Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I'm a fairly average sports fan. I can really get into it at times. Other times I'll be concentrated on something else then check back once in a while to see what's going on. Lately it has been the latter. I'll return to this, but first I would like to talk about the differences between sports here and back home.

Stateside there are sports going on almost constantly all year. At some points there are even two major sports or leagues competing for our attention. Arguably, football and baseball are the biggest in the fall and summer. Basketball and hockey are lesser competing with each other in the winter. Nascar is huge in some locales also during the summer. College football and basketball also vie for people's attention. Personnally my allegiances fall roughly in the following order Cubs & Bears, University of Illinois College Basketball, the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan, and the Indy 500 race. For the other sports teams I am a fair weather fan, if that. I never got into hockey because it was not a sport we could play very much unless we got passionate about it and played in a league.

Here in Montreal I have found that sport is not as big a part of popular culture. Save one big exception. Hockey. I came up here hoping to discredit the thought that hockey is the only sport in Canada. It is not the only sport, but it is still quite pervasive. When I came up here for interviews, I took a break between them and had lunch at Peel Pub in order to catch up on the latest sports news. Every television had sports on it, but it was hockey or Caribbean workout. I was hoping for some college basketball, so I finished my fish and chips and left. But there are other sports. Baseball was here for a couple seasons while I was here before they left. The other big sports (Canadian football, Formula One, and Soccer) I have not gotten into because I really don't have others around me who are fans of it. Part of the fun of following sports is to compare notes with other fans. I can still follow teams back home because I can discuss them with my father who is a huge sports fan. Last year was very quiet on the sports front with the Expos leaving and hockey on strike. The hockey fans up here came back full force after the strike.

So that brings me to what happened to me this past week. I have been a bit focused on this blog thing and haven't been making my daily rounds of other websites. I watched some NFL pregame show found out that the Bears are considered by some to be the best team in the league. Huh? You've got to be kidding. I've been half following them all season and thought either they would fall apart before the playoffs or in the first round. Now they have clinched their division and have a first round bye. Well at least that means I'll be able to see them instead of the Patriots or Giants.

Then I was looking at ESPN online and they have a front page article about how the Fighting Illini are undefeated. What? But they lost quite a few of their good players last year? So after all this I feel quite out of touch with the Chicago sports scene. The Cubs I can follow because we get WGN, but the others I rely on national TV. I'm gonna hafta be more vigilant about finding out when the games will be on. That is... if I can slip it in between twice daily showings of Cinderella.


John Hill said...

Looks like the local teams are doing much better now that you're up there ;)

Kidding aside, I'm just as surprised by the Bears as you are. I saw their division-clinching game on Sunday (my first all season) and they looked pretty good. Don't know if they're a GREAT team, but like the best past Bears teams they have good defense.

Unknown said...

Quite a few people have kidded me that the Chicago teams started winning after I left. At least I was there for all six Bulls championship runs.

It's funny because up until now I hadn't missed any of the big games. I was actually at the game at Wrigley where the Cubs clinched the division a couple years ago and I was able to follow the Illini and see their big games down the stretch last year. On the football front I am shut out. No Bears games unless it's a special game like Sunday or Monday night.

I like to think that the Bears are doing well because of the new stadium ;) I'll definitely have to see that first playoff game.

Anonymous said...

heh, a little bit more and I could have been on that picture -- back in the Expos' last season in Montreal, I had semi-season tickets and my seat was located not too far to the left from where that pic was taken. Then again, I was also involved with Encore Baseball Montreal (as was Chris from Zeke's Gallery!) and we did our darndest to save the team. We may have failed, but trust me, we did all we could...

Unknown said...

It was sad to be here for the Expos disappearance. I wish they were still here. Both to have a MLB presense here and in order to have a good use for the Stade Olympic.

That picture was the first from the Cubs-Expos series. The other two games I sat on the third base side. I also moved around quite a bit to get different vantage points since there were very few people there and I didn't know when I would be back.