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Three Things On The Way Up



ONE – Sledge Hockey: Murderball on ice.

I’ve played the majority of all wheelchair sports – basketball, rugby, hockey, bowling, kayaking, football and cow-tipping - if it exists, I’ve tried it.  And, I’ve been pretty decent at most of it.

My brother Jeff however, is downright good.  From being a gold medalist at the BC Disabled Games, to  dominating the occasional game of Shoot-The-Tennis-Ball-At-Your-Brothers-Junk, he’s always been pretty successful.  In following the family rules, he was always especially good at floor hockey.  Once you master minor complications like “how to move while holding a stick”, the game gets a little easier.

But obviously, hockey could never quite be the same for disabled players as stand-up guys.   Until sledge hockey.

These athletes are about to take the international sports world by storm.

In an exciting move, CTV has committed to showing all of Canada’s games in the 2010 winter Olympics.  Have you seen these guys haul yet?  You’ll be floored, unless (heaven forbid) you get in the way of one of them, in which case you’ll be iced.

Here’s what you need to know to fully enjoy the sport when you watch it on tv (because you will watch it on tv):

Hi, I play for Canada, and I'm better than you at this.

Hi, I play for Canada, and I'm better than you at this.

The sleds are balanced on two legit skate blades, with a third little one at the front.  The national team studs have the blades nearly touching each other under their bucket seat, where you’d need them to function like training wheels.  Your first time out on a narrow-bladed sled is like trying to balance in a wheelbarrow on a unicycle… not that easy.

The sticks are nearly flat (like a super-obtuse angle in geometry class), and have picks on the back to pull the sled around.  Only it’s less of a pull, and more of a “holy-christ that human is a missle in a bucket”. 

In a sentence, it’s a well-organized car accident.

And of course, it’s hockey.  The goalie has picks on the bottom of the trapper and blocker for mobility, and also (I assume) because they figured the only way to make hockey more interesting was to make the goalie be a human Swiss-army knife.  Less snow-spraying, more “yessir, no sir, my fault sir”.

Sledge hockey’s popularity is rising, and it’s rising fast.  Like all new sports, its taken awhile to come into it’s own, but there’s some extremely elite players out there that’ll make you feel really bad for doing so little with your four limbs. 

So here it comes.  Just another reason to enjoy a good ol’ fashioned Canada/US on-ice suckerpunch festival.  To complete my sale, give me 45 seconds of your time.  Click!  Sold.


TWO – The Crown Float: Tastes like liquified angels.

This, my American friends, is what’s known as a crown float.  It’s 50 percent Strongbow (dry cider), 50 percent Guiness, and 100% better than what you’re drinking right now.

I'm so good I look fake, don't I?

I'm so good I look fake, right?


The black and tan is nice (Guiness over Harp’s or Bass), but not nearly as refreshing.  And you know what?  It’s not alone in the ”strictly-in-Canada” category for popular drinks at our local watering holes.  Here, as you may know, it’s standard practice to drink your beer with Clamato juice.  Not V8, Clamato (yes, that’s clam and tomato).  I loathe it, but it’s everywhere, and, I’m told, is the hangover beverage of the pro’s (where the US cure is the Bloody Mary, Canada answers that as well with a slight variation in the Caesar).

I’m not trying to sell poutine here people.  I’m trying to help.  Strongbow and Clamato.  Call us and we’ll ship you some, it’ll be popular I swear.


THREE – My USA Today Blog: My voice to help save the US, one beer at a time.

And last, thanks to those of you who checked out and recommended my first posting on the USA Today website.  Down the left side of, is the “Bourne Blog” option.  The better reception it gets, the better for all of us, because hell, maybe they’ll send me to cover something cool one day.  I’ll start planning for my trip to the 2010 ESPY’s now, just in case.





18 Responses to “Three Things On The Way Up”
  1. smoboy says:

    Holy hell, I would not want to be in the middle of that scrum. My shins!!

  2. ms.condcut says:

    Stabby objects on the glove and blocker, huh? That’ll teach ‘em not to screen. I like it.

  3. Jeff K says:

    I bet you have one, but just in case you don’t……..

    Mom n Dad moved out of the family home to a condo, gave me some boxes of stuff/junk/childhood memories. I have a December 21st 1987 issue of Sports Illustrated.

  4. Jeff B says:

    Love the new blog man. Way to promote Sledge Hockey.

  5. Griff says:

    Believe it or not we have those drinks in the states, usually it’s woodchuck cider instead of strongbow around here but it’s the same thing. Clamato is awful, if it came from Canada please take it back. I have no idea what a caesar is but hey two out of three’s not bad.

  6. Marc says:

    Back home in Chicago you could order in any suitably dirty bar a poor mans black and tan, substituting Old Style for Harps. God I miss home.

    I also miss a decent blacksmith. That’s Smithwicks and Guinness for all you unwashed masses out there. It is the only acceptable “Black and ____” out there besides the traditional and the blackcastle.

