Bowling for KneecapsShareThis
Hockey fans, a general inquiry from a player, to you:
Why, oh why, do you all love short players so much?
Why does being 5’6″ guarantee any player an instant, devoted following?
My father was been widely cited as the “fastest skater of his era” – a nice quote considering he played during the Gretzky days with teammates like Bossy and Trottier.
It’s one of his favourite rants: Shorter players look like they’re working twice as hard as tall guys, because their little legs have to pump more reps to keep up with us long-legged folk. And people see the increased reps, and say things like “that little guy just never stops working”.
At 6’4″, it takes a tad more effort to get one of those stems up-and-through than it does when you’ve got the legs of a Pembroke Corgi. We’re working here too, alright? We’re trying.
Every year at fitness testing, there’s some kid with T-Rex arms that can do 45 pull-ups and only stops because the trainers like “fine, fine, we get it, enough”.
They aren’t skating faster, they just have really short legs!
I get that fans like to watch them play physical – as a taller guy, you always want to thump that little bastard that’s running around like a possessed bowling ball, but the odds of running over a guy with a lower center of gravity than a flat-side-down bosu-ball is unlikely.
Of course, all sports are, to quote Al Pacino “a game of inches”. Two guys reach to poke the puck, or a forward drags his leg to stay onside, whatever. The small guys are disadvantaged there. So sure, love them, they do have a few little hurdles to jump.
Just do us lanky-leggers a favour: Don’t say they’re working harder. And don’t applaud the (rare) small guy who (lacks respect and) goes low (fans love the front-flip after a sub-hit, but half my college team would give their left one for the chance to beat the piss out of Nick Licari from Wisconsin. And unlike fighting, low hits don’t come with smiles and respect at the bar).
Do you know how hard it is to co-ordinate 15 miles of limbs? I’m not even quite at the 6’2″ line and it took me to 20 before I could get them working in the same direction.
So why, hockey fans?
Where’s the love for the gangletrons?
Cheering for the small guy is like being a Yankees fan. How’s that beaten path feel under your crocs?
* The final piece of my series “A Hockey Players Life” for Max Hockey.com is up on their site, or it can simply be found as the latest article under the Max Hockey.com button at the top of this page.