OPINION: What is the best sport?

Scott Rainey

All of us in the world of journalism understand the facts. It’s about the facts. Objectivity. Bias? None for me. No, thank you. Sure, this might be the opinion section, and everything I do for student media involves my bias and opinion, but today we’re looking only at the facts, and I promise to be fully objective in my article today.

Objectively speaking, hockey is absolutely the greatest sport known to man. It takes all the best parts of the other top sports out there, and puts it together into one cohesive game. The kind of talent required to play makes it harder, better, faster and stronger than all others (shoutout to Daft Punk).

Other sports require speed, sure, but they primarily focus on running, and NASCAR, which is fast, but it isn’t not a sport. Hockey requires that you go as fast as you can while balancing on blades 1/8th of an inch wide. The blades can also slice you open, which has happened on many occasions and even threatened the life of several professional players.

In fact, hockey has many unique and brutal injuries that make the game terrifying and exhilarating. Aside from that, it also requires specific leg coordination you see in soccer, hand coordination you’d find in lacrosse, heavy hits you find in football, large clubs hitting things at fast speeds like you’d find in baseball, and basketball… is just a boring game.

It also has an incredible element of suspense. In football, if a man faster than everyone else is running toward the end zone with everyone behind him, you know he’s going to score way before he actually scores. In hockey, the best player in the world (Alex Ovechkin) could be on a breakaway, one on one with the goalie, and you don’t know if he’s going to score until the puck literally crosses the goal line.

Even when a man is on a breakaway with an empty net, he could still miss. In fact, this is exactly what happened when the Dallas Stars played the Edmonton Oilers in 2007. Patrik Stefan was in front of an empty net by himself, tried to shoot, but the puck flipped over his stick. He fell, the Oilers got the puck, they skated it down the ice and Ales Hemsky scored at the other end to send the game to overtime.

The point is, you don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens. Soccer is similar in this respect, but it changes possession slowly, whereas hockey is much faster in a much smaller space.

The hits in hockey are more exciting than hits in football. This is because the point of hockey is not to hit somebody. In football, that’s just what you do. It happens every play. In hockey, the hit is just one means of getting the puck off an opponent, and if it was particularly brutal, a teammate can come over and fight the guy. Sure, he’ll get a penalty. But he’ll just sit for five minutes in the penalty box. The sin bin. The shame shack.

Goalies are some of the most talented people in the world. Pucks regularly come flying at them from any direction, anywhere from 80 to 100 miles per hour. Then they have to deal with rebounds and giant men flying at them full speed to try to get that rebound. They have those big fancy pads for a reason, because a 6 ounce, 3’ by 1’ piece of vulcanized rubber made in the Czech Republic going 80 miles an hour into your gut will do some damage if you aren’t properly padded.

Hockey is intense. It’s fast. It’s brutal. It’s exciting. It’s the best sport out there, objectively speaking, and if you haven’t seen a game in person, I highly recommend that you go see one so you can get a feel for how fast the game actually is. Go to a game and you’ll see what I mean. These are just the facts, folks.

Scott Rainey is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].