Friday, October 12, 2007

Time To Man Up

Part-time players have been a part of some sports for a few years now. Roger Clemens makes it a habit to only play roughly half a season for whatever team that is dumb enough to treat him like someone special, someone who need not abide by the rules everyone else has to follow. In his defense, he told teams up front what he was going to do and let them make the decision.

This is not the case most recently in the hockey world. Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks, after helping their team win the Stanley Cup, announced they were unsure of their intentions for the coming season. Niedermayer has thoughts of retiring from the game and Selanne may want to return home to Finland. And both are certainly entitled to do just that.

But what they are doing is holding their team and their fans hostage by delaying their decision well after the season has started. This is very selfish and puts the team in a bad position. Roster spots need filled, line combinations worked out, and an overall team system needs to be designed. What happens to those players who earned a place on the team only to learn Niedermayer and Selanne decide in December to come back? “Thanks for keeping our seats warm boys, goodbye!” Very Selfish.

Then there are the Rob Blake, Saku Koivu, and Mario Lemieux’s of the hockey world. Blake recently found out he has a rare form of leukemia, a slow-growing cancer of the white blood cells. This disease is highly treatable and presents no immediate danger. Notice that it is treatable, not curable. He plans on staying with the team and working towards a preset goal.

"My goal has not changed since I heard this news," Blake said. "And that's come to Toronto, bring another piece of the puzzle and hopefully win a Stanley Cup here."

Koivu, the captain of the Montreal Canadiens recovered from abdominal cancer, missing most of the 2001-02 season, but returned for the playoffs, and Lemieux’s Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer that attacks the lymph nodes, caused him to miss a part of the 1993 season. Both received treatments and resumed the game they love.

My point is this: these players have had to face incredible obstacles in their life and hockey career, and yet they felt it best for their family, team and themselves to make a decision, theirs to continue to play through the hardships. They made an unselfish decision.

Quite unlike Scotty and Teemu who have no sickness or treatments to weaken them or slow them down.

Time to make a decision, time to man up.

~ ogre1kanobe
The NHL Arena