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James Duthie is a funny guy...


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I've always kind of known this, but just finished reading his book , “The Day I (Almost) Killed Two Gretzkys" and it’s now totally confirmed for me. The man is hilarious.

While I don't have much time these days to delve into any heavy reading that requires a lot of focus, this is a very easy read that doesn’t involve any processing. Just short, sweet and highly amusing. Had me chuckling to myself as I read it by the river.

(The Forward was by Lu. Gold, their relationship is seemingly solid. As is his love for model Paulina)

Comedic commentary is always appreciated by me and when it incorporates sports, in particular hockey, into the mix, it’s the best. For those who want something of a skim and scan commitment, I recommend this book.

These are some snippets that made me smile (although, extracting bits & pieces from the overall content just doesn't do it justice...one of those books you get on a roll with and it's funniest when read as a whole). Can easily be read in a day in a shady hammock.

On kids' snacks in sports: "My boy could score a natural hat trick in the final minute to win the league championship, but if there's no Kool-Aid Jammer waiting in the dressing room, he will curl up in the fetal position and weep". It’s refreshing, he spares his boy no mercy and keeps it all in perspective in relation to compete level. Has it all in check and his take on things is hilarious.

"I have seen kids play a full soccer game without getting past "fat guy at light-jogging" speed, then run a 4.2 forty across the field to snag a pack of Fuzzy Peach Maynards." He refers to the missed assignment of bringing the team snacks to a game as "snackfus".

There is a chapter devoted to Sid's superstitions and another on the Vancouver Olympics (brings it all back). "When Canada beat Russia in the quarters, playing the best single period we'll ever seen any team play, I walked back from the rink, just to soak it all in (when you spend most of the Olympics in a TV studio, you get outside whenever you can).

I strolled past a guy wearing nothing above his waist except a large red "D" painted on his sizable belly (my best guess is that he'd been separated from his five friends wearing the C.A.N.A and A). He stopped, bear-hugged me, and said teary-eyed "This is the greatest night of my life!" (hope he doesn’t have a wife/kids).

Later: "Just before the overtime of that gold-medal game, a friend texted me from the Vancouver airport. He had just heard this announcement from a frustrated attendant: This is once again the last call for flight 241. We are missing 49 passengers! Uh, I don't think they're coming".

Chapter 9: "You Wanna Piece Of Me" is described as "strictly for the high-testosterone crowd...that includes, most men and the Chinese women's swim team". It's his "Fantasy Fight Club" chapter and includes:

TALE OF THE TAPE: “I'm 5-foot 10, 170. In a soaked parka. I've been in three full-fledged fights in my life. Two before Grade 5 and the other against a cat”.

The next bit is SO, WHO COULD YA TAKE? Hilarious stuff.

Now, one of the great things about this book is that it's all over the place and spans years...he kept columns, notes and journals, so some is current and other chapters go back a decade or two. It's a collection of his thoughts over time, which keeps it interesting. All kinds of stuff crammed in there so it never stays on the same topic for too long. Never drags.

Back to the who could you take bit (where he compares different sports/athletes toughness):

"As far as position players, it's grim, though I do like my chances against either of the Bure brothers. I'd play headgames with them. Make 'em cry. "Hey Pav...wonder what Sergei's doing right now? Could have been you, Pav, could have been you."

The whole chapter's tough guy gold. He keeps himself SO in check and it’s such a refreshing change from some ego driven personalities forced at us these days.

Some rather timely bits, in relation to current discussion HERE about our own team’s direction, tanking, etc. (remember, we could be Toronto).


“The Toronto Maple Leafs have become the poster boys for Middle Standings Syndrome (compares to being a middle child). They finished 9th in the east the last two season, and are likely headed for something in the 10th to 12th range this year. Their perennial late-season charges are admirable from a hockey standpoint, but disastrous for the future of the franchise. The potential destiny-changing players they’ve missed out on the last two season include Kane, Toews, Backstrom, Staal, Sam Gagner.

