With winter arriving today, JABS Mansion is into full and festive mukluks-and-corn-starch mode, having sacrificed a perfectly good golf umbrella to the wind this morning and getting soaked to the skin, only The National's Abel blaring in the ears to ward off the chill. We're leaving early, in other words, to get outta these wet clothes and into a dry martini.
But first, a quick look around the week's bits, and to put another Canadian football season to bed, let's start with Sean Smith at sportsBabel, who along with Rod Murray wrote The Narrative of Long Bombs, a provocative, thoughtful look at football's military connection. Here's a taste, but read it all:
. . . What is ironic is that this sponsorship comes at a time when the Canadian military has waived its requirement of a minimum fitness level to join the service. While this is clearly one sign among many that the Forces are on a desperate mission to increase their numbers, apparently general recruitment has little to do with requiring fit bodies. The thrust to recruit soldiers via football suggests that there must be some congruency between military and sport cultures.
Of course, the choice of an athlete, or any Canadian, to enlist in our armed forces is a deeply personal one that should be respected. But when the business of sports intersects so dramatically with the decisions of our political and military leaders, we should take pause. Canada should support its soldiers, but if war is a continuation of politics by other means, that support should begin before they are sent off to fight. In other words, when the slick marketing campaign is pulled back, are the right questions being asked? And if so, are the right answers being given?
Pat Tillman's family doesn’t think so.
One last e-mail. Wade Tomlin figures the notion of a Sam Mitchell watch in the media is vastly overrated - at least in the Toronto sports media (the Raptors are en fuego, as they say on the sports broadcasts, zooming up to 5-10 on November since Wade wrote this early in the week):
To me firing Mitchell is as straightforward a situation for Bryan Colangelo as you see in sports. You have a team that everyone seems to accept has improved its roster, yet the team is off to forget about a slow start, but a similar one to the horrible start a year ago (1-11, 3-9, there is no real difference) and you have a coach who is now on the verge of his third losing season, who has no previous track record of success as a NBA head coach, who just last year was voted the worst coach in the N.B.A. by league players.
It is getting embarrassing as a fan to hear this idea that the Raptors have some form of excuse for this sorry start, there called standards and the Raptors organization, and many of the people surrounding the team (the announce team, sportswriters following the team), seem to have none when it comes to winning. Fire Mitchell now or this team will continue with its mantle as the new Los Angeles Clippers.
|DICK LOEK/Toronto Star file photo|
|Ballard warms up for '75 Latvia finals.|
One last "Is on fire! Let's NBA!" I don't know who did this, but some wicked wit who goes by the handle of Lockdown on the RealGM board has a pretty take in Sam Mitchell: The Graphic Novel. (Just in: Part II.)
One last invitation. To journalists covering next spring's world hockey championships, from the International Table Hockey Federation (via Babelfish, I presume. Either that or Borat):
"Also it is significant that this tournament will be restored in Riga, Latvia. Latvia is not only famous with their noisy and ice hockey loving fans, but Latvia is the first country in the world where table hockey is recognized by country officials as sport."
Table hockey as sport? Now that's a country.
One last Official Golfer of JABS update. That'd be Miguel Angel Jimenez, he of the lobster arms, ruddy ponytail and pot belly, who headed out for nine holes with GolfMagic and demonstrated admirable sponsor loyalty:
|AMY SANCETTA/Associated Press|
|Jimenez: Give me Ping or give me death.|
As we crouched down to read a tricky putt on the penultimate green he was intrigued by the shape of the Elmer M1 putter I was reviewing for Golfmagic. But he refused to handle it.
"No, no I cannot be photographed with another putter. That would be wrong, it would be disloyal to Ping. I've been with them for 15 years. Besides they would kill me!"
Sports around town. One of the more intense college rivalries in the neighbourhood gets renewed this weekend as Humber Hawks hosts Sheridan Bruins at 7 p.m. tonight.
Watching. Super Dogs and Horse Relay (3 p.m., Saturday, TSN). Frankly, I was hoping to take in some Elephant Polo this weekend, but I guess this will have to do. Super Dogs? Are they wearing capes? Do they rescue the horses from a burning building?
Pooch Punts. From Super Dogs to Jinks the Viszla, who promises to go at least 1-4 with his kibbles-or-cookies picks this week and thereby keep pace with the other public handicappers:
CHICAGO (-9) over Minnesota
Tampa Bay (+7) over PITTSBURGH
NEW ORLEANS (-7) over San Francisco
GREEN BAY (+1) over NY Jets
Seattle (+4) over DENVER