Category Archives: sports

2016 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship

As I wrote about on Thursday, Ford Canada sent Wendy, Oliver, Mark, and myself to the 2016 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on Friday and Saturday.  Not only that but they gave us a 2016 Ford Explorer for the weekend to get us there and back.

2016 Ford Explorer

I was given the vehicle on Thursday which gave me a day to get used to it.  The Explorer is what you would expect from a luxury SUV.  Lot of room, heated seats, air conditioned seats, heated steering wheel.  Six cup holders up front.  Heated seats in the second row.  It also has different traction controls which on Thursday, it looked like I would need as we drove to Rosetown and then down south on Highway 4.

Interior of the 2016 Ford Explorer

On Friday afternoon as we got ready to leave for Swift Current, I was loading the SUV with our bags and I noticed it had a third row of seats.  Immediately Oliver volunteered to sit back there and chill out with his Nintendo 3DS.   I picked up Wendy from work and we headed south with Mark in the middle row.

Interior of 2016 Ford Explorer

While three rows is more than we need, having it is amazing when travelling with a family.  Both boys just did their own thing and didn’t say a word to each other.  Not only that but because they weren’t on each other’s nerves for the ride down, they seemed almost thrilled to hang out again in the hotel and dinner.  Not only did it make for a nicer drive, it made for a better drive.

The ride was the one thing I was curious about.  Last week at this time, summer was here.  Then winter came back and the weather was cool and snowy all week.  I was wondering how the Ford Explorer would handle the roads between here and Swift Current.  For those of you who don’t know, the Ford SUVs are incredible in slippery conditions.  They drop down, add extra stability, and more or less own winter.  Luckily the weather improved and it was a snow and ice free drive from Saskatoon to Swift Current and back.  Not being able to test the all weather capability of the Ford Explorer was okay with me but it is nice to know about when you need it.

Wendy was incredibly sick on Friday and slept for most of the way.  While the highways isn’t the best, the ride was quiet enough and smooth enough that she slept from outside of Saskatoon to almost Swift Current.  She woke up in time for me to discover the seat massager which helped her with a really sore back.  Combine that with heated seats, it made a big difference in her weekend.  Wendy made a good point in writing about the weekend, the heated seats feel amazing if you are under the weather.

Of course the best part of the drive was that we listened to ESPN Radio.  On ESPN, they aired constant commercials for Zyppah which is an anti snoring device.  So Wendy is sleeping and snoring up a storm and every time the commercial comes on, we all crack up.  Well except for Wendy, who was snoring.

Motel 6 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan

When we got down to Swift Current, we check into the Motel 6 suite that Ford booked for us.  It is a great hotel and was fine for the family.  We got unpacked and went for a drive around Swift Current while we decided on dinner.  Everyone we talked to suggested Wong’s Kitchen which is where we ended up.   After ordering an order for 4, we all laughed when it came out.  It was the biggest portions that I have ever seen in my life.  It could have fed 10.  After barely making a dent into pile of food, we called it a night and went  back to the hotel.

If I have one complaint about the hotel it is that the chain doesn’t have a feedback form online so I can leave comments about how great of stay it was.  Yes some idiots stumbled into the hotel early in the morning and woke everyone up but that isn’t the hotel’s fault.  Being a concrete building, I only heard it on my floor and no clomping around above me.  The room was clean, the service was good, and the free coffee was appreciated.

The next morning was early.  All of us wanted to get up and explore a bit of Swift Current and get a good meal before heading to the Credit Union iPlex for the start of the curling.   We got up, went to Humpty’s, stopped by Cypress Motors Ltd. and picked up our tickets and then checked out downtown Swift Current.

The Imperial Hotel in downtown Swift Current

Innovation Credit Union in Swift Current

Customs and Excise in Swift Current, Saskatchewan

The architecture of First United Church

First United Church in Swift Current, SaskatchewanFirst United Church in Swift Current, SaskatchewanFirst United Church in Swift Current, Saskatchewan

Then it was off to the Credit Union iPlex to get our seats before the Opening Ceremonies began.

Heading into the Credit Union iPlex2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsMark and Olvier before the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

I learned something very important yesterday.  It doesn’t matter how loud you are or how many speakers your public address system has, it means nothing when 13 bag pipers walk into your hockey arena.  The M.C. wasn’t quite done yet when the Pipes and drums from Saskatoon Legion #63 decided to make an entrance.  No matter what needed to be said, the room belonged to these pipers. 

