|courtesy of thehour of Flickr|
Aw, goshdurn it, eh? I love Grapes. Only rarely heard from him over the years in Japan where ice hockey is seen more as a freak cult than the religion it is in Canada. But whenever I came back home for the Holidays, I would see him and Ron do their "Coach's Corner"segment where the latter would often go on some rant about something or other. I agree with him on some things, disagree with him on others, but he's kinda like Canada's favorite opinionated uncle with a flamboyant fashion sense.
However, I've gotta disagree with the big guy on this one opinion during this past weekend's feud with Brian Burke, General Manager of the (new and improved?) Maple Leafs. He went on a bender about how there aren't any native sons of Ontario on the team and that Burke should be absolutely ashamed. Well, my response is basically what Burke retorted: what does birthplace have to do with putting a playoff team together? I thought it was the ability to play. Heck, I wouldn't care if most of the team came from the States and Russia, as long as they are good, hard-working players. I mean, if Burke were able to get such players from Toronto...great! But, as ineffective as Burkie has been overall, I trust him enough to find the best players with talent and hard work as the top priorities, not their passports.
In Japan, sumo fans have been lamenting the fact that there hasn't been a native yokozuna (Grand Champion) in several years...since 2003, when the last Japanese-born champion, Takanohana, left the dohyo for good. Since then, it's been the Mongolian rikishi, Asashoryu (although he left in disgrace) and then Hakuho, who've been on top. But that lament comes off more as a wistful hope for the near future than a militant call to arms. And Hakuho has been treated like a native son...a champion is a champion no matter his birthplace.