Today Hockey Mom stumbled across a FOX Sports feature, The Top 10 Showboaters in Sports. I was surprised to see the player I love to strongly dislike (you teach your youth players not to say "hate") the most, Sean Avery, only coming in at number 10! Of course the rest of the list is comprised of 3 NFL players, a few MLB players, Danica Patrick, Serena Williams, Jamaican runner Usain Bolt and unfortunately, the Washington Wizard's own Gilbert Arenas. But hey, when you have as many aliases as Gilbert (A.K.A. Agent Zero; A.K.A. The Hibachi) and have just signed another contract for an obscene amount of money ($111 million dollars), you're bound to end up on this sort of list. Do you know how much hockey equipment you could buy for underprivileged kids who want to get into the game with even a fraction of that amount of money?
NFL players are notorious for showboating in the end zone and despite efforts by the NCAA to curtail these antics, many of these players begin to polish their showboating skills at the college level. HM is a graduate of Florida State University, home to one of the biggest showboaters in college or NFL history, the legendary Deion "Prime Time" Sanders.
Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem seeing any athlete (youth or pro) celebrate a goal or victory. Showboating is an entirely different thing which in most cases, demonstrates a complete lack of respect for your opponent and sportsmanship in general. That's one of the things that Hockey Mom loves about the way the game is played in the NHL. Watch any NHL team and it's pretty clear that the majority of these guys are totally in it "for the team" and not themselves. When Alex Ovechkin jumps into the boards after scoring a sweet goal for the Caps, it is out of pure joy for the game and not self-promotion. Even upon winning the biggest awards in the league this year, Ovie thanked his team first.
That's why, despite the bad rap the NHL may sometimes get for fighting, I think it's one of the best professional leagues that young athletes can follow. There's just no room for showboating in the game of hockey - at any level. Plus, it would be really hard to do an obnoxious "goal dance" on skates - you'd look more like a member of the Ice Capades than a bad-a$# hockey player!