Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Atlantic Step Dancing Champion

I had been in Charlottetown for just a little while when I started getting around with a young fellow who I worked with. I was living at a hotel and didn't know a soul and he took me under his wing, so to speak. We're cut from the same cloth, we enjoy life and get a good laugh from it when we can and we have shared a few adventures since those early days.

1997 was the year where my life took many crazy twists and turns. It was barely days old when it ended with the girl from Rawlins Cross. At the beginning of February I was off to the Island to work in a business which I had very little experience in. By the end of the year I was finishing my contract and arrangements had been made to move to Florida to join the parent company. I met the girl who I would marry, a guy who would become one of my best friends and a dog who would become the dog.

All in one year.

It was a couple of weeks after our first excursion (and we'd had a few in between) that we rushed down to the Old Dublin (a fine little establishment) for St. Patrick's Day. We got there at 5:05 and the place was already to the gills and about ten minutes later they were lined up outside.

Now I'm not usually one for St. Patrick's. I'll usually cook an Irish stew and have a couple of Guinness at home to mark it. As they say there are too many amateurs out that night.

This night was a fine one though. The crowd was roaring and we were drunk soon after we set foot inside and the band was playing some aye diddle aye and your man got up and began to dance.

My Dad, he said, when the music stopped, is right into the whole Island culture and heritage so when I was growing up I took step dancing. Myself and my sister.

No kidding, I said.

Yep, he said. Its easy, very simple, just do like so.

And so we did a little bit.

The next day at work one of the girls asked how the Old Dublin was and I said it was great and blah blah blah and your man had me up step dancing, it was great fun.

And she, laughing, looks at him and I turn and he's got a smirk on him, a smirk I would see many times again.


So four years later or so and he was married in June and I flew up from Florida to be his best man and then a month after that I was back again for my own wedding in which he stood.

Now I'll write about this some day but let me just say that this was the greatest day. All of my friends and family together and we drank and danced and laughed and after it was all over we were up almost until dawn, we didn't want it to end. My Dad said a few words at the start of the party and prefaced his remarks by saying

We McLeans are a peaceful and quiet bunch.

Which brought a cheer and raucous laughter from the gathering for two nights before the uncles and aunts and cousins had rolled into town and danced and drank the night away at that same Old Dublin. The McLeans came howling naked and drunken out of the moors long ago and while we have been civilized some its just a thin veneer really.

So the night took off from there and about an hour in the DJ plays a little aye diddle aye and up comes MacLeod and there he is, a hundred and twenty or so looking on, and he begins to dance.

All by himself.

Everyone is clapping and cheering and all of the folks from away are particularly excited. One of the other fellows there from the Island leans over to one older woman who was completely beside herself ( I think it may have been an aunt of mine, God bless her).

He's very good, isn't he, he says.

Oh yes, he's just excellent, just wonderful, she gushed.

Well he should be. He's the Atlantic Step Dancing Champion.

I would bet she tells all of her friends about that to this day.


I figured it would be an uneventful camp and I was wrong. I figured Brennan to make the team and when he got sent out I figured Reddox and I never ever thought MacIntrye would make it but apparently management would rather risk a decent young player with reasonable upside than lose a goon who is has a half dozen replacements in Springfield right now.


And Pisani is on long term injury reserve and I wonder if this might be it for Fernando. As I said to Scott Reynolds yesterday though part of me hopes that this is it. Twisted thing to wish and this team is poorer without him. He's no superstar from the dynasty days or Doug Weight or Ryan Smyth but he's been around and he's a quality guy and it would be nice for him to end his career never having worn another uniform. That would be a first.

I look at this team and I see Moreau on the fourth line and its a fit and I see Nilsson in the PB to start and I understand that and I can even live with Gagner getting a kick in the ass.

I also see Jacques, Stone and Brule in the top nine. Its early, hell by five minutes in on Saturday night Moreau and Gagner might have supplanted two of them.

I like seeing the kids doing well and its a breath of fresh air but I can't see this team winning much when the games start in earnest.

I hope, as I've said many times, that I am wrong. The guys this club needed were out there. The guys who win draws and kill penalties and check a little.

In the end Tambellini promoted from within and he's put all of his eggs in the Quinn basket.

There are still a few out there who say lets wait and see - some enthusiasm and confidence and pride will go a long way and this club is going to be a playoff club, just wait and see.

I just have a niggling feeling that Tambellini is up there dancing and while he is looking good and he cuts a fine figure in the end he's just taking the piss at our expense.


Deano said...

I am surprised SMac made it, but I am not sure that he's a lock yet. Pisani makes room for Stone.

If these rumored lines are a go, we are very thin up front.

We have the oldest boy from the club in charge and let's hope he sees as much as he appears to. (Let's also hope that its more than us amateurs see.)

Reddos, Moreau, Gagner with demotions. Penner, Jacques Brule with promotions.

There seems to be different conclusions with the forward group than the previous mastermind had.

Anyone still hoping for help by 'expecting the unexpected'? I am.