Opening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

There is nothing quite like 13 bag pipers going all out to start an event off right.

Opening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsOpening ceremonies of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

Before you ask where the photos are of Team Canada, the additional lighting that was installed to illuminate the ice worked great but Team Canada was marched in right in front of us, outside the additional lights.  To make a long story short, my photos of them sucked. 

So the after the pipers, piped, the drummers drummed and the speakers spoke, we had two hours to kill.  I have written about how bad the food was at SaskTel Centre is before.   Then I go to Swift Current where the food is absolutely amazing.   There were so many choices that it was kind of overwhelming.  Not only were there choices beyond burgers and nachos, there were good and exciting choices.  So instead of leaving the arena, we ate there and were thrilled with our choice.

There was a souvenir area that I went in with Wendy.  I wanted to give her a curling rock themed toque but she said absolutely not.  Instead I got her a t-shirt, a coffee cup, and a pair of curling rock shaped earrings.  Oliver wanted a Canadian flag to wave so I got him that and a pin.  Everyone was full and happy when they sat down for the start of the first draw. 

Draw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling ChampionshipsDraw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

For you curling fans out there, Canada fell into a deep hole, climbed out of it, gained the lead, lost the lead, and then won in overtime.  It was a little tense for those of us who were right there.  We were all happy and relieved when Team Canada pulled out the win against a great team from Denmark.

Draw 1 of the 2016 Ford World Women's Curling Championships

So this is the Russian skip.  She never said a single word the entire game.  She was playing (and destroying) the Italian team whose skip talked the entire game.  One sheet over was the Japanese team who screamed, pleaded, and begged the rock to do what she wanted it to (it worked as her team won) but the Russian skip was quiet all game.  Never yelled the Russian equivalent of hurry or hard once.  Of course from where I was watching, the Italian team was out classed so maybe she was quiet because she didn’t need to say anything.

After leaving the Credit Union iPlex, we fueled up and started the drive home.  It’s a great driving SUV.  I am still really partial to the Ford Escape, if I was looking for something larger, the Ford Explorer is a great option.  It made a long drive seem effortless.  If you are looking for a larger SUV that seats seven, this is what you are looking for.  I drove over 600 kilometers in it and didn’t have a complaint.  Even more importantly, no one else in the family did either.

Last night w got home in decent time and called it a night.  While the Motel 6 in Swift Current was great, there is nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed, even if that means you have to fight a dog for space and covers.

Wendy writes about her weekend with the Ford Explorer and the 2016 World Women’s Championships here.

In Iowa, fans chant ‘Trump! Trump!’ at racially diverse high school basketball team

Racial slurs at high school students?

From the moment Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in June, he has used antipathy toward illegal immigrants as a mainstay of his campaign. Now his name is being invoked by basketball fans in Iowa who are trying to taunt a racially diverse high school team there.

Perry High is located in a rural part of the state, making its relatively high percentage of minorities unusual. According to a report by Iowa TV station WHO, fans at a game Monday were chanting “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “U-S-A” at Perry players, who include boys of Latino, Native American and African American heritage.

“It’s honestly disrespectful. That’s how I take it. I hear it during the game, on and off the court. Everywhere I go,” Shammond Ivory, a senior on the team, told WHO.

An official for the school Perry played Monday, Dallas Center-Grimes, confirmed to the TV station that the chants had taken place. He declined to say whether any students had been disciplined.

“We are all aware of racism, it’s alive and well in small portions, but it’s alive and well and it’s just hurtful to see that’s what they resort to,” a Perry student, Kevin Lopez, said.

Disgusting actions by fans and by the school that allowed it to happen.

A sabbatical for Megatron

I am not trying to rub salt in Detroit Lions fans wounds.  I grew up in Saskatoon and watched a lot of Detroit cable.  I was there for the Barry Sanders and Wayne Fontes era.  It just happened to have Scott Mitchell as their QB…

In watching Megatron’s retirement talk, a couple of things came across my mind.  One of them was why don’t teams pay a player like Calvin Johnson to take a year off at this point of their careers and get totally healthy.

