Recently, the New York Times ran a series of articles on the life and death of a hockey player, Derek Boogaard, who recently committed suicide. The…

Recently, the New York Times ran a series of articles on the life and death of a hockey player, Derek Boogaard, who recently committed suicide. The articles raise a lot of questions about the safety of hockey, since the injuries Boogaard sustained and the painkillers he began to abuse played a large role in the decision to end his life. For any reader, this is tough to read. It’s basically the story of someone with a lot of promise losing everything. But what was even for disturbing for me was how this relates to sports fandom. The idea that millions of people pay money to see other people subject themselves to injuries is at least a little troubling. And then the treatment we give these players – boos, taunts, and jeers for not excelling – seems not to consider the fact that they’re human, too. This isn’t to say that we should ban hockey, or put everyone in foot-thick pads. Instead, maybe fans should just consider that the uniforms they’re rooting for are filled with people like themselves, risking a lot in order to play a game.
– Will

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