The Aim Was True With Metal Coins

A week ago I showed you my set of 1961-62 hockey coins we would get from Jello and potato chips. This is the next year’s coins, 1962-63, also from Jello and chips, but with a difference. The year before they were plastic, with the players’ faces put on thin cardboard and inserted into the plastic coins.  But these ones were made of metal, and instead of six teams, they featured Montreal, Toronto, and NHL All-Stars.

The main thing about these coins is how they were judged in “closest to the wall” at recess, and they passed the test with flying colours. Because they were metal and maybe slightly heavier, wind resistance was cut to a minimum, and we could edge out the opposing player by only fractions of an inch because the aim was true.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. Hockey coins were better than sex.

At least when you were eleven years old.

2 thoughts on “The Aim Was True With Metal Coins”

  1. For centuries and centuries and centuries well-meaning intellectuals and panjandrums alike have postured and preened, proclaimed that they knew how to direct man’s selfish self-indulgence into more worthy forms of expression, how to curb our penchant for gratuitous violence, how to resolve the tension between our belly and our brain and, over the same span of time their grand `master plans’ have invariably proven to be abysmal failures.
    A cursory glance at the legacy of the 18th century `philosophes’ illustrates this: the Seven Years War (world’s first world war?), the Terror, the Napoleonic wars, Franco-Prussian War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam …. Quite a record of utter defeat, eh?
    How about Woodrow Wilson’s fantasy (fueled by – what a surprise! – those great German philsophers of the 19th C such as Kant): the League Of Nations? Uh oh, here comes WWII and Korea and Vietnam.
    What about the United Nations? Globalism? Human rights? Hmmm, Georgia/Ossetia/Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, East Timor, the whole of poor beleaguered bloody bloody bloody Africa. Hard to imagine a more ignominious record, eh?
    WHY?

    Let’s lay the blame at the doorstep of a single villain, Duality – the splitting of human nature into two opposing aspects, passion vs reason – a concept that is so pervasive so overwhelmingly dominant in our collective cultural mind that we no longer see how it conditions our understanding of ourselves and therefore shapes our behaviour dooming us to repeat ourselves over and over and over again. From Plato (an over-rated closet totalitarian) on there has been an insistence on imposing a rationally-conceived set of behaviour-governing rules on society, on the individual and the groups that make it up. The reasoning is that this is absolutely necessary because we are by nature inclined to inflict harm on others when they have something we want and won’t hand it over or simply because we can do so. And the lists I made above certainly seem to bear this out. But equally clear is the fact that all attempts to impose a rational order on our irrational selves is at best a less than adequate holding action, a flimsy lid bouncing and jouncing on a pot of boiling passions. Again, why? Because this division is an artificial one, a crude dichotomy that exhalts vague notions of a rational mind over equally vague notions of human nature. We are more complicated than this division which only engenders simplistic responses to opaque complexity.
    Do I have a `solution’ to this intractable conundrum? No. Hehe, at least not now. But I’m working on it and it in part entails eliminating this artificial adversarial distinction.
    But what we can do is be on guard against this tendency to embrace facile resolutions to this age-old quandary whenever it manifests itself in whatever it is that we are doing which brings me to hockey, more specifically the issue of fighting in hockey.
    (If Mike is reading this, I can imagine him hollering `Damn! About time! Get on with it! To which I reply, bear with me for a bit longer.)
    How easy it is to say that fighting in hockey is bad.
    How easy to decry the `violence’, the anger.
    How easy to posture as a thoughtful caring responsible mature (lol) civilized adult who is so concerned about the effect all this fighting has on the tender impressionable psyches of innocent children? (See the opening scenes of Sergio Leone’s, The Wild Bunch) and who is `above’ such an obviously crude form of self-expression, what one panjandrum termed the `atavistic code’ (LOL) – yeah, kids luuuv to play at being daddy/mommy.
    How easy to play the hypocrite, to hold others to standards to which you do not hold yourself.
    Much more difficult to think things out, to confront not only the nature that is `red in tooth and claw’ which shapes us all, but to call into question one’s own self-serving agenda not infrequently decked out in the rather soiled robes of virtue.
    Much more difficult to challenge one’s assumptions, the `received’ values and standards, the taken-for-granted `profundities’ and `truisms’ that inform our daily routines.
    Much more difficult to be critical of what we do (as individuals and as members of groups), what we opine, what we believe – to call what we `know’ into question.
    Much more difficult to address one’s limitations. And we are severely limited, we cannot do everything at once, we cannot be wholly informed on all things that affect us, we are more frequently than not restricted to particulars, to examining things piecemeal which doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to integrate our participation in one arena to broader questions of human interest. On the contrary. The, hehe, fight re fighting in hockey is a case in point.
    Hockey is very much a microcosm of `human nature’ at work and as such informs us re the whos, whats, whys, hows, of ourselves. And yes, hockey is self-evidently inherently violent – at all levels including mental toughness, the `clash of wills’ as it were – and people not only accept this obvious truth they embrace it and celebrate it, passionately, cf. Tom’s comments.
    So why the fuss over fighting? Why do `the usual suspects’ feel impelled to strike out at this aspect of the game which the vast majority of us recognize as perhaps the purest expression of the game and therefore of some important part of ourselves? And, no, the smarmy slag that fans who endorse fighting somehow endorse it as a solution to all problems in all arenas of human endeavour is nothing more than cheap rhetoric, vacuous sophistry.
    It’s not because hockey is more violent than other sports – der Habinator, may he rest in peace, put paid to that delusion.
    It’s not because fighting is so horrific that players are falling like so many swatted flies – errant sticks and hits from behind do far more damage.
    It’s not because the players object to it – almost to a man they maintain that it is integral to the game.
    And it certainly isn’t because it disrupts the `flow’ of the game or diminishes the artistry of highly skilled athletes (with the possible exception of the aberrant play of the 70s Flyers teams that employed systematic `goonery’ that was stopped not by rules but by players on the ice – yeah, the Habs – which means, hey, guess what, there is a self-regulating dynamic in play here and it works just fine without the meddling of pompous wanna-be-morally-superior hockey no-nothings) – stickwork, clutching and grabbing, cheap shots, even the `trap’ which results in constipated play, ARE inimical to these aspects of the game and guess what?, more vigorous application of the rules in place curbing these tactics have enhanced the game versus the instigator rule (`violently’ installed by a devious, smarmy mendacious self-proclaimed bullying panjandrum) which only encouraged the very tactics that DID detract from the game.
    The fuss over fighting is because the usual suspects, the indignant oh-so-concerned hodge-podge of a relatively small number of people, many well-meaning, some merely honing their axes, some seeking self-validation as moral warriors in a contrived fight for the `good’, et al. find common ground in their collective misunderstanding of hockey and the integral role that fighting plays in it.

