By Rob Ficiur
As students joyfully go to school this week, one might wonder what kinds of classes would be held if the sporting world opened a school now. The first two listed here are sessions that might be offered. The third session is a real program that the NHL has begun to better educate and warn their players.
1. Trade Trade Trade
–Turn your team into a Winner
– Presenter Alex Anthopolous Toronto Blue Jays General Manager.
Class open to all professional and Arm Chair General Managers –
Every team (and fan) hopes that the trades they make will instantly change the fortunes of their season. While these are team sports, often (actually sometimes) the addition of one or two key players changes the culture and success of a team. In mid-July the Toronto Blue Jays were .500 team with little or no chance to make the playoffs. At the trade deadline the team acquired five new players (including two all-stars). Since then the Jays have an 18-4 record.
Classroom Location to be determined. If the Jays make the playoffs and lose out in the first round they will need a small classroom. If the Jays win a playoff round or two we would need a large classroom for this class. If the Jays win the World Series the class will be held at the Rogers Centre to accommodate the 50,000 who will want to attend. If the Blue Jays stumble into a losing streak and miss the 2015 playoffs, the class will be held in a phone booth since that is the number of fans who want to hear about how a team can flat that flat on their face.
2. Celebrating the Number Zero
– Location: Saskatchewan
-Presenter: Rough Rider Fan Support Group
– Dress Code requirement Green Watermelon on your head
At the moment I am writing this, the 2013 Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders have zero wins and eight losses. In a province that loves its Riders, the faithful Green Watermelon people will find a way to embrace and celebrate the marvels of the number zero. It takes amazing consistency to lose eight in a row; some of their opponents have bad days, but the Riders still lose. The Chicago Cubs have become one of baseball’s most beloved franchises because of their Lovable Loser mantra. And after a half season long losing streak, what if the Riders made the miracle mid-season turn around and won the Grey Cup? All these and more are ideas that will help the province of Saskatchewan identify the number zeroes.
For Your Information there have been two CFL teams that played an entire season without winning a game. The 1949 Hamilton Tigers had a 0-10-2 record and the 1946 Hamilton Wildcats had a dismal 0-12 record. (the Hamilton Tigers and the Hamilton Wild Cats merged in 1950 to become Hamilton Tiger Cats). In the modern era the worst team was the 2003 Hamilton Tiger Cats who had a 1-17 season.
3. Domestic Violence Training – (Classes will happen at all NHL training camps)
Pre and Post Note – (This is a real class that is going to happen next month)
Who – When NHL players come to training camp they are going to have a new class on Domestic Violence. Why? LA Kings Slava Voynov missed most of last season after being arrested for domestic violence. Black Hawks sniper Patrick Kane is “allegedly” being investigated on rape chargers.
Last year when NFL player Ray Rice was caught on video beating his wife in an elevator the sporting world changed. Long before Rice, Voynov and others went to court the leagues went in and suspended them.
The classes have the intent of scaring the players away from any potential charges. The NHL presentation during training camp is handled by League or team security officers – usually ex-cops, gruff and matter-of-fact about the issues at hand. Some common sense guidelines to life highlighted. These twenty some year old millionaire athletes need to behave properly and also to avoid the appearance of evil. For example one thing that will be identified is if you’re still at the bar at 2 a.m., there’s probably no good that’ll come from it.
When the NHL finishes their classes on domestic abuse, take the time to talk about drug, alcohol and medicine abuse. For years this has been covered in the league’s substance abuse program – but the message is not getting through to some players. Potential careers and personal lives are ruined every year.