Fans, sports bar owners, mascots, cotton candy vendors, play-by-play announcers, the dudes who charge market rate for parking spots outside the arena -- none of us should have to deal with any of this.
We all contribute to something bigger than the sum of the game's parts. Players and owners drive this thing. But, without us, they got nothin'. If they bring the game back tomorrow and nobody watches -- live or on television -- that sports bar owner still looses his money and the concession workers will end up jobless.
It sounds so cliche, so idealistic, but it's the truth. Fans and other "little" and even "not-so-little" guys (like the hockey announcer who makes six figures or even millions a year) get screwed in sports labor fights. And it just shouldn't be.
Sports should be our one protected outlet from society's perpetual and pervasive insanity. It's bad enough that government hasn't made education a sacred cow; so, please, don't mess with sports!If you're lucky enough to have season tickets, get a job with a team or run a business that depends on sports, labor issues should never affect you. Teams win and lose. They pick up and move to different cities. Fan interest waxes and wanes. That's part of the bargain. Governments and teams fight for those interests as they come up. But not getting paid because of labor strife -- or even not receiving your daily dose of enjoyment -- should never enter the equation. Because pockets of the U.S. economy get hit hard and larger swaths of the Canadian economy get hit harder, President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper should come together, wield their big sticks and set a new precedent for sports. Labor disputes can happen of course, but we should never hear about them. Government should step in with an edict -- no matter what, the games will go on. It's in the local, regional, national and international best interest! In hockey, I guarantee you this: The players would be 100% on board with that. And so would most owners, save a handful of big market guys who hold the current season hostage.