Random Sports Thoughts as December Approaches:
• Anse MacDonald couldn’t make it to the boys’ high school basketball tournament that bears his name.
Told that the host NNEC Gryphons lost 72-69 in a nail-biting championship game at the Anse MacDonald Invitational this past weekend, MacDonald expressed a twinge of regret that he couldn’t have been there to see it in person.
“That would have been a really good game,” said the 91-year-old, speaking over the telephone from his New Glasgow home.
Referred to by many as the Godfather of basketball in Pictou County, MacDonald is still recovering after a brief hospital stay earlier this month, but most assuredly, had he been able to, he would have been courtside to watch NNEC duke it out with the Dr. J.H. Gillis Royals in the final.
This isn’t news to anyone, but almost anyone who has played basketball in Pictou County over the past 40-plus years owes some measure of gratitude to MacDonald, a tireless promoter of basketball, for boys and girls, kids and adults. None of us should forget the level of commitment and determination that Anse has displayed in growing the game of basketball over the past four decades. It’s made a lasting impact.
• Usually, I am not a fan of coaches getting fired, but the Toronto Maple Leafs had to issue Mike Babcock his walking papers. Whether new coach Sheldon Keefe can sustain long-term success is another matter: they don’t have enough sandpaper in their game. In other words, they need to get tougher.
Fun Fact: Sheldon Keefe was the coach of the Pembroke Lumber Kings when they lost to the Junior A Crushers in the final of the 2008 Fred Page Cup at John Brother MacDonald Stadium.
• It wasn’t a huge surprise that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Grey Cup game on Nov. 24. The Blue Bombers got to the big game the hard way: winning two games on the road in the playoffs. First, they went into Calgary and knocked off the Stampeders into the Western semifinal, and then travelled to Regina and beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders (the best team in the regular season) to get to the Grey Cup.
Winnipeg earned their scars, survived adversity and were more than ready to win their first league title in 29 years. They wore down the Tiger-Cats, no two ways about it.
A Dangeous Place to Be?
• With all the negativity that I’ve had to write about in this space the past couple weeks (Don Cherry getting fired, a female CTV commentator bashing white male hockey players – but of course not getting fired), it’s well past time to create some positive karma.
Before we do that, however, we must address Maclean’s magazine, whose editors ranked New Glasgow 16th on the list of most dangerous places to live in Canada.
If you believe in the validity of the list – and I don’t – then you must believe that living in New Glasgow is more dangerous than places such as Halifax, Dartmouth, Edmonton, Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal, Brampton, Vancouver and Abbotsford, B.C.
We all know that’s a bunch of horse-hockey, and we don’t need to review any data in order to reach that conclusion.
Take a walk down any street in Brampton, Ont.: if you’re not getting rolled by drug addicts in need of some quick cash, the thugs with Peel Regional Police are knocking you around just because they need something to do.
Sure, it is not particularly wise to go walking around downtown New Glasgow at 2 a.m. because nothing good happens downtown after midnight, whether it be in New Glasgow or almost anyplace else on the planet. But to rank New Glasgow so high? I don’t think so.
Oops, we’ve run out of space. Maybe we’ll get to that positive karma thing next week.
Kevin Adshade is a writer with The News. His column appears each week.