What happened to the rumors about the Preds? (I doubt that the teams still ship video back and forth. I think they can get access to all the video from Maybe Pisani was involved and its dead now.

hunter1909 said...

In 2 or 3 years Katz will have figured enough out to know that Tambellini isn't man enough for the job, end he will be gone. Then Kevin Lowe can suggest the next GM.

Nothing to worry about.

Krazy Rick said...

Looks like there is more scoring from the back end than the forwards. Too small for the wear and tear of 82 games. I want to see the Oilers win the division, go into the playoffs hot and be a real threat...but it ain't going to happen!!
I will cheer as long and as loud as I can and pray all season long for some help, but in the end, it won't matter. The Oilers won't make the playoffs and there is no help coming!!
Long season or not...Go Oilers Go!!!


Darren said...

But but but.... look at how well Stone played during preeason! And, and and... look at how well Jacques played! And don't forget, Khabulin has won a cup, he is WINNER! And Staios says he feels the best he has ever felt, that must been he can be the #1 shut-down guy!
Preseason is called f^$#ing preseason for a reason, khabulin is an injury waiting to happen, and Staios has been noticably getting worse year by year.

But hey, as long as we get that arena built and can make some profit right?


Gord said...

I have been saying since the beginning of summer that MacIntyre would be my 14th forward if I were in charge.

He does not hurt the team when he is on the ice; he lays a really big hit every couple of games; he does reasonably well against the big boys in a fight.

And he is a 100% team player who never complains being sat out 3 of every four games because he is happy being paid the lower end of an NHL salary (instead of a minor league paycheck)...

Black Dog said...

I presume MacIntyre will be replaced at some point but management definitely wants him there.

I like the guy Gord, the story I mean. Longtime minor leaguer makes it finally, etc. He's Rudy, if Rudy smashed things.

But really he can't take a regular shift. I respect him for the work he has done, his skating evidently has approved. But if he couldn't fight he would be in the minors. I don't think Quinn wants him there.

Now having said that his teammates like having him around and the Leafs were waxing poetic about all the new goonage they have added. Their goons can play though.

That's the difference.

Darren - lol, I'm an optimist but I think it might really be shit. Still we may be pleasantly surprised.

Darren said...

I was disappointed to see them waive reddox and keep a guy who's only skill is to punch a guy's head into the ice. If I wanted to watch a fighter, I would turn on boxing and/or UFC. Stortini can fight and actually play the game. Good enough for me. We need someone to penatly kill don't we?

BD - You say you're an optimist, and when I first started reading your blog, I would've agreed. But the last while, its been fairly negative and a new comer would never think your an optimist. Shocked you haven't started blogging on your Sp*rs the way they have started

Black Dog said...

Agreed on the whole Reddox thing Darren.

Heh, lets just say then that I am an optimist by nature, over the top almost.

So for me to get to this point regarding the Oilers, well its taken a lot of disappointment to get me here.

LT is the same, the guy is always positive, but four summers of not addressing obvious problems and now three non playoff years to show for it, well there's a reason.

hunter1909 said...

LMAO try having your childhood ripped apart by seeing the team you adore getting it's guts ripped apart in an annual basis, as you desperately try to figure out the meaning of life in middle school, all at the same time.

You guys are amateurs.

hunter1909 said...

I love how Schremp going has inadvertently galvanised Oiler fans into reality.

Maybe it's seeing the Flames raping a strong Canucks team in the first few minutes, or seeing all of those young Avs skating around looking talented, I don't know.

Darren said...

Hunter, I am in the same boat as you. I vaguely remember the 1990 Stanley Cup win, and after that it's disappointment after disappointment. Thank goodness I have somehow managed to never actually buy anyone Oiler memorbilia in my lifetime yet. I'll save that money for when they look good. So never. ha

Scott Reynolds said...

Also in 1997: three goals in three minutes against Dallas and then Bucky with the OT winner, Cujo's save and then Todd Marchant scoring on the next shift topped off with a Dan McGillis kiss. Now those were the days of the Oilers I knew. It's probably the year you became an Oiler fan.

As for Pisani, well if he retired today he'd be the longest tenured man to have only played pro with the Oilers. Still, the man hasn't earned his NHL pension yet and he also hasn't played as many games in an Oilers uniform as guys like Rem Murray and Mike Grier. I'll wait for Shawn Horcoff to retire before doling out the significant Oiler retiring an Oiler tag, all the while remembering god-damned Kevin Lowe calling Ryan Smyth an "Oiler for life" during the run of '06 only to trade him nine months later. Bastard.

Black Dog said...

Those clubs from 1997 to 2006 only missed the playoffs twice. Twice!

That was when I became a fan. I loved those clubs. Hard working, aggressive, skating, a lot of fun to watch. A lot of losses but they left it all out there.

I'd take that type of club for starters.

Scott - true about Pisani but that's as good as it gets, all the more sadness for a club with such a rich history. I'll still celebrate it, hopefully as the start of a trend.