I must admit that during the 6 years in Greater Boston, I have never attended an ice-hockey match. After all, my Boston patriotism was very limited. If New York Rangers (then) with Jaromír Jágr came to Boston, be sure that I would root for the victory of the guests.
Of course, an even more brutal description would apply to baseball which I am not quite getting. When the Red Sox won the 2004 Galactic Series (or whatever is the modest name of the competition) and breached 86 years of the curse (they also won in 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2007), I was mainly affected by the necessity to use the ear plugs from the airplane to be shielded from car horns during the following night. ;-)
Apologies to baseball enthusiasts. (Boston Celtics won the basketball championship in 2008 and New England Patriots won the football championship in 2004 and the conference in 2011. So Boston seems to be a dominating city of U.S. sports.)
At any rate, the Boston Bruins just won the Stanley Cup (that's an ice-hockey trophy) and some of the players visited Barack Obama in the White House.
When you look at the current roster, you may see that the composition is a sort of mirror image of HC Pilsen 1929. Most players are actually Canucks. Aside from 17 Canadians, there are also three Americans, to emphasize that Boston belongs to America rather than Canada. And then you have one German guy, one Finnish guy, and two or three Czechoslovaks in the team, starting from Zdeno Chára, the big Slovak captain who has brought the cup to the Trenčín castle.
The Czechs are currently represented by David Krejčí only. But Obama was actually visited by two Czechs: Tomáš Kaberle – a man on the left side from the president who is studying Obama's buttocks on the picture above – is already playing with Montreal these days but he started the season with the Bruins.
However, not all players have agreed to come to the White House. Tim Thomas, the goalie, wrote the following explanation on his Facebook page:
I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.So TT probably hosted a local tea party instead of the White House picnic. At least 2,000 users "liked" the comment. Good for him! ;-) Needless to say, the dignitaries of the team immediately distanced themselves from their goalie and emphasized that they are eager to climb into the buttocks of any government that may come in the future, too.
This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.
Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.
This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT
Tim Thomas' mask. Yes, the rattlesnake is a Tea Party's flag.
Of course, a witch hunt against Tim Thomas was immediately launched in various corners, such as around a notorious fat communist arse hole. See e.g. Diehard of CBS Local in Boston. This inkspiller screams "shame on you" because TT brought "politics" and "political divide" and all these things.
Except that the White House is all about politics, whether you like it or not. So the people who visit the White House are doing politics. What TT meant by not being political was that he doesn't give any clear preference to either big party in the U.S. these days. That's apparently exactly the attitude that is "maximally" politically incorrect. However, TT has never pretended that he didn't care about the public matters – about politics in the general sense. Of course that he does. Hysterical politics is being played by those who think it is politically incorrect for a player to snub a politician whom he doesn't support.
TT is paid as (and, given his being the league's best goaltender in 2009 and 2011, extremely competent as) a goaltender, not as a participant of friendly picnics with any politician who may be powerful. So any criticism of his absence is really an assault against his basic right not to endorse an acting politician. And I am sure that most of the critics of TT wouldn't produce a vowel of a protest if an athlete (or, to be very precise, Red Sox' general manager Theo Epstein or basketball player Michael Jordan) refused to go to a picnic with George W. Bush. It's mostly hypocrisy.
A Matt Gurney of National Post even claims that TT lacks "class and gratitude" and if you want to know what TT should be grateful for, it's "President's generous invite". Holy cow. Why should it be generous? Should TT be grateful that Obama stepped down from the heavens and invited an ordinary best NHL goaltender (hundreds of millions of such goaltenders are surely walking on America's streets)? TT earns 10 times more money than Obama and he's arguably more skillful in a wide variety of respects.
The idea that citizens must be "grateful" for invitations from a leader reminds me of my childhood when kids like me were forced to wave to our communist exponents during May 1st rallies. I usually didn't, either: it was already possible to survive such sins in Czechoslovakia of the 1980s so I hope it's still possible in America of the 2010s. ;-)
I have absolutely nothing personally against Obama, he looks pretty pleasant to me. But quite generally, I find his cult to be a giant kitsch.
Clinton and Jágr are teaching one another
This blog entry is about sports, a very light topic, so let me end with an explanation of three videos and their relationship. Jaromír Jágr of Philadelphia Flyers is known for the Jágr salute. The following video is an example of the ritual he used 3 weeks ago when he scored against Pittsburgh Penguins, his club a decade ago that didn't renew his contract, and after a penguin fan showed him a finger:
Ex-president Bill Clinton learned the Jágr salute as well and used it after he received a souvenir puck:
However, that doesn't mean that Bill Clinton is always the student and Jaromír Jágr is always the teacher. Jaromír Jágr has been a student as well. He has learned several classic Bill Clinton's pieces from the late 1990s. The only difference between the teacher and the student is that Inna wouldn't allow Jaromír the same equipment as Hillary allowed to Bill. So Jágr had to perform the Clinton salute without any Monica: