Monday Morning Musings

Posted on December 31, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

“These boots are made for walking…” in rain,snow and slush.

 

Rarely do people purposely put themselves in harm’s way. If there is a blizzard in the forecast (storm of the century?), one is likely to hunker down, grab some storm chips and wait till the worst is over before venturing out. You might also be leery about traveling to a war ravaged country or standing on the rim of a volcano knowing that it is due to erupt at any moment. So why, you ask, would an avowed non-shopper do the unthinkable and go shopping on arguably the busiest shopping day of the year in Canada – Boxing Day?

No. I haven’t taken up drinking again if that’s what you’re thinking. For most of my adult life, I have spent Boxing Day doing the same things. It usually begins with the Hillcrest Street hockey game and ends in front of the television watching the start of the World Junior Hockey Championships.

This year, I spent Boxing Day in Victoria, B.C. I’m doing three weeks of dog sitting for friends who are vacationing. This is often the rainy season in Victoria and without proper footwear, getting something waterproof for my twice daily walks with Copper became a top priority. After a two hour early morning walk and breakfast, my brother and I took a stroll into the city (another hour walk) to check out a sporting goods store. This is a locally owned business and similar to Mountain Equipment Coop.

With the World Juniors being held in Victoria and Vancouver this year, we stopped by the box office at the arena to see about tickets for the U.S/Slovakia game later that day which had been listed as sold out. I was interested to see at least one game as this is some of the finest hockey a person can see. I managed to secure a single ticket.

It was a beautiful day and the streets were crowded with pedestrians, a harbinger of things to come. We entered Robinson’s and it was a madhouse. It looked like an ant hill that someone had kicked. “So, this is what a Boxing Day sale looks like,” I said to myself. The good news, if there was any, is that I knew exactly what I was looking for – a pair of Merrill walking shoes, the same brand that had carried my brother across Spain on his El Camino walk earlier this year. Despite the chaos in the footwear section, I was able to get what I needed relatively quickly. While getting a bargain was not my main intent, the 25% discount was a pleasant surprise.

The hockey game was excellent. The pace of the game was incredibly fast. Despite the fact that Canada was not playing, the place was packed and it was apparent that most of the attendees were Canadian by the hockey jerseys they were wearing. I got the sense early on that the spectators were cheering for Slovakia. It was barely discernible. That is until beer consumption picked up. The first hint that there was an anti -American sentiment was when a penalty shot was awarded to the U.S. team. This was greeted with lusty boos from the crowd. I was caught off guard. When the U.S. player failed to score, a huge roar went up. From there on, it only got uglier.

As the booze flowed, the boos increased in frequency and intensity. The crowd was not happy when the Americans took the lead in the third period on their way to victory. Now, I suspect that the players on the ice weren’t even conscious of the vitriol being spewed in the grandstands, so conditioned are they to block out distractions. From where I sat, it struck me as poor sportsmanship on the part of the majority of fans. As I watched, I felt a measure of pity for the U.S. players. It was evident to me and any other sober members of the audience, that these players were feeling the fallout from an unpopular president state side. Some of you might opine that this is just hockey but it didn’t feel that way to me. If this had been a Canada/U.S. game I would have expected this behaviour because this is rivalry. What I witnessed smacked of politics.

Another year has come to a close.

Wishing you health and happiness in the year ahead.

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The Macdonald Notebook: Business & Politics in Atlantic Canada
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