ARMCHAIR ARCHIVES – Have a nice day… seriously

(Image: Keith Johnston, Pixabay)

The following column was first published in The Kamloops Daily News on Feb. 22, 1985.

‘SHOOT! SHOOT! You lousy!”

This is the gentleman sitting one row up and a couple of seats down at a Blazers hockey game a few nights ago.

“Get ‘im, you chickenass! Oh, Jeez-us what’re you guys doin’ out there! Walker, you lousy!”

Lousy, I realize, is usually an adjective, but this guy turned it into a noun with some considerable effect, helped significantly by a voice like a truck.

His disappointment in the home team was alleviated a few plays later when one of the Victoria players taunted a Blazer by flapping his arms like a chicken. This thoroughly enraged Joe Fan, who screamed down at the ice, “G’wan home, you ugly!”

A second later, our Chevy or Dino or Moose or whichever nickname happened to be the subject of the chicken challenge, went after the offender. Pretty soon, there weren’t any players left on either bench, Even our coach might have gone over the boards, but our coach isn’t quite as flexible as he once was, I don’t think.

Anyway, the strategy in these one-on-one brawls is for each battler to hang on to the other guy’s shoulder pad with one arm and flail away with the other as they dance around the ice. It’s better if the other guy doesn’t have his helmet on when you swing at his head.

The winner is always the one who twists the other down to the ice and lands on top, even if only for a second or two.

Meanwhile, the strategy of the referee and linesmen is to stand clear of the entire scene until both players go down. Thus encumbered, they are much easier to pull apart.

The fights were by far the most popular part of what was otherwise a relatively unexciting and lopsided game. I have to admit, there was some entertainment value there, since I don’t know much about hockey itself.

Hockey, I do know, is not a gentleman’s sport. Thousands paid good money to watch the Blazers and Cougars beat each other up.

Next door in the curling rink, a couple of dozen people were drinking beer upstairs in the lounge, once in a while glancing down at the ice to check out a score.

Granted, to some, curling is as exciting as watching yellow waxy build-up. But it is a gentleman’s game. Everyone starts out by shaking hands and saying, “Good curling” and, at the end, everyone says “Good game” whether or not it was.

Curlers do not trip each other, spear opponents with their brooms or get in fistfights. I think Barry McPhee threw his broom once, but it wasn’t at anybody. I’m sure it just slipped from his hands when he was sweeping too hard.

Curlers hardly ever swear, and never at each other. The most emotion a curler ever shows is to thump his broom rather heavily on the ice when he misses a shot.

As for spectators, you never hear anyone at a curling game yelling, “Hey, you ugly! G’wan home!” Once in a while, a spectator will say, “I think he’s wide” or “he looks heavy” but that has nothing to do with the curler’s politics or how much he weighs.

The point of this lament is that the world is being taken over by the hockey players. There are too few curlers left on this great ice sheet we call life.

Common courtesy doesn’t seem very important anymore. Thoughtless jokes, idle and nasty gossip, a sense of cynicism seem to prevail.

If our provincial politicians announce they are going to stop insulting each other in the legislature, it’s major news.

Why people don’t like each other anymore is hard to say, but I think it has something to do with a sense of insecurity and a general unhappiness. We’re taking out our tough times on each other. In tough times, the tough guys are the heroes.

Worrying about fuzzy creatures or protesting The Bomb is not macho. Hardhats and hockey sticks are in.

Trouble is, we have a whole generation growing up with the idea that it’s okay to answer the telephone by saying “Yeah?”

So the hockey and football players get the cheers, while the curlers get the yawns.

Have a nice day.

Mel Rothenburger is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He has served as mayor of Kamloops, school board chair and TNRD director, and is a retired newspaper editor. He has been writing about Kamloops since 1970. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9634 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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