Any article that features a sports star doing nice things to make kids happy is guaranteed to warm my heart. When it happens to be one of my favorite players doing the nice things, it makes me even happier.
When the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in May, Phil Kessel (a Stanley Cup Champion) being on the winning team was a big story.
Little bit of background on Kessel. He survived testicular cancer and dealt with awful fan treatment while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs – while still leading the Leafs in goals for most seasons (it’s true). Then, Kessel went to Pittsburgh, where he had an okay season before flourishing in the playoffs for the Cup. Not only did Kessel help the team win the Cup, he led the team in playoff scoring! His entire journey to the Cup even led to President Obama making a couple of good-natured quips toward him during the Penguins visit to the White House.
It’s tradition, after winning the Cup, for each player to get some time with it, bring it to their hometown, etc. Kessel delivered. Rather than bring the Cup back to a place that ridiculed him for multiple seasons and basically chanted “good riddance” when he was traded, he brought the Cup back to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, a hospital that he was involved with while playing with the Leafs.
The article, in my opinion, is great because it focuses on the positives: it focuses on the work Kessel did with the kids at the hospital before he was traded and how much he genuinely cared for the kids. It also shows how excited the kids were to see the Cup; it meant a lot more to them than it would have to a city that didn’t have any faith in him while he was playing for them.
(This, also, isn’t completely related to the article I posted above, but as a lifelong fan of the Buffalo Sabres, I hate the Toronto Maple Leafs on principle. Their treatment of Phil Kessel while he was playing with them only exacerbated my distaste, and I am so glad that he won the Cup and brought it back to Toronto in the best way.)
After reading this, my first thought was, “What?”
I understand that this is an opinion article, I do, really, but it’s so awfully written and structured that I can’t believe anyone at Bleacher Report actually let this be posted.
As a soccer player and fan, it bothers me that people refuse to take the time to understand the nuances in what is a genuinely entertaining sport; looking at it from an outside perspective, I can sort of comprehend why people don’t enjoy soccer as much as, say, football or baseball (namely: established culture, among a host of other things, in my opinion).
This article was vastly ill-informed; it was obviously written by someone who has never seen a good soccer game, and used football (a vastly different sport) to illustrate why soccer was… boring? Because using a sport that has breaks every 30 seconds and only ends up having 11 minutes of actual play to call another sport boring makes perfect sense. It was also rife with grammar mistakes and random capitalization, and had a very negative, closed-minded tone.
I find it very hard to take seriously an article that claims (unfounded, of course) that in Europe, people are forced to like soccer, without making any mention of the extreme cultural phenomenon football is in America [see: inspirational football movies & football at Southern high schools].
Long story short – it’s an awfully written article and is extremely short-sighted, criticizing soccer while completely ignoring the fact that many soccer qualities are duplicated in other sports and neglecting to similarly criticize them. It was genuinely painful to read and I think that the correspondent presented a weak case against soccer without truly developing or supporting his argument with actual fact.