With the NHL lockout finally over, I can finally not care about hearing about scores, rather than not caring about collective bargaining negotiations. I don’t hate hockey, I actually consider it far and away the hardest sport to play. Take ten random people off the street and get them to play each of the major sports. There is no doubt hockey will be the one most struggle with (well, that is if this experiment was performed anywhere in the US south of I-90). The thing is, I’m a basketball guy through and through, and I have come to realize that basketball and hockey are the exact opposite in every way other than when their professional seasons take place. People’s brains are wired for ways: 1) you really love basketball, 2) you really love hockey, 3) you’re equally interested in both but neither really touches your soul, 4) you really could care less. B’ballers and hockey-ers(?) can’t really talk with each other in-depth about the other’s game because they are so different. I came up with this compare/contrast list in my head a while ago, and now I would like to share it with you all. I will start with the more obvious examples, and work towards the more complex. So without further ado:
1) Hockey is played on ice. Basketball is played on wood.
2) Basketball is played on a rectangular playing area. Hockey is played on an oval.
3) Hockey players wear padding, basketball players do not.
4) Basketball requires sneakers, hockey requires ice skates.
5) The typical basketball player is much taller than the average person, and height gives you an advantage. Hockey players are typically average sized (in height), and having a lower center of gravity is very beneficial.
6) A player can use any part of their body and a stick in hockey (but hands can only be used briefly) to control the puck. Basketball players are only allowed to use their hands.
7) The net in hockey is large, protected, and on the ground. The net in basketball is small, unprotected, but 10 feet above the ground. (trivia: an official basketball hoop is exactly twice the size of an official ball)
8) Because I have admitted in the past I have no problem stealing ideas, I want to point out right here and now that George Carlin’s bit “Football / Baseball” has in no way influenced me to write this.
9) The majority of professional hockey players are white (93% source: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/sports/thrashers-top-nhl-with-highest-percentage-of-black/nFC2p/) and the majority of professional basketball players are black (82%, source: http://www.nba.com/2009/news/06/10/NBA.diversity.ap/index.html)
10) The net is square in hockey and round in basketball.
And finally, simply the origins of both sports couldn’t be more opposite:
11) Basketball was invented in 1891, in a gymnasium in Springfield, MA, in an attempt to give kids city kids a workout during the winter months. Hockey has history dating back to the 17th century, where there is early evidence of “stick and ball games” played on ice. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey#History), there are a few theories on how the game was made into what we know today, but there is no one person who can be credited with its invention.
So here’s the explanation of the title: If someone you know claims to be a huge hoop fan and a huge hockey fan, it simply cannot be. They are a liar. There is no way both of these sports help shape how you view the world, or shape the kind of person you are. They can have above average knowledge of both, but the two sports are so philosophically opposed there is no way anyone be fan enough that they enjoy watching Playoff Round 1 postgame press conferences of random teams in both of them.
I could go on about the greatness of sports, and how all who devote their time to teams, goals, focus, etc. really all learn the same thing. Well I guess I just did, and I don’t want my super bias to swoop in at the end, so I am going to quit while I’m ahead. I’m glad my hockey-fan friends have their game back. Oh yeah, I guess the one thing the two sports have in common in that both professional leagues really could care less about their fans and have no problem denying them the games they love, or offering a sub-par version, in order to improve their own bottom line.
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