Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Our Litigous Society, Part I

Cruising around this morning I came across this report on a New Jersey State Supreme Court case where a spectator is suing her local ECHL team, league, and arena after being hit in the head with a puck during warmups.

It is bad enough that those of us who like to sit behind the goal have to look through netting but even if this case is thrown out, it is only a matter of time before the netting is enclosing the entire hockey rink and ruining the view for everybody who comes to the game.

Now, (despite what some of you might think) I've never been hit in the head (or anywhere else for that matter) with a puck. What happened in Columbus in 2002 was a tragedy. But the overacting litigiousness of our society is taking all the fun and joy out of living. If something goes wrong, you can bet there's a lawyer that will find somebody to blame.

There's no way you can expect hockey teams to cut down on the number of pucks they use in warmups so the only way to avoid these nonsensical lawsuits is to put even more barriers up around the rink. Everybody loses when that happens because one of the little joys in life for young fans is the chance that they can catch a stray puck or a foul ball. But if we continue to put more and more barriers up, the less likely youngsters will be able to experience that joy from going to a game.

Because when you sit down and think about it, how many pucks have flown off of hockey rinks and into crowds before somebody was tragically killed? Every year the NHL alone has 1,230 games in just the regular season. The odds of you getting hit, lettalone killed, are small to begin with. Yet because of some ambulance chasers, we have to act like you're going to be struck by lightning every time you go to the rink.

It almost enough to make you wonder just how in the world human civilization survived to this point...



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