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Wanna help?

July 14, 2021

I turned on the news yesterday evening when I was making dinner and I heard a story about the Minnesota Wild hockey team and learned the team bought out the contracts of two of their star players, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

I don’t understand the hows and the whys of managing a sports team, but based on what I heard both players had signed 13-year contracts in 2012 worth $98 million dollars each and apparently both players are now going to receive a check or something for the final four years of their contracts.

A lot of money, eh?

What got me most about the story was the station sent a reporter out to ask some kids what they thought about the release of these two popular players. These were kids fresh off the practice ice with sweaty hair and decked out in their hockey uniforms and I thought why am I supposed to care what 14-year-old youth hockey players think about multi-millionaire hockey players? Sure, they have a right to their opinions, but why are they relevant, or interesting?

Better, I thought, the station should have sent a reporter out into the field to interview some kids didn’t get breakfast that morning. Or whose parents don’t have the extra money to pay for the expenses involved in a child playing youth hockey. Maybe a quick 1-on-1 with a child whose parents might be working three or four jobs between them to simply put food on the table. Or if they dared, maybe a kid whose home is the back seat of a car.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be rich or that athletes shouldn’t make millions, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t have reported the story of the two players because it is news. I’m saying that if the station is going to step away from news and reality and use resources to interview some children who are fortunate in life, why not use some resources to interview some children who aren’t so fortunate.

Maybe in the interest of public service and community education the news station should have followed up this story of excess and wealth with a quick 60 seconds to remind everyone of the other people who live here, people we see and interact with every day. The people who don’t make the sexy stories. The adults who live under bridges and sleep in bus shelters. The children living in poverty and food insecure households. The households that can barely afford food and clothes and essentials, let along hockey skates. The adults who can’t read a book written at an 8th grade level and the children who can’t read at all.

Of course we can’t rely on the media or on others to fix problems. We can only rely on ourselves. Wanna help?

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