Sunday, July 06, 2008

Jaromír Jágr: from NHL to Omsk

Yesterday, it has been 1145 years since (brothers) Cyril and Methodius, two orthodox missionaries, arrived from Bulgaria to Great Moravia, a predecessor of Czechoslovakia. It was in 863. They brought the Christianity and scripture to the Slavic pagans. The day has been celebrated as a minor national holiday for quite some time.

The event was very good from many viewpoints but there have been many good aspects of the life before the Christianity, too. The old paganism might be one of the reasons why most of the Czechs returned to atheism in the modern era. But let's return 1000+ years into the past.

The Czech lands soon came under the influence of the West and the orthodox Christianity was replaced by the Catholic principles until the early 15th century when the Czech lands began with the first preliminary version of protestantism, under Mr Jan Huss who criticized the hypocrisy of the greens of his era and who was burned at the stake on July 6th, 1415, i.e. exactly 593 years ago (another holiday). The era of hussites - heroic warriors, thieves, communists, and terrorists - began immediately.

But let me look at someone else, namely Jaromír Jágr. After 18 years, one of the most successful players in the history is leaving the NHL. He is going to Omsk, Russia. Jágr clearly loves the game and he loves doing it well, so why shouldn't he play the ice-hockey after his 36th birthday?

It may look somewhat paradoxical for a player who wears "68" to recall the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia (his granddad died in a communist prison in the same year) to become such a friend of Russia but your humble correspondent kind of likes Russia, too, even without those (after taxation) USD 7 million a year, so there is no reason to be shocked. ;-)

As a kid, in the early 1980s, Jágr liked to carry a picture of Ronald Reagan in his pen case, and so did your humble correspondent.

Although there are many fun things about Jágr, his impressive score and spectacular goals speak for themselves. Finally, Jágr has gained the full freedom to say the right things to the bad people. So for example, a pompous clown and an obnoxious Woit-like jerk and parasite called Mike Milbury from Brighton, Massachusetts, has been decently told: "Kiss my ass."

It's probably not that bad to get rid of the primitive Pittsburgh fans - who always treat Jágr as a traitor and villain - either. This role of a key Rangers player for the populist ideology reminds me of so many things in politics, markets, and string theory. The Rangers, much like Sparta Prague in the Czech context, stand for the "imperialist evil" (always associated with the largest city, largest economy, most successful theory of quantum gravity) and the captain is naturally becoming the ultimate villain from the small people's viewpoint.


  1. First of all,
    Jagr is a fantastic player, and most people in pittsburgh recognise him as one of our greats. But he chose to leave. The Rangers are nothing special, and really don't bother most folks as they rarely win anything.
    But really, you do not understand the people of pittsburgh very well. The town has always treated their pro sports players like family, and when Jagr left to play for Washington it felt like a betrayal. Jagr has always been a bit lazy on the defense, and this is no longer a good thing in the NHL. I wish him well in Russia, but for many of us he will always be a Penguin.


  2. Thanks, Chris, for your relatively nice comments. But I still have a feeling that Pittsburgh has essentially nastily fired him for no good reason, forcing him to play at a place that he couldn't like.