Campus Stage: Skule Nite 1T0

This year’s production of Skule Nite, the annual sketch comedy show put on by U of T’s Engineering students, opened with cloaked figures making their way towards the stage, their faces illuminated (appropriately) by glowing hardhats. In a clever bit of self-referencing, they chanted for the return of the very show they were about to perform. Skule Nite, according to the robe-clad characters, was desperately needed to revive the collective engineering spirit, which had been “crushed under the weight of midterms, problem sets, and douchey TAs.”

Fortunately for the audience at opening night, Skule Nite 1T0 was funny enough to boost the morale of both engineering students and anyone plagued by the midterms and douchey TAs of other disciplines. It did occasionally get a little in-jokey, so some of its humour was lost on those of us who have never taken a class in Bahen and have no idea what PEY is. Most of the sketches, however, did not focus on engineering-related humour, and the ones that did tended to keep the more exclusive references to a minimum. (You don’t need to know exactly what the Iron Ring is in order to laugh when one of the characters cringes at the mention of it.) The result was a broadly appealing and thoroughly hilarious production that lived up to the comedic standard Skule Nite has maintained throughout its long-standing run at Hart House Theatre.

The show is a much-loved U of T tradition that began in 1921, when the School of Practical Sciences staged a successful variety performance at Massey Hall called Ngynyrs in SPaSms. Two years later, the production moved to Hart House and eventually evolved into Skule Nite, a series of short musical and comedy sketches written, performed, and produced by a team of Engineering students and graduates.

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Over the years, Skule Nite has garnered a reputation for its creative and unabashedly crass comedy. Skule Nite 1T0 was no exception, staying consistently original, crude, and side-splittingly funny throughout its three hours. This year’s sketches featured dancing centaurs, the manliest restaurant in the world (“Taco Balls”), the womanliest restaurant in the world (where the appetizer is chocolate and main course is talking about your feelings), homosexual dinosaurs, lycra-clad aliens, a very supportive parking validation officer. (“The validation you needed was in you all along,” he tells a confused driver, before chucking him under the chin.) Add to all this a porn shortage, enormous sandwiches, and a whole lot of penis jokes.

The script was probably snappy enough to have shone in the hands of a less talented group of actors than the ones in this year’s production. Fortunately, the Skule Nite 1T0 cast carried the show very well. All of their performances were solid, although Scott Whitty was definitely the stand-out of the evening. His hilariously awkward demeanour, which appeared to consist largely of a controlled performance coupled with a bit of inherent gawkiness, proved surprisingly versatile and consistently funny. Whether he was playing the sword-wielding King of Gondor or a nerdy guidance counsellor with a penchant for saying “nifty,” he never failed to crack up the audience.

While the show’s opening night was a definite success, it wasn’t exactly seamless. The actors occasionally flubbed their lines, some of the vocal performances were a bit shaky, and the sound effects did not always synchronize with the action of the show. But given Skule Nite’s lighthearted silliness, these blunders served to add to the show’s humour. In one of the sketches, a prop sign was knocked over by the gigantic pair of fake breasts attached to one of the actor’s costumes—which would have been sufficiently entertaining if it had been intentional, but was downright hilarious since it was not. Even the sketches that went on too long and seemed in danger of falling flat managed to conclude with jokes that packed enough punch to redeem any lapses in comedic momentum.

All in all, should the Skule Nite cast ever tire of suspension bridges and software design, they would probably do quite well as drama majors. It is doubtful, however, that any of them would consider switching into an arts program. As one of the characters points out, “[engineering] may be hard, but at least you don’t wind up with a useless degree like English.”

Freshly pressed: Gorillaz and Ben Harper

Gorillaz—Plastic Beach

Plastic Beach seems to offer what the title implies: transparent garbage.

It’s the third studio album by Gorillaz, the world’s number-one animated band, and their first release since Demon Days. Considering the innovative ambition that went into their previous albums and Plastic Beach’s contributor list (including Mick Jones and Paul Simonon playing together for the first time since the Clash disbanded), this kind of wait builds up a lot of anticipation. Surely this was destined to be the group’s most creative and groundbreaking album yet, right? Well, no, not quite. Plastic Beach just doesn’t compare to Demon Days, getting about as creative as a ’90s lounge album.

