Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On the road again

Jacob and I are out of here Friday morning, making our annual trek to London, Ontario. His grandma was moved out of the hospital into a nursing home this week. Hopefully that's not a long-term arrangement, but it will have to do for the time being. Knowing my mom, she's already trying to figure out a way to whip up some perogies while she's "interred". Not the ideal visiting conditions, but we'll make the best of it. And there are plenty of relatives and friends to visit as well.

Unfortunately, we'll miss the Riders next home game July 8th. Burris Bowl II. The reunion of the 1966 Grey Cup champs. I wish we could be there - watching it on CBC (Mark Lee and Chris Walby- ugh) just won't be the same. Not even comparable. Hopefully Mosaic Stadium will be full for that one - pack the park, people!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

SportZone lineup for June 26th

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7. We are now into our summer slowdown schedule (nice alliteration), meaning we'll be taping one show every two weeks during July and August - so the next new episode will be taped July 10th.

SportZone Guests for June 26/06
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. SportZone bids farewell to the outgoing Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Soccer Association, who is leaving for B.C. Guest: Bjorn Osieck (Executive Director, BC Soccer Association).

2. An update on goings-on with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, including rule changes for the 2006/07 season. Guest: Laury Ryan (SJHL President).

3. A recap of the 2006 NHL draft, and look ahead to the 06/07 Regina Pats season. Guest: Logan Pyett (Pats defenceman).

4. A look ahead to the 2006 training camp for the Regina Thunder junior football club. Guest: Craig Zimmer (Assistant Coach).

5. A farewell to the outgoing Head Coach of the U of R women’s basketball team. Guest: Jeff Speedy (Head Coach, UNB Varsity Reds).

6. A recap of the Prairie Fire rugby team’s first contest of the Super League season this weekend. Guests: Jon Benson & Rob Wright (Players).

Monday, June 26, 2006

From worst to first

It may not have been a masterpiece, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders moved into a four-way tie for top spot in the CFL's Western Conference with a 32-24 victory over the B.C. Lions Sunday evening.

The Riders offense looked..........well, offensive for the better part of three quarters before rallying in the fourth. Jamel Richardson notched his second touchdown reception of the young season, on an impressive catch-and-run combination with Kerry Joseph. Joseph looked shaky in the first half, but seemed to find his "Rider legs" after the intermission. Let's hope that's a trend that continues. Thumbs-up to the defence for a much better effort this week against the Leos. Again, hopefully a trend that continues.

Now, what was with the lousy game-day presentation? Live microphones cutting in and out (although in one case, that may have been a blessing), and a one-year old video screen that had some serious pixel issues. And only 21,000 fans in attendance? That's pretty weak, for the home opener on a beautiful summer evening. Still, thanks to the late-game heroics of the home side, those fans who showed up left feeling thoroughly entertained. Including young Jacob, who swears he's the Riders good-luck charm. Who am I to argue?

Speaking of the progeny, the White Sox bowed out of the North Regina Little League playoffs Sunday afternoon, losing an extra-inning heartbreaker to the Stars. Congrats to Jacob and all the kids, who played their little hearts out in the postseason. It's enough to make a parent/coach pretty darn proud.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Home opener today

Rather than unbridled optimism, I'd say fans are treating today's home opener for the Saskatchewan Roughriders with a wait-and-see attitude. After getting taken apart by B.C. in the season-opener last week, the paying patrons are anxious to see if the green gang can bounce back on home turf. If so, all will be right with the world. But, if Dave Dickenson puts in another Player of the Week performance, some tough questions will be asked.

Should be a good crowd today. I believe the tv blackout won't be lifted, so Rod and Carm will have a big audience on CKRM as well. Here's hoping the Riders give us all something worth watching/listening to.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Where did that come from?

Just when you think you know a team. Jacob's team, The Senior Rookie White Sox lost their first game of the double knockout playoffs earlier this week. So, we assumed the post-season would be a short one, based on the team's inability to string any hits together since the first two games of the year.

So, sure enough, the kids cranked it up today - winning two games, including a 14-8 shocker in the nitecap. The Jakester turned in a 4 for 4 performance at the plate! It was awesome I tell ya!

So, now we're back at it at noon tomorrow. If we manage another win, we play again at 4:30. The Riders and BC Lions kick off at 5pm. This could get interesting. Anyone need tickets for the football game?

