Let’s play ‘20 Questions’

The questions of life seemingly forever outnumber the answers.
So, instead of coming with all the answers (because, in his own words, wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper would just change the questions, anyway), I decided to pose a compendium of inquiries—both serious and tongue-in-cheek—about local sports topics for you, the gracious general public, to consider and converse about.
Certainly, I can assume any query plaguing my brain definitely must be doing the same to the minds of my faithful readers.
So let’s get on with this modified version of the classic game “20 Questions” (and the best part is I already can guarantee you none of the answers involve an animal, vegetable, or mineral).
•Will the Fort Frances Lakers be able to change the opinion, held in many parts of the junior hockey-watching national community, that tearing up the SIJHL like they have so far this season is an accomplishment not on par with achieving the same feat in any of the other Junior ‘A’ leagues in the country because it’s the smallest league in terms of number of teams?
•Has this stereotype been strengthened with the Nov. 14 announcement of the 21 Canadian Junior ‘A’ Hockey League players on the NHL Central Scouting Player Watch List, on which the SIJHL’s representation amounts to a big, fat zero?
•Can anyone truly ever convince me about the positive side of ice-fishing enough to make me forget how cold I am when I’m sitting out there catching nothing but pneumonia?
•If the graduating players on this year’s senior girls’ Muskies volleyball team (who also competed on Fort High’s basketball team that went undefeated in winning the NorWOSSA title) do the same in volleyball, can that group be considered one of the most talented to ever wear the black-and-gold?
•Is there any team that can stop the St. Francis Sentinels’ Grade 8 boys’ volleyball team (they of the two-straight tournament victories so far this season) from claiming the regional crown this Saturday at Fort Frances High School?
•Is it politically incorrect to cheer against defending Brier champ and world men’s curling silver-medalist Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie to struggle on the bonspiel circuit this season so he has to come to Fort Frances in January to play in the West qualifier to advance to the men’s provincials?
•Is it too easy to forget that, despite going 1-5 at The Dominion Club Curling Championships in Thunder Bay last week, the fact Kathie Jackson, Teresa McFayden, Lisa Penner, and Kris Sinclair made it to a national championship curling out of our tiny corner of the map is quite remarkable?
•Would it be stating the obvious to say that, between the Fort Frances Aquanauts and Fort Frances Cyclone, our area produces an impressive crop of high-calibre swimmers for being as small as it is compared to many of the clubs they face in competition?
•Will I ever be able to adequately follow in the footsteps of local basketball refereeing and coaching legend Gerry Parent, who was among the crowd cheering on the Muskies at the NWOSSAA senior girls’ championships here earlier this month? (make sure to get my name right on the cheque, Gerry . . . just kidding).
•Can Bob and Mary-Beth Tkachuk continue to build on a solid foundation of young squash players who have more than held their own in tournament play in recent years?
•Is there anything more elegant and awe-inspiring on the local sports scene than the beauty and power of the different equestrian classes that participate in the horse shows which take place at the Emo fairgrounds, as well as various other shows around and outside the region?
•If a dragon actually showed up at the Dragon Boat Festival, would he automatically be declared the winner (and, if not, who’s going to argue with him that he’s not)?
•How important is it to the success of the Muskie varsity football program that the next head coach is someone who comes from the high school itself, who can be in more constant contact with the players and other coaches?
•Are there any athletes who put more practice time into perfecting their craft, and then get so limited an amount of time to showcase their skills, than figure skaters?
•Is it a wise move to take on the card-sharp seniors who dazzle the Sister Kennedy Centre with their cribbage acumen on a weekly basis?
•What is the main factor behind the slow but steady decline in participation numbers in Fort Frances Youth Soccer over the past several years, and can the problem be fixed well enough to reverse that trend?
•Will there ever be tennis courts put back up in Fort Frances and, if they were, would it spark a revival in a sport whose profile took a big upswing in Canada in 2013 thanks to the nation’s Davis Cup success?
•Is it a foregone conclusion anyone willing to partner with me for the annual Fort Frances Badminton Club tournament is dooming themselves to an even bleaker future than faced by the Miami Marlins?
•Is there any questioning the determination of the last few finishers in a cross-country race who keep giving all they’ve got until they cross the finish line?
•And, finally: should I reward all of you who actually read to the bottom of this column by mailing out T-shirts saying: “I got to the end of the ‘20 Questions’ column and all I got was this lousy T-shirt?”
(Editor’s note: I get paid to. Make it an extra large).

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