go. No matter what, after someone runs a play or throws a pass, the game will inevitably stop while they line themselves back up and get ready for another go. The longest a play ever lasts is 10 seconds or so, and that only happens if it takes an exorbitant amount of time for either the quarterback to pass the ball or the runner to get it down to the end zone for some crazy 80-yard touchdown run. In hockey, the clock doesn't stop nearly as much. Yes, there's always that situation where a team feels like they need to ice the puck every time they have possession and the game gets a little jerky. But theoretically speaking, the play can go on forever, until there's either a penalty or the official loses sight of the puck. This gives the game a lot more potential for continuous action.
Now, this whole herky-jerky thing wouldn't be so much of a problem in football if they handled it like they do in hockey. In hockey, when the whistle is blown, they blast exciting rock music and show replays of the last interesting thing that happened before the play stopped. The announcers talk about fun things or tell jokes or use big words (I'm looking at you, Ralph Strangis) as the players beat the crap out of each other on the replay. In football, on the other hand, when a play stops for an extended amount of time, nothing interesting happens. They either show a replay of something kind of boring (but they try to make it interesting by drawing all sorts of colored squiggles all over the screen), or pan the camera around to dull places, like the box with people on mics or a disgruntled coach scowling and pacing the field. I'd rather listen to Crazy Train.
Another thing is the fights. I know that this is the single most overused reason for loving hockey, but I don't really know what to tell you there. The fights are great. The feeling you get when one of your players socks the opposing team a good one is indescribable. The anger that stirs in your gut when some punk from the other team makes one of your boys bleed is undeniable. Girls seeing young fit guys go at it is kind of the equivalent of boys watching girls wrestle in cherry-flavored Jello. As for the men, they just like to see a good fight.
The fights bring me to my next point: attractive young males in amazing physical condition. I'm sure that football players are attractive; at least some of them. But I know that some of them really aren't. You're not guaranteed a really in-shape player with football. And whether or not they're really hot, they all have to wear those pants that look like stockings with pads shoved down them in weird places.
Hockey is a different story. I don't know if it's the sweaty feet smell, or the shoulder pads that make them look extra broad, or that their helmets allow you to see more of their faces; maybe it's just the fact that anyone that size who is that graceful on two blades that are less a quarter inch thick is instantly attractive and impressive. Every hockey player I've ever seen is hot, even if their face is ugly.
In short, I can't think of a reason that I don't like hockey. But despite all of the previous infallible logic and evocative illustrations, I have to say, secretly, that the real reason that I love hockey the most is because of my future husband.