Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ference's excuse

April 22, 2011

I cannot let a spring pass by without mentioning that this is one of the best times of the year to be a sports fan. Spring and fall are my two favorite seasons as far as sports watching goes.
The NBA playoffs, the world curling and hockey championships, the start of the Major League Baseball season, the Masters golf tournament and, of course, the number one event for just about every Canadian worth his salt, the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs, are all being contested at this time of year. Naturally, in keeping with my strict adherence to Canada’s national pride in the game of ice hockey, I have devoted hours and hours of worship in front of my television set to these games. It’s just the Canadian thing to do, isn’t it?
I happened to be watching the fourth game of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins first round playoff series during which Boston defenseman Andrew Ference scored a goal and proceeded to “flip the bird” to the Montreal crowd. Apparently, using the old “digitus impudicus (impudent finger)” goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times. The highway salute, the Bronx salute, the one-finger salute, the bird (as in giving, flipping, or flying the bird), or, in Canada, the Trudeau salute, is an obscene hand gesture with universal meaning.
Being a lifelong Hab (Montreal Canadiens) hater I can certainly sympathize but cannot condone Ference’s actions. It’s not really his actions that I am here to debate anyway. What I’d like to talk about was his denial that he did it on purpose. He insists his glove got stuck and the gesture was not intentional. “I’m standing by it,” he said. “It would be a lot more interesting if I didn’t. But I paid the fine ($2500.00) for it. I’m glad it wasn’t on purpose or else I could get suspended. … The glove got stuck. I paid my fine.”
Seriously!? “It got stuck!” That’s your defense? Did you forget that the game was televised? Did you forget that there were perhaps a couple of dozen TV cameras showing the game and your actions and that a few million people were watching your every move? “It got stuck”!? C’mon! How stupid do you think we are?
Back in December, during an Ottawa Senators vs New York Rangers regular season hockey game, the Senators’ forward Matt Carkner was cut during a fight and, again, the TV cameras clearly showed him flicking blood from the cut off of his fingers in the direction of the Rangers’ players’ bench. “Maybe I made a gesture,” he said, denying that he had actually flicked any blood at the opposition team while he also conveniently forgot that anyone watching the game, or its highlights, could see what he was doing.
Denials and lies are as commonplace in the sports world as they are anywhere else, I guess, but surely these guys can’t think they were fooling anyone, can they? These two incidents maybe don’t compare to some of history’s big whoppers, which were obviously covering up the truth, like former US Presidents Bill Clinton’s denial that “I never had sexual relations with that woman” or Richard M. Nixon’s “I’m not a crook”, but they’re right up there with the likes of-“the cheque’s in the mail” or “it’s not about the money” or “I never took steroids”; the lie being so obvious that it’s laughable.
My father always told me that lying to cover up bad behaviour was often times worse than the bad behaviour itself. So wouldn’t it be nice if one of these people would man-up and accept responsibility for their actions? What would they lose? $2,500.00 to a professional athlete is like couch-change to me so I would venture a guess that it would be worth a lot more than mere money for them to use an “honesty is the best policy”, own up to their actions, accept the fact that they were wrong and, in the end, gain some respectability by coming clean.

“The truth brings with it a great measure of absolution, always”~ R.D. Laing (1927-1989).
Writer’s note: comments and questions regarding this column may be addressed to hubbar@sasktel.net. Also, previous “In My Humble Opinion” and “Random Thoughts” columns can be found on the following website: http://pnhubbard.blogspot.com/.

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