Thursday, May 13, 2010

They Shoot Coyotes, Don't They?

So a small city near a large city in a foreign country had a council meeting the other day. Maybe you heard about it.

You'll note the live blog that accompanied that article; no fewer than five thousand and seven hundred people were on the Free Press website that evening for up-to-the-minute updates on what was going down. Which is probably why five thousand and six hundred of them were complaining that they couldn't get video working on the official City of Glendale stream, but come on -- if you were the website administrator for a city of 250,000, how much budget would you expect to need for bandwidth?

So full credit to the Free Press, on this one; I've been known to make less than complimentary observations about their product in the past, but they did a stand-up job on this story and good on 'em. Plus I just want to take this time to draw attention to the greatest quote about the whole thing, attributed to one of the 250 Coyotes fans who showed up to support saving the team. (Not a typo; two hundred and fifty. And the punchline is that they still couldn't fill the building.)

Yes, the four or five school buses' worth of die-hard Coyotes fans are very passionate about their hilariously unprofitable franchise, and when someone busts out a line this funny it deserves to be immortalized in the proper fashion:

What can I say? We take pride in our work, and we wear it well.

When I saw that quote pop up I wanted to make sure the attributed speaker was a sports fan in attendance and not, say, one of the City Councillors, so I punched the name into Google for clarification. Wouldn't you know it, sure enough, the very first search result for her name indicates that she likes the Coyotes very much -- and is also appreciably starved for attention, unless lying around in a corset and a fedora quoting video games and hockey players on the internet is considered standard Arizonan behaviour.

(Although, with that said, I certainly can't fault her taste.)

So let me just assure you, SueAnn Canfield, and everybody else down in Arizona: you have no idea what our hate is like. No idea. This is us being friendly! Believe me -- if we out here in Winnipeg hated you out there in Glendale even half as much as we traditionally hate ourselves, there would be none of you left.

You know how Philadelphia is famous worldwide for its hateful, vicious sports fanbase? We brought in a Philadelphian to run our football team, hoping that his grit and sticktoitiveness would see us to the championship, and exposure to our fans broke him down so badly that he had to hide from us. We may or may not have given him a nervous breakdown during his one season here, and it may or may not have happened around the time we booed our quarterback mercilessly during his charity giveaway at a home game. It's... hard to pinpoint the exact timeline on how these things happen, sometimes.

And that's just our sports! As it turns out, the rest of the public sphere in this city... actually gets much worse. We openly celebrate when petty thieves are gunned down in the street. We steal cars and then try to hit cyclists or joggers with them, just for sport. (If you're curious: cyclists are worth more points for each individual hit, due to their agility, but joggers are more likely to clump together for a higher combo bonus.)

And you know Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, an American religious group infamous as some of the most hateful people in the entire world? We terrified them right out of the country, because they intended to fuck with us and Winnipeg is one of the most unfuckwithable places in the Western hemisphere.

In 1873, the word "Winnipeg" was Cree for "muddy waters". In 2010, the word "Winnipeg" is Canadian English shorthand for "oh shit he's got a knife". I don't mean to belabour the point, citizens of Glendale, but what it boils down to is that you shouldn't have been expecting warm smiles and sympathetic hugs.

We are a hardened, embittered, dangerous people; we have so little joy in our lives that even a future furniture store is considered cause for celebration, in part because cheaper furniture means it's easier to replace when robbers and neighbourhood kids set our houses on fire. (The president of the Fire Fighters Union made a point of noting that "our firefighters fight more fires than Edmonton and Calgary combined.") So I hope you can understand how the return of our departed hockey team -- our single most recognizable civic symbol, even to this day -- would be something we might look forward to.

Of course, it must be noted, the whole Coyotes ownership story has been a convoluted one. In the past week alone it went from "Reinsdorf is buying the team with the full support of Glendale and the NHL" to "Reinsdorf's deal is dead, Ice Edge will purchase the team with the full support of Glendale and the NHL" to "Ice Edge has walked away, the team will be up for grabs pending a Glendale vote" to "Glendale has voted to offer an entire year's worth of operating costs to the NHL out of arena-related desperation".

