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Monday, June 19, 2006


I'm blogging this during the first intermission. If you ask "Of what?", then you sure ain't from around here. This is hockey country.

It does seem odd to be watching an ice hockey game on the same day that I had to turn on the air conditioning. Heck, the sun's down and it's still 74 degrees in the city where my CBC broadcast originates...or rather, 23 degrees.

My ethnic background could only be accurately described as "white" in every meaning of the word, but I suppose I could call my heritage "Canadian-American" if I went back two or three generations. I grew up with the CBC; I got confused as a kid because the US broadcasts of Sesame Street taught me Spanish but the Canadian one taught French. I got it all screwed up. My father rarely watched Monday Night Football, but never missed Hockey Night in Canada. I guarantee he's watching right now.

I am cheering hard for the Oilers tonight. So far they've been outplayed but are only a goal down. Edmonton was not my favorite team as a kid (I was more a fan of the Red Wings and the Canadiens) but things have changed now. Five years ago I spent ten days in Edmonton at the VIII World Athletics Championships. Now, it was not as cool a city as Chicago or Boston, but I wasn't there for tourism. Edmonton surprised me. It's like a small town of a million people. The light rail stations were sparkling clean (as you'd expect a city to make it when the world's media is coming) but grout was so clean I knew it had never been dirty in its 23 years of existence. And the most striking but little-known characteristic of the Canadian people, a tremendous sense of fair play, was on display. The drug cheat Olga Yegorova, who was caught ealier that summer but escaped on a technicality, was booed by the entire 50,000 people in attendance. I've rarely run into a mean Canadian but there was a complete and total lack of them in Edmonton.

I salute the fans sitting in The Sherlock Holmes pubs tonight. Win or lose, you're my kind of people.

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