Odds and ends

My backlog of column items is starting to resemble my sock drawer—both need to get organized, and fast.
I’ll leave the socks for another day, but for your reading pleasure, this week will consist of a smorgasbord of leftovers I’ve had sitting around like the outdated meat loaf in my refrigerator.
Trust me, the topics are far more digestible than the meat loaf.
• • •
I crossed paths with long-time umpire and former Fort Frances councillor Gus Lindberg at the Borderland Thunder game here Friday night, where he filled me in on his hockey-playing son, former NHL’er Chris Lindberg.
Despite leading HC Ajoie of the Swiss ‘B’ League in scoring last season, Chris was handed his walking papers by the franchise after the post-season was complete.
A member of Canadian Olympic hockey squad in 1992, Lindberg recently was looking at the possibility of a move to the Austrian professional league, but now Gus says Chris is seriously looking at hooking up with a pro team in Sweden.
Let’s hope someone across the pond gives this talented veteran one more opportunity in the spotlight. If you can lead your pro team in scoring at 36 years old, you must be good enough to play somewhere.
• • •
Sophomore Chrissy Thomson and the St. John’s University Red Storm women’s golf team, based in Long Island, N.Y., are off to another hot start in their second year of existence in the NCAA’s Big East Conference.
The Red Storm carded a two-day total of 641 to finish third at the season-opening Dartmouth Invitational in Hanover, N.H. two weeks ago.
Thomson, who won the Manitoba Women’s Amateur Championship in July, shot a 14-over total of 158 to finish tied for 10th overall individually.
Last year as a freshman, Thomson finished sixth while St. John’s took fourth at their debut tournament—the Princeton Invitational in Princeton, N.J.
The Red Storm, with new coach Cindy Mueller at the helm and with four of its five team members hailing from Ontario, will return to Princeton this weekend to compete in the same event.
• • •
Thumbs up to a number of Fort Frances minor hockey players, both playing here and elsewhere, who made their way on to the Thunder Bay Northern Hawks ‘AAA’ hockey teams this past summer in their respective age groups.
The elite eight included Joe Basaraba, Mitchell Cain, Luke Judson, Steve Boileau, Brian Glavish, Mitchell Green, Jared Catholique-Bruyere, and Sarah Barton.
The Hawks played at various venues around the country, and gave these puck prodigies some valuable experience in playing at a higher level that should help both themselves as individual players and their teams this season.
• • •
A football officials clinic will be held this Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Fort Frances High School.
With the Muskie ‘A’ squad finally set to open its 2003 home schedule Oct. 3 after four-straight weeks on the road, the need for local officials to oversee the games is now more important than ever.
A shortage of officials last year nearly caused havoc on the Muskies’ ability to host home games.
So if you’ve got an interest in helping out, head down to the school this Saturday or call FFHS athletic director Darren Johnson at 274-7747.
• • •
Believe me when I say that my Dallas Cowboys loyalty has absolutely no bearing on the following rant.
I’ve heard many examples of broadcasters for a specific city’s pro sports team take a biased slant in favour of “the good guys.”
From legendary Cubs play-by-play man Harry Caray to current Pittsburgh Penguins’ TV commentator Mike Lang, it’s not uncommon for those calling the action for their local team to lose their objectivity. And for the most part, it’s slightly annoying, but relatively harmless.
Driving home from Chicago two weekends ago, though, I was flabbergasted to listen to the over-the-top boosterism from the Minnesota Vikings’ radio team of Paul Allen, Greg Coleman, and Joe Sensor as they called the Vikings’ win over “Da Bears.”
There were references to Bears’ pivot Kordell Stewart as an “idiot” at one point simply because the quarterback was having trouble getting the offence going.
At another juncture, it was adamantly stated by the trio with the headsets that it had to be solely Vikings’ miscues and not anything the Bears were doing on defence that was keeping Chicago close.
You got the feeling the Vikings’ commentators believed the Bears should have just turned in their jerseys at the front entrance of the Metrodome because they didn’t deserve to be on the same field as the Men of Purple.
Their performance was both nauseating and an insult to decent broadcasters everywhere.
I understand that radio stations bid on the right to broadcast a team’s games, and that when they are selected, the station is to a certain degree working under the jurisdiction of the franchise and, therefore, is expected to lend at least a modicum of apparent support to the team.
And there’s nothing wrong with that—if it’s done in moderation.
To be fair, I haven’t heard the Cowboys’ broadcasters, and maybe they’re just as bad. But I know I listened to the Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions game while driving through Wisconsin earlier that day, and the Packers’ radio team didn’t exhibit anywhere near the back-patting and butt-kissing that the Vikings’ crew displayed.
Calling a game without showcasing a blatant bias shouldn’t be a burden, it should be expected. Listeners deserve that kind of respect.

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