This and That

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: hockey culture = bully culture?

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The firing of Don Cherry sure as hell caused a lot of buzz. As is the case with everything, there was a divide as to whether his firing was justified. His firing ended up being a topic of conversation on ‘The Social’ as well. Jess Allen spoke on it and when she told her story and made her comments I understood them to be ‘her experience’. Apparently I was in the minority as many felt she was generalizing hockey culture. And with that she and the network got tons of backlash demanding for her firing.. In the end she and the network put out an apology. I’ll be honest I don’t think she was generalizing at all but I also don’t think she was far off either. For a few years I saw first hand what she described as her experience. Were all the players bullies? No. Were all the parents bullies? No. But there were enough. Were they all privileged? No. But there were enough in that camp as well. And at the end of the day, all it takes is one bully for it to be a pblm. At the time I was coaching soccer and a good portion of the players were elite hockey players as well (As a sidebar, not one player of color). Players that trained year round. And one time when I had the ‘audacity’ to ask a parent to put an effort to get his kid to soccer practice as well during the summer I had this parent tell me that his kid didn’t need to practice soccer because he was ‘that good’. Saying this to me all the while poking me in the chest with his forefinger. So ya, someone had audacity but it wasn’t me. Bullying and privileged culture was and is alive and well in hockey. That’s but one example so you might think I shouldn’t make a mountain out of a molehill but that wasn’t the only example. If I were to document all my experiences, this post would last for days. But at the same time I also need to call a spade, a spade. This exists in all walks of life.
Anyway, the same people who called out the Don Cherry firing an unnecessary over reaction were now calling for the firing of Jess Allen for speaking her truth and her experience. Cancel culture at its best.

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: Don’s Cherry Popped

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The end of an era. Whatever it may have been. Growing up I was hooked on hockey and the Montreal Canadians… I definitely watched my share of Don Cherry and his rants. My interest in hockey has waned over the years so I can honestly say that what comes next is my opinion based on what I remember and what I have read so take it as you want.
Don Cherry is old school. The guy’s MO has mainly been rants. He rants about everything. I truly believe that Ron has tuned out many a times over the years. The fact is that even when I was watching hockey religiously and listened to Don I never put a lot of weight in anything he said. Having said that, his latest rant is nothing new… history can attest to that. Case in point, his issues with European or Quebec hockey players is not just about their hockey style. It’s rooted in racism. And in the end nothing good ever comes after speaking the words ‘you people’. Nothing. Even Jimmy Hoffa felt the wrath after uttering those words against an Italian. 😋 (insert the Irishman plug here). And in an effort to have his say, Don agreed to an interview with none other than Tucker Carlson probably one of the most vile and racist people on the planet.
I’m not sure he’s ever apologized for anything. He certainly didn’t for this. He’s an old timer. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Of course, it doesn’t make it right and ultimately he paid the price. And the price was right. It was time for him to go. Why it didn’t happen years ago? Timing, I think. We are currently living in a world where ‘cancel culture’ is firing on all cylinders. Everyone out there wanting to cancel anyone and everyone. In some cases it’s uncalled for but in this case it was warranted.

Youth soccer and how the reward system is whacked

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There are plenty of examples to choose from but I will write about one that is near and dear to me. Not really.
I wrote about this team in another post. This is a team whose last year’s success was defined by one player. I don’t want to name names but for the sake of this post let’s call this player ‘Magalie’. They won their league, the cup and fell just short of winning nationals. Without ‘Magalie’ they definitely would not have achieved what they did. I did not watch one season game but u don’t need to be a math whiz to see that if u removed all of her stats the team record would have been drastically different. I did watch all their matches at nationals. Some a couple times. Watching those matches only confirmed what I already knew which is that the team isn’t really that good. During the matches ‘Magalie’ was off or shut down, the rest of the team had no solutions and were rendered ineffective. In the final, BC exposed them for what they are which is not very good (more later in this post). It was a one sided match and had BC had good finishers the score would have been a rout. In the end the team was awarded ‘team of the year’ and the coach got ‘coach of the year’. Deserving? Maybe on the team level, maybe, but coach? Why? Because he acquired a star player? Certainly not.
Anyway, flashback a few years when a certain coach was asked to take the reigns of a team that also had a ‘star’ player and that over the years was winning because of this star player. The only difference here was that once he accepted the coaching gig he was told that the star player, along with a 2nd star-ish player would be moved to the older team and that he’d have no access to them for the entire season. 👀… oh, I see what you did there Mr Technical Director! Ok, challenge accepted. Could this coach convince this team that they would be just fine without the star players? He sure did. He made them believe and they achieved greatness. Undefeated. First place. Championship. Was this achievement recognized? Hell no. At the very least, at the club level both team and/or coach should have been recognized. Instead the team’s achievement was actually played down by the club technical director. Played down!!! Why? He obviously expected the season to play out differently without the star player. And there lies the problem. The reward system is misplaced. What shouldn’t be rewarded is and what should, isn’t.
This season ‘Magalie’ was moved up to the older squad that over the last few seasons has been nothing better than a middle of the pack team. This year they are in first and have already qualified for nationals with games to spare. Coincidence? I think not. In all likelihood this means a team of the year and possibly a coach of the year. Again it begs the question… Deserving? No. Atleast not on the coach side.
Btw the team ‘Magalie’ played for last season now sits at middle of the pack with a .500 record this season. Remember this is the team that had one loss last season, won the division, cup and got to the finals at nationals. Coincidence? I think not. Just saying.

