Greatest Hockey Fight Ever?

I came across this video on the sports humor site Sports Pickle the other day.

This took place in Kazakhstan between two 10U teams and literally looks like the TV show South Park in real life.

I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of fighting in hockey. Every other sport’s athletes have found ways to swing momentum in games by not throwing punches, so it is about time that hockey gets out of that prehistoric notion.

But, I’m a huge fan of kids doing funny things on camera and this ranks with the best. Plus everyone had full-screen helmets and no one got hurt, so we can all laugh about it.

Let’s break it down.

0:00-0:06- Ah, the old post-game handshake. There was that one kid that always thought he was so cool for saying something other than ‘good game’. I never got mad when that kid said ‘we won’ or ‘you suck’ while shaking hands because well, as a nine-year-old there were much more important things than indoor soccer such as Pokemon Gold/Silver or the post-game snack run.

0:07- After spitting some Kazakhastani trash talk, the child in the green jersey looks up to see a kid in the white jersey who is charging toward him. NOTE: the two kids no proper hockey ediquette. No cheap blows off the bat. Eye contact, a nod letting the opponent know a challenge has been made and….

0:08- The gloves are off. You can tell the kids have been practicing for this moment for a long time. Flawless execution.

0:09-0:17- Anyone that knows hockey will tell you that you need to stick up for your teammates. Kid in green gets tangled up, teammate goes to help. Kids in white see they are outnumbered now and they all go to help. Brawl on.

0:18- If you look to the right third of the screen, you’ll see #21 for the white team lay a beauty of a body check.

0:23- Parents now enter to help the poor refs break it up. Notice their calm demeanor. U.S. parents could learn a thing or two from them: Let the kids play. As an umpire in the Little League ranks for many years, I absolutely hated how much parents felt like they could control things. No need to run out onto the field/court/ice whenever your teenage child got hit by a haywire 20 MPH curveball. If this were happening in the States, the parents would be fighting more than the kids and lawsuits would be involved.

0:25- On the left third of the screen, you’ll see a coach dressed in black carry a kid off. Hopefully he was heard from again.

0:30- In the center, you’ll see goalies from both teams just standing around watching. Obviously these kids haven’t learned from Brent Johnson. Weak.

0:35- Order seems to be coming back, but #75 for the green team wants the last say. The coach in a red jacket makes a game-saving tackle from letting him do so.

0:46- Now comes the awkward part of trying to find your right equipment. That kid you were just punching might have taken your glove and you need it back. Kind of weird to start using your ‘please and thank you’s’.

0:49- This is probably the best part of the video. Every good hockey fan knows you have to let their players know you appreciate thier dropping the gloves. So, the parents and spectators have a loud ovation for the kids. Again, go go Kazakhistanian parents.

Think you can top that brawl? Shoot me a hockey fight video in the comments or on my Twitter page.

EA Trax: A Tribute

The wonderful six-week winter vacation has come to an end.

As I return to Athens, Ohio, 20 credit hours plus high school and college basketball beats will severely limit my time on here. Since it is Syllabus Day, I thought I would take a break from the doom and gloom of the current sports world to give credit to one of the greatest video game enhancements of all time.

No, it’s not the one-timer on NHL ’93, nor the infamous Playmaker controls on Madden 2004.

I’m writing this to heap praise upon EA Trax.

While deep in-game soundtracks got their start with action sports games such as Tony Hawk Pro Skater, EA Trax kicked the door down on in-game music when it debuted in Madden NFL 2003.

When navigating menus of our franchises, dynasties, career modes and everything in-between, gamers no longer had to reach for the mute button when the lone menu song drove them insane. It also was a hit with musicians who benefited from the free advertising of their songs. Some acts that were virtual unknowns have used sports video games to propel their careers.

Now a look back at some of my favorite in-game soundtracks of all time.

Madden NFL 2003

A great place to start would be the beginning. The first-ever EA Trax game got off to a good start with the invigorating “Party Hard” by Andrew W.K. upon start. The soundtrack focused on alternative rock that featured artists such as Seether, Bon Jovi and Nappy Roots. Throw in a then relatively unknown O.K. Go with “Get Over It” and the middle school dance staple “Anthem” by Good Charlotte and this 12-year-old was sold.

NBA Live 2004

In the mid-2000’s, hip hop culture was taking over and NBA Live captured it perfectly with the emerging artists. Start with OutKast’s “Ghetto Musik” off of the Grammy winning Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and “Hands Up” by The Black Eyed Peas along with offerings from Jermaine Dupri, Sean Paul, Da Brat and Dilated Peoples. The cherry on top? Has to be the “NBA Live Remix” of “Right Thurr” by Chingy.

NCAA March Madness 2005

One thing that makes college sports unique is the bands that play music at the stadiums and arenas. March Madness covered this with pep bands performing a wide range of songs from  the moderns “Hey Mama” by the Black Eyed Peas and “Hanging by Moment” by Lifehouse to older hits such as “Disco Inferno” by The Tramps and “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis. The only original recording on the game was Luther Vandross’s famous “One Shining Moment”. If I could find mp3’s of the other songs, they would still be a part of my running rotation.

NCAA Football ’06

Another change-up by the folks of EA Sports, the usual rotation of fight songs were replaced with a variety of college radio hits from both yesteryear (The Clash, The Pixies) and of today (Lagwagon, The Pietasters). It added a very dorm room-esque sound to the game. EA Sports scrapped it however and went back to the fight songs the next year. Boo.

FIFA Soccer ’12

With the underground music movement bigger than ever, no game has been able to capture this more than the FIFA Soccer series. The global soundtrack features a bevy of international songs and enough indie rock to have the most mainstream players channeling their inner hipster. I have no idea who Portugal, The Man, The Vaccines, or The Chain Gang of 1974 were before playing, but I now have plenty of their songs on my iPod. At 39 songs, it is also the largest soundtrack found on any game.

As games continue to advance, so have the music capabilities. All games now feature custom music features that allow songs from hard drives to be uploaded. The ability to customize songs to venues and teams have added a new dimension of realism.

So next time you’re jamming in a gaming lobby, think of the Tecmo Bowl theme and see how far we’ve come.