The NFL players and the owners remain at an impasse because the owners want bigger profits (even though profits are at record highs) and in order to do this, they want the season expanded from 16 to 18 games. The players don't want to agree to an 18-game season because playing more games increases the chance of injury. When I heard the players' reasoning while driving around this past week (I was on vacation and nothing says vacation as much as driving in a car, mine or a rental, and looking at stuff or getting things done and, best of all, not going to work and still getting paid for it), what sprang to mind is that maybe football does, indeed, need to go. Players suffer bone- and brain-shattering injuries that plague them and their loved ones -- families and close friends -- for decades to come simply to move a ball forward 10 yards in four attempts. Stadiums are filled with fans who buy products and souvenirs and seats. There are lucrative television deals. In the northerly climes -- Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston, New York -- it can get below freezing and the playing surface will be like solid concrete and the stands no warmer at all and the fans pour in like it's a day in early fall. The owners make vast profits and it is still not enough, apparently. I wonder how this will end up and while I enjoy football, while I like a turnover, and I like seeing Julius Pepper flying through the air to stop some opponent while said opponent is still in the air making the catch, I feel very conflicted and in my own head, have come to an impasse. My enjoyment comes at the expense of someone's future good health. It's a war of the fastest and the strongest and the one with the most accurate arm. Young men in the prime of their lives putting themselves in physical jeopardy to move a ball ten yards in four attempts -- is it worth it for two more games and a bigger bottom line? Do they deserve better treatment than a soldier sent to the battlefield? No. Who does our society truly revere?
The Bulls and Hawks are now in the first games of their first of the playoff series. The Vancouver Canucks made total mincemeat out of Chicago in the first game, then simply beat them in the second; the Indiana Pacers made the Bulls work for it but the Bulls -- and especially Derrick Rose -- prevailed and beat the Pacers in the final quarter, 104-99. Danny Granger of Pacers had the most terrific line about playing against the Bulls and if he felt safe that the Pacers would win: “With Derrick Rose on the other team, no. It’s like a crazy stalker ex-girlfriend. Everytime you tell her you don’t want to talk to her, she’ll show up at your door again.” The best thing about it is that Derrick Rose knows he needs to stay the crazy stalker ex-girlfriend so they can go all the way. On the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews is kind of like that but not quite enough stalker to beat the Canucks. Maybe not this year for the Hawks but next season will be here before we know it and Toews can be the stalker gal all men dread.
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