Tag Archives: Hockey

Sports unite America after biggest tragedies

By J.D. McKay

Eighteen years ago today, America was physically hit as hard as when the British burned down Washington, including the White House in 1814. America was very different at that point in time, of course. America was missing something that I believe Americans associate with our country, sports. 

It is early to say, but probably the biggest tragedy of my age group’s lifetime will be 9/11. Sports were also affected. There was not another sports game until Sept. 16. But 10 days after 9/11, the Mets Mike Piazza hit one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history. The game was the first pro-baseball game played in New York after the attacks. The Mets were down 2-1 in the eighth inning, but Piazza hit a two-run home run, putting the Mets ahead 3-2. The American flags that were already around the stadium started fluttering. Mets fans erupted. It gave the country and New Yorkers a chance to cheer about something after such a tragic time.  

However, that season was a good year to be a fan of the other New York team, the Yankees. In game three of the World Series, the Yankees were hosting the Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium. President George W. Bush was scheduled to throw out the first pitch. The game was sold out. Bush knew he needed to look good on the mound, but the pressure only rose when Derek Jeter warned him not to bounce it. When Bush stepped out of the dugout, U.S.A. chants echoed around the stadium. He threw in a beautiful pitch, and the handheld flags waved around the stadium. His pitch was a great moment for New Yorkers, showing that America was too tough to let terrorists win. 

But 9/11 is not the only moment where Americans united over sports. In 2005, New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans Saints were in a time of turmoil. They were terrible, considering relocating, and without a true quarterback. Now we know the Saints did not move. They found the answer to the other two questions in one man, Drew Brees. Brees did not only led the Saints back to the playoffs, but he also helped rebuild the city. Specifically, his Brees Dream Foundation helped rebuild schools, parks, and athletic facilities. The Saints did not play a game in New Orleans until 2006. But in their first game back, they had one moment that has been memorialized. Steve Gleason blocked a punt early in the game that was returned for a touchdown. The announcers were silent for almost a minute as the stadium erupted, and the Saints players pointed back at the fans, as if telling them that was for them. Gleason diving to block the ball will forever be outside of the Super Dome, and the title on the pedestal could not be any better: Rebirth. 

Sports have united America during other tragedies. The Astros won the World Series just two months after Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. All of Boston sports rallied after the Boston Bombing. That was best seen at the Boston Bruins game on April 17, 2013. The fans took over singing the National Anthem from Renee Rancourt, who was brought in to sing that night. 

Terrorist attacks try to bring America down. However, we typically come back stronger. Sports are not always the events that bring America together, but they help create strength and toughness in a city and a country that desperately need it. 

 

Columnist explains love for hockey

By J.D. McKay

There is nothing interesting going on in FC sports right now. Boys’ basketball suffered a disappointing loss to New Albany in sectionals. That was the last winter sport still in season. Track is about three weeks into practices but have only had indoor meets, and softball and baseball are still in preseason. Things are not more interesting at the national scale.

The MLB is in spring training, and Bryce Harper finally signed with the Phillies last week, so I guess there was some interesting national sports news. The main winter sport, basketball, is also boring. The Warriors are going to be the one seed and probably win the finals again. However, the Lebron-led Lakers probably will not make the playoffs. That will be the first time Lebron has not made the playoffs in over 10 years. That will make the NBA playoffs lose viewership because the NBA is a league run by one player, Lebron James. Plus, there is nothing so wrong with sports right now that I need to suggest how to fix it.

However, the NHL season is in full swing and is almost ignored by sports fans. So, with nothing going on in sports, I figured I would give the NHL and minor league hockey leagues some attention.

First off, if you have never been to a hockey game, you need to get to one. Hockey is an amazing sport to watch in a stadium. There are four NHL teams about the same distance away from Galena, Indiana (Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and St. Louis Blues), but those are all about four hours away. However, we have minor league teams within two hours of here (Evansville Thunderbolts, Indy Fuel, and Cincinnati Cyclones).

Another great hockey feature is change in champions. The NBA, NFL, and MLB all have several top teams that have been competing in the championship of their respective leagues, Patriots, Dodgers, and Warriors specifically. The NHL is not like that. Last year, an expansion team lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. To show even more that teams do not repeat very often, over the past three conference and Stanley Cup finals, only two teams have been in the conference championship twice. That is two out of ten teams. Another stat that shows the fluctuating levels of teams is that there were no repeat 1 seeds over those three years. The NFL had the Patriots repeat as the one seed twice and the NBA had the Warriors repeat as the one seed.

The last dope part about hockey is the violence. People’s number one complaint about hockey is that it does not have many goals and is similar to soccer. That is a ludicrous accusation. Hockey has violence that is sometimes similar to football but often very different. The player often skate across the ice and smash an opponent into the boards. The fact that ice is under the players instead of grass or concrete makes for some interesting looking and acrobatic collisions. Plus, fighting does not result in a suspension, fine or ejection. While it does result in a five-minute trip to the penalty box, both players have to go so the game stays even. Plus, these guys are often actually angry at each other so they have a reason to want to fight and to want to win the fight.

Now you know why I love hockey. It is the best winter pro sport. Unfortunately, Louisville does not have a hockey team. However, that should not stop you from going to a game somewhere. So before you judge hockey again, go to a game to see what exactly you are judging.