Friday, July 25, 2008

The All-Star Game

Dammit, Rob Stone apparently had an even crazier All-Star week than I did. Reason #8159 why I love being Canadian: up here, we can have a mascot called 'Bitchy' and nobody blinks an eye.

Comic highlights included...

* Finally learning how to pronounce Cuauhtemoc Blanco's first name. You wouldn't think from looking at it, but it's pronounced 'Throatwobbler Mangrove.'

* Seeing West Ham United train in Vaughan at the Ontario Soccer Center. In case you've never been up at the ol' OSC, it's a large soccer complex with roughly 59,526 fields available. It was just sort of funny to look at a few of these fields and go, "Ok, there's a pee-wee team, there's a girls' youth team, and oh, there's a Premier League club." What the kids' teams were lacking in world-class talent, they made up for in orange slices.

* The BMO Field getting ticked off when the English and American flags and anthems were sung/displayed, but no Canadian flag. The fans harshly booed and then sang the anthem themselves during the next announcement. Then, like, a minute later, on comes the Canadian flag accompanied by Mounties and a special anthem singer. This was the pre-game ceremony equivalent of Ralphie's parents hiding the Red Ryder BB gun behind the tree just to watch Ralphie get disappointed over not receiving it.

* Discovering that 'Polishezo' could be my name if I was a Brazilian soccer player. That's not bad.

* Gorging at the trough of freedom that was the press box dinner spread. Pasta, hot dogs, bread, salad and (since Pepsi is the official All-Star sponsor) all the Pepsi products one could drink. Let's just say that I made up that cash I had to pay to park. "If you have three Pepsis and drink one, how much more refreshed are you?" "Pepsi?" "Partial credit!"

* Actually walking around the CNE grounds since the commissioner's press conference was held at another building on the property. It was the first time in my life I've done this. Am I the only kid in southern Ontario who grew up without ever attending the CNE?

* Speaking of that commissioner's address, buses were sitting outside BMO Field waiting to take any media to the building. While I applaud the organizers' desire to help out on a rainy day, the Liberty Grand building is less than 500 paces from BMO. I know this since my colleague Matt actually counted his steps as we made the six-minute walk over. We beat the bus, too. I felt like John Henry. A really, really, really poor man's version of John Henry.

* Not playing in the media game on Thursday morning. This is actually more of a comic highlight that I let slip by me. The 'media game' is exactly what it sounds like, a chance for the assembled press to actually get a chance to play on the BMO Field pitch. I should've signed up, then conspired with a guy on the other team to recreate the Zidane headbutt within the first minute and gotten myself red-carded. This idea came to me at around 1 AM Thursday morning, then it was already too late to sign up. Sacre bleu. Usually my great late-night ideas can be translated into blog posts, but not this time.

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