Monday, June 4, 2012
Hockey fans will recognize the guy in the photo above, but for those not interested in the sport it is Tim Thomas, a goaltender with the Boston Bruins. As a Vancouver Canucks fan it's difficult to look upon his smugly smiling visage, as he is one irritating reason the Bruins took the Stanley Cup over my team in seven games last year. Unfortunately, he's an excellent keeper who not only raised the cup in 2011, but also won the Conn Smythe Trophy for Most Valuable Player of the playoffs, and the Vezina Trophy for the NHL's best keeper last season. As much as I consider him the enemy, then, I must acknowldge his skill, especially when it mattered.
However, beyond the uniform he wears, another reason to dislike him has arrived in the form of his decision to "sit out" next season. He announced on F***book on Sunday that he will take the year off in order to spend more time reconnecting with "family, friends and faith." Now, I cannot knock the fact he wants to devote more time and energy to these areas of his life, but the other side of the story is that he is still contracted to the Boston Bruins. Although he will not get paid for his leave of absence - and rightly so - the rules of the NHL salary cap and his own contract mean that his team, i.e. his employer, will have $5 million less (being Thomas' salary for the 2012-13 season) that they can spend on wages. That could bag them a couple of quality players to add to their roster, but because of Thomas' actions they are strapped to do so.
How incredibly selfish it is to leave his team on the financial hook like this. At age 38, why doesn't he simply do the decent thing and retire? If he so desired he could always come out of retirement (if, after this, any team wanted him) after his year's sabbatical, but no, he expects to come back and play again after his time off! What an ego!
How lovely it would be, would it not, if you or I could march into our boss' office and say, "Sorry, but I don't think I want to work next year, so I'm taking it off. You don't mind do you?" But you and I live in the real world, one where I have been unable to take a proper holiday for nine years.
Thomas should realize that no one man is above a team, that he has an obligation to his employers (and fans and team-mates) within the terms of a contract, and that because of him his team will be financially hindered to the tune of $5 million - which, let's face it anyway, is an obscene amount of money to be paid for what he does in the first place. Not that he cares, I'm sure, as he certainly won't go without during his year-long holiday
I for one hope this break means we've seen the back of this prima donna, a classic example of why the players hold way too much sway in the sport I love.
On June 1st Susan and I welcomed the gorgeous little munchkin you see above into our life. He is 10-weeks old and we've called him Reggie after one of our favourite UK sitcom characters, Reginald Perrin. I could bang on for hours about what a beautiful bundle of energy and cute mischief he is, but it would say nothing that has not been said a billion times before of the joy of kittens. However, in the four days he's been with us he has done one thing that could be interpreted as quite extraordinary. It was an action, however incidental and innocently unintentional, that seems the perfect way to introduce Reggie, but we can't help consider it to be pretty spooky!
As can be seen in the photo, book cases line the wall opposite our bed. On the shelf in line with the edge of the bed sits a knitted figure of a cat. Susan created this a couple of years ago as a representation of our dear Eddie, who passed away a few weeks ago. Susan being Susan, she included some of Eddie's discarded fur in the plush Eddie's heart. On his first day with us, Reggie spotted the yarn-crafted Eddie and sat looking at it for a while. Some time later he leapt from the bed on the bookshelf it sits on, walked up to it and with one tap of his tiny paw, knocked it onto the floor. To date this remains the sole time he has jumped onto that bookshelf, or shown any interest in it.
Isn't that weird? It's so symbolic and, to us, naturally rather sad, but the facts are that Eddie is gone and Reggie is here, so the latter's action, driven only out of curiosity, certainly illustrates the way of things now. And from this intriguing beginning, we embark on what we hope will be a long and beautiful companionship with Eddie's successor.