Items that may grow up to be columns, Vol. XIV, Chapter 10:
JUST SAY NO — Please. Pretty please. With sugar on top.
When the two sides in the NHL labour dispute grow tired at last of waving their pizzles (terminology courtesy of the great Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove) around in public to show whose is bigger, and they finally play hockey again, don’t go to the first game. That is my strong advice.
If you can stay away for the entire season, that would be even better, but of course, you can’t.
But let the owners see what an empty house looks like, for a while. Let the players experience the sound of silence. Don’t weaken. Don’t be in a hurry to go back. Don’t be pathetic. Show them the same contempt they’ve shown for you.
If it were possible, a media boycott would be an eloquent statement in its own right, but if that were going to happen, it ought to have started about mid-October, when the first reporters were dispatched to stand in foyers and hotel lobbies and outside on city sidewalks to wait for the the lies du jour from the hard-done-by warring factions.
NOT OUR GAME — Since those who disagree with Thursday’s column disagree vehemently, let me just correct a couple of misapprehensions:
(a) The idea that hockey is not Our Game any more has nothing to do with how much we care about it, as a nation. No sane person would dispute that Canadians love hockey more than any other people else on Earth, and exponentially more than Americans as a species.
It’s about the myth of exclusive ownership, the sense of entitlement, our insufferability as hockey snobs — and, yes, the illusion of world dominance to which some, not all, Canadians cling despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.
(b) It has nothing to do with how many great goalies we have produced in history. Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall and Terry Sawchuk, Ken Dryden and Tony Esposito, Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur were all fabulous ... but Brodeur, the baby of that family, was born in 1972, the year of the Summit Series. It’s about now, and where the best goalies are coming from. It’s not Canada.
(c) It also has nothing to do with a single loss in a single junior hockey game, nor is it an indictment of the kids who played in it. In case you didn’t actually read the column.
TYRANNOSAURUS REX — Even with the tummy tuck, that was no pretty series of photos the New York Daily News published of size-XXXL New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, basking poolside in the Bahamas with a cartoon tattoo on his right biceps depicting his wife wearing nothing but a smile and the No. 6 jersey of embattled quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Evidently, he’s had the tattoo for a few years, so it’s not a recent commentary on the disastrous 2012 Jets season, in which Ryan doggedly stuck with Sanchez over the much fancied Tim Tebow despite a string of awful performances.
Still, it’s not really the image you want portrayed by the figurehead of your NFL team, is it? The tattoo went viral on the internet, of course, with plenty of commentary on Twitter, including this gem by Vancouver Sun sports editor @BrownieScott: “I have it on good authority that Vince Lombardi had a tattoo of Gina Lollobrigida in a Bart Starr jersey on his backside.”
Tom Landry is spinning in his grave.
MAJOR UP-RORY — In the big picture it’s hard to feel sorry for Rory McIlroy, who at age 23 is probably the world’s best golfer (and among the game’s wealthiest), gets to pick and choose from among prestigious golf tracts upon which to ply his trade from week to week, and wakes up in the morning to Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, when she’s not on tour.
But into each life some rain must fall, and McIlroy’s particular cross to bear — he’s guaranteed to tick off either Ireland or Great Britain, depending which team he chooses to represent when golf re-enters the Olympics at Rio de Janiero in 2016 — appears to be weighing heavily on him.
The problem is that he’s from Northern Ireland, which is part of Team GB for Olympic purposes, though GB (Great Britain), geographically speaking, doesn’t include Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom does, but it’s not called Team UK. So if he’s going to represent the Irish at the Olympics, he’d have to be part of the team from the Republic of Ireland, which is famously quite separate from the North, where he’s from. But he’s still Irish, even if he said last year he “feels more British.”
So he says he might just give the Olympic thing a miss, altogether, to avoid offending one whole group of supporters. That would be a very bad thing for the Games, and for golf.
Probably what he ought to do, since he’s put his 14-acre estate up for sale in Northern Ireland — it includes a 6,000-square-foot home, a pond and a practice area with four greens, bunkers and a driving range — is just play for his adopted country, the world’s most powerful golfing nation: Florida.
GENDER EQUALITY — The women’s hockey team at Dalhousie University in Halifax has taken a major step forward for female athletics by having the program shut down for a year over a September party at which rookie players were hazed in a ritual that a university spokesman said involved “excessive drinking, intimidation, humiliation, personal disrespect — in short, bullying."
Good to know the four cornerstones of elite-level hockey — drinking, intimidation, humiliation and disrespect — are not just for guys, any more.
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