Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Essay - The philosophy of a Hockey Debate

So tonight, I was sitting at work, trying to not think about the Detroit Red Wings game that I was missing. Oh, the fun aspects of being a second shift security guard. So much great TV available, and you don’t get to watch much of jack shit, besides CNmotherfuckingN. I finally did get a chance to watch a few minutes of the game, and by a few I mean the end of the second period. That's it. I was rather pissed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type of psycho fan who paints my face on game day, nor have I gotten the “Winged Wheel” inked onto my flesh as some totem to my favorite team. I just grew up in, and spent the first twenty seven years of my life within spitting distance of Detroit proper. Hockey was the preferred sport of my mother, so I came to join the fold as I matured. If you question why, I have three answers: The Lions, The Pistons, and The Tigers. Still blame me?

So yes, I do leave home each day with my Wings pendant dangling from my neck. And yes, I get a little giddy during the playoffs, when I can actually watch a game or twelve. I now live in South Carolina, where you have as much a chance of finding a hockey game on TV as you have finding a cat turd made of 24K gold in the back alley of your local bar. It sucks. But I digress.

Anyways, rather than sit and despair at my lack of ability to watch the game, I decided to check Twitter, and see if anything else was going on. And that is when I saw a tweet from Mr. Paul Elard Cooley. It seems the Fiend Master felt the need to rant angrily about one of the Wing’s players. This did not make me happy. With my hackles raised, I was set to send a snarky response.

That’s when I stopped, and thought.

The Fiend Master has always been a reasonable man in the past so maybe he might have a point. I decided to look into this further.

I asked him what I missed, and he explained how exciting and close the game was. Not getting the information I wanted, I simply stated that I was a wings fan, hoping he’d catch the subtle nuances. He responded by explaining why he wasn't a fan of that particular player, and sent a web link to help explain it further.

I read the link. Okay tried to read the link (The three inch screen on my phone, plus being at work, makes me functionally illiterate. Sue me.) After hashing out the details I’d missed, I realized one thing: he was right. This guy was a massive dickbag. I hadn’t known that before. After reading it, I realized this fucking thug of a hockey player didn’t deserve the honor and respect I bestow upon those who bear the “Winged Wheel.” My respect for Mr. Cooley grew a bit.

Then, the Fiend Master had to mention that he was a Colorado fan. Not exactly something a Wings fan likes to hear. Snarkily, I referenced an incident between Colorado and the Wings from many years ago. I fully expected to get verbally bitch slapped, and told to shove my whiney ass complaints into the least pleasant orifice I had available.

And do you know what the Fiend Master told me? He agreed. That particular Colorado player was a worthless thug, and Mr. Cooley had no qualms about stating this fact. He almost sounded gleeful to rip on one of his favorite team’s alumni, in the way a man who wrote such a disturbing story about Sesame Street can sound “gleeful.”

I froze, staring at my phone in disbelief. Did I really just have a sports debate that didn't end with somebody being called an ignorant, inbred fuck stick?

I'm not a huge sports fan, other than for the Wings, and as many NASCAR races as I can muster in a season. But I have been in a sports debate or two. They usually start out nice and quiet, but always end with more vulgarity than your average 4chan thread, assuming they don't turn into a beer bottle slinging blood fest.

It actually stunned me. I couldn’t believe I’d just had a calm, rational, productive debate about hockey, with someone diametrically opposed to my choice of team. I didn’t think serious fans could be sane, let alone open minded and reasonable. Seriously, if there is such a thing as a Yankees fan who can face criticism, and remain mentally stable, I would fucking love to meet them.

It took a second, but it finally slapped me in the face: THIS is how we are supposed to speak to each other. As an evolved... or supposedly evolved… species. With actual dialogue and inquiry. Not flinging metaphorical shit at one another.

I started wondering what the internet would be like if EVERY debate followed these rules. What would happen to our forums? Our trolls? I read a news story about a timber baron from the 1920’s who left most of his fortune to his great-grandkids… as in… NO ONE got much money until 21 years after the last grandkid died. A stupid story, yes, and one that has no bearing on my life. And yet, the comments section below had so many people (all of which seemed to be just as detached as I) yelling angry epithets of all kinds back and forth, just because someone disagreed with their position.

I’m not expecting this concept to spread out past the ephemeral borders of the Internet, not by a long shot. But wouldn’t it be a hoot if Congress adopted this philosophy, and started having meetings toned with civility, open mindedness, and humility? But who am I kidding? Getting politicians to act with even the slightest hint of humanity would be like getting an African Lion to adopt a strict Vegan diet.

And, I’d probably shit myself if all of the religious leaders of the world got together, told the brainless halfwits that have been serving as their mouthpieces to fuck off and die, and got to task on actually helping the poor and downtrodden in society… You know… Like what those books they keep preaching from actually fucking say! …( I better get my ass back on track, as religion is a whole other rant in itself.)

I guess, I’d just be happy to see the day where a parody Twitter account of the computer over-mind from Terminator can tweet a snarky rebuttal to some Tween Disney Pop-Tart about her “depression” and not get spammed by her mindless drone followers who can’t take a joke.

All I know is that life only asks two things of us: A: Believe whatever you choose to believe as strongly as you can. B: Remember the old cliché “Opinions are like assholes – Everyone has them, and they usually stink. Including mine. And yours. Just because you think it’s the right way, does not mean it is. So don’t fuck with anybody just because they disagree with you.

As for me, I’m going to make my plans to watch the next Wings playoff game, and chalk up another beer I owe to Mr. Cooley. Two, if the Wings kick Colorado’s ass next season.

- Kenny G.