  7. jtbourne says:

    Jeff K – You have a copy of that hey? Neat. I’m not sure if Dad has a copy kickin’ around somewhere or not, but I know I don’t, and would really like to. However, I’m moving in a month, and knowing my own irresponsibility quotient (high), I don’t trust myself to not wreck it. Maybe we can talk in a month or two when I’m settled!

    Griff – Nice to know. Do they call it a crown float? Cause I know people look at me like I ordered a virgin strawberry daquiri in a biker bar when I ask for it. And yes, Clamato is so bad I want to fight the people at Mott’s. It’s a staple of the over forty crowd here, but I’ve never seen it in the US. And, Canadians will fight you over caesars being better than bloody mary’s. Little more spice, and again, Clamsucko.

    I also like a good shandy in the summer (Stella and Sprite), but it’s def not a real dudes dude drink.

    Marc – Yeah, the blacksmith is alright, though I had never heard it called that. See, this is why I need to blog about booze more often. Doors are opening like I work at Monsters, Inc.

  8. Jbrown says:

    Holy god. Sledge hockey looks like it should be illegal. I can’t wait to watch.

  9. Brianna says:

    haha. monster’s, inc. wait, what? oh.

    no mention of the pick-me-up? blasphemous.

  10. jtbourne says:

    Ooo, a fiance comment. I have to admit, I’m slightly less-than-surprised that you read nearly 200 blogs, but waited to comment until the topics involved booze and Monsters, Inc. (a nice combo, if I do say so myself).

    But yes! The Pick-Me-Up – Damn near the best pre-drinking kickstart you need for any fun night.

    1 espresso shot
    1 shot Van Gogh espresso vodka
    1 shot Kaluha
    1 shot Bailey

    In a low-ball, over ice. Caffeine and alcohol people, so use wisely… like, say, when your friend (or even fiance) tries to make the “I’d love to go out, but I’m soooo tired” comment.

  11. pat says:

    Sledge Hockey looks like friggen fun to watch have you heard if any sports channel in US plans to pick it up? Great USA Today piece…..

  12. minnesotagirl71 says:

    One more reason to look forward to the Winter Olympics (not that I need another reason)! Sledge hockey looks like a must watch sport.

    Love your blogs but I just have to say it “God Bourne – you’re such a GUY!”

  13. Griff says:

    I believe they call a crown float a snakebite, they actually make a pre-mix clamato with bud light, comes in a 16oz can. Shandy’s are usually beer and lemonade, the only place I’ve seen beer and sprite is in Germany, they call it a rattler and give it to kids during fests.
    Is there a Canadian version of the murderball doc? Someone needs to make one about the sled hockey players.

  14. Tony says:

    Was curling in Northern Mn and some guys from Thunder Bay wanted our caesar recipe (we jam the vodka bottle with our hot ingredients like jalapenos, garlic, and chillies) I was honored

  15. rm says:

    Great article on USA Today! I’m glad you are getting a chance to showcase your writing in several different venues.

    Sledge hockey looks great and dangerous!. I have enough trouble keeping my balance on two skate blade, that’s why when playing forward I do not mind parking my butt in front of the goalie, or when playing defense moving people out of the crease. One guy I used to play pick up (I believe “shinny” north of the border :) ) with was a 70-something year old guy. I loved that fact that he was still playing hockey with a bunch of 20-50 something year olds, unfortunately, he only played “middle Defense”. I used to feel so sorry for the goalie when the two of us were the D pair; I didn’t have the speed, mobility, etc. to cover the left *and* right side of our defensive zone. The coolest thing was one pick-up group when he got to play hockey with his grandson. He was one happy guy. Hockey is indeed a game that relates well across generations.

    I wish DirectTV would add TSN and CBC to their US package. I got really hooked on curling during the 2006 Olympics (yes, I did leave work early to catch curling matches!). I have a feeling sledge hockey could be equally addicting.

    How is your golf game coming along? I played 9 holes on Sunday, golfing for the first time since December. I went to the driving range tonight, and well, I think my 4 and 5 irons will be my best friends. On the bright side, my pitching was pretty good.

  16. Don says:

    Griff is right – cider and a Guinness is called a Snakebite south of the border. Tasty, but I’d rather have my Guinness floating on top of more Guinness.

  17. Pete says:

    when sully’s face lights up at the end, i cry. my 3 year old then asks “what’s wrong with me?”

    keep up the great work, however, you know what else is on the way up? attendance on this facebook page.

    you seem like a pretty open-minded guy, so i thought you may want to be aware of this garbage.

    and i have to say i enjoy the “mystery” surrounding the avatar pics of you and the lady friend. is she in a bathing suit? is she on a boat? is he sporting a soul patch? is he really sporting a frigging soul patch?

    (not trying to be disrespectful of the fiance, just trying to be funny…)

  18. jtbourne says:

    Hahaha, that’s awesome, thanks for the link. You know you’re doing something right when…

    I haven’t stopped smiling since I saw that – Better not let my gay uncle find out I’m a homophobe, he’s the co-signer on my car! I love the gay man.

    I say we all sign up and add our own pictures of me with lines through me and stuff. I feel important (PS, I like that he thinks I was a good player too. This guys totally delusional).

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