Peel away the hockey and one sees Don Cherry as a loud man fond of violence and flamboyant suits. He wears outrageous costume as he advocates that fit young men wearing uniforms be allowed to commit public acts of violence against each other. He himself is not subject to that violence, yet he voyeuristically enthuses that others commit acts of brutality for his entertainment. Hockey and war.
Some would call that a fetish and wonder what sort of things are stored on his computer. Some would call him a coward, and wonder when he last had a fist connect with his own face. Some would call him psychotic and wonder why he hasn't been committed. Canadians apparently regard him as some sort of icon.
The other day, Christmas I think it was, he got to fire a gun with a maximum range in the area of 40 kilometres. Like the hockey players pummelling each other on ice while he sits in his box, or Canadians sitting in front of their TVs, he won't see the impact of the round he fired. The army won't take him to see the bone fragments and lumps of flesh, a gut torn open by shrapnel and with the intestines splayed like noodles over the ground. He won't smell the putrifaction and the faeces, or see the flies buzz. He won't hear the screams of wounded, and observe the blood pouring out of their ruptured ears and limbs. He won't see the tears streaming down the faces of the soldiers assigned to clean up the mess or hear their deafening silence. He won't have their nightmares, or feel the pain of the loved ones at home as they try to understand why daddy spends all night drinking in the garage, or why mommy took them away to live with grandma.
If the round didn't explode right away and instead buried itself in a field, he won't meet the grieving family of the villager or child who disturbed it years later, long after we leave that place.
This man, Mr. Cherry, is three quarters of a century old. He was too young to volunteer for the Second World War, but old enough for Korea. He didn't go. Instead, like most of Canada since 1945, he spent a pampered and lucky life indulging in his fetish for chasing a small piece of rubber up and down a patch of ice. When he failed at leading these men to victory, he found a very well paying gig commenting on the skills of others. Millions of Canadians listen to his gaseous pontifications.
Somewhere along the way he decided he was a fan of the Canadian Forces. He whispered sweetly in their ear, told them they were beautiful, and they gave him an nice little award for his 'commitment' to them. He traded well on their laurels. They let him fire a gun and cheered his bluster.
Ten years ago, before Afghanistan, he was 66 years old. In ten more years if he's still living, he'll be 86 and quite possibly incontinent and senile. His stage-managed little blue pill with the gun is likely one of the last major acts in his charmed and cowardly little life. Canada, lazy and bloated on double-doubles and 60 years of peace and prosperity, looks on admiringly.