Rachel Homan should be the automatic choice as Canada’s athlete of the year

Sometime in the next week, Canada’s top jock for 2017 will be identified as someone not named Rachel Homan.

And that’s a mistake. Also a shame.

Rachel Homan

I mean, no homebrew has dominated her or his sport this year like Homan. But, hey, she’s a curler and, based on 77 years of snubs, curlers need not apply as our country’s athlete of the year. Which is also a mistake and a shame.

Think about it. In no sport—not even hockey—have us hosers experienced greater global glory than curling. We’ve hurried hard to 52 gold medals (36 men, 16 women) at world championships and another five Olympic gold (three men, two women). That’s a lot of glitter. Like 57 carat worth of glitter.

By way of comparison, we’ve won 36 world puck crowns and 13 Olympic gold. Total: 49. In figure skating, we have 38 world and Olympic titles (men’s and women’s singles, pairs and ice dancing).

Yet not once since the Lou Marsh Trophy’s inception in 1936 has anyone from the hurry-hard crowd earned a salute as this country’s top jock. There’ve been figure skaters and synchronized swimmers, kayakers and bobsledders, harness racers and weightlifters, speed skaters and jockeys, wrestlers and rowers, auto racers and golfers. But never a curler, despite an unparalleled history of international success that, if you were to include our juniors, totals 86 world championships/Olympics gold.

Thus, were I a betting girl, I’d place a wager on baseball player Joey Votto getting the nod as the Lou Marsh winner this year, because the Cincinnati Reds batsman/first baseman put up some rather gaudy numbers in a team game largely defined by individual numbers that captivate and influence the people (read: mainstream sports media) whose task it is to choose our country’s Jock One.

If my guess is wrong and voters dismiss Votto, then surely the top jock will be Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, based solely on their body of work during the first six months of the year. McDavid, of course, finished the 2016-17 National Hockey League season as the leading point collector and most valuable player, while Crosby put more pucks in the net than anyone else and captained his Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup title.

Other names have been mentioned for consideration. Like rapidly ascending tennis player Denis Shapovalov, who had an inspiring, one-month gush of success during the late summer but, ultimately, compiled a losing record and failed to win a tournament on the main circuit. There’s also the totally hugable Brooke Henderson, a delightful young woman who twice finished atop the leaderboard on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.

Olympics bound are, left to right, Rachel Homan, Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle.

But Homan isn’t feeling the love. No one is, or has been, pumping her tires.

And that makes no sense, except that it could be the lords and ladies of the Fourth Estate still look upon curling as jockdom’s red-headed stepchild. They don’t see a legitimate sporting endeavor. They see a social gathering. They don’t see athletes. They see school teachers, accounts and sales reps enjoying a hobby. Or they see beer-swilling, pot-bellied practitioners of the Ed Werenich ilk. Seriously. We deliver our highest athletic hosanna to wrestlers, rowers, kayakers, harness racers and sync swimmers but never a curler who’s won world and Olympic championships? In 77 years?

That isn’t just a snub. It’s giving them the finger. Donald Trump gets more respect from the Little Rocket Man in Pyongyang.

Rachel Homan and her gal pals emerged from the Roar of the Rings on Sunday as our female curling reps at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, so she should be a no-brainer for the Lou Marsh Trophy.

Homan led her team to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts title, with a 12-2 record. She ran the table at the world championship, going 13-0. She won the season-ending Champions Cup on the Grand Slam of Curling circuit, finishing 6-1. Add to that her record at the just-concluded Olympic Trials in Ottawa, 9-1. Do the math. That’s 40-4. Against the best in the world. Who in sports does that? Serena Williams and Rachel Homan.

Make no mistake, Canada’s 2017 athlete of the year was curling in Ottawa last week…I just wonder if Lou Marsh voters were paying attention.

About Vietnam and Las Vegas…a president in Puerto Rico…Tom Petty and the Traveling Wilburys…rude noise on The Voice…learning about Will & Grace…October baseball…and shining in 2019

Random thoughts before the candle goes out and the sun comes up…

I spent the entirety of my Sunday watching the final six installments of the Lynn Novick/Ken Burns documentary The Vietnam War and went to bed emotionally spent and softly weeping.

Such atrocities. Such carnage. Such an unnecessary waste of human life.

I awoke 5 1/2 hours later, at 1:30 a.m. Monday, and clicked on my TV. I began weeping again. Another atrocity. More carnage. More unnecessary waste of human life, this time on our side of the world, in Las Vegas.

