Thursday, February 5, 2015

An actual "View" from Cheek, (Me:)

Since my blog is named "The Views of Cheek" I figure I should start writing about a few more "views" instead of mainly my stories that have happened since getting Blasto. These blog posts will of course continue but probably not forever, so I think I should start adding new topics here and there. A few things on my mind of late: my son telling me he thinks he loves a girl, cooking at home for the family, several things about the Green Bay Packers and thier season as well as thoughts on the super bowl, and my feelings about hockey vs basketball. Well basically I'm not ready to talk about the Packers yet because 'we' are still in a state of shock over how the season unfolded. And yes I say 'we' because I am part of the Packer family :)
So, I decided to start first with my thoughts on basketball vs hockey, in particular college and pro of each sport. (Not kids or high schoolers) (and not men vs women) Sarah and I had a friendly little discussion about this the other night as she asked me to turn the volume down on the Badger basketball game because all she hears is 'sneakers squeaking.' She was doing her schoolwork and I was getting the kids ready for bed so it wasn't a big deal, but it brought up old thoughts about this specific topic..

Background. I grew up in New Richmond schools and I knew nothing about hockey. Nothing. I was born in 1975. As a child, if somebody asked me to name three things about hockey I would probably have said, that it's played on ice, Wayne Gretzky is the only one I know, and I had heard of the Miracle on Ice. (The game, not the movie.) I didn't know the Miracle on Ice game wasn't the Olympic gold winning game for many, many years. Anyway, I think it was about the 3rd grade when I started 'losing' a couple friends in the winter because they were playing hockey. Damn, I don't think we played organized basketball until the 6th grade. Somewhere inbetween there my late grandpa Zig took me and my brother skating. Grandpa taught us a lot of things as young boys such as skiing, golf, bowling, pool, chess, fishing, cards, and now skating. I remember thinking, cool, I'm going to learn how to play hockey! So we get to the rink in town, I'm anxious for my hockey stick, but grandpa says no, we had to learn to skate first, and he gives us each some skates; figure skates. Damn! Well we learned to skate on them, and he eventually had us try hockey skates but it was too late, I was ruined,  nope not my thing. Living in the country, 15 minutes from town, basketball was easy. And well, cheap, I don't think we would have been able to play even if we wanted to, but it didn't matter, becuase we didn't want to. Our first basketball hoop was in our barn, where we could play a good ten months of the year. Our cousin had one in his barn too and actually had a heat generator so we could, and did play anytime of any winter. Our barn was usually full of equipment, tools or some type of tractor or vehicle and even though room was tight and the hoop was about 8 feet high we had great times on that uneven dirt floor. A few years later when we were about 12 my folks put a cement slab down on the dirt driveway in front of the one-car garage with a measured ten foot hoop attached to the top of it. The hoop was screwed in, and had little give, but we loved it and wore the net out every year.

Since then, I never really 'got' hockey. Went to some games to watch friends in high school, been to a handful of Wild games, once this year so far, have plenty of friends involved with or that still play, and actually watch a little here and there on TV but really enjoy watching Olympic hockey. But I can't say much about this sport as far as knowledge of the game. I admire how athletic one has to be and the hand eye coordination while being on skates, and on ice is amazing. The time, desire, and dedication to play is clearly shown. I gained a lot of respect for the game from what I witnessed during my 6 years at Ready Randy's, from all the meetings, team dinners and especially the teaching that was given to the 'kids' from so many coaches I lost track.
On the other side, I really don't care much for NBA basketball anymore, not since Jordan left, the 2nd time at least. I mean if it's on TV, and have the opportunity, I'll watch it. It's become too one-on-one and over the top show boating while players are getting fundamentally worse and it drives me nuts when professionals can't make free throws. This 'street ball' crap is horrible. If people want to play hoops on the streets fine, play, gamble, have a day, that doesn't matter. But this type of play, at least for awhile, was all over TV and there was even a show about it and every once in awhile you would see this awesome move or dunk by someone and then that person was in some teams training camp but can't even make the practice squad let alone the team because they don't know how to play the
game correctly. I personally like college hoops better. (Actually most sports I like college better)
College hoops, March Madness, 64(+) team tournament, it's super fun. Plus I missed everything last year including the Badgers run to the Final Four while I was comatose, so I'm due this year lol.. (Oops, I guess I did talk about  Blasto:)  I played varsity basketball and a bunch of us joined the competitive men's league at UW-Stout which was a blast and continued on playing more leagues in New Richmond for about ten more years. NR has had very talented players from each sport, respectively throughout the years.

Now back to Sarah and my discussion the other night about these two sports. Each sport has their own athletes and are skilled in thier own sport. My point was, and always has been, what do we expect each respective athlete to do? You take this big, strong and fast guy from Canada and the chances he plays basketball is extremely low. Doesn't just have to be Canada, but I hope you understand my thought process. In contrast, you take this taller, quick, and still strong guy who can literally jump over people and the chances are also extremely low that he will play hockey. I did some quick research and the average height of an NBA player is 6'7" while the average NHL player is 6 feet, the tallest hockey player being a mammoth at 6'9" where in basketball you can get every player on the court about that height and taller. My point to all of this is, liking a sport or not liking a sport is basically in our nature and/or at least how we were brought up. The guys playing hoops (or f-tag, and all the other references we know) are most likely playing hoops because they are GOOD at it. Maybe a kid from Europe's favorite athlete is LeBron or even Dirk Nowitski and all he wants to do is play basketball, but he can skate like the wind and fire a puck a million MPH. Of course he will play hockey becuase HE is just flat out good. Or maybe this kid in the U.S. is being looked at by Duke or Kentucky because he stands 6'8" is still growing and has the most talent around and is almost guaranteed to be drafted by the NBA in one year, but his idol is Sidney Crosby and all he wants to do is play hockey. Good chance he follows his talent and not his heart. This may be extreme, but I'm sure happens. Of course you will find some 7 footers who are about as athletic as a great grandma and only play because they are tall. But you also have hockey players who only play because they can give or take a hit. Are they not both part of the game, like it or not? It's like a NFL game coming down to a 120 pound kicker. Part of the game, you need to have that part to be successful. (Almost
talked about the Packers, but not quite:)

I know hockey players are tough. They play injured, bloodied or bleeding, with broken teeth, crushed all game against the boards, from each other and onto the frozen ice. (Of course the ice is frozen, or it'd be water:) They play this while most are actually being forced to wear a face mask while zooming around on razor sharp blades that puts everyone in danger, plus they hold sticks. Basketball is different. Obviously. But it doesn't make it worse, or better, it's just differnet. Nobody wants to watch hockey in shoes or even on roller blades, like nobody wants to see basketball with someone designated to standing in the net being able to do anything to prevent a basket. It's just not right. (Btw, I'm not getting into population, communities, availability, weather, money or parenting. There are thugs and poor sports in every sport at every level, as well as great people in each as well.)

So, there you go, my take on the seeming ever lasting chatter battle between hockey vs basketball.
Like I said. This is my opinion. One of my first posts of such a thing. If you don't like it, well I'm sorry you just spent 6 minutes and $0.00 reading. But since you read it, you must be following me one way or another, and while I'm not the smartest man in the world, I am a man in the world, and that accounts for.... Well I don't know either. Anyway, there are worse things in life, like being a toothless hockey player lol. 😜

Anyway, thanks for your time, comment if you'd like..


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