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Monday, January 31, 2011

Sports are not my forte

Column submitted for the January 26, 2011 edition of the Northern Pioneer about sports. And me. And our (not so great) relationship.

Insider Reflections with Ashley Foley
He shoots … he scores?
You’d thinking growing up across from an arena, and working a couple of jobs at the there would have paid off.
Well, it didn’t.
When I moved to Mackenzie County in the summer I had a number people ask me which hockey team I cheered for.
“I’m more of a figuring skating, Kurt Browning fan,” I would tell them with a smile. They would nod, partly in disgust and confusion I’m sure, and probably partly wondering whether I was truly Canadian.
Since coming back to Mackenzie County after the Christmas holiday, I have made it my goal to include more sports in the paper.
Okay, I’ll admit it, to include sports in the paper at all. It’s certainly not my forte, but I’m working on it.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks at high school gymnasiums and arenas in Fort Vermilion and La Crete, pretending I know exactly what’s going on.
Pretending to understand what “icing” means, and why basketball players all of a sudden stop what they’re doing and throw the ball from the sidelines.
Perhaps I should have spent less time at the mall, in fashion class and doing my nails and more time at the local sports games.
Sports are my Achilles Heel.
And I’ve learned that admitting that in communities built on sports, especially hockey, has not exactly gained me any friends or popularity.
One afternoon I was at the La Crete arena covering a game, standing against the glass taking photos beside Philip Doerksen, Arena Manager.
“I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t know much about hockey,” I told him, hoping for a little slack.
He’s been a saint in helping me figure out everything sports in the area, but not before giving me a pitiful smile: not that his smile was pitiful, but that he felt pity for me.
As if he knew that it was almost blasphemy in Mackenzie County to not know about hockey.

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