COLUMN: Sports fans running out of options

NANAIMO: Sports fans are quickly running out of options as the National Hockey League lockout continues.

Sports fans are quickly running out of options as the National Hockey League lockout continues to plod along from what was simply annoying, to now the ridiculous.

Billionaire owners fighting with millionaire players as the Joe Average fans look for something to fill their sports cravings.

Locally, we have our amateur sporting teams such as the Clippers, Mariners, Nanaimo United and V.I. Raiders, but as good as they have been, they don’t give the competition enthusiasts that ultimate high. They aren’t professional.

When September rolled around and the NHL owners locked out the players, fans weren’t too perturbed. Surely it wouldn’t last too long and we could all get back to cheering for our team.

In the meantime, there was the promise of the Vancouver Whitecaps putting on a performance for soccer fans. We know how that disappointment turned out.

The B.C. Lions were living up to the predictions football gurus placed on them. That is until the team decided to go on cruise control for four weeks and tanked in the western final. I don’t know what was more embarrassing – the performance on the field or the finger pointing that came soon after.

One defensive player even had the nerve to say the crowd noise when the Calgary Stampeders were on offence was too loud. This from a team that was unhappy about drawing 25,000 people to a regular season game and the fans should show more loyalty.

But back to the point.

Hockey games were being cancelled and talks appeared to be going nowhere, but the fans still had choices. Major League Baseball playoffs were just around the corner and  the National Football League was in the thick of one of its most competitive seasons in recent memory.

I’m not a big fan of baseball over 162 games, but the playoffs almost always have some drama and story to entertain. I’m going back a year, but one of the best games I ever watched was Game 6 of the 2011 World Series between St. Louis and Texas. I was literally glued to the set, and while I wasn’t pulling for one team over the other, I shook my head over the drama that unfolded.

Being a long-suffering fan of the St. Louis Rams, my NFL season was pretty much over before it began, but there are a number of teams capable of winning the Super Bowl and that makes for great entertainment. Trouble is, it’s in the final stretch and will soon be over as well.

That leaves the National Basketball Association, but who cares.

So, once a Super Bowl champion is crowned, what do sports fans do with their time? And what do TV and radio sports shows do to fill time?

Will it be more of the CBC’s classic hockey reruns from yesteryear? Or classic boxing or classic Olympic highlights? Perhaps TSN will ramp up the spelling bees and dog agility shows.

The  first two weeks of regular season NHL games in December, as well as the all star game are on the chopping block. I’m starting to believe my Boston Bruins visit to Rogers Arena to battle the Vancouver Canucks Dec. 29 is in real jeopardy. Too bad, I was looking forward to a whole new set of Canucklehead jabs.

But not all is lost. I surfed the Internet for some new sports that might gain some popularity and fill the void left by the NHL.

Listverse has some interesting ones including swamp soccer, mountain unicycling, chess boxing and my favourite – mind ball where two players sit in a room and use brainwaves to move a ball across a table.

There’s got to be a way for adapting that to hockey arenas and a puck. Granted it’s not the end-to-end, crash and bang action we are used to, but it’s more than we have now.

Maybe by the time a goal is scored, a deal will be made and the real game will return.

Nanaimo News Bulletin