All Philadelphia Flyers know that they, the owners and the players aren't the ones who are the most negatively affected by the lockout.
As the Players' Association considers its response to the NHL's most recent labor proposal, I wonder if it will consider the labor pool that is suffering the most during these uncertain days?
Your hockey life doesn't depend on it
My life, the lives of almost every reader and of most NHL fans aren't being affected in any meaningful way by the lockout. Yes, it's annoying because we are being denied an entertainment opportunity. But, none of us have lost anything worthwhile during these empty weeks.
Besides the players, there are many other employees whose economic lives are being directly affected by the lockout.
These are the people who sold us the jerseys that we put on before we go to the games, direct us where to park when we arrive at the stadium, scan our tickets as we walk through the turnstiles, sell us our cheesesteaks and beer, clean the floors, direct us to our seats, prepare the ice, organize the locker rooms, serve those who congregate in the luxury suites, meet the media's needs in the press box, provide security and also fill many other jobs that weren't even mentioned. Yes, those people.
It's not about us
The next time anyone hears fans moaning about how the lockout has deeply affected their lives, remind them what the definition of a "drama king" or "drama queen" is and then ask a question. Ask these "victims" if they know anyone who has lost their job because of the lockout?
I've been fortunate to remain employed during this unstable economy and I hope that the same is true for everyone whose eyes are scanning this page. But, imagine if you were recently told that you had to find some other job? Even though you had time to prepare for this eventuality, would a bounty of other potential employers be waiting for you to walk through the front door? Of course, none of the working-class people who we are referencing are likely to be offered temporary employment opportunities in Europe either.
Any fans who claim that they don't care when the lockout ends are also saying that they don't care about the types of workers who have been rightly mentioned in this piece. And no, this isn't intended as some subtle political statement either. This is a common sense acknowledgment that every dollar spent on the NHL's product is filtered through the team owners to people beyond their players.
Let's hope that both sides in this disagreement are serious about reaching a compromise. After that happens, we can see the hockey games that many working-class people help bring to life.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo Contributor Network! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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