Academic Summary Tim Bowling

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Tim Bowling’s essay examines the evolution of professional hockey from its traditional roots that brought it to the forefront of Canada’s national identity to the outdated, violent, capitalistic business venture it is today. Through personal experience and introspection, Bowling examines the elements of the game that still attract him Mainly, he states the while he still finds the beauty, grace, and unique skill set required to play the game of hockey alluring, professional hockey is no longer relevant in his life as the focus has shifted to money, marketing, and machismo. Bowling begins with a flashback to 1993, when the Toronto Maple Leafs were taking on the Los Angeles Kings in the deciding game of the Stanley Cup Final. It was poetic metaphor for his feelings towards professional hockey; the Maple Leafs, representatives of the nostalgic feelings he harbored towards the game he was once enamored with, were taking on the Kings who represented everything “glitzy, crass, and [American]” (211) about the sport. His disdain for professional hockey had been growing for some time but this marked his lowest point as a hockey fan. This also marked his withdrawal from professional hockey as a fan fittingly with the Los Angeles Kings capturing the Stanley Cup just as everything they stood for became the predominant focus of the sport. Moving back to the present, Bowling examines the alluring elements of the game and weighs them against the factors that keep hockey from being relevant in his life. He claims that professional hockey is scripted like a novel, complete with recognizable heroes, villains, and an entertaining plot exerting a “primal pull”(212) on his attention. He continues by admitting that even despite the diluted talent from the expansion of the National Hockey League he is still awestruck by the beauty and grace displayed by the most talented players.

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