Monday, March 30, 2009

I’ve finally done it…

I passed a major hurdle in my life this morning. As I was searching for my Melvin Jones Fellowship pin to make sure I had it to wear to the Lions Convention this weekend I ran across my old Northern name tag.

What to do, what to do… This little piece of plastic with my name on it represented a huge chunk of my personal history. The slogan “Customer Service Is Our First Priority” was (believe it or not) the credo by which I tried to live my life for the past 35 years. All else got put aside… personal time, dreams and even family. I wonder what experiences and memories I missed during all those decades that I will never know about… it’s now too late to go back.

Enough of that… what I started to tell about today was that the Northern name tag, like myself, is now officially retired. While I sit on my deck or peck away at me leisure on my little laptop the name tag has received a different fate… it’s now on the way to the landfill. Hmmm… almost like losing a friend but maybe it’s time to gain a family.
Hello everyone, I’m home!

The true sport…

It’s only the past few years then there has been much offered in the way of cash to winners of the major bonspiels, and unless you’re talking about the really big ones then it’s probably not enough to cover team expenses for attending the event.

Curling teams have to pay all transportation costs, hotels, meals, entry fees, uniforms and everything else from their own pockets. They most likely will not make any profit on the deal and it’s only the really top players that even come close to breaking even on a year.

Then on the other hand you have the “professional” hockey, football and baseball players. I don't think any of these people would even consider suiting up for a game unless they were getting paid millions of dollars a year... win or lose of course. On top of that they demand that all expenses are paid for them plus a huge bonus if they meet certain goals for the year. Now I ask you, is anyone worth that kind of money? To run around playing a game that has absolutely no importance, no meaning and does absolutely nothing to improve the quality of the world is nothing but a complete and total waste of time, energy and money that could be better spent on more noble endeavors.

While I can understand (and actually enjoy) baseball and rugby, sports like hockey and basketball have got to be two of the most boring activities known to man, surpassed for sleep factor only by soccer and cricket. The biggest waste of money of them all in my opinion would be the Olympics and I seriously resent having one single penny of my tax dollars going to support this extravaganza. I wonder what good could be done in Canada if the billions that are being spent on Vancouver 2010 were channeled towards apparently silly things like housing or fresh water, alternative forms of energy or even maintaining our roads.

I don't know... some people figure I have too many opinions and I guess maybe my priorities are different than a lot of other people.

Sometimes I myself even think that I am too negative in my thoughts and I promise to work on that, but I DO like a good argument... any takers on this one?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Now I’ve nothing against throwing third but…

There just seems to be something wrong with a skip who will gladly accept the glory but not the responsibility for making the deciding shots. Tonight’s game is an example but there have been others who have taken the same out.

Business is business, if I’m in charge then I’m in charge and if the team falls short and we fail or lose money (or the game) then it’s my fault. If the team comes up short then it’s on my head and no one else’s and I say that for a number of reasons.

ONE: I should have trained them better.

TWO: I should have taken the time to find out what obstacles there were that resulted in them not being able to produce (Training? Education? Medical? Personal?) and helped them to overcome any such difficulties.

THREE: If they were not capable of being trained then I should have recognized that, accepted my shortcoming in not being able to get them up to speed, removed them and moved on with lessons learned.

To get back to curling however, if I want to accept the glory by calling it MY team then I CANNOT pass off the final decision or final shot to someone else. I personally have to accept the responsibility, take the shot and be willing to absorb the hits as well as the cheers.

I have to be willing to concede that if there is someone else in the group who can take point and do a better job than myself then I MUST stand aside and make sure they get the full credit they deserve. It cannot be MY project, MY victory, MY glory... unless I'm willing to take the responsibility and accept the possibility of having my name attached to a failure.

It is my opinion that leaders cannot give themselves "outs" in sports, business, politics or life. What do YOU think?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our Ten Year Run of Fun...

I've been negligent in posting lately but it's curling season don't you know!

At one time Gloria and I were real fanatics and I suppose we still are in a lot of ways. We started going to the Brier at Sault Ste. Marie in 1990 and did 10 in a row, ending our run in Edmonton in 1999 and boy do we miss it. The Brier is the most fantastic 10 days of curling, camaraderie, excitement and partying that you could possibly imagine. Those of you who know me would say party? What? This guy at a party? NO WAY! Believe me, the Brier is different...

The fans at this event are a special breed and if you’re lucky you are accepted as one of the group and if you’re very lucky you become someone who is expected to be there and missed if you are not. We were in the very lucky category for many years and as part of the “James Bay Gang” we gained certain notoriety among the group.


Our two personal pins that are now collectors items, making the newspapers just about every year, being interviewed for the Brier Tankard, attending Morning Classes, becoming one of the better known pin traders in the country, the “James Bay Gang” banner across the high and low reaches of the arenas, the many shuttle bus rides, trying to get a sign onto the bus in Ottawa that was way too big for the bus, running decoy and making the local Police watch me by standing in the middle of the street while another member of “the gang” appropriated a HUGE Brier sign off the side of a hotel, running “Sebastian” through the elevator system of a hotel (you had to be there), having a full case of 24 (open) Labatt product dropped on your table 15 minutes before Brier Patch closing (how do we smuggle these out of here?), knowing the secret telephone number that would get a VIP shuttle at your door to take you wherever you wanted to go, leading the singing of Barretts Privateers in the bus on the way back from a team hosting, the team hosting themselves, meeting Prairie Oyster, meeting the Good Brothers, partying with Brier Bear, helping Glen Howard spill his beer, watching people jump a polar bear, the power going off in the middle of the game in Winnipeg, meeting the Wrench and the Iceman, having a very friendly shouting match in a restaurant in Halifax (Northern Ontario! Nova Scotia!), galloping the length of the Brier Patch in Kamloops to claim a prize from Dan Gallagher, riding in Eric Clapton's limo from Kamloops to Vancouver, asking people on Tuesday "So when does the curling start?", being asked (almost seriously) to play a couple shots as lead for the “Maxie” team, shouting POLAR POWER during the games, borrowing (stealing) a bed out of a hotel hallway for a friend, being on the Jumbotron too many times to count, fitting 15 people into a mini-van for the ride back to the hotel in Red Deer, closing off the televised tie-breaker game in my "Curl Naked" t-shirt one night, an entire bus load of us piling off and raiding the liquor store in Airdrie while Russ and the boys go for subs across the road, meeting A LOT of really great people and so on and so on…


Must Be Spring!

My buddy
is back, spotted him on the tree behind the house today. I think he’s going to be a little hungry before long as there aren’t too many bugs out there yet.