Maybe Jane Seymour was right

Many year's ago, shortly after I first moved to Halifax, I went to a Mooseheads game. As luck would have it, Jane Seymour was in town filming a movie and I happened to be sitting a few rows behind her and what I can only assume was her husband and her children. As it sometimes happens with hockey, and often happens with junior hockey, a fight broke out on the ice and as everyone else stood up and strained to watch, I can distinctively remember Seymour staying seated while her male companion motioned for others to sit down and loudly booed. It seemed that aspect of hockey wasn't their cup of tea.

A few years later, as I got into actually covering junior hockey, my views started moving closer to those of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. There were the jokes about watching 16-year-old boys beat each other up, which masked the reality of that being exactly what it was. I stopped cheering when the gloves dropped, I viewed it more of an uncomfortable inconvenience.

How things have changed in a decade and a half. Hockey fans have watched a parade of tough guys die young; we've seen a series of star players fold up their careers early after one, or three, or 40 too many hits to the head. We've started debating the role of fighting in the game, about how best to combat headshots. We–some of us, at least–have felt a trickle of guilt at the cheers when the gloves hit the ice.

What Happens To Enforcers When Hockey Uses Them Up? 

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The end of fandom

So am I not a fan anymore? I know my daughter is not going to understand most of what happens at the game, but I want to give her the chance to be near it, and become enmeshed in it. After all, we don’t fall in love with live basketball, at least not at first, because of beautiful down screens or crisp defensive rotations or true shooting percentages. It’s the atmosphere that does it, the feeling of being gathered into something bigger and stronger than oneself. It’s something I almost can’t even see anymore, except through her.

The Start of Something - Steve McPherson

The news of Donald Sterling in Los Angeles, as Sean Newell from Deadspin put it: "But it's not just basketball, it's a disgusting spectacle. An unapologetic racist sits entrenched, as other rich white men try to figure out how best to mitigate his disgraceful conduct, while men he thinks of as property amuse him, because that's all they can do. This isn't basketball at all."

It all has me thinking a lot about what's important in sport and life and business and games.

Even if we forget it sometimes, there’s more to basketball than the basketball. There are millions of things, all teeming and lit up with various vibrations, resonances that reach back into the places where the game first took hold. It may be that my daughter will never love basketball, but I hope she loves the world. I hope she never stops wanting to learn about it without ever completely forgetting how it feels at the very beginning.

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