YOU GOTTA HAND IT TO THE FANS... It’s been six months since retired physician Tom Goodhand stood up for every Winnipeg Blue Bomber fan who wants to sit down without being frisked on their way into the team’s longawaited new stadium.
The longtime Bomber season-ticket holder fired off a guided missile of an email to the Bombers’ board of directors, warning he would refuse to be patted down at the next home game, which was also the season-ender.
So it came to pass last November that the father of former Free Press editor Margo Goodhand appeared at his usual stadium gate for the team’s last game at Canad Inns Stadium and, true to his word, he refused to be touched. Eventually, they let Tom in without laying a hand on him.
"I am proud of myself for taking this stand," he told me after his equally proud daughter contacted me last year. "But when I realized that I was the only one of the roughly 20,000 male and female fans at the Montreal-Bombers game to enter the stadium without suffering the indignity of a ‘professional’ pat-down, I began to think that perhaps I was tilting at windmills."
But he wasn’t the only one who protested the frisky business at last season’s games.
Far from it.
As for tilting at windmills...
On Wednesday, the Bombers announced that, except in exceptional circumstances, they will use metaldetecting wands to do what amounts to hands-off body searches.
Bomber CEO Garth Buchko hinted that was the compromise they had struck in mid-March when I asked him whether the Bombers had considered buying some metal-detecting wands instead of patting people down.
"Our security strategy is being released very soon," he answered nearly two months ago. "But those considerations are being taken into account, for sure."
Today, fans such as Tom Goodhand can take a bow for bringing management to its senses. But Buchko also deserves credit for listening to the fans, including the decision to allow ticket holders to bring empty water bottles up to one litre and fill them at water fountains at the stadium, and accommodating the snack needs of people with medical conditions such as diabetes.
All those security adjustments should sound reasonable to reasonable people, along with the need to continue to search bags — a decision underscored recently by the Boston bombings.
In any event, a box full of metal-detecting wands and some late-dawning common sense about customer relations have solved one issue that could have been avoided last season with a little forethought.
Now if the Bombers could just find just one magic wand to wave, because, alas, that’s what the team is going to need on the field this season.
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WOW, SPEAKING OF TAKING A BOW... Tuesday evening, I had some fun watching my six-year-old grandson, Jacob, playing mini-soccer while his dad, Ryan, coached and it reminded me of something I read recently. It was a City of Winnipeg breakdown of how many volunteers and volunteer hours were involved last season in the soccer programs at the Central Corydon Community Centre, which comprises three clubs: River Heights, Crescentwood and Sir John Franklin. The answer: mini-soccer, 174 volunteers, number of hours, 4,000, plus. The rest of the soccer programs at the three clubs had 292 volunteers — convenors, coaches, managers — who did nearly 21,000 hours giving of themselves and their time. Hockey had fewer volunteers, 194, but they put in more than twice as much time, a staggering 45,000 hours plus, according to the city’s numbers. In total, there were 1,009 volunteers for all the community centres’ programs, from bingo to baseball, from ice flooding to craft sales.
How could we manage without all of you who do so much, in so many different ways, in every corner of the city?
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NOW LISTEN UP... If you’re a CBC morning radio listener and you’ve been wondering when Terry MacLeod will be back at work, a posting to a "friend" on his Facebook page offers a hint.
"All is well with me despite quintuple-bypass heart surgery in Jan," Terry wrote last month. "Sounds worse than it is. Still off work for about 3 more weeks probably."
Wednesday was three weeks to the day Terry posted that and I’m still waiting to hear his familiar voice back on the radio again. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait much longer.