One of those days we'll never forget
It’s one of those days, isn’t it?
For those of us Of A Certain Vintage there are scant few days that resonate in our lifetime, days when you absolutely remember what you were doing at the moment “it” happened.
You have Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.
You have the Kennedy assassination, both perhaps.
You have the Challenger explosion.
You might have Paul Henderson’s goal.
You likely have Ben Johnson’s 9.79 in Seoul.
And you have today.
It’s a day that fundamentally changed all of our lives in some way, didn’t it?
It made us more aware of the world and the dangers and evil that lurk in it.
Sadly, it made some of us far less trusting of things we don’t know much about, made us more wary, more afraid, more skeptical, more a lot of things.
Remember where you were?
I was driving downtown – I believe back then I listened to all sports radio and if I’m not mistaken that was in the McCown in the morning era and I remember standing my office slack-jawed with a dozen people huddled around the TV when the towers fell and the world changed.
I don’t know that the world is a lot safer now than it was then, despite the institutionalized security paranoia that runs rampant. Sure, they check our coffee at the airport and we are subjected to screening that borders, often, on the ridiculous. We take off our shoes and go through scanners at airports and sometimes arenas and stadiums and it all seems, well, it seems more for the comfort of our own minds than anything else. It is a grand inconvenience at many levels and when I hear people say “well, I’d rather be inconvenienced that the alternative” it makes me chuckle a little bit.
Most of the great security work by governments and their agencies happens so far out of our sight and out of our minds that it’s not even funny. That’s where I want my money going, to root out threats before they get too serious and legit, I want our spies given every advantage, not some hourly-wage airport or arena scanner being given a new uniforms and a new toy and power that can be abused.
The world changed forever that day 11 years ago, our lives in many small ways are different; but the work done at making the world a safer place doesn’t start at the screening area of airports, it starts on the ground far away and is done by men and women we know nothing about.
Those are the heroes of the post-9/11 era, we don’t know them but we should thank them.
Speaking of …
So, ready for the big game?
Whaddya mean, which one?
Canada-Panama in the football tonight, World Cup qualifying. Could be a doozy.
Not sure how many have paid much attention to the run-up to the game but it’s been hilarious.
Seems the Panama fans are going to kind of storm the Canadian team’s hotel, blaring loud music 24 hours a day and generally causing a ruckus in the hopes the Canucks can’t sleep and can’t play and can’t win.
(After all, with the way the Americans treated Panamian Strongman Manuel Noriega – and I love the phrase Panamanian Strongman, by the way – the folks down there must figure if it worked against a despot it’ll work against a bunch of footballers).
But can you imagine that happening here?
I cannot for the life of me envision a scenario when the fans of some Canadian team would gather outside a hotel to try and rankle some visiting team.
First off, they’d be arrested within minutes, I bet; no way the good citizens of the neighbouring condos and hotels would put up with it.
Second, we just don’t have that passion; never have, never will.
Too bad. I’d love to see a couple of thousand fans of any team going berserk on the street a couple of days before some big game. A sight to behold.
Seriously, it’s all well and good that a kid wants to do well at school and the teachers want to get there early to work in the Jazz Lab and the results are really cool.
But, I tell ya, if they’d ever told me I had to be at school at 7 a.m. there would have been a revolt and if Super Grandpa had to drive me at that gawdawful hour, well, I don’t know if he would have.
After all, we used to walk 20 miles to and from school every day, uphill both ways with the sun in our eyes and the wind against us.
Now I’m trotting off to Cawthra at 6:30 in the freaking morning once week so the kid can blow the sax.
Father Of The Year?
And so it begins.
Off to Chicago for a couple days of chats with the NBA media relations staff and the PR directors of all the teams for my PBWA gig and, I have to tell you, thinking about the various flights and hotels and nights on the road becomes less alluring with each passing year.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to see some of the stuff in the cities and being around the games – that part of the job probably won’t ever be diminished and when it does, I’m done – but the extraneous stuff’s a killer.
Delays, weather, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Gets tiring.
But Not Grace Kelly and I have looked over the first couple of months of the season and it’s going to be a lot better than last year.
Where there were five games a week some weeks and four being the ordinary, we’re at weeks of three games, no back-to-back-to-backs and I don’t even see a lot four-games-in-five-nights early in the season.
Even the first west coast trip is a five-gamer and that’s a long trek but there’s only one back-to-back.
Not sure anyone but me would have scrutinized the schedule but, all told, it’s really, really good.
Time to get started.