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Loose Change: Comic genius

Dear TSN:

Well, you had me fooled for a while, but I finally have you figured out. Frankly, I feel pretty stupid for not having unraveled this mystery sooner than I did.

I pretend – at least – to be a quite scholarly, worldly and an artistic person, but, as mentioned, you were way more than my tiny brain could handle.

You were the riddle I couldn’t solve, the joke I couldn’t get and the lyrics I didn’t feel.

Basically, you were Bjork (the Icelandic singer, not the ex-Bruins defenseman).

Here was the pre-eminent Canadian sports authority - which is kind of like calling yourself King of all Unicorns - adding (gulp) Mike Milbury and (double gulp, slight wretch) John Ferguson as vaunted hockey analysts (Editors note: not a misprint. Seriously).

You hire one person - in Mike Milbury - who’s perhaps the worst GM in the history of professional sports (OK, just history) and another - John Ferguson Jr. (even Dad wanted to maintain that differentiation) - who was well on his way to challenging for the title.

Yet you still have cajones grande to call yourself “Canada’s Sports Leader.”

I know it doesn’t take much to challenge the other networks with their, ahem, A-Listers like Bill Watters, Steve Ludzik and Soupy Sales but are you really that cocky?

Then I started to think: I’m missing something here.

Maybe you were looking for an ironic angle. Maybe it was just that old reverse psychology trick (and maybe it wasn’t). Maybe you’re just that place old GMs go to (professionally) die.

Then it hit me. Comic relief. It wasn’t about expert analysis, it was slapstick. You wanted to take TSN’s coverage into uncharted waters (not Watters, which may also induce vertigo and/or nausea).

You figured, given Canada’s rich humorous lineage, why not add that vital element to a station already packed with cool graphics, elegant menswear and a playoff monkey to boot? (Not literally, which would be cruel).

I realize now you were way ahead of the curve. Everyone else saw network ineptitude. You saw infinite rim shots.

When one of them would offer his expert opinion on the potential of a trade or the value of signing a “talent” to a long-term, astronomical, suffocating contract, they did it so eloquently and with nary a grin or a smirk of any kind. Frankly, they’re naturals.

Little did I know you would add the waa waa waa sound effect and the laugh track in post-production (although I might suggest firing the audio technician since the laugh track was barely audible on my set at home).

I see now it was never meant to be taken seriously. In fact, the satire was so thick and obvious you’re probably surprised it’s taken this long to come to light.

I, for one, feel pretty embarrassed and, yes, pretty dumb. You got me, good. And, from the talk I hear around the water cooler (actually a large keg), I’m not the only one. Evidently most of the country is also bedazzled and bewildered. You’ve pulled off a comic coup of epic proportions.

I guess you can at least take comfort in the historical precedent that a genius is rarely recognized in his own time.

And you have two of them.

Signed (admiringly),

Duped In Palookaville


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