When you’ve got a few years on the old odometer you often notice that, what goes around comes around. I mean, everyday there are connections that jump out at you in a kind of freakish déjà vu kind of way. One of those cosmic connections hit me today.
First of all, reading the morning paper I came across this headline, American Football, Eh? Who Cares? The article was a comparison of ticket sales and enthusiasm for two football events that are taking place in Canada in the next few weeks. The first, the Grey Cup Game, which occurs in Montreal tomorrow (Canadian Football League Championship) and, the second, the Buffalo Bills/Miami Dolphin game, which will take place in Toronto on December 7th. Yes, the NFL is coming to the Great White (as in snow) North.
Seems like the CFL game is going to draw something like 60 000 while the Bills game is having trouble selling out. In fact, the Toronto sponsors are reducing the price of and/or giving away tickets to the game, which of course makes the NFL people furious. Top price for the CFL final is $274, while if you want NFL action it will take about $575 from your 401K..
The article goes on to debate the pros and cons of these very different football games ad infinitum, which brings me to the connection.
Years ago (1979) my buddies and I played penny-ante poker, roving from house to house month to month, and, no doubt, indulging in some heavy drinking. The poker game was fun, but the debates were even better, especially when it came to sports. There was a lot of Yadda,Yadda, Yadda going on. Yes, we were Hosers through and through! (Ever watched Bob and Doug MacKenzie on Saturday Night Live)
Well, back in the day, the Buffalo Bill’s number one draft pick (Tom Cousineau) was spirited way from them by the CFL’s Montreal team, the Alouettes (Just like the song from preschool). It was all over the news and Ed Kilgore (No relation to Kilgore Trout) from WGR-TV, Channel 2 Buffalo, had a lot to say about the CFL being an inferior league and the Als (as we call them) being a bogus team. Consequently, Jimbobalouie, Alfredo, Boo, The Medicine Man, and Jethro became indignant, feeling that FN Ed Kilgore was slamming FN Canada , and FN Canadians in FN particular. (That’s the way we talked in those days)
I grabbed a piece of paper and in our drunken revelry we wrote Mr. Kilgore a letter filled with expletives and a lot of blow-hearted criticism of his journalistic style, if not his family background, and his propagation from the loins of female dog. The bottom line was that we accused the young buck reporter of spewing a bushel load of bovine excrement. We ended the writing session with a spirited rendition of, “Oh, Canada!”, with hands on our hearts and beers held high.
But, alas, several weeks later a hand written letter came back from Mr. Kilgore rebutting our claims.
Here’s just a snippet.
“First the CFL is interesting-exciting–but like Triple A baseball to the Major Leagues. That’s the way I feel and in no way was it meant as a slight to Canada. That’s ludicrous!” <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Now that was a real kick to the groin, Edward. Perhaps we could retort that, later in life, your Buffalo Bills lost how many Super Bowls in a row? We might now suggest that the city of Buffalo is indeed Minor League; hence the team is going to play 8 friggin’ NFL games in TORONTO over the next 5 years. Why? Well, it would be because Buffalo is like a suburb of Toronto. We like to call it Hamilton, East! We throw this slight back at you, Ed Kilgore.
Na! Na! Na1 Na! Na! Na!
Not to be outdone, Mr. Ed, added this to his dissertation:
“In saying the French Grand-Prix is not as good as the Belgium Grand-Prix, a slam on France? Of course not.”
Wait just a minute, Mr. Kilgore, my Uncle Pierre would beg to differ. The only thing famous from Belgium is their waffles. How dare you slight the Republic!
But then, he adds,
Save your paranoia for the idiot Americans who do say bad things about Canada. I won’t and I haven’t!”
Bravo, Mr. Kilgore, you admit that there are idiots in American, just as I suspect there are idiots in Canada. Wait a minute, have you just insinuated that the boys I represent are of that persuasion? Shame on you!
The best part of the letter stated . . . “I’m only working here!”, like, duh, we’re going to take from this that you are a happy camper living and working in Buffalo? You could have been a little more subtle!
But guess what, Ed Kilgore is still there in Buffalo, thirty years later. How do I know? I hear him on Sports Radio, pumping up the jam for these Buffalo NFL games in Toronto. As for the poker games, well they’re long gone as well, and the drinking we do has more to do with keeping us regular than anything else.
“Hey, Boo, get me another prune juice will ya?”
You see these things kind of percolate, blow around in the wind for years, then come back to gob-smack you when you least expect it. More importantly, there are lessons to be learned from the experience. Like, “Thank you, Baby Jesus, for keeping my memory intact!”
So, even though old-timers disease might just be around the corner, memories of the good-times will keep you within the clinical definition of appearing sane.
But in retrospect, I wish we’d made a copy of the things we wrote in our letter, though. Maybe Mr. Kilgore keeps our letter over his bar, like I keep his letter displayed over mine.
Cheers and more beers! A salute to you, Mr. Kilgore!