Oh, the indignity of it all. The great Canadian cheese-rolling festival was held this past weekend in Whistler, B.C., and an American guy won it; took five kilograms of delicious Cracked Pepper Verdelait right out from under our noses.
His name is Aaron Heinzen and he hails from Seattle and here's hoping our immigration officials ask him about the giant cheese ball he's carrying when he tries to go back across the border. Then again, the man did win it fair and square.
Against 200 competitors, one of whom was wearing pink and green inner tubes, another a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, Heinzen ran full-bore down a mountain side chasing a rolling chunk of cheese. He arrived at the finish area with a winning time of eight seconds. More than 10,000 spectators cheered madly and considered it the best eight seconds of their day.
While some of you are no doubt scoffing at the notion of cheese racing as sport, consider that they've been doing this for eons in Gloucestershire, England. Back in the old days, winning a cheese wheel the size of a small child was not only prestigious, it could feed the whole family for a month or two - a rather sporting gesture, we submit.
Unfortunately, the 2010 world championship was cancelled by cheese-hating bureaucrats, which means Heinzen, with our national title, can lay claim to being the best cheese-chasing champion on the planet. And, really, that cuts to the core. First we lose the 1995 Grey Cup to the Baltimore Stallions then we lose the 2004, 2006 and 2007 Stanley Cup final to American-based NHL teams. We don't win an Olympic gold medal on our alpine ski hills at Whistler and now this - swiped of our own Cracked Pepper?
Forget about the World Hockey Summit planned for next week. Let's stage a World Cheese Rolling Summit and debate the sad state of our game, preferably over a few bottles of Sauvignon Blanc.
'Roid review ready: University of Waterloo officials are set to release the details of the internal investigation into their steroid-stained football team that was shut down for the 2010 Canadian Interuniversity Sport season after nine players produced an adverse drug test and two others were arrested for trafficking. Several sources have suggested the investigation will merely justify the university's hard-line approach which they believe was done to protect former Waterloo president David Johnson, who was later named Canada's Governor General. Details of the investigation will be released prior to this weekend's opening of Ontario University Athletics football camps. Waterloo's scaled-back squad - more than a dozen players have transferred - is still practising this season and has planned scrimmages against scout teams from Wilfrid Laurier and Western.
Pass the popcorn, run the ball: Last week, Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Paul LaPolice showed his players clips of dead-pan psycho killer Michael Myers from all those Halloween flicks. The idea was to instill the players with a never-die attitude. The result? Kicker Louie Sakoda injured himself in the pre-game warm-up and the Blue Bombers lost again. This Thursday, Winnipeg plays the Alouettes in Montreal and if the Blue Bombers are still prone to watching movies for inspiration perhaps they should try a comedy. Our suggestion: watch the Marx Brothers in Horse Feathers, where they score the winning touchdown in a game against Darwin by using a horse-drawn garbage wagon to carry the ball into the end zone. You just don't see that kind of offensive creativity any more.
Bloody money: Let's show the Ontario government our appreciation by giving it a warm round of armpit sounds: it has changed its mind and will now allow mixed martial arts events in the province beginning in 2011. Initially, Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty said there were more pressing public issues to address. Then there was talk of having to protect the athletes. Somehow, in spite of all those pressing issues, and with the same rules used for fighters in events across North America, the MMA was given the green light to duke it out in Ontario. Why? The numbers people crunched that a single event could attract 30,000 fans and produce $6-million in economic activity, some of which will find its way to Queen's Park. Now we're talking the government's language. Bleed on, gentlemen.
Anyone remember fun? Edmonton's East Park Orioles compete this week at the Senior Little League World Series in Bangor, Me. To get there, they had to win the Canadian championship in New Brunswick, where teams from Quebec, Cape Breton and Saint John got into a nasty brawl in the stands. The kids from the three teams trash-talked one another into a frenzy; parents got involved and a 70-year-old woman was injured taken to a hospital. This comes on the heels of a Toronto parent threatening to kill a referee in an Under-13 boys' soccer match followed by a parent punching another parent in the head because the one guy didn't like how the other guy was cheering. Why can't we just get along and chase cheese for the fun of it?
"I don't know who had the best team, but I know the team in 1960 was a hell of a lot tougher than we were. I couldn't imagine the '92 team getting in a covered wagon for eight days, going across the country, jumping in the Atlantic Ocean, swimming for six days, then walking 3,000 miles to the Coliseum in Rome for a dollar a day."
- 1992 United States Olympic team member Larry Bird, left, talks about the differences between his Dream Team and the one that represented the U.S. 32 years prior. The 1992 team was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday.