The beautiful game

If there was any doubt as to the profound lessons that sport can teach – no more was it more evident than in today’s Euro2008 Soccer match between Turkey and Croatia.

After suffering arguably one of the most heart-wrenching losses of their sporting lives – a most remarkable scene occurred between some of the disconsolate Croatian players and Turkish goalie Rustu Recber.

Having let victory slip agonizingly through their fingers in the dying moments of the second extra time and completely shattered from losing in a thrilling penalty shootout – a few of the inconsolable Croatian players wept openly as the full weight of their country’s hopes came crashing down upon them.

Ironically, in the midst of their despair appeared the very person who had just crushed their dream of advancing to next round, Turkish goalie Rustu Recber. In an inspirational display of empathy unmatched in any sporting event in recent history, Recber walked up to and warmly embraced as many devastated Croatian players he could find.

While most of his buddies were deliriously celebrating the joy of sudden victory – Recber chose to try and alleviate the suffering of those who – but for the grace of the soccer gods – could have been his own teammates.

In a sport that has seen its share of fan and player violence but has also been called ‘the beautiful game’ what a refreshing moment to witness and savor.


Angels & Demons

In anticipation of director Ron Howard’s 2009 release of Da Vinci Code prequel Angels and Demons – the Vatican has just announced that it is working on a set of guidelines for what it considers “good cinema”.

Having recently barred crews from filming Angels and Demons in two churches, Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria, the Holy See appears to be taking a more sensible, proactive approach toward counteracting films containing anti-Catholic bias.

A set of guidelines for ‘good films’, though still somewhat patronizing, is a giant leap forward from issuing universal declarations to the faithful to stay away from such media products.

Those of you who remember the firestorm of controversy over the release of The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and The Passion of the Christ (2004) will also likely recall that these kinds of declarations only serve to shine more light on such films, thus padding the pockets of all those involved.

Ultimately, Catholics are best left to decide on their own whether they and their children will see such films. Who knows, they may just discover that their own ‘internal guidelines’ may be just the moral compass required to show them the true meaning of ‘good’.

2 Minutes for Stupidity CBC

When the CBC indicated that its iconic theme song may no longer ring out in homes from Bonavista to Vancouver Island to the Arctic Circle – I felt as if I had been cross-checked in the face.

Scenes of the late CBC hockey broadcasters Foster Hewitt, Ward Cornell and Danny Gallivan flashed before my eyes.

Methought I heard shrieks of outrage echo throughout corridors of that Canadian shrine of shrines – holy of holies, the renowned Hockey Hall of Fame.

Why were not the very people who pay the salaries of CBC executives, you and I, consulted about such a seismic artistic leap? These same execs have no problem foisting tired reruns of Road to Avonlea or Degrassi upon their paying public.

Yet after the initial spasms of shock and indignation subsided – my cynical side emerged. What a brilliant way to capture the attention of the Canadian hockey faithful, especially the boomers, by sucker-punching them.

What better way to solicit and seduce ‘youth buy-in’ by focusing on the need for change and to move forward into the future? The topper was the $100,000.00 bribe to anyone who can create the winning ‘brand new’ Hockey Night in Canada theme song.

Anne Murray – Snowbird
Gordon Lightfoot – Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Bob & Doug Mackenzie – Hosers & beer
Paul Henderson 1972 – Shot heard round-the-world
Stoppin Tom Connors – The Hockey Song
Wayne Gretzky – The Great One
Gordie Howe – Mr. Hockey
Bobby Hull – The Golden Jet
Bobby Orr – Poetry in Motion
Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song – done . . done done . done done . . . done done . . done done – DONE!

Join the chorus – sign the online petition to save the song!

This one is a ‘no-brainer’. CBC – 2 minutes for stupidity!

Photo Courtesy: Dr Starbuck