Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A terrible day.

There is nothing good on a day when 2 good men lose their jobs. Today at the club’s hotel in Philadelphia Senators GM Bryan Murray flew into town, met with Coach John Paddock and assistant coach Ron Low and fired them both. These are the times when I wish the average fan could spend a day in this world. I listen to the radio shows talking about this and it is so antiseptic. It is distant and anonymous in the way people talk about those who lost their jobs and those who had to relieve them of their jobs like it was a board game and not people’s lives.

We all often say that its “just part of the business” and it is. But just because these are dream jobs and the wage is far higher than that of the average worker, it does not extract the sickening emotion from it.

John Paddock is a wonderful guy. He is a great hockey man and he knows that he might never be the head coach of an NHL team again. His dream died today. There is nothing good about that. Ron Low is exactly the same. Good man. Good hockey man. I hate people talking about these moves as if it were a game of checkers.

This would all be a lot easier if you could dislike either of the 2 main participants. But how do you dislike Paddock or Murray. Its just one of those painful things that sometimes happens in pro sports. For Bryan Murray you could see during his media conference how shaken he was. This was something he never wanted added to his to-do list. He and John are friends. They believed in each other and the way they viewed how this game should be played. But in a sport where winning is the only job security, Bryan knew a change had to come and he knew how badly he would feel about doing it.

It is human nature to try and find one villain or one fall guy in these situations to make it easy on ourselves. Just point at one guy or one thing and its nice and easy and all wrapped up in a bow for our little minds to make sense of. Is Bryan Murray to blame because he hired a great hockey man who just couldn’t get his message through to the players? Is John Paddock to blame because he isn’t a better communicator or disciplinarian? Are the players to blame because they took advantage of the good nature of Paddock and became an emotionless group more concerned with their individual peeves than the good of the entire team? I can honestly say I don’t know. It may be one, two, all 3 or a combination of all 3 or a combination of all 3 and 15 more reasons.

The bottom line is, something happened today that nobody wanted to have happen. The only way to have it not happen to someone else is win and play up to potential. I just wish that people would remember that these individuals are real people who have to call their wives and tell them about the sorrow you feel about what you had to do. The phone call to children to tell them the news trying to make them not feel bad for you and explain that sometimes these things happen and life goes on. These are real people who had to make real phone calls today to talk about the real pain that they feel because of something that is “just part of the game.”

See you at the rink.

1 comment:

karl nomo said...

Hi Dean,

Yes it is true that we, the average fans, often talk about our sports figures with seemingly insensitive terms like "fire that guy", "good riddance" or "trade that bum". However, in no way do we lose sight of the human implications and the impact on the lives of families and friends when trades and firings happen.
I respectfully disagree with your implications that fans can't imagine the torment Bryan Murray went thru, having to fire Paddock.
We can and we do.

Myself, I'm in my mid 30's and have already had three careers & went thru job changes involving firings, buyouts, mergers...etc. Sometimes involving close friends and family members. Back in 1999 I bought a brand-new car on the belief that I had finally found a solid career for a local hi-tech firm, only to find out a few months later that my company had been bought out and my position would be eliminated.

So yes, we do feel for Paddock and Low but we know they'll eventually land on their feet. They've got skills, knowledge and experience.

Yes they're good men, but then again pretty much everyone in hockey is. Same goes for broadcasting community. People in these fields dont lose their jobs because they're bad men, rather because of declining numbers (wins and audiences) or decisions made by "the suits".