Wednesday, June 15, 2011

06/15 (Game 7) Quickie

I'm still thinking about LeBron, and what I ended yesterday's post with stuck with me:

That enjoying LeBron's failure now is entirely acceptable -- I find the scolds telling fans that they are morally wrong to root against LeBron or deficient in cheering his failure (which is hardly "hate," by the way) to be insufferable. But if we are still jeering his failures five years from now, the Decision has morphed from something disqualifying about LeBron to something corrosive about us.

That said, it is as useless to worry about where we'll be five years from now as it is to assume LeBron can't/won't win one along the way -- chances are, he will.

For now, 48 hours of schadenfreude (11 months, if you insist) are an entirely appropriate response. Are some of the reactions more intense than most? Sure -- but let's not mistake the extreme examples for "everyone." My take is that most fans casually enjoyed LeBron's failure, then have moved on to other things.

What I really want to talk about is tonight's Stanley Cup Game 7. The Quickish Facebook Question of the Day is asking where a Stanley Cup Game 7 ranks among all standard events in a sports year (presuming there IS a Game 7 in any given title series).

My take was that it clearly falls behind the Super Bowl (and probably the college football national title game), but also falls behind the first two days of the NCAA Tournament. But it stands right up there with Game 7s of the NBA Finals or the World Series -- in the case of the NBA this year, it is bigger than a Finals that end in 6 games (although the TV ratings for the final game of the NBA Finals will clearly be greater than Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, understanding that has a lot more to do with LeBron than the NBA itself).

So a Stanley Cup Game 7 is, at best, the 3rd-biggest sports event of any given year, but no worse than Top 5. That's pretty good for a niche sport like the NHL. (It is no coincidence that the NFL, college football and NCAA Tournament are the most nationally celebrated events of the sports year -- not to mention single-game playoffs, not "best-of" series in which series can end before both teams face a do-or-die situation.

Ranking is probably unnecessary -- something is either "must-see" or it isn't. On this count, tonight's game certainly qualifies, even if you couldn't care less about hockey. Enjoy it.

-- D.S.

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