Friday, September 20, 2013

The Perception of Poverty and the NHL

Warning: I'm feeling ranty and generally fed up with society.

This morning "news" broke locally about an NHL'er and his recently signed deal (read it here). The "Nuge" was signed for seven more years - for 42 million US (that's 42 with six (6) zeroes).

Did I mention he's a hockey player?

Yay for him. I'm sure he's very talented and he's worked hard to get where he is. Although I think his salary is ridiculous (we don't pay people to save lives anywhere where near that much - see here for the average of a GP in Alberta - my math calcs come up with about $170,000 annually), that's only one of the problems with this story.

The first line of the "news" story states: EDMONTON - During his peewee years growing up in Burnaby, B.C., Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was forced to sit out one season because his family was having a tough time making ends meet.*

The radio station I was listening to said how awesome and great this was - because they were poor and he couldn't play hockey for one year. Although I haven't found 'exact' costs, it's estimated one year of peewee costs anywhere from $600 to $2000 for registration, $1000 for equipment. Additionally, there are travel costs (hotels, food, etc) for tournaments and away games.

Can I just remind everyone that hockey is not necessary to survive? It doesn't feed, clothe or shelter you. No matter how you slice it, dice or dissect it, it is an exclusive and elitist activity that very few can really afford to play.

Do I think it's fair and equitable that he's making 5.6 million dollars more than the neurosurgeon who had my life in his hands? Not a chance.

We, as a society, are seriously screwed up and have an enormous problem on our hands. What message are we sending our children? That "poor" means you can't play hockey for a year? Tell that to the families who frequent food banks!

I'm not really blaming the players - it is us (meaning the collective "we") who caused this. When we put our priorities in the wrong basket, we've sentenced ourselves to a lifetime of this misguided lifestyle.

Just once, though, it would be nice to have a hockey player stand up and say "Hey, this is stupid! How can I possibly be paid more, in one year, than the leaders of many nations combined?"

The "heads" of Singapore, Hong Kong, the USA, Germany, Canada, Luxembourg, Ireland, France, Britain, Cyprus, Spain and Italy make $4, 568, 768.00 per year COMBINED. Yet we're always bitching that politicians make too much money (for what it's worth, the Prime Minister of Italy is drawing no salary). Hockey (or other pro-sports) players? Totally justified...

Hand me a hand-basket, as obviously, we're up crap creek without a paddle.

* Edmonton Oilers lock up another building block with Nugent-Hopkins extension - Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal (Sept. 20, 2013) [See link above for full article]

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