Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ringo, The Beatles and Ray Sonin


On this day in 1940, Richard Starkey was born in Liverpool, England. He’s better known as Ringo Starr, the drummer for the Beatles. It’s noteworthy that Ringo, the eldest of the Fab Four, is the first to reach the age of 70. John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, about three months after Ringo. If John were still alive, he too would be turning 70 this year.

I remember when the Beatles first arrived on the scene. I came home from school one day and my father presented my siblings and me with a copy of "Twist and Shout." I played that album over and over and I collected black and white Beatle cards.

It is interesting that a Toronto radio announcer was the first to play the music of the Beatles in North America. His name was Ray Sonin and he had a program on CFRB 1010 called "Calling All Britons." English-born Ray was the first to play the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five and Petula Clark to North American audiences


Bob Probert died on Monday at the age of 45. He battled his demons and had problems with drugs and alcohol. I notice that the media describe him as “Tough guy, Bob Probert” or "Enforcer Bob Probert" or the “NHL’s heavyweight champion.” These are all eupehemisms for "goon" - although Bob Probert was a goon with some hockey skill.

There is no doubt in my mind that the media are complicit in supporting the old boy's network and perpetuating the myth that Don Cherry's precious "code" is necessary. I am absolutely sick and tired of television networks replaying hockey fights ad nauseum.

It's not just the media. It's the players themselves and the National Hockey League. The code is sacred to them. Woe to any player who would dare speak up and say that "enforcers" are not necessary! I wish that even one player would have the courage to do so. It would be difficult, however, because that player would become a paraiah, shunned and ridiculed by the other players. Such a player would also have to defy the The NHL Players' Association The Players' Association would not be pleased if hockey fights became a thing of the past. Goons with few discernible hockey skills would find themselves unemployed.

Hockey fans should never forget the death of Don Sanderson of the Whitby Dunlops in January of 2009. The 21-year-old died 20 days after banging his head on the ice during a hockey fight. His helmet fell off during the skirmish and Sanderson lapsed into a coma after his head hit the ice. Many questioned the regulations surrounding helmets and fighting. They skirted around the real issue. They were afraid to question whether that fight was really necessary at all. A young man with a promising future lost his life. For what?

Some will scoff at my opinion, especially since it is coming from a woman. That doesn't bother me. All I know is the best hockey occurs in the playoffs and in the international tournaments, when fighting is not a factor. I reject tha notion that fighting is an integral part of the game and I firmly believe the NHL could put a stop to it - if it wanted to. Obviously, it don't want to because Gary Bettman and company have the misguided belief that fighting helps to sell hockey in the United States.

The sad and undeniable truth is that the NHL does not feel confident enough in the sport itself to attract fans. The quality of regular season hockey has been greatly diluted by far too may games and far too many teams.

By the way, I do not stand up and pay attention when there is a hockey fight. I remain seated and I just roll my eyes and sigh with annoyance.

- Joanne