But the long and the short of it is this: during that sequence there was a period of maybe, maybe fourty-eight hours where it looked like something legitimately positive was actually, finally, mercifully going to happen for the City of Winnipeg. Then it didn't, of course, because that's not how things work here -- and you know that things are pretty bad when even the Deputy Commissioner of the NHL feels obligated to step in and try to cheer the city up. "No, no, it's okay! Sure you're good enough! Things will work out for you, one day!" Man, that is some suicide-watch dialogue in that article, I tell you what.

Anyway, enjoy your team, Glendale! You can sleep soundly with the knowledge that your city council is doing its best to protect its property investment, and that your team will probably get at least one more season as long as that whole Goldwater lawsuit thing doesn't become too much of a hassle. And hey, even if it does look like Goldwater might cause any trouble after all, you have your secret weapon: a plucky seven-year-old child in a hockey jersey!

Ha ha ha, the Logan Wade substory, oh wow. Good thing for the Coyotes that Councillor Phil Lieberman flip-flopped under the tremendous pressure of a small boy who won't be eligible to vote for more than a decade, because it was his crucial support that turned the tide and... made the vote unanimous at 7-0 instead of mostly unanimous at 6-1.

(The key to the puzzle of his decision: he's a longtime Chicago Cubs fan, so he understands what it's like to root for awful teams. No, seriously.)

Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail was apparently unimpressed by Lieberman's antics --

"You may find your elected officials wanting, you may despair at the quality of those drawn to public service, but take comfort from the fact that, no matter where you are, no matter who they are, it could be worse. You could be represented by Phil Lieberman."

-- but I'm sure it's more reasonable to conclude the obvious, and the obvious conclusion here is that Logan Wade has superpowers.

I mean, think about it: thousands of small children in hockey jerseys, each of them offering a piggybank stuffed so full of change that it no longer rattled when shook, did their very best to save the Winnipeg Jets fifteen years ago and found nothing but failure and dejection. (You really would think I'm making this stuff about piggybanks up, but nope. I couldn't have made up the part about the strippers, either.) So this Logan kid clearly must control some sort of amazing psychic power, to be able to bend the minds of influential leaders like he has already shown he can. And if the jersey amplifies his mutant abilities, so much the better!

To show that I have everyone's best interests at heart, then, I'll give you the gameplan: put him in this jersey, send him over to Jerusalem, and have him tell everybody how upset he gets when people are mean to each other. Bam! Peace in the Middle East. You're welcome, civilization. You're welcome.


Kenny Bania said...

That's gold Jerry, gold!

Winnipeg Reasoning said...

You nailed it! Great post.

Emily Jane said...

Great post. The pic made me laugh out loud!

H said...


mike said...

well i think her corset is better than the jets ever were on the ice.
we dropped the ball and failed to build a new arena. our government failed to approve funding in time. where was glendale city council when we needed them? i think we will have to learn to fly to phoenix to see the coyotes.

James Hope Howard said...

Well, the ol' auto-generated IP info says here that you posted that message direct from Arizona, so I presume you already figured out the flights.

Or are you staying with our Mayor down there? Because if you are, I'll make you a deal: whip up another Council meeting to guarantee his losses, too, and you can keep him alongside the hockey team with our compliments.

I mean, I know you guys don't handle immigration real well, but he's never committed any cr... he's never been convicted of anything, so I have faith he'd never cough up any probable cause to get himself in trouble. And he's a shrewd businessman! You guys could definitely use the economic boost, down there, so this looks like a perfect fit for everyone involved.

Make it happen, Mike! I believe in you!

Anonymous said...

You can only imagine how those of us who live in Glendale and are represented by Mr Lieberman feel. The councilman's use of a 7 year old for ecomonic development and legal advise is better than we usual get from him. Normally he makes up his own mind.