Toronto Sports Wishes For 2006 - Part 1

We all love top-ten lists, don't we?

In fact, you could make a pretty convincing argument that lists have replaced properly formatted, creatively designed pieces of writing, because they allow the writer to take wild, pronounced stances. (I'm not doing that. Honestly.)

So in the absence of ten meaningful stories from 2005, I thought we could look forward to 2006.

(Truthfully, were there any significant sports stories in 2005 that were based in Toronto? I'm racking my brain... For whatever reason, it's almost as difficult to get excited about the 2005 year in sports for T.O. as it is to find genuine charisma on the campaign trail.)

Without further ado: my sports wishes for 2006.

10. This is NOT My Sportscentre.

Ok, If you're going to run a 60-minute Sportscentre every morning and loop it six times, here's a wickedly original idea: Fill the program with 60-minutes of ORIGINAL HIGHLIGHTS. The show Tuesday morning consisted of the following: News on the sad passing of Phyllis Gretzky, extensive hockey highlights, coverage of the Hockey USA's Olympic team selection, commercial, details on Larry Robinson resigning as head coach of the Devils (nice 18 second clip of Larry sniffling), Montreal Canadien injury woes, quick Raptor highlights, commercial, CFL (what the...), brief coverage of the NFL Monday night game, extensive coverage of the Canadian Junior team and their Captain (the word "heart" was mentioned 38 times in 4 minutes), Plays Of The Week, commercial, recaps of ALL THE HOCKEY GAMES, NFL Hit Parade, story on Ted Nolan who coaches the Moncton Wildcats being taunted with racial and ethnic slurs, commercial, Honour Roll, Top 10, commercial, highlight of the night, end show.

There were five basketball games on Monday night. You're telling me, that in a 60-minute program you; a. have to run all the hockey highlights twice, and, b. can't even show basketball?

Did we really need to see Larry Robinson wiping a booger off of his upper-lip, or dwell on the fact that fans of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens started doing the tomahawk chop after their ninth Molson Export? Is a CFL player contract negotiation really more important than a double overtime tilt between Detroit & Charlotte? Does Jay Onrait realize that he's creeping everybody out?

Let's think outside the box, and actually fill Sportscentre, with sports!

(Hang on a second; I need to wipe the saliva off my laptop screen.)

9. Stop pretending the CFL is a major sport. It is just not.

The rules and focus on offence are designed to procure your attention away from two critical problems with the league.

For starters there is a difference between parity and mediocrity. Because of excessive player movement, rules that essentially negate the ability to defend and players that don't particularly care, you never, ever know what you are going to get from a team.

If you replayed the NFL playoffs from 2004 ten times, the Patriots would have won, all ten Superbowls. The CFL? The Argos, Alouettes, Eskimos, Lions and Stampeders would have each won twice.


Second, God Bless Damon Allen, but when a 42 year-old quarterback that couldn't crack the practice squad of an NFL team is named Most Outstanding Player in the CFL, that doesn't speak to anything positive.

(Please abstain from arguing that certain players are "suited" for the Canadian rules. Yes, certain players are suited for the Canadian rules: players with less talent.)

If the NFL is The Rolling Stones, NFL Europe is Coldplay and Arena Football is Bon Jovi, then the CFL is Ashlee Simpson. Sorry, but them the breaks.

8. A Stanley Cup for the Maple Leafs.

Aside from the obvious reasons, here's my plan:

Immediately following the final game we lock Damien Cox, Al Strachan, Steve Simmons and Mike Ulmer in a house together "Big Brother Style"; then launch the reality show "Writers Block". Everything would kick off nicely with all the writers penning (typing) their post-game championship column. Then slowly, as the recognition that they can't be pessimistic sets in, the mood shifts.

By the start of the next season, it will be more stressful in that house than at the Mulroney dinner table when Ben told Dad he wanted to go into show business. Ratings skyrocket. Steve-O collects his royalties and moves to Tijuana.

7. ESPN.

Since we don't live in Havana, I am perplexed as to why we miss out on so many fantastic American channels. HBO, Cinemax, Skinemax, ABC Family (that is an absolutely shameless plug for my TV Show) and of course, Showtime.

If you're going to withhold these channels from us, at least be honest and issue a press release to the effect of:

In spite of the overwhelming demand, there will be no significant change with respect to the amount of American programming that is readily available to Canadian viewers. In this uncertain economy, with a federal election looming, none of us are really in the mood to be unemployed. We'd go into more detail, but truthfully, you just don't warrant that type of effort. Bitches.

Back tomorrow with Part 2.

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