The sport of kings

Ed Smith
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How the heck are you supposed to get anything done?

I don’t think I’m a sports nut. However, I do root for the Maple Leafs, so I guess that makes me a nut by definition. You may be interested in my prediction that the Leafs will make it into at least the second round of next year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

Some people to whom I’ve made that statement have laughed — merrily. Others have given me a strange look and then backed off a couple of steps, as if they don’t know what I’m going to say or do next.

A friend, who shall remain nameless because there’s a provincial election coming up, observed today that Montréal losing to Boston is just as good as the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup.

Call me Nostradamus. Call me Don Cherry. Just not both in the same breath.

Sports don’t dominate my life — not totally, not completely — although I am and always have been intensely competitive. I’ll watch or play anything in which one person or one team will come out on top of the other. I’ve been known to bet on marriages and honeymoons. The problem in the last two is finding players who are evenly matched.

I played hockey as a youth and young adult and enjoyed it thoroughly. I think I even scored a goal in one game. I got sent to the hospital once after being cut over the eye in the first period. Proud to say I was back in time to begin the second period. It was a slow night in the Gander ER. Yes, it was a long time ago.

I even tentatively tried out for varsity hockey in university, a level of play I was physically ready for about as well as I was ready for synchronized swimming. I lasted halfway through the first practice, then got hit by a freight train on skates wearing a Dalhousie Tiger uniform and was sick for three days. Some say I never fully recovered.

These days, I confine myself to non-body-contact poker, and a scattered wild game of bridge. In the latter, one only suffers verbal abuse — from one’s partner,in sickness and in health.

As a sports enthusiast — that’s a better word for it than nut — I want to be into and a part of every major league sport that dares to lift its head in the vicinity of my television. The problem is that at certain times of the year, several of my favourite sports hit the airwaves at the same time.

Another of my major interests is making money, which I can’t do if I don’t get my columns to the papers on time each week. Truth is, I’m having trouble finding the time.

Not that they pay me what I’m worth. On the other hand, perhaps they do. Now there’s a scary thought.

I’ve also promised a publisher that I’d have a novel ready for him before the year ends. I was close to being half right — the thing is almost one-third finished. Well, it’s certainly one-third started. In case you’re looking for it sometime soon, it’s called “The Rev. Willie” and will be hilarious. One-third of it is pretty funny already. It is definitely much funnier than this column.

To be honest, “War and Peace” is funnier than this column. But you gets what you pays for.

Take today, fer sample. The royal wedding was on all morning. Bet you thought I’d forgotten all about that other sporting event. For me, it’s right up there with cricket. I was interested in what William would be wearing, and there was no way I was tearing myself away from the television before I saw the balcony kiss.

You can imagine my excitement when there was not one, but two kisses! Each one lasting longer than the other!!

It was then I wished I was on Twitter and could share my feelings with others. Actually, I think both Kate and William will be exactly what the monarchy and Britain itself need at this particular hour in their history.

The Wedding may well be regarded by future generations as being on par with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and Nelson’s defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. All three will be hailed for having saved both the country and its monarchy. Mark me down as pro-them all!

Just about forgot my main theme. Later on that same afternoon, there was an NHL playoff game. Even before that one ended, the Blue Jays were playing the Yankees. That was just as interesting as Kate and William getting hitched. If a catcher and umpire had suddenly thrown off their masks and kissed each other, it would have blown the wedding out of the water.

Finally, there was the Vancouver Canucks’ game with the Nashville Predators. I thought Vancouver would ride over them so completely that they’d be sent back to Nashville singing the blues. Not so. Vancouver struck the only sour chord by getting beaten by the Grand Ole Opry crowd. Is that humiliating or what?

Next thing we know, we’ll discover that Carrie Underwood is the Nashville goalie in disguise. He — or she — has been playing great. If Hank Snow and Sarah Ophelia Colley were still alive, I’d be really worried. You don’t know her? Of course you do! Sang with the Grand Ole Opry for half a century. She thought her name was much too grand for the Opry and changed it to Minnie Pearl.

Wonder if Gordie Howe can sing country. As I say, I’m neither a sports or a royal family nut, but which one would you have given up if you were me? And one other thing. … I did get this week’s column out of it!

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.

His email address is

Organizations: Maple Leafs, Dalhousie Tiger, Grand Ole Opry NHL Blue Jays Yankees Vancouver Canucks Nashville Predators

Geographic location: Boston, Vancouver, Nashville Britain Springdale.His

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