Plastic Beach creates a picture of desolate humanity resulting from consumerism, waste, and destruction. Gorillaz falls into the concept album trap by becoming too self-involved: they’re so focused on electronic experimentation that the band seems to have forgotten that they are meant to be playing music to be listened to. With its excessive sound effects and consistently obnoxious bass line, Plastic Beach gets exhausting only a few tracks in. Even the few stand-out tracks (“Superfast Jellyfish” and “Some Kind of Nature” which features Lou Reed) fail to go anywhere. Ultimately, the album falls into a rut, accomplishing the exact opposite of its intention.

It is ironic that the opening track should reference the Planet of the Apes, because I’m sure it’s has many a Gorillaz fan quoting Captain Taylor, yelling “You damned dirty apes!”—Ariel Lewis


Ben Harper and Relentless7: Live from the Montreal International Jazz Festival

Ben Harper’s been committed to his new gig with Relentless7 for the last two years, and their performance at the Montreal International Jazz Festival marks Harper’s best attempt at imitating the hedonistic cock rock of his idols. The whole show is laden with bluesy slide guitar solos, funky grooves, and high-octane vocals. He even manages to throw in raunchy lyrics like, “I feel like an underpaid concubine who’s outstayed her welcome.”

The show is solid, but it’s not quite what I’d expect for a climax to the epic relationship between Harper and guitarist Jason Mozersky. Solos on songs like “Keep It Together” are long but never really compelling. Especially towards the end, Harper’s voice sounds strained and falls out of key.

To Harper’s credit, he refuses to play within his comfort zone. He pushes hard to distance himself from the soulful reggae and folk genres that brought him fame in the past. So for this album, I give him sincere respect.—Ben Nieuwland


Orange crushed

The Stronger Together slate swept the exec positions in the UTSU election, according to unofficial results released on Saturday. Official results will be announced once the new board of directors formally adopts the results on April 30.

“This is by far the highest turnout I can remember and it reflects a message that both teams shared—to promote an engaged campus community,” wrote president-elect Adam Awad in an email to The Varsity. As current VP university affairs, he was one of two incumbent execs running on the Stronger Together slate. Their opponents, the Change slate, was composed of leaders from college student councils. This is the second year that Change has lost to the incumbent slate.

Awad received 4,152 votes, while Change presidential candidate Steve Masse pulled in 2,977.

“It’s like a college basketball team going up against the Lakers,” said Mike Maher, the Change candidate for VP internal, who said he found out on Friday night that he had lost. “We’re a bunch of students that have come together with a common purpose, wanting to change things, still being full-time students, but we got pitted against a cabal of paid student union staff and their friends who all don’t go to this university.”

In the email, Awad said both teams relied on non-U of T students in the campaign and that his campaign adhered to elections procedures to the best of their ability. “If you walk around campus on any given day, you’ll encounter lots of people who interact with U of T who aren’t students,” he wrote. “…[M]ost students will tell you that our campus is integrated into Toronto and it’s impossible to shut ourselves off from outsides.”

Student union execs from Ryerson and York have been photographed campaigning for Stronger Together at St. George. Asked to confirm reports that Krisna Saravanamuttu, president of YFS, had been campaigning for him at UTM, Awad wrote that he was friends with Saravanamuttu and that the latter had offered to help after a meeting ended at UTM. Saravanamuttu did not respond to requests from The Varsity.

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Masse told The Varsity in an earlier interview that all Change volunteers are U of T students.

“[The Stronger Together] campaign has done nothing but libel and slander my name to the point where candidates on my slate are concerned about passing federal government security checks because they’ve been labelled as the promoters of […] date-rape, homophobes, Islamophobes,” said Maher. “The way they conducted their campaign was deplorable. I’m not impressed at all.”

Maher also criticized the Election Procedures Code for what he said were excessive controls on free speech. “A normal election would operate under the premise that I would be punished for things I did wrong, not [that] I need to be cleared for everything that I do,” he said.

Non-U of T scrutineers

CRO Dave Blocker informed candidates on Thursday, the last day of voting, that he decided scrutineeres do not have to be current UTSU members. Scrutineers observe the ballot count. A UTSU member is any full-time student registered in a program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate who has paid membership fees.

“Because of rule c, that candidates may not scrutineer, the ERC made a change to one of the rules provided at the All-Candidates Meeting: d) Scrutineers do not have to be current members of UTSU,” wrote Blocker shortly after 12:30 a.m. on March 18.

Blocker did not respond to phone calls from The Varsity.

