Sunday, December 15, 2013
Hockey in the Star Wars age and Erykah Badu's moo moos
Last week in this segment, I wondered which elements of today's NHL game the older generation will pine for in 50 years. With growing evidence of permanent and potentially fatal brain damage from sports-related head trauma, I'm starting to wonder whether there will come a time when the nostalgic whimsy will be for the game itself. As preposterous as it sounds today that there might one day be no NHL or NFL or UFC, it's worth noting that there was a time when kings and emperors couldn't conceive of a society in which knights and gladiators didn't duel to the death strictly for the amusement of others. The economic stakes in professional sports suggest it won't happen in our lifetime and probably not for several lifetimes, but cultural evolution could eventually take us to a place where we no longer accept profit and entertainment as rational justification for gratuitous violence and the associated health risks.
Or maybe hockey in the 24th century will be played with lightsabers, death rays and atomic vaporizers. Tough to say.
For now, it's all about money. The 765 million dollar out-of-court settlement for concussed former NFL players is even reverberating in sports in which contact is minimal and incidental, although Major League Baseball's move towards banning home plate collisions is a lot more about protecting against similar legal action than it is about player health and safety.
That said, baseball has a recent history of showing more signs of brain damage at the ownership and executive level than it does on the field. I hate to play the starving-kids-in-the-Third World card, but Robinson Cano's 10 year, 240 million dollar contract with the Seattle Mariners is literally worth more than the gross domestic product of some small countries. That might make sense in baseball's economic landscape, but it's devoid of common sense.
Meanwhile, if Grammy Award-winning R&B artist Erykah Badu was adopted by former NHLer Christian Ruutuu, married Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew, divorced Carew to marry Detroit Red Wing Jordan Too Too, moved to the capital of Burkina Faso and opened a shop specializing in designer oversized Hawaiian dresses, the mail order address would be "Erykah Badu Ruutuu Carew Too Too's Moo Moos by J. Crew, Ouagadougou."
I'll let myself out.