Tuesday, November 2, 2010
NHL CHEERLEADERS: HOCKEY HERESY OR AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME?
Never mind government corruption, a crippling tax burden and the impending ecological apocalypse. We've got a real national crisis on our hands: cheerleaders in a Canadian NHL arena.
What's fascinating about the groundswell of opposition to the Edmonton Oilers plans to introduce cheerleaders next season is the strange bedfellows it's produced. You've got your usual suspects - the Birkenstock-and-pantsuit-wearing arch-feminists who bristle at the sexual objectification of women even though (or is it because?) they themselves have never been sexually objectified, and the self-proclaimed hockey purists who don't mind missing the three star selection if it means getting a good table at their favorite peeler joint, but decry the notion of Ice Girls as an affront to the integrity of the great Canadian game.
Integrity? How, exactly, does a tastefully choreographed dance routine by attractive young women undermine the integrity of grown men with knives on their feet beating each other with clubs and occasionally with their fists, while thousands of fans cheer wildly in a semi-hypnotic state of bloodlust? And if cheeleaders are a mockey of everything that is sacred about the hockey experience, what does that make Youppi?
Nobody is being hogtied to their seat and forced to endure cheerleading routines during breaks in the action at the 23 American arenas that already have cheerleaders. Hockey fans who object to the spectacle can use the opportunity to visit the concessions or the rest rooms. But my guess is that cheerleaders are like hockey fights and shootouts - a lot of people claim to be against them, but when the time comes, everybody stands up for a better look.