The NHL has consistently been the odd black sheep of the “big” American sports leagues. The NFL owns Sundays, the MLB is the official league of “America’s pastime” and the NBA is where amazing happens. The NHL? Truthfully speaking, hockey has lacked a catchphrase in the modern Internet era.
We didn’t grow up idolizing Susan Richard Nelson. We didn’t check the newspaper to see what DeMaurice Smith was up to every day. We didn’t have posters of Billy Hunter on our bedroom walls. And we didn’t see Roger Goodell or David Stern in a single segment of Top-10 Plays.
I discovered a new sport last week: cycling.
I’m not going to lie and say I’d never heard of the Tour de France before, but it’s never been a focus of mine until now. On top of facing a bit of a gap in my schedule with the new soccer season in Europe still a month away and U.S. college sports mostly winding down for the summer, I’d been disheartened by the continual failure of British teams or athletes in general (compare, for example, the success of Spanish tennis players to their homegrown counterparts at Wimbledon). Still, cycling managed to catch my attention, at least for a few days.