After a quick check of our electronic archives, it would appear I have yet, in over a decade of columnizing, to write anything about the Royal St. John’s Regatta. In fact, I’ve only mentioned Quidi Vidi Lake three times.
This is odd, since I’ve certainly repeated myself several times over on other topics, such as why all after-market motorcycle pipes should be melted down and transformed into a giant statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, patron saint of common sense.
But the Regatta? Not a jot. Not a pixel.
I’m sure I’ve expressed opinions on the Regatta before somewhere, as I did yesterday on Naked Lunch (my open forum at thetelegram.com, 12:30 p.m. weekdays — be there or be square).
Perhaps it simply slipped through the cracks.
Or perhaps I wrote something, then scrapped it knowing I didn’t want to make a stick for my back.
In any event, seeing as this is the day when most Regatta supporters would be too busy attending the event to read my column, here’s my token effort.
I know what you’re thinking. Good grief. Here we go again. Another sermon about what an annoying, useless waste of time the Regatta is. How the races don’t mean anything anymore, how the prize booths teach innocent children how to gamble, and how you’re flirting with hamburger disease every time you stuff a hastily grilled patty in your gob. About how it’s a big, noisy, smelly, cesspool full of whiny toddlers and screaming parents, a nightmare anyone in his right mind would avoid like the Ebola virus.
That’s all true, of course. But that wasn’t what I was going to say.
What I was going to say is, so what?
Next to the Regatta itself, complaining about the Regatta is one of the longest running sporting events in North America.
Over the past week and a bit, we’ve had two prominent sports journalists poo-pooing the Regatta.
The Telegram’s Robin Short complained that the committee just isn’t promoting it anymore. How it’s become stale and irrelevant, unlike the Tely 10 which is growing by leaps and bounds every year.
On Monday, the CBC’s Don Power said pretty much the same thing. No one cares about the races anymore, and the grand old rivalries are a thing of the past.
There’s a ring of truth in what they say. But here’s the thing. Fact is, ever since I can remember, people have been whinging about how the races are being lost in all the fairground distractions — I mean, attractions.
There is absolutely nothing new in this. It is the inevitable fate of any longstanding event.
To demonstrate, let’s look at another longstanding event. This one also happens every year. It’s a little thing we call Christmas.
When you spell it out, the similarities are striking.
‰ At Christmas, everyone indulges in too much food and gets a tummy ache. At the Regatta, everyone indulges in too much food and gets a tummy ache.
‰ At Christmas, people focus on getting and receiving gifts. At the Regatta, people focus on betting and receiving gifts.
‰ The true meaning of Christmas is often lost in all the glitter. The true meaning of the Regatta is often lost in all the litter.
You see my point. Whether it’s racing shells or Christmas bells, the same sort of jaded familiarity is bound to set in.
Do you think no one in Louisville complains about the Kentucky Derby? Do you think everyone in Boston turns out for the Boston Marathon? Do you think Floridians all flock to the Streak the Cove 5K run in Kissimmee?
(Actually, that one is pretty popular.)
So, stop your bellyaching.
If you love the Regatta, good on ya. If you don’t, stay home and soak your head. It is what it is, and always will be.
God bless us, every one.
Peter Jackson is The Telegram’s
Join him for Naked Lunch, a live forum
weekdays at 12:30 at thetelegram.com.