    CONCLUSIONS

    Dennis, you’re right and you’re wrong: fighting has been going on for a lot longer than 100 years but the ancient Greeks would agree with you, just check out the original Olympics which were brutal affairs, glory to the SOLE victor and disgrace to the loser(s) not infrequently the latter were ostracized by their communities, even committed suicide; one reason that the concept of `precedent’ is so central to the practice of law is that it is a formal acknowledgement that what went before not only informs what comes after but IS very much the same thing. In other words, if necessary, change by all means but change based on faulty logic and misapprehension of what the issue is only leads to disarray and more conflict. Again, fighting in hockey IS very much an integral aspect of the game and attempts to eliminate it do not help to `improve’ the game rather they are violations not only of its practice but of its spirit. Also, note that the `rules’, even with the instigator rule, are NOT meant to stop fighting. If they were, players would be promptly expelled from games as the first exchange of blows.
    Beware of simplistic solutions to complex activities.
    Beware of moral grandstanding, of self-annointed bullying crusaders who are often less than thoughtful panjandrums, who loudly proclaim that eliminating fighting would be a blow against our `atavistic’ natures, oh yeah, a firm and noble proclamation that `bullying’ will not be tolerated by upstanding citizens such as themselves. LOL. Bullies decrying bullies – Georges ain’t a big bully, he’s merely one tool, amongst many, employed by the team. A classic tactic employed by the real `big bullies’ (which are groups) since, well, human nature first emerged.
    Beware of those who `know’ better, who camouflage personal motives behind a flimsy façade of supposed rational reasoning. It’s not what we don’t know that hurts us so much as what we know for sure that just ain’t so which, here, means get rid of duality and begin to think more `whollistically’ re human nature.
    The road to hell is paved with good intentions – fighting in hockey is not a `problem’ (the instigator rule should be tossed).
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – imposing artificial constraints on hockey simply to cater to the vociferous protests of a handful of people whatever their motivation is far more violent than any hockey fight – including the Hunter’s pathetic assault of Turgeon.
    Draw your own conclusions.
    Finally, I do hope that Georges employs his skills in a judicious and skillful way, that he will kick butt (especially Leaf butt) most efficiently as well as in a creative and exciting fashion, that the other teams will quake with fear, tremble in despair, beg for mercy when Georges is obliged for both the good of the team and of the game to mete out JUSTICE to the miscreants who would bully our champions.

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