Boston Globe Opinion: James Carroll

It certainly is not the first opinion piece that has graced the papers in recent year, nor will it be the last, but James Carroll’s opinion piece does take a reflective look at the sport and issue we now face;

Even as a high school kid, I knew that more honor was to be had in playing through an injury than in the few passes I actually ever caught.

As I learned when my parents later took me to the doctor, I had suffered a concussion. That was nothing to the embarrassment I felt when they made me tell Coach I’d be sitting out practice for a week. His sneer flooded me with shame. That simply, I’d been plunged into the macho heart of football — a gladiator ethos which has lately drawn scrutiny because, indeed, of brain concussions.

This attitude must change when it comes to playing with concussions.  The entire game or mindset does not need to be completely rewritten, rather the view-point of one specific injury needs to be changed up.  Can you imagine what Bo Shemblecher or Woody Hays would have thought about spreading 5 wide receivers out and only have the QB in the backfield in shotgun?  Certainly they would have thought the game was coming to an end.

Naturally since the sport of football is so popular any type of tinkering or changing the game many people, especially those established in the sport, feel they are personally taking something away.

Listen, concussions are not good, in the short-term or long-term, and its and injury that will be part of football and of other sports too.  Some changes are necessary to protect the player – Continue reading

Breaking The Silence In Hockey

Unwritten rules in sports have their place, more importantly, HAD their place.  Sure, some of the unspeakable yet respected rules govern sports in a way written rules can never do.  Most of these rules deal with punitive retaliation for a wrong doing, for example; hitting a batter after one of your players was hit, a sign that “you have his back”.  But within these archaic hidden rules are even more hidden rules, a society of secrets, things that those that never played the game “will not understand.”  To a point I happen to agree with the spirit of each of these ‘secret codes’, but at times every player and observer must understand that those sacred rules SHOULD be broken.

Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe reported on such ‘Code Breakers’ in hockey, revolving around the recently shut down Marc Savard.  The two players in his article have chosen to speak out…  AGAINST THEIR OWN…  Gasp! [/sarcasm]  While this is occurring the ‘old school’ is up in arms about such heinous actions;

Ference’s words touched off far more fireworks than the damage Paille inflicted on Sawada. Commentators Mike Milbury and Don Cherry, both former Boston coaches turned talkmasters, interpreted Ference’s words as a crime against hockey. They focused not on the words per se (every one of them true and right on point), but instead that Ference, as a member of the Black and Gold, broke the “code’’ by indicting one of his own.

“Unacceptable!’’ shouted Milbury from his bully pulpit.

“I don’t care if your teammate is an axe murderer,’’ bellowed Cherry, proclaiming the eternal need to abide by the game’s honor and keep such comments “in the dressing room.’’

All Andrew Ference said was that the hit that his teammate was punished for was unacceptable, Continue reading