@Marvel: Dear Russo Brothers, you done #Hulk dirty.

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I can’t take credit for my post title. It was actually my son who made this comment after the movie. I just borrowed it. Anyway, I don’t think I need to make this a lengthy post to get my point across.
After 2 subpar solo #hulk movies, the #avengers finally got the Hulk right with #Ragnarok also adding to the awesomeness that is the hulk. Then the Russo brothers happened and with the snap of their fingers they wrecked everything about the hulk. And they did it without the gauntlet.
I sat through a 2hr40min infinity war movie only to see a couple minutes worth of the hulk early on getting his ass kicked by thanos.
To say I came out of that movie dismayed is an understatement. I rationalized it in that hulk had alot of on screen time in ragnarok and I was totally convinced he would get his payback in endgame. That didn’t happen. The rumours were confirmed and in endgame, hulk became Professor Hulk. I will be honest I didn’t know what to make of it. It was weird hearing Ruffalo’s voice in the body of the Hulk. What I also didn’t expect was the nonsense that came along with him being professor Hulk.

If I was dismayed coming out of infinity war I really don’t know what word to use after sitting through a 3hr movie and witnessing the destruction of such a great marvel character occur before my eyes.
That scene where he grudgingly smashed the top of the car and barely tossed the motorcycle. WOW!!! Horrible. So Hulk now is a lover, not a fighter? Ridiculous! And finally to witness an epic battle scene versus Thanos where a significant amount of heroes took a shot at him and there is NO HULK AND THANOS SHOWDOWN!!!! What in the fucks, fuck is that all about? How does that not happen??? Pure and unadulterated fuckery is what it is.
Even in the comicbook world as Professor Hulk, he never shied away from a confrontation. Never. Hulk deserved a better sendoff. He deserved to finish with a bang! He was done in dirty. There is no better way to say it.

PS: the fact that his snap using the gauntlet brought everyone back does nothing to appease me. Nothing. Noone will be able to convince me this was the proper storyline for this iconic hero.

Here is a link of interest.. #3 specifically:

https://www.technobuffalo.com/5-things-missing-avengers-endgame-spoilers?amp&utm_source=tb_tw&utm_medium=tw_card&utm_content=73777&utm_campaign=social&__twitter_impression=true

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: Captain Meh-val

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When it was first announced that we’d be getting a Captain Marvel movie starring Brie Larson I was very excited. Today, I really don’t know why. Growing up I never followed Ms Marvel nor prior to this movie had I watched any movie starring Brie Larson and I know she has a long list of accomplishments.

I don’t let any reviews or opinions sway me from going to watch a movie. Having said that the negative tweets leading up to the movie admittedly got me worried. However I made it a point of not reading the actual article attached to the tweets.

As I do all the time, i went to see captain marvel the first weekend it was released. To my surprise, the cinema was half empty. It could have been due to the time of day but still. There really isn’t much to say. The hype machine was definitely working overtime for this movie. I came out of the movie feeling kinda meh about it. It had some moments but for the most it is underwhelming. And honestly I could care less who the lead is.

Two of my favorite super heroes are Hulk and Spawn. Both Todd McFarlane and Ang Lee brilliant in their own right but those movies. What. In. The. Hell. Am I right? And to boot I am getting an uneasy feeling already about the next #Spawn movie.

After watching Captain Marvel I made it a point of watching youtube reviews and it’s crazy how much hate there is toward this movie and Brie Larson. By both men and women. There’s no doubt Brie shot herself in the foot with those ‘white men’ comments. She also tried to play down and even come across like she couldn’t remember exactly what she had said during an interview with a white man who literally mansplained to her how it was all overblown. That must have gone over well with Brie. Lol.
Anyway, everyone has an opinion and some I agree with, some I don’t. That’s how it works.
It was made clear from the get-go that this movie is a feminist movie but as a female reviewer put it, it wasn’t necessary to dumb down the men just to get the point across. And yes, there are some scenes where I just rolled my eyes. On the flip side, these same scenes were critiqued by a male reviewer as terrible because ‘what man would say that?’… uh, I don’t know what hole this guy is living in.

There are a couple things that irk me heading into endgame. Endgame should be about the original avengers but the timing of Captain Marvel makes me think that she’ll come in and be the answer to everything. The other thing is that annoying bit at the end of Captain Marvel that leads you to believe that the avengers initiative started with Carol ‘Avenger’ Danvers… bullshit.

