I can’t stand Sean Avery

5 12 2008

Yes.  I am a grump and this post will only confirm this, but I don’t care.  Sean Avery of the Dallas Stars absolutely infuriates me; he has zero respect for the game of hockey, the fans and even worse none for his teammates.  This is nothing new.  In his career, he has time and again managed to set the hockey world aflame, all the while achieving Youtube infamy, be it through his incessant diving, his penchant for the dramatic or his all consuming desire to infuriate the other team.

The sad part is that he is a truly talented hockey player.  The issue is whether he is worth it to teams; there is a reason why he gets traded almost every year.  This week he crossed the line, AGAIN:

I like tough players, that are willing to back it up and know how to get under the skin of other players, but this is just too much.  Granted, this is a really fine line to be trying to draw in the sand, and it is impossible to make a hard and fast rule on the words and thoughts of individual players.  This mentality has always been a part of the game and there is nothing wrong with that.

The thing that bothers me most about this is that it was in no way a slip of the tongue, despite how Avery might want to explain it.  The Dallas coach had spent the morning defending Avery to the Canadian press, the PR staff asked if he wanted to talk to the media at all and he said no, then he goes and seeks out the camera to say this.  This was no accident, it was planned and it was way over the line.

I am not one of those hockey fans that gets all shrill about how the game is too dangerous and how they need to stop fighting.  I think that the physicality is one of the best things about hockey and fighting is an integral part of the game.  So I wouldn’t change any of that and generally speaking I think that sports are going a little too far too quickly in terms of cracking down on the players on and off their respective arenas (hello Mr. Goodell, stop suspending people for good hits on quarterbacks).  But in this case I really hope they throw the proverbial book at Sean Avery.  If not the NHL then the Dallas Stars organization.  It is too bad because they spent a lot of money on him, but the team has under performed and he has been a major distraction and not shown those great hands that made him so valuable to the New York Rangers.





Holidazzle

4 12 2008

On my last night in Minneapolis I got to attend the Holidazzle parade.  While this is something that most people I know from Minnesota seem to laugh at and make fun of, I was so utterly charmed.  This is one of those things that you expect from a small town (i.e. Gambier Halloween Parade), but definitely not a large city.  Which was half the fun of it.

From dgwallick1 @ Flickr.com

From dgwallick1 @ Flickr.com

When we arrived downtown and began walking to the parade site I was still pretty confused about what exactly Holidazzle entailed.  We got down there probably 15-20 minutes before the parade was to begin and we arrived just in time; picked out a spot on top of one of the statues along the street and watched as the few open gaps in the crowd disappeared.  Other than how cold the statue we sat on was, this was pretty much the perfect spot.  My butt was frozen for the next thirty minutes as we walked around trying to find somewhere to eat after dinner.

As it grew closer to 6:30, the excitement of the kids was so clear, they were all inching farther out into the street, trying to catch a glimpse of the floats.  I was so impressed because the head of the parade was not the grand marshals float, but volunteers from a local food pantry network that were collecting donations.  Target is known for doing a lot for the community and I worked with them while I was at United Way, but I was still really impressed by this gesture.

From dgwallick1 @ Flickr.com

From dgwallick1 @ Flickr.com

Each individual segment of the parade got loud cheers from the kids and it was really nice to see the crowd wave to the participants.  Everyone waves too, it’s not just the kids, which was kind of surprising in itself.  Holidazzle is something that seemingly everyone from the Twin Cities area has been in at least once, or at least everyone that I have talked to.

Holidazzle pretty much had it all.  Fairytale characters, Joe Mauer and all those characters and things associated with Christmas.  The Transit bus all lit up was great, although the best part was definitely the spinners on the wheels, but you will just have to imagine that part. Joe Mauer probably had the largest following until the arrival of Santa.  Not a bad one to come in second to though.

I have to admit that on my way down to Holidazzle I was most excited just to hopefully see Bullseye, the Target mascot, it was still a great experience.  Holidazzle is without a doubt one of those heartwarming things that makes you feel good about everything in the world.  Maybe that’s overly dramatic, but watching all the kids crowd the sidewalks, watching them point and wave to the people in the parade and watching their excitement grow waiting for the grand finale and the arrival of Santa was really wonderful.

From dgwallick1 @ Flickr.com

From dgwallick1 @ Flickr.com





The Thanksgiving Travel Rush

3 12 2008

On my trip back from Minneapolis after Thanksgiving I ended up getting stranded in the Atlanta airport due to a horrific mix of weather delays and mechanical/human error.  What should have been a long day turned out to be a In Minneapolis, we had been told that it would be tight to get to our connections, but that mostly likely we would make them.  I made sure that I was put on stand by for the two remaining flights that evening out of Atlanta before we were even in the air.

We landed in time to make my connection except that no one came to pull our plane up to the gate and on top of that they had problems getting the door opened.  All in all, leaving us on the plane for almost 45 minutes, by the time I got off the plane and to my gate the plane had left 10 minutes before.

At this point I became just another one of the frightened, huddled masses in airports across the country.  All doing everything they can to get home from the holidays and all being utterly confused by the process and what it takes to achieve success.

I learned a few things from this experience

1. It does very little to get angry and make a lot of noise.  Ultimately, the staff on hand were in as bad a mood as everyone that was stuck, if not worse.  Granted, me being nice (when I could) didn’t get me any further than the times I was really angry but still.

1a. Get angry and vocal afterwards. The next day I made my disgust known with the way I was treated and how the night went overall and I was actually given a $100 voucher for my next flight.  Even though I wasn’t making any different arguments, the staff I talked to were just much more willing to listen and attempt to help out.

2. If you are going to sleep in the airport get as far away from the speakers as possible.  It never occurred to us that being far away from the tv didn’t necessarily mean that we were far away from the speakers.  As a result, it will be too soon if I have to listen to CNN International ever again.

3. After it is clear that you are going to be spending the night in the airport do not expect the airline to give you a blanket.  Even when they give you a little bag that looks as though it has a blanket in it.  Even when you ask them for a blanket and they hand you this little packet.  It is not a blanket!  It is an XL t-shirt, some shaving cream (despite the fact that you clearly do not have a razor with you), a solid brick of laundry detergent, a little deodorant and some toothpaste.  I would have much preferred a blanket.