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Today In History
On July 8, 1993
Fred Weick, US aeronautical engineer,died

musiclibre web media sharing and recommendations

IF YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY ... Not all that long ago now President Barack Obama "announced that ... grants will be available for those wishing to do research in renewable energy ... such as wind [and] solar." The next day "German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG said ... it will acquire a 28 per cent stake in Archimede Solar Energy S.p.A. to expand its expertise in solar thermal power plants." Meanwhile, for mere mortals who just want to know more the OpenSolar blog in the San Francisco Bay Area has been expanding its resources for letting you "ask questions about solar technology and get personal answers from experienced solar professionals and installation owners." All this remains one big piece in the big new clean-energy future that lies ahead. You can check it out in depth at ABOUT OPEN SOLAR!

CROWD TURNS ON VINCE IN T.O. — More NBA follies?   PDF  Print 
Written by Dominic Berry  
Wednesday, 24 November 2004  

On the same recent November night that basketball’s Indiana Pacers clashed with Pistons fans in Detroit, Raptors fans at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto "unleashed their wrath" at reluctant home-team star Vince Carter. They "booed every time he touched the ball in the first quarter," jeered an early failed field-goal attempt, and "held up a couple of large yellow banners which said ‘Trade Vince: He has no heart.’"



Granted, the Raptors fans stayed in the stands, and Vince stayed on the court. He contented himself with just telling a sports writer, "It’s weird." No fans actually threw anything at Carter, or at any of the visiting Seattle Sonics. Vince wound up having one of his better nights. As he stressed later himself, some of his best shots finally did bring cheers.

Yet a few nights further down the road, on after-hours North American TV, both David Letterman and his colleague Biff Henderson urged that it was the Detroit fans who were mostly at fault in the much-fretted-about Pacers-Pistons-fans clash.

Letterman, of course, is an Indiana native son who still seems to follow the Pacers. Like most NBA basketball players nowadays, Henderson is African American. Even so, the kinder and gentler but still pretty rough treatment that Vince Carter was receiving in Toronto the Good on the same night just may suggest that, in any great reckoning now underway on basketball manners, the current NBA fan culture ought to be taking its fair share of the rap.

Letterman’s show on CBS has also stressed that being a Canadian is no inoculation against the excesses of the basketball fan culture. On the same night that Dave and Biff were blaming the fans for what happened in Detroit, the show ran a sketch in which a purported NHL spokesman thanked the NBA, for picking up the slack that on-strike-locked-out hockey players have left in the most violent habits of North American professional sport.

Some Canadian residents might note as well that in Detroit at least the fans were logically enough attacking the players on the visiting team. It is only in Toronto that the fans attack their own home-team players (though just verbally and from a distance, of course). As the Winnipeg-born Hollywood comedian David Steinberg once explained, "in Canada they eat their young."

Toronto fans, in their defence, will explain that the "venomous razzing" they "fired Carter’s way" does have its own higher logic. Vince has "publicly stated he wants out of Toronto." In the eyes of Toronto sports fans, not wanting to be in Toronto is the ultimate offence. Or, as the large yellow banners at the ACC the other night said: "Trade Vince: He has no heart."

The model against whom Carter is being held up here is the 5-foot-six-inch-170-pound African American gridiron star, Michael "Pinball" Clemons. He was born and raised in Florida, and went on to coach the Toronto Argonauts to the Grey Cup championship of the Canadian Football League, just this past Sunday, November 21, 2004.

After struggles with his size in the NFL, the diminutive Pin had a brilliant 12-year playing career with the Argos, before he started coaching the team a few years back. Now he has a family and many hard-earned community connections in Toronto. And it is no accident that his autobiography, published by Harpercollins Canada in the late 1990s, is called All Heart.

Toronto sports fans who are especially sensitive to the racial undertones of the recent NBA clash between players and fans in Detroit will equally want to stress that their deep affection for Pinball Clemons, who is all heart, shows that their current hyperbolic hostility towards Vince Carter, who has no heart (they say), has nothing to do with the colour of anyone’s skin.

The Raptors, moreover, are supposed to be present-day Toronto’s pre-eminently multicultural team, with a fan base rooted in the most diverse parts of the city’s evolving social demography. (More than even the Blue Jays, who did win the World Series in 1992 and 1993, or Pinball’s modern Argonauts, Grey Cup champions 1991, 1996, 1997, 2004, to say nothing of the hockey Leafs who can do no wrong, even though they haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967.)

Yet there is something unsettling about the "venomous razzing" that the fans gave Vince Carter on his own court in Toronto the other night. And maybe it does set the more overtly violent action in Detroit on the same night into some intriguing enough wider perspective.

Going back to the (presently non-existent) local professional hockey scene for just a moment, late last spring, when it briefly looked as if the Leafs were getting closer to the Stanley Cup than they have been for some time, raucous fans leaving the Air Canada Centre wreaked some alarming minor havoc in downtown Toronto. It prompted sports writers and others to wonder just what kind of man-made disaster might befall the city if the Leafs ever do win the Cup again.

We are, most of us at any rate, all sports fans at some point in time. And if blame for such things as the recent Pacers-Pistons-fans uproar in Detroit is going to be parceled out fairly, with justice for all, there is no doubt a lot to go around. It may even be that our economy is partly at fault too, for increasingly teaching all us sports fans such rough manners at work.


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