Three Things On The Way UpShareThis
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):
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.
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 www.nhl.usatoday.com, 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.