Location: Cedar Park Inn, Edmonton (map)
There were three things I promised to write about: Robert the quintessential Canadian, ten beers, and Canadian turncoats. Unfortunately, the ‘ten beers’ part has sort of dulled my memories of the other two.
I was at a bar called Mo’s. Mo was my bartender. I saw a barstool and grabbed it. I needn’t have worried. The first of my Rickard’s Reds was quickly on its way. I settled in.
I won’t go into detail; the experience just wasn’t the same. They didn’t cheer when the Flames came out onto the ice. They didn’t sing O Canada with one voice. There was not the same electric anticipation. The passion wasn’t there.
The game began. The first time Florida scored there was significant cheering in the bar. The second time Florida scored there was even more. There was a significant percentage of that bar that preferred seeing the cup melt in Florida than rest in the city down the highway. I thought of them as Canadian turncoats.
That wasn’t really fair, however. Rather it was fair, but I have to recognize that if the Dodgers were playing for the world championship against the Kyoto Carp (I know there’s a Kyoto team, and I know there’s a team named the carp, but it would be an amazing coincidence if there actually were a Kyoto Carp. But I digress.), I would not root for the Dodgers, the team up the road, simply because they were American. But if the world series had been won by Japan for several years in a row, or perhaps more appropriately if baseball was slowly being sucked from its roots and transplanted to China, where there are plenty of potential fans but for the most part they simply don’t understand the sport, and you watch your teams over the years moving far away into strange lands, then perhaps there would be a place for national pride to transcend local rivalries.
For the latter part of the game and some time after, I sat next to Robert. He was middle-aged, a little overweight, and congenial. He had had his head in his hands for much of the third period, so his greying combover was standing up. Not only did he append his questions with “eh?”, he appended his statements of fact. “I have two kids, eh.” “Oh, eh, I couldn’t believe that, eh.” He was a thinking man, though, aware of the world but cautious about expressing his opinion.
I’m pretty sure there was more I wanted to say about him, but then there were the ten beers.