Monday, August 11, 2014

She likes us!

Everybody needs a Sally Field "You like me" Oscar moment; some of us need it more than others.  Around here, it was bigger news that Venus Williams fell in love with Montreal than it was that Agnieszka Radwanska beat Williams in the final of the Rogers Cup at Jarry Park.  That's what four decades of political alienation and social and economic decline do to a community's collective self-esteem.  They drive it so low that we cling to any validation we can get, and when it comes in the form of praise from an outside celebrity, we milk it for more than what it's worth.

Rory McIlroy is on an incredible roll, but can we hold the phone on designating him as the new big threat to Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major golf titles?  McIlroy's win at the 2014 PGA Championship gives him four majors at the age of 25 and that's plenty impressive, but it's not even a quarter of the way to the Promised Land.  I know restraint is a lot to ask of modern media, but it's possible to give McIlroy his due without resorting to hyperbole.

Tony Stewart is a fierce competitor with a documented history of confrontation, but it's difficult to believe and impossible to prove that he deliberately ran over and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. at a dirt track event in Rochester, New York.  Ward hastened his own demise by exiting his vehicle and walking into the middle of the track to confront Stewart after being spun into the wall by the three time Sprint Cup champion.  That's not blaming the victim - it's stating the facts.

It was a banner public relations week for the Montreal Canadiens and their fans.  A national public opinion poll concluded that the Canadiens have the strongest brand among the country's professional sports franchises, while a less scientific but still reasonably credible online survey revealed that the Boston Bruins are the most-hated NHL team in the world.  The trifecta would have been a focus group confirming something else we already know: that the rest of the country cares a lot less about the Leafs than the Toronto-based national media think we do.

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