Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Angelenos Don't Like Hockey

It's NHL playoff time again. And no one in southern California knows what the heck is going on. There was a CA team playing in the semi-finals (granted, they lost...badly) but it seems like most people in L.A. have never even heard of the San Jose Sharks. They've heard of their L.A. Kings, but since Gretzky left, I don't think the average person on the street could name a single player from the team. Now, they could tell you Kobe's life story and what kind of candy Lamar Odom ate for dinner two nights ago, but they couldn't even name a King. When the Anaheim Ducks were in the Stanley Cup Finals a few years back, people up here complained that hockey was on TV when they went to the bars. They wanted to watch beach volleyball or something like that. The bartender, a fellow Pennsylvanian, politely informed them that they were going to watch the Stanley Cup and that they were going to like it. They had no idea who this Stanley guy was, or what he had to do with hockey, but they had no interest in finding out. So, I've been thinking about L.A.'s irrational hatred -- it's actually more like a fear, really -- L.A.'s irrational fear of hockey. I'll be discussing some thoughts and making some valid points which I hope you'll consider.

First of all, when a guy as white as me tries to promote hockey, I have to qualify myself as a non-racist. No really, I'm very white. But I totally love black people and other minorities. No, seriously. The reason hockey is my favorite sport has nothing to do with the predominance of really, really white people in the sport. Honestly though, nobody in my family was ever a Nazi -- I'm actually like 1/128th German Jew. I had an Asian pastor and a black pastor marry me to my Latina wife 8 months ago. Both sides of my family are from the North. They fought for the Union.

But I must say, I think Angelenos don't like hockey because it's too white. The players are white, the rink is white...the ice and snow that fall in the cities where people actually do like white. And out here, it's all about hip-hop culture. It's really not that cool to be a white guy in L.A. It's like that song Pretty Fly...for a White Guy by the Offspring. The girls have to specify that he's ok...considering he's Caucasian. And those guys are from southern California. They know what it's like. I married a Latina -- well, because I love her -- but also because my kids will have at least a little bit of street cred.

But did you know there are a good many black guys in the NHL? Right now, our very own Kings have Wayne Simmonds. A couple years back, we had Anson Carter. Elsewhere in the NHL, Don Brashear, Mike Grier, and Jarome Iginla are all great hockey players of African descent...and there's a bunch more. Check this out.

But besides the whiteness, I think Angelenos are scared of the cold. This is a city where people complain as soon as the thermometer hits 59 degrees outside. They post tweets about "frigid arctic winds" at temperatures where most cities are wearing shorts and sun dresses. We can't expect them to go into a room cold enough to keep a giant floor made of ice completely frozen and have a fun time.

Also, Angelenos don't like hockey because they perceive it as an "east coast thing." The east coast threatens people from L.A. because cities like Boston, New York, and Washington get a lot of attention. Everyone who lives here thinks L.A. is the be-all and end-all of civilization, and they don't want any rival cities to steal the Southland's thunder. Enjoying hockey would almost validate the existence of all those east coast guys that annoy them so much.

And if you're wondering why the Staples Center is so full at Kings games if Angelenos don't like hockey, it's because most of those people are transplants from the northeast or northern Europe, a few of them thought they were actually headed to a Lakers game and just got the date mixed up, and the others are gangsters that fell in love with those old black Kings jerseys, and going to a game was the best excuse they could come up with to wear them again.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting theory. By the way, the Flyers made it to the cup this year... I'm sure you've heard. :) Carry on, MacRodge - bringing your white eastcoastness to LA.