Feeling that warm Canadian glow

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canada

Our love for our country runs deep.  We, as a nation, bleed red and white and this morning I felt the vibration of a country celebrating in unity as the Canadian Men’s Hockey team took Olympic Gold.  The West coast rose at 3:30 am (or stayed up) to watch the puck drop at 4:00 am PST and the wave of Canadian spirit undulated across the nation.

During these winter games we battled and we fell.  We picked ourselves up and congratulated those who bested us.  We honored those who carved the way for new Olympic challenges.  We watched the families and friends of our Olympians cheer on our Canadian athletes in Sochi while we cheered from home.

We did not just celebrate our victories.  We celebrated our efforts in every sport and paid tribute to those willing to represent the best our country has to offer.  We felt the pain of those who came up short of their goals but we also felt their Canadian pride in their attempt to be the best.

We battled with the world, we won with pride and we lost with dignity and grace.  We leave Sochi with the same sense of self and the same Canadian values we had when we arrived.

An entire country will go to bed tonight proud of our Canadian athletes, their coaches and their support staff.  We will appreciate the thankless hours parents spend teaching these children to learn from defeat, to lose and to win graciously and keep striving to be the best they can be.

(image credit: karenfron.com)

The memories that will linger from Sochi 2014

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2014-sochi-logo

(image credit: sochi2014.com)

I have been watching the Olympics intermittently.  During the time that I have been able to stop and watch, there have been some proud Canadian moments that will live on in our history because they have been documented.  Athletes have been awarded medals that will be displayed for generations and their names have been chiseled into the stone tablets of time.  Those victories have been celebrated and are cemented into the foundation for our future Olympians.

Dara Howell, a young girl from a small town so close to mine, proudly claimed her Gold medal and made the boundaries of Cottage Country swell with pride.   Sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe topped the podium and took home Gold and Silver medals together.  Alexandre Bilodeau won Gold and, once again, shared a tender moment with his brother Frederic who has Cerebral Palsy and is, undoubtedly, Alexandre’s biggest supporter.   These are the precious Canadian moments that make us proud of our fellow countrymen and make us bleed white and red in their honor.  Support and pride can be felt across the country for ALL of our Canadian athletes.

But there have been moments that may never be recorded in the hallowed halls of Olympics gone by – moments that not only made me proud to be a Canadian, but proud to be a human being.  Newscasters delighted in showing the film footage of our Canadian ski coach, Justin Wadsworth, unselfishly replacing the broken ski of Russian skier, Anton Gafarovski, so he could “finish the race with dignity”.  Justin showed the world the heart of a former Olympian, the heart of a Canuck and the heart of the true human spirit.

Gilmore Junio has been plastered all over the coverage of Men’s Speed Skating because he gave up his spot in the 1000M race to allow his teammate, Denny Morrison, to compete after Denny fell in the qualifying round and was not entitled to race.  Denny went on to skate the track of his life after being cheered on by his family, Gilmore’s family and the rest of Canada, and he earned a Silver medal.  Gilmore may not have won a medal for the 1000M race but he won much more than that.  He won the heart of every Canadian and many other hearts from around the globe.  In true Canadian fashion, Denny Morrison is now campaigning to have Gilmore carry the Canadian flag at the closing ceremonies.

I can only hope when I think back on the Winter Olympics in Sochi that I will remember these moments and not just the jubilant faces on the podium as the winners received their medals.  The Olympic games are about being the best you can be and, in my opinion, Justin and Gilmore both won the Gold in that category!

I’ll take a bowl of Super, please.

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Broncos   VS.  seattle-seahawks-team-logo

My most favorite and least favorite day of the year has arrived!!  The culmination of a great season of football and some hard-fought battles with the pigskin bring us to the moment that the Vince Lombardi trophy will be awarded.  My efforts as “The Commish”  in a 17-week long football pool as well as a playoff pool also come to an end at the pinnacle of the football season.  It is a bittersweet day.

Superbowl Sunday is like my Christmas day.  I awake excited knowing what the day will bring and can’t wait to unwrap the gift of football.  Unlike Christmas day, however, I fidget throughout the day in anticipation of the moment I can sit in front of my television set and scream obscenities at will.  My dog has had four weeks of pre-season, seventeen weeks of regular season and three weekends of playoff games to learn how to properly tune out the expletives that undoubtedly cascade from my lips.

This year’s rivalry between Denver and Seattle should be a close game and a well fought battle.  The pure, raw desire for each of these teams to reign supreme is evident on the field and the energy is palpable from both sidelines.  The deeply etched scars of the carnage on the field are proudly worn as badges of honor, but there is another carrot dangling ever so close to Peyton Manning besides putting his lips on the Vince Lombardi trophy.  Should the Denver Broncos emerge victorious, he will be the first quarterback in the NFL to win a second Superbowl championship throwing for two different teams.

