Breaking News: NOTLers out and about to end COVID-19 year
Special to Niagara Now/The Lake Report
Please, please, I ask television and radio news folks to quit getting me excited with exclamations of breaking news. Not that long ago, the term breaking news meant something substantial.
Perhaps an elected official redefining the word hubris by travelling to Ellicottville for a day schussing down Mardi Gras enroute to Balloons Tavern for an ice cold Yeungling ale or Oast House Barnraiser and some dancin'. Or, a rabid dog on East and West Line biting a neighbour who was playing pickleball on his driveway.
Now, the news has become so, so pedestrian. On the way into St. Catharines at 7 p.m. last week, the CKTB 610 sports news confirmed how dull the world of athletics has been during the global pandemic. The lead item was that two people had been arrested for stealing hockey memorabilia from famous hockey dad Walter Gretzky’s basement over in Brantford. Game used pants, a shin pad worn in the 1976 Canada Cup, and two flimsy, cosmetic JOFA hockey hats. Put the burglars in the slammer and throw away the keys. Give ‘em a rookie jock strap to hang on a cell wall.
Next, we learned a 17-year right hander from Grimsby had finished second at the Ontario Under 17 Darts Championships held in Wales. Sadly, the third sports news item announced the cancellation of the annual Mother’s Day Rowing Regatta, traditionally held in early May on the Henley Course in Port Dalhousie.
The Sports News concluded with news that Alison Brown, an Ontario mother of three, had broken a World Record by completing 709 aerobic burpees without stopping. In 58 minutes, 11 seconds! Now, that’s newsworthy, eh?
Incredibly, the Sports News at 10 p.m., as I drove back to Olde Towne, detailed the same four items. I’m not making this stuff up. It’s dull out there.
What’s a sports fan to do? Plaintively wail, “Go Habs Go” from the bluff at Ryerson Park toward the impressive skyline of Toronto? Celebrate because the Leafs didn’t lose a game in November? (Sorry, that was a cheap shot. I should be above that.)
O.K. let’s get more positive. Sorry, bad choice of words. Is negative good news, or is positive bad news? Please, medical folk, get rid of these two confusing, angsty words.
Breaking News: In balmy Niagara-on-the-Lake, the streets and sidewalks were alive with COVID-19 hunkered down citizens getting some exercise and fresh air,
On the Chautauqua Ampitheatre/Circle Street, a ball hockey game went on seemingly nonstop for several days, barely pausing to ring in the New Year. Lennox Meadows,Ty Sherlock and their buddies from North Chautauqua took on the Powell boys and their wingers from South Chautauqua .
If the score became one sided, they switched up the teams and played on. Imagine, even without grown ups to help and advise. Hot chocolate and cookies would arrive as if on cue, a break in the action, and then someone would say, “Let’s go.”
Hopefully, I have succeeded in limning a reassuring, exuberant scene of pure sports activity. Every hour or two, an adult would be allowed to take a short shirt between the pipes. FUN!
Now let’s move over to Rye Park. A rotating gallimaufry of NOTLers and visitors shooting hoops, dribbling, sort of competing. Often, no grown up supervision. Bewdy, eh?
On the tennis courts, Keith Stuart and his pals have been getting more than their share of laughter, exercise and fresh air. Richard Coyne, Cosmo Condina, Jan Sapp and other lads put up the nets and play many games of doubles. Nine of the last eleven days of 2020, I am told.
Carol Clark and her tennis playmates took advantage of these Town public courts, and enjoyed the temperate weather.
Martin Quick and Paul Mace layered and toqued up, playing golf at St. David’s the first three days of 2021. Jack Lowrey of St. David’s deserves the Order of Canada in recognition of the joy he has provided for thousands of golfers over the years. The best golf value in Canada, tied with Kaananaskis in the Alberta Rockies.
Over now to the Niagara Parkway Trail. Yes, I’ll say it, we are so fortunate to live here. Many families out walking, so many locals and visitors “taking the air.” Strolling, moseying, striding, full of freedom after so long Covid -19 cooped up at home. Baby strollers and wagons, so many smiles.
Occasionally during the warm months, someone asks me for directions to the Nude Beach, La Plage Nuee. What’s that all about?
As I do my exercises at the Stretching Tree where the John Street trail meets the Parkway Fitness Trail, I regularly see Marion and Richard Wilkinson cycling , to or from Queenston, full and smiles and friendly waves. Rick Sherk and George Dell speed by, having finally admitted the asphalt is harder than their heads. Helmets and reflective safety vests on, and safety lights flashing.
Wanna see elegance and sartorial splendour? Come by the stretching tree, and you may bump into Vicki and Don Beddage, NOTLers who rarely miss their daily ambulation on the Parkway Trail. Here via Nord Bay, full of friendliness, and without fail, “So nice to see you out today.”
Regularly, Paul and Dave Lepp briskly loving the outdoors. My pal Juan Neumann, who doesn’t walk, he strides purposefully, on a mission. With impressive frequency, Councillor Wendy Cheropita, almost always ahead of time, but happy to stop for a short chat.
Steve, Annika and Joyful Janzen seem to be on the Fitness Trail almost every day. Fitz is one lucky hound dog.l
Now, let’s hope for good Breaking News during the New Year. Healthy people, strong leadership, and love to all.
We are so fortunate to live in Canada … in 2021.