Monday, February 20, 2006

My loyalty is to New York (or why I hate the Olympics and will probably hate the World Baseball Classic)

(Edit: Let me preface this column with the following: Knucklehead, in her sleepy delerium, wanted me to make sure I registered her great appreciation of the Olympics, both in the quantity of great athlete stories and in the abundance of wonderful contests that we don't see on a regular basis. I will address this point shortly, but not now, it's going to mess up my rhythm).

I cannot take it anymore.

I've been a New York Rangers fan for almost 20 years now. I can vaguely remember Barry Beck and Ron Greschner, Beezer coming of age. And I'm as excited about this year's team as I've been in a while. They're tough, young, hardworking (mostly) and are anchored by two players, one who everyone thought wasn't ready to start in goal (Henrik Lundqvist) and a hot dog who wasn't a team player (Jaromir Jagr). Both of those fallacies have been decimated, with Jagr emerging as a Hart Trophy contender while leading the lead in scoring, and with Lundqvist leading the NHL in save percentage at the break, a GAA just over 2, and 25 wins in 40 games, in my mind a shot at rookie of the year and Vezina.

My loyalty is to New York.

So I find it increasingly frustrating to read about the guys I follow playing against each other in some sort of farcical international tournament. Especially when some asshole, who's lucky his NHL team doesn't play any games within 500 miles of New York, decides he's going to cheap shot Jagr into the boards.

National pride? The leadership of this country has left me with a bad bad bad taste in my mouth recently. Why should I root for USA when the rookie who's helping lead my team to the playoffs for the first time this millenium is in the opposite crease with his RANGERS helmet on? Or, if Mo decided to pitch for Panama in the World Baseball Classic, who am I rooting for? The guy I hate 365 days a year, or the guy who's shirt I'm wearing, the guy who's the only reason I would ever listen to "Enter Sandman" on purpose?

Don't get me wrong, I'm rooting for America... to live up to our standards, to be a place where everyone can live decently, to provide healthcare to the sick and justice to those who are suffering. And maybe that's part of it. Maybe it was easier to get behind an athletic team when my world view was less sophisticated, or when it was easier to be proud of America. of course, it also helped that two of my favorite Rangers were ALWAYS representing the US of A, Mike Richter and Brian Leetch.

Now, Knucklehead brought up a good point. Yes, you know what, some of those sports are really intriguing. Luge, Ski Jump, Bobsled, there's some great stuff going on there. And I also don't seem to have this reaction when watching the real World Cup. Maybe it's because I haven't really embraced the MetroStars, but watching the soccer World Cup is exciting to me. Watching the Olympic hockey and the preparations for the WBC just make me sick, wondering which Ranger/Yankee is going to get hurt, ruining my fan season, becoming the business end of the next Denis Potvin hit.

Schedule1 and I debated this question at length before the olympics. I told him part of me wanted to see Rangers players do well, but now i'm pretty sure i want them all home ASAP.

In other news: by dunking over Spud Webb, a Knick finally won something.


Anonymous Desh said...

This is why I stick to Curling. Shawn Rojeski is the MAN!

9:59 AM  
Blogger sched1/david. said...

amen. i kept saying "i can't wait for the olympics... to be over." now that they've started, that joke takes some modification, but generally, yes, fuck the olympics.

12:19 PM  

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