You wake up in the morning knowing the world will have changed overnight, but you don’t expect this kind of change. Fifty-eight people taken to the morgue. Approximately 500 whisked away to the ER at five different Vegas hospitals. That’s almost 600 people killed or cut down. By a man who, due to silent voices in his head and a disturbing, horrific sense of right and wrong, took a piece of pure Americana—a country music festival—and buried it in pure evil.

The physical toll is shocking, the worst human slaughter in modern-time United States. The emotional fallout is much greater.

Approximately 22,000 innocent, happy concert-goers are victims. Their friends and loved ones are victims. First responders are victims. Doctors and nurses are victims. Jason Aldean, on stage closing the Route 91 Harvest Festival when bullets from high-powered weapons began to rain down from a 32nd-floor room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and other performers are victims.

So the country to the south has been crippled. Again.

The Olympic Mountains

When I look out the main window of my humble home on a clear day, I can see the United States of America. Literally. The Olympic Mountains are off in the distance, standing tall and firm across the Juan de Fuca Strait in Washington state. It’s a peaceful, picture-postcard setting, totally at odds with the chaos, confusion and killings that occur far too often behind them.

It’s easy for us on the north side of those Olympic Mountains to feel smug and say these types of mass murders are “an American thing,” but do we really want to go there? Americans are our neighbors. Our friends. Even if we find them a tad loud and obnoxious when they visit, they’re North American kin.

Besides, it’s not like we’re immune to the depravity of minds that either snap or plot evil in Canada.

It was only nine months ago, remember, when a young man strolled into a Quebec City mosque and opening fired. By the time he walked out of the Islamic Cultural Centre, six people lay slain and another 19 were wounded.

It’s all so sad.

One of four students dead in Ohio.

The Vietnam War documentary, which aired on PBS, is a superb, enlightening and gripping work from Novick and Burns. It is a harsh reminder of the violence that prevailed during the 1960s and early ’70s—it definitely wasn’t all flower power, groovin’ and great rock ‘n’ roll like some Baby Boomers would have you believe—and I’m sure it opened eyes to the shameful deceit, cunning and flat-out criminal activity of people in the White House. The most heart-tugging and tear-inducing segment for me was the sight of students lying on the ground, dead, at Kent State after the Ohio National Guard had gunned them down. Innocent kids, killed by their own government. I can still hear the haunting refrain “four dead in Ohio” in Neil Young’s classic protest song Ohio. Sigh.

Speaking of government, did U.S. President Donald Trump actually tell people in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico to “have a good time” and toss them paper towels? Well, yes, he did. Oh my.

Okay, it’s about Tom Petty. My favorite Tom Petty stuff was the stuff he did with Nelson, Otis, Lefty and Lucky, aka the Traveling Wilburys. Now, with Petty’s passing this week, there are only two of the Wilburys left—Lucky (Bob Dylan) and Otis (Jeff Lynne). George Harrison and Roy Orbison had preceded Petty to the big rock concert in the sky. Petty (Charlie T. Wilbury Jr.), Dylan, Lynne, Harrison and Orbison only recorded one album together —Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1—and it’s brilliant. Those boys could really get after it. There’s a second album (I have the both on vinyl), but Orbison had already left us.

The Traveling Wilburys: Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Roy Orbison.

My favorite Traveling Wilburys tunes…

  1. Handle with Care
  2. End of the Line
  3. Rattled
  4. Not Alone Any More
  5. Poor House

Gave The Voice a try last week, but, sorry, I cannot watch if Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson are sitting in two of the four judges’ chairs. They both seem to be of the misguided notion that the show is about them, not the contestants. The hokey Adam Levine-Blake Shelton bromance wore thin about six years ago, but Cyrus and Hudson make the show unbearable. Click.

I’m told Will & Grace are back on TV. Hmmm. I didn’t know they had left. So, because I missed them during their first go-round on the small screen, I thought I’d give the new season’s first episode a look-see. I must say, that was a funny show. And imagine my surprise. There are gay characters. Who knew? Must check it out again. (Sidebar: Debra Messing has gorgeous hair. Love the color, which also happens to be my color.)

I love October baseball, even if I don’t have a cheering interest. Actually, I found myself root, root, rooting for the New York Yankees in their wild-card skirmish with the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night. I’m not sure what that means. I mean, I’ve always been an ABTY ball fan—anybody but the Yankees. So why was I cheering for them? I think I need to book some time on Dr. Phil’s couch.

If I was still in River City, working in mainstream jock journalism at the Winnipeg Sun, I’d be required to attend a hockey match this very night between the hometown Jets and the Tranna Maple Leafs and pretend it’s important. I’m glad I’m no longer in River City working in mainstream journalism.

According to my October horoscope, “2019 will be your time to shine.” Excuse me? 2019? What the hell am I supposed to do until then?

%d bloggers like this: