Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada on November 4, 1999 · 58
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Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada · 58

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, November 4, 1999
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? -- D2 CALGARY HERALD Thursday, November 4, 1999 Sports Bruce Dowbiggin Death in sports is viewed differently The media theory of relativity: A plane goes down off the Massachusetts coast carrying 217 people to their deaths. A young Canadian auto racer is killed in a horrific crash during a race in California. The racer's death shares equal billing with the plane disaster in the press. It is the rude ratio of celebrity in the 1990s. One famous person who courted death equals 217 people (26 of them Canadi- LOMMENT ans) who were in no hurry to die. Call it the dao of death. This relativity of drone versus celebrity extends beyond the headlines as welL The public wants the cause of the airline crash (mechanical), but it must know the "meaning" of the driver's death (spiritual). While only family and friends mourn the loved ones killed in the airliner accident, millions of total strangers are joined in grief at the demise of the racing driver or football-star. The media which knows the athlete only slightly better than do the fans cooperates in the process of out-sized grief for the fallen star. In obituaries accompanied by maudlin music, the dead sports hero becomes equal parts Andy Hardy and Mahatma Gandhi. Memorial services and funerals are covered in excruciating, painful detail with pans of weeping family and closeups of stricken teammates. Lingering shots of impromptu shrines loaded with flowers and messages from fans become a staple of the daily coverage. This macabre spectacle chills many people who believe that privacy is to be more treasured than fame. But public gawking at private grief is now a fixture of our mass-media culture. There has always been a morbid curiosity about the mortality of the famous, of course. The assasination of JFK and most recently the death of Princess Diana have demonstrated the cathartic potential a celebrity death can have on a willing public The suddenness of their passing causes people who wouldn't pause for an accident victim to now weep openly on the street or lay flowers at a shrine for a celebrity. Watching Diana's funeral, some argued that all-news formats like CNN exist simply to satisfy the public need for a good cry. I The sports world has resisted such outpourings until lately. But the very public grief for Greg Moore, Payne Stewart and Walter Payton signifies something changed utterly in athletics. The lamentation and voyeurism that has accompanied their deaths appears to indicate a new symbiosis be-tween fan and athlete. Grieving has become a participation sport, guerilla theatre for the eyes of the cameras. - The reasons why the supposedly unsentimental world of sport has become convulsed by events such as Stewart's death in a plane crash or Moore's demise on a race track are complex. After all, today's sports heroes are generally held to be overpaid, underworked and the cause of the decline of traditional values in sports. The sainted athlete is just a a police arrest away from becoming a fallen an-geLTheo Fleury flew too close to the sun in free agency and so lost his innocence in this city. Barry Sanders went from the pride of Detroit to its pariah in the time it took to retire. But a death in the sports family changes everything. An athlete robbed of life in the prime of his career attacks a hidden corner of the urban male psyche. The compulsion to dare, the willingness to risk all that Moore personified is the lost boyhood dream of Baby Boomers locked in settled lives and stagnant careers. The death of the 24-year-old British Columbian is a potent reminder of how that dream has died for them as welL And a trigger for grieving the self as well as the saint. As the lives of this dominant demographic group of Boomers become more settled, the sense of loss becomes more pronounced. And the need for an emotional outlet becomes more important That fact hasn't escaped the attention of marketers who thrive on in- terpreting the wants and desires of 40 50 somethings. Enter Moore, Stewart, Payton et al Gladiators on their shield, symbols for a generation of risk takers who gave up the chase. Mix that with a generation discovering its own mortality. Before you can say grim reaper . . . the all-death TV channeL Mark Twain's definition of a good life was that when you die, even the undertaker is sorry. In the modern world, however, it appears you only need to bring a tear to the imblinking eye of the TV lens to be considered a success. CFL AWARD NOMINEES Stamps focus on larger prize Individual accolades nice, but Cup is better LORI EWING Calgary Herald You don't notice the kicker on a football team, it seems, until something's gone wrong. Or in Mark McLoughlin's case, when he's in the running for an award. The veteran placekicker with the Calgary Stampeders hasn't been in the news much this season, since booting the winning field goal in last season's Grey Cup. Interesting, for a guy that almost never misses. For the second time in his 12-year career, McLoughlin has been named the Stampeder nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian. The kicker was one of five Stampeder players announced Wednesday for the 1999 Canadian Football League Dodge Player Awards slotback Allen Pitts is up for most outstanding player, linebacker Darryl Hall as outstanding de-tensive player, Rocco Romano, outstanding offensive lineman, and Shad Criss, outstanding rookie. For McLoughlin's part, he's having a career season, pulling out a number of wins for the