Class and No Class, A Tale of Two Champions

by | Jul 13, 2019 |

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Celebrating our favorite sports team’s success on the field and in the arena is as American as Apple Pie. We Americans take joy in sharing in the triumphs and accomplishments of our hometown heroes. Just recently we were treated to two such achievements by American athletic teams whose championship prowess in their specific sports venue was on display for the whole world to see.

The St. Louis Blues ice hockey team of the professional National Hockey League won the Stanley Cup Championship, the pinnacle achievement in Ice Hockey. A singular achievement for the St. Louis Blues in that they had never won the Stanley Cup before, and had not made it to the Stanley Cup finals in fifty years. Particularly since at one point in the season they were in dead last place before coming together as a team and winning it all.

The victory parade on Market Street through downtown St. Louis was lined with tens of thousands of fans, and the victory rally beneath the Gateway Arch was filled with nearly four hundred thousand of the St. Louis Blue’s faithful, all reveling in their hometown victory.

Throughout the parade Blues players were jumping off the vehicles they were riding in to interact with the fans, high-fiving them, posing for photos, even sharing a few adult beverages. Everybody, players and fans were enjoying themselves thoroughly.

One Blues player even took off with a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Bike Patrol Officer’s bicycle and started to ride it up and down the parade route entertaining the fans gathered on the sidewalks along the street. He was quickly tracked down by the Police and sheepishly relinquished the bike back to the police who themselves were laughing and having a good time. No harm no foul and the player quickly resumed his revelry.

At the rally beneath the Gateway Arch the Blues hockey players continued their celebration, toasting their teammates, toasting their coaches, and toasting the fans who stuck by the Blues for over fifty years waiting for them to bring home the Stanley Cup to St. Louis. Ice hockey is a team sport and each player no matter how good they might be individually understand that it’s the team that wins championships, not just one player.

Yes, there were a few inadvertent ‘F-Bombs’ which slipped out from mouths of some of the players in their exuberance when they had the microphone put into their hands at the rally under the Arch. But that’s hockey. It’s a ‘blue collar’ sport. No one took offense and the players caught themselves and quickly apologized for the indiscretion. No one got upset because it wasn’t intentionally done just for shock value or out of disrespect.

Interestingly with four hundred thousand people crammed into downtown St. Louis Arch grounds not a single arrest for unruly behavior or rioting was made by the St. Louis Police. No police cars were overturned and torched, no police officers injured, and no stores were looted.

One other thing that is notable, throughout the hockey season the players respected our flag and stood for the National Anthem, hand across their hearts each time the Anthem was played at their games. Including respecting the National Anthem of Canada which is also played for the Canadian teams who are members of the NHL.

Hockey is a rough sport with lots of physical contact and even a few fist fights sometimes during a game. But it’s not a sport that you’re likely to get offended by watching.

The other sports achievement that also occurred just recently was the American women’s soccer team victory in the World Cup of Soccer. The American team won their fourth women’s World Cup title. Certainly an accomplishment of note.

But anyone who watched the antics of some of the members of the American team during the World Cup play could have easily been offended. The disrespect some on the team displayed towards other teams, the disrespect some showed towards the United States of America, and the disrespect the team captain openly voiced and showed towards the nation she was supposedly representing offended many people. I know that I was certainly offended.

For eight years I despised Barack Obama. I believed that he was dishonest to the voters during his first campaign, concealing his true ideology and what he intended to do with his “fundamental transformation” of the United States. I spoke out against his policies, and I did what I could to try to convince other voters that Barack Obama was not the person he portrayed himself to be and did not merit reelection.

Also for eight years every time I heard the National Anthem I proudly stood up and placed my hand across my heart and remained at attention until the Anthem was finished. Even though I opposed Barack Obama, I was still proud to be an American, still proud of my country, and felt compelled to stand and honor those who serve and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of America.

Honestly I could care less about women’s soccer, along with a lot of other people who also now agree with me I suspect. Perhaps that’s why there’s a pay inequity in women’s soccer, they just don’t attract the following. And I refuse to watch or support their team based largely on the antics of their team captain. Certainly not all of the team deserves condemnation, but sadly the entire team is tarnished by the few.

I’m certain I won’t be watching any of their future contests, nor will I be purchasing any of their jerseys or other memorabilia. Not a nickel will go into their pockets from me. Instead I’ll be wearing my Blues jersey as I stand for the Star Spangled Banner at hockey games, and I’ll be shouting loud and clear, “Let’s Go Blues!”

D.W. Wilber

Del is a former under cover employee of the Central Intelligence Agency serving overseas in Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East. He currently does consulting work in counterterrorism and writes columns, as well as appears as a guest on a number of programs.

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