My right to complain

Poor little Theoren Fleury, whining about being benched. Poor little Paul Kariya, who thinks that moving the nets up is grounds for a rant.

Poor Brett Hull and Jeremy Roenick, who hate pretty much everything.

Poor professional athletes, who have decided that the fact they make millions of dollars gives them grounds to use the media for their personal forum for bitching.

Personally, I work two jobs. One here as The Brock Press sports editor, and another one at a local retail store. I’m happy to have two jobs, and I do my best to earn my pay cheque. I hardly complain (about working conditions, anyway) and I do my best, because I’m grateful just for the chance to earn my money and spend it as I see fit.

Millionaires, I’m quickly learning, must not think the same way. As soon as they’re earning seven or even eight figures to play hockey (which I do for free, rather happily) they think they have the right to complain about their jobs.

Fleury is not content to sit on the bench and collect the large sum of money the Blackhawks decided a former alcohol abuser deserves. Kariya thinks that the worlds greatest injustice is that the National Hockey League moved the nets up a tiny bit from the boards. Here’s a pair of plane tickets to Africa, Theo and Paul, come back when you realize what real injustices are, and stop being such assholes.

I’m pretty sure professional athletes and entertainers just don’t get it. Because they’re famous, they think that allows them to father many children, abuse their wives, drive while drunk, choke coaches/fans, and generally resemble the posterior of someone’s body.

Take Latrell Sprewell (please, take him) who fits into most of the criteria above, and then some. He’s choked a coach, been arrested a few times — including last weeks arrest for driving with a suspended license — and still manages to find time to shoot a few hoops and drag in tens of millions of dollars per year.

Where’s the justice here? Good, hard-working people, like your Brock Press sports staff, do not have the luxury of millions of dollars to pay someone to drive us, and although there have been days when I’ve felt like choking my editor Matt Lamers, I don’t, because I realize how stupid that would be, and that there are other solutions (That, and he can kick my ass).

So what gives them the right to live above the rest of us? That Sprewell can dribble a basketball or Kariya shoot a hockey puck doesn’t mean a damn thing to me, because I do some things very well too, it’s just that those particular tricks haven’t netted me billions yet.

Professional athletes (so dubbed not because of any present professionalism) have a responsibility as role models to set a proper image to their fans. It’s not an option, it’s something that comes with the territory. Every athlete should have it in their contract that if they do something stupid and not morally upstanding, they should be kicked in the ass by someone from the working class world such as myself, just because it’s fair that way.

I’m not complaining here. I’m just disenchanted that millionaire athletes are able to act with all the class of a tick-ridden ape, and they continue to make their pay cheques regardless.

There is a lesson in all of this that should be passed along to every kid in every arena, on every diamond or field or court or wherever. The lesson is: it could be a lot worse. You could be sitting in an office at 11 p.m. on a Sunday night busting your ass to write a meaningful sports column, then going home to a quiet house all by yourself and climbing into bed, only to wake up to your miserable life first thing in the morning and do it all over again for 17 hours straight.

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