I was born in the 60s, had my formative years in the 70s and arguably, blossomed in the 80s. I'm a child of the children of technology. I guess you could call me the Beta version of mass media culture. I remember 78s; had LPs; know about AM radio; FM survives due to my redundant friends; and I probably lean slightly more towards broadcast than podcast. I'm essentially the prime target demographic.
Growing up, my parents would ride me about staying inside and watching a sport instead of going outside and playing it. And we were the generation that made the original jokes about tennis being on the radio (Â“dude hits the ball, other dude hits the ball back...Â”). Television, in fact, any broadcast, was essentially some sort of event. That premise is something I'm reminded of around this same time every year.
The National Hockey League holds its draft Friday and hockey nuts, insiders and casual fans will tune in all day for the blow-by-blow progress. There will be updates. There will be breaking news. There will likely be at least one ticker tape running constantly across the bottom of the television screen. Anything and everything that happens in Columbus, and in the entire league for that matter, will be posted immediately.
Now, while I find this to be slightly enticing television, it really Â– with even the most amazing twist of events Â– won't amount to much. Imagine even the most unimaginable and inconceivable trade hockey has ever seen going down on Friday. There will be talk; friends will phone friends with the ubiquitous Â“hey, did you hear?Â” thing but incredibly nothing will have happened. Sure, it will rock the hockey and sports world for a day or two. Heads will shake. But ultimately, the real conclusions and implications of something that monumental won't be felt till at least early October. We're reporting on paperwork.
It's amazing if you look at the dynamics of actually watching the draft: It's part lottery, part chess match, part sleep aid. We, the fans, sit there watching grown men in nice suits prepare to approach a microphone to introduce younger guys, in nicer suits. In school this was public speaking and we all groaned. Sure the subject matter is a little more interesting than How They Make Steel, but it all boils down to pretty much the same wow factor.
Instead of taking that hulking defenseman from the Red Deer Rebels, the Phoenix Coyotes have rocked the arena floor by taking that hulking defenseman from the Czech Republic with the 28th pick! Aside from the kid's mother, the girlfriend he's leaving behind and the tailor who comped him the suit, it's just another kid rolling the dice and destined to make horribly more money than at least 12 sub-Saharan countries.
Thank God for C-Span.
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday and Friday only on thehockeynews.com.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org