The Frozen Four

The Frozen Four. This week, as spring bloomed in North America, Saint Paul was sponsoring the NCAA Hockey Tournament. With moral relativism in sports on display.

Tradition. When what was left after the National Hockey League started signing your best young players, the American College Coaches’ Association changed the rules. About skating with a man advantage before the penalized team controlled the puck, and if a goal was scored, the penalty still would be assessed.

Moral relativism. When American college coaches changed the rules, to increase scoring. Highly creative people taught by new methods who had always tested better on “executive function” – with ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems. Why did the level of play seem lower than the last two times the tournament was here?

The lingering smell of past sports now which did not smell so good. Looking for the source of the bad smells. How did it get here? Where were you taking us?

Moral relativism, for future life success. Student-athletes, with unused eligibility, who had turned pro. Adapting to the changing world with changes in the rules. When the bigger, stronger, faster players signed early because of the new collective bargaining agreement of the NHL. There no longer were signing bonuses, so a kid had better turn pro now to get the three years of service to become eligible for free agency. Like number 25 on the Wolverine team who had not been to class in four weeks, because he was ready to sign a professional contract but his team had kept winning.

As institutions of high learning tried to contend with change. In online-learning. In online skating. Listening to the ‘Hail to the Victors’ fight song, the hymn song by present day students and alumni from one hundred years ago about what an institution meant, thinking about the rules changes. And the resulting fear among the American college coaches over what would be left of their game? Over what was left of this bigger, stronger, faster generation in college that could not score? But were not the best goalies also going pro?

As another season came to a close and the coaches headed for their meetings to address their “executive function” – about an ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems. Because the job of coaching in college has never been tougher. And where had T. S. Elliot done research to arrive at his conclusion that April was the cruelest month? Because it was not so easy to win a national championship. Even more so as the NHL took your best players early, like a war had once taken young soldiers lives.


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