Sports bring simplicity to every season. Baseball in the summer is the perfect lazy sport for lazy days and a lazy guy… can’t miss. NFL Sundays in the fall provide a weekly guarantee of mindless escape and camaraderie. And of course hockey’s expanse through winter and spring makes a long hibernation enjoyable.
If possible, this simplicity has been enhanced by the addition of my first son who has the appropriate jersey for all three occasions. A game on, Henry outfitted, and my mind checked out is about as good as it gets. Throw in a cold one and I’m pretty sure I’ve got life figured out. It’s simple living for a few hours.
There is one complication: the endless sponsorships of even the most insignificant parts of a game. Now a double is not an insignificant play in baseball, but does it really need to be sponsored?
If you’re New York Life the answer is yes.
Last season after every Red Sox double, Don Orsillo of NESN had to say, “Safe at Second. Safe and Secure. New York Life.” The Red Sox hit 352 doubles in 2011. Buddhist monks don’t repeat phrases that often.
The truth is sponsorships now abound in professional sports to the point of inescapability.
Even hockey intermissions – a word that implies “respite” – offer nothing of the sort. The intermission itself is sponsored, while the intermission show has another sponsor and the individual intermission show segments are individually sponsored.
As a result we get this promo with about 5 minutes left in the period, “Coming up in the Tim Horton’s second intermission the Labatt Blue intermission show featuring the Bauer expert hockey panel who will bring you the International Tire breakdown of all the second period goals plus scores and highlights from around the league on the Cialis Scoreboard.”
And yet could you believe there are still missed opportunities? As my father never said, “If you are going to sell out then sell out completely.”
So let’s have some fun with a top ten list of missed opportunities for sponsorships in hockey. If the kiss cam can be sponsored by your local dentist then these can surely be considered.
1) Goalie changes sponsored by Depends. “Depends, is it time for a change?”
2) Goal reviews sponsored by WebMD. “WebMD, if you’re unsure just get it looked at.”
3) Player or coach ejections brought to you by E-Z Pass. “Get home faster with E-Z Pass.”
4) Playoff eliminations sponsored by The Golf Channel. “Check your local listings. We look forward to seeing you soon.”
5) Bad contracts sponsored by Match.com. “You look nothing like your profile.”
6) Too many men on the ice penalties made possible by Geico. “Counting to five. So easy even a caveman can do it.”
7) Fights brought to you by YouTube. “YouTube, you better win because it’s going to be around forever.”
8) Empty net goals sponsored by Activia. “It’s time to go.”
9) Illegal stick penalties brought to you by Curves. “There’s no such thing as too much curve.”
10) Offsides from the Border Patrol. “Hey, get back here.”
Born in Vermont, I started skating at age 4 on the lake and was lacing it up for the mite team the next year. At age 6, and much to my father’s dismay – a Bruins fan from Worcestor, MA – I received a pair of hand me down Canadien PJs that sealed my fate as life long Habs fan. I’m OK with it.
My work in politics and public affairs brought me to Raleigh, NC where I currently live with my wife, herself a hockey player from Lake Placid, and our son.
My essays have been featured in Carolina Hockey Magazine and publish my own web magazine, www.Spopitics.com.
After years of writing for other people, I am excited to be writing for myself on The Hockey Writers about a game I love and that has so much to do with who I am.
Follow me @JasonSulham