Thursday, July 28, 2016

Roger's Cup

Shelly and I just bounced back from a day's worth of excitement at York University.  We had 2nd round tickets to the men's draw, this year, and it was a hot and beautiful sunny day to see the pros have a big time hit back and forth.

We dropped the two kids off in Holyrood, and then bee-lined it to the facility.  It was an 11:00 am start for the fourth seeded Japanese Nishikori, against a less heralded American - can't remember his name unfortunately.  He was pretty much a whipping boy against his more seasoned opponent on this day.  That is the thing with tennis.  It seems often enough that some player trying to make a go-at-it on the real seen, they scratch together enough play to barely "make-it" into a big-show tournament, only to loose quite handily.  However - there are obviously lots of lesser matches and games out there that don't draw the big-guns out to them. 

After that game finished we scouted over to a 2nd tiered court to watch a wild card enter Canadian Polansky in his 2nd round game.  I can't say he is even ranked in the top 200 in the world, but he did beat his first round opponent from Australia who has held some lower ranked world positions (Kyrigios sp?), so there was a bit of a buzz with him.  He landed in the tournament on some sort of charity case I am guessing.  He probably won the Toronto Island "pro-club" championship a few days before against some other hack....  But he had no sponsorship logo on his shirt, hat, or wrist guards.  To be quite honest he didn't look like a proto-typical tennis pro; he wasn't over 6 feet tall, nor did he look to weigh 190lbs of serving muscle...  Arms didn't seem long....   He didn't have 4 extra strung rackets at his disposal....  No entourage..... Polansky was ousted.....

Acting, singing, sporting, writing, and the like; there are just tens of thousands and thousands of people who scratch by, like probably not exactly poverty line and below scratching by, but nothing too great, just because of the love of it....  Well, some of them probably are poverty line and below actually....  And watching this tennis and the lesser players just reinforced that for me.  The Taylor Swifts, Sydney Crosbys, Matt Damons, & Novak Djokoviches, are not the norms out there.  The people you see on t.v., are not the norms either - they are not the standard of the game, or the regular talent of the event = they exceed so incredibly much.   It is the Polansky's and the American whipping boy whom I love to root for though.  Those who really don't have much hope whatsoever.  And they don't quite frankly.  They have no $, no fancy cars, no fancy hotel.  They literally scrape by.  I am sure some of these tennis players raid the buffet table at these tournaments and save the food to eat during the next week.  And I am talking about the sub-ranked golfers, or hockey players, or actors or models or whatever as well.... 

They do their craft like the camel who wanted to be a dancer.  The camel who was teased and made fun of because it wasn't graceful, or even any good, at dancing.  But it danced on anyway because it made him happy to do it.  It was a way to pursue a dream, and not be dismayed by what others said - satisfaction comes to those who please themselves.

So I see these guys at this "professional" tournament.  And I think what a way to slog it out and make a living for now.

At any rate - we walked around the grounds quite a lot and there was all sorts of interactive things going on....  By mid afternoon the biggest gun out there, Djokovich, (no current slogging) was set up against a formidable challenger from Luxemberg - 6 foot four player, huge left handed server....  Gilles somebody or other.  He looked like he could be trouble....  He looked like he was a few grades higher then the typical tournament slogger.   Novak disposed him somewhat easily - 2 sets, but 2 full 7-5 and 7-6 sets.....  I was kind of glad it didn't go to a third as it was sooooooo hot.....  In the post match interview the giddy interviewee only talked about and asked questions about Milos Raonic, and what Novak thought of his game.  Talk about a homer..... 

Anyway it was a great day out and we stayed the night and hit up downtown a bit for some eats and drinks.... 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rossland Recap

On Sunday July 3 we all took off for Rossland, BC - first stop was to the Quality Suites at the Toronto Airport to hole up before an 08:00 departure.

We arrived on Monday morning at 11:30 local time in Castlegar, BC, and were met by Trevor and his boys.  We got our belongings into the car and it was only another 50km to reach our ultimate destination.   It is quite handy traveling westward as the time change works in your favour.  We still had the whole day to explore, run, bike, and do those things we were going to do....

The weather wasn't so great.  We were there for 8 days and it barely reached past 18 centigrade, and it rained most of the trip too.  However, we made the most of what was dealt and got in a number of great events outdoors.

* 2 runs with Trevor; a 10 miler up Red Mountain and around, and another 6 miler out the Cascade Highway and back (first run killed, killed my legs and was stiff and sore for 4 days...)

* 2 good hikes up to Red Dog cabin, and a second one out to a cabin at Black Jack ski area (Hemlock)

* 2 good bike rides; 1 with Tara and the boys, the 2nd with Trevor and the boys.  Trevor, the boys and I took Milky Way down to Warfield BC, the other was on Pay Dirt at Red - witnessing Tara drop off Old Blue Eyes in front of 8 on-lookers, and in the rain(ish)!  It was very, very, impressive.

* Lots and lots of great eats and drinks and board games with everyone (Lots of Rubik's cubing)

* 1 good road trip into Nelson, BC to check out the colour and flavour there

* Lots of playground play, in the rain(ish) with all the kids

* Wally and I crossed paths with a sizable black bear at the ski hill early one morning - it paid absolutely no attention to us whatsoever, but I watched it quite intently from less then 100m = It was the biggest black bear I had ever seen, although I have only probably seen 4 or 5 in my life, it was the biggest

* Great visit with Joel, Trista and their boys - see you soon back in Ontario

* An afternoon at the Trail indoor pool, followed by another afternoon on a different day at the Trail splash pad (Gyro Park)

* Huckle, Straw, and Rasp berry picking

* Feeding the neighbour's chicken's

* Lots of work talk with everyone's chosen vocation; Trevor @ Teck, Tara with Canada Post, and of course Shelly and me with the board of education

* Backyard action like trampolining, paddle ball, and an outdoor fire

It was a great trip all in all.  Wonderful hospitality and wonderful to see family....  Like I wrote the weather wasn't great, nor was the travel for Wally....  He is just so squirmy, and being confined for so long was not great.  But we did have empty seats beside us which sort of made it better....  However Molly traveled fantastically.  She got into the airplane movies and the complementary juice on the plane just fine.

The 3 boys all got on just fine.  Cole and Grayson were wonderful hosts to Wally; getting him lots of toys and playing with him - all those things.  Molly was a bit of an outsider and as much as she tried to fit into the situation and keep up with everything, the BC boys just were a bit skeptic of her and would have preferred if she had stayed in Ontario perhaps.  What can I say?  It isn't or wasn't like Molly was ostracized, but she wasn't Wally....  That may be the easiest way to explain things.  It was like that 2 years ago too, and will continue I am sure.  Anyway - later in life they can read this and laugh about how they all were.  You know, quotes like, "That girl can't sit there....  I don't want that girl to touch my things....   That girl punched me....."  Funny enough I suppose.
So that is the basic rundown.  Shelly and I had a great dinner out on the 10th to celebrate our 6th anniversary.  We ate at Gabrielle's inside the Prestige hotel.  It was good...  I just had my birthday when we got home.  Turned 41 and it wasn't a big deal.  John Coup's and Scott Middleton came over.  We had a beer or two.  Then we jumped into the lake off the pier at eleven or so at night.  Finally Coup's took me out for wings.....  Been running a wee bit; not much, just a bit.
Nary a picture of Shelly and me together - not even on the anniversary this year....  Next time.