I would love to see Hulk pull the stunt he did with Thor but on Captain Marvel just to bring her down to earth a little. 😁

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck

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… it must be a duck!! Right 😋? Over the years I have had only a passing interest in the Royal family. Like everyone else I was glued to the TV when princess Diana died but had almost zero interest in the wedding of her sons. Meghan Markle might change all that. I mean these stories that are coming out. Between her family drama, apparent friction with Kate and the staff that is quitting faster than Murphy Brown changes secretaries you can’t help but feel that there is ‘something’ to these rumours.
Only the Queen mother knows what’s really going on behind those palace doors but still … so much intrigue. Maybe her family isn’t as whack as they come across to be. And what’s the deal with all these folks leaving after years of service? There’s gotta be something to that, no? Is Meghan a diva? And if she is, what kinda crazy level diva is she?

Meghan Markle has reportedly been given the unflattering nickname ‘Duchess Difficult’ due to how demanding she is. The reports have emerged as a second aide of Meghan has announced she is to leave her role after the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s child in Spring. The Australian has been part of the royal staff for 17 years.

This is but a small sampling…

The latest rumour now has it that she’s faking her pregnancy. How crazy is this? Lol. I mean this is way beyond believing and crazier than the stuff I watched on X files. But the truth is out there. The question is, will it ever come out?

Anyway .. Just like the Nick and Pryanka marriage I am calling this a 5 year tops deal. I know that’s a little mean but atleast I am giving them more than the Justin and Hailey wedding 😁.

I definitely don’t want to fall into any conspiracy theories and what not but I feel like Meghan has this incredible ability to always be in actress mode and in the end wouldn’t it be like all sorts of crazy if she ends up duping everyone. This would be a great ‘made for TV’ movie, where she could play herself! Wouldn’t that be something.

Sunday morning coffee with a little musing: transparency and fair play

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Anyone who has been reading my posts might start to think I am having a hard time letting go 😋. After many years I stepped back from youth soccer last season. However I still have a foot in the door because my daughter still plays competitively. My guess for many, including my daughter, is that it will their last year. I mean they’re going to turn 17 and for many there will be nowhere else to go after this so there is no incentive to continue.
Even though I am not active any more in any capacity information still finds its way to me. If it’s not through my daughter, it’s my wife or some other parent. I am truly glad that I am out of this toxic environment. Honestly wish I had done it sooner or better yet never.
Over the many years, no matter who the technical director was, as coaches we were always reminded of two things: transparency and fair play. I mean we were taught many things but these two items were drilled into our heads by the TD. The problem with this is that some technical directors are like 📺 evangelists. What’s that expression? Do as I say not as I do.
In an ideal world you are supposed to apply both at 100% but it’s impossible to do when the Technical Director himself doesn’t follow through on it either at 100%.
Here are two examples where both transparency and fair play can be applied.
1) as coaches we’re told never to guarantee a spot to a returning or new player during the tryout period.
2) As coaches we’re told that when it comes down to finalizing the roster and you have players with similar skills look to choose the player that showed commitment during the tryouts.
Easier said than done. It basically never happens.
Case in point this winter. There is a player on my daughter’s team who is a multi sport player. As a family they’ve made it clear for years now which sport that takes priority. It’s the other one 😋. These past fews years they’ve shown very little commitment to soccer during the winter months. It’s hard to do when your other sport is hockey but at the same time there should be some degree of compromise which from what I gather there isn’t much of. Here’s the kicker. She was guaranteed a spot early on in the winter in writing (rookie mistake on the coach’s part) and while she has missed a significant amount of training sessions she continues to play full games. And these are just meaningless matches. Is she a great player? No. But I will say she is a decent soccer player. Having said that though there are better skilled players on this team that have shown more commitment that deserve a spot on the team ahead of her.
I coached this team four years ago and alot can and has happened since. I can tell you this much though. Four years ago during a winter tryout session I was pulled aside by the current technical director and was told to cut this player from the team. She was one of three he wanted me to cut. I chose not to cut any of the three. Again, I know that alot can change in four years but now, even for the technical director, she’s untouchable. There is something called principle and some folks have a hard time with that starting with the guy at the top.
I am sure some of you honed in on the fact that I had an opportunity to cut this player four years ago and didn’t. The explanation is pretty simple and straightforward. Going in as a first year coach with the team I made the decision beforehand that I would not cut any player. I wanted to give every player a chance to prove themselves during the summer season. At one point during the winter session a very skilled player from another club came wanting to tryout. When it came down to finalizing the roster, this new player deserved a spot and so I pleaded with the technical director to allow me to carry an extra player so I wouldn’t have to cut anyone. He wouldn’t have any of it so at the 11th hour I cut a player who was not as skilled and who for the better part of the winter tryout period was injured. A difficult decision but it was the correct decision.