Superbowl Sunday has become one of the most anticipated sporting events.  There is something so enticing about the spirit of Superbowl Sunday.  Even if you are not a fan of the game, the camaraderie and the game-day snacks are enough to draw in a crowd, if only to nibble the offerings and watch the commercials!

When the game is done, the trophy is presented and the celebration is carried on beyond the cameras, there should be a rehabilitation program for dedicated fans, like myself.  I admittedly feel a sense of loss and wander aimlessly on the Sunday following Superbowl trying to overcome that loss.  The sudden deviation to absolutely no football requires an intense effort to fill those weekend hours and I am forced to find sufficient entertainment to fill the void.  Thank God for blogging!

But for now, I will focus on Superbowl XLVIII – the throw down between the Broncos and the Seahawks.  It’s gonna be loud, it’s gonna be tense and it’s gonna be the Broncos 34 and the Seahawks 28.  Happy Superbowl Sunday!!

PS: If  you’re looking for me next Sunday, I will be signing up for an out-patient program for football withdrawal.

Requesting a favor

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Hello to all of my blogging, Facebook and Twitter friends.  I am appealing to you for a bit of help.  I have started a new blog for Shamrock Lodge (my new job) and would love and appreciate it if you could check it out and follow if you could.  The more exposure we get, the longer I get to keep my job.  😉

Here is a picture of where I get to go every day to work, and below is the link to the new blog site.

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Shamrock Lodge

Back in the swing of things

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“Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle.” ~ Author unknown

The Rock

(image credit:  therockgolf.com)

After an almost two-year hiatus, I have begun to reintroduce myself to the game of golf over the last couple of weeks.  The hiatus was unintentional – my life was a roller coaster and reality seemed to keep getting in the way.

Before my absence on the course, every day off was spent chasing that little white ball around for four hours.  The thing I truly enjoy about golf, apart from the breathtaking scenery and communion with nature is the fact that the only real competition on the course is myself.  Sure, there may be some side bets with my golf partners, but the only thing I am really trying to beat is my last score.

Last week I put the clubs in the car and met up with some friends.  We went to the course by boat and the day was stunning.  The picture above couldn’t be a better indication of what we experienced since that is the course we played. (I birdied this hole yesterday!)

Although my game is not as proficient as it was two years ago, my muscle memory is making it easier to pick up where I left off.   Each time I swing a club it feels more familiar and comfortable than the swing before.

Being back in the office today and looking at another gorgeous day through the window is tough, but at least I know I’ll have a few more games before the snow flies.  Why didn’t I start this in the spring?

The Commish is back in the house

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I am a Canadian who admittedly can’t watch the CFL although I am a football fanatic.  The culmination of my love of football was derived from years of watching the NFL.  My parents were Hamilton Ti-Cat fans, but I was always drawn to American Football and my love of the rules of the National Football League.

Hail Mary has much meaning for me, although I am not a religious person.  The tension on the field, the true grit of play and the excitement of the game has a hold on me that I have not yet been able to explain.  And I will vehemently negate any arguments that I watch the game for the tight pants.  I know the rules.  I know the game.  And during the NFL season, I eat, sleep and breathe football.

football

Once the season begins I yearn for Sundays.  If I am not working, I am comfortably ensconced in my living room watching the pre-game shows until the 1:00 kick off.  I can spend 10 hours in my living room yelling obscenities at my 46″ monitor and loving every second of the game. (I’m sure there are meetings for this!)

My love of the sport may have morphed into a slight obsession.  I took over a football pool about 10 years ago that had 15 participants.  Last year we topped the participation with 65 people at $250.00 each for the entry fee.  It was a busy season but time that I truly enjoyed spending creating spreadsheets and announcing the winners of each week.  Having 65 people picking 13 to 16 games a week is like having a second job, but one I would not give up.  My nickname during the football season is “The Commish” and it is a moniker I hold onto with great pride.

I have just sent my first email of the year to round up people to participate in the 2013 / 2014 football pool and I feel like a kid waiting to go to Disneyland.  The spreadsheets are set for another year and pre-season is around the corner.  The Chargers roster is pumped and ready to do me proud this year.  My jerseys are hanging in my closet and I eagerly anticipate the kick-off to the Hall of Fame Game on August 4th.

I am about to put the laptop to bed and watch The Replacements.  Although Keanu Reeves is not the best actor in the world, it is one of my favorite football movies and I need to get back into “Commish-mode”.  It’s 4th and 1 on the 1 yard line and I’m about to take the snap.  Hut, hut.