Demerit update

Blocker has handed out four rulings after last Wednesday, two of which involved Sumaya Ahmed, a student who Blocker deemed a non-arms length third party campaigner for Stronger Together. The first ruling followed from a complaint that Ahmed wrote derogatory comments about the Change slate and Steve Masse in particular. The CRO wrote that one sentence of Ahmed’s comments could be considered a violation of election rules and cautioned all candidates but did not issue demerit points.

The second ruling involving Ahmed stemmed from a complaint that she had misrepresented Change’s position on Israeli Apartheid Week and that she had falsely alleged that Change was funded by Hillel. The CRO noted that Change did not state its official position on IAW and that there was no evidence to support the contention that Change was funded by Hillel. He assessed Adam Awad five demerit points.

A Stronger Together supporter and Donna Graves, chair of the Transitional Year Program, were accused of harassing a Change supporter and slandering Antonin Mongeau and Alyssa James, the Change VP equity candidate. Blocker issued three demerits to Danielle Sandhu, Stronger Together’s VP equity candidate. He ruled that Graves made comments that were “derogatory” and “overtly hostile” but blamed Mongeau, the EFUT alumni chair and outspoken UTSU critic, for what he called Mongeau’s “ongoing attempts to sabotage the Stronger Together campaign.”

In his final ruling, the CRO took direct aim at Mongeau and ruled that his YouTube videos constituted a breach of fair play and existing policy. Blocker ordered Change candidates to immediately cease using tactics aimed at what he called sabotage “particularly through underhanded efforts to posture Change campaigners as journalists who effort to undermine the spirit of a fair and democratic election.”

Some Change supporters have alleged that the CRO betrayed a bias for Stronger Together in the wording of his rulings. Maher said he thought Blocker was a lot better than last year’s CRO, Lydia Treadwell, but stopped short of saying that Blocker abused his authority. (A change to the Election Procedure Code this year now deems “any attempt to undermine the authority of the CRO and/or the [Elections and Referenda] Committee” an offence.)

“There were a few questionable calls that he made, let’s put it that way,” Maher said. “We’d send him clear evidence of the other side basically race-baiting our supporters and saying that they’re being traitors to their culture for supporting Change,” said Maher. “That’s when I started getting upset [but] once [we] sent it to the CRO it really just fell on deaf ears for him.”

Awad declined to comment on whether he had complied with a CRO ruling instructing him to publicly disassociate himself from Ahmed. “The CRO was very fair and consistent in my opinion. Of course we didn’t think we should have gotten some of the infraction points we were awarded, but that’s part of running in an election.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly reported an altercation between Donna Graves, Alyssa James, and Antonin Mongeau. In fact, the altercation took place between Graves and a Change supporter, where Graves was accused of slandering James and Mongeau. The Varsity regrets the error.

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Missing student ‘killed in battle’ for Somali militia

A video has surfaced on the Internet claiming that Muhammed Elmi Ibrahim, a U of T student who went missing last year, has died fighting for a group with ties to an Al-Qaeda. The Toronto Star reported that Ibrahim was the first of six Somali-Canadian men who disappeared from Toronto last year and who are suspected of joining Al-Shabaab, a youth militia group in Somalia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not confirmed his death.

In the last two years, over 20 Somali men have disappeared from Canada and the U.S. to fight with Al-Shabaab, according to the CBC.

The video provides scant details of what happened, stating only that Ibrahim was “killed in battle” and that “he was firm and calm, rushing toward death.” It shows a man purported to be Ibrahim talking about the historical significance of a mountain in Saudi Arabia. The opening paragraph that accompanies the video states: “Glad Tidings to the youth in Canada. Your dear brother Mohamed al Muhajiri has succeeded. Don’t be sadden but rather rejoice in the news of your dear brother and follow his foot steps and march forth in the ranks of the honest mujahideen in Somalia.”

Ibrahim had worshipped at the Abu Huraira Centre and went by the nickname “Canlish,” a reference to the Scarborough neighbourhood he grew up in. An English major, he was known in his community as bright, well-spoken young man with a great future. Omar Kireh, an administrator at the Abu Huraira Centre, told reporters that while Ibrahim came to the mosque frequently in his youth, his attendance dropped off as soon as he entered university. If the reports are true, Kireh said, this would be a loss for his family, community, and Canadian society. “It’s very sad…everyone had high expectations from him,” he told the Star.

