You know what they say about adversity: it doesn't build character, it reveals it.
A word or two about what happened recently to Crushers forward Garrett Holmes, the Pictou County kid who has Tourette's syndrome and was mocked for it by Truro Bearcats captain Philip Fife during a Maritime Hockey League exhibition game on Sept. 5. I almost wrote the words "allegedly mocked," but by this time, I feel confident in omitting "alleged." Go ahead, sue me.
Holmes showed a strength of character by discussing his condition in a terrific article in The News this week, hoping that by being forthright about his condition, he can be a motivator for kids with any kind of disability, whether they're playing hockey or in a chess club. Holmes could have hidden himself away, waiting for the sorry saga to blow over, instead he turned a negative into a positive.
As for Fife? Most of us have done something stupid sooner or later, something we later regret big time, so it's not as if he should be hung in the village square. You hope he can learn from it, though.
I love hockey, but there's something about the game that can bring out the worst of its players, coaches and even its fans, in a more intense way, and certainly more often, than in almost any other team sport. Those who defend hockey to the end might not agree with that, but it's true. I've seen enough of it to know. That is a mere aside however, a topic of discussion for somewhere down the road.
Citing lack of evidence, the Maritime Hockey League didn't suspend Fife, but I don't really care about that. It's unimportant in the grand scheme of things – what is important in this scenario is how one reacts to a situation that presents adversity; in this case, some reacted like champs, others did not.
The Bearcats turtled hard on this by uttering countless "no comments" and then later putting out to the media some kind of mumbo-jumbo about a policy regarding how players should be conducting themselves, without actually accepting blame for the events of Sept. 5.
If I'm the Bearcats, I don't know if I'd want Fife as my team's captain. A real leader – and isn't that what a captain is? – would have stood up, admitted his error and offered a personal apology. He probably would have been forgiven, and at the very least, would have garnered some respect. But in this case, the lack of accountability goes a lot higher than the guy wearing the 'C', doesn't it? You could ask the Bearcats' organization that question, I suppose, but expect a "no comment."
Maybe Fife has apologized by the time you read this, and if so good for him – it would be the best and most noble of ways to handle the entire situation. And, he would have set a good example for the rest of us, just like Holmes did.
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The City of Montreal I am completely on board with – the people, the energy, the aura, the city's beauty. Always had a good time whenever I landed in Montreal (if you've been to Montreal and didn't have a good time, it's not Montreal's fault – it's probably you).
I've never met a Quebecer I disliked, either, unless you count Brian Mulroney, but no one counts him these days, unless it's on one of those "Most disliked prime ministers in history" lists. Then, yeah, Mulroney still counts.
I can even cheer for the Canadiens, but only if a). they're playing Boston; or b.) I've got a couple of bucks riding on them.
What I've never really gotten, though, is how Quebecers keep electing separatist parties who feel it's OK to trample on the rights of minorities in the name of protecting their French culture and identity.
The language laws springs to mind, and now they're hell-bent on banning public employees from wearing religious symbols (but the crucifix in the wrongly named National Assembly can stay, of course). What other province could get away with some of the stunts the separatists have pulled over the years?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office warned this week that it will challenge Quebec's proposed charter of values in court, if it's seen to be unconstitutional. Good, glad to hear it. For that very reason, I like Harper at this very moment, but that'll probably change. Which is what Quebecers should vote for the next time they go to the ballot box: change.
Kevin Adshade is a sports columnist for The News.