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's a sport?

You've got to check this out. Then let me know what the hell these people are thinking/smoking!

Here are some things that go together:
  • Nachos and cheese
  • Football and cheerleaders
  • The Leafs and Stanley Cup disappointment
But boxing................................and chess? Hmmm, might be time to start pitching my idea of full-contact curling again...

Good listening

I just about choked on my toothpaste this morning, when - listening to the local news/talk radio station - I heard a story (with audio!) about.................wait for's huge...........a cat stuck in a tree. Oh, the humanity! Or, I guess in this case - the beastiality!

A a tree. For less than a day. This is what passes for radio news these days. Gee, first time working in a market of more than 10,000 people? Yeah, it shows.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Not exactly a rough ride

I caught most of the first episode of the "Coaches Show" on CKRM last night. First, there were the ever-popular "technical difficulties". Nice to see Harvard's crack engineering staff hasn't lost it's touch! Next, Danny Barrett fielded a grand total of two calls during his segment. Not exactly raked over the coals, was he? In hindsight, a brilliant move by Coach Barrett to volunteer for last night's show. Nothing like a little non-abrasive media time to soothe the nerves.

So, to what do we attribute the lack of pointed questions and irate opinions? Well, either the message board haters lost their nerve - which wouldn't surprise me - or they didn't know about the show. I suppose CKRM could have done a little better job of promoting it externally. Not that I don't enjoy listening to Rod, Joe and John - but a little audience participation is always nice too. Well, hopefully they get the bugs ironed out for next week. The show is a nice addition to 'RM's lineup - keep that talk radio coming!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Circling the wagons


Is it just me, or does Danny Barrett sound like a coach on the precipice? Coach Barrett has never been particularly warm and cozy with the media, but his comments this week have been downright prickly. It seems a little early to be incorporating the "us against the world" mindset, doesn't it?

Granted, this is a make-or-break year for the Riders - but there's only one game in the books, with the home opener pending this weekend. Perhaps everyone - players, coaches, fans, media, message board zealots - needs to relax, loosen the respective nooses, and let the season develop as it will.

Remember, it's an 18-game season. So - to use a golf analogy - one bad hole isn't going to kill you. But letting the situation stress you out to the point of distraction? That can't be good for you. This public service health message brought to you by...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

SportZone lineup for June 19th

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access Channel 7:

SportZone Guests for June 19/06
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. Riffel captures the 2006 city high school boys’ baseball championship. Guests: Jason Edmands (Head Coach), Shawn Wilyman & Trevor DeWildt (Players).

2. Regina Minor Football gears up for the 2006 season, including processing a record number of registrations. Guest: Kelly Hamilton (RMF President).

3. A preview of the 2006 junior nationals track and field trials, hosted by the Excel Athletika track club. Guest: Terry Mountjoy (EA Head Coach).

4. A young Regina athlete looks back at his experience at the 2006 Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp. Guest: Paul Woldu (Defensive back).

5. The Prairie Fire rugby club warms up for the Rugby Canada Super League season with a training camp in Saskatoon. Guest: Caine Elisara (Import player).

6. An update on the goings-on at King’s Park Speedway, including a preview of the spring Enduro race. Guest: Stacey Getz (Race Director).

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!!!

I got an early Father's Day present this morning, with the cancellation of all the North Regina Little League action today. Thanks to whoever arranged the rain, much appreciated.

So I get to spend the morning puttering around before picking up Jacob at noon for an afternoon/evening of fun and frivolity! Works for me.

Happy Dad's day to all the paternal-types out there. And heartfelt sympathies to those dads who won't get to see their kids today, for whatever reason.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What the hell was that?

I deliberately waited until this morning to post this - had to let the emotional reaction pass, in favour of a more objective view. But it's really hard to be entirely objective about the Riders' 45-28 evisceration at the hands of Dave Dickenson and the B.C. Lions.

The Rider offence (save for some meaningless scores in "garbage" time) was putrid. And the defense was even worse. I can see the offence needing some time to adjust to the injection of a new quarterback, offensive coordinator and.............playing indoors? But the defense is virtually unchanged from last year - so what excuse is there for that pedestrian effort? The defensive backs may as well paint their helmets orange if they insist on playing like pylons in the future!

