It doesn't seem as though many people follow hockey. Sure, most people will at least know who won the Stanley Cup last year. They may have even SEEN a few of the final games while drinking watered-down Molson in the local Boston Pizza, waiting for their friends to show up so they can try the selection of flavoured vodkas and hit on the girls there who pretend they don't want to be hit on, but in fact like the attention because their parents spent more time trying to "get ahead" at the office than actually looking after their kids.
Anyway, on any given game night or the following day, I'm hard pressed to find someone with whom I can discuss the upcoming/previous game. I suppose that in Edmonton these days, everyone just assumes the Oilers are sucking the baboon's mangy, but oddly alluring, behind. And they'd be right. About assuming that the Oilers sucking, I mean, not that the baboon's behind is alluring (not that there's anything wrong with thinking that. If three DIFFERENT women could look past Newt Gingrich's obvious resemblance to the love child of Brian Dennehy and a British bulldog enough to wed him, then there have to be at least a few thousand people out there who think a baboon's behind IS alluring. Most of these people belong to the Aryan Brotherhood.).
Imagine my glee, then, when Tim Thomas--decorated (Vezina, Conn Smythe), record-setting (single-season save percentage of 0.938 in 2010-2011), and Flint, Michigan-born goaltender--refused to join the rest of his Stanley Cup-winning Boston Bruins hockey team in going to the White House for a routine, nonpartisan, and likely boring victors' meet-n-eat with Barack Obama on Monday, January 23, 2012. "Hockey (or, at least, one soon-to-be-washed-up hockey player with a chip on his shoulder bigger than Zdeno Chara) is front page news! Huzzah," I thought, "Maybe for the wrong reasons...but hockey isn't just getting attention for sidelining superstars with questionable head shots anymore...it's breaking BARRIERS!!"
And all it took was for Thomas, who could have kept his mouth shut and his political leanings in the locker room or bedroom where they belong; could have gone to the soiree with the rest of his team; could have eaten his fill of burrito thermidor or turkey wellington or whatever; and could have gone home to boff his wife, satisfied with the knowledge that he took the high road, rose above airing out his partisan views in an otherwise completely apolitical setting; and taken his kudos from The Honourable, His Excellency, the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, etc., etc. Mr. President.
Instead, Thomas decided not to do any of those things. Rather than leave it at that, he issued this statement on Facebook--you know, the place where everyone exhibits and/or explains their unusual and stupid behaviour:
"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.
"Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.
"This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT"
My first thought was, "Holy shit!! Tim Thomas knows that government is divided into three branches...AND HE CAN NAME THEM!!" That's good enough for me to take his opinion seriously. Everything else he says about the federal government threatening the people's rights, liberties, and property--even though it reads like a Bill O'Reilly sex mantra--must be true and completely justifies why he put himself above the rest of his team and decided not to go to the White House. And while he may not be a constitutional scholar, he must know what that Holiest of Holy documents is all about, and what the Founding Fathers were thinking when they drew it up (besides what the comely maiden who dispensed the cucumber water looked like under her bodice).
It's also helpful that he specifies that he exercised his right as a "Free Citizen" (BTW, how did he decide what to capitalize? Must be some advanced typesetting convention that I never heard about.) in not visiting the White House. Yes, you are a free citizen, Mr. Thomas. Free to think, speak, write, and act in any idiotic way you like so long as it doesn't injure anyone or threaten their own liberties. And others, in turn, are free to muse and expound on what may be construed as hypocrisy and prima donna behaviour on your part.
But not I! You clearly are the reason your team won the Stanley Cup. You are so much better than the rest of the men who wear the same uniform as you, you know better than the coaches, the management, the ownership, the fans, the hot dog vendors...so why should you conform yourself to outdated and abstruse concepts such as "team", "fellowship", or plain old "humility"? And of COURSE your decision was not about politics or party...you would NEVER have gone if it were John McCain or GWB in the White House! Who cares if the Bruins' media guide says the person you'd most like to have dinner with is Glenn Beck? Just because your ideal dinner date is a middle-aged, rich, mentally unstable, invective-spewing, fear-mongering, racist, radically conservative white man...so what? My ideal dinner date is Uma Thurman...that doesn't mean I agree with her political views. It just means I want to ogle her for a couple of hours and maybe ask her if she enjoyed wearing the yellow body suit in that recent movie of hers. I'm sure the same is true of your desire to sup with Mr. Beck and your conversational intentions. And if I were one of those socialist crybaby media types, I'd also try to make something of the fact that your three children's initials are KKK...but I'm not, and I won't. You have to admit, though, it IS kind of weird that you did that.
Anyway, Tim...can I call you Tim? "Mr. Thomas" just seems so formal. Using a title puts these boundaries between us, boundaries that shouldn't be there because I know you so well now. My dearest Tim, my bearded, rough-and-tumble, self-assured, outspoken Tim, just know that there are LOADS of people--five or six of them, anyway--who think as I do, that your actions (not going to a TEAM FUNCTION, 'coz yer better than the rest of the roster; snubbing the Prez 'coz he's a black Muslim), your justifications (that it's not political, but really it is, and it's your God-given right to be a stuck-up douche), and your chosen forum (tucked away on your personal space on Facebook, bold as brass, making it obvious to everyone how strongly you feel about and stand by your convictions) portray you in nothing but the best light possible--that of twilight, the twilight of your waning career, accomplishments, and personal integrity.