Tell my mom I loved her. Tell my dad I admired him. And tell my brother he was a pain in the butt (just kidding, bro!)
It seems my days on this planet have been numbered.
First, there was the column I wrote a while back where I took a look at 18 sports from football to chess.
But because of my ranking of fishing as last overall, I received comments like the following:
•“Yes, I think you should ‘Check Your Head’ and put your list on your own fridge to remind yourself that you should look for a new way to making a living!”
•“There will be no fish at the end of your rainbow, you Leprechaun”; and
•“Someone is going to whack you with a monster bass when you’re not looking.”
Then there was the story I wrote prior to the all-Ontario boys’ hockey tournament in March in which I referred to the City of Windsor as “the unshaven armpit of Detroit.”
That drew giggles from many, but also compelled Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis to write a lengthy letter to the Times:
“That we are close to, and great friends with, the City of Detroit cannot be denied. Like Fort Frances, we are a border community with an international bridge connecting us with our good American neighbours.
“But ‘an unshaven armpit’? What could possibly be the source of such an uncomplimentary and inaccurate phrase?”
(The truth is, I lived in Leamington, which is about 45 km from Windsor, for two years and there is “much more” I could say about the City of Windsor).
And now this.
A few weeks ago, I travelled to Kenora to cover the Muskies at the NorWOSSA soccer championships.
Heading in, both Muskie teams were undefeated—and the odds-on favourites. But both teams lost. And both in dramatic fashion.
The boys fell in penalty kicks to the Dryden Eagles, in what was a great game, while the girls were knocked off in a three-team shootout which had never been used by NorWOSSA before.
It seems the article I wrote in reference to the Muskie girls drew some attention from members of the Dryden and Kenora communities.
There were comments like:
•“I have never read something written so immaturely in my life. . . .”
•“The writer of this should have an article written about them and their nice metaphors. ‘Monsoon-like?’ I didn’t know that’s what you called a little bit of rain, welcome to Northwestern Ontario. . . .”
•“‘After beating Dryden in their first game by a surprising score of 1-0 [surprising in that it wasn’t by a wider margin],’ I wrote better than that in Grade 3. Did Emmanuel Moutsatsos even pass Grade 3?”
My Grade 3 year was quite a pleasant experience, as Mrs. Saldana of St. Benedict’s elementary school in Edmonton was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.
Then there were others like:
“Okay, so after reading this article, it was a must to show the other people around me. Whether it was the disbelief of your horrible metaphors or the even worse written article, I was quite disappointed.
“Now, the last time I checked, the “monsoon-like” weather was all over the field—not only were the Muskies playing in it but the Broncos were, too. Did the Broncos travel to the rainforest to practice just in case of these monsoon-like weather conditions?”
Sorry, I can’t really answer that one, but what I can do is give you a glimpse of what I wrote—“. . . and it didn’t help matters that the weather conditions were becoming monsoon-like. The Broncos neutered the offensively-loaded Muskie attack with such efficiency that Fort High’s undefeated and no-goals-allowed-pre-seasonlike a mere footnote that already had been filed away and collecting dust.”
Or how about the one that wrote—We (not sure if resident of Kenora or Dryden or even name as none of the authors of the comments gave their monikers) didn’t write an article complaining about how we should have won, and how the format was stupid. why? because we have more class than that…Overall this article is pathetic and the author should be ashamed to write such false crap.
Then there was—Many who have read this article, I believe are confused about to whom should be blammed. Easy Question, the writer…Because of this writer, he has shown the meaning of “media”, how can you make such young kids look pathetic, and juvenile. Doing such a thing you should be ashamed. Someone needs to get his facts straight. In the end of this all, over time this article will be a piece of history…this article was disappointing and should be looked over by higher government for the immaturity and irresponsible being of this reporter. Thank you.
You’re welcome, but I have yet to pick up the phone with Mr. Paul Martin being the voice on the other end to discuss this pressing matter.
And then—The above article would be acceptable, possibly, if it was written by a student, but this juvenile drivel is ridiculous in it’s context. A newspaper is supposed to be an unbiased view of events, providing readers with both sides of an issue equally. This, therefore, is not journalism, and even worse is the fact that it was written by an adult. Were Emmanuel employed at my newspaper, he would be looking for another job.
So that means you would’ve hired me in the first place though, right?
Not done yet—As a viewer of the great sport of “football”, I am very disappointed in this article. I would of fired this man if I were his boss, it leaves many displeased…In the end I just want to make sure everyone knows that the THREE WAY SHOOTOUT, isn’t the worse thing to happen in Norwossa history, THIS ARTICLE IS!
But why I am bringing this up now when this issue is “old news”. Well, if you turn to ‘A4’ you’ll find a letter from a Mr. Scott Sparkman and Mr. Trevor Belrose of Beaver Brae High School, who have submitted a lengthy letter, which has been dubbed “Poor journalism”—a headline chosen by the Times.
I suggest you read the letter, but before you do, I ask you spend a few minutes reading over my side of things (sorry, if it sounds like an episode of Judge Judy, but a guy has to sometimes defend himself).
I work for the Fort Frances Times. This is obvious, but individuals in outlying areas must understand that I am paid to cover teams from Fort Frances.
One of the intrigues of being a sports writer is you are allowed to tip-toe around the “Rules of Journalism”. In the grand scheme of things sports really isn’t important, so to draw readers to the sports section, I feel I must write pieces that are often a little ‘out there’, which is one of many adjectives used to describe my writing style.
But people in Fort Frances must also realize that I am not a ‘homer’—a writer that always cheers for the home team. I don’t bleed black-and-gold, and you will never see me cheering for any team while covering a game, and on many occasions I have received complaints from locals on this front suggesting that I am too harsh on our local athletes.
But I stand firm behind what I do. I admit that I sometimes take things a little far, but I do this because I love drawing debate (I purposely ranked fishing last) and to refer to my style as ‘poor journalism’ is like a slap to my stubbly face.
“If no one is mad at you, then you’re not doing your job,” Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal told me, while I was an intern there.
I should mention that if you turn to the front page and glance to the left of the Times’ logo, you’ll see a mention of the Times being a 2005 winner (top three) of the Canadian Community of Newspaper Association ‘better newspapers competition’ for its sports section. The Times was also was recently recognized as having the third best weekly sports section in Ontario.
So it seems like I must be doing something right.

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