The trend of having fun doesn’t matter, gets another boost.
“Money changes everything!”(Cindy Lauper, et al) roles on as a domiinating rule in all walks of life – including curling.
It is a long term trend, in all walks of life, however.
A big reason for the decline of, “amateur,” sports, even here, is money.
A few decades back, as the number of bonspiels, and club membership, declined in the area one of the main comments from former attendees at those bonspiels was that the prizes weren’t valuable enough. Better (more expensive) prizes apparently would have meant more enjoyment of the games and gatherings involved.
In minor hockey circles, families who still had money were not content unless the focus of minor hockey was on rep teams, in mostly forlorn hopes of big bucks down the road for their offspring.
People who can afford, for instance, golf club memberships became more concerned with optimizing their return on that investment than supporting their kids in team endeavours.
Many of these same people prefer to shop elsewhere than local for no other real reason than that they can afford the trips out of town (You will not convince me easily that a 400 mile round trip, plus hotel and other expenses, just to hit Costco for two unrelenting hours, is a cost effective shopping experience).
It seems no amount of advertising by local businesses around price matching can reverse the mindset.
And, all the enjoyment I used to get from golf this time of year – at the Crosby and Hope tournaments – is gone right along with the social nature of those events, now just pieces of the money list.
If you wonder sometimes why I push so hard for support for local junior hockey teams, the trend is the reason.
Despite the large role money plays in even the success of Trail and Beaver Valley clubs, and as the incentive of players to work hard, they still seem outside the wider societal ethos (and we can see where that ethos is leading us, all over the, “developed,” world) in terms of the affordability of the entertainment and the real enthusiasm of most of those on the ice.
I will be sad, when/if, the Smokies can no longer carry on here, but the evidence that an inch of snow and mediocre television and on-line offerings are enough to keep supposed Home of Champions hockey fans away from the arena on game nights cannot be denied.
Wednesday’s 3-1 win by a young and improving Smoke Eater team was witnessed by fewer than 300 sets of eyes, whatever attendance number is registered, and the team is not sustainable at that attendance level.
The respective leagues in which the two local teams play offer little help either.
The Smokies are on a two week away run, during which time the Nitehawks have exactly one home game scheduled – and one big rivalry tilt in Castlegar, almost a local team as well, Sunday at 5 p.m..
I get that only money matters is the way of the new society. I don’t, however, have to like it.