March 20, 2015 Editor
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I don’t remember when I wrote this: years ago in any event. Perhaps I’m more philosophical now, and will settle for “Hockey Agnostic”…

Hockey Atheist

I mean really?

Dare not be excited about the Canucks and live in BC? In Canada? Absolute heresy! Every media outlet, every office, every pub, every social club, everyone – is talking about the Canucks! More, raving, worshipping at their shrine, with endless litanies of the gods of skate recited by strangers and neighbours alike, every day, every way, everywhere. Not be excited, ecstatic, devoted passionately to the Canucks? Unthinkable! Unconscionable! Uncanadian! Unpardonable!

Well, I’m a hockey atheist. Okay, a professional sports atheist in general. I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe professional sports brings salvation to anyone; is efficacious in any way to help us live neighbourly or better; is healthy or wholesome at the mania level reached each year the Canucks (or whatever!) make it to the playoffs/finals. I become quickly sickened by the endless drivel of sportscasters and others outdoing each other in public displays of religious devotion to a relatively socially useless and self-indulgent phenomenon as professional sports. Not to mention the fan(atic)s…

Professional sports are the national religion, and one is heretic to not be a believer. I’m not. Bloated salaries; sick displays of temper tantrums in hockey fights cheered on by maniac mobs; fanatical fans calling for scapegoat victims. Professional sports can degenerate to the ancient Roman arenas or early Greek war games, where passions are incited to feverish pitch, the enemy is mercilessly vanquished, and (pace Walt Disney) it’s a dog-eat-dog world after all. No one minds the losers.

Amateur sports? If the Big Bucks stay away, they’re wonderful. The Olympics?…

Can professional sports be other than fanatical religion? Yes. But there will always be the fanaticism of same, perhaps at its worst when “our team” wherever hits hockey playoffs.

I’m often enough a professional sports atheist who feels driven by the mob violence to wish the Canucks would lose, that all such professional team sports would… just go away somewhere and do their private thing. Concealed displays of such religion without its TV evangelists would be fine! For us atheists, it’s otherwise a hell of an endurance course through another playoff season. Too often we think: Dive, Canucks, dive!



Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

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Wayne Northey

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