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Fans? Sports Don't Care

On the John

By John C. Ausiello

Hockey is back! Life can resume as normal in Canada.

It is a great day in sports. Sure, the fans were the biggest losers in this whole ordeal. Harry Sinden said it himself. But they always are, so let's get used to it.

Surprise, surprise, the sports world is not about pleasing its fans. It's about money. It always has been and it always will be.

But, it doesn't really matter. The games, after a brief trial period, will return to normal.

People claim that after these strikes and lockouts end, enthusiasm for the sport will wane and attendance will drop off dramatically. That is ridiculous. Hockey attendance may suffer a little at first, but the true fans, the people you want there anyway, will show up.

Baseball? Please. Barring mass murder of the fans, the sport will always fill the seats.

And this is the way it should be. These games are for our enjoyment. They are not our God given right. On the first day, God said, "let there be light" not "play ball."

It is annoying that greed can ruin a great thing, as it did last year in baseball. But this fact does not mean that the fan should suddenly desert a sport that has brought him or her years of excitement.

The fan is used in the sports world. Clearly. The business men who run professional sports make a killing off our hard-earned money.

However, the fan is also using the sport. The fan experiences hours of enjoyment watching others perform their jobs. A fan's life is not so painful.

So, there shouldn't be any boycotts or fan uprisings. Why continue the absurdity of life without sports? Besides, the owners will just agree to use replacement fans.

Instead, the fans should go back quietly to the sport they love. It makes no sense to continue to do otherwise. No one is listening to our protests. So bury the hatchet, and pick up the hockey stick once again.

This isn't baseball where you do not need a lot of spring training to get in game shape. Hockey requires superb conditioning just to compete.

Sure, some of the players have been staying in shape over in Europe. But not everyone, not even close.

Without much time to prepare for the season, the players will not be in top shape. As a result, the first few weeks will serve as a make-shift spring training. Play will be sloppy. The teams that jump out early will have an advantage.

Let's hope that more injuries do not occur.

And from one Boston fan to another, let's hope that Nealy has time to get his knee in shape to play.

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