Thursday, November 04, 2004

NHL Lockout 2004 Season

I'm not a big fan of unions. Briefly, unions had their time. Time was they did a world of good for a great many people. Now, though, I think they get in their own way more often than not. If you don't like your job, quit. If you need a raise, make your case. If you're worth your salt, you'll get it. Or get another job. There's always work for those who want it. There's always someone willing to take your place. Thanks for listening.

Now, on to the lockout.

Think about it. What if there was no union? Let's call it eXtreme Capitalism. Who is being protected? The rookie, just coming in to the draft? If he's that good, he'll command a decent salary. If he's not, someone else will take his place. If some other team wants him, they'll make an offer. There's plenty of guys out here who would die for a chance in the majors. I'd be happy playing the game for a fraction of the price. The superstars, the experienced journeymen, they'll get their price. I think it'll make the game hungrier. Won't always be the priciest team winning, you know. (Obviously, Yanks, NY Rangers, Lightning, Sox!)

By the way, who said that buying a team is a license to make money? It's supposed to be an investment (if not a labor of love). If you're the owner of a small market team, and you're not filling the arena, either lower your budget, move to a bigger market, or quit crying and suck it up. Nobody forced it on you. So, how to fix it? How's this: How about each owner sits down, and clearly defines a budget from which he can pay his players. How much he can pay, in total. He breaks up that budget between his roster, and makes the players offers. Hopefully, nobody gets hurt too badly. An agreement may be made that if there is revenue in excess of the amount planned for, by making playoffs, or extending the season, or removing an olive from every salad, whatever, that money will be distributed according to some previously agreed upon schedule.

Salary cap (sorry, cost certainty)? Revenue sharing? Whatever. Larger market teams, smaller market teams, there are plenty of offsets in the mix. You think that rent and overhead for MSG is similar to that of the Nationwide or Glendale Arenas? What about ticket prices? Same? Similar? Close? Create some excitement. Watch the fans come out of the woodwork in the 'smaller markets.'

I'm sorry, Mess, Mario, Martin, Jaromir, Peter, Alexi, Dominic. . .Perhaps I'm being naive, but isn't that the way it's done in the real world? Do the job, or tell it walking? There's thousands of guys out here, just waiting for our chance! There's only so much money in the pot. If you can generate more somehow, probably by increasing the fan base, then we can get paid like the other major sports stars. Until then, we all have to work with what there is in the tills. That's all there is, there ain't no more.

Of course, I do not side with the owners. I don't know what they want for nothing, the players are the draws. It seems, though, that if the NHL is to be saved, the only way to do it is within a budget. You can't get blood from a stone. The smallest but most passionate fan base in all of major sports are waiting for you guys, all, to FIX IT!

(Will play for food, and an Escalade if I can swing it)

Friday, October 22, 2004

Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation

Back in 1995, I was very sorry for Christopher Reeve, having heard about his equestrian accident. Scary stuff. He fell off of his horse after making a jump, and snapped his neck. He never walked again. Spinal cord damage. Paralyzed. Respirator. Wheelchair.

I felt a connection with him, however, two months later, when, in July, I broke my own neck in a swimming pool mishap. I was much luckier than he. I am able to (type this,) walk, talk, think, and do almost everything I could do before.

Although I live in pain every day, I think that he was much braver and more optimistic than I ever was, or could be. I'm not crying 'foul,' or wallowing in my misery, but it's hard to be me. But I always look at the bright side. I'm not Christopher. Poor SOB. He never let on, though.
What's great is that he was so selfless. He was driven to walk again. He had the best attitude. His legacy, not the Superman role, but the important one, is that his name will live on, long after his recent, untimely, sad death, in October of 2004, in the form of his Foundation. The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, , is one of my favorite charities. I have made contributions, with my family, for the last several years, and I plan to continue to do so, to honor his name, his work, and especially his selfless attitude.
A tip of my hat, too, to his wife, Dana, and the rest of his family, for standing by him and supporting him in so many ways.

It is truly astounding, that in our modern society, where sports figures, movie and television stars, and popular musicians are idolized, a true hero emerges from a freak accident. Although I admired his acting and directoral talents, they pale in comparison to the work he was obviously meant to perform.

He has become immortal. I wish continued success to his Foundation, his family, the causes he championed, and the people he loved. May his Foundation find ways to improve the lives of the many people he wanted to help. May his family find peace and fulfillment.

May I make a fraction of the mark of goodness he left on this world.

Monday, October 18, 2004

One Nation Under God?

Okay, we've all seen it.

The e-mail says that 86% of America's population believe in God, and if you're a good person (read "true American"), you should have no problem with the "One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, etc." part of the Pledge of Allegience. Well, whether I believe in God or not is nobody's business but my own and my family's.

Our country was primarily founded on the principle of freedom of religion (or not). The Pilgrims escaped to the new world to flee religious prosecution. What is God doing in our Pledge? And who are you to say that I'm not a good American if I want to pursue my right to practice, or to not practice, any religion of my own choosing.

I am a good American. I only buy American automobiles, and "Made in the USA" goes a long way in my decisions of any and all goods and services that I buy. (Another whole blog for that one.) I know that several American name cars are mostly made overseas, and I know that several 'imports' are made right here in the good old USA by American workers, and I decide accordingly. I pay my taxes, I vote, I support the US Olympic team. I fly the flag, and I know (and observe) the rules for it. I contribute to Veterans' charities. I am well read, and I know my current events and political issues.

I have no problem with the President saying "God bless America" at every opportunity, just don't force me to incorporate it into my vocabulary. It's my right to do as I choose.
In fact, it's my right to do as I choose in many more ways than this, but that's a topic for another day.

Francis Bellamy, a Baptist Minister, wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance in 1891, and did not bow to pressure to include a line tipping his hat to God. He felt that the separation of Church and State was more important than his own personal inclination. The Knights of Columbus persisted in a 3-year campaign until the "under God" line was added in 1954, under President Eisenhower.

I say the Pledge as it was taught to me, including the "under God" line. That's the way it is. I'm not an extremist who has to change the world, I only resent the fight surrounding it. If our legislature agrees that the separation of Church and State should be preserved, and rewords The Pledge, then don't start a war over it. The Crusades are over. Live with it.