I got stuck in traffic on Lake Shore Drive Tuesday night, the first night of the Stanley Cup finals between the Bruins and the Blackhawks. My cabbie was visibly frustrated as time passed with little movement. He counts on multiple fares each hour to meet the cost of renting the cab each day, let alone make a profit. Sitting for over an hour in traffic doesn’t bode well for his income for the day. I caught him watching me in the rear view mirror. He’d been pretty quiet thus far in the trip.
I smiled and told him to put me on the clock, instead of charging me by the mile. He smiled REAL big and said “You understand taxi drivers, yes?” I laughed and said, “Well, I understand what it is like to be struggling to make a living wage. And I want to be fair with your time.”
We chatted about the usual ‘stuff’ then, the ice apparently broken by reliving his financial anxiety. We talked about places we’d lived, and about the city of Chicago. I asked him if he was a hockey fan (seeing that night’s traffic was due to the first game of the Stanley Cup finals). He shook his head no, but then said “Wait. That’s not fair. Let me explain…”
“I do not care for the violence, ma’am. I have seen too much violence in my life. But then, it is not any more violent than any other sport, is it? At any rate, it is not a sport I grew up with. But I must confess that I rejoiced when Patrick Kane made that goal last week. That goal paid a million people.”
I looked at him quizzically. He smiled. “You see, he scored that goal, and hotel workers, airline workers, cab drivers, restaurants… all of Chicago benefited. That goal set in motion (like a trigger or a catalyst) a series of events which will ensure that we have plenty of work, and good income. For that goal, I thank Allah.”
And I smiled, pondering the thought that it takes more than a village: it takes a hockey goal.
Indeed. The economic benefits of sports “entertainment” (aka culturally approved & sanctioned violence) are enormous. Makes me ambivalent about them rather than out and out opposed.