The news today seems to be focusing on fighting in hockey which to most of us is nothing new. When I was young, hockey players didn’t wear helmets and hockey was like most other sports. I don’t remember sitting on the couch in anticipation of the next fight. The game was a game of skill with amazing plays by new kids like Bobby Orr and older stars like Maurice and Henri Richard.
Goalies didn’t wear masks so players had to be more skilled to make sure that other players didn’t get hurt. If you consider soccer players and rugby players, the amount of equipment is minimal. The same argument is used for Taekwondo. The founder wrote that skill is required to control your power. Dressing people up in gear and beating on them, does not require skill.
So what happened to the game of hockey? How did it become boxing on skates? There are theories but most of them focus on the entertainment value of the game. Here we have a sport that was redefined by the media and the general public. What was once a gentleman’s game of skill has evolved. What does that say about the media and the public?Do we really value people beating on each other over athletic skill?
The game I play is more like the original hockey, but I still wear the gear from today’s game. That could be because the players are influenced by what they see on TV. But it’s more likely that we just lack the skills to play the original game and need to protect ourselves from our own shortcomings.