Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pensacola Slap-Shot

Reggie Dunlop: You mean you could sell us, but you won't?
Anita McCambridge: I could probably sell you, but I can't.

It looks like Pensacola professional hockey is no more. If you want to know why, ask one of the 675 season ticket holders.

Pensacola really isn't a professional sports town. Not hockey, not football, not basketball. It isn't even much of a baseball town, as any number of failed efforts over the last century can attest.

But the city poo-bahs keep trying. The thing is, these days you need four essentials for a long-lasting sports franchise: (1) A local government politically secure enough that it's willing to build a palatial team stadium at taxpayer expense; (2) A handful of fabulously rich people able and willing to spend tens, if not hundreds, of millions for a single toy; (3) A lucrative television market; and (4) a large fan base.

Scratch that. Three essentials. You probably don't even need a fan base as long as you've got the first three. Pensacola doesn't.

But we have our charms, the beach foremost among them, although there are plenty of semi-rich and wannabe-rich folk trying to crap that up with hideous over-development.

There's a lesson here somewhere. Maybe it's that we should take stock, and more fully appreciate, what we are instead of aspiring to something we can never be. Somehow, this puts us in mind of a song:
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don't know what you’ve got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

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