COLUMN: Perry Bergson — Dec. 9, 2013

Perry
Perry Bergson
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Bergson

I’ve mentioned before in this space how I’ve lost my taste for TV sports.

I almost never watch sports on TV, whether it be the NHL, CFL, NBA, NFL or major league baseball. (If you see me out in the community in a Blue Bombers shirt, I’m trolling you. I’m pretty much indifferent to them and all other pro sports teams at this point.)

When it comes to TV sports, I’m just unwilling to commit the time and the attention to watching other people run around when it should be me getting the exercise.

There remains one giant chink in my armour and with December here that scratch is feeling the need to be itched.

Every year I watch the World Junior Championships and feverishly root on Team Canada. In recent years I’ve put my bike on a training stand so that I can pedal away my nervous energy as I watch the game.

Team Canada became especially important to me after I moved to Brandon in 1989 and started seeing WHL games. Starting with Wheat Kings netminder Trevor Kidd in 1990, I got to see a procession of Wheaties and visiting league superstars in person and then playing for Canada.

To localize the story, in 1995, Denis Pederson of the Raiders played with Wheaties Marty Murray and Wade Redden.

Canada won gold that year and I remember the players bantering back and forth on the ice after they returned to their junior teams. I’m sure it was never the same playing some of those guys after they bonded so closely with them over two weeks.

Since 1977, Canada has won 15 gold, eight silver and five bronze. We’ve missed a medal just nine times, including last year when a streak of 14 years in a row with a medal was snapped.

It’s amazing how quickly these young men become household names in this country and what pressure they must bear to win.

I mention this as Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey heads off to selection camp for an opportunity to make the team. With a smaller number of players actually invited to camp, he has to survive just one cut to head off to this year’s event in Malmo, Sweden.

Local hockey fans will remember that Mark McNeill was a late addition to the team last year, with the then-Raiders captain flying to Russia to replace an injured Charles Hudon at the last minute.

Canada’s games this year are

• Dec. 26 -- Germany -- 6:30 a.m. (our time)

• Dec. 28 -- Czech Republic -- 10:30 a.m.

• Dec. 30 -- Slovakia -- 10:30 a.m.

• Dec. 31 -- U.S. -- 10:30 a.m.

The first playoff games begin on Jan. 2 with the final on Jan. 5. (By the way, there is a seven time zone difference between us on Central Time, and Malmo, which is on Central European Time Zone.)

Good luck to Josh, a young man I’ve interviewed many times, as he potentially gets his chance on centre stage. Regardless of how the team does, let’s hope it’s the experience he is hoping for.

 

• • •

 

Since we’re on the topic, congratulations to the Riders and their many devoted fans for their recent Grey Cup win.

I’ve written before about my experience at a Wisconsin Badgers NCAA football game in Madison, Wis., the best live sports experience I’ve ever had, and the only football game to eclipse the ones I’ve seen in Regina.

I’ve seen games in four stadiums, and even though Taylor Field is starting to show its age, it’s the best place to watch the CFL. The fans are passionate yet they seem to retain some of the humility that came from the lean years.

I don’t know if you read it, but CBC columnist Malcolm Kelly was recently raked over the coals by Rider fans over comments in a recent column. To sum up, he referred to “a growing number of arrogant twerps,” a phrase nicely shortened to the more all-encompassing “arrogant twerps” in some headlines.

I consider that ridiculous. If you read the whole of his comments, he suggests that Riders fans were once the sad-sack, lovable losers of the league. Now that the team is winning, he feels a growing swagger among fans. In some cases, it’s unbearable.

The knee-jerk reaction was to call Malcolm Kelly names, which was beyond silly. If you’re a reasonable person who cheers for any team, there are always other fans on your side who are troubling.

They might be the guy loudly swearing at the erratic quarterback, writing angry defences of the struggling netminder or finding all kinds of conspiracies related to any team losses.

There are people around us who lose all sense of perspective. Exhibit A would have to be the Vancouver riots.

The backlash against Kelly seemed to show an insecurity unbecoming of a proud, triumphant franchise in a province that has become an economic powerhouse in Canada.

You’re winning, Saskatchewan. You don’t have to worry about anyone else’s opinion.

 

• • •

 

A headline last Thursday that some of you may have missed was the source of inspiration around this office.

A day after laying off 200 newspaper staff across Canada, Quebecor sold its 74-weekly division in Quebec to Transcontinental, which is the owner of the Daily Herald, Moose Jaw Times-Herald and about a dozen other titles in Saskatchewan.

TC believes in the future of newspapers and is willing to show that commitment with this latest deal. It’s a theme that has been reinforced over and over as the Daily Herald has played host to this company’s senior executives.

We’re here to stay. Daily newspapers actually had advertising revenue grow two per cent in 2012 while it grew 6.4 per cent in weeklies.

Other noisy little companies that have a lot to say about newspapers in Prince Albert have actually sold properties in the last 15 years. Our company is buying properties.

I’ll let you read those tea leaves. 

 

 

Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at perry.bergson@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: CFL, Team Canada, NHL Daily Herald CBC Quebecor

Geographic location: Canada, Prince Albert Raiders, Malmo Brandon Sweden Russia Germany Czech Republic Slovakia U.S. Saskatchewan Madison, Wis. Regina Vancouver Quebec

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