Un­der­wa­ter Hockey seems to have a safe en­vi­ron­ment

The Dundalk Eagle - - SPORTS AND RECREATION - By Bill Gates

It’s been a while since I looked into ob­scure and off-beat sports peo­ple could adopt dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic.

Yeah, from what I hear, the NHL, NBA and Ma­jor League Base­ball have re­sumed play­ing. But the prob­lem is, I only hear about it. I haven’t seen any­thing.

It’s like I’m sup­posed to take on faith that some­where, out there, pro­fes­sional hockey, bas­ket­ball and base­ball are be­ing played. But I haven’t per­son­ally wit­nessed it.

Like Big­foot and the Loch Ness Mon­ster (which, to be se­ri­ous, has to be Loch Ness Mon­sters. Since the like­li­hood of an im­mor­tal beast is ... ques­tion­able ... there has to be a breed­ing pop­u­la­tion), I must chose whether or not to trust those who claim to have seen these sports in ac­tion.

Be­cause I don’t have ca­ble. And games on reg­u­lar broad­cast net­works are an ever-in­creas­ing rar­ity. And in a rigged sys­tem, where the only op­tion where I live is Com­cast/Xfiniti or noth­ing, I chose noth­ing rather than give an­other cent to those crooks be­yond the $90/month I must pay for on­line ac­cess.

Broad­cast tech­nol­ogy gets cheaper and cheaper. But the rates we must pay get higher and higher. Hey, when you have a monopoly on the mar­ket ...

Then there’s ESPN. The com­pany bid heav­ily for broad­cast rights for many sports, in­clud­ing pretty much all of the col­lege foot­ball bowl games. So ESPN charges ca­ble com­pa­nies more to carry ESPN.

And the ca­ble com­pa­nies ... well, they’re not go­ing to eat that price in­crease them­selves, are they?

What­ever. Any­way, I see photos and sto­ries in news­pa­pers show­ing some sports hap­pen­ing out there, in the back­ground, while this pan­demic con­tin­ues to shut down ev­ery­thing but the thou­sands of peo­ple who gather in mobs every night and protest/riot for ... rea­sons.

But they’re not hurt­ing the bat­tle to con­tain the virus, oh most cer­tainly not.

So, where was I ... ah.

New sport to adopt.

Well, new to me. Some­how, un­der­wa­ter hockey has ex­isted since the 1950’s and is rec­og­nized by the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee without my hav­ing ever heard of it.

Need to get more, I guess. Or care about some­thing other than foot­ball and track and field.

There is a puck, that weighs three pounds. Play­ers use tiny (one foot long) ver­sions of hockey sticks.

The goals are nine feet wide and at each end of the pool. The puck can only be touched with the sticks.

The play­ers, six to a side, must re­main un­der­wa­ter and hold their breath while in the “field” of play. And it’s three­d­i­men­sional, with the en­tirety of the seven-10 foot depth of the pool con­sid­ered in play.

It’s con­sid­ered a great sport for older peo­ple be­cause there is no stress on joints. All play­ers are es­sen­tially “weight­less” and they don’t suf­fer knee in­juries, twisted ankles, etc.

There is an Un­der­wa­ter Hockey na­tional cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment.

So, you see the big ben­e­fit here. It’s prob­a­bly dif­fi­cult for a virus to be trans­mit­ted un­der­wa­ter. And it sounds like one heck of an aer­o­bic work­out, which is some­thing many of us sorely need after months of rel­a­tive in­ac­tiv­ity.

The Eastern Bal­ti­more County Over-40 Base­ball League and the Over-60 Se­nior Soft­ball League have been play­ing weekly for over a month now.

From what I’ve heard, no one has got­ten sick. Just sayin’.

An­other rea­son to hate ESPN: they’ve been se­ri­ously mock­ing the Ori­oles, who I head are off to a de­cent start.

In a pre­view ar­ti­cle, ESPN’s writer wrote that if the Ori­oles made a run this sea­son, it was proof the 60game sea­son was a weird aber­ra­tion that shouldn’t be taken se­ri­ously.

In the first team rank­ings, the Ori­oles were ranked 30th de­spite the 5-3 start, with the mock­ing com­ment “Oh, look, the Ori­oles are two games over .500.”

And in the sec­ond week’s rank­ings, the Mar­lins’ 7-1 start was dis­missed with a “they played four games against the Ori­oles.”

Hm­mmm ... I read the Ori­oles were lead­ing the Na­tion­als 5-2 after five in­nings. Then it started to rain and the Wash­ing­ton grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp in place?

Then, with the field too wet to re­sume play, the game is sus­pended in­stead of be­ing de­clared an Ori­oles vic­tory, be­cause the de­lay was ruled to be caused by “me­chan­i­cal fail­ure,” not weather?

As if D.C. doesn’t have enough of a cred­i­bil­ity prob­lem.

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