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I am a lifelong sports fan, of essentially every game known to man.  Baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and an assortment of “secondary sports” like golf, triathalons, horse racing, and –well, you name it.

Historically, sports have been a universal bonder of men and women alike; in hundreds of nations, and thousands of cultures.  Whether playing or spectating, “games” enable escape from life’s monotonies and difficulties; particularly in trying times like these.

Consequently, I am appalled that the National Hockey League – or NHL – is on the verge of shelving the entire 2012-13 season; not to mention, just as my beloved New York Rangers have finally become an elite team, after nearly two decades of obscurity.

It would be one thing if it was an isolated incident – but it’s decidedly NOT.  Care of what I view as some of the most ruthless, irresponsible, and uncaring people on the planet – the team owners – hockey lost the entire 2004-05 season to lockout.  In Canada, this was a national tragedy; while in the less “hockey-crazy” States, it simply served as a MASSIVE blow to confidence in an already second-tier sport.

In the past 30 years, lockouts have occurred numerous times in American sports leagues.  However, only twice have entire seasons been lost; that is, the 1994 Major League Baseball season, and the aforementioned 2004-05 National Hockey League season.

A number of other seasons were cut in half, such as in 1981 (baseball), 1982 (football), 1999 (basketball), and – most recently – last year’s National Basketball Association season.  Moreover, there have been many close calls – such as last year’s National Football League lockout, which lasted right up until training camp.

I’m not going to ramble about the idiocy of NHL owners locking out players, fans, and the myriad businesses attached to the league for the second time in eight years; particularly when the league is just starting to regain the momentum lost in 2004-05.  In other words, if they want to commit financial suicide, more power to them.

However, when I consider the impact on SOCIETY of removing a badly-needed source of unity and morale during difficult economic times, I become enraged.  Not to mention the plight of the players, who train for lifetimes for the infinitesimal chance to be one of the world’s best; only to sit home and rot because 30 billionaires want a bigger piece of the pie.

And no, I’m not Robin Hood or a communist; whom blindly supports “the poor” against “the rich.”  I’m sure the owners have some points regarding league finances; although, from what I’ve superficially perused, it appears my initial view is not far from the truth.  And by the way, professional sports owners have a reputation of fudging league financial data on a par with what the U.S. government does with economic data.  Let’s face it; money is power, and these guys – some more than others – enjoy the view from their respective aeries.

Perhaps I am totally off base, and the owners are truly the victims; while the players, team employees, and society at large are the predators.  But I highly doubt it; as power corrupts; and ABSOLUTE power ABSOLUTELY corrupts.  The way I see it, the pervasive expansion of professional sports “lockouts” is just a sign of the times – “THE ULTIMATE IN GREED.”

PROTECT YOURSELF, and do it NOW!

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