Thursday, January 06, 2011


Just Another Game!

I am certain that Coach Dave Cameron had a strong inkling that something was amiss when he called “Time Out” after the Russian Juniors had potted their third goal to tie the game in the third period.
The Canadians had roared to a three goal lead to start the third period. They had the home field advantage, with ninety-two percent of the crowd in Buffalo, Ontario, firmly behind them. And then? And then? (That Buffalo, Ontario, thing is fairly cute. Then again, nothing is really funny during “The Morning After”. Sorry about that.)
The old Paul Simon song must have been ringing around Cameron’s head: “Slip sliding away… the nearer the destination, the more it’s slip sliding away.” Oh boy, was it ever!
More than 25 ex-patriate Canadians had filed into Ron Dao’s bar in Fort Myers, Florida to watch the game. There are 65 television sets in the place, with a sporting event on each one. To be honest, some “almost” sporting events: a little Nascar, some darts, billiards, ultimate scrapping---the things we pay big money to watch on “Sports” Channels.
There is one gigantic screen-front and centre. With by far the largest number of interested patrons in the place, I politely requested that the bar put the hockey game on that screen. No such luck. We were beaten to the draw by three fans from Kentucky who wanted to watch the Louisville-Seton Hall college basketball game. By the three minute mark of that game, the fans had lost interest. Something like 26-4 for Louisville.
So they graciously turned over the big screen to the Canadian faithful. Fred Martin led the Windsor contingent, by far outnumbering the rest of the party. Gary Newman represented the Ottawa Valley. Phil and Noreen Corey, faithful members of the Consecon Royal Canadian Legion, represented Wellar’s Bay.
As I am sure you can well imagine, faces began to droop in the third period as the Ruskies potted two goals eleven seconds apart. They had lost their first two games, one to the Canadians. No need to panic. Damn, they scored again! The game was tied. We watched Coach Cameron valiantly try to motivate the kids during the time out. To no avail.
With 1:16 left in the game, patrons filed from the arena. The Russians scored their fifth goal, and were on their way to Champagne and Grey Goose. The Canadian squad had been schooled by the Russians, and that was that. Same score incidentally, as the Russian-Wellington Dukes game the night before in Prince Edward County. Coincidence? I will leave that up to you.
In my last blog, there was a hint that something like this might happen. The Russians have always something in reserve, although it does not always manifest itself. On this occasion, it did, in spades.
The members of the Canadian team will wear silver medals. They will return to their respective teams throughout North America. For some, the experience will be the highlight of their hockey career. For others, just another bump on the road, another brick in the wall.
Would you mind passing the bottle of aspirin?

James Hurst
January 6, 2011

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