Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign Further Proof of God’s Existence

Every now and then, with all of the troubles around the world, it is easy for many of us to begin to question whether there really is a God out there. We are taught that God works in mysterious ways, so we don’t necessarily expect him to just make every problem on earth simply disappear. When things are bleak, quite often all we are looking for is some sign that he is out there, so that we may maintain our faith and hope. Today, God gave us a sign not only that he is out there, but he also has a great sense of humour.

Many people associated with the “Tea Party” in the United States, a loose affiliation of extreme fiscal and social conservatives, have long questioned whether Barack Obama was eligible to run for president. They helped fuel a type of conspiracy theory that President Obama was not actually born in the United States. The theory was that his mother gave birth to him in Indonesia, then later somehow falsified his birth certificate to make it look like he was born in Hawaii. As the Tea Party movement grew, so did the “birther” movement, eventually forcing the president publicize his birth certificate and as well as a copy of a birth announcement from a Hawaii newspaper. This helped to quell the issue but by no mean extinguished it.

The questions regarding Obama’s birth have always been dripping with irony. His first presidential opponent, John McCain, was actually born along the Panama Canal. His next opponent, Mitt Romney, actually embraced those who were fueling the conspiracy theory around Obama’s place of birth even though his own father was both born in Mexico and ran for president. But nothing could have been as comically ironic as the darling of the Tea Party, Ted Cruz, seeking the presidency despite being born in Canada.

Keep in mind that it is not a rumor or an accusation that Cruz was born in Canada; he himself has been quite open about it, but asserts that because his mother was born in the United States (his father is from Cuba) that makes him a natural born citizen. Nobody has ever disputed that Obama’s mother was a US citizen, but yet huge numbers of Tea Party supporters felt that if he were born in another country he should be ineligible to run for president. Most of these same people, with the notable exception of Donald Trump, are now enthusiastically supporting the Canadian born Ted Cruz for president.

If Ted Cruz’s campaign accomplishes nothing else, it will at least help to have exposed how absurd and shameful the entire birther conspiracy was. If Barack Obama’s skin was the same colour as Ted Cruz’s there would never have been a birther story to begin with. This is not to say that every Tea Party supporter who subscribed to the theory are racists. Most of them were simply mindless, fanatical hyper-partisans.

NCAA Tourney Helps Make March Worst Month in Sports Calendar

In terms of sports, March is my least favourite time of the year. Football is over, baseball hasn’t started yet, and the biggest stories in both the NBA and NHL are which mediocre teams will secure a final playoff spot and which awful teams will give themselves the best chance at winning the draft lottery. March is perhaps the only month of the year when there isn’t a single meaningful game played in any of the major professional North American sports leagues.

Since there are no actual pro games that matter in the month, the first two weeks of the month are dominated by frenzied NFL and free agent speculation. Every year the sports media waste endless hours covering a big college name who promptly fades into obscurity once the actual season starts, and bad teams make huge free agent signings that will somehow manage to make their team worse before New England scoops them up for half the price a season or two later. Mind numbing as those first two weeks may be, they are an absolute pleasure compared to what awaits in the final half of the month – college basketball.

I would rather watch cricket than college basketball. All of the best college players are hardly even college players at all. They only spend a single year in college because the NBA forces them to be there. As soon as you start to learn who these people are they are out of college an on to the NBA. While we are on the subject, I suspect that most of these guys even truly in college for a single year. If you know you are going to declare for the draft in the spring, and you have been too focused on basketball in March to do any studying, why would you even bother trying to write an exam in April after your college career is over?

So many great players leaving after a single year has not only hurt the quality of the play, but perhaps more importantly, it has hurt the rivalries. There is a 30 for 30 documentary airing tonight that is quite literally titled “I Hate Christian Laettner”. Great college players these days are simply not there long enough to be either hated or loved.

