Thursday, September 29, 2011


The Boston Red Sox, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Jose Reyes are good examples as to what is wrong with professional sports.

The Riders didn't like head coach Greg Marshall, so they quit.  Some of them have the audacity to lash back at fans who have been disgusted with this play for the last four months or so.  I wonder if those same players would understand the situation a little better if they went to a fast food outlet and were told by the worker taking their order that he or she simply, "...isn't prepared to work right now.  So I can't process your request."  Every time a Roughrider player has said that they 'were not ready to play', I think of some other person making a lot less money in the service industry answering a customer's request with, "I'm not ready to work today."

I'm not sure what happened to the Red Sox to collapse the way they did, but I also know that when you are paying players eight digits a year to play baseball, the last thing I want to hear about as a fan is 'my shoulder hurts', or 'I'm going through a divorce'.  Suck it up buttercup.  Part of being paid that kind of money is being able to excel despite personal adversity.  That could mean personal issues away from the game or it could mean a minor injury.  Focus on the task at hand and do your job.  If there was ever a clear example as to why professional sports contracts should NOT be guaranteed, the Boston Red Sox are it.  What are the chances John Lackey and Carl Crawford get brought back if the Red Sox didn't have to pay them for the next gazillion years?  Lackey had one of the worst seasons a Major League pitcher has ever had in the last 100 years.  That's no exaggeration.  And, for Crawford...well, karma's a bitch (thanks Ryan Duthie for that quote).  I'm not suggesting the Red Sox (who are my favorite team) should be let off the hook for signing these turkeys, but organizations have no recourse if the employee doesn't perform to the standard expected.  I work in sales.  If my sales took a 75% nosedive, there's a pretty good chance I'd be let go.  And, justifiably so.  I wonder if Theo Epstein regrets hanging on to Ryan Westmoreland, since that was his hang up on acquiring Roy Halladay a year and a half ago...

Finally, on the Reyes front, I was watching one of the highlight shows last night and, apparently, the guy asked to be pulled from the game after going 1-for-1 because he wanted to make sure he won the batting title.  That should tell you all you need to know about this man's character.  Yet, he's a free agent and some stupid team will give him 20-million dollars a season (maybe Boston).

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I'm not a big philosopher and I don't particularly spend much time dwelling on the past when it comes to anything because I figure what's done is done; but this week's airplane crash in Russia that wiped out an entire professional hockey team as well as this being the 10th anniversary (I don't like using that word because I always think of an anniversary as being a good thing) of the September 11th terrorist attacks, I can't help but be a bit reflective to ponder a few things.

My family has five people (myself, my wife, and three children) and each morning we say our good-byes and go our separate ways.  Each night, it's taken for granted when we all end up back in the same place we started our day.  Yet, that in itself is a pretty remarkable miracle.  It's one that hasn't been afforded to Kienan Hebert and his parents.  I can't possibly imagine the emotions they are going through.

I also can't help but wonder how some of the 43 people that died in the airplane crash earlier this week began their day.  Did they cherish the morning with their loved ones?  Did any of them end up seeing their spouse/parents/kids/friends for the last time without actually getting to say something that should've been said long ago, but was put off because there will always be 'another time'?  What about the loved ones left behind?  Did they maybe miss a chance to say something important and now won't ever be able to?  I shudder at the thought of being one of those people someday.  I hope it never comes to be.

I wonder if I had a relative die in the New York City incidents ten years ago if I would feel any better today than I did in 2001?  I'm betting I wouldn't.  Just because time passes, it doesn't mean you wish any less that your loved one is with you.  You just get more used to not having him/her/them.  When I see a total death figure of 2,726 people from the World Trade Center tragedy, it doesn't mean a whole lot.  What is 2,726?  It's just a number.  It's also the approximate population of Foam Lake and Wynyard put together.  Think about that.  Two Saskatchewan towns just wiped off the map.  Gone.

I remember being in Minneapolis one time and in the parking lot of the Mall Of America was a tractor trailer with a list of names of all people who had died as a result of September 11, 2001.  Putting names to these 2,726 had a significant impact on me.  Once you take a number and give it a name, you soon realize that number has a family that loved him/her.

The moral of these rambling paragraphs is that we should never take anything for granted.  We can all be taken from this world in a matter of a nano-second.  Now, it's probably silly to get sentimental every single morning when you kiss your family good-bye for the day; but I think the world would be a much better place if we all tried to make sure we don't go to bed angry.

A wise man once said 'Do what makes you happy.  The rest is just background noise.'  I don't know why, but that quote has stuck with me and I've thought about it a lot this week.  If you are not happy, then what are you?  Sometimes, I suppose, we need bad days to better understand what makes us happy.  I just wonder, as a society, are we smart enough to pay attention?