And, quite frankly, the Green Machine was clearly outcoached on both sides of the ball. That's a trend that has to stop immediately. With the "win or else" nature of this season, G.M. Roy Shivers can't afford to stand idly by and watch a talented team underperform as it did last night. Not when jobs are clearly (and publicly) at stake.

Let's put it this way: a similar effort next Sunday at Taylor Field against the same Dickenson-led Lions will not be tolerated by the paying observers. Nor should it be. Let's hope this was an unfortunate aberration, rather than a sign of things to come. Yuck.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Let's do this thing!

This might be the most excited I've been about a Riders season opener since moving to Saskatchewan in the early 90's. Even more excited than the years I was part of the CKRM broadcast crew as host of the pre-game show. Why, you ask?

Several reasons:
1) This edition of the Riders has as much talent as any previous Saskatchewan team in at least the past 15 years.
2) It's absolutely essential for the Riders to blast out of the gate, especially with four of the first five games against division rivals from B.C. and Calgary.
3) This is the first year Jacob and I have purchased season tickets together (okay, so maybe the kid didn't chip in much $, but still).
4) The team has to do well, or Rod Pedersen's expensive new mane (that'd be hair) will fall out!

So, tonight it'll be TSN on the big screen - with the audio provided by Rod and Carm via CKRM - and an entire province awaits the outcome. Let's do this thing!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Big sports weekend looming

So the Oilers wandered into Raleigh last night and staved off elimination, thanks to the overtime heroics of Fernando Pisani. Good on them! I'm still not jumping on the bandwagon, but I am looking forward to game six Saturday night - Rexall Place should be a madhouse.

I don't know if BC Place will be a madhouse tomorrow night, but everyone around here is sure looking forward to the season-opening tilt between the Riders and Lions. Gotta remember to get my HDTV package from Access, so I can watch the festivities in high def.

And then there's Jacob's baseball - a game tomorrow night, another on Saturday morning, and a season wrap-up ceremony of some sort Sunday morning. I guess the folks at North Regina Little League assume families have nothing else to do. Oh well, doesn't matter - we'll be there with bells on!

So what's with the President of Hockey Regina not returning phone calls? Does Mr. Cairns not see any value in free airtime? Hmm - wonder if that stalwart leadership has any relation to declining registrations? Just wondering...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bye bye Oilers

I won't be shedding any tears if Carolina finishes off Edmonton in game five of the Stanley Cup final. I just can't throw my support behind the Oilers - not sure why. Maybe it's the sense of "divine entitlement" that Edmonton sports teams seem to present. Or, maybe I'm not big on looting and burning as a celebratory expression. For whatever reason, as much as I'd like to see the Cup return to Canada, I just can't get excited about the crew from Edmonton.

I wonder how the fans (both of them) in Raleigh will celebrate if their "beloved" Hurricanes win it all. And, as an aside, why the hell did they name their team after a devastating natural disaster? What was the thinking that went into that selection? Were the names Earthquakes, Famines and/or Plagues already taken?

Jacob's ball team returns to action tonight after an extended layoff. Time to get a winning streak going, as we head into playoff action next week!

Monday, June 12, 2006

SportZone lineup for June 12th

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday night at 6pm, and Thursday at 3pm on Access 7 in Regina.

SportZone Guests for June 12/06
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. Winston Knoll captures the 2006 city high school girls’ softball championship. Guests: Carl Magnusson (Head Coach) and Katie Mario & Steph Banilevic (Players).

2. An update on goings-on at the Queen City Kinsmen Gymnastics Club, including the move next month to a spacious new facility. Guests: Marcel Dubroy (Head Coach), and Jessica Resler (Gymnast).

3. A Regina track star lands a full-ride scholarship to Marquette University in Wisconsin. Guest: Jayne Grebinski (Sheldon-Williams distance runner).

4. The Saskatchewan Hockey Association holds its AGM on the weekend, and (among other things) looks to introduce a Midget Triple A girls league. Guest: Dennis Todd (SHA).

5. The President of the Regina Capitals takes over as interim President of the South Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Guest: Rory Hoffman (Capitals/SSJHL President).

6. A preview of the 2006 Prairie Fire rugby regular season, as the season opens June 16th in Winnipeg. Guest: Shane Thompson (Prairie Fire Head Coach).