We now pause briefly to let Toronto fans throw up.”

From CONTROL FREAK (as in “remote control for the TV”):

“There are few things a man will truly master in his life. The remote, I have.

It has become an extension of my right hand (I’m actually left handed, but flick righty, a freakish abnormality). I know, you probably think you’re Da Man too…..But I’m a full-fledged phenom.”.

He then documents his mastery of watching several shows at once, etc. Brilliant.

A chapter on Ovi. Chelios. Tim Thomas. Roy. Etc. “The Real Hockey Town” (Ornskoldsvik).

Mixed within all the jabs and jokes are some serious moments that reflect on 911, Taylor Pyatt and other things that he touches on and pays tribute to.

His description of an MRI is both terrifying and side splitting. May I never have to have one. Or, in the event that I do, remember the parts that made me laugh out loud in this book so I don't die of fright in the machine.

In closing, more thoughts on his kid (some of my favourite parts) and his attempt to introduce (persuade?) him (in)to sports.

Nowhere in my Shawn Kemp Guide to being a Sports Parents (a must read~~after all, with about a dozen kids at last count, who has more experience than the Kemper?) does it mention what is the right age to take your son or daughter to his/her first big-time sporting event.

I’m guessing that if you want them to fully comprehend just how religious an experience this is for a father, and to appreciate the bonding involved, the answer is somewhere around 37.

So, I jumped the gun by about 34 years or so by taking my boy to his first Toronto Raptors game.

Attending a professional (oh sorry, Raptors, make that semi-professional) basketball game was, by no means, his deepest preschool desire. In fact, right now he lists as his lone goals in life:

- To become a dragon.

- To eat our house.

Hardly a guy who appreciates a good pick and roll.

Anyhow, enough with the spoilers. Do yourselves a favour and read this book when you have a few free hours. And feel free to share your own book club recommendations.


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I think I'll add it to my summer reading list.

Thanks for the heads-up on this.

No problem...I enjoyed it so much that I felt like spreading the word (mind you, I laugh easily and some may not share my sense of humour. At the very least, some light summer reading).

GJ: what he lacks in looks/brawn he makes up for with insight and the ability to not take life too seriously. Although, a sense of humour makes anyone attractive to some. :)

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Will do! Sounds like its the perfect thing to read in short stints, too... when interrupted. Anecdotes, quips & light-heartedness, work well in summer. It's so much harder to put down that intense thriller, ...amongst all of the stops and starts in one's day.

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Read the book, it isn't all that great. It shouldn't even be a book, it's like a blog.

I guess this just proves it's a matter of "to each his/her own" and personal taste.

Not all things will appeal to all people so that's understandable. I'm gearing this more toward the people who are involved in the hockey talk end of things, as some will likely have the same reaction I did. Not going to win any awards just, as stated, 'light reading'. :)

(I hate fantasy-drama stuff, so we're even) ;)

Might add that the timing, for me, was right. I was going through a fairly tumultuous time and needed an escape...this book provided that for me. Made me smile through a stressful event. And I'm sure others may find it entertaining also.

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I met Duthie two summers ago when I was doing my summer internship in Toronto and so happened to knock on his door. He didn't buy from me (I was selling educational books for kids from toddlers to Grade 12) but he did give me a copy of his book for free and personalized an autograph inside the cover which was nice. I haven't completely finished reading it yet but from what I remember in the parts I did read at the beginning, I enjoyed it.

I should probably get back to it.

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Stevie Yzerman begs to differ.

Got the impression that Duthie isn't afraid to stir the pot with regular Tsn overly dramatic bs, but then unlike his cohorts, follow it up with tension-breaking cheesy jokes. Either you appreciate that or you don't.

Duthie prodding Yzerman about Msl after the Team Canada announcement, and then aw shucks wondering why Yzerman didn't really enjoy that is typical Duthie.

I thought Tsn's coverage on the Francesco-Luongo saga, led by Duthie, was nothing short of manipulative. But then Luongo was traded anyway, so laughs were had by all.

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