Give him a couple of months off and then pay him to come back and work out, get back in shape and come back healthy for the year ahead.  Before you discount this as crazy, consider that one of the reasons why Marcus Allen had a such a long run in Los Angeles and Kansas City is that he was rarely used in his late 20s and early 30s because of the insanity of Al Davis and that feud that only Davis really knew what he was mad about.  It had to suck for Allen to go through but it prolonged his career.

The (pretty good) O.J. Anderson had a career revival in New York for the Giants on their 1991 Super Bowl team because in part he was barely used for years after the St. Louis Cardinals ground him to pieces as their feature back.  His body recovered and was great in that three yards and a cloud of dust attack that New York had.

Look at Kurt Warner.  It took him a couple of years for his body to heal after Mike Martz’s attack left him beaten and bruised in St. Louis.  He wasn’t a great, then bad, and then great QB again.  He was always great, his body just needed time to heal after the pounding his took as part of the Greatest Show on Turf.

Part me wonders if the Lions paid Johnson a reduced salary to rest up and get healthy, if he wouldn’t come back.  Being in pain every day takes a toll on you both physically and mentally.  Not all players would come back after a break away but other stars would be able to come back and be better than they were before.  It wouldn’t be something you would do for everyone but there are select “generational talents” that giving a break too would pay off for a franchise and the game.

Some life changes around here

Becoming more like Bill Belichick

I was thinking the other day that my life needed a shakeup.  So after looking at several possibilities, I have decided to simplify and become more like Bill Belichick.  It’s so simple it is genius.

  • I only have to worry about the weather.  If it is cold, I wear the long sleeved hoodie.  If it is warm, I put on the same hoodie and cut off it’s sleeves.  If it gets really cold, I wear a matching undershirt and pull up the hood.  I can wear the same hoodie to work, while traveling, and I am sure he even wears it in the pool.
  • I don’t have to answer any questions directly.  If Wendy asks me why the dishes weren’t done, I reply, “I’m here to talk about Philadelphia”.  If she asks why I spent $1000 on the same grey hoodie, “I’m here to talk about Philadelphia.”
  • I wouldn’t have to have any tolerance for dumb people (I got that part down).
  • My answer to Mark’s report card, “This won’t be good enough. It wasn’t good enough today. It won’t be good enough against anybody else, either.”
  • Sometimes the most obvious answer will work out, “Any time you lose yardage in the running game, there’s a mistake somewhere.”  Or there is this, “Any time you have a negative play in the running game, it’s like getting a penalty,”
  • When I screw something up, “That’s part of the game, … Sometimes that stuff happens.”

 

The Greatest video game QB of all time was?

According to Bill Simmons

3. Randall Cunningham (late-’80s, early-’90s): The best video game QB of all-time. You could roll him out to either side, scramble for first downs, throw 70 yards with him, avoid sacks … and he never self-destructed like he did in real life. Regardless of how his NFL career turned out, he’ll always have his video game career to fall back on.

How NHL’94 came to be

How NHL’94 came to be

Blake Harris, the author of Console Wars, has written a piece on how NHL ’94 came to be. For those unaware, NHL ’94 is one of the greatest sports video games ever created. This is the sort of attention to detail that made it so great:

For example, it could emulate the ambience of a game day NHL arena by including the proper organ music. The problem, though, was that each team’s organist played different songs. ‘That’s not a problem, actually,’ explained Dieter Ruehle, the organist for the San Jose Sharks (and previously for the Los Angeles Kings), ‘I can do that.’ True to his word, Ruehle provided EA with organ music for every team; and he didn’t just provide all of their songs, but also noted which music was blasted during power plays, which tunes were used to celebrate goals, and all the other inside info needed to make each arena feel like home. Ruehle was so diligent about getting it right and capturing that home crowd essence, that during a recording session at EA’s sound studio he asked:

‘The woman who plays the organ for the Washington Capitals has arthritis; would you like me to play the songs how they are meant to be played, or the way that she plays them because of her condition?’

‘Definitely the way she plays it!’ Brook answered, after a laugh.

The best photography from the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays season

I never know if this falls under the category of “too soon” but the Toronto Star just published some of their favourite photos from The Star’s sports photographer, Steve Russell.  Click on the link or the photo to see them all.

