It is not uncommon, as an American living in Edinburgh, to have people continuously shitting on American football in front of me. And to be fairly honest, when I saw my first game of rugby, I started to understand and admittedly sometimes partake in the aforementioned shitting.
Compared to the rough and gritty nature of something like rugby, American football does indeed look like a joke to those beyond the borders of America. But there is more to (North) American sports than football and indeed ones exist that rival rugby in more ways than one.
A sport that requires agility and skill in many ways, the ice hockey in the NHL has you on the edge of your seat before the game even starts.
From the quick footed action of players on the ice to trying your best to follow a minuscule puck as it gets thrown around the rink, it means you have to pay attention at all times.
When it comes to the players, impressive is an understatement because to be good at hockey means you need to be an expert at many things.
As if playing a coordinated team sport isn’t hard enough, these guys do it on a sheet of ice whilst having to balance on the sharp pieces of metal on their feet.
Although they may wear helmets and guards to protect themselves, this style of sport makes it almost impossible to survive without doing so. And in case you doubt that statement, all you have to do is type in ‘Clint Malarchuk throat slicing incident’ on Google and the rest will speak for itself.
Aside from the risk of fatal injury through play, there is also a certain level of intimidation and fighting that happens in games between players of different teams.
Though officially frowned upon and penalised once they are over, fights are allowed to happen on the ice permitting certain rules.
Sticks must be dropped, and you cannot use any weapons, instead your gloves come off and you fight each other with your fists.
In this case, no one will stop the fight as it is happening as I’m sure any ref would be afraid to get in between two men wailing on each other given their six feet height and over 200 pounds.
Indeed, it is safe to say hockey is an intense sport with lots of action and lots of satisfaction to come from it. The ultimate team sport, it requires every player to be in sync to win the game. And even then, things could change in a manner of minutes to seconds.
Unlike sports like basketball or football where at times, you find one team outclassing the other and leaving them in the dust, it takes a lot to score a decent point in ice hockey.
The goalie is huge, the net is small, and the players move at unbelievable speeds trying to stay on top of one another the entire time. Even if one team is ahead by a couple of points, things could change in no time at all.
This way, hockey values something that other sports seem to ease up at times – the masterful art of keeping your defence up the. entire. time.
So, if you find yourself loving rugby and other contact sports for all their worth, take a look at ice hockey now. From its intriguing history, to moments of near death on the ice, to the skill and speed of its players. There is so much to take away from this amazing sport.
As a starter, google Miracle On Ice – one of my favourite sports films focused completely on ice hockey.
And although my word as an American probably won’t mean much to you Brits out there, I can at least promise you that ice hockey is absolutely nothing like American football.
Image: twend354 via Pixabay