Sunday, November 30, 2008

Man Love

What a strange cultural phenomenon “Man Love” is. Generally, it denotes a heterosexual male having a close bond or exaggerated appreciation for another heterosexual male. But I like to apply it in the sports world, because it’s funniest when applied there.

We’ve all met sports fans with huge cases of “Man Love” (And by no means am I trying to be gender specific here; this is just a typically male sentiment.). No matter what their player does or doesn’t do, it’s not their fault. That player is perfect.

They’re the fans who wear Trent Dilfer jerseys without the slightest hint of irony. There’s nothing wrong with Trent Dilfer. I mean, the guy won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens. But obsessing over a guy who was a “serviceable” player and ignoring that very fact is a symptom of “Man Love.”

My father has a case of “Man Love” for Brian Boyle of the Los Angeles Kings and I’ve been trying to figure out a way of breaking him out of it. Not that there’s anything massively wrong with Brian Boyle, but, well, let me explain…

Brian Boyle is a 6’7”, 250 lb center who’s played in a few dozen games for the Kings in the last two seasons. Usually, what happens is that he plays a few games, gets benched, and eventually gets sent back down to the minors.

Why? For a guy as large as Brian Boyle, he sure gets knocked around a lot. He’s slow. He’s inept in the defensive zone. He’s surprisingly weak. So, what does the guy have going for him that’s even allowed him to get this far? He’s got a pretty good shot and, well, he is huge.

But those two attributes are completely useless in the NHL without a good foundation to stand on. And my father seems blind to this. He thinks that if Brian Boyle played on the top line and skated a good 20 minutes a game, he’d be the best player out there. This is not the case yet. Brian Boyle needs to learn down in the minors and actually develop his skills. I think the guy will be a great player someday. Just not right this minute.

But that is just too much information to break through the shield of “Man Love.” My father just loves Brian Boyle and I just have to accept that when he tells me the Kings are idiots for playing him on the fourth line or teaming him with x player or y player. And at least he’s not a Trent Dilfer fan.

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