Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Yay, the NHL is back... #sarcastic

I would like to begin this post, in the interest of full disclosure, with the admission that I am not an avid Hockey fan and never have been. I should also mention that the concept of Billionaires fighting with Millionaires over a few percentages of additional revenue is the height of greed, in my opinion. So when the news that the NHLPA and owners struck a new deal and that the NHL would be returning, I wasn't really thrilled. I was pretty happy a couple of days before that because Canada's World Junior Team failed to medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships (which always opens up conversation on whether or not Hockey is our main sport anymore). Now I was just disappointed that the NHL's indefinite leave was over and that Canada would, once again, be swallowed by hockey; no other sports would be important and Canada would once again value "Blue Collar Work Ethic" over Performance. But this post is not really about hockey - its more about what the return of hockey reminded me of. 4 thoughts that I consider important here - allow me to mount my high horse:

  1. Swimming needs to change its national identity. Its men and women who are in great shape in bathing suits racing and breaking records... we can't sell that to TV??? We already have 3 Olympic medalists and a building cache of talent. We're becoming good again and we need to inform everyone and their grandmothers. Events like The Big Splash are good but they only reach the people who are already interested. NBC televises most American and World Championships (this year they've been doing it on Sunday against NFL coverage) which Canada can usually benefit from. Olympic Trials on SportsNet were extremely well done, but only 1 meet/year..? Come on; we can do better. I think some of the difficulty in much of the coverage comes in the bi-lingual aspect of things but if the SNC is going to spend money, this is definitely a worth while spot. Get people interested in the club system and the University system. Call me, I'll help you for free. If we do everything in private and only broadcast to our members we're stuck.
  2. Communities need to value ammeter sports. I do not see value put into any ammeter sports in many communities basically due to bad budgeting. Here is my case for fixing the budget - I pay property taxes and so do my neighbours (...I assume or I'm getting ripped off huge). My taxes go towards town facilities, garbage pick up, rainbows and sunshine; but lets focus on town facilities. If I want to go for a dip at one of my local facilities, I still have to pay money... same if I want to go skating or play tennis or borrow a room at the Library for a volunteer organization meeting. Everyone on my team and most teams in Ontario pay property taxes as well but they get hit twice; Once on their tax bill and another time when they join the team - because the town charges user groups high amounts of money to use the pool. I took my son for a swim yesterday morning and was there with the High School's Special Needs group - who had to pay the general "Family Swim" fee - we can't budget to allow these kids to swim for free?                                                                                   Technically this practice is not a form of revenue generation because they use the income to offset other shortfalls, but towns see teams (especially Swim User groups) as walking dollar signs rather than a way to help the community. In other words $>Support.
  3. Can the Canadian World Junior Team place 4th or higher at World Junior Championships this summer and equal or better Canada's World Junior Hockey Team's placing? I think SNC should make this a challenge if they think it's possible (obviously the team has not been selected yet). Then if we do, HIT EVERY MEDIA OUTLET WITH THE STORY! Get people talking about it. Get people interested in swimming!
  4. Lets talk more about money since the NHL strike came down to mostly dollars. 2 weeks ago, my podcast past 11,000 downloads. Someone had mentioned to me that if I was charging $0.99/download that I would be making a pretty solid side income. I dismissed that person but am still simmering over that statement. Why does everything have to come down to money? My reasoning behind starting my podcast was to help and educate a base of parents, swimmers and coaches. My goal never was, nor is, to be rich. Yes, I could start charging for downloads, but fewer people would listen, which would not be in the best interest of the sport. Somethings are more important and valuable to me than money. Yes, the amount of extra work I do for the swimming community for a significantly negative income, in return, is at least 10 hours/week. But supporting a sport I believe in is more important. Being a driving force behind positive change in this country is more important. Hopefully someone reading this at the beginning of a new year will be inspired to take the same approach towards something. As long as money is valued above all other things and your time is equated to money - we're all doomed. Did the NHL players and Owners do Hockey any sort of service by bickering over money?