Saturday, August 8, 2015

Shifting gears

I don't like the Summer Olympics.  The gathering of nations and athletes run, swim, throw or perform and I am generally unmoved.  It has nothing to do with the personalities at the games, and I cheer for the people my country offers up, but, other than true stories of heroics, and drama outside of and alongside of the games (Munich 1972) I don't usually get very excited.  And I've been told that there are a number of reasons for who likes what kind of Olympics, but I am content to say, Hockey and winter sports are likely regional due to the fact that snow and ice are difficult to imagine, if one has never seen it or experienced it.  I think, though somewhat facetiously, winter driving could be a winter Olympic sport, because if a Minnesotan, Wisconsinite, Upper Peninsula Michigander get 12 inches of snow, they might drive slower, but they still drive.  Other parts, south of here huddle with blankets and call it the storm of the century.  (Obviously hyperbole).

But thinking about the Winter Games Olympics 2018 I realize is a long way off, but, I suggest that there will be a renewed European presence.  I am suggesting this because if the KHL, the Swiss league, German and Swedish leagues survive in their present form, high quality European hockey comparable to the NHL will be such that the younger players in Europe won't need to go to the NHL to develop.  Also, US/Canadian retreads in the Euro leagues will be taking fewer roster positions and salaries with every quality improvement.  I honestly believe that 2018 is going to be amazing.  And not because I have dreams of Latvia winning Gold (I don't, actually.)

As a fan of hockey I can tell you that there is great hockey to watch in nearly every level and type of ice hockey.  And, living in Minnesota, I have watched the Boy's State Hockey Tournaments on television many years, and it is nearly the finest thing I've seen.  I went to UMD, home of the Bulldogs, who were and are great.  Hockey fans could do far worse than than to attend a Minnesota college and follow the sport. 

All of which brings me to say, I can't skate.  I am clumsy, I am unathletic.  I am not a person who could ever necessarily walk without worrying about my balance, let alone putting blades upon my feet and expecting me to glide across a sheet of ice.  So, when someone looks at why I like hockey, or winter sports in general, it does not come from a place of knowing, and being.  It comes from admiration and respect.  I appreciate the many skills the men on ice have.  (Having said men on ice I should say, I've watched girls hockey, and I do not altogether enjoy that nearly so much, perhaps in the future, when the skills begin to balance alongside talents).

I'll be back next week.   Until then keep thinking Ice.