Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reader Mail

Lots to get to today in the ol' Sports As Life Mailbag - so let's get to it.

Letter #1, from Rk:


Happy to oblige as always.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73NeHYRF20M (for some reason you have to log in to You Tube to view this video, no idea why - there's no objectionable material or anything)

Here's another one that someone has spliced some footage of Kane into for some reason. But this one is good because it shows Mr. Mcmahon's walk of shame. I'm not sure if you have to be logged in to see this one or not.

Letter #2, from Cooper:

"Your facts and stats deptartment must be slacking off. The Bluejays actually won 2 of 3 this past weekend vs the Nats. Not vice versa"

Looks like your spelling and editing department is slacking off. But this is true and 100% my fault and very embarrassing, I blame it on the 11pm fire drill Sunday night. This is why I need a Stat Boy. I guess it's just that even losing 1 game to the Nationals seems like a failure. I know that the Jays lost at least 2 of 3 to Tampa Bay a couple weeks ago - so same difference.

Letter #3, from CH:

"It's funny how few people in Canada can tolerate Mr. Woods. Every single person in the U.S. was emotionally invested in Tiger winning on Sunday. I sensed and heard alot more disappointment in Cleveland over Tiger, than when the Cavs got swept last week. They were all blind to his nipple-showing shirt. I too, think something a little more conservative would have sufficed, but now that he's married, I'll give him the benefit of assuming she picked it out."

I wonder if people in the U.S are always heavily emotionally invested in Tiger or if this was just because it was the U.S Open, and they didn't want to see someone who wasn't American and couldn't even speak English win the trophy. For some reason I got a twisted sense of pleasure out of seeing someone who couldn't speak English hold the U.S Open trophy.

Letter #4, from B:

"The last time Mike Keenan was anywhere near effective as a coach (I'm not professing he ever was), the Ottawa Roughriders (or is that Rough Riders) played in the CFL and Saskatchewan had a Conservative government (which by the way was about as ineffective and less corrupt than Keenan's coaching tactics).

Why do NHL teams continue to regurgitate over the hill has-been coaches (hello Ken Hitchcock) when there are so many young up and comers (hello Craig Hartsburg).I am not a real fan of the Calgary Flames, my team will remain anonymous, it's simply the principle of the thing that is ridiculous."

First of all... Gold.

Secondly, this is especially appropriate considering the Boston Bruins are going to announce Claude Julien as their head coach today. Now Julien is far from over the hill or a has-been (he actually might be a never was), but it bears mentioning that this will be the 3rd NHL team he's coached in 5 years. Now if that isn't a coach getting recycled I don't know what is.

Here are 4 coaches currently coaching in junior hockey who could make the jump:

Craig Hartsburg (as mentioned above) - Coach of the Sault Ste. Marie (spent a month there one night - I sill maintain that 15 year old at Subway was hitting on me - and not the other way around) Greyhounds and coached Canada to the World Junior Gold Medal in 2007. Will be back to coach the juniors again in 2008.

Brent Sutter - The man who coached the Canadian Junior team to back to back gold medals in 2005 and 2006 and currently the head coach of the Red Deer Rebels. Some of us thought he might be the next head coach of the Calgary Flames.

Dale Hunter - Coach of the London Knights. Led them to the 2005 Memorial Cup championship. But that might have had less to do with his coaching and more to do with the ridiculous amount of talent he had on that team, including Corey Perry, Rob Schremp, Danny Syvret and Danny Fritsche. Also might be discriminated against in NHL circles because he holds the title for Worst NHL Playoff Cheapshot of All-Time.

Don Hay - Calgary Flames' fans with long memories just had collective stroke. But you can't argue with his junior record - he's won 3 Memorial Cups with 2 different teams, including this years. He does have previous NHL coaching experience and it isn't flattering but I don't think he had a lot of talent to work with on those Phoenix and Calgary teams he coached.

Letter #'s 5, 6, 7, 8, from T.H, Trebor, Chris and Cooper in that order (all dealing with the same subject, so all getting grouped together):

"Well put, I think that I now have a tear in my eye…seriously. The University section was the place where I learned to love watching the Riders (people would try and stay to the bitter end even if it was a crushing defeat, or else endure the chants of “part-time fans” from certain individuals who shall remain unidentified, lets call him Chris H.).

I have not been to a game in the University section-less Taylor Field (or whatever it is called this year)due to being away, but I don’t know if I am going to like it. Sitting on my hands reminds me of going to a game in BC place where people clap…at best...in that giant cave of theirs that can only be filled with a few thousand people for a lions game.

My question is why didn’t/don’t the people who use to sit in the infamous section 28 still sit there? Is it the price that is keeping them away? Where do all these ‘hard-core’ fans now sit? Or have they merely stopped going to the games? Why?

Oh and can someone explain why the ticket prices have leapt so much since 2005? I don’t see new heated seats or a dome or, heck, even a grey cup winning side on the field. What is the justification for these grossly overpriced tickets? Do you have the answer Mr. Sportsaslife?

