INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Northern Passion

Best wishes go out to the normally indefatigable blogger, Jordon Cooper, who has been felled by a concussion. Seems that his dog tripped him up on the ice rink—a place where the Rev. Coop appears to spend a large chunk of time during the Saskatchewan winters.

A day prior to the fall, Jordon had posted an interesting piece on the passion of Canadians for their national sport of hockey. As he states:

Hockey is more than a sport for Canadians; it is part of the country's soul.
Canada is hockey and hockey is Canada.”

Having grown up in Indiana, where the passion for basketball approaches that of Canadians for hockey, I have some appreciation for what Jordon is describing. Last time I was back in the Hoosier state, two guys in a bar were on the verge of fisticuffs over a heated discussion about the High School State Finals of 1958! No doubt many a scene like that has transpired in Canadian watering holes.

For about three years during the mid-eighties, I was the Northern California representative for a company headquarterd in Edmonton. This was during the Oilers’ glory years. Whenever the bosses came down to check up on things at the local office and would start to get too close to some issues that might not reflect so well on us, all we had to do was divert the conversation to the Oilers.

It always seemed to work. This is not to suggest, by the way, that these guys were simpletons. Absolutely not. But every time we interjected hockey, it just seemed to overtake their souls and their otherwise astute judgment.

The real test of this strategy would be if the Bushies could use it to deflect the bruised feelings engendered by their outrageous insult to our dear neighbors to the North. I’m referring to the instantly infamous Wolfowitz doctrine of barring Canada and others from bidding on contracts in Iraq.

Hopefully, Canadian hockey mania does not extend to that extreme. Here’s hoping new Prime Minister-to-be Paul Martin keeps on bitching like Gretzky pursuing the puck.


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