Oh Canada! …And an Excuse to Talk About The Winnipeg Jets

23 02 2010

Sure, Canada is taking plenty of shots on the world stage over their Olympic performance in Vancouver. The latest debacle, the U.S. 5-3 win over Canada in men’s hockey, only leaves the home crowd even more frustrated.

The pressure on Team Canada was probably suffocating at times. You actually see this in hockey quite a bit. A favorite or heavy favorite starts to press a little too hard after a period if the “underdog” has hung tight.

As I write this, I’m reminded that, on this day 30 years ago, the United States pulled off the “Miracle on Ice”, the epic 4-3 win over the Soviet Union.

Best Part of the Miracle On Ice? Bubble Hockey. Even at 75 cents a game.

This not only lead to endless dreaming during a very trying time in our country but also to this: the Super Chexx USA-USSR bubble hockey games that are still found in a few places even in 2010. Back in the heyday of 1980, those establishments were called “pizza parlors”.

I, personally, am all through with the “Miracle of Ice” anniversaries. Ten years ago, I was just starting out in Duluth at KDLH-TV and, for the 20th of the MOI, we had plenty of local angles to the story. “Miracle” came out a couple years later. Herb Brooks died in that car crash near St. Paul, leading to more looking back on 1980. Plus, add in YouTube and anyone can find the footage of the Americans vs. Soviets showdown on Lake Placid. However, I never get tired of seeing Al Michaels in that blue sweater, calling the game.

A couple of weeks back, I was talking with my son about “Oh Canada”, the national anthem to our fine neighbors (neighbours?) to the north. I’ll admit that I don’t know all the words but I will maintain it’s still a cool song.

For anyone who really wants a rousing rendition of the Canadian National Anthem, I’ve included this.

Not many playoff wins but I LOVE the green Coyotes jersey.

Winnipeg.

1996.

The Winnipeg Jets, the ultimate “small market”, spent most of the 1995-96 season knowing they would be moving to Phoenix. Winnipeg didn’t have the cash to keep the Jets (this was a major problem at the time as the CDN held far less exchange value to USD than in 2010). This video is from the Jets’ final regular season home game. The fans are screaming during the last national anthem they’ll hear for the Winnipeg Jets before the playoffs.

What sounded like a great move at the time – the Jets to Phoenix, a growing, bursting American market – didn’t quite work out as planned.

The Coyotes developed incredible logos and hot-selling jerseys (I like the green one myself) but in May 2009, the franchise filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Uff-da.

Get Winnipeg another team.

Advertisements




Winter Olympics? Yeah…I’m Amused

21 02 2010

I’ve become an Olympics Cynic.

There.

I said it.

Looking back, the last Olympics that I was really “into”.  1988 in Calgary and that was only because I was hoping for another Miracle of Ice, but the ’88 U.S. men’s hockey team never played defense.

Not many scandals in 1988 just reports of scandalous behavior in Calgary.

Since then, I’ve watched the Olympics break into more scandal (Ben Johnson in 1988), the Dream Team (sure the USA wins in basketball but I always liked the idea of beating the world’s best with our unpaid players) and all of the tawdry, unsavory backroom dealings to get the games to Atlanta, Athens, Albertville or Beijing.  At least, in Athens, the government “took out” all of the stray cats before the Games so I guess that’s a positive.

Yet my own kids are very entertained by watching this world of bobsledding, figure skating, hockey and curling.  My son and I have spoken about the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the luger from Georgia, as well as his newfound interest in Scandinavian countries.  (He still has little appreciation for the fact I took three semesters of Norwegian in college in the mid-1990s).

With Olympic video so hard to come by, at least for free, I should make him watch a simple serenade.  The ABC Wide World of Sports open from about 1974.  Yup, the year the old man was born.

And to think…this was an era where Match Game ’74 aired and it was STILL good enough to land a 30 share and leak more money than most shows pull in for ads in 2010!

Update: Now my son is mesmerized by this epic curling showdown between the United States and Great Britain. Whatever works, right?





Extended Review on The Last Out in Royals Review

3 09 2009

If you want to talk about a true ‘labor’, try running a successful blog about a wretched baseball franchise.

The crew over at Royals Review puts out a top-shelf product every night and hold quite an audience.  That cannot be easy to pull off 135 games into the season.

Coming across an opportunity for a review is always welcome for me and, I’d like to think, a welcome break in an abyss of losing for them.  A review for The Last Out is on there as well as my extended interview about the novel.  Check it out!

Read the September 2, 2009 review of The Last Out here.

Plus, a great deal for any Royals’ fans from the interview.  I’ll throw in a free, signed hardcover copy of my first novel, Gotcha Down, with any purchase.





Only a Handful of “The Interim” Remain – Pick Yours Up Pronto

31 08 2009

This is that can be called a ‘good problem’.

We’re down to just a few copies of “The Interim”, my 2007 college basketball novel that picked up praise for its realism and pacing. Literally, about a half dozen remain.

I will probably print off more of them when we go to print next fall for my fourth novel, Out of Timeouts. Yet, in the meantime, we’ll just keep The Interim as a ‘collector’s item’.

Also, a free signed copy of Gotcha Down for anyone who orders The Last Out.

Enjoy and thanks as always! – Chris





Well…the Royals stink. May as well read The Last Out

3 08 2009

Each year over the past twenty, with the notable exceptions of 1994 and 2003, I quietly mark the time of the year when I declare the Kansas City Royals, the “Team of My Youth”, as a team that stinks.

Well…we’re back here.

They stink.

As I write this, the Royals are 41-63. Worst record in the American League. What is really bothersome is that the Royals were 19-11 in May. That means, since their comeback win over the Twins at the Metrodome, the Royals are 22-52 since then. 22 wins in 74. Even awful baseball teams win 30% and this crew can’t even do that.

Thus…

If you need to read about a Kansas City baseball team actually winning and making a run for the playoffs, pick up The Last Out.

It’s solid.

Also, thanks to more libraries for coming on board to stock The Last Out. This month, more library directors in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin (of course) and Illinois are putting The Last Out on the shelves for their readers.

Thanks, all!





Midwest Book Review on The Last Out: “Exciting To The Very End.”

15 07 2009

Always great to get the reviewers to spend time going through The Last Out.

This from the July 2009 edition of the respected Midwest Book Review:

The Last Out
Chris Earl
Gate 8 Publishing
2108 Larry Drive NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
9781607438007, $14.95, http://www.gate8publishing.com

The past always seems to stalk one, waiting for an opportunity to strike. “The Last Out” is the third novel from author Chris Earl. “The Last Out” follows Royal Cutter as he finally gains his chance at the major leagues; he finds himself traded to Kansas City, where decades ago Royal’s father, also a baseball player, met his premature end. The same forces may be out to get Royal. “The Last Out” follows Royal tries to realize his own dream while facing the past, an is an exciting story to the very end.





Thanks to the libraries — once again

14 07 2009

As with The Interim back in 2007, a major ‘thank you’ goes out to the many libraries, large and small, as they are stocking my latest novel, The Last Out.

It’s proof that locating solid novels that are appropriate for teenage readers and do NOT involve gherkins, wizards, vampires, mythical cars, sorcerers or any other supernatural fictional character is HARD to find.

I’m always thrilled to write about “real” people in extraordinary situations.

So, for the libraries, large and small, of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa, especially, a hearty thank you!

– Chris