Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:44 am
The media coverage of the death of Winnipeg Jets enforcer Rick Ripyen has been atrocious.
Normally I'm not a big fan of the media hopping all over the death of an athlete, instead arguing in favor of a more restrained and respectful distance from the family and friends of the deceased allowing them to grieve.
But when a 27 year-old athlete (so obviously in pretty good physical condition) making a six-figure income (so obviously not struggling financially) ends up dead in their hometown before their annual hockey school -- especially a kid who, according to th Globe and Mail, had a history of depression, which may have contributed to "...his leave of absence last November was the second he took as a member of the team in the past three seasons," something is wrong and should be opened up for discussion.
That's the media's job, after all -- or it is supposed to be.
Media's job is to open up the discussion about issues that concern society.
For the Globe and Mail, one of Canada's most respected news sources to simply say, "[l]ocal RCMP told The Globe and Mail on Monday night that the death was not suspicious," and to leave it at that, is simply disrespectful to the public, and a failure to do their job.
If Rick Rypien was battling depression issues, and ended up taking his own life (as I suspect is the case), despite having the love and support of family, friends, communities and professional hockey organizations, then isn't this unfortunate situation another opportunity for society to open up the discussion on depression issues, their causes, and the horrible results.
It's a situation and opportunity that I fear will pass without acknowledgement or enlightenment, and we'll have to wait for another tell-all book from a former player to bring this issue to light.
I guess the death of a 27 year-old man isn't enough to make media outlets like the Globe and Mail to do their job. They'll probably cover the tell-all in a few years, though.
I'm not going to say that Rypien was a good hockey player, because he was certainly not (and he was a Vancouver Canuck for a long time, so I have a built-in dislike for him as a player anyway) but to ignore the circumstances of his death disrespects him as a person, as well as his family and loved ones far more than the over-coverage that I sometimes abhor ever could.
It also fails society.
Thanks, Globe and Mail (and every other news source thus far), for continuing to ignore the wishes of those that pay you. We want you to open up discussion on important issues, not ignore them and hope they go away.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 1:01 am
It's been a while since I blogged, so I thought I'd dig through my old columns and put one out there that was published a while ago, but is still relevant (I hold the copyright on these, by the way. So there).
Golf is hard.
Golf is really, really hard.
Think about it. Someone hands you a ball about one inch in diameter, and says, “Here, hit this into that three-inch hole over there—it’s only about 500 yards away. Tell me how many times you hit it, and if it’s over five, you’re not doing it right.”
That in itself would make it a ridiculously difficult game. Now add in all the rules.
There’s no way I could even give you the most brief rundown of the rules on golf in a newspaper column, but one caught my eye this past week that I thought was a bit over the top.
Padraig Harrington, a three-time major championship winner, was disqualified from the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on Friday after he failed to replace a ball that had moved when he picked up his marker during Thursday's first round.
Just so you’re aware—when your ball is on the green, you mark its location with something and pick it up so it’s out of the way of everyone else’s ball. When it’s your turn to play, you put the ball back down and pick up whatever you used to mark the spot with—usually a coin or something similar.
Now, after Harrington had replaced his ball he picked up his marker but his finger brushed the ball. He looked at the markings on the ball to assure himself that it was in the same place he had put it—players generally line up the marks on the ball with their intended putting line, for example, when they replace their ball—and went ahead with his shot.
Before the second round of the tournament began on Friday, however, he was called in to review the incident with tournament officials and received a disqualification from the tournament.
According to Harrington himself, after he was called in to review the close-up of his ball under slow-motion replay, “…the ball moved three dimples forward and moved back a dimple, a dimple and a half.”
So, for any of you who have ever seen a golf ball, picture the ball rotating a distance of one-and-a-half dimples on a green, and tell me that could make a difference in your next shot. (Dimples are those little indents on the ball, by the way)
“I was well aware of the fact that I touched it,” said Harrington. “So I checked that the Titleist logo to align the ball was still in the same position pointing toward the target and was quite comfortable that the ball had not moved…if you touch a ball and it doesn't move and you feel it hasn't moved, it hasn't moved, and you don't need to replace it.”
According to European Tour referee Andy McFee, “the fact that Padraig was totally unaware that this ball has moved doesn't unfortunately help him.”
Harrington gracefully accepted his disqualification, and I, too, accept that rules are rules and they must be followed. But how about a penalty of a stroke or two? In fact that would have been the penalty if he had been told about the mistake before he signed his score card. But because the error was found after the round was finished, Harrington was found to have falsified his score for the round.
Disqualification from a tournament seems a bit much for a one or two dimple nudge, doesn’t it?
I say again—golf is really hard.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 12:41 am
I’m not saying that you give up your first overall draft pick to get him back—but this has to happen now.
Ryan Smyth saying he wants to go back to the Oilers—and it getting out that he said it— makes this a necessity for the franchise to get a deal done with the Kings for the guy who was the heart and soul of the team (some would say the city)—for quite a while, and fairly recently.
The Oilers are stacked with soon-to-be all-star forwards, but they’re young, and they don’t have the leadership to follow on the ice like they would have with a Ryan Smyth.
Smyth’s grit and determination—along with his love of the city and team—would go a long way to helping these kids develop into what they can become as players in this league.
It might also convince a couple of them that it might be worth re-signing after their rookie contracts are up.
If someone like Ryan Smyth wants to come back and finish his career there—leaving a team that is clearly on the rise for one in rebuild just to be there for it—it can’t be that bad a place to be, right?
But as the fourth highest scoring forward on the Kings roster last year, the 35 year-old Smyth who still played 18:02/game last season might not be someone the Kings want to let go just to lose the $6.25 million cap hit.
The Oilers are WELL below the cap, so that’s not the issue there, but what they’ll have to sacrifice to the Kings might be.
