Suburbanized or Communalized?

Throughout the generations, Canada’s favorite sport has definitely revolutionized and transformed itself into something bewildering. Hockey has drastically changed since the puck was first thrown on the ice. In Ken Dryden’s text, Guy Lafleur, he explains how hockey has become a completely suburbanized sport and has lost the careless, free spirit touch it used to have. He breezes through the many ways different sports now have way too much structure and not enough love of the sport. However, in Lynn Coady’s article, Hockey Night in Port Hawkesbury, she makes the reader understand how hockey can give a person a sense that they belong. To this author, the sport is a way to integrate yourself in your community, a way to make a typical teenage girl feel like she’s part of her family. The two essays may revolve around the same subject, but they are completely different from one another. They have two completely different themes, are structured in dissimilar ways, and are put in similar, but opposite contexts. It is without a doubt true that the two authors capably demonstrate, in different manners, the various ways hockey has changed our lives.

Firstly, the theme Dryden got readers to understand and relate to was how hockey and other sports have been completely suburbanized with time. To him, “Hockey has become suburbanized, and as part of our suburban middle-class culture; it has changed.” In other words, hockey is no longer something people do on their free time for fun, but something parents run out the door on weeknights to bring their kids to. The pleasure of the sport, in his mind, has evaporated. There is too much structure, too many rules, and too much memorizing involved. The theme of this work is something many people can relate to, so it is quite convincing, and very easy to understand. On the other hand, Coady’s article revolves around the thought that hockey creates a sense of community, a sense of involvement. She feels as though going to the hockey game made her a part of her community, even if she didn’t quite understand the game itself. Even as a young girl going through bizarre transformations, all she had to do was go to her small town’s hockey game and “For a moment, I belonged.” Therefore, in her eyes, hockey gives people an escape from the real world. People can easily relate to the theme in Coady’s text, for many people who don’t enjoy hockey still go to the games just to feel included. Two different point-of-views, both being valid.

Next, Dryden and Coady use very dissimilar structures in order to get their message through. As for ken Dryden, he began the essay with a small story about Guy Lafleur then moved on to stating his thesis and supporting arguments. An interesting inclusion of his text is a short biography of Guy Lafleur, in order to make a valid point: people used to take every opportunity to practice; now they go when they have to. He glides gracefully between general ideas and comparisons to Lafleur’s life. This structure may seem disorganized, but it seems to create a good flow so the reader never gets bored of what she or he is reading. It also may symbolize that life doesn’t always need structure and organization to be great. The text never stays the same. Alternatively, Lynn Coady’s text has a pretty firm structure, beginning with a small description, then going into an anecdote. Within the small story she tells, she states her thesis about belonging in the community. Afterwards, she uses supporting arguments to validate her point and refers to many known personalities. She ends her work with a bang, “I grew up with the understanding that hockey was all-important, hockey players were gods, and to be a hockey fan was to enter into some kind of enchanted circle (…) That’s what I was feeling that night.” Her structure gives validity to the text and definitely doesn’t confuse the reader.

Finally, the two texts may have been set in the same country, around the same time but the contexts are totally different from one another. Dryden refers to the many places hockey has been played, in the past and today. “A game we once played on rivers and ponds, (…), we now play in arenas (…)” Using this context, Dryden makes a valid point: hockey used to be a natural sport, now it’s industrialized. This makes the reader reflect on how just a simple change of setting can completely change something. However, Coady situates her article in one particular small town in Canada: Port Hawkesbury. The reader gets the community feel while reading the text, making references to their own experiences. The concentration on one particular place adds emphasis to the text and creates atmosphere.

In conclusion, it would be fair to state that even though texts revolve around the same subject, they can be completely opposite. Their themes, structures, and use of settings either make or break the text. Dryden’s essay reached readers on a much more intuitive level than Coady’s did, for he gave the readers something very vast to think about: how suburbanization changes all the small things. Coady touched the readers on a more personal level, going with the idea of belonging. It is without a doubt true that even the small things can affect one’s life on a wide range of aspects.

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