Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Design Flaw

There is an informal bocce league at my workplace. Teams play most lunch hours. The shot below is two of my colleagues carrying their bocce set. It has wheels but they fell off with such regularity, it was easier for two people to just carry the entire rig. Not exactly the intended use.

Carrying the bocce balls so the wheels don't fall off.

Carrying the bocce balls so the wheels on the cart don’t fall off.


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A Real Treat

I have always found it interesting to watch sub-cultures. I currently inhabit the music culture and have many friends interested in photography. A long time ago, I was quite immersed in the motor sports world, but there aren’t many places to indulge my passion in Alberta.

One of my former co-workers is a young fellow very interested in racing. He moved to Calgary last year but we have kept in touch. He e-mailed last week and said he was participating in a ‘track day’ at a small track near Edmonton and invited me to come along and watch. I had forgotten how much fun it was. And not only did I get to watch, I was able to ride along in my friend’s Subaru WRX but also in his friend’s Mustang.

Brad's Subaru on track

Brad’s Subaru on track

The track is called Stratotech Park and while is not particularly long, it is challenging. There is one long straight and Brad’s Subaru was touching 150 kph at the end. I also got to ride along with Brad’s friend Joel, whose Mustang has been heavily modified. It sports a supercharger and is putting out about 500 hp. That is a quick car and while I couldn’t see the speedometer from the passenger seat, Brad figures the Mustang is over 180 kph at the end of the straight.

Mustang with a Focus ST and Brad's Subaru in the background

Mustang with a Focus ST and Brad’s Subaru in the background

What a blast! I really had forgotten the thrill of going fast. And while I am probably past my prime for this sort of thing, I still can get excited about the experience. Thanks to Brad and Joel for the rides – they certainly made my day!

Braking at the end of the pit straight

Braking at the end of the pit straight

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For Canadians my age, I am probably in the minority as I never played organized hockey when I was young. Sure, there were pick-up games and shinny, but my folks didn’t have a lot of money, only one car and Dad worked early mornings so it would have been hard to participate. And I was never that interested in playing. But, I did follow the game in my younger days. Tim Horton, the Maple Leaf defenceman, lived in our neighbourhood for awhile and his daughters went to my public school. When there are only six teams in the NHL, having a star live close by was a big deal.

My Dad was a fan as well and since we had a TV even in the 1950s, I got to stay up on Saturday nights and watch Hockey Night in Canada. It was a ritual – Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner at 5, Dad making burgers with homemade fries for supper and then the game. I remember Dad was in a pool at work where 30 people each put in a dollar – this was the 1950s – and you got two numbers between zero and 60. Whoever had the same number as the second the last goal was scored on won the pot. I don’t recall whether Dad ever won, but it was a big deal not only to cheer for the Leafs (yes, I will admit it) but to hope your number would come up. Such are my early hockey memories.

But things change. I was in a complicated rotisserie pool for 25 years and only quit last year. The main reason I left our big pool was that it was becoming less about hockey and more about the economics of what used to be a game. There is a certain fascination about the way the business works but I just grew tired of the politics and money around what hockey has become. Of course, Edmonton is a big hockey town with the Oilers. However, going to an NHL  game is out of the reach of most people with the best seats going for a couple of hundred dollars each. Add parking at $12, a beer for $8 and everything else inflated beyond belief and it doesn’t add up for a lot of folks.

Rexall Place

Happily, there is an alternative in town – the Edmonton Oil Kings. This is a team in the Western Hockey League – a feeder league for the pros. They play at Rexall Place – the same arena as the Oilers. But it is affordable. I try to make at least a couple of games a year – if nothing else to show support for the team. A friend and I went last night and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The team is young – no one over 20 – and they are playing to make it to the pros. And there is a lot of skill on the ice. Last night, we saw the Kelowna Rockets beat the home team 6-4, but it didn’t really matter. I really enjoy the speed and skill of the game. Nothing better than an end to end rush that ends in a goal. I can take or leave fighting but watching a great save, a smart defensive play or a fast scoring play makes it all worthwhile. Go Oil Kings!

Goal Mouth Scramble

Face Off

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Don Cherry

With all the uproar about Don Cherry’s rant on fighting, the best line in response was from Bob MacKenzie last Friday on the Team 1260 morning show.

“Don’s not old school – they tore down Don’s school to make way for the old school”


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