It’s too bad the Oilers won’t be able to dump their overpaid “leadership” off to the Kings to get this done, because the Kings are trying to go the other way in the salary department.
I say it’s worth it just so these young guns don’t have to follow—and possibly turn into players like—Shawn Horcoff.
And there will be a whole lot of pissed off Oilers fans out there if a deal doesn’t get done to bring back Smyth—especially knowing that he wants to come back even after how he left.
The Oilers need to get this done—as long as they don’t have to sacrifice too much of their future to do it.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 1:26 am
But it'll probably be the only time, so don't get used to it.
They had a great season.
There, I said it.
I hate them with a passion, but I’ll admit they had a great season.
They won the President’s Trophy as the winningest team of the regular season and made it through some tough opponents to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. You can’t debate that they were a good hockey team.
And they might have won it, too—but whether you like it or not (and I don’t, in case you’re wondering) the officiating changes in the NHL playoffs, and designing your team to have skill and finesse and a solid powerplay because that skill and finesse draws penalties from opposing teams will not win you a Stanley Cup.
The “let them play” attitude of officials in the playoffs changes the game, and for teams like the Canucks—or my Oilers not so long ago—that are designed to draw penalties with quickness and agility, this change is not only unwelcome, but insurmountable.
In the case of the 2010/11 Vancouver Canucks, they tried to draw penalties by flopping all over the ice like soccer players whenever they were touched, which only encouraged the officials to keep their whistles in their pockets—admittedly keeping them from calling deserved penalties on occasion.
The Canucks frustration at not accomplishing anything positive with this tactic led them to take undisciplined penalties themselves.
If officiating was consistent from game one of the regular season to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, the Canucks probably would likely be passing that trophy around—as much as it pains me to say that.
But it isn’t. And teams should know that by now.
You have to build a playoff team and try to make the playoffs to take advantage of it.
That’s what the Boston Bruins did.
But Vancouver will see the cup on its tour. Unfortunately for Canucks fans it will be in the hands of Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins—the type of player that helps win you a Stanley Cup with his grit and determination.
Good year, Canucks. But the season changes when the playoffs start, and you should know that by now—especially considering the last few years.
Posted on: June 18, 2011 1:31 am
What happens when you let a couple hundred thousand people get pissed-up-drunk in the streets of a major city during a championship sporting event? Take a look at Vancouver.
There are those saying that the riots after game seven of the Stanley Cup finals in Vancouver are the responsibility of a few “anarchists” who planned to cause destruction and went downtown for that sole purpose.
There are those that claim that the Canucks fans have shown once again their true colours and are the epitomes of sore losers—trashing their own city to prove it.
There are those that say that the “true fans” are the ones who came down the following days to clean up the city in the aftermath of the disgraceful event.
I say this: as soon as the city of Vancouver allowed the massive street-party mentality to take over, they were doomed.
What brilliant mind came up with the idea that during a hockey game, the laws of public decency should be waved? Who thought that a couple-hundred thousand people should be allowed to party in the streets because there was a hockey game being played?
Probably the same mind that decided how much security would be needed to control the behaviour of these people.
And for those of you that say that the “true Canuck fans” aren’t responsible for this atrocity, give your heads a shake.
True Canucks fans are the ones who, despite not having the thousand-or-so dollars to get inside the game, went down into the belly of Vancouver to show their support.
And whether they actually flipped a car, or looted a store, or beat up someone wearing a Bruins jersey, they are the ones responsible for the mayhem and destruction by following rather than leading—watching and videotaping rather than intervening—standing around rather than going home so the rioters could be dealt with.
And there’s probably a thousand hours of footage out there of people who spent $140 on a Canucks jersey cheering on the destruction.
When ignorant fools give ignorant fools a reason and a venue to gather in huge numbers—and then add intoxicants—they get just what they got in Vancouver.
All that Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada gained from hosting the Olympics in 2010 was lost in one night. Except the debt. Thanks, Vancouver.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:56 pm
With my first post on my newly formed CBSsports.com blog, I decided I would simply share the few things I decided about my blog and what it is going to be.
I’ve been writing a sports-opinion column since early 2010 (a column by the same name, in fact) for a local newspaper here in Canada, but there will be some changes to be made here, due to the audience, frequency, and relative interest-level of my reader(s).
This is what this blog will be—for the most part—and I welcome your feedback:
1. I’m not going to bother trying to be topical. No one’s going to read this thing unless I get some pull around here, and that could take a while. Even then, I probably won’t be focusing on topical events, but rather my opinion on generalities in sport. So while I’d love to chime in with my opinions on Ohio State or how much I hate the Vancouver Canucks (as everyone else seems to nowadays) it really wouldn’t make sense. I’ll save that feedback for the message boards (for now).
2. I’m going to embrace my biases. Rather than pretend that I’m writing this blog as a journalist (like some writers around here), I’m not going to pretend that I’m going to look at things impartially. This is a place for my opinion, and I’m going to be giving it. I will not apologize for that, and I welcome discussion on the subjects presented…hell, maybe somebody will change my mind on some things.
3. I’m going to try to share my thoughts on all kinds of sports. I will say again that I will not apologize for my biases, which is why you will most often see football-related posts here, but when there’s something worth talking about in another area, I’ll go there, too.
4. This is going to be a very Canadian perspective on things. I can’t help that. That’s who I am. While I realize that most people on CBSsports.com won’t care about the CFL (or for that matter what Canadians have to think about anything, judging from some of the ignorant posters on the message boards around here) I will likely be talking about the Canadian way of doing things, or at the very least the Canadian way of thinking will show through in my writing.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas you’d like to discuss, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and I don’t know how to add pictures, links, etc. yet, so until I figure that out, I should apologize for not having the prettiest of blog entries.