I was never into sports growing up. My grandma loved baseball and the Dodgers were her team but that's as involved as I was in sports. I never followed any team, never really thought much about sports in more than a peripheral way.

In 1993, I chanced to catch a hockey game on tv and I was hooked. I was a passionate hockey fan for many, many years. My first loyalty to any sport was a game that not only cherished the tough guy but expected it. This is a sport where if a player sustains an injury, not only does he want to play anyway, he is generally expected to and to be stoic about it. And that's just during the regular season. During playoffs, a player could be near death and still not only be expected to play but they'd WANT to play. In no other professional sport have I observed such dedication and love for their game as I've seen in hockey. Granted, I'm no expert but this is just what I've seen. This dedication and zealotry became my reference against which all other professional athletes were to be judged.

While I'm not such the die-hard hockey fan anymore, I still can appreciate a hockey player's dedication and desire, actually more like NEED, to play. I still love the sport and think it's the most fun game to watch but I've become more of a baseball fan of late, specifically the Angels. I find I need to have a team to get behind that actually wins once in awhile. I'm totally a sunshine fan and the Kings just couldn't/can't win. No matter who they have as a coach or what players they sign, they're perpetually at the bottom of the standings. I couldn't do it anymore. I need some happiness from the team I'm watching and I just cannot be a fan of a hockey team (see tough guy stuff above) that calls itself the Mighty Ducks. Yeah, sure, they're just the Ducks now but it's still a way stupid name for a freaking HOCKEY team.

But I digress. We've established that hockey players are way tough and that's what I'd come to see as the norm for a professional athlete. Now I'm watching baseball and I really admire the finesse aspects of the game, the logic and planning that goes into building and maintaining a winning team. Mike Scioscia is great at this and his Angels' place at the top of the American League West is evidence to support his management style. Anyway, long story short (too late) is that I was reading the recap of the Angels 12-1 victory over the Yankees last night and saw that Jered Weaver isn't pitching tonight, as he'd been scheduled to do, because he has cuts on his hand. (Before I get a good head of steam going, let me just say that I like Jered Weaver and think he's a pretty darn good pitcher and that I also have no idea of the exact severity of the aforementioned cuts on his hand and therefore reserve the right to be completely unjustified in the ensuing rant).

What? Cuts on his hand? What kind of weak-ass excuse is that?!? Sure, he's a pitcher but come on! If a hockey player tried to get out of a game because he'd cut his hand, he'd be ridiculed and practically kicked off his freaking team - and that'd be the least of his worries. Besides, no self-respecting hockey player would EVER even DREAM of not playing just because he cut his hand. And it's actually quite the apt comparison because both pitchers and hockey players wear gloves and truthfully, a hockey player uses his hands much more than a baseball pitcher does.

I just had to rant about that for a bit. It just seems to me that most professional non-hockey playing athletes are a bunch of wusses when it comes to injuries. Stuff that a hockey player wouldn't even think twice about playing with are causes for ending a season in other sports. I guess it comes down to more of a passion for your sport kind of thing. That's the best thing about hockey - these guys play not for the money (although I'm sure they like that), they play because hockey is in their blood and is as necessary to their survival as oxygen. I mean, these are people who routinely played without contracts and at one point only stopped playing when the owners locked them out. It's more about love of the game for a hockey player than anything else.

I know I'm not the most informed sports fan in the world and most of what I say is generally full of crap but I figure this is my blog and if I want to sound like an uninformed girly girl, I can do that. Thanks for reading.
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