Ibrahim went on the traditional hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, but did not return with his travelling companions. Five other Somali Canadian men, Mahad Ali Dhore, Khalid Aden Noor, Mustafa Ali, Ahmed Heybe Ahmed, and Abdirahman Yusuf, also disappeared around the same time and had also worshipped at the Abu Huraira Centre.

Ibrahim’s family, who are in mourning, have turned away reporters.

UTSC gets credit/no credit course option

UTSC students can now take one class with the credit or no credit option as part of their degree. The St. George campus’s Curriculum Renewal Committee approved the option to Arts and Science Students in 2008. It is not available at UTM.

Under this option, the student’s mark in the class does not factor into their GPA. Students need 60 per cent in the class to get a degree credit, or CR, on their transcript. Those with lower than 60 per cent get a “no credit,” or NCR.

“This option will give students an opportunity to explore the various courses on campus not at the expense of your GPA,” reads an email from Aisha Khaja, VP academics for the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, and UTSC student affairs dean Tom Nowers.

Students need to choose the option before the last day to add the course. The credit/no credit course cannot count towards satisfying program requirements. The decision, once made, is final. The instructor, however, is not told which individual students in the class are doing the course on that option.

“It took a little while for students to grasp a couple of its features, that they couldn’t switch back if they were getting 51 per cent or 90 per cent, and that they shouldn’t be using this to avoid a non-stellar mark in one of their hard program-requirement courses,” said Glenn Loney, assistant dean of the arts and science faculty. “But now that those things are sorted out, it seems to work well. They seem to like it and are taking advantage of it,” he said.

Execs of the Arts and Science Students’ Union want the option expanded to two course equivalents. “I think that because the breadth requirements for the next academic year are changing, the faculty should consider increasing the opportunity to exercise the CR/NCR option,” said ASSU executive member Grant Gonzales. ASSU president Gavin Nowlan said the no credit option will allow students to engage a wider variety of courses and to take intellectual risks.

On Onrait

It’s 11:30 a.m. on a typical weekday morning. Society is awake, people are working, students are in class, and almost everyone is looking forward to lunch.

Jay Onrait is sleeping.

He’s not a lazy student napping through a class, an unemployed victim of the recession, or taking the day off and calling in sick. Onrait is sleeping because he’s tired; he had a late night. He didn’t get home until 4 a.m. And this wasn’t just a one-time occurrence. He’s been doing it every weekday night for years.

Why is Onrait doing this to himself? Is he jetlagged? Does he have insomnia? Can he not resist Toronto’s late-night underground rave scene? Although one or more of these may be true, Onrait has been doing this because it’s his job. Every night (or morning) at 2 a.m., Onrait and his partner in crime Dan O’Toole host the late night edition of Sportscentre on TSN. After the hour-long sports show, they make a few edits (the roughness is “part of the charm”) and then call it a night and go home. That episode of Sportscentre plays as the Morning Loop on TSN until noon the next day.

Before he ventured off to host Olympic Morning on CTV in Vancouver (or as he calls it “CTV Galaxy of Stars Olympic Spectacular”), Onrait met with me at a Spadina bar on a Friday in the late afternoon—just after he woke up. “When I first got into the industry, people told me that you will survive if you remember one thing: you’re always working when everyone else is off. I’ve really learned to just accept that aspect of it,” Onrait told me over a couple pints, “but preparation is the key.”

“The mood is fun at 2 a.m.,” he said. “I’m like the oldest guy in there. It’s hilarious. We never see our bosses—ever. [Producer] Tim [Moriarty] is basically in charge. It’s like the asylum is abandoned and the inmates are running it at night. It never feels like work.”
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According to Onrait, work is not something he likes to do. When he first started volunteering at ITV Edmonton (while doing an undergraduate pharmacy degree at the University of Alberta to take over the family business), he realized quickly that he was really drawn to the sports guys because “they were just having more fun.”

Fun is a good way to describe the antics that have garnered Onrait and O’Toole a loyal audience and has helped build their reputation as comic relief on TSN. “Chemistry is what makes our show work,” said Onrait. When I asked him how much preparation goes on between him and O’Toole for their banter during the show, he quickly responded, “zero.” He credits his bosses for giving the pair a lot of leeway and trusting that they know where the line is. Not that they have never crossed that line before: Onrait asked me innocently, “Did you know you can’t say douchebag on TV? I didn’t realize you couldn’t say douchebag on TV.”

