Wednesday, February 16, 2005


There is no hockey because two suits who don't care enough about hockey killed it. Two guys who see this as only a business and not a sport, who saw these negotiations as a personal test of wills rather than a partnership, who cared only about individual glory and not passion, tradition and history.
--Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
--Matthew 6:19-21

Since I was amiss in noting the deaths of Ossie Davis, Johnny Carson and Arthur Miller in my blog, I didn't want to let this one pass.

As of 11 a.m. today, the 2004-2005 National Hockey League season is officially over. No, you didn't miss the playoffs, because there won't be any. There won't be an opening night, either. The Tampa Bay Flash-in-the-Pans won't get to raise their Stanley Cup flag (although they will get to keep the Cup itself for another year).

Is anyone else tired of the commodification of, well, everything? Whether it's art, entertainment, or "professional" sports, it's all about making a buck. Nothing is for the sake of itself anymore.

What the maestros of manipulation don't understand is that when the only value you place on something is a monetary one, the value of that thing instantly plummets. Why? Because fans place a different kind of value--an intrinsic value--on what they love. I've never bought one dime's worth of Raven paraphernalia, but they provide me and the rest of the Baltimore area with a priceless sense of pride and unity.

Sports isn't just a business. It's more important than that. A fan has an emotional relationship with his team--he rejoices in its victories and laments their losses as if they were his own. Everyone has a favorite team; no one has a favorite company. No one cheered and shook styrofoam fingers in the air when Verizon bought MCI the other day.

Note to the world: money is for enjoying life, not the other way around.


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Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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