Thursday, June 9, 2011

Top 5: Reasons Hockey Beats The Grand Prix

Grand Prix weekend is a pretty big deal in Montreal, in case you didn't know. There are tourists and parties and sports cars and oysters all over the place. And what brings them to this city? A car race.

A car race.

Yes, really. A car race.

Guys driving cars around a track a bunch of times. In what is apparently a sport, and not just a poorly edited reality-competition show.


Top 5 Reasons Why Hockey Beats 
The Grand Prix

The human element. I know that racecar drivers sweat a lot on the track and that car races require a lot of mental acuity. You know what else is a mental game that makes you sweat a lot? Hockey. Everything that probably makes car races exciting is present in a good hockey game, plus so much more. Hockey requires both strategy and intense physical work. It's fast. It's unpredictable. And it's not about cars: it's about people in direct competition with each other, aided only by sticks and skates.

It sounds better.
What you hear during a hockey game: Skates slicing the surface of the ice. Players yelling at each other. Pucks hitting goalposts. Fans cheering like there's no tomorrow.

The rivalries are older and better. At least, I think they are. Look at how much animosity there is between Montreal and Boston, for instance. They're like the Montagues and Capulets. The reason why they started hating each other doesn't matter anymore because it happened so long ago. (I'm sure the Habs/Bruins origin story has been scrawled with a quill on a piece of parchment somewhere.) They'll probably never stop hating each other. I've never seen that in F1. No one ever advertises a race by spotlighting a long-standing rivalry between houses. It's always "This guy has won the most races so far! Will this be the week he's defeated by someone or other?" or "Look what city they're in this week! Okay, now look at the same racetrack for ten thousand laps!"


More accommodating schedules. A practice race on Saturday and a real race 24 hours later, and that's it. Really? If there are less than 3 games on in one night during the regular NHL season, it's a slow night. There's so much more to watch.

We don't waste champagne. Don't get me wrong, it looks like so much fun to shake a bottle of champagne and spray everyone in sight with it, but it happens at the end of every F1 race. It's probably old hat to guys like Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel. Only one out of 30 NHL teams gets a post-victory champagne party, and it happens once a season after months of work. They're athletes, not rappers. A celebration should mean something, and not just be another part of that week's festivities.

(Sidebar: No one ever gives racecar drivers any grief for partying. What's up with that?)

So, thank you, F1, for all the tourism revenue, the movie stars, the camera angles that make the beach on Ile Ste. Helene look really fancy, and the opportunity to hear Pierre Houde's voice during the summer. But I'll stick with my hockey. 



    But actually, (at least I think so) the amount of alcohol hockey players drink at post-game parties can´t equal the amount of champagne wasted after the races, lol.

  2. The champagne and the partying are kind of two separate thoughts that I guess I improperly lumped together: I was thinking more about how an entire Grand Prix weekend (judging from what I've seen in Montreal) is all about parties, whereas hockey players cause a scandal if they're seen partying at any point - even during the offseason.

    Sorry for the confusion. That'll teach me to try editing during a Stanley Cup Final game! Thanks for the comment, Susanne!


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