The Ball is Round

When my dad talks about soccer or life events in general, he will often claim that you can never predict an outcome because the ball is round. It bounces and rolls and it usually defies logic. If you want to drive my dad crazy you add on “bend it like Beckham” when he talks about balls being round. Round is one thing but people will always find a way to throw you a curve.

Curves are meant to trick you. Just think of an RA Dickey knuckle ball; just when you think it’s crossing the plate in the sweet spot the dodgy little sucker makes an unexpected manoeuvre. Sometimes the curves can be a pleasant surprise, though. And that’s what happened this weekend.

I was supposed to take a road trip with an old friend. Her son is way up north (6+ hours drive) and we were going to visit him for a couple of days. He’s in college to become a pilot but he also plays the cello in the philharmonic in town. He’s a cool dude. But a few weeks ago we got slammed with a gigantic amount of snow and we re-evaluated our driving notion. We thought about flying. For me that’s a 2 hour trip to the airport with a lead time to account for security etc. It’s over 4 hours not including the 1 hour flight. My friend started a new position in the fall and it’s a heavy load; her other kid plays high level hockey. We did a rethink of our Thelma and Louise adventure. Timing was off. As I deleted the event from my calendar, I suddenly realized I had a weekend off. What’s that? Funny how even in retirement it seems everything is jammed into a weekend.

Rudy and I looked at the open weekend and quickly filled it to the brim. He was heading out of town Thursday and Friday to deal with personal matters and planning to return Friday afternoon. Our neighbours invited us to attend a meeting with Town planners to discuss the site development at our townhouse complex. The meeting was scheduled from 9:30 am to 10:30 am. We wanted to debrief after the meeting so we decided to wait until the afternoon so Rudy would be included. Friday got chewed up altogether when the neighbours showed up for the debrief at 4:30 pm and we strategized for 3 hours (there were 6 of us so there was lots of ideas). I had prepared dinner earlier in the day and suggested we eat. We had dinner and parted company around 10 pm. The ball being round, I was delighted to hang out with the neighbours who we’d never really interacted with before. A thoroughly enjoyable gathering.

The next day was our condo corporation AGM. It’s usually a round ball meeting. There are 16 units in our complex and the meetings get downright nasty. There’s a couple of contentious issues that have divided the cozy enclave (and caused us to move) and created what one neighbour referred to as a toxic environment. This meeting was no different. Starting at 9 am, I wish I could blink and make it end. The board and management have (unethically) chosen a side and labelled the opposers as “dissidents” (I keep forgetting that the complex is in communist Russia). In any event, the meeting crawls on for 90 minutes. I’d rather drink bleach.

After the meeting we head home (luckily not up the townhouse where eye daggers are piercing) and enjoy a yummy brunch and the weekend papers. It’s one of my favourite rituals by the way. I love lingering with the paper and a cup or two of coffee. It’s a weekly routine that I deeply miss in Florida. The papers just aren’t the same there. And I can’t get into the on line thing. Plus the crossword is a must!

Saturday night we are attending a fundraiser for the brand new local junior hockey team The Colts. The event is at the Legion and catered by a chef that we know from our past life. That was cool. The entire hockey team (fine young men in their teens) is wearing tuxedos and are the event hosts: hanging coats and greeting at the door. Very nice. We are there with our friends and we find a table to sit at. Rudy knows the event organizers and a few others so we make introductions. The speaker for the event is Nick Kyprios a former NHL player and Stanley Cup winner. He’s very entertaining with a hearty contagious laugh. His stories are so engaging. It’s no wonder he had a successful post hockey career in broadcasting. There’s a silent auction to bid so we have a bit of fun with that too. Dinner was delicious! A fun night.

Sunday is Grey Cup. I always wonder what’s on Rudy’s mind as he dives into his memories for that feeling in 1974 when he played in the same game. It’s Canada’s biggest sports event and young footballers are watching the game and aspiring to be there one day. Of course only a very small few make that cut. Rudy always underplays the awesomeness of his achievements. He’s so humble and wonderful. We are heading to a Grey Cup event. Back to the Legion. (In a small town there’s only so many venues!). This event is a fundraiser for the local high school football team. One of Rudy’s former teammates is the coach. We go with our friends (same ones … déjà vu) and again there’s an auction. Totally different menu for sure! But add a few beers and a big screen .. it’s game day! There’s a bit of an issue about who we cheer for. Hamilton: Rudy’s hometown and the team we watched for many years as season ticket holders. Or Winnipeg: where the head coach and gm are U of Guelph alumni that Rudy coached. Either way we were hoping for a great match up. As it turned out the game was a bit lacklustre as the Hamilton team didn’t have the grit. We were happy to see Winnipeg take the cup. The ball is definitely not round in football.

Monday rolls around and the weekend is over. Glad I’m retired. Happy the earth (like the ball) is round. Happy for great friends.

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