It could be trivial matters like what car to buy, what tomatoes to plant, what stocks to purchase, what book to start reading, which dessert to eat (or pass on!), what movie to see, what grain bullet will most likely put a coyote (the only kind of dog I have use for) down quickly, what new bow to buy, or any number of other decisions.
I would like to share my current struggle with you- one that creeps in to my every thought these days:
Can Kansas City support a National Hockey League team?
The Pittsburgh Penguins ownership team lead by Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux is being forced to consider moving their team from Pittsburgh, where the city is stalling a commitment to build a new stadium (to replace their ancient stadium- the oldest in the league). Even if they do agree to build an arena the Pens can play in, the team will have to pay for almost half the cost of construction and ongoing rent. On the other hand, Kansas City is completing a new, state of the art facility (The Sprint Center), and offering the Penguins rent-free usage of the building! On the surface, it might seem like a no-brainer. Move to Kansas City.
This is where my doubts and questions creep in. Keep in mind, I am a life long hockey fan of extreme proportions (never mind my earlier blog on the Bills). I still catch all the Buffalo Sabres games in part or the whole by listening online at least 3 times a week. Buffalo and Pittsburgh are "hockey towns" (i.e. places where real men, modern gladiators, reside), Kansas City most certainly is not (although it is getting better on the gladiator-like men quotient).
Let's face it, the Penguins would be leaving one of the NHL's strongest U.S. markets for a smaller one that lost an NHL team in 1976 after only two seasons because of lack of support. This must be the reason Lemieux and partners haven't pulled up stakes already. I'm guessing this is why the the city officials are playing hardball with the Pens in return. They doubt Kansas City's commitment and staying power. In addition to losing the NHL team (The Scouts), Kansas City had an IHL team here for several years (The Blades) and no one cared or attended. With a good team (and the Pens are at least good, probably on the way to being great) and a new building, attendance might be good for a while, but would it last? The Penguins' current home attendance and local TV ratings are among the strongest of the 24 United States-based franchises. The Penguins have one of the brightest lineups in the game boasting Sidney Crosby, a 19 year old phenom with Lemieux-like capability. This explains why they are playing to nearly 96 percent of arena capacity for the season. All of their remaining nine home games are expected to attract standing-room-only crowds. In my opinion, the Penguins are the second best team in the Eastern Conference right now (Buffalo is first, of course). It is not out of the realm of possibility that they go to the Stanley Cup finals this year. Kansas City would be getting one of the elite teams in the league- nothing like the Royals or Chiefs (with all due respect).
But...would Kansas City care? Could Kansas City appreciate hockey? I fear Kansas City would become an embarrassment nationwide for bringing a great franchise like the Penguins here, only to lose them in 3, 5, or 10 years due to lack of support. That would seriously stink.
Honestly, I'm just not sure it would work here. Just recently a friend asked me if I liked hockey. I said "of course, you better believe it". He said- "oh...you're the one". Very funny, I thought. Very sad also. Such a lack of appreciation for one of the greatest games on planet Earth really made me queasy about getting a team here. I'd never hear the end of it from my North Eastern cronies if KC gained the Penguins only to lose them. I know, you're probably saying "who cares about your North Eastern cronies". This only proves my point. This is why I'm queasy. The Midwest is great, I'm excited to be here, but it just doesn't get hockey. It's like pearls before...bad analogy, but you get my point.
So, my struggle goes on. The new Sprint Center needs an occupant. My children need exposure to hockey as it makes men out of boys. We don't want an NBA team to come here (basketball is lame), what will be the answer?
I just don't know.