Why Aren’t The L.a. Kings More Popular?
The Los Angeles Kings are only one win away from their first Stanley Cup win, yet out here, there’s no Kings excitement the same way there’s Laker and Clipper fever. With both of those teams eliminated, why hasn’t Los Angeles adopted the fever of the Kings?
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I live near the L.A. area and I am a graduate student. I also have followed ice hockey for the past 20 years. When the Kings came into the playoff picture, most of my classmates said the same thing… “Why aren’t you watching the Lakers?”. Uh, because I can’t stand basketball? A bunch of overpaid, drug-using obnoxious twats who throw the ball and ask for a foul every 5 seconds.
To be fair, in America there are cities where ice hockey is more popular than basketball. These cities are pretty far up north. Philadelphia, Detroit, New York, even Boston had a higher viewership when the Bruins made a run for the Cup in 2011. But let’s look at three problems out here.
The first thing is simply the cultural differences between hockey people and basketball or football people. Basketball is popular among urban youths, and it makes sense. All you really need is a ball to get out there and practice. Hoops are found everywhere, so black and hispanic kids that live in poorer areas know about the game from a young age. To them, ice hockey is a foreign concept. Only if you actually go to a game will you see how awesome this is.
Make no mistake about it. Basketball playing is a talent but there are several talents you need to master in order to become an ice hockey player. Not only do you have to skate forwards and backwards but you have to keep your balance on a sheet of ice while avoiding other people who are coming at you.
The second problem is simply that hockey is associated as a Canadian sport. They live up in the frozen north so all they do is play hockey and live in igloos, oh yeah and make maple syrup and drink beer… and… wait, what else? Canadians don’t have much of a reputation for being awesome. Let’s be honest. Justin Bieber is from Canada and I don’t know too many people that think he’s awesome for sure.
The problem with this reputation is simply that it’s just stupid. Who cares where a game originates? Basketball originated at the YMCA, which as any fan of the Village People could tell you, was where certain men did things I won’t repeat here. I have no idea why this should even be an issue.
Ice hockey is a very fast and furious game, even if they don’t have to launch the ball every few seconds to keep the game going. I’m going to address that in detail in the next point.
The third problem is simply scoring. I don’t know why in the hell this is a problem for most people but it is. Let’s look at sports that are popular: In football, a team can win 21 – 7 and in basketball, you hear big scores, like ooh, 104-96! Why that must be a great game! Not really.
Football points are given out in increments. Think about it. What scores 1 point? Only the point after, right? Why does 21 – 7 sound so much cooler than, say 3 – 1? Let’s take a look at basketball and why people say it’s got so much last second action. In 1957, the ruling body imposed a 24-second shot clock. Why? Because a team would go up by a dozen points and stand there like an idiot bouncing the ball and doing all sorts of things. This is actually where the Harlem Globetrotters got their reputation, because they would be ahead by so many points that they could do all those cool parlor tricks and run out the clock.
Why should hockey have more of a following? Basketball has become less and less of a team sport since Michael Jordan retired from the game. I’ll go as far as to say that no one player can become the game, although Gretzky did try and so did Sydney Crosby. Let’s be honest though. In order to win a championship in ice hockey, you can’t rely on an entire team of superstars, instead of “Give the ball to Kobe” or “give the ball to Lebron”.
Basketball is the sport of choice out here. For the most part, baseball is associated with the Dodgers and they play at a very bad area, as was demonstrated by the Giants fan who was beaten to a coma last year in the parking lot. Football is all the rage during the fall. But now’s the time to make ice hockey the third sport in America. Let those overpaid cocksuckers enjoy being the 4th sport.
It’s time L.A. Opened up their eyes. Jonathan Quick is one of the best goaltenders in the business and this team is on the verge of history. One more win and the team will be the first eighth-seeded team ever to win a championship. Miracles happen all the time in ice hockey. Two years ago the Flyers came back from a 3-0 series deficit to win in seven games.
Fast paced action, quick hits, agile athletes and people giving their hearts out. Who cares where the game originates? I say let’s let Los Angeles and the U.S. adopt ice hockey as one of our favorite games.