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Mario Lemieux, Peter Kent & Being a VJ.


Part of me wishes that Peter Kent was still an anchorman so we could watch his failed attempt (at least, for now) at politics morph him into a disgruntled version of Ron Burgundy.

"I HAD it all... But a SHE-DEVIL (Carolyn Bennett) stole it... And you know what? She's better than me. (Whispering.) She's better than me... ... I love scotch."

Got a chance to interview with Much More Music this morning for a VJ position. As an actor I will be the first to admit; the job of an on-air host is significantly more difficult than any situation I've dealt with since I became a professional actor. (With the possible exception of trying to keep a straight face on the set of "Rent A Goalie". Trust me, this show is going to be hilarious. And yes, I'm biased.)

When you watch a show like The Loop all you see is the quick snippet of the on-air host "throwing" to a video or segment. Actually being in front of the camera is an entirely different scenario. For starters, on television everything is heightened. The next time that you're at a taping of a television show or you catch a reporter on the street actually listen to them; they all sound like they're in a bad high school production of Hairspray. But, when you put them on television, the demeanor and delivery seems smooth, controlled and professional. It's really quite discombobulating.

So as the personality in front of the camera, it is your responsibility to fully give yourself to the shows producer, trusting all the while that the content eventually going on the air doesn't make you look like a blithering idiot.

Personally, I'm more comfortable riding a unicycle naked down Queen West shouting obscenities at strangers. In other words, the interview went well. (Seriously, it did.)

Fascinating day today in the sports, as Mario Lemieux retired for the second time. Although this isn't exactly Michael Jordan walking off into the sunset after destroying the Utah Jazz to cap his second three-peat with the Bulls, it is, still, significant.

A friend of mine, we'll call him The Bo, will insist until he is blue in the face (or passed out in a public washroom) that Mario Lemieux is the greatest hockey player to ever lace up the skates. I'm inclined to agree, kind of. Mario Lemieux, in all probability, could have been the greatest offensive player ever. Therein lies the problem with The Bo's argument.

In the wide world of sports, ultimately, the singular judge of greatness is statistics. So, statistically, Lemieux barely cracks the top 10. He was 7th all-time in league scoring.

"If Mario had been totally healthy", The Bo begins, "he'd have smashed every record set by Wayne Gretzky." And you know what? He's probably right. Which is why, in my mind, Mario Lemieux goes down as the single greatest waste of talent in the history of professional sports.

To understand Mario Lemieux you first have to understand that no athlete since 1980 in a sport that requires cardiovascular endurance (read: not baseball), has flagrantly flaunted his ability to shun even the most basic and easy method of preparation; preparation being defined here as: training and stretching. It is well documented that Lemieux has a chronically injured back. Well, this problem was exacerbated by his unbelievable lack of commitment to the required preparation and dedication it takes to be a fully functioning professional athlete.

It is phenomenal that in spite of being physically hampered by a bad back and a 2 packs a day smoking habit through the early parts of his career, Lemieux STILL put up unbelievable numbers for a brutal franchise. It is also sad that we never saw what a completely focused, healthy and professional Mario Lemieux would have brought to a hockey rink. But we can't apologize for his inadequacies and hypothesize that theoretically, he could have been the greatest player of all time.

Bobby Orr was the most dominant player in the history of the National Hockey League. You can put Bobby Orr in the same sentence as Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Wilt Chamberlain for quantifiable dominance in their respective sport. But you can't say that Bobby Orr was the greatest player ever, when he was forced to retire in his prime.

If Mario Lemieux leaves a legacy with me (aside from his formidable hairline), it will be a player that was befitted with such exquisite talent that his heady results masked what was, in actuality, a wasted career.

(Hopefully, somebody will be good enough to forward this to a message board in Pittsburgh so I can receive my first threatening email as a writer.)

SA


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