Stamps with his bang-on kicking. He currently leads the league in field goals with 46. "This year has been a little bit different from past years. I felt there's been a lot more games this year that I've maybe contributed to the outcome, whereas in the past, I might have just been a part of a very high-powered offence," said McLoughlin. "So it's nice to be included in that As a placekicker you always want to be front and centre. You always want to be the guy that's contributing to the team victories." Said Romano, who credited his success this season to O-line coach Dan 4 ff vs a O i Shannon Duncan, Calgary Herald. p The Stampeders nominees as picked by members of the local chapter of the Football Reporters of Canada (I to r): . Shadwick Criss, most outstanding rookie; Rocco Romano, offensive lineman; Allen Pitts, most outstanding player; u Darryl Hall, defensive player, and Mark McLoughlin, most outstanding Canadian. ,' - Dorazio: "It's an honour and a very prestigious award because you can't really look at the offensive line as an individual position; it's five guys playing together. Any one guy could have represented the group." Defensive back Shadwick Criss's knowledge of the CFL was virtually nil when he arrived in Calgary, and the entire season has been a learning project for the newcomer out of Missouri. His quick take on his position, said Stampeder general manager-head coach Wally Buono, is what earned Criss the nod as outstanding rookie. "Thrown into a very difficult situation as a starter, playing in a halfback position, he's done an excellent job," said Buono. "He's handled it very well, considering he'd never played that position before." Criss though, preferred to duck the individual spotlight. "It's an honour to be named, but my main goal is to help the team win the Grey Cup," said Criss. "That's when I will appreciate these personal awards a lot more." And for Hall, the recognition perhaps was too long in coming. The seventh-year Stamp was nominated in 1992, but at the time, he was a defensive back, not a linebacker. Hall leads the team in defensive tackles with 67, and two weeks ago, was the CFL's defensive player of the week for his dominating game against the star-studded offensive unit of the B.C. Lions. "It has been a long time," acknowledged HalL "But this year, like in the past years, there's any number of guys on our defence who could have re ceived this award." , . The second ballot will name divK.-fc sional nominees in each of the five catr!-1 egories, and the results will be an-- Z 1 Frers receives honour Safety Greg Frers received the Stam-- peder nomination for an award of a different sort Wednesday the Tom,. -Pate Award. . L .H The award, established in 1976 as 4 :V tribute to the late Hamilton linebacker; recognizes a CFL player for his sports- -i manship and contribution to the 2. league, the team, and the community. . 1 "In a world in which children are progressively bombarded with negav tive influences, I consider it a privilege- ,i to be a positive role model to the com-' 1 munity," said Frers. rt FromDI Pitts: Leading by example At times this season, Pitts' steady influence has kept the Stamps in the hunt for first place in the West. "Al's been very successful on the field, and I think he's had more success of late in the locker room," coach Wally Buono said. "When you look at outstanding players, there are a number of issues you look at and leadership is one of them." And these days, that's what Pitts is striving for to lead by example. The personal accolades, let someone else worry about those. "I haven't looked at (this award) specifically as a goal," he explained. "What I've always said is: Play at a consistent level "The expectations of myself and the level I want to play at is a high leveL That's always been my main goal, and just to be able to contribute to my team and to let the coaches and fellow players know they can count on me." Pitts has certainly proven that He owns four CFL all-time records: Receiving yards (13,746), receiving touch-; downs (109), most 100-yard receiving games (60) and most games catching a touchdown pass (88). But when it comes to the outstanding player award, Pitts has never managed to get past the Western Division nominee. His other two nominations came in 1991 and '96, and other seasons he's lost to teammates quarterback Doug Flutie, a three-time award winner; quarterback Jeff Garcia, and running back Kelvin Anderson last season. This season, he's up against another veteran who is perhaps as deserving as Pitts and, like Pitts, has never won the award B.C. Lions quarterback Damon Allen. "Damon is a good friend of mine, I know the B.C. Lions wouldn't be where they're at without him running that offence," said Pitts, who played with Allen at Cal-State Fullertoa "If it's between Damon and I, I can't say he's not worthy of it as well. "But I do feel, yeah, from accomplishments, the level of play, consistently, that him or I are worthy of the nomination from this division." To Stampeder players and coaches, though, it's simply Pitts time. "He's had an outstanding year, an outstanding career," praised Buono. "This might be the best opportunity he's ever had to win it and in my mind, he should win it" Other nominees from the West are Saskatchewan running back Mike Saunders and Edmonton running back Troy Mills. East Division nominees are Montreal running back Mike Pringle, the 1998 winner; Toronto linebacker Mike O'Shea; Hamilton quarterback Danny McManus, and Winnipeg safety Maurice Kelly. The second ballot will name divisional nominees in five categories outstanding player, outstanding Canadian, outstanding offensive lineman, outstanding defensive player and outstanding rookie. TEAM NOMINEES FOR THE 1999 DODGE MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER