Judging by the number of yellow cards that were issued during the World Cup Soccer final on Sunday, it's clear the teams could have taken a lesson from these Vancouver neighbours. They both originally are from the two finalists, Spain and the Netherlands. Both are soccer fans and both live just a few doors down the street from each other. They also happen to be great friends, noting that the last time Spain and the Dutch fought each other in war was more than three hundred years ago. True, the war lasted about eighty years, but on this street - if not on the soccer pitch in South Africa - all is forgiven. Soccer Neighbours
As a kid, nothing outraged me more than having to prove to a lifeguard that I really could swim. Sure they were just making sure I was not going to drown, but I saw it as a power play against me. I was a little kid and this adult refused to believe me when I told them the truth - that I was a good swimmer. I felt their true agenda was simply to torture me psychologically, make me feel weak and small.
Watching this universal lifeguard/child drama play out again recently made me think that maybe I was not all that far off the mark. Maybe in my day, lifeguards really were out to get me. Because the way Gail the Lifeguard treats kids these days is quite different. She gets them to think they're doing her a favour by demonstrating their swimming skills. That could be one reason why she is a Lifeguard Champ
Vancouver hockey fans have it pretty easy generally, aside from supporting a team that has never won the Stanley Cup. Even so, the Canucks have a faithful horde of supporters who sell out the arena, watch every game on TV, wear team jerseys and fly team pennants from their car windows. This year, the Canucks have played well, produced a winning season and the promise that this just could be the year. What's not to love?
But then we have in our midsts fans who simply cannot support the Canucks. Circumstances prevent them from rooting for their home team. I met one such person, who just happens to have a very good reason to cheer for the Black Hawks.
I've sat at this computer for the past twenty minutes worrying about how to start this little squib about a guy who pounded the hell out of a couple of other guys in a mixed martial arts competition. Sure, his is a tale that should be told - a guy who moved from Ontario to Vancouver with just a few bucks in his pocket, was homeless for weeks and is now a fight champion. One of those Cinderella Man stories.
My problem is that mixed martial arts is incredibly violent, too gladitorial for me, even though I quite enjoy the sport of boxing. Thinking about it brings out all kinds of inner conflicts regarding the nature of the male psyche, the role of violence in our species, just what it means to be a man - for let there be no mistake, MMA touches some raw primal nerves. But who am I to censure a nice fellow who wants to develope his talents and see where it takes him? Perhaps I should thank him for allowing me to ask these deep brooding question. Fight Guy
I realize it is still early in the playoff and the high emotion that we might see during game seven of the final is still weeks away. But when I ventured onto the streets of downtown Vancouver dressed as a Los Angeles Kings fan and proceeded to badger Canuck fans, I expected at least a little hostility. Apparently Kings fans, desperate souls all, could be downright nasty about the Canucks, as Sporty Shane Foxman discovered when he travelled with team to cover the games in LA. The Sedins got labelled the 'Ginger Twins'. When the fans shouted Roberto's last name it came out "Lou-ser".
Did we respond in kind? I won't give it away, but I detect the Olympic sense of fair play - and maybe the memory of Canada's big hockey victory in February - lingers here still.
I can understand it if a hockey coach gets angry when he thinks a ref makes a bad call. In fact I understand alot about anger. We've all been there, ticked off about dumb drivers, pet owners who 'forget' to scoop, journalists writing ungood English. Oh it infuriates me.
But when that Abbotsford Heat coach Jim Playfair melted down during an AHL game on Saturday, that sent me right to an anger management consultant. Not for any anger issues I'VE got, understand. Purely for the sake of this story. I wondered, what is the appropriate way to express anger in such a case? Anger Management
How is it possible to wander the streets of downton Vancouver for decades and not realize there's a bowling alley on Granville Street? I was shocked at myself. The place was staring me right in the face, the big neon sign, the bowling pin shaped sandwich board straddling the sidewalk. Yet somehow I had missed it.
So I decided to go inside, and was shocked once more. The place is amazing, something right out of the 1930s. In fact it is right out of the 1930s, virtually unchanged for eighty years. And most amazing still, it was open for business but completely empty. Not a bowling ball was rolling anywhere. I may have discovered a new lunchtime hobby. But I don't have the time to spare. Oh ho. Ho Ho Ho. What a stupid line, eh? Had to use it. Other Commodore
As I pondered what to do one day a man came into our newsroom draped in an Olympic flag, wearing a hockey helmet with a flashing red dome glued to the top and carrying a monster Canadian flag attached to an extendible golf ball retriever. At the time I was reading a story about the missing gloves and stick that Sidney Crosby had used to score the winning goal in Canada's now historic men's gold medal hockey win against the United States.
The fellow in the hockey helmet is named Dave Ash and he had come to do a satellite interview with my buddy Costa Maragos, the host of the Regina CBC TV news show. Dave is from Regina, but went to every hockey game the Canada's men and women played during the Olympics (all thanks to his job as a long-standing tour operator in Saskatchewan). Every time Canada scored - he turned on his flasher, waved his flag and went nuts like everybody else in the arena.
Now get this, he sat right behind the net when Crosby scored his winning goal, as close to the action as anybody there. So I asked him about what he saw when Crosby scored - and who might have had the chance to 'misplace' the now-famous equipment. He was not the only witness, of course, and the story fleshed out nicely as the day progressed. Crosby's Mementos
Perhaps it's my prairie roots, the years spent on a frozen slough whipping that frozen horse dung between the bullrush net, elbowing Gordie Howe out of the way. Yes, once you've skated outdoors, indoor rinks never quite measure up. I got excited when the expanded Robson Square outdoor ice rink re-opened in late November after many years. Sure it's completely undercover so the skaters are safe from the rain. Sure, it has had to close a bunch of times because its been so warm the ice compressor can not keep the surface from melting. But when it's open, its a glorious thing to see. No wonder it gets invaded by Brazilians. Outdoor Rink
I know it was only an exhibition game, played on a Monday afternoon in a rink that did not have many seats. But some might find it surprising how few people came out to see Canada's gold medal men's sledge hockey team take on Korea's national team. Those who did show up watched one heck of a match - and one can see why Canada is the class of the world at this remarkably fast and skillful game. By the way, the Canadians swept all three games against Korea.
I'm not going to give away the punchline on this one. But let's just say it's in the same vein as the story about a fellow who leaves his town, travels half way around the world, moves into a house and discovers his next door neighbour used to be his next door neighbour in the first town. I'm talking about coincidences, friends. Strange little symmetries that make us scratch our heads and say "hmmm, that's odd". Or "My, what a remarkable coincidence." Usually it means nothing - and that's certainly the case here. But still, I find coincidences fascinating all the same. Don't you? Odd and Fascinating
2010 Olympic announcements are becoming a near daily event as the February games get closer. But unveiling of the medals to be awarded to athletes surely ranks as a big one - maybe almost as big as the decision to close half of downtown to traffic when competition starts.
Talk about wearing your emotions on your sleeve. Canada's atheletes are being asked to alter time honoured Olympic behaviour so they don't catch Swine Flu during the 2010 games.
You often see stories about people who seem to defy their age - paint brilliant pictures at 95, write great books at 101, run marathons at 81. In fact, you can see some of those stories on this blog. But here's an entire team of octogenarians doing what you would think was unbelieveable.
Hey everyone. Just back from holidays, spent variously at an ocean beach, and a fast flowing stream. The water was warm, the weather was good - so it was one of those lucky vacations we all hope for. And speaking of which - how about horseshoes, that talisman of things lucky.
Sport camps are a part of many kid's summers. If you're going to learn a sport, it's not a bad idea to learn from the best.