By Rob Ficiur
On a Saturday in December, I was in a crowded store looking for something. (I know shopping in December is a dumb idea which we vow we won’t do next year). One lady with a cart full of stuff grumbled to a friend “Can Christmas be over yet!” The present and gift giving part of it can be over as quickly as you (or I) decide we have bought enough.
What would be the ideal gifts for Christmas or any time of the year? Many people ask for world peace, family health or a winning lottery ticket. Sports Santa does not deal with World Peace or Pollution. Sports Santa only fulfills Christmas lists that have to do with the world of sports. Sometimes the gifts are what people need not what they ask for. Here are a few of the 2013 gift that Sports Santa should bring:
1. Concussion proof helmet – In hockey and football is it possible to make a better helmet that would prevent many of the concussions that occur? We know that in these high contact sports, there will be hitting so concussions will never go away. However, why can’t a helmet be designed that would better cushion the head? I have heard some “experts” describe why this can’t be done.
In 2013 I have a cell phone that takes pictures, scans the internet and once in a while receives phone calls. Ten years ago that was impossible. There must be some way to invent this “impossible” concussion proof helmet.
2. CFL Size Football Stadium for Eastern Canada – In 2014 the CFL will expand to nine teams as Ottawa re-joins the league. A brand new football stadium will help the team become financially viable. For years people have said that there is not a large enough population base in the Maritime provinces to support a CFL team. That is not the real problem.
The population of Saskatchewan in 2011 was 1,033,381. In 2013 the Saskatchewan Roughriders hosted the Grey Cup, Won the Grey Cup and created more revenue for the CFL than any other team. Yes we know that the people of Saskatchewan have a unique love and devotion to their one team.
The Maritime Provinces of Canada have a population of 1,813,102 almost twice that of Saskatchewan. Newfoundland and Labrador has a population of 514,536. There are only ten home games in the CFL season. With over two million people within driving distance could the Maritime Schooners survive in the salary cap world of the CFL?
The answer is maybe. Saskatchewan is thriving economically at this time. When they were struggling the Roughriders did not win or create revenue like they did this year. The Maritime Schooners would have to build a loyal fan base from scratch. In time their fans could be as rabid as those to our east. Or the team could be a failure like the Ottawa Renegades who lasted only four season because of mismanagement.
A modern 25,000 seat arena would give the Maritime Schooners a chance to be financially viable. The problem is no one wants to invest $500 million dollars (or more) on a stadium. If Sports Santa could drop one off on his way around the world, the Maritime Schooners would be in the CFL before the snow melts.
3. Star Trek – like drug testing machine. In the forty years I have watched sports, illegal / disallowed drugs have always seemed to be one step ahead of the testers. Forty years ago we only saw evidence of this at the Olympics when people were disqualified. As team sports implemented drug testing (for all kinds of supplements and illegal drugs) drug testing has not stopped the problem. Every player who tests positive, promises before the media that he is innocent and something is wrong with the test. If we had a Star Trek like testing device that was 100% right there would be no argument. Alex Rodriguez, the latest superstar athlete to fight a positive drug test, claims that the baseball commissioner does not like him. A fool-proof drug tester will solve that problem – (except we would still be dealing with the same type of fools).
The Best Gift for all of us would be gratitude. On December 25, and everyday thereafter, if we took the time to write down (or say out loud) one thing we were grateful for that day, we would soon realize how rich we are. Yes, we can and should work toward other goals for our future. However, as daily count one of our many blessings we have, we will realize how richly blessed we are to live in such a wonderful country.