I am not going to go on some insanely long rant about why I think what he said is absurd and untrue.
Because of course it is absurd and of course it is untrue. Plenty of people watch hockey. Plenty.
As many people as watch the big two of the NFL and MLB? No. As many as watch golf? No.
Personally though, and I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember:
I don’t care if the NHL is the fourth big sport (behind NFL, MLB, NBA), or even the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth (behind NASCAR, horse racing, gymnastics, aquatics, bird catching, Frisbee tossing – or whatever other sport gets better ratings than hockey).
Should I care? Maybe. But I don’t.
I personally would rather have plenty of people (across the border in Canada, here in the States, and over the ocean in Europe) call hockey their number one sport and love it for all that is great about it, without worrying about what other people think.
Because face it, hockey is a love it or hate it sport. I’ve tried making my arguments to people who hate it, to no avail. They don’t say, “I don’t follow the game.” They say, “Oh I hate hockey,” or “I despise hockey.” (Which is absurd in its own right – even I won’t say I hate/despise some sport that I have no knowledge about.) In my personal experiences, there is often not a middle of the road here.
I realize the NHL is a business and it needs to have more fans to make more money and more TV exposure in order to do that, etc. I’m not naïve.
But when people say they hate hockey, I recommend you just close your ears and ignore them. I’ve learned to. Because really, really, really, when it comes down to it, I don’t want them being a fan of my sport. My sport.
Because hockey is my sport. I am proud that I love hockey. And honestly, that is good enough for me. We know who we are. We have our plenty.
I’d chalk what Tiger said not to stupidity, but to pure ignorance. He should have been more diplomatic and said “I don’t follow hockey, “or “I’m not following the playoffs.” Or even an attempt to be funny with an, “I’m not sure. What team’s better?”
Instead, by his words, we have to assume in a world of love it or hate it, Tiger hates it. And all I have to say to him is – hockey doesn’t need a fan like you.
**Note: No disrespect was intended to fans of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, horse racing, gymnastics, aquatics, bird catching, and/or Frisbee tossing.**