This was last night’s Editorial from me in the Committed Indian. It got a lot of response, so I provide it here for everyone. If you want stuff like this and more, get a subscription to the CI by hitting the button on the top right of the page. Or just buy one outside the UC. We’re freezing our ass so you can laugh off yours.
I’m not sure I’ve had as complicated a relationship with people I actually know than I’ve had with Patrick Kane. There are some people who think I hate him, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
There are some who criticized my pummeling of his social habits because they feel it is his right to do whatever he wants away from the rink. And I agree with that. I only called for him to stop drinking not because he’s a role model or any other bullshit reason like that. I did because he simply isn’t any good at it. Same for Lindsay Lohan. She doesn’t need to stop ingesting whatever chemical she can get her grubby paws on because it might kill her. She needs to stop because she’s just no damn good at it.
But I finally put my finger on it. The bell went off, and I know why I love the kid and will defend him against any attack from any moron fan who wants him traded.
It went off as soon as Kane buried that shootout goal in Detroit, and gave the crowd that arrogant sneer I love so much, combined with the “Da fuck you gonna do about it?” raising of his palms. I get it now.
Patrick Kane is a showman. He’s a performer. He’s a rock star.
Few athletes rise to that level. Sure, there are many great players in lots of sports who we love to watch play. But few of them combine that with the attitude, the swagger, the showmanship that Kane can.
I’m not saying Kane is Michael Jordan. That would be stupid. But Jordan had that. That sense that he knew everyone in the building was there to see him. He fed off that. There’s a show to be put on. How many times did he fail to put on that show?
Elsewwhere? As much as it pains me to say, I think Aaron Rodgers has some of it. There’s a strut to his play, an arrogance that you can’t help but enjoy. Because we love guys who know they’re good, aren’t afraid to tell you theyr’e good, and then go ahead and back it up. Lebron is getting there too, I think. He had too much of the swagger before he had the accomplishments. Not so any more.
Pedro Martinez was another who had an appreciation of the theater of his athletic performances. You might forget, but Pedro was as good as it got for pitchers his first few years in Boston. And that was in the height of the steroid era. Here was this wisp of a human just blowing hitters away. He wasn’t afraid to jabber a bit, or to strut off that mound right after he snapped off another curve that the hitter wouldn’t get within a foot of. It’s why the Yankees took so much pleasure in beating him, because it was obvious how much he enjoyed shoving it up everyone’s ass.
That’s the prism we should view Patrick Kane through. He gets it. You just can’t take your eyes off him. He’s Mick Jagger. He’s Axl Rose.
It’s funny that we view athletes and musicians through such different filters. Sure, they don’t exist in the same avenues of the entertainment industry, but they are still entertainment. They’re still peforming for our amusement, are they not?
We don’t care when a lead singer or guitarist gets arrested for drugs or crashes his car into a river. We don’t stop seeing some actor’s movie because he got tossed out of a hotel with a bag of coke and three strippers. We kind of expect it. We don’t hold them up as role models, and yet I’m sure there are just as many kids out there who want to be Jack White or Jay-Z or Leo Dicaprio as want to be Kane or Toews. I know I could easily settle for banging Beyonce on a nightly basis.
Is it because athletes are on TV and covered by the media so much more? After all, we don’t see The Black Keys on TV much, but we see Kaner on TV or hear his quotes on the radio on a daily basis. So is it just a matter of familiarity?
Maybe some deserve that kind of attention. But not Kaner. There’s something more sinister at work with Kane. Part of the fun of going to a concert is the seediness of it, the base feeling of it. The idea that your mother would not approve.
That’s what I get when watching Kane. When he gets the puck in space, the feeling isn’t all that different than the houselights being cut before the band takes the stage. You know you could just be a moment from being blown away.
It’s that sneer that Kane has when he’s really going. He’s transmitting the assuredness that he knows everyone wants to be where he’s at, but they won’t be. Everything about Kane is raucous. His game, his life, his ups, his downs, everything. It never seems to quiet down.
Yeah, in private he’s probably an asshole. He’s a terrible drunk. Wouldn’t shock me if he’s a total mysoginist.
But the dude puts on a hell of a show. And that’s all we’re here for, isn’t it? Mick Jagger has done every drug known to man, and probably collected some STDs that don’t even have names in his time. But go see him belt out “Street Fighting Man” like he just wrote it yesterday and tell me you didn’t get your money’s worth.
That’s what watching Kane is like. He plays the game like he just discovered how good he is at it. I know I’m getting my money’s worth.