After ensuring the children did indeed still have all their limbs attached, the first order of business back home here in Uganda was to play some hockey, the sort reported earlier this year here in the Hamilton Spectator, that is ball hockey with Ugandans who are getting too good at Canada’s game.
Too good, indeed.
Joining us for this recent game were two Canadian boys who I met on the return flight from Istanbul, flying Turkish Air into Uganda, Edmontonians doing some work in Uganda for just a short time but long enough to come by my house for a good ‘ol Saturday afternoon game.
The Ugandans who show up every weekend looked us over and suggested it should be the Ugandans versus the Canadians, which besides these Western Canadians included myself and my nine-year-old, Jon.
Jon immediately let it be known that he would be PK Subban, an announcement which sent our two Canadian guests into great spasms of laughter, the irony being that the four of us were lily white, unlike our opponents, four very black Ugandans who were then informed just who in the world PK Subban happens to be.
Then the Ugandans – I have to tell you they’re about half my age – beat us up. Bad. At our own game. “I think I’ve taught them a little too well,” I later lamented in some amount of pain.
I don’t know. Am I washed up? Is it time to retire? I’m not even 50 years old!
Of course, Daniel Alfredsson has just retired, this past Friday in Ottawa – you may have heard.
And I, in fact, am regularly confused with Alfredsson.
Proof: A few minutes ago I pulled up a few of his photos online. “Do I look like this guy?” I asked Liz.
“Yes,” she said. “Here.”
“That’s my ‘I’m going to go on a scoring rampage now’ look,” I said.
“And here,” she said.
“That’s my ‘I’m in my retirement glory’ look,” I added.
To finish, let me quote an excerpt from my memoir, 99 Windows, a selection which may sound familiar because you read the book and loved it so much that you put every page to memory.
Now I find Alfredsson, the captain of the team representing Canada’s cold capital, apparently looks like I do, or vice-versa, like each other’s doppelganger.
It’s something I discovered one summer day while on break from Africa, enjoying Niagara-on-the-Lake, a touristy place just north of the Snowy 49th Parallel that, in pre-Confederation days, happened to be the capital of Upper Canada.
On this day, a fine visitor – a hockey fan and an astute observer of grace and athleticism – approached My Royal Babe while Jean was waiting for me outside of one of those trendy shops. “Excuse me,” she said. “Is that your husband in there?
“Yes,” said My Royal Babe.
“Is he Daniel Alfredsson?”
“Well, I can see why you would come to that conclusion,” continued Jean. “I mean, my husband really is a jock. He could easily score tons of goals in the National Hockey League with his right hand tied to his left skate. And certainly earning millions a year is well within his abilities, which really, quite honestly, is why I married him. Oh, and yes, those looks. Ohh, I just melt in my shoes.”
At least I think that’s what she said. Or, maybe it was, “No, he’s not.”
The responses are so similar, you know?
And when she told me about it later, I was so taken aback, I may have lost some of the exact words in my notes.