What really bothers me about the NCAA tournament is that I cannot escape it. I don’t like cricket, but it doesn’t bother me because never see it on TV and never hear people talk about it. Once we get to the Ides of March my favourite sports shows are suddenly pre-empted for college basketball games, or even worse, people talking about college basketball. I have to stop listening to sports talk radio shows as they become 100% focused on college basketball for two straight weeks. Canadian sports talk radio offers very little relief as this time of the year the only topic of conversation is how terrible the Toronto Maple Leafs are. I actually enjoy that topic, but there is only so much of that you can listen to.

An Open Letter to Jake Locker

When I first read today that you were retiring my first thought was that it was some kind of joke. Just a few days before I had read stories about you either potentially being a starting quarterback with the Titans or a sought after backup for any number of teams. A good backup quarterback in this league can make millions of dollars per year. Even if you were never to become a star quarterback, the worst case scenario for you would have been to make millions of dollars a year for the better part of the next decade, yet you have decided to retire at 26 years old.

I know that you have battled injuries, but you need to realize that those injuries resulted from being the starting quarterback on a terrible team where you were frequently pounded by the opposing defense. You had the possibility to sign a seven figure contract with a very good team to be a backup quarterback where you might never step on the field in a live game. You could have made millions by spending time practicing and rebuilding your health and then a few years down the road perhaps gotten another chance to be a starter. Or you could have continued to be competent backup playing a couple of games every other year. For someone who perhaps dreamed of being a superstar quarterback that may not seem so attractive to you, but trust me when I tell you that is a dream job.

You mentioned in your statement that it wouldn’t be unfair to your next team to play if your heart wasn’t into it. You have absolutely no idea what unfair means. Right now you likely have a nice house and several million dollars in the bank. When you are 50 and there are only thousands of dollars in your bank account and you or someone close to you finds themselves in a difficult medical or financial situation you will learn what unfair really means. Like it or not, you and I live in a very unfair world. Don’t worry about the fan whose team’s backup quarterback’s heart just isn’t that into it anymore; worry about potentially having to tell your parents or children in 20 years’ time that you aren’t able to help them.

What is With All the Wife Rumours in the NHL?

Those who follow hockey know that there has been a long tradition of starting rumours about players sleeping with other players’ wives. It seems like every time a star player got traded there were whispers that the cause was either the player had slept with a teammates wife, a teammate had slept with the traded player’s wife, or some combination of the two. If you had a friend who lived in that city he would swear that everyone knew that the rumour was true, but of course there would always be at least three degrees of separation between him and the actual source. The rumours have just been limited to players. When a highly successful coach was suddenly fired in one NHL city, rumours circulated that the real reason was an affair with one of the star player’s wives.

What was once merely confined to sports bar gossip has suddenly become mainstream news. First, Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks felt the need to go public to denounce the local rumours he had torn the locker room apart by sleeping with a teammate’s wife. Then just a couple days later TSN, the Canadian version of ESPN, inexplicably aired a tweet suggesting that Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupol had slept with teammate Dion Phaneuf’s wife, actress Elisha Cuthbert. TSN later issued a formal apology for somehow letting such an inappropriate tweet air during their trade deadline coverage.

The question is, why is this happening? One explanation would be that hockey players are all a bunch of amoral, conscienceless cavemen who would sleep with any woman who batted an eye at them. That may be true, but I doubt that they would be any more so than professional athletes in the other major sports leagues. The other explanation could be that both hockey players, and perhaps more importantly, hockey fans, are far more gossipy than in other sports. I suspect both may be true, but it is the gossipy nature of hockey fans that is the primary cause.

Hockey, unlike the other big three sports, remains much more regional in nature and much more dominated by regional coverage, particularly in the United States. If you are a hockey fan most US cities, you are listening to much more hockey discussion at your local sports bar than you are on television. Hockey gets the most prominent coverage of any sport in Canada, but outside of Toronto and Montreal, most teams play in relatively small cities where half the population is probably only a couple degrees of separation from someone connect to the hockey team. Montreal and Toronto are very large cities, but the passion for hockey there creates a form of mania that is fertile ground for all forms of gossip and rumours. All this has combined with social media to make the NHL the most gossipy of all the professional sports leagues.