Posts Tagged ‘CFL’

Canadian Thanksgiving

October 22, 2013

Sunday October 13th, 2013 – Toronto, ON

I haven’t been to Canada in a while, and I forgot how much I like it here. I’ve always found the people to be really friendly and unassuming, and they’re especially nice if an American makes an effort to respect their country. They have “little brother syndrome”, and all it takes is the slightest bit of positive attention to win them over forever. They have an identity, and they want it known.

I’ve worked in Canada several times, and have always enjoyed it. I worked in Winnipeg a long time ago and Calgary not that long ago, but that’s not Toronto. Canadians look at Toronto like an American looks at New York. Unless one actually lives there, it’s usually a place to be avoided.

I’m a city person, so I don’t think I’d have any trouble living here. It’s a huge city, and I would bet millions of ignorant Americans know absolutely nothing about it. It’s very cosmopolitan, and very ethnically diverse as well. I was surprised at the percentage of people from somewhere else.

I’m here hanging out for a few days helping my friend Jerry Agar come up with some ideas for a creative project he’s working on. I don’t even want to hint at what it is, because someone could easily swoop in and steal his idea. I will say that it’s very ambitious, and he’s putting all kinds of time and energy into it and requested my help. He has helped me a lot so I felt I owed it to him.

We’ve actually helped each other a lot over the years. Every time one of us gets fired from our radio gig, we’ve been there to comfort the other and it’s happened far too often. I’ve been blown out of jobs in Lansing, Milwaukee, Reno, Salt Lake City and Chicago, and Jerry has been shown the door in Toledo, Tucson, Knoxville, Raleigh, Kansas City and Chicago. We’ve got a history.

Radio is a bug with a toxic bite, and we’ve both got plenty of scars. Both of us are really good at what we do, but trying to stay employed can be a challenge when neither one of us suffers the idiots in management well. We’re creative types, and that’s usually a recipe for corporate death.

Jerry got blown out of Chicago at WLS for no good reason, other than management wanted to try a new flavor of the month. I had the same fate at The Loop, and that’s just how it goes. I have comedy as my primary source of income, but Jerry has a family and had to take the job up here.

He’s originally from Canada, but his wife isn’t and that was a hassle just like it was when Jerry first came to The United States years ago. This is a process most Americans never have to think about, and I admit I didn’t until I met Jerry. I was born in America, and never thought about it.

This weekend happens to be Thanksgiving in Canada. Most non Canadians have no idea that it exists, and that’s part of the disrespect factor that irritates them so much. It wouldn’t take a lot to just wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, even though they choose to do it on a Monday in October.

One thing I’ve always loved about Canada is the Canadian Football League. It’s a fast moving game, and I totally love it. There are only eight teams, but there is just not that much population up here to have more. There’s a double header of CFL football tomorrow, and Jerry and I got to watch the NFL today. Most people here are Buffalo Bills fans, and I’ve always enjoyed working in Buffalo so today I was one too. Hockey I could survive without, but the rest of Canada is fun.

Like Rodney Dangerfield, Canada gets no respect. Most Americans don't even know they have provinces instead of states.

Like Rodney Dangerfield, Canada gets no respect. Most Americans don’t even know they have provinces instead of states.

Check out my long time friend Jerry Agar on AM 1010 CFRB if you need to bone up on what's going on to the north. It's like a whole other country!

Check out my long time friend Jerry Agar on AM 1010 CFRB if you need to bone up on what’s going on to the north. It’s like a whole other country!

Yay Bears?

January 18, 2013

Thursday January 17th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I predict a bright future for the Chicago Bears and it doesn’t upset me in the least. Yes, I’m still a flaming Green Bay Packer fan and will be at least until I get Alzheimer’s disease, severe dementia or some other condition that would rob me of my faculties.

I’ll always cheer for the Packers even though it still bums me out when they lose. Sometimes it bothers me how much I actually care, but I totally do. That being said, just because I’m a lifelong fan of the green and gold it doesn’t mean I hate the Bears personally. I thoroughly enjoy it when they lose, but that’s as far as it goes. I don’t ‘hate’ any rival. That’s a word I use very sparingly.

I hate war. I hate cancer. I hate cruelty to women, children and animals. Sports teams don’t fall into that category for me, and I find it rather disturbing when others take it that far. I admit I have never liked the Chicago Bears, but it doesn’t mean I wish ill fortune for any of them personally.

Living in the Chicago area, I am flooded with sports talk radio and can’t help hearing about the Bears in detail twelve months a year. It’s a year round obsession here just like the Packers are in Wisconsin, and I get to hear some of the players and coaches on the air quite often being people.

I find Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman to be a very nice fellow for example, and it deeply saddens me to know he has a sick daughter. If there were a charity event to raise money for her, I’d be first in line with bells on to participate and who I cheer for on Sundays would have nothing to do with it.

Today the buzz all over local media was the hiring of the new head coach Marc Trestman. He’s been kicking around coaching for thirty years, and this is his first shot as an NFL head coach. He won a couple of Grey Cups in Canada in Montreal, but this is his first chance on the NFL stage.

As I’m hearing about him on the radio, I’m finding myself cheering for the guy personally. He has a website where he has a book titled ‘Perseverance’, and I can totally relate to what that’s all about. He’s hung in there for decades, and now he’s getting a shot.

How can anyone not cheer for a guy like that to do well? Even as a Packer fan, I want the team to get good so the rivalry will really heat up. Both teams being good at the same time is great for the NFL, and even though I’ll be cheering for the Packers during all games I still like Trestman.

I didn’t have anything bad to say about the Bears’ last coach Lovie Smith. He said in his news conference that he wanted to ‘beat the Packers’ and I thought that was great. Very ballsy. He did it too – at least for the first few games. He had a respectable nine year run, and took the Bears to a Super Bowl. The guy isn’t going to starve to death, and I’m sure he’ll nail down another job.

I find myself cheering for quality people even above the teams they’re with. Lovie Smith has a classy aura about him, and I wish him nothing but the best. Forrest Gregg was a pompous ass and I was embarrassed the way he conducted business when he coached the Packers. I’m still loyal to the Packers, but if the Bears do well I’ll be happy for Marc Trestman. The guy earned his stripes.