A graduate of Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program, Onrait started interning at TSN as a writer while attending school. After graduating, he had a few gigs around Canada including working in Saskatchewan and hosting morning news program the Big Breakfast in Winnipeg. In 2001, Onrait returned to Toronto to work for the NHL Network before landing a job with TSN a year later.

When Onrait discussed his journey to get where he is today or the paths of others like him, he started to get a little sentimental. The industry has changed across the country and it seems to have upset him to some extent. “It’s not like the old days where if you wanted to be a broadcaster, you could go to a place like Swift Current and be on television,” Onrait emotionally explained. “They’re all being shut down. They really did serve a purpose. They were a chance for [new broadcasters] to go to make mistakes.”

The people he’s talking about are his peers at TSN, of which he had only the most positive things to say. “Everyone gets along kind of ridiculously well, [there’s] no egos. I think we’re all appreciative of what we have. More than that, there are no assholes. I would tell you if there were. I wouldn’t name them, but I’d tell you if there were.”

Discussing specific personalities that he admires at the network, Onrait reassured me there is no one there he doesn’t like, but did share a few he truly admires. “I love Rod Smith. To me, when I first got here as a writer, to now, he’s always just been the nicest guy in the world. And he’s an amazing journalist. I also love [Chris] Cuthbert,” continued Onrait. “He is just a great example. This is a guy who calls the gold medal game at the Olympics, the pinnacle of his profession, and he couldn’t be more down to Earth or nice if he tried. I try to follow the example of people like that.”

As the interview progressed, Onrait felt as though he needed to get a few things off his chest.

First, the CFL. He hates the comparison to the NFL. “Nobody that enjoys the game is under the illusion that these players are better than NFL players,” said Onrait in a way that made me feel a little guilty. “Young people are missing the point: celebrating a unique Canadian game with Canadian rules. They say it’s stupid. It’s different! You don’t have to compare it to the NFL! It’s a different game. Just enjoy it for what it is. It gives Canadian athletes, CIS athletes, a chance to play pro. And it’s just fun! Just go enjoy it, have a few beers and just chill out.” He leaned back in his chair. It seemed like he’d been keeping that one bottled up for a while—beer is a good release.

Next, Onrait moves on to the Rogers Centre. Of course, he only refers to it by its former name. “The Skydome is just atrocious. It’s a bad atmosphere for the CFL and for baseball. I despise that building. I feel they should implode it. You can write that down by the way.” I oblige. I have never heard anyone use the word “despise” so strongly before.

On his future, Onrait joked that he is planning on working on Sportscentre for the next 40 or 50 years, to which I’m sure most of his fans would not object. He said he has no plans to try something new. Even when I prodded him with questions about maybe becoming a hockey “insider” or calling play-by-play, he seemed set in his ways. “I like doing that kind of stuff but it feels too much like work to me. That’s not why I got into this business.”

UTSC gets Pan Am levy

Students at UTSC have voted to pass a levy to pay for construction costs of the sports complex that will host the 2015 Pan Am Games. The referendum ran from March 17-19. It netted the highest ever referendum turnout at UTSC, with 2,337 votes cast, a voter turnout of 23 per cent. Unofficial results were released Sunday morning. Ratification is expected at the board of directors meeting on Wednesday, March 24.

“I’m on campus right now and it’s pure excitement,” said John Kapageridis, president of the Scarborough College Athletics Association. He said he realized there is a lot of work to be done. “We do want to address the concerns of the ‘no’ voters. We want everyone realize the potential of what is to come.”

For over a month, campaigners from both sides have been trying to get students out to vote. Town hall forums were held by both teams in recent weeks.

“We are excited to learn from our Student Union that our students have decided to proceed with this partnership,” reads a press release from UTSC principal Franco Vaccarino. He called the complex an outstanding legacy: “Because of our shared vision and ongoing commitment to work together, we are able to bring about transformative change for this campus.”

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Adrian Crutchley, a fourth-year student and member of the “Vote No” campaign, said he was glad that the referendum elicited debate that allowed students to make an informed decision. “I wish the No side voters and No side supporters would have been more vocal and supported the cause more,” he said, commenting that though the No side gained momentum toward the end, it was too little, too late.

Crutchley congratulated the Yes campaign. “Let’s make sure the $30 million is well spent and something that UTSC and all people can be proud of,” he said.

