Better late than never


Some months ago I figuratively walked away from this space. Truth is I ran out of things to say, tales to tell, moments to share. My mind was elsewhere and whatever thin passion it takes to write five times a week for the amusement of friends and strangers, was gone.

There were days I missed it but mostly I didn’t. It was if the passion for telling the stories of my family’s journey through sports and life and my observations on all that had moved on just as surely as my boys did.

I wasn’t troubled by that and somewhere deep inside I knew there was a chance something, eventually, would rekindle my interest. And it has.  Continue reading

My Alberta


Tuesday night’s election result in Alberta is widely regarded as a stunning alteration of Canada’s political status quo. And there’s no debating it is exactly that.

But earthquakes happen in the usual way. A plate far beneath the surface wants to move in one direction and another plate stubbornly holds it in place until the first plate slides free. And things rumble and there is upheaval and sometimes destruction.

But the sun comes up the next day. People pick up the pieces and move on, or move forward. And that is precisely what will happen in Alberta.

Four decades of Conservative rule was tough to move but it was going to happen eventually. It always does. You can look it up. Things change everywhere.

And on Tuesday, Alberta was the most conservative jurisdiction in Canada and today . . . Well, today, it still is. Continue reading

A steady rain sinks in


So, yeah. Let’s catch up.

Hockey season for the mighty minor peewee Blackhawks, from the outside, looked like it ended more with a whimper than a bang, but that wasn’t close to true. We didn’t make the final, that’s true. We didn’t even come close. That’s also true.

Just whenever it seemed like our guys were perfectly aligned to march to victory, we hit a bump, or two, or three. It happens. House league hockey is an art, not a science.

But they were a special bunch of kids in ways I can’t really explain. They defied expectations and won the George Bell Select tournament – a house league team winning a *select* tournament — at the end of January, 10 years after I won the same tournament with Patrick in his last season as a house leaguer.

Coach Dave was away so I had control of the cockpit and it was fun and I hardly ever mention to him that it took his absence for the team to become champions. (Coach Dave is a good sport, maybe the best.)

We won the semi final on a Sunday morning in overtime. We won the final that same Sunday afternoon, again in overtime. Those boys will never forget that day. Nor will I.  Continue reading

Over and out


Hi folks.

New Year’s Eve is upon us and 2015 is coming whether we like it or not. Who is to say, I guess.

I just wanted to very briefly say thanks for stopping by here sometimes and say thanks to all of you who have taken the time to post a comment, send an email, or even call to discuss, debate, seek advice or offer counsel.

I appreciated it all. Even when I disagreed with you.

Earlier this month I marked without fanfare the 9th anniversary of doing this blog. It has been a learning experience for me every step of the way. It’s actually harder than it looks and frankly I don’t do it all that well anymore.

Today is my final post — certainly for a while, and perhaps forever.

All good things etc etc.

There are lots of excellent blogs out there for you to enjoy. On my best day, this was never one of them and I feel even my low bar for entertaining and informing has slipped ever lower.

That being the case it is time to walk away. I’d like to say it was like John Elway celebrating consecutive Super Bowl wins and then retiring but it’s more like Drew Bledsoe.

Thanks to everyone who read this space. You guys were the meat in the sandwich. I was just a thick-thumbed community typist trying to tell a few stories.

Have a great year. I’ll see you at the rink. Hug the kids.

Coming up for air


I’m hoping anyone reading this had a terrific Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever combination of the above you celebrate in the greater good of big box stores everywhere.

All cynicism aside, it was a nice few days at this house with some amazing food, some sleeping later than usual, a Christmas Eve binge of movies with Chris, and more food and drink.

Another few days of that and then it will be back to the routine but I wanted to check in and comfort all of you with the news that we survived. Pad left Sunday for Halifax as the coach ordered the boys to be ready to practice today. Except that owing to some scheduling error, there was no ice for the team today holidays ended a day earlier than needed (insert sound of lead balloons tipping over.)

