I recently discovered a podcast by Peter Mansbridge called “The Bridge”. This episode was about Justin Bieber renting the Stratford arena on Boxing Day to play some shinny with some friends, including some Toronto Maple Leafs. It inspired me on many levels and I wrote him a letter. It was rather long and at times rambling. He read parts of it on his next podcast as his letter of the week. I must confess it was really gratifying to hear that voice reading my words. It was also impressive the way he picked a couple different parts out of a long letter and seamlessly wove it into a stand-alone piece on the fly. And I should say that for everyone else listening the letter was made better by the omission of the parts he didn’t read. I’ve had some comments that his reading left them wanting more ... well I think that means he did it perfectly ! Anyway here’s the parts of the letter that he did read ... but better yet use the link at the bottom to hear him read it.
... The second thing that grabbed me was an interesting rabbit hole that presented itself, and I love a good rabbit hole. You mentioned Justin wanting to play some shinny, a term I imagine would be familiar to most Canadians, but I’m not sure. In any case we used it growing up to refer to road hockey, a popular pastime in the off-season. I have a book called The Ghost Dance by James Mooney. In 1890 James was sent by the US Bureau of Ethnology to document indigenous culture. He spent two years and covered 32,000 miles, and his report was originally published in the mid 1890s. He describes an Arapaho song used in the Ghost Dance, and gives lyric (in both Arapaho and English) and musical notation for the melody. The song is about a woman’s game called “shinny”, played with a curved stick and a ball made of buffalo hair covered with buckskin. He describes the game. Two stakes are set up as “goals” at either end of the ground, and the object is to drive the ball through the “goals” of the other. Each “inning” is a game. He includes a picture of the stick and ball ... the stick looks pretty much like a grass hockey stick the girls used when I was growing up. Origins of things is a fascinating topic !
... So I’ll leave you with something hockey related. When a small town hockey team, the Trail Smoke Eaters, won the World Cup in 1961, they became famous overnight. But this story is really about how one often finds that someone who is accomplished and recognized for something may have other talents as well. I’m always interested in the person behind the legend. My musical partner for a number of years was legendary goal tender Seth Martin. His accomplishments on the ice are a matter of record, and he still often got fan mail from all over the world, but he was also a great singer, and music was always part of the Trail Smoke Eaters’ routine. After games they usually had jam sessions. In 2006 Seth got some of the 1961 team out and we did a concert. If you’re so inclined you can go to my website below, find the album Old Smokie Sweater, and listen to some, or all, of the concert. As well as some good tunes, there’s some great hockey stories about the 1961 tournament, planes catching on fire over the Rockies, and many more.
Take care, and I’m looking forward to your next podcast .
To listen to Peter read the letter Click Here