The Pan Am sports complex will be located at Military Trail and Morningside Avenue as part of an expansion project that runs to $750 million. Students will contribute $30 million over a 25-year period, amounting to 80 per cent of UTSC’s share of the bill.

Once the levy is implemented, full-time students will pay $40 per semester and part-time students will pay $8. This amount will be inflated at a rate of 4 per cent annually until 2014, when the rates go up to $140 per semester for full-timers and $28 for part-timers.

“I hope the new athletic centre lives up to the hype that’s been created around it,” said Bhavani Munshi, a second-year UTSC student. “I’m not thrilled to be paying for a facility I will most likely not be using after I graduate, but the prospect of building something for my university’s future is exciting.”

The 300,000-square-foot complex will house multi-purpose gyms, fitness and training centres, a 200-metre indoor running track and two Olympic-sized pools among other facilities. A Scarborough-Malvern Light Rail Transit system is also included in the package.

Vaccarino said in the Vote Yes forum that the old athletics space will be used to host recreational events and study space. The new complex, he said, will offer students a number of job opportunities.

Construction is estimated to be a two-year project, according to Laura Matthews, UTSC’s media contact. Breaking ground will begin in late 2011 or 2012. In a press release, mayor David Miller said that the vote will strengthen the case for moving ahead in a timely manner with the LRT construction.

March sadness

The professional sports year tends to follow a predictable pattern. When the seasons change from summer to fall or winter to spring, the games are especially exciting. But before this, the excitement is not as palpable. Here is a sports fan’s guide to getting the most out of the doldrums of March before the awesomeness of April starts raining down.

Spring Training

For baseball fans, the idea of pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training is the sign that the long winter is over and the games are ready to begin. Unfortunately, that event occurs in mid-February, and March brings an entire month of meaningless spring training games. Unless fans are enamoured with battles for fifth starters’ jobs or bench spots, the games offer little incentive in terms of excitement. Plus, once the season starts, the rosters seem to shuffle every day, meaning that the team that breaks camp often looks quite different in June and July. Spring training games make for awful television as well. I remember watching a Blue Jays spring training game that was inexplicably broadcast on Citytv. The final out was recorded during a pre-taped segment and not even shown. For a casual baseball fan, spring training is the time to brush up on a long-neglected team, or perhaps a hated opposing team, in order to invent some heckles for the upcoming season.

March Madness

The first few days of March Madness, which took place last Thursday and Friday, featured enough games that if no major upsets take place, there is still enough going on peripherally to keep any fan entertained. But after most of the favourites take care of business, and the Cinderella teams lose their glass slippers, the Madness becomes something of a mild haze. The choices in the later rounds often come down to cheering for teams that are still left in your pool that you would never want to cheer for in real life, like Duke. The other possibility is jumping on the bandwagon of a random school that you have never heard of before (or will again) or the one with the prettiest uniform. Plus, the final game of March Madness takes place in, you guessed it, April. So tell people that you knew that Cleveland State was a sleeper all along and don’t reveal that you never actually knew that there was a Cleveland State.

NBA Basketball

The problem with March Madness, at least from a broadcaster’s perspective, is that single-elimination games with real emotion reveal the plodding speed and lack of heart demonstrated in a March NBA game. By this point, many teams have already decided that they are not going to make the playoffs (or had it decided for them), and tank the rest of the games in order to have a better chance of landing a high lottery pick. For teams that are still in it, March is when the grind really starts to set in and players seem far less fresh, especially considering that the NBA feels the need to have every team play each other twice, resulting in frequent cross-country road trips. If you happen to be a Raptors fan, the team still has a shot at advancing into the postseason, which is an increasing rarity in these parts. So if the Raptors are your passion, check out the team before the playoff matches are set. If the local team qualifies, the games are played at odd times to boost television ratings.

NHL Hockey

The Olympics revealed that hockey can be exciting without fighting, and the start of the playoffs in April are always a blast until the weather gets nicer and the prospect of seeing a semifinal match with a random team is easily trumped by going outside. The grind in the NBA is just as noticeable in the NHL, especially in an Olympic year, where the games become even more compressed.


Basically just wait until September, or June, if you prefer the Canadian game. I don’t know, you could watch to see if Brett Favre is going to come back for another season. Or perhaps you could rent the Keanu Reeves classic The Replacements. Either activity should keep you entertained until the start of the season.