They’re adults (more or less.) They will cope. If I had to guess I would say the pubs of Halifax may be in for a tour this evening. Continue reading

Short Snappers: Holiday edition


On the off chance that anyone is paying attention out there, a brief collection of some very short snappers that likely won’t amuse you, but will let you know I’m still around.

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Saturday night we went to a Leaf game — a work function with a borrowed corporate box and all the trimmings. Because we were sitting with the moneyed classes we arrived eight minutes into the first period — that what they do at the ACC right?

Actually, we decided to drive in to Toronto and that is why we were late, even though we left more than an hour before game time. What a disaster. Never mind seeing the warmup (which I enjoy) we missed the anthem, the faceoff and the first goal.

No worries on the goals as there were lots of those. In the end the Leafs needed a field goal to try to tie but ended up losing 7-4 in a sad, listless display.

The ride home went far better. Continue reading

It’s not just ‘boys will be boys’


When you have kids — especially, but not exclusively boys — you learn some things pretty quick. And one of the things you learn is boys will be boys. They just will.

I have lots of friends who have only daughters and they tell amazing stories of blood-curdling screaming episodes over clothes being borrowed without permission and other such crimes against humanity.

(In our experience I can’t think of a single occasion where either of our boys borrowed clothes from the other, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

With all kids — and I think especially, but not exclusively boys — a challenge is not just teaching respect, but making it part of their DNA. I say “especially” boys only because I know women have a larger hill to climb in terms of equality and respect in all its forms. As we have learned recently, there are still big problems.

Which is why the situation at Dalhousie University is so troubling. Continue reading

PPI


PEI has always held a special place in our hearts. I realize a lot of my readers will have never been there but take my word for it, you want to add it to your bucket list.

It’s a place where it seems time stopped — the kitschy road-side  amusements of the 1960s and 70s — mini-putt and Santa’s Village and the like — still endure on The Island, but not in such numbers as to detract from the natural beauty of the place.

The people have a quiet way of life and nothing much seems to change much. Flying into Charlottetown you can see in one eyeful what makes the economy run — fishing, farming (dairy and potatoes) and tourism — specifically golf and beaches.

As a family we’ve spent a couple portions of vacations on The Island — Chris used to call it PPI when he was young and cute and in addition to Cavendish Beach and fried clams it was where we all learned the basics of the water slide, at the now defunct Rainbow Valley.

Late last month, Pad and the Dal hockey team played a road game against UPEI, except the game wasn’t in Charlottetown, it was in Montague — a small town not far away (nothing in PEI is far away). We watched the game on TV off the internet and while the announcers kept referencing a tragedy in the community and a fundraiser, they never spelled it out. Continue reading

Weekend bits and pieces


I had one of those moments on the weekend that serves as a reminder to slow down, breathe a little, and be grateful for what you have.

I was in a line of vehicles waiting to exit the Dorval plaza at North Service Road — the one with the Metro.

As I waited for the traffic to move I saw this man walking carefully along the sidewalk, tapping the path in front of him with a white cane. He was probably blind, but if not completely so he was significantly impaired visually.

The vehicle two in front of me made the decision to scoot out before the man reached the driveway crossing. Then the second car in front of me pulled ahead and just stopped. And waited.

I’m assuming the man knew the car was there because he didn’t move either. And also, since he didn’t look at all like Kreskin, he likely had no idea what the driver was thinking. After about 10 seconds, the second car proceeded into traffic. The man didn’t move. Continue reading

Short snappers . . .


Another installment in the continuing series. Please hold your applause until all shorts have been duly snappered.

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Snow. In December. It’s nuts, I tell ya. OK. It wasn’t that nuts but I assumed it would be so I left the house about 15 minutes earlier than normal and pretty much no one else did, so far as I could tell.

Mind you I was only driving to the GO station, but there was no traffic on the slick, slushy, greasy streets which had not yet graduated treacherous.

This storm system as a bit of an odd one in that it attacked Toronto from the southeast. Virtually every storm we ever get comes from the west or south west. So as my on-time train (no worries GO, transit, the train was late by the time we hit Union Station) chugged to Toronto the weather got worst. Continue reading

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