Friday, 29 August 2014

Settling into Saskatoon: Some things change, some remain the same


            Absence really gives you an appreciation for how things can change.
            When I returned to live in Saskatchewan after 10 years away in Medicine Hat, Alta., I thought it would be a homecoming. It has felt like a homecoming, but having been settled in Saskatoon for most of the last month, I do feel that some time has passed, especially when I check out the sports scene.
            I last lived in Saskatchewan back in 2004, when I took up residence in Prince Albert. I haven’t lived in Saskatoon since 1999, when I was an intern reporter at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
During the majority of the time I lived in the Wheat province, I called Regina home. The Queen City is still where I consider myself most from.
            No matter where I set up shop, the sense of community, which is home to Rider Nation, could be felt. The small town feel was province wide.
            On my return, that small town feel is still there. But, I can definitely tell a decade has passed.
            There are still constants, which can be seen in Saskatoon. Brian Towriss is still the head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team, Tom Sargeant is still the head coach of the Saskatoon Hilltops and Lisa Thomaidis is still the head coach of the U of S Huskies women’s basketball team.
            They have always topped the list of my favourite people I have met in the Bridge City.
            During visits to see family in Saskatoon, I have befriended most of the players on the University of Saskatchewan Men’s hockey team and some of the players on the Huskies Women’s hockey team.
            As far as knowing the star athletes on many of the city’s teams, I was in a fog. I didn’t even know who the starting quarterback on the Huskies football team was. Thanks to stories in the local media, I found out the starting signal caller was Drew Burko.
            Having gone to the U of S gym over the past three years to work out, I got to know Kabree Howard from the Huskies Women’s basketball team and that has been really cool. She is definitely going to be and already is a superstar in life, and the Huskies should be proud the 5-foot-5 point guard wears their colours.
            Jack Brodsky and Lorne Molleken are no longer the faces of the Saskatoon Blades franchise. Brodsky was the team’s former owner and Molleken the long time general manager and head coach.
            The team has been under the ownership of Mike Priestner for a year. I did get to meet team president Steve Hogle on a couple of occasions and came away feeling really impressed.
In visiting the team’s offices and checking out their training camp in Warman, I like the initial vide that is coming from those involved with the club. Time will ultimately show if the hard work and good feelings will yield any rewards, but for now, I believe they are on the right track.
            I learned a couple of other things in the last month as well. After covering various sporting events in the media over the past 18 years, I learned a new appreciation for going to an event as a spectator. There is nothing like going down to Regina to watch the Saskatchewan Roughriders as part of the enthusiastic crowd, and it seems so much more fun too.
            I also ventured to Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan for a Sunday matinee performance of Romeo and Juliet. The show was amazing. I don’t think anyone during my high school days could have imagined me sitting through a Shakespeare play, where I would be content and happy over the time of the performance.
            With all that said, I am still trying to figure out what my role might be in the community, especially the sports side. I might get the chance to be actively involved with teams in some form, or I might be a ticket buyer in the stands, who can offer a word of support.
            Time will tell what that role will be, but I will do my best to make the atmosphere of wherever I am a positive one.