Wednesday, July 06, 2005

there's my favorite roller coaster ... the one only sissies ride

Today was a day of some nostalgia and sentimental reflection. This, Lucy, is going to require a lot of 'splaining. This first bit anyway.
Please don't pass judgment. Just read and smile and nod. Or whatever. I'll eventually come to a point.
I heard a Clay Aiken song on the radio. Shut up. Just wait for me to make a point. It really made me sad about missing my Hurricanes this year. Now that needs explanation. Since Clay Aiken is a Raleigh native (or near Raleigh, anyway), he came home to sing the National Anthem and to sing a few of his songs at a 'Canes game. As much as I wanted to hate it, it wasn't really all that bad. I know this might rival my "hey, the new Richard Marx doesn't suck!" comment, but it really wasn't that awful. Not that I liked it, just that I didn't hate it. So he sang some songs during the intermissions. My seats are lower level, right next to where the zamboni comes out. That's where he was. Our section got mobbed by teenage girls and their mothers. In a season where we sucked, this was one of about three memorable things. Again, not that I loved his songs, just that it was such a madhouse. So anyway, I'll always think of the 'Canes when I see or hear Clay Aiken. Of course one of the other two memorable events was the sudden and shocking trade of Ronnie Franchise to the dreaded Maple Leafs. Except for the death of a good friend, I've never been so sad. So I was reminded of how sad that made me all because I heard Clay Aiken on the radio.
Later on, I heard "Tiny Dancer" on the same radio, which always makes me think of two things. First, that scene in "Almost Famous". Second is my friend and former co-worker Jayhawk, who used to sing along "Hold me closer, Tony Danza".
Later, as I was driving home, I saw a woman with some serious '80's mall hair. It was rad.

Goddammit. Now I'm mad again. I won't accept "I'm going to a team who has a chance to win the Cup, so I can retire on top" as an explanation. That's horseshit. Ronnie has two Stanley Cup rings from his tenure with the Penguins. He's got all sorts of other hardware, including three Lady Byng (most gentlemanly player) trophies, a King Clancy (leadership on and off the ice) trophy, a Frank J. Selke (forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game) trophy, and he's second only to some guy named Gretzky in career assists. Fourth behind some guys named Gretzky, Messier and Howe in career points. I'm just mad that he couldn't retire on our team. He has a home here and wants to live here permanently, so I never could understand the move to the Leafs. He didn't have anything to prove. The Leafs didn't need an old man. We needed him.
Okay, I'll stop now.
Rant over.

Please note that the time when I started this post was 4:32 PM, and that today's date is 07.06.05. At least that's how we do it in America. So it was 7/6/5 4:32.
I think it's cool anyway.

Now playing:
Sufjan Stevens -- Illinois (illegal 'Superman' version)
Sufjan Stevens Illinois


Reid said...

I know you said you won't accept it, but I think it's pretty understandable that players at the top level of any sport always want to win a championship. With only a few exceptions, you don't get to that level without being extremely competitive, so it makes sense that they always want to be the best, be at the top.

It also makes perfect sense that a fan would be annoyed by it, but it's really the same impulse. No one is a fan of a team because they want to watch your team be mediocre, so you want them to have every chance possible to be the best. A fan isn't going to say it's okay if their team never wins another championship just because they have once or twice in the recent past; why should a player accept the same thing on an individual level?

And before you bring it up: I would love to have Clemens stay with the Astros, especially now that they've started winning. But I also don't blame him in wanting to go to a team that has a better shot at winning the WS. He wants to retire, so why shouldn't he want to retire on top instead of some team that misses the playoffs entirely (which I hope won't happen, obviously)?

d-lee said...

well, like I said, Francis already had two Stanley Cup rings plus all the other hardware. Then there's the whole reason that the call him "Ronnie Franchise". He spent most of his very illustrious career with the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise. 15 full seasons plus two partial seasons with Hartford/Carolina with a 7 year stint at Pittsburgh thrown in the middle. He spent so many years as the captain and "face" of the team, so it just sucked to see him go to another squad. In comparison, Nomar Garciaparra had spent 9 years with the BoSox, and everyone screamed bloody murder when he left. Just like they did when Clemens left. It's unusual to see someone play 15 years in any professional sport. To see them have 15 years for one squad (in this age of free agency) is really unusual. I understand the fury those Sox fans felt when the Rocket went (coincidentally enough) to Toronto after 12 years. Rocket's only been in Houston for one-and-a half seasons, so if he chose to jump to another squad, I don't think Astros fans would be entitled to a sense of abandonment.
I chose to mention all the hardware Francis has because that seems to be contary to the rationale of "let him win one before he goes out". He's not Dan Marino. In addition to all the hardware, his name is on the Cup twice. Although he would be in more elite company if his name was on there three times, I just didn't see the need for that. Francis grew up as a Leafs fan, so that part of it makes sense, but I still don't get it. ahhhhh. I'm rambling

greatwhitebear said...

I think that the truth is that every English speaking Canadian grows up wanting to be a Maple Leaf. It's the history of the franchise. For 2/3 of the leagues history, there were only 2 Canadian teams. If you were French you wanted to play for Les Habitants. If you spoke English, you wanted to be a Maple leaf. Traditions die hard. Ronnie is fulfilling his childhood dream.

It can't be because he wants another cup, because as currently comprised, the Leafs have zero chance.

Damn, now I'm in hockey depression again! Oh well, misery loves company.

d-lee said...

Well put, Mark. It's especially true for someone as ancient as Ron Francis. He was born in the "original six" era, and hails from Sault Ste Marie, which is (I'm guessing) 300 or so miles from Toronto. As you said, though, it's either the Habs or the Leafs. If you lived in any provence other than Quebec, your team was the Leafs.
Francis' trade came on March 9, 2004 when it was pretty certain that the 'Canes wouldn't make the playoffs and the Leafs looked to have a chance to go deep into them. The plan was for him to win the Cup that season, then retire. An off-season trade also would have sucked, but it wouldn't have bothered me as much.

Not that it matters at this juncture, but we still haven't said who's going to wear the "C". We finished that season without a Captain. I would assume Rod Brind'Amour would get it and that either Kevyn Adams or Eric Cole will wear the "A" vacated by Brind'Amour. Jeff O'Neill is too much of a toolbox to deserve a letter on the sweater.