As I was watching TV last night I was thinking about what a spectacle the draft has become.
No, not that draft. We eliminated that in 1973 thankfully. That was a horrible draft. Innocent young men, and women, being sent off to war, getting killed, or maimed, for a battle most never asked for or wanted. Like most government ideas it was not thought through all the way and of course the politicians figured out a way to make it political.
The idea was that since they couldn't get anyone to enlist to fight a stupid war they started it made sense for them to pull the birthdays of seventeen year old kids and send them into battle. Not their kids, of course, but you know the kids of the little people out there. Thankfully we boomers marched, yelled, and forced Washington to end this idiotic system of forced murder on the kids of this country.
I'm talking about the yearly drafting of young men, and women, to play professional sports. This is a good draft. Young kids being selected to play their favorite sport professionally for insanely stupid money and the chance to make sure their families and twenty future generations will never run out of money.
What I was thinking about as I sat and watched young men from bumblefuck nowhere Canada, Sweden, Slovakia, and Russia being selected by the NHL teams, was that while each major sport has their entry draft, they are not all equal in the minds of the sports fan.
For instance, while the NBA has a strong cult following, they only hold two rounds of selections. This means it is over in one night, including the obligatory melding of six hip hop artists performing their greatest hit between rounds. The players selected immediately have a Rolls Royce salesman standing off stage to take their order and the players then line up for private plane passes for their entourage to get them to the home team press conference.
The MLB draft is at the other end of the spectrum with twenty rounds of picks including high school juniors who haven't even started shaving yet. These young people will finish high school and then some of them will go to college where they will immediately lose their draft selection and be placed back into the pool for the next draft. Unlike the NBA where those drafted are likely to start the next year, these young kids will get to enjoy many years of riding buses between Windsor Heights, Iowa and Bowman, North Dakota before they get called up to the major leagues. What parent isn't proud to see their son selected by the Kansas City Royals in the nineteenth round.
The NHL draft, going on this week, has seven rounds to pick young Otto or Conner, from nowhere in the world you ever heard of so that they can have the chance to be sent to Rochester for seasoning for four years. These kids bring their mom, dad, sister, brother, high school coach, and assorted other future hangers on to see them get picked by a team that either is five years away from being competitive or has so much talent that they will be traded six times before reaching the National.
But the NHL is a fun draft to watch because the kids and the parents are so excited to be selected that they are practically jumping out of their skin. Additionally, for most of them it is the first time in their lives they got on an airplane or were in a city with more than 600 people. They are wide eyed and unspoiled still and for many it will be the last time they have zero attitude towards the press but have already learned how to answer in cliches.
The top dog of drafts is of course the NFL draft. While they also have seven rounds over three days of drafting it is a spectacle. Arenas are no longer large enough to hold them in. They have moved the production to gigantic outdoor areas in the cities selected to host them. The young men being chosen are heralded like gladiators and treated like royalty by everyone associated with the process.
Many of them can actually finish a sentence and have graduated with their coveted Phys Ed degree. This will allow them to own the Chevy dealership they will run once they blow out a knee the first day of spring practice. While the NHL draft is a decided family event, the NFL draft is more like the NBA draft with posse's and entourages for the players, except for the kickers who are all huddled together in a separate room so that they aren't beaten up by the others.
For me, I never watch the NBA draft because I'm not a fan of basketball. I don't watch the baseball one either because I never heard of Johnny Goodarm from Appaloosa High School. Instead I will look on line to see who the Cubs have selected that will disappoint me in a few years and to see who the White Sox picked that will be having Tommy John surgery in three weeks and effectively end his big league career.
I will watch the first and second day of the NFL draft, on and off, to see who the Bears haven't selected to help them on the offensive line for the fiftieth consecutive year. I will however watch most of the NHL draft because I love how detailed the information they have on the players selected is by the talking heads on TV. This is the only sport where the announcers know the name of the guy delivering mail for them in their small hometown.
"I was talking to Petr's grandmother in Rathenow Germany the other day and she told me that he loves to eat regular spaghetti but not the thin kind" "Wow, great stuff Natalie, thanks. We'll get back to you shortly for more in depth information."
It is crazy what they know about these kids and makes for an unexpected good time with each selection. If you haven't spent any time watching these drafts, or following them, then I applaud you for your having something better to do. For me, its a great time to sit down with a cold adult beverage and see who the next billionaire will be.