Us Canadians are pretty calm – unless you mess with our few, sacred cultural icons.

This will be the first season in my life that Hockey Night in Canada won’t begin with the usual theme song. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation chose not to renew the license for the song, and has instituted a reality-TV-style contest to create a new song. This new song, of course, will be fully controlled by CBC — that way, when the network is done with it, they can properly shelve the song, to make sure that a critical piece of company branding doesn’t, for example, end up owned by a competitor like say, CTV.

When I think of the old song, I think of Saturday nights growing up. I think of being allowed to stay up late during playoffs, I think of my Mom admonishing my Dad for yelling when the home team did something stupid, and all of us yelling when they did something well. I think of popcorn made with those old hot air poppers and of us kids rolling around on the family room carpet in pajamas that had the feet sewn right into them.

So – the next generation will grow up associating a different jingle to their family memories. That’s ok. Times change.   What baffles me though,  is that the CBC would let their rights to this song lapse.  It deserves the equivalent of a business Darwin award.  How much do you want to bet that the Coca Cola company still owns the rights to “I’d like to teach the world to sing“?  Even after several decades, I have to imagine that PepsiCo couldn’t get their hands on that song…

Heck, I guess it worked out.  If I feel nostalgic I can just trip on over to TSN.

Tarnishing the Sport

This Monday Jonathan Roy, a backup goalie for the Quebec Remparts, participated in a playoff game hockey brawl where he skated to his counterpart on the other team, challenged that team member to a fight, and then proceeded to pummel the team member, despite the fact that his opponent did not defend himself, did not return a single blow. The video is here, just in case you think maybe I’m just a squeamish girl who can’t handle a good hockey fight.

Jonathan Roy then proceeded to flip the bird to the entire crowd in the arena before skating off the ice.

Yes, fighting is part of the game of hockey. The other players on the ice were fighting. Jonathan’s actions were something else. A very critical something else.

Shame on you, Jonathan Roy.

Sockem Hockey and Gentlemen’s Disputes

I went to an NHL hockey game last night. Halfway through the game, two of the players dropped their gloves, circled, and closed for a fight. The crowd loved it; the home team scored a goal immediately after, high on the moment.

As I cheered the fighters on, I reflected with surprise that I was enjoying what I think many would consider a barbaric practice – what I used to consider a barbaric practice.

But that was before. It used to seem so horrible and pointless for two guys to go out back and beat each other to a pulp. Why not talk it out? Except these days, it seems that nobody takes it out back unless they have a knife in their hands. Or a gun. As a result, trifling arguments which used to result in black eyes or bruises, now end up with obituaries. Barroom brawls are scary things, these days.

Last night it occured to me that I now view fistfights with nostalgia – the gentleman’s way to settle a dispute. I can’t say that nobody gets hurt – but at least nobody dies. Temporary boo boos for nowhere-near-life-or-death squabbles. Compared to the daily news, two guys fighting without weapons seems like a crazy thing to be upset about. Too bad it isn’t more common. Twisted logic, I know. But then, it’s a twisted world.

Job Descriptions

I watched a hockey game last night, where one of the players was hit in the face point-blank by a hockey puck. They literally picked his teeth up off the ice afterwards.

He returned to the game with a mouth full of packing and a frozen face, and proceeded to play another regular period followed by two 20-minute overtime periods, and a bit of a third. And he played superlatively.

What is it that inspires that kind of dedication? He’s already a star. Whether he came back for more punishment or not, he already gets the girls, he already has ‘achieved’. Nobody would have begrudged him some time to mourn his smashed jaw.

Of course, I can’t answer that question for him. Could be that he’s just the stubbornest mule of a man on the planet. But I do think that if he didn’t have passion for what he did, if he wasn’t into that game body and soul, he couldn’t have come back and been able to put aside his pain, the distraction of the swelling, the despair at impending dental surgery. I’ve been injured playing sports before, and getting your mind back into focus after even a minor injury is unbelievably tough.

My job is pretty different from Oilers #94. Still, I see some parallels (and as a result, you have to come along for the ride, sorry ’bout that).

Is there an identity equivalent to taking a puck in the face? I rather hope not :) Still, there are times where delays and unexpected issues force you to cool your heels. Identity projects have a terrible nasty tendency for scope creep. Why that is, is an interesting study in and of itself, but I think the truth is that identity is so holistic and so fundamentally interconnected that it leads to cascading sets of revelations about internal business processes that even the business process owners themselves do not discover until somebody tries to map those business processes to technology.

Somehow, the technology and philosophy surrounding Identity inspires passion – it is a field that is full of characters that are larger than life, and full of communities that thrive. The problems are intriguing to solve, but the people are far more intriguing. It isn’t a 9-5, leave-it-at-the-door kind of place, and it isn’t about merely putting in the time. What inspires these people’s dedication? I would guess it is a love for the game, no different in caliber or origin than that of the hockey player I admire so much.