Stanley Cup, World Championships And TV Sports Advertising With Double Entendres?

Marc Elliott

STONY RIVER…. Lets get the crud out of the way right off! I have satellite TV at home with it’s vast array of channels, most of which I never watch. (Bruce Springsteen, 57 channels, nuthin’ on!) I do have all hockey channels known to man on planet earth and they get a heck of a workout when I am at home. After that it’s food channel, any channel where guys are completely rebuilding some wreck of a car or truck and then history, documentaries and the like. I find cable and network news shows without worth and void of any redeeming value.

The other night, while waiting for that night’s Stanley Cup game to begin, I had on the warm-up show and it was then that I saw something that caught my attention, and if for no other reason, what is about to follow is just some social commentary on my behalf. At this point in time, if not in the distant past as well, sports and society have been quite linked together. You know, sports is life and life is sports? And in today’s electronic and social media dominance relative to life, I find that some things I see provoke a lot of thought. That’s not to say that it’s always positive thought, but thought nonetheless. And I should preface what I am about to say by admitting that life in this country, in this society has delivered me to a place whereby I can be quite cynical.

For instance, in the aftermath of the United States invasion of Iraq, and in the unrestrained patriotic fervor that followed suit, I remember driving past a church one evening and on the sign board out in front, the sign read; “freedom is not free”. That received the standard eye roll from me. I didn’t finish driving the remainder of that block when this flashed into my cynical mind’ “yes, especially when it’s being sold to you by liars”. That was over 10 years back and I still recall it. Being the son of a late Korean war vet and witness to every debacle we have been in since, I tend to pay pretty close attention to matters like that. Suffice it to say, I believe that war is a pretty poor method of solving problems, and in seeing societal and global violence escalating by the year, I am just weary of it.

I am also weary of the pathetic state of politics here in the States. Mind you, the 1st campaign I really understood and paid attention to was the 1968 campaigns. Richard Nixon versus a fellow I would get to meet a few years down the road, the North Star states own Hubert Humphrey. This year will be the 13th time I have witnessed a Presidential cycle and is the first one where hate has not only been laid right out on the table for all to see, sans dog whistle and code tactics, but is actually being used as a tool to define a candidates constituency. It has been an eye opener of epic proportion.

So, I am waiting for the evening puck to come on, and the station it is on is beginning to do some marketing-promo spots for their upcoming coverage of the summer Olympics. These are just the preliminary promo spots mind you, and are probably miniscule in scope when compared to the onslaught we will witness as we get closer to the games. And as a quick aside, are the Olympics a cesspool of corruption and bribery at this point in time? (whole other topic) Anyway, this spot comes on, it has the national anthem playing in bits and pieces along with shots of athletes tearing up with quivering lips and all. I get that. When I go to games and the anthem is played ( Canadian anthem too) I will be easy to spot, I am the guy with my hand over my heart, and there is a better then even chance I will have tears rolling down my cheeks. Maybe someday I can explain that for you. The short version is, love, pride, anger, dismay, shame, contempt and so on.

And then, a text graphic that says, “For 17 days”, and then a few seconds pass, and then, “We are all”, more seconds pass by, and then finally, “UNITED”. Believe me, the expression on my face didn’t change at all. I sat and observed, the TV spot was over shortly after. But I gave this some thought and after a few moments the first thing that popped into my mind was, yeah, and then we can all go back to hating each other. It was a shrug of the shoulders moment for certain. Writing ad copy, commercials etc, is quite challenging. You have to think that every single word or thought that could become part of a national TV ad campaign would get the utmost of scrutiny, right? You would believe that NBC would shake this thing out from every conceivable angle wouldn’t you? Yes, I’m trying to peek behind the curtain here. What was this message saying to the viewers?

THE IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS concluded this afternoon with Team Canada taking Team Finland 2-0 for the Gold medal. Team Russia thumped Team USA 7-2 for Bronze. The Minnesota Wilds Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund both finished in the top 10 tourney scorers. Minnesota was represented by Matt Hendricks, Brady Skjei, Hudson Fasching and Jordan Schroeder. Matt Dumba was with the Canada entry. The USA entry was heavy on youth and inexperience and it showed in their overall record. But after getting thumped by Canada in the opener, they played them in the semi’s on Saturday and got down 2-0 before gaining a 3-2 lead before losing 4-3. The USA group seems to be in a transition stage while most other clubs sent as strong a roster as they could assemble….

I AM WATCHING THE Penguins versus Tampa as I write and both the East and West series are at 2 games each before competition this eve. The Pens are up 2-0 in the 2nd at this moment. STL and the Shark will resume in the Gateway City tomorrow night. I have STL meeting the Pens for the Cup. In the NHL Bracket game I am in 10379th after 2 rounds. There are a few hundred thousand entries. So basically, I am not going to win you know what…. PEACE