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Strike Lockout Whatever

If you're a Major League pitcher trying to get ahead in the count, a strike is a good thing. If you're a sports fan just wanting to see top athletes compete, the term strike has a very different meaning. Of course, if it's management that's officially causing the disruption, it's called a lockout, but the end result is the's a labour dispute, and games are cancelled.

Such is the case right now in the NBA. I don't want to get into all the political, financial, and contractual details behind it, because it really doesn't matter. All that matters to us fans is that NBA basketball isn't happening yet this season, and may not for quite some time. If you're looking for the score, I can give it to you:

Players: 0  Owners: 0  Fans: 0

I wonder if they really understand the impact of a labour dispute? Major League Baseball certainly does. In the 1994-1995 season, baseball suffered a 232 day work stoppage. Yes, I'm sure something eventually got resolved. I'm sure neither side got what they wanted. But what about the fans? The truth is....many of them left, and NEVER came back! The league-leading Montreal Expos essentially packed it in, having been robbed of their chance at a World Series (it was cancelled due to the strike). While I don't live in a city currently involved in the World Series, there still used to be a buzz around town about it. That buzz hasn't existed in many years. I think the strike played a role in turning people away from the sport in general.

That's the real problem here. Professional sports is entertainment, nothing more. It exists only because we want it to exist. When it stops entertaining us, it no longer has a purpose. It's very expensive to attend professional sporting events. When a prolonged labour dispute has us turn our attentions away from the game and spend our ticket money on other things, we often realize that we were spending too much money watching some high-priced people play a game that we play for free, and we spend our precious dollars elsewhere.

The NBA is currently in a very delicate situation. Their labour dispute will not easily be resolved. Both sides are gearing up for a long battle. They are willing to lose in the short term, to win in the long term. The only problem is, there are THREE sides to this equation. And if the fans get tired of it all and walk away, then everybody loses.


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