Once again, great article."

"Great article, but have to kinda agree with the first comment, if it wasn't just about cheap tickets...where did they all go ???

I do wish that they could have kept that atsmosphere if not the area. But when you want the famalies at the games and keep raising prices and start calling it mosaic stadium, your going to lose the university/party type crowd. Luckily it can still be found elsewhere, last year in Calgary was amazing...much louder than anytime I was at the unveristy section.

One last thing, last year when the name changed to mosaic, everyone was saying "it'll always be taylor field to me"... less than a year later though i'm not seeing/hearing that. When listening to drew remenda on cjme, a lot of callers refer to it as mosaic, news papers... mosaic. Where did Taylor field go? We all knew that eventually it would be fazed out... but this soon??"

"Ahhh, i cannot agree more. A tear escaped me when the mic died on the anthem singer two years ago, and was saved by an even more intense than usual rendition by the university section.

The university section kept you honest. I believe the only sacred people in that section were pinball clemons (as witnessed when an anonymous fellow made advances on his wife, only to get ostracized) and perhaps bobby jurasin, although i can't fully vouch for this. You're a roughrider and you happen to suck on a particular day -- the university section will let you know. You're a U of R grad putting up awesome numbers for the opposing team -- we'll openly question your abilities and family. You're a quasi-local celebrity -- we'll throw things in your direction, just to keep you real.

Great memories. The only time i made national TV was when the "6 Canadians on a Bus", witnessed first hand the power and notoriety of the university section (the only time i made local television was high-fiving a certain blogger after the Canadien men won the gold medal, almost costing him his job, as previously mentioned a few articles below - in beautiful soft-lens slow motion, no less).

Where else can you find a local NFL punter puking in the aisles on labour day, a year before making his big break with the bombers?

All i can really say is that it will be sorely missed. The atmosphere can still be found when the riders visit alberta, and all the ex-saskatchewanians invade commonwealth or mcmahon. I think the resurgance will have to come from the underground. I for one, am willing to spend the extra $15 to sit in 28. Perhaps a grassroots movement via the saskatchewan bloggers association is necessary on a given home date to bring it back.

If someone in an adjacent section doesn't like it -- I WILL FIGHT THEM."

"I am feeling a little choked up after reading that. I have to admit that games have never been the same since the death of section 28. I remember the ti-cats game last year and even with a 30 point spread the crowd sounded as if it was on life support. Reading this brought back memories of section 28 screaming in unison "Benn-drops", "Benn-Drops"."

Wow, there's a lot to deal with there and I honestly have no idea where to start, so I guess I'll just start. First of all, thanks to everyone for their responses to the University Section piece, it really seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people. Tony Soprano once said that, "Remember When is the lowest form of discourse," or something to that effect, but it's nice to take a stroll down memory lane every know and again.

As far as the ticket price thing goes, I said it wasn't just about getting a cheap ticket but obviously that was a big part of the reason that people sat in that section. Going from a $25 ticket to a $40 ticket is quite a big jump and the Riders, like so many other professional sports franchises, seem bound and determined to out-price their fans. The cheap tickets were what drew people to the section and when the cheap tickets went away, so did the fans - make of that what you may. There obviously are some hold-overs, mostly season ticket holders I think. But the non-season ticket holders don't automatically look to the University Section for tickets anymore. I think the team made such a big deal and went to such lengths to squash the University Section that it just turned a lot of people off.

I had the Mosaic Stadium discussion on the weekend, about how people are starting to not call it Taylor Field anymore. And the conclusion we came up with was that certain people in media are obligated to call it that, as that is the stadium's name now. So if you have to report fact, you have to call it Mosaic Stadium. And as for regular people, I think people just sort of get brainwashed after hearing it so many times. Obviously some of us will only ever refer to Taylor Field but if you're not careful you might start to fall into the Mosaic Stadium trap.

See I wasn't going to bring up the Jon Ryan thing, but since Chris did anyway, I think I'm in the clear. The university section was the only place you could see a soon-to-be NFL all-star punter puking on his shoes, nearly passed out. Good times. And the anthem thing too, priceless. The anthem singing in the University Section was almost better when you weren't sitting there, so that you could hear them from across the stadium.

And of course, how could I have forgotten "Ben-drops"? That was maybe the loudest and most in-sync the University Section ever was - it was just like a wall of sound. He was never the same after that.

And just so everyone who wrote in and admitted to getting a little emotional when reading about the University Section doesn't feel left out, I can admit too that even when I read it I get a little misty.

So thanks again to everyone for writing over the last little while. Keep your comments coming and I'll keep answering or responding.

And as always, tell your friends.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sault ste Marie girl was hitting on me by my recollection. I wasn't having anything to do with it. I believe that was the first instance that summer of a now famous phrase that a couple of your readers heard labour day weekend - although they were on the wrong side of it; "Do you know how old we are?"