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The Glebite

by Franklin McWhittle

The Glebite
Franklin McWhittle

Oh, the children just will not listen to me. I have warned them about the dangers of street hockey, but they insist on playing on the street at all hours of the day, sometimes well into dusk, despite the constant presence of the reckless 30-kilometer per hour (sometimes 40, I bet) Third Avenue traffic. Sure, they're not my kids, as my partner Cynthia and I are "childless by choice," as the bumper sticker on our Saturn says, but I still feel it my duty to warn them, as it's painfully obvious their parents don't seem to care. Look at them-running around on the street like a horde of rural mongrel dogs. Don't their parents see what that kind of activity can do to property values?

Last weekend, with my better judgement removed by a combination of an hour's worth of grueling yardwork and two twist shandies, and in direct contradiction to my heretofore consistent beliefs about such plebian activity, I foolishly thought I'd attempt to be a sporting neighbor and join in the Saturday afternoon game. Now, I'm no Jacques Villeneuve or anything, but I was fairly certain I could hold my own. I even went through the trouble of making a pre-match trip to Home Hardware to buy a stick and various other hockey accoutrements, including shin pads, a helmet, a….protective cup, as it is so euphemistically called, gardening gloves to protect the piano fingers, and a pair of skate guards, which the sales clerk told me were indispensable, although I'm starting to have my doubts.

My inhibitions were clearly out the window, as I completed my faux jock look by purchasing a team sweater. I'm not sure which team it was, but it featured a stylized 'C' on the chest that somewhat resembles a horseshoe placed on its side, with an 'H' in the middle. (perhaps the Czech Republic?) After all, I didn't want to stand out.

I will be the first to admit that my relations with the neighbors have not always been rosy. I get the feeling that many of them view me as some sort of egghead. However, I saw this as an opportunity to fit in like one of the boys. After pausing to scold those reprobate Johnson children for their cheekiness and audacity, (they called me a "wanker" of all things-not a wise thing to say to a grown man with a stick) I was ready to play.

As the game commenced, I was astonished to discover the inequality in the play. The players, both children and adults alike, were firing in goals from all corners of the street, not paying any regard to how many goals any of them had scored already. Henry McCombs from two doors down must have scored seven goals before I even touched the tennis ball with my stick!

As a man who believes in social justice, I have always been a proponent of equity in sports. Now I didn't expect my protestations to get anywhere with the adolescents, but it appears as though their parents are also supercharged, ultra competitive baboons. I tried to point out the fact that many of the players had scored multiple goals, while others, myself included, had yet to score. Nobody should be permitted to score more than one goal until all players have scored one, I argued. That's the way it's done in the NHL, as I pointed out to them, but alas, inclusiveness is not part of these people's vocabulary. It was like I was back in high school again. It's little wonder I have never understood sports.

Posted on June 15th, 2001



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