By T.J. Simers
One person’s garbage is another’s treasure, someone said in trying to explain why Helene Elliott is allowed to write a sports column in the LA Times.
OK, I get that. We used to say that the really crummy columnists would appear in the back of the newspaper with the tire ads. But now newspapers don’t attract that many ads, but still have crummy columnists. And the Times’ sports section is so small the back is almost the front.
When I wrote I was put on Page 2, no one ever dreaming it could be worthy of Page 1.
Now it’s bad enough Elliott is crummy, but she’s a hoarder as well. She was writing Wednesday in the Times about the only woman ever to play for an NHL team, keeping it in her column writing memory bank for almost 30 years.
It was a forgettable story 30 years ago, Canadian Manon Rheaume playing the second period in goal for the Tampa Lightning in an exhibition game. By LA relevancy and NHL standards, she never existed, just like all the NFL guys who play in exhibition games and are cut before making the team.
But we get Elliott writing about her 30 years later as if it matters, and on the front page of the LA Times sports section.
Now I know the LA Times has a female sports editor and there has been a push to display more women’s sports in the newspaper, and I know Helene Elliott is a columnist usually writing about things readers don’t care about, but when these two get together, yuck.
What’s the importance of this story, well, Elliott tells us in a paragraph: ”It’s not that teams and leagues are becoming ‘woke.’ They’ve belatedly realized admitting women into their stale, restricted old boys’ club adds knowledge, perspective and experiences that can invigorate the sport.”
Hogwash. Stale restricted old boys club? I know Elliott’s columns read like that, but 30 later after Manon Rheaume’s brief appearance in exhibition play, nothing has changed. Women still don’t play in the NHL.
And there’s no clamor for more women in hockey. Nothing wrong with it, but how ridiculous to make more out of it than a team just hiring a qualified candidate to fill a vacancy.
Elliott is supposed to be knowledgeable. She’s in the hockey hall of fame, I presume because of her writing but then that goes to show you the quality of writers covering the NHL.
She’s a boring columnist, who was trying to prove a point in Wednesday’s newspaper. I have no idea what that point was beyond referring to the NHL as a stale restricted old boys club, but if she’s trying to make the case the NHL needs more women, double hogwash.
If it was just a training camp feature, it was lame and the sports editor should have buried it inside.
We can agree, disagree or not care, I for one falling in the latter category. Go ahead and load up the front office with women. The Times ran a big picture of Rheaume taken in February on the front of sports Wednesday because she’s nice to look at. Maybe hockey needs cheerleaders.
Maybe hockey is just trying to impress its fan base, or the media that keeps tabs of such things.
I suspect most people only care what’s going on the ice, and like the NFL, there are no females playing the game.
We all like circus stories, a newspaper a great place to tell them, but Elliott’s hockey player performed almost 30 years ago and by most accounts it wasn’t that memorable.
She’s now in the player development department, and I’m sure she has a lot of riveting player development department stories to tell. Didn’t get any in this Elliott column, but maybe Part 2 is coming tomorrow.
I hear it all the time how reporters have agendas, and I always say the same thing: Most writers are just trying to meet a deadline and are making no attempt to push an agenda.
But this was an agenda column, the female sports editor showcasing it, written by the female sports columnist pandering to female readers by presenting a female hockey player who never played in an NHL game. I’m sure, “Let’s get more women stories in the sports section,” is a newspaper mantra. And one not usually to be argued.
However, this just wasn’t a good, interesting column, ending like it started in going nowhere: “Because she said no to those who doubted her so many years ago, other women have had the opportunity to say yes to significant roles in a game that can’t be for everyone if it doesn’t let everyone have a say in its present and its future.”
WHAT? That’s 47 words of gibberish.
Sometimes one person’s garbage is just garbage.