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**** SPORTSMANSHIP ****
†††††††††††††††††††††††††† by Gary Cohen
 
November 17 1999
 
How many of you have felt that Easton stick slowly climbing up the insides 
of your legs, not stopping until it reached some sensitive real estate. Who
has felt the cold wintery wind of a stick-swinging opponent who is 
embarassed for having had his jockstrap pulled down to his ankles by
some nifty stickhandling.
 
And have you ever seen the referee take more abuse then a pinata draped in 
a canadian flag at a "separatiste" barbeque?
 
Chances are, if you have played hockey for any length of time, you have 
seen some pretty ugly things transpire in a game. I guess like any sport, 
tempers flare, egos get burnt and pride makes us do things that we never 
thought we could. Sometimes, things get out of hand and we lash out at the 
nearest opponent, causing some brouhahas, melees and barnyard brawls.
 
The CASC has made it their mandate to keep the culture where it should be. 
a fast-paced, intense brand of hockey, one that would make Ryan Walter, 
Doug Jarvis and Bob Gainey proud. We must send kudos in the direction of 
Theo and his organizers for the great work they have done in this 
regard.
 
Perhaps I am just an idealist but to me, sportsmanship means shaking hands 
at the end of the game, checking to see if the person you just accidentally
nailed in the wienerschnitzel is okay and it means not being a poor loser 
or a really annoying winner. Celebrating a goal with extreme elation is 
cool but handing your opponent a white flag while mooning them qualifies 
as bad sportsmanship.
 
Hockey is not life, despite what the Gatorade people would have you believe.
When you go home, everything else in your life will be in place. Your 
spouse will still give you hell for forgetting to take out the garbage 
before you left, your beer will be waiting for you (albeit warm and in the 
case in your heated garage) and your little boy or girl will be pouring 
glue onto your new Pentium III 450mhz. 
 
That, my friend, is real life. What happenes on the floor pales in 
comparison.
 
One of the things that has blown my mind in hockey like no other sport is 
the whining that is directed at the referee. Everytime the referee calls a 
penalty, he gets an earful of expletive deleteds. Everytime he doesnít call
a penalty, he also gets an earful. Hell, if the referee didnít show up to 
work, he would still get an earful. EricÖwhy do you do it?
 
Maybe its time for the CASC to think about inventing their own versions of 
Red and Yellow Cards. So the next time you chop-suey a guy in the back and 
he doesnít come to until the smelling salts are applied, donít blame it on 
his lack of toughness. Take your 2 minutes like a man and spare Eric your
words of wisdom saving your complaining for the border line calls that 
make or break the game. (Remember that when you touch the ball over your 
waist, it is YOUR waist that is the line, not Shaquille OíNealís.)
 
In fact, go one step further. After the game, go over to Eric and 
Regent/Ian or Billy, and shake their hands as well as your opponsents to 
let them know that you appreciate them refereeing your game.
 
Having said this, I have assured myself to be free of any possible 
infraction that I may commit in the future. In fact, tomorrow Iíll check 
out to see if the 2 minutes that I already had were revoked. 
 
So keep control of your stick at all times because you never know who is 
behind you and remember that the guy you are going into the corner with has
a job that pays his bills that feeds his family and just came out to have 
a good time with a bunch of guys.
 
Anyone who knows me knows that I already have a scar that will always 
remind me of the uglier side of hockey. Last year I was slashed in the 
face very, very hard. I had to spend 4 hours at emergency until 2 in the 
morning the day before I had a final exam. But the one thing I will always 
remember about that night is Sean Marcellin and Brian Crompton, two guys 
that I had never really met before, helping me with advice and a temporary 
bandage for my gash. The only thing I remembered of Sean was the back of 
his head as I chased him all over the floor during CASC games.
 
But the 1999-2000 season has been virtually terrific in terms of 
sportsmanship, as far as I can see. There was a slight adjustment for some 
of the newer players but as of now, there is no other place that I would 
rather be on a Friday night.