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Sports Versus Shakespeare

The late Jim McKay said it best on the now defunct ABC series, Wide World of Sports (1):

“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is “ABC’s Wide World of Sports!”

In fact, I too have a sports analogy:

Any individual game in any sport can be like a Shakespearean play with one exception. The ending is unknown.

“What sayest thou?” you may ask.

In a theatrical production of William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet (2) , the audience knows that Romeo’s gonna die and Juliet’s gonna die too. (Woops, did I need to preface that with a spoiler alert? SPOILER ALERT: In every production of Romeo and Juliet in the past 415 years or so, they both die.)

But in a sports event: let’s say a hockey game; let’s say Game 7 of the Blackhawks and Redwings 2013 Division Stanley Cup Semi-Finals series just this past Wednesday(3) ; you don’t know how it will end.

The game starts with all sorts of dramatic back stories, much like a theatrical presentation. In a play, you get to know the characters. In a game you get to know the players.

Back and forth the games goes, and JUST when you think our hometown heroes, the Chicago Blackhawks have won .. tragedy. The goal doesn’t count.

Overtime. Sudden death they call it in the playoffs. Romeo called it sudden death when he drank the poison. In the play, you know how it ends. In this game, well, who knows.

Tension mounts as overtime begins. In the play, Juliet is looking for the dagger. In the game, a skater named Seabrook delivers the dagger past a goalie named Howard.

Fittingly, “Chelsea Dagger” (4) blares on the stadium speakers, in bars and even homes all over Chicagoland.

Now, the story continues. The City of Big Shoulders versus the City of Angels. The Chicago Blackhawks versus defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. Do we know how it’s gonna end? No. Drama, yes.

And that my Wedwand friends, is the Saturday special !

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1- From 1961 until 1998, ABC ran a Saturday afternoon sports show that was basically ESPN before there was ESPN. WWOS was a sports TV innovator of the times being the first show to air many major (and not so major) sports events. From the Indy 500 to cliff diving in Acapulco, WWOS was there.

2- Shakespeare’s classic tragedy was written sometimes in the 1590’s has been performed countless times on stage and screen. The ending is always the same 

3- Ironic this was a Wednesday game and now the Wedwand camel travels back to the hump day heroics, eh?

4- “Chelsea Dagger” is a song played after every Chicago Blackhawks goal scored on home ice. It is by a Scottish band called the Fratellis. Most people agree the lyrics are “do do-do do .. do-do do.. do do do-do-do-do” Opposing teams are annoyed by it. Chicago fans sorta like it and some secretly sing it in the shower on game day.

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