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Time's running out for some

Tomorrow night represents the last chance for the 2006 crop of potential Saskatchewan Roughriders. Good luck to the boys, as they look to topple the "Evil Empire" in Edmonton. No tv coverage, but I'm sure Rod and Carm will keep us on top of the action over the CKRM airwaves. As an aside, I met Riders Chairman Graham Barker for the first time today through our respective "real" jobs. Graham seems like a heck of a guy, and is definitely one of those all-too-rare "straight shooters".

Now, what to expect from the wannabe Riders tomorrow night? Kerry Joseph will get plenty of playing time, hopefully showing that last week's 4/10 passing effort was an aberration. Not sure if the oft-injured Kenton Keith will suit up at tailback. Hopefully this is the year KK stays healthy and puts up huge numbers. It'll be interesting to see (hear?) if the Riders defence can smother the "real" Eskimos (Ray, Davis, Hervey, et al) the way they handled the Edmonton contingent at Taylor Field last Saturday.

And for those keeping track, Jacob's ball game was rained out tonight. So the Paczko boys got a rare night to just relax and enjoy each other's company. We even spoke to the matriarch of the Paczko clan (that'd be my Mom) from her hospital bed in London. Looks like she's feeling a bit better every day. Jacob and I are looking forward to verifying that information in person at the end of the month.

Oh, and Ronald's still a dolt. Some things never change.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

SportZone lineup for June 5th

Here's the lineup for this week - as always, the show airs Wednesday night at 6pm and Thursday afternoon at 3pm on Access 7 (Regina).

SportZone Guests for June 5/06
Community Co-Host – Dale West

1. A preview of the 2006 Saskatchewan Amateur Bodybuilding Association Championships, June 10th in Regina. Guest: Ron Gonzales (Event Organizer).

2. The Leboldus Golden Suns celebrate a third consecutive city track and field championship. Guests: Charlene Bolen (Head Coach), Jessica Furlan (Athlete) & (2nd athlete TBA).

3. Busy times for the Head Coach of the Regina Pats, including signing a contract extension and landing a post with the national junior team. Guest: Curtis Hunt (Pats Head Coach).

4. A former Regina Pats star reflects on his first taste of NHL action this season. Guest: Josh Harding (Minnesota Wild goaltender).

5. A preview of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame induction weekend, June 16/17 in Regina. Guests: Sheila Kelly (Hall of Fame Executive Director), George Goff & Tim McFadden (2006 inductees).

6. A re-cap of the Prairie Fire rugby team’s 79-10 exhibition win over Montana. Guests: Brett Benson & Fausto Rodriguez (Fire players).

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Winning Ugly Redefined

It really is criminal what professional football teams charge for tickets to exhibition games. Today's game at Taylor Field (Riders 14 - Edmonton 8) was not exactly aesthetically pleasing. Okay, it was friggin' brutal! But that's to be expected in the pre-season, unfortunately. Can you imagine if prospective season ticket holders used an exhibition game to judge whether it's worth forking out the dollars required to attend every game? Taylor Field would be a tomb the rest of the year!

Thankfully that's not the case. And, there were a few bright spots for the home side today. Luca Congi's 52 yard field goal was a beauty - it probably would have been good from 60 yards. The defense in general was sharp. Rookie defensive back Shukree Shabazz was outstanding in pass coverage. Methinks the coaching staff will find a way to keep him around.

On offense, (insert first name here) Bracey ripped off some impressive runs in the fourth quarter - he looks like a keeper. No Roughrider quarterback was particularly sharp, in fact much-heralded offseason addition Kerry Joseph.........well he kind of stunk, actually. Hopefully Joseph has a much stronger outing in the rematch Friday night in Edmonton. He'd better.

And so it begins...

Anyone going to the Rider game this afternoon? The Jakester and I will be there - utilizing our season tickets in section 26. Hope the thunderstorms hold off!

Have to admit, I'm not overly pumped about this one. The first exhibition game of the year tends to be a major clusterf&$k, at least from the perspective of gauging how the respective teams might do that season. This one is more about evaluating individual players in game situations. And with the Riders sitting out Dominguez, Keith, French, Schultz et al - and with the Eskimos bringing a depleted roster - I'm not expecting much.

Still, it's football. At Taylor Field. With my kid. I'll take it.

Speaking of the Jakester, a 2-2 performance at the plate in a rare White Sox victory this morning. I'll take that too.