My brain hurts

I’m sporadic, I fall over, and it’s really fucking scary.

I’ll keep writing until I die, keep advising students, and keep doing what I can. The wife finally admitted last week, that maybe it just wasn’t the booze, that maybe it was 50 years of pucks to the head in shitty Canadian Tire plastic masks. Maybe  it was four years of middle linebacker, where the coach said, the guy with the ball, go kill him, the car crash in which two people died, and the subsequent concussions, falling off my bike, when my wife says, you didn’t really recover from that last fall, you got worse.

I’m stilll there to help the kids, until I can’t be. It’s sad, but I got 3 grandsons now, so life goes on.

I love this pic, because it encapsulates everything i did with my Guelplh girls, and with Sorenne, the American girl.

barfblog and a song; 118 sick from campy in puppies

We have escaped to Coff’s Harbour, about five hours south of Brisbane, for our annual hockey tournament at the Big Banana, which has a small ice rink so we play 3-on-3, and where Russell Crowe apparently learned to skate for his role in the 1999 movie, Mystery, Alaska (a great hockey movie).

Amy is involved in all kinds of things, I coached for a few years and am now a happy spectator.

JFK of NSA Hockey, who played junior in Michigan, runs a day-long hockey camp for kids who are interested, so it’s a couple of days of writing and chilling for me and the Hubbell.

I’m going to catch up on some blog posts, fit each with one of my favorite songs, and then get on with that book.

I laid in bed and figured out the first half the other night.

We have Ted, the Wonder Dog, with us (he’s a wonder because how can such a little thing shit so much).

According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control, dogs, especially puppies, are a known source of sporadic Campylobacter infections in humans, but are uncommonly reported to cause outbreaks.

Investigation of a multistate, multidrug-resistant outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni infections implicated puppies from breeders and distributors sold through pet stores as the outbreak source. Outbreak strains were resistant to all antibiotics commonly used to treat Campylobacter infections.

Campylobacter causes an estimated 1.3 million diarrheal illnesses in the United States annually (1). In August 2017, the Florida Department of Health notified CDC of six Campylobacter jejuni infections linked to company A, a national pet store chain based in Ohio. CDC examined whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data and identified six isolates from company A puppies in Florida that were highly related to an isolate from a company A customer in Ohio. This information prompted a multistate investigation by local and state health and agriculture departments and CDC to identify the outbreak source and prevent additional illness. Health officials from six states visited pet stores to collect puppy fecal samples, antibiotic records, and traceback information.

Nationally, 118 persons, including 29 pet store employees, in 18 states were identified with illness onset during January 5, 2016–February 4, 2018. In total, six pet store companies were linked to the outbreak. Outbreak isolates were resistant by antibiotic susceptibility testing to all antibiotics commonly used to treat Campylobacter infections, including macrolides and quinolones. Store record reviews revealed that among 149 investigated puppies, 142 (95%) received one or more courses of antibiotics, raising concern that antibiotic use might have led to development of resistance. Public health authorities issued infection prevention recommendations to affected pet stores and recommendations for testing puppies to veterinarians. This outbreak demonstrates that puppies can be a source of multidrug-resistant Campylobacter infections in humans, warranting a closer look at antimicrobial use in the commercial dog industry.

If you’re a stray cat, Ted the Wonder Dog will make friends.

Multidrug-resistant campylobacter jejuni outbreak linked to puppy exposure- United States, 2016-2018

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6737a3.htm?s_cid=mm6737a3_e

I only remove my hat for one thing: Burt Reynolds

Missing in the wave of nostalgia following Burt Reynolds death was his turn as the judge in Mystery, Alaska, the second best hockey movie ever, following Slap Shot.

 

It’s become a Christmas Day tradition to watch Trailer Park Boys Christmas, and Mystery, Alaska, starring Australian Russell Crowe who learned to skate at the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, where the Brisbane Stars host a tournament every year, and my wife has become the fundraising guru.

 

“Smokey and the Bandit” was — and remains — a hell of a lot of fun. It was also a protest movie, both widely popular and unabashedly populist, a word that meant something a little different back then. Cledus and Bandit are southern working-class white men in revolt against, to put it bluntly, state power and capitalist greed.

 

I’m not saying Burt Reynolds (or Hal Needham, the director of “Smokey,” its sequels and others of its ilk) was a Hollywood Marxist. But more than any other movie star he embodied the stance that permeated much of the country-and-western and southern rock of the Carter era, in which regional pride and defiant hell-raising were accompanied — and sometimes drowned out — by class resentment directed against the bosses and their minions.

Defense matters

The head coach of the Australian state of Queensland , a fellow Canadian, told us parents and coaches earlier this year, anyone can play defense, it’s easy, offense is hard.