Ben Revere makes a catch at the fence in front of the Royals bullpen on Salvador Perez. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals play game six of the MLB American League Championship Series  at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.  October 23, 2015.

All of his photos are exceptional but I just love the look on the Kansas City Royals bullpen staff on this catch.

Some thoughts of the Saskatchewan Roughriders

I missed the game today.  We were out hiking the Mud Creek Trail in Prince Albert National Park.  I did hear the train wreck that was the postgame show.

  1. This is a pattern of Brendan Taman.  He takes over a team that makes it to the Grey Cup, won’t challenge or change the roster and within a couple of years the team is old and horrible.  It is what happened in Winnipeg and is what is happening in Regina.  There is a reason why Hugh Campbell turned over 30% of his Edmonton Eskimos roster during his dynasty years.  Time is undefeated and the message that no one is sacred is a powerful one.
  2. I don’t think a CFL team should ever hire a Canadian GM.  The best football in the world collegiately is being played in the SEC and has for years.  I think you need a GM that has strong ties in the SEC or the ACC, like Roy Shivers or Eric Tillman.  It is connection with high school coaches, university position coaches and even junior college coaches who can help you identify you players that aren’t on the national radar but can help your football team.
  3. Speaking of Eric Tillman, is it too soon to consider bringing him back?  I think it is but some will consider it.
  4. While I blame Brendan Taman, a lot of responsibility has to stand with Corey Chamblin.  He seems unable to identify why the Riders are playing horrible and doesn’t know how to fix it.  There have been other coaches that are good when things are going along great but can’t fix things when they run poorly (I think of Mike Singletary) because they are over their head schematically.  Chamblin seems lost and over his head right now.  So does his staff.
  5. Everyone gets on Chamblin for the penalties but I think this is on Taman.  It is the kind of players you get.  If you looked back at the player committing the most penalties, they would have a track record of doing it college and probably high school.  As Jimmy Johnson used to say, “Don’t send me stupid players because you can’t coach stupid players”.  We think talent is everything.  It isn’t.
  6. While the Winnipeg Bluebombers defense isn’t amazing, it is better than the Riders and with probably less talent.  Who is coaching that defense?  A gentlemen name Ritchie Hall, previously defensive coordinator of the Saskatchewan Roughriders… back when they had a strong defense. 
  7. I love the hoardes that get upset when you criticize the Saskatchewan Roughriders as “we are all one team”.  No, not really.  I am not on the team.  I am a fan of the team.  I buy stuff from the Rider store, I cheer for the team but what is going on with that office and that field is solely the domain of the directors, the management, coaches, and players.  I don’t get a Grey Cup ring when they win and I am allowed to criticize the team when they are this bad.
  8. Speaking of bad, Chamblin’s post game interview was horrible when he offered up that there were issues with Brett Smith being benched and not being able to go back in.  Umm, why offer that up if you aren’t going to expand on it.  All it does it create speculation and media attention around you rookie QB and create a distraction when you are entering week 11 and still trying to win a game.  Also,  I was really disgusted by CKRM (I think it was Mitchell Blair but I could be wrong) asking Chamblin if he thought he would be fired.  This is a man’s livelihood we are talking about and how did they really expect him to answer that?  “Yes I think I should be fired”.  If It was Chamblin I would have said, “Thanks but I am done with this interview.”
  9. So what’s next for the Riders?  New stadium coming online in two years.  Do they trust Taman to be able to rebuild the Riders for that season?  From his track record, I don’t think I would.

Back to Football

Mark is trying out for Bedford Road’s senior football team this year.  After playing every position on the defense last year, he decided to test himself against some older and stronger players.  If he makes the team great, if not he will have tried and gotten some work in than if he had just played junior football.

Since practices start on Monday, it meant that we had to get him some gear this weekend.  His cleats and gloves fit but we ran out after work to get him some shorts and some stay dry shirts.  While we were at it, we picked up some cross trainers.  All this so he can increase his chance of long term brain injury by playing football or developing cancer by playing football on the shredded toxic waste we call SMF Field

Of course Oliver was in a bad mood over this.  Despite only going into grade two, he can’t figure out why he can’t play tackle football yet.  Apparently all other sports suck and aren’t worth his time.  He has some time to wait until Grade 6 when Kinsmen Football starts.  He isn’t impressed.  He’ll be even less impressed when Mark takes off to play football.