Monday, October 17, 2011

Bring the boat out, smoke out, watch the water move...

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was awarded an honorary lifetime membership to Elk-Aida Windsurfing after his arrest last month on Lake Minnetonka, MN for operating a watercraft while impaired. After passing a breathalyzer test a Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office drug expert concluded that the Jets fan favourite known as Big Buff was high while operating his boat citing: “his eyes were glassy, bloodshot, and showed a lack of smooth pursuit.”

At the honoree ceremony thick with Jets jerseys, some crested with the moniker “Big Puff”, Elk-Aida representative Ben Peterson offered some sage legal advice to Big Buff: “We really dig your style man but lose the motor, cops can’t touch you under sail power only brah.”

When pressed by media for comment on his recent arrest the understated but unflappable Byfuglien offered only a puzzling one line statement:

“I’m a water dude”

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Ottawa Ritz

Ottawa - Roger Ritsema shocked the sailing world last spring when he announced