Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Favorite Sports - FOOTBALL (Part 2)

I love to watch sports. I enjoy the competitive nature of sports and the thrill of winning, being recognized as being the best and the stories behind the athletes. Over the next few posts I will rank my favorite sports and give a little background about myself.


Canadian Football League

  My first exposure to North American Football is through the Canadian Football League. Although this league is small (currently only 8 teams) the tradition of the Grey Cup goes almost as far back as the Stanley Cup. This 101 year old trophy is an amazing symbol for a sport and the country. The differences of the CFL to National Football League rules are quite large and I won't go into all the details in this blog.

  I started watching the BC Lions but was never really a fan that followed the team throughout the season, or closely followed the player transactions. Honestly I find that a football team is very large and its difficult to commit all the names to memory especially when some will only play a few downs during the whole game. But I digress... My interest in the CFL corresponded to my move to Montreal and their team the Alouettes. The main reason for my increased interest was primarily due to the location of the playing field (Percival Molson Memorial Stadium) on the McGill University Campus. Although it is a small stadium it was very intimate and allowed for a great atmosphere. It was very accessible and affordable for students and the level of competition provided was very enjoyable. I knew more about this team during my stay in Montreal then any other CFL team and I am still somewhat partial to them and the BC Lions.

National Football League

  I have become a much bigger fan of the NFL during the past 3 seasons. My natural choice was the San Diego Chargers as I have family in and around the SD area which has allowed me to travel there on numerous occasions. Over the past three seasons I grew to enjoy the intricacies of the NFL game and rules and feel that I have a great understanding of how the game is played. I know I love the game when I enjoy watching any NFL game regardless of the teams.

  One of the main incentives to learn a sport as a fan or observer is to gamble. It doesn't need to be a lot of money but whenever money is on the line the stakes are raised. The football pool I joined costs $100 for the whole season and every week you pick a winner for every game. My pool does not take into account the spread so it is much easier for beginners. Having the most correctly predicted games in any given week pays you $200, 2nd place for the week pays $100 and 3rd place is worth $50. Knowing that you only need to come in 2nd place once out of 18 weeks to break even gives you great odds. This forced me to start to research teams, get expert analysis, watch for injury reports, etc.

NFL football has climbed the ranks of sports favorites to 2nd overall only after my beloved Hockey.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Favorite Sports - HOCKEY (Part 1)

I love to watch sports. I enjoy the competitive nature of sports and the thrill of winning, being recognized as being the best and the stories behind the athletes. Over the next few posts I will rank my favorite sports and give a little background about myself.


  As a boy growing up in Canada hockey is an integral part of the culture. Being born in the city where the best hockey player ever played I was automatically a default Oilers fan. As a 9 year old, I remember crying when I heard the news that Gretzky had been traded... to an AMERICAN team nonetheless! I recall losing interest in the sport that had broken my heart. But that wound was soon mended when I was able to watch a live hockey game at the Pacific Coliseum; Vancouver Canucks vs. CSKA Moscow. This team had three of the best Russian players to ever play the sport: Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny and the electrifying Pavel Bure all on one line! I don't remember the final score but I definitely recall the speed, skill and flair of which I was to be witness to starting with Bure winning the Calder Trophy for the 91-92 season.

  As a teenager I was caught up in the Canucks incredible run to game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals. I didn't partake in the aftermath in downtown Vancouver but the images on TV are forever burnt into my mind's eye. The passion that engulfed the city was instilled in me and an integral part of why its my first sports love. Once again this love was challenged during the lockout shortened season and I lost faith in the business of the sport.

  Enrolling at Concordia University, in the historic city where hockey was born and the National Hockey League created, my fate was sealed. I fell in love with the city, culture, lifestyle, joie de vivre and above all the pervasive religion: the Montreal Canadiens, Les Habitants, Les Boys, The Habs, etc. The most winningest franchise in professional sports (at the time) were experiencing some of the most challenging years in recent history. The city of Montreal was dealing with the fallout of the referendum and times were bleak. Yet the fanbase never faltered, the love never died, and plans of a parade down St. Catherines renewed every October. As a struggling student I was only able to attend one live Canadiens game but what an event and experience it was. Sitting in a luxury box at the Bell Centre with a fully stocked bar and bartender provided, game programs and hot food served to order, the actual game seemed secondary maybe because we lost to the Sabres.

  The lore and history of the Habs is overwhelming and chronicled in many books, magazines, websites, etc. The purpose and subject of this blog is to address my love of ALL sports but it is important to point out the place that the Canadiens have had in my past, do have in my present, and will have in my future. I continue to meet Habs fans everywhere I go and the mutual love and respect is a basis for lasting friendships.

  I am a first and foremost a fan of hockey, of the fights, the goals, the players, the stories, the battles, the hits, the assists, the highlights, the draft and even the pools. I've made it through two lockouts and realize that each season, game and period of hockey should be appreciated and cherished. Now lets drop the puck and watch some hockey!