I initially wrote this after game one of the Stanley Cup Finals and then thought about writing it again after the Penguins won, but decided to wait a few days. In doing so, I found that I still feel this way. Especially after all of the debate that I’ve been reading online.
I typically write about health, fitness, nutrition, working out, etc. 99% of the time, but figured it was time to write another sports related blog. Something has been happening the last few years in the world of professional sports and it has been really bothering me.
The beauty of sports and athletics is that ANYTHING can happen on any given day and any team can win. The uncertainty is what keeps fans coming back.
However, after being an athlete for 27 of my 32 years, I feel as though professional sports are quickly ruining this uncertainty for sports fans like me. I have a few specific teams that I root for, but I typically root for underdogs, because I like to see new teams win every year.
Anyways, it’s a shame to see perfectly good games and perfectly good teams cheated by “poor officiating.” It has happened a lot in the last few years in the NBA, NHL, NCAA, NFL, etc. Somehow it seems that the MLB has done a good job avoiding this for the most part. The most recent examples of this were in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals and again in game six. Prior to that, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship was a joke as well. Those are just two recent examples and I’m sure the list could go on and on.
In the game one example of the Stanley Cup Finals, it was OBVIOUS that one team was given multiple opportunities to win the game and they did. You have to give the opposing team A LOT of credit, because they overcame many adversities and managed to tie the game up in the third period. I mean that took some serious HEART, because most teams would have packed it in and said we’ll try again next game considering it’s a long series.
I’m glad we left during game one to go on a bike ride, because it was just plain disgusting to watch. To end the discussion on the 2016-2017 Stanley Cup Finals, it was just a shame to see hockey’s biggest stage begin with a controversial call (overturned goal for off-sides) and end with a controversial call (lost sight of the puck/whistle was blown). The Penguins would have won regardless, they were a great team and I won’t deny that. Just would have been nice to see the Predators have a fighting chance and maybe a seven game series.
Maybe the officials aren’t even the ones to blame. Maybe they are being coached or compensated to call games a certain way? Maybe there’s a bigger issue at hand here?
Regardless, it’s becoming more difficult to enjoy these “big games,” because of the favoritism. It is a billion dollar industry and maybe the Black Sox are alive and well, but this time it’s not the players and it’s the Roger Goodell’s, Gary Bettman’s, Mark Emmert’s, etc.
I hate to say it, but as a sports fan and athlete for nearly three decades, these games are starting to look fixed or that they aren’t uncertain anymore. Seems as though the favorites do get their way most of the time. Just as it was said in the documentary “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” – “As children we are taught that cheaters never prosper, but in America, the cheaters usually win.”
Just something to think about. If history has taught us anything, it’s that when billions of dollars are involved, things aren’t as “random” or as “uncertain” as we think. I truly hope there aren’t any conspiracy theories going on, but if there are, they aren’t hiding it very well anymore. And if there isn’t, then it’s a simple solution, quit getting these officials with big egos and the ones who love to blow their whistles, throw flags, etc. and let the athletes compete! That’s what fans want to see; humans with insane athletic ability do what they are paid to do. Not a bunch of zebras stealing the show and ruining the sports they are “policing.”
I wish every championship could end the way that the 2016 MLB season did. The Cubs were down 3-1 and came back to win and they were even down in game seven and came back in that game as well. Those types of championships and games are why we watch sports. The uncertainty and excitement.
Last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers comeback was pretty remarkable as well, but the Warriors got their revenge this year. So it seems the MLB and NBA has been avoiding this “collusion” and “conspiracy theory” for the most part. I guess that leaves the NFL, NHL, and NCAA who are still living up to the conspiracies and hopefully they will prove me wrong in the future.
At the end of the day though, everyone is a “fan.” You pay money to be a “fan.” Some people are willing to get in violent arguments and fights over being a fan, which I think are ridiculous. Anyone remember that San Francisco Giants fan nearly beaten to death by a Los Angeles Dodgers fan? And that’s just one serious incident, because there are a lot of fights at sporting events and online.
Some fans pay thousands and who knows, even millions to be a fan of a team. Kind of sad really. I mean it’s good to be passionate and have pride, but there is a line that a lot of people cross. Most of these teams don’t even know who their fans are or who you even are. Sure they might reward you for being a season ticket holder or something, but again, you’re just a “fan,” and it costs you money and you are watching a game. A game backed by billions of dollars, but it’s still just a game. Enjoy it for what it is and leave it at that.