Monday, August 24, 2009

Fr Randy Starkmans Blog

Come on for all you who make comments that are negative about like to see you perform on the world stage! Everyone loves the underdog anyway and Perdita has had her fair share of injuries and figuratively and literally hurdles to overcome...

A Message To The Knuckleheads Out There by Randy Starkman

It didn’t take long for the knuckleheads -- the kindest term I could come up with – to surface gleefully after Perdita Felicien’s disastrous run in the world championships final in Berlin yesterday.

Not that Priscilla Lopes-Schliep isn’t attracting her share of loons. But the anti-Felicien comments on message boards have such virulence that it makes one wonder why it’s so personal.

Okay, her calves cramped up yesterday. Was it due to nerves? You never know. If it was, that only makes her more human, not a better target for ridicule. But the cramps a recurring problem and she knows she has to get to the bottom of it.

As for those true morons out there suggesting she retire, you’d know if you followed her this season that she’s made an impressive comeback after missing all of last year and the Beijing Olympics with a foot injury. She was ranked in the top five entering the worlds.

She’s turning 29 a week Saturday. That hardly makes her over the hill in her event. Brigitte Foster-Hylton, the winner yesterday, is 34 and nearly retired after missing a medal in Beijing. Remember Gail Devers? She competed well until she was 40. She had more than her share of heartbreaks, too, just as Felicien did at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

This is sport, eh. How many athletes have failed and failed again before their big moment of triumph? (You might recall speed skater Dan Jansen.) That’s what makes the whole thing so compelling.

Those who call her a “choker” ignore that she won a world title in 2003, beat Devers for the world indoor title in 2004 – an event where Devers has a huge edge because of her better start – and came back and won a silver at the worlds in 2007.

The Perdita haters are probably the same people waiting to pounce if speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon doesn’t deliver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

You gotta wonder what it says about Canadians that they possess so much venom for athletes they ignore most of the time. You have to love that kind of support.

Lopes-Schliep doesn’t escape being maligned, either. In her case, it’s all the snide comments about her stocky build and people wondering “what’s she on.”

They ignore the fact that Lopes-Schliep’s musculature was there from grade school, that the other kids made fun of her because of her big legs and the pronounced veins. It’s a hereditary condition she shares with several aunts, who are built the same way.

Her progression as an athlete has been steady, no huge leaps forwards that would make you suspicious. She’s not coached by someone with a checkered past, as some top hurdlers have been. Her longtime coach, Anthony McCleary from Whitby, makes his living installing air conditioners.

It’s too bad the dart throwers don’t do a little homework, but then I guess it wouldn’t be as much fun then. Much easier to just log on and cast aspersions behind a cloak of anonymity.

Enough of this rant. We’re bringing out the prestigious Sunnyside Hardware Tool of the Week. Only it’s Tools of the Week this time.

We only award it sparingly. In consultation with the advisory board (chiefly my brother Laurie, brother-in-law Scott Turner, who runs the family-owned Sunnyside Hardware, and buddy Morry Helfan), we reckoned the award would only have meaning if it was handed out to true tools, not just willy nilly.

Knuckleheads out there, wear the honour proudly.

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