Soft rock invades sports

It’s pretty difficult to get down on televised sports these days.
From various all-star games to the recently-completed football playoffs to that little event called the Winter Olympics going on as you read this, one can’t complain about anything.
Well, almost anything.
Recent pre- and inter-game entertainment at these events reads like some soft rock station playlist. The NHL all-star game had Jewel, the Super Bowl had Sting, Paul McCartney, and U2, and the opening ceremonies in Salt Lake City featured Leanne Rimes and The Dixie Chicks.
Not a bad lineup. But a little too much glitz to celebrate a bunch of guys chasing a ball or puck around the field or rink for my tastes (albeit while Jewel is easier on the eyes than CBC’s Bob Cole and Harry Neale, she probably doesn’t know a lot about a four-man box penalty kill or Brendan Shanahan’s plus/minus rating).
However, the one booking which made as much sense as putting ketchup on oatmeal had to be last weekend’s NBA all-star game featuring musical interludes courtesy of Elton John and Hall and Oates.
Hall and Oates? Two questions immediately came to mind: What year is this, and how much “suck” was needed to get the dust off ol’ Darryl and John.
These artists don’t even come close to fitting the mold of the sport. I don’t care if Hall or his travelling companion, Oates, are from Philadelphia or that they love NBA basketball, the first thing I—along with millions of others—do not think about when I strap on a pair of basketball shoes for a pickup game is the song “Maneater.”
Of course, this is all done for the greater good of increasing viewership (read money). You see, booking stereotypical acts which adhere to the demographic of the majority’s fan base may be too easy for the organizers of these events.
(Basketball=Puff Daddy, hockey=Stompin’ Tom Connors, biathlon=I will not fathom a guess as to what artist fits this sport).
The mindset when signing these artists is to attract older viewers with stronger buying power (read money—I find myself saying that a lot these days).
For the sake of those who are fans of the sport, I say don’t get greedy. The last thing we need is an NHL compilation video of the greatest passes featuring Dionne Warwick’s “That’s what friends are for.” They should be pleased with the viewers they have and build from there.
I’m not against ringing in any sporting event with a few chords. Any national anthem will suffice. After that, just play ball.
I’ve got commercials to watch.
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Former Aquanaut and current University of Guelph varsity swimmer Jeff Plumridge competed at the Ontario University Athletic championship meet Feb. 1-3.
The first-year chemistry major earned personal bests in all three of his breaststroke events. He swam the 50-metre event in 31.11 seconds, the 100m in 1:08.26, and the 200m in 2:29.8.
While he missed a berth to the nationals by less than half a second in the 50m, Plumridge finished in the top-third percentile in all his races.
The Gryphon men’s team finished fifth overall.
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A “Battle of the Badges” game will be played March 22 at the Memorial Sports Centre.
The game will pit two local law enforcement (police, fire, bylaw, correction, Customs) teams against each other.
Former Toronto Maple Leaf Eddie Shack will serve as special referee while NHL hall-of-famer Marcel Dionne is scheduled to skate as a “celebrity player.”
Tickets cost $15, or $45 for family packs of four. They’ll be available at Skates and Blades with proceeds going to the Northwestern Ontario Crime Stoppers (Fort Frances District).
“Battle of the Badges” is a travelling program across Canada which uses celebrity players to help towns raise money for various charities.

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