I disagree.

But that’s just my opinion.

Defense wins Stanley Cups and Super Bowls.

Defense takes discipline.

Defense is hard.

I played four years as a linebacker in football and would crush anybody who tried to cross the line.

Any food company knows this, because they do not want to be tomorrow’s headline, just because someone messed up.

This is a picture of my daughter playing defense in practice (thanks Julie). Look at how the goalie is ideally placed, with his foot up against the post and his stick outside the post. Look at the angling Sorenne is using on her teammate.

Those are boring things but they win games.

And help people not barf from food.

This is Sorenne protecting the blue-line last week (thanks again, Julie).

Defense matters.

Defence matters

The head coach of the Australian state of Queensland , a fellow Canadian, told us parents and coaches earlier this year anyone can play defence, it’s easy, offence is hard.

I disagree.

But that’s just my opinion.

Defence wins Stanley Cups and Super Bowls.

Defence takes discipline.

Defence is hard.

Any food company knows this, because they do not want to be tomorrow’s headline, just because someone messed up.

This is a picture of my daughter playing defense a week ago in practice (thanks Julie). Look at how the goalie is ideally placed, with his foot up against the post and his stick outside the post. Look at the angling Sorenne is using on her teammate.

Those are boring things but they win games.

And help people not barf from food.

Who throws poop? This Canadian woman at a Tim Hortons

To those not familiar with The Guess Who, Neil Young or Drake, you may not know the name Tim Hortons, a coffee and doughnut mega-chain started by the late Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman and his business partner, a cop.

You may also not understand the phrase, double-double (Chapman’s favorite).

When I had those daughters in Guelph, I would take them to the local Tims after a 6-7 a.m. practice.

I always refused to buy the coffee because I could make better stuff at home.

Sure the grad student helped coach, but he could get his own Tims.

I got whatever daughter was involved that morning a doughnut, and sometimes a hot chocolate, so they wouldn’t feel too nauseous by 11 a.m. and could make it through the school day (of course I made their lunches too, but ya gotta get over that morning hump).

Now Tims has a different kind of notoriety.

According to KRON in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (KRON) a Canadian woman was caught on camera pulling down her pants, doing her business, and throwing the end result at a Tim Horton’s employee who denied her access to the restroom. 

A spokesperson for Tim Horton’s told BuzzFeed that some of its restaurants have a “restricted access policy for restrooms to ensure the well-being of our guests.” 

The spokesperson said their current understanding of the situation is that the woman was denied access to the restroom due to “past behavior.” 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (if you’re the RCMP where’s your horse?) told BuzzFeed the woman was “briefly detained after the incident” and prosecutors will determine if the woman will face charges when she appears in court at a later date.

Just last week, Starbucks told employees to let anyone use the restroom, even if they haven’t bought anything, as it reviews its policies and tries to restore its reputation after the arrest of two black men at a coffee shop in Philadelphia.

We play but agree, cause many of us do hockey

After Chapman posted about the Humboldt Broncos’ terrible bus crash, I thanked him because, I didn’t know what else to say.

I’ve been playing, coaching and even sometimes administering local hockey for 51 years, and this stuff strikes deep into any parent who has swerved on a snow-covered Canadian road only to listen to the kid (me) complaining, ‘we need to get there.’

Chapman wrote, “I often tell people that all I really know is hockey, food safety and family; everything and everyone important to me falls in one of those buckets. …

“All I could think of is all the teams I have been part of, back to when I was just a kid until now. Those experiences have meant so much more than competition and sport.

“It’s exactly why I got into coaching.”

No. Chapman got into coaching because I was his graduate supervisor, and his responsibilities included helping to coach a 6-9-year-old girls rep hockey team from Guelph, and bailing me out of jail upon request.

(He will say he was coaching before, but it probably wasn’t as much fun).

In 2005, Chapman and I came up with barfblog.com, and the first post was about hockey and barfing.

The worst was when I was 10 or 11. I was playing AAA hockey in my hometown of Brantford Ont., and we were off to an out-of-town game. My parents (bless them) usually drove, but obligations meant I had to get a ride with a friend on the team. About half-way to the arena, I started feeling nauseous. I tried to ask the driving dad to pull over, but it came on so fast, I had to grab the closest item in the backseat, an empty lunchbox. 
I filled it.

And more.

Back in the 1970s, the coach’s main concern was that we win. I was the starting goaltender almost every game, while the backup sat on the bench. We had something to prove because we were from Brantford, the city that had produced Wayne Gretzky just a couple of years earlier and everyone was gunning for us. 

I tried to get myself together to play. No luck. We got to the arena and I promptly hurled. 

And again.

