Unable to sleep last night, I was going through the Explore sections on Twitter. I don’t really have a long list of time wasters on the internet anymore, far less than I had when I’d waste time in my high school computer lab (I got old too), but still when I hit the Explore tab you know I’ve really got fuck all to do.
Nevertheless, late last night I stumbled upon this tweet holding its own topic.
It’s not the stupidest question ever asked or anything, but I feel like it gets asked every few months: How do we fix the (insert league) All Star Game? The answer is we don’t. Shut up. It’s not for you. For us, because, like I mentioned, I am also an old.
The All Star Game is never going to be wildly entertaining to adults because we’re used to seeing players compete for the greatest trophy in all of sports and for this night they’re a team of 11 millionaires trying to win their share of a million dollars (I assume that’s before taxes). The stakes don’t compare. The players aren’t going to backcheck and they’re not going to risk injury and they’re gonna be hungover and I don’t blame them for that, they’re playing an exhibition on vacation. They’re highly competitive freaks but you gotta make it interesting to them and I just don’t think that’s ever been possible.
But, when we were younger, we didn’t notice it wasn’t interesting to them. We weren’t clocking their compete level or checking their corsi, we were just in awe of the names on the ice. We were drunk on the spectacle. I went to the Fleet Center (again, old) for the ASG in 1996 and sat in the very back row of the arena and watched Ray Bourque score a goal assisted by Mark Messier, Brett Hull from Paul Kariya, Eric Lindros from Brian Leetch, and Brendan Shanahan from Cam Neely. Lemieux, Gretzky, Jagr, Peter Forsberg, Owen Nolan, Mats Sundin, Theo Fleury, Joe Sakic, Ron Francis, Daniel Alfredsson, John LeClair, Dominik Hasek, Chris Osgood, and many more were also on the same ice. It was one of the most fun days I’ve ever had, and grown men in my section yelled, “DOESN’T ANYONE PLAY DEFENSE ANYMORE,” the entire time (the final was a very paltry 5-4).
You can’t fix the All Star Game because it never broke, you just grew up and stopped being enamored by the fact that the fact that all of the sports’ greatest athletes are playing together for a day. And that’s ok too, it comes with age, but I bet if you ask any young hockey fan who saw yesterday it was a perfect.