AWARDS Most Outstanding Player Allen Pitts, Calgary SB; Damon Allen, B.C. QB; Troy Mills, Edmonton RB; Mike Saunders, Saskatchewan RB; Mike Pringle, Montreal RB; Mike O'Shea, Toronto LB; Danny McManus, Hamilton QB; Maurice Kelly, Winnipeg CB. Outstanding Canadian: Mark McLoughlin, Calgary PK; Jamie Taras, B.C. OG; Doug Petersen, Edmonton DE; Colin Scrivener, Saskatchewan DT; Pierre Vercheval, Montreal OG; Mike O'Shea, Toronto LB; Rob Hitchcock, Hamilton LB; Wade Miller, Winnipeg LB. Outstanding Offensive Lineman: Rocco Romano, Calgary; Jamie Taras, B.C.; Hicham El-Mashtoub, Edmonton; John Terry, Saskatchewan; Uzooma Okeke, Montreal; Chad Folk, Toronto; Dave Hack, Hamilton; Christopher Perez, Winnipeg. Outstanding Defensive Player Darryl Hall, Calgary LB; Daved Benefield, B.C. DE; Terry Ray, Edmonton DB; Willie Pless, Saskatchewan LB; Barron Miles, Montreal CB; Mike O'Shea, Toronto LB; Calvin Tiggle, Hamilton LB; Maurice Kelly, Winnipeg CB. Outstanding Rookie: Shadwick Criss, Calgary DB; Paul Lacoste, B.C. LB; Don-nie Ashley, Edmonton WR; Neal Smith, Saskatchewan DE; Jason Richards, ' Montreal DT; Martavius Houston, Toronto DB; Corey Grant, Hamilton WR; Phil Curry, Winnipeg LB. Pringle says McManus i shouldn't win The Canadian Press TORONTO - j It seems Mike Pringle isn't a big Danny McManus fan. The Montreal Alouettes bullish running back, the CFL's outstanding player last season, was among the East Division nominees for this year's award, which were announced by the-league Wednesday. But Pringle, tha league rushing leader with 1,569 yardsr is a definite darkhorse to capture a third career MVP award. The ovemhelming favourite to cap ture the East Division nomination is. McManus, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats veteran quarterback who leads the CFL in passing yards (4,935) and touchdowns (27). But Pringle says if McManus gets the nod it would be. a huge miscarriage of justice. "I know Danny McManus has had a great year," Pringle, who rushed for a league-record 2,065 yards last season; said Wednesday. "But he doesn't have the numbers, percentage-wise, that (Montreal Alouettes QBs) Anthony Calvillo or Tracy Ham have. , I "If he gets nominated, that's a glove in the face to Anthony or Tracy." Pringle's statement has some merit Calvillo and Ham have both played well splitting the quarterback duties in Montreal ; Calvillo is the league's top-rated quarterback with a 102.7 rating, while Ham is No. 2 with a 100.8 rating. ; Greg Moore's life celebrated The Canadian Press VANCOUVER Greg Moore was remembered Wednesday as a man who flooded his friends with memories and left their hearts burning with his passion for life. A cold rain and dark skies deepened the sombre mood as family, friends and CART officials attended a private memorial service for the Maple Ridge, B.C, race car driver who died in a spectacular crash Sunday. Moore's father Ric, who before every race leaned over and whispered into his son's ear, ALSO SEE battled tears as he spoke. "What happened Sunday was beyond everybody's but God's control," he said in a choking voice. "He loved life and life loved him. And most people in two lifetimes would not have the memories he took with him. I don't know if there is a heaven, but if there is one, he is there, probably on the pole." Moore's sister Annie attempted to read a poem, but broke down. Her brother James finished the poem for her. Moore, 24, was killed on lap 10 of the final CART race of the season at Fontana, Calif. His parents and girlfriend attended the race and watched his Mercedes-Benz-powered Reynard disintegrate after hurtling into a wall at more than 350 kilometres an hour. "He flooded us with memories and stories and treats and questions," fellow driver Jimmy Vasser Local drag racers chase second straight title D8 Lyle Stafford, Reuters Dario Franchitti and his friend actress Ashley Judd arrive at funeral for race car driver Greg Moore. told the 1,200 people who filled St. Andrew's Wesley United Church. "The thing I keep coming back to is his passion. A passion for his f .iends, a passion for his life. He taught us to be passionate. To love life and not waste a single day." In his homily, Father Philip De Rea said on the ! morning of his death Moore gave him a huge hug at ; the race and said how happy he was. "Sure it's sad. Sure it's tragic," De Rea said of j! Moore's accident. "But were not our hearts burning J; when he was with us?" Also at the memorial were Formula One drivet Jacques Villeneuve, fellow Canadian racer Paul Tracy, Dario Franchitti with girlfriend Ashley Juddi 2 CART CEO Andrew Craig, Gerry Forsythe, owner of the team Moore raced for, and Roger Penske, owiJeC . of the team Moore was to have raced for next seasonr Tears rolled down Forsythe's face as he recall I; his last conversation with Moore. I Z "On Sunday I said to Greg 'This is not our last rapt We'll race again together and we will,' " he said. ; "A bright and shining star looked down upon us." I Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Jean Chretien ! extended his sympathies to the Moore family. j "Greg Moore was blessed with enormous gifts, J with an abiding joy in his work and a great zest for j life," Chretien said in a statement 1 "No mere words can adequately capture the void J that his death has left in so many lives." Stuart Ballantyne, general manager of the Vancou- . j ver Molson Indy, said local race organizers have ;J been bombarded with suggestions to rename the event in Moore's honour. i! "Talk of any legacy projects are very premature," ,'! he said. "It depends on what the family's wishes J would be." Moore's body was cremated Tuesday. A public sr 3 vice is planned for today in Maple Ridge. oJ

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