Cause summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy"
Take a look at the calendar and it'll show we're on the doorstep to the NHL playoffs and that means a couple of things. Sport journalists all over the nation will be taking easy shots about the Leafs golfing and the rate of hockey fighting will go down drastically.
Naturally, this is an argument the bleeding hearts fall back on when trying to make the case for an outright ban on fisticuffs. See, they cry out in unison, once every game matters the level of fighting drops, so there's no need to fight in the regular 82 game season either. After careful deliberation and considerable libation, this writer must (dis)respectfully disagree.
Hockey is at times violence on ice, and has a reputation for a reason. Every NHL roster usually includes one or two savage brutes whose job it is to start (or finish) the odd donny-brook, either to light a fire under a team's collective ass or to dole out some righteous retribution. If the talent is in danger or if the opposing team takes liberties on a first line sniper, out come the fists. It is a code that many are pretended to be offended by, but in reality no one ever chose a brouhaha to get another beer or spill some urine. Cheers for fights are often as loud as cheers for goals.
The men trusted to hand out these beatings are often large and always dangerous and have the ability to hurt more than feelings when tilts break out. I don't know about you, but I would much rather have these would-be-felons throwing hammers in NHL rinks than to have them out and about in society at large. We are much better off having these angry and vicious men out in the open, under the intense spotlight of professional sport than cast into society's shadows where their best talents could have them locked behind bars. If a man wants to carve out a paycheque beating the skulls of other men with his fists, perhaps we all need to indulge him for the greater good.
To those that say there is no place for fighting in hockey, I ask, what better place than in hockey for Alpha-Males to display their physical prowess? Judging by the reactions from the stands, it's abundantly clear that fans don't cover their eyes and hiss and boo with disapproval either, when these modern day gladiators square up for a round or two of the man dance.
Can you imagine getting into a parking lot dust-up, only to see the likes of a Bob Probert or a Donald Brashear emerge from that car that stole your parking spot? Or trying to complain to a service representative with a mind-set like Brian McGrattan? You'd certainly think twice about raising your voice and taking out your daily frustration on them. Would you really honk your horn in that ever so passive aggressive way if you knew it was Ben Eager who cut you off in traffic? Neither would I. Many intellectuals and academics will look at fighting in hockey as something brutish and nasty, but what is worse? Adult men getting paid to occasionally beat on one another or having these same men on the streets with the same mentality?
We live in violent and savage times, and to pretend sport doesn't reflect that just isn't being honest. But if a few men want to trade punches for a salary and go sit in a glass box after as punishment, I don't think it's the end of the world. Now if only more violence could be settled with a few 5 minute majors, then we'd be getting somewhere.