I couldn’t play, and, unfortunately, couldn’t go home. So the rest of the team went out for the game, as I lay on a wooden bench in a sweat-stenched dressing room, vomiting about every 15 minutes. 

Such tales are not unique.

Whenever I spark up a conversation with a stranger, and they discover I work in food safety, the first response is: “You wouldn’t believe this one time. I was so sick” or some other variation on the line from American Pie, “This one time, at band camp …”

But the stories of vomit and flatulence are deadly serious. In 1995, a 5-year-old died in Wales as part of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened some 170 schoolchildren. Four people in the Toronto region were sickened with the same E. coli several weeks ago after drinking unpasteurized apple cider. Over 20 people are sick with the same bug from lettuce in the Minnesota area. And so it goes.

How did my game end? I could hear the various cheers but was lost in dizziness and nausea and sweat, wondering when this would end. 
The trip home was uneventful; I was drained — figuratively and literally.
We lost.

Thanks to all the Australians I hung out with today and asked me about the Humboldt Broncos’ and hopefully I provided some insight into the role of (ice) hockey in the small and large communities throughout Canada.

Humboldt Broncos tragedy

I often tell people that all I really know is hockey, food safety and family; everything and everyone important to me falls in one of those buckets.

This weekend I travelled to St. Paul, Minnesota to watch the NCAA Frozen Four (the national division 1 championships) with a hockey buddy, and couple of his former teammates. As my friends and I sat at a brewery talking about the games we had seen the night before, I checked Twitter and read short blurbs on the developing story of the Humboldt Broncos’ terrible bus crash.

Reports of fatalities and the individuals lost populated my timeline throughout my weekend.

All I could think of is all the teams I have been part of, back to when I was just a kid until now. Those experiences have meant so much more than competition and sport.

It’s exactly why I got into coaching.

The image to the right, three teammates, with bleached-blonde hair (dyed in team unity for the playoffs), lying in hospital beds, linking hands will always be with me.

This tragedy is overwhelming.

Hockey handshake lines at the olympics impacted by norovirus

A couple of times a week I play hockey with a bunch of amateur skaters. We play in a C league. That means we’re not very good. Most are out to have some fun and drink some beer after the buzzer.

Sometimes, there’s a player or two who got into it with each other (that’s a hoser hockey term for a push or a trip) who re-meet in the post-game handshake line.

The classy hockey players fist bump or slap hands and say ‘good game.’

Not everyone is classy. Leave it on the ice, we’ve all got to get up and get back to our normal lives the next day.

I’m talking to you, guy in the green helmet from my game last night. Don’t be so angry.

And don’t give me norovirus.

According to ABC News, the handshake lines are different during the Pyeongchang Olympics compared to other games after over 200 security folks and athletes have acquired the virus.

Officials have told players to fist-bump each other rather than shaking hands to prevent transmission of norovirus, which is highly contagious. U.S. defenseman James Wisniewski’s 62-year-old father tested positive for norovirus last week and is one of 49 of 283 confirmed Olympic cases still in quarantine.

“It’s something that you’re like, ‘Ah, really how bad can it get?’ And then all of a sudden bang, bang — a couple people close to you have it and you don’t really know how, you don’t know where,” Wisniewski said Monday. “You don’t want it going through your locker room, that’s for sure.”

Bonhomme Carnival: Pee wee hockey in Quebec

About 45 years ago, I got to play in the pee wee tournament at the Quebec winter carnival.

In 1974, as a pee wee (ice) hockey goaltender, I boarded a train, with my parents, from Brantford, Ontario to Quebec City.
Today, I’m reading the messages of Australian parents who have sent their Ice Crocs to the same pee wee tournament in Quebec City, as part of the winter carnival, or as the French prof would say, Bonhomme Carnaval, or I would say, Quebec Winter Carnival (and not by train, it would sink).
The pee wee hockey tournament has been a cornerstone of the Quebec Winter Carnival for, forever.

Coming from the town of Gretzky, great expectations were thrust upon the kids from Brantford, and about 10,000 people showed up in the arena where the Nordique used to play (it was probably 500, but great storytelling sometimes requires great imagination).

I let in 4 goals in two periods and was yanked.

My friend Mike (who I used to fear as a better goalie, but now we’re facebook friends) went in for the third and let in two goals.

We lost 6-0.

I have tried to bring these humble homilies to my years of coaching, teaching, and whatever else.

The experience though, was fantastic, hanging out with our host family, walking around in -20C weather, and awestruck by the 30-foot snow piles at the end of driveways.

We lost the game, but learned so much.

This is my way of telling hockey parents — especially the Australian ones —  chill out.

My parents were and are awesome, driving me to the rink, going to Quebec City, getting on a plane when I needed them.