Passion

Jason Gregor
June 16 2009 10:31AM

Ethan Moreau and Shawn Horcoff drive to the net against the Hurricanes

Pas • sion | noun : Strong barely controllable emotion. Strong enthusiasm.

More than anything passion drives every facet of sport. The players need it to be champions, management requires it to continue on after a bad personnel decision, and the media better have it if they want to stay in the game. But fans possess it the most.

The passion from the fans is raw, unbridled, and sometimes almost blinding. The fans pay for their tickets and with that I strongly believe that gives them the right to voice their opinion, as long as it delivered in a respectful manner. The cheap personal shots and profanity or racial taunts are ridiculous and ultimately make the opinion seem less valid.

I grew up reading the paper (still do every morning) and listening to sports radio, specifically John Short. There was no Internet, no The Score, Sportsnet or TSN, and since we had Peasant Vision™ on the farm there was no ABC or any other American stations. The paper and radio were the only outlets to get information, except the subscription to Sports Illustrated.

In the car after hockey games, my late father and I would listen to Short and I was enthralled by his knowledge, but now that I’m in that chair the one constant that remains is the interaction and passion of the fans.

I loved the banter, the interviews and especially when the callers would get fired up. To this day I can’t recall a caller who called in to praise a ref after an Oiler loss.

Today the options are endless on where you want to get your fix: radio, TV and of course the Internet. The best part of sports is how we can all watch the same game and come away with completely different views of what happened.

The similarities between sports talk radio and here at the Nation are very similar, yet completely different.

The Nation allows you the readers to express your opinion in a timely fashion, while the radio is quick hits and the response/banter is instantaneous. I’ve always been partial to that type of interaction, but the more I contribute and interact on the Nation I’ve come to appreciate this format.

Brownlee’s article, and your response was entertaining and insightful, and I could sense true passion from the posters. Reading praise and criticism is good for my type of work. You don’t let either one go to your head. A wise man, Ron Durda, once told me that if everyone likes your show you aren’t doing it right. As long as they keep listening, or in this case reading, that’s what matters.

There are some things I’d like to clarify from the article.

The reason the TEAM 1260 switched to Fox from ESPN was strictly financial. ESPN wanted to double their rates, and in this financial time that wasn’t feasible for the TEAM or many other sport stations across the country. I understand some of you don’t like the more brash approach of Fox, but the 1:00-3:00pm slot with Meyers and Hartman is very insightful, and I prefer it to what we used to have in that slot.

There will be more local shows on the TEAM very soon. As a guy who grew up listening to Short and then hosting in evenings, I think it is imperative to have a show there. I can guranatee you that there will be a regular evening show very soon on the TEAM 1260. The inner workings of a company don’t need to be public knowledge, but it is a fair and valid criticism as to why we don’t have one. The good news is that there will be a new one sooner than later.

A local 1:00-3:00pm show will be coming later on as well. And I can tell you that there will be a strong focus in that show about local hockey, not just the Oilers. I’ve never understood Canadians' lack of love for amateur sports. Most of you played the game and every NHLer went through the ranks before reaching the pinnacle of success. The AJHL, ACAC, U of A and WHL are affordable and entertaining. You might not know all of the players, but if you tuned in and were given more insight into them, I wonder if you might find yourself going to four or five games a year.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the differing opinions on the hosts. I chuckle when one poster writes, “Gregor is condescending to the callers,” while another will post “He is engaging and very patient.” That is the core of sports right there. Two die-hard sport fans can listen to a caller and come away with completely different feelings on the interaction between host and caller.

There were some great suggestions on what people want to hear on the TEAM 1260, and I did get my program director and GM to read the posts. Keep in mind that the percentage of posters to readers was close to 1:100. It is that way in sports radio and the same occurs here on the Nation. I applaud those who have the time, energy and gumption to post on here. I know there are many readers and listeners who will never call or post, but are just as passionate and their opinions and loyalty are just as important. I’ve posted my email on here before and if you have a question or concern don’t hesitate to send it my way.

I enjoy the banter here and look forward to it heating up leading up to the Draft and free-agent season. What gives me the most gratification is that 95% of the posts are hear are insightful and filled with genuine passion. The childish name calling, and guys hiding behind fake names aren’t the norm on here and that is a credit to you.

When guys can argue, and it happens lots, and will continue in the future, but do so with thought provoking, intelligent retorts it makes for a great site. I would never expect, or want, all of us to have the same opinions, because it would make the site boring.

And for those who rip on guys for not posting on here keep in mind that there is still competition for your eyes. Wanye and the Nation team have done a fantastic job of mixing MSM with bloggers and they will continue in the future, but don’t expect them to have a representative from every outlet, because it won’t happen.

OILER TO WIN AWARD

I wrote last week how the Oilers haven’t had a 40-goal scorer since Klima in 1991, and who knows if that streak will end soon, but the Oilers will end another lengthy streak on Thursday.

The Oilers haven’t had an NHL award winner since 1990. That year the Oilers won the Stanley Cup, Messier won the Hart Trophy, Ranford won the Conn Smyth while Kevin Lowe took home the now defunct Budweiser Man of the Year award and most importantly, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

“The King Clancy Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.”

On Thursday, Oiler Captain Ethan Moreau will be honoured. Moreau does loads of charity work with the Stollery and the Inner City High project with the Oilers. We can critique his play on the ice all we want, but off the ice Moreau gives more to the community than any other Oiler.

For many of us without kids or who haven’t been touched directly by a charity I think we overlook this aspect of being a professional player. I can tell you the most rewarding show I do every year is when we broadcast from the Stollery Children's Hospital. It is heart wrenching and heartwarming at the same time. Ask Brownlee how important the Stollery was to his family and their little guy, Sam!

I’ve seen the reaction kids and their parents have when they meet Moreau or other Oilers, Eskimos, Rush or any other athlete and it is amazing how that one meeting can brighten up their day.

I think too many athletes don’t get that, but Moreau does. He along with his wife Ornella donate a lot of their time and energy to various charities and he does it behind the scenes. You can’t do it for the fanfare; he does it because it means a lot to him.

While the Hart Trophy is the most prestigious trophy, the King Clancy is the most rewarding and well deserved for Moreau. Whether he is here next year or not, I can guarantee you that various charities across the city are hoping he remains an Oiler for many years to come.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
Avatar
#51 Milli
June 17 2009, 10:39AM
Trash it!
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trashes
+1
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props

Good for Moreau. When i was 12-13, I spent alot of time at the childrens hospital in Calgary (AHHH!!!!) and got to meet Lanny MacDonald, now, although I have always been a die hard OILER, it was exciting to meet him, especially at such a shitty time. The athletes who get it, like Moreau, deserve much more personel respect for what they do and the lift it brings to people lifes in unmeasurable. Good for him. Someone here wrote a piece a few months back about the vets that love E-town and are such a part of the community, and ya guys like Moreau won't score 40 (or 20), but I don't think for one second anyone can ever question his effort and commitment to the team. I'll rip on him for stupid penalties or why was he on the first line, but never question his value to the team. Last year was tough on everyone, us as fans, players, coaches....so a new start with a new coach should be good for all. And it's nice to see the athletes make a bigtime diference get recognition.

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