ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar!


What I Learned about Freedom from Hockey Fights

I have this theory about freedom that goes like this: freedom is a pain in the ass.

Which is to say, if you're doing freedom right, you can count on being annoyed, because you won't always get your way. A lot of people have this concept of freedom that's the opposite, childish view. They think that being free means you always get what you want without fail. This results in hilariously righteous complaints, all of which are equivalent to, "I wanted that last Twinkie you took! You assaulted my freedom!"

If everyone has freedom, then sometimes your wishes are going to come behind someone else's. That doesn't mean everyone else is a dictator. In an ideal world, everyone would get their way, but since this world isn't ideal (after all, Dancing With the Stars is still on TV) then someone's desires are going to have to give when they conflict with another's.

For example, sometimes when I tell my dogs to come inside from the freezing wind and they just stare at me and go back to rolling around in the dirt (or eating worms) I find myself annoyed, but a small part of me likes their attitude. Stay wild, I say to them, stay rebellious, guys, stay free. Then I run out and chase them inside (only then realizing I'm not wearing pants.)

This ambivalent approach to having my will defied applies to anyone who lives in my home, whether canine, feline or human. After the annoyance comes the joy: No one around here listens to me! I'm supposed to be the king of this castle! Well, at least I'm not a dictator or one of those overbearing douche guys who demands (often violently) that his word be law.

Am I spinning the fact that I'm a lousy disciplinarian? Probably, but what does this have to do with hockey fights?

Because when it comes to hockey fights, I apply a similar attitude. I'm in a minority, and being in the minority is when you can see freedom more easily, at least in one respect: others are free from adhering to your commands or wishes.

I think fighting in hockey is utterly ridiculous. No other sport I know of allows for an occasional interruption by a second sport (in this case, boxing) to stop the game action. Imagine if in the middle of an American football game, without warning, either team could launch into a sudden outbreak of tennis. It would be illegal, and result in a minor penalty, but still coaches would devote time to it and use it strategically.

Absurd, right? That's about how much sense fighting in hockey makes to me. In most other sports, if you fight, you are thrown out of the game permanently and face fines or future suspension. Not in NHL hockey. In the NHL, you are more likely to face punishment for an illegal hit than literally punching someone bloody.

The thing is, when I mention this to most people I know, even my unwashed peace-loving hippie friends get angry. "How can you not like hockey fights?! They're awesome!"

Still, no one can shake me from my belief that hockey fights hurt hockey as a sport, slowing its fan growth and damaging its appeal. No one listens to me, and if it came to vote, I'd be out-voted. That doesn't mean people who love hockey fights are dictators, and it doesn't mean I'm being oppressed, and it doesn't mean hockey will be destroyed.

It just means we're all free to have our own opinion.

Larry Nocella writes The Semi-True Adventures of Lar blog at He's the author of the novel Where Did This Come From? The world's first CarbonFree(R) novel according to The book is available on as a paperback and Kindle eBook. It is also available for other eBook readers.

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