News that former Pro Wrestler Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair is ailing harkens me back to my days as a former fan.
My early memories of the "squared circle" as a boy go back even further, remembering the likes of "Whipper" Billy Watson, Canada's greatest athlete (self-proclaimed of course) Gene Kiniski and the original Shiek (who I later learned spoke English and wasn't really from Syria).
It was a time when pro wrestling was more believable in the ring before evolving into the ridiculous and much more dangerous theatrics of today, where it seems storylines can be pushed well beyond what us "old fans" would deem appropriate.
Flair in his prime was as flamboyant as they come and while frequently holding one version or another of a "world championship", he would grind out one-hour title matches, sometimes several times a week.
While pro Wrestling doesn't qualify as a sport with its fake fighting and pre-determined outcomes, the practitioners like Ric Flair are definitely athletes.
Bryan Murray's hockey career was perserverence personified.
The 74 year old succumbed to a three year battle with stage four colon cancer on the weekend after a 35-year NHL career as a coach, general manager and front office executive.
It almost never happened. Murray was fired from his job as Head Coach by the Pembroke Jr-A Lumber Kings, situated just a stone's throw from his hometown of Shawville, Que. While pondering a return to full-time teaching in 1979, Murray was talked into taking the same position with the WHL's Regina Pats by former GM Bob Strumm.
Murray decided to try it for a season. A year later he was coaching the AHL's Hershey Bears and moved up to be the bench boss of the NHL's Washington Capitals a year after that.
Murray's success is a testiment to his drive, adaptability and love of the game. His passing is a sign you can take nothing for granted especailly in the face of an insidious disease that know no boundaries.
Look up the word dynasty in the dictionary and it would be no surprise to see a picture of the Saskatoon Hilltops.
The team is vying for an unprecedented fourth Canadian Junior Football League Championship and an incredible 20th in team history.
This doesn't happen by accident. Tom Sargeant has proven himself as the best Head Coach in the country while the rest of the organization reflects that excellence.
When you're this good for this long it's a testament to the recruitment capabilities and the molding of that raw and mostly high school talent into individual and team success.
The Hilltops open the 2017 season Saturday night at new Mosaic stadium against the Regina Thunder, a team they trimmed by a single point in last fall's playoffs so there will be motivation on both sides of the ball.
The Hilltops have attained what many teams strive for, while most hope to win, the Hilltops expect to.
I also hope you will join me for the ride this season by listening in on 92.9 The Bull.
The suggestion that the Riders should replace starting quarterback Kevin Glenn with Brandon Bridge for this Sunday's home game against the BC Lions borders on the ridiculous and shouldn't make it above the white noise category around workplace water coolers.
Bridge responded admirably last Saturday in BC by coming off the bench to toss a pair of touchdown passes with the Riders trailing 30-0 in the fourth quarter. But Head Coach and GM Chris Jones while complimenting the Canadian QB for his mobility and poise when pressed into service, was quite correct in pointing out in the final analysis, it was two plays, one of which included a circus catch against a group of second-stringers on defense.
There is a reason Glenn ranked sixth on the CFL's all-time passing list. A better case could be made for Brandon to be a "Bridge" to the future if the Riders were hopelessly out of the playoff picture.
There are two upcoming games against 4-and-2 Winnipeg, with a cross-over post season position pending. But that window could close soon if the Riders don't starting winning with much more frequency.
There was a time when getting shutout of the medal parade at the world track and field championships was expected, not so for the current collection of Canadians who have been calamity stricken.
Medal contending sprinter Andre DeGrasse appeared destined to meet and perhaps defeat Usain Bolt in a 100 metre showdown that could have been Degrasse's coming out party. A torn hamstring prevented his date with destiny.
A achillies tendon injury has put Olympic and World Champion high jumper Derek Drouin on the sidelines while many others have spent more time in the bathroom than the London track with a stomach virus.
Aaron Brown recovered in time to run a season best while winning his heat in the 200 metres, but was then disqualified for a lane violation, while defending champion Shawn Barber finsihed eighth in pole vault amid technical troubles that also plagued him at the London Olympics.
Let's hope if there is a Canadian shutout, it comes on the ice at the U-18 Ivan Hlinka hockey tournament, meaning this country's string of bad luck on the track has run its course.