Monday, March 16, 2009

Sport is Sport

I just got back from a weekend in Vancouver watching the B.C.  High School boys' basketball championships.  I also have been known to stop and watch a soccer game if I happen to walk by one and I've watched more Little League games then I can count.  I've paused to try and figure out cricket at Beacon Hill park and I don't mind watching two teams of old men play slo-pitch.

Some people ask me why I'd go to any trouble to watch high school basketball.  For me sports is about the battle and not the weapons.  If it's a close match and played with passion then it is exciting to watch.  I grew up watching my Dad play horseshoes for beer and I'd stay glued to those contests.  I don't think he was even very good at horseshoes, but the games were close.

Try watching some local sports and stop big timing them.  Just because it is not on T.V. does not mean it isn't exciting.  It's a disappointment for me that the media focusses more and more on the big events and gives short shrift to the local ones.  

As for the basketball tournament,  if you've never been then you're missing something.  It is played in the Agrodome and is packed with fans (about 5,000) of one of the teams and/or  knowledgeable fans of the game.  The crowd is boisterous and very into the proceedings.  It's a blast.

Anecdote time...

Speaking of my Dad, it pains me to say that we've recently learned that he won't be with us much longer, so this entry's anecdote is about him and one thing he taught me about sports.

I loved to play croquet when I was a pre-teen (or a kid as we were called back then) and would practice regularly in the backyard.  I pestered Dad into playing one day and soon found myself out to a big lead.  I was getting all cocky about it and yapping.  Dad comes roaring back to beat me, flips his mallet in my direction, says "Never take your opposition lightly," and walks away leaving me with my mouth open.


  1. Sorry to hear about your dad, Jack.

    I see Oak Bay finished 6th. Pretty good, considering their seeding coming in, no?

  2. Yes, we (the Oak Bay faithful) were quite happy with their result. They also got to be one of the few teams in the province that could say they finished the season with a win.

  3. Jack, we must have been separated at birth. I couldn't agree with you more about the essence of sport - the passion of the competition.

    As someone who long ago stopped holding a strong allegiance to any team in any sport, the interest for me is the battle and not the outcome. Although I usually end up rooting for the underdog in any match.

    I've enjoyed the same cricket in Beacon Hill Park (granted, with a little help from my good friend Mr. Shaftesbury); minor league baseball in exotic locales such as Bend, Winnipeg, Fargo and St. Paul; the BC High School Boys Basketball championships; amateur fastpitch at Connaught Park; and various sports in various locations. One of the best baseball games I've ever seen was a BC Little League final between Layritz and Langley.

    I too am disappointed with the focus upon the big time sports over the local ones. I think it goes back to Vancouver's need to be considered a world class city. Just today the media is all abuzz about Vancouver acquiring a MLS soccer franchise. As someone who played soccer as a kid but has never attended an 86ers/Whitecaps game, I don't get all the fuss. Membership in this top league won't entice me to go to any more games. Just as the "demotion" of the Vancouver Canadians to A from AAA didn't affect my enjoyment of visits to Nat Bailey. (I won't do it here, but I can make a decent argument that A is comparable, or even better, baseball than AAA.)

    Why not more coverage of local sport beyond the Canucks, Lions and Whitecaps? Dave Pratt of the Team 1040 will tell you that the Vancouver media gives the people what they want. But checkout the copious coverage of high school sports by the Seattle media along with their reporting on the Seahawks, Mariners, etc. I think we just don't have enough confidence in ourselves to enjoy and celebrate the local sports.

    I had a tough time remembering something my dad taught me about sports. He did teach me that if you drive with your three kids all the way from Nova Scotia to Mont Tremblant, Quebec for a Spring Break ski trip, you should have a GD hotel reservation. Does that count? It's kind of sports related. I would have liked to have been the son who was taught that lesson by his Dad through a simple game of croquet. Or at least to have been there that day to have witnessed you learn it.

  4. If you want to get really angry/upset/depressed by the business of major league sports, just do some research into this whole epidemic of publicly-funded baseball parks that is sweeping the sport. Essentially, governments are taking money originally earmarked to help the poorest members of society and are re-routing it to help subsidize the earnings of billionaire owners and their millionaire employees.

  5. Jack, if I get my nephews football schedule, Ill sent it your way - they are a blast to watch and you can see them improve throughout the game! Keep up the great blogging!

  6. I've seen many baseball games and feel that for pure sport entertainment value, Little League beats the Major Leagues every time because anything could happen. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that most of my ML games were in Olympic Stadium. Poor ambiance. But how about that Youppi, what a mascot!

    re: media coverage
    It's probably just a matter of $$. Much cheaper/easier to get sports news off the wire/internet than have someone watch a game in person & write about it. If you're attending an event, why not write-up a non-biased report & send it in?