February 28, 2011
Congratulations to the new Canadian Women’s Curling Champions, the Amber Holland rink, from Kronau Saskatchewan! This is the first Saskatchewan team to win the Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts since Sandra Schmirler’s rink last won it in 1997. Congratulations also go out to Braeden Moskowy’s rink from Regina and Trish Paulsen’s rink from Saskatoon who captured the Canadian junior men's and women's titles earlier this month in Calgary. That’s three Saskatchewan curling teams representing Canada at the World Championships; not bad for a bunch of “Gappers”, eh? Here’s hoping Pat Simmons rink will do well at the Tim Horton’s Brier in London, Ontario, next week, and make it a complete Saskatchewan sweep. Wouldn’t that be sweet?
Yes, you read it right…”Gappers”. Listen to this: the Urban Dictionary actually states that a “Gapper” is: “A derogatory term for a person originally from Saskatchewan, which is “The Gap” between Alberta and Manitoba.” Haw, haw, haw. Very funny. But you know what? We can take it. We’re humble folk who don’t have a problem laughing at ourselves. Most of the time we’ll even initiate it and we’re modest in victory and gracious in defeat.
We are quite used to watching the national news, sports and weather networks pass us over. You’ll see the national weather service person working the map from BC to the Maritimes, going over the weather systems in each province, and they’ll mumble out the current temperatures in Regina or Saskatoon, as they quickly gloss over our rectangle shaped province with barely a glance, and quickly move on to much more important geographical areas than Saskatchewan.
Watching TSN’s (the Toronto Sports Network??) coverage of last week’s Scottie’s tournament was further testament to the rest of the country’s attitude towards Saskatchewan. Amber Holland’s rink was cruising at 8 and 0 and hadn’t even been shown in prime time coverage! How many times did we have to watch Ontario and Team Canada? TSN’s commentators stated that “Team Saskatchewan flew under the radar”. Who’s radar? You start a tournament with eight straight wins and you’re under the radar? Tsk, tsk, tsk. Typical.
Remember the old schoolyard saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”? Well that’s not exactly true and, if I wasn’t raised properly, I might get sucked into this inter provincial name-calling thing and say something about that biker-wannabe, mullet sporting, Napoleon Complexed, almost football player, (he’s a field goal kicker…A FIELD GOAL KICKER!), Manitoba’s own Troy Westwood, who really got things going a few years ago when he had the audacity to call Saskatchewanians “banjo-pickin’ inbreds”, but, of course, I’m from Saskatchewan and I’m better than that.
So go ahead, the rest of Canada, poke fun if you want. We’ll just sit here on all that oil and gas and potash and lumber and diamonds and wheat and cattle and fresh water and uranium and gold and agricultural industries and championship athletes and wait for you to sidle up, like Maxwell Smart to an insulted arch-villain, and dust off our lapels and say, “I hope I wasn’t out of line with that whole Gappers thing”.