Gretzky VS Armstrong

Somebody left this on the comment board and it seems like it’s worth a bit of thought here. By the way, if you want to do a similar thing and leave random topic suggestions, feel free. Just don’t get all pissed off if it either takes a long time for us to use them or we don’t end up using them at all, we’ve got lives too and there are some things we just don’t have any thoughts on.

here’s a good topic for discussion…over on espn they;ve got a poll rating the top 25 athletes in the past 25 yrs…. Gretzky doesn’t top any of the writers
lists, Lance Armstrong does however.
Anonymous | 01.16.04 – 7:27 pm |

After thinking about it for a couple of minutes the reason for this seems pretty simple. Actually there are a couple of reasons. For one thing ESPN is a mostly American organization and as much as things have changed over the last few years, hockey doesn’t have the same level of acceptance in America as it does here in Canada. Let’s face it, the States might have most of the teams in the NHL and the league might be run out of New York but hockey at it’s core is a truly Canadian game. A lot of people actually think that it’s our national sport, and for good reason. Our official national sport is lacrosse, or so I’m told but the way that a great deal of Canadians live and breathe the stuff, hockey might as well be considered our game. Hockey to us is like football to America. It’s the sport that people get together and talk about more than any other. It’s the highest rated sport on TV here. A lot of our kids play it. Hockey is a very important part of Canadian culture. Now having said that it should be a lot clearer why Gretzky, even though he was arguably the greatest player the game has ever seen, didn’t make tops on anybody’s list. He was the best in a sport that Americans, including I’m assuming most of the writers doing the selecting don’t really care all that much about or know that much about. It’s easy to pass a guy over in your personal rankings if you have no idea what he accomplished or better yet simply don’t care.

But more than that, Gretzky was simply really good at what he did while Lance Armstrong has a story attached to him. Armstrong came back from cancer that could have easily killed him to become the most dominant force in cycling. To a lot of people, he’s a hero, and for good reason. And not only is he a hero, he’s an American hero and let’s not forget where a lot of these writers are from and where the company they’re working for is based. Sure cycling isn’t among anybody’s favourite sports, at least nobody I’ve talked to but Armstrong is somebody that’s easy to get behind and easy to cheer for. Everybody wanted to see him beat the odds and when he actually did it, he earned all of the praise he got. But beyond that, he earned a place in a lot of people’s hearts for what he had done and the significance of it. Armstrong taking top honours over Wayne Gretzky makes perfect sense, at least from where I sit. And don’t forget, all of these rankings are purely opinion to begin with and no opinion is ever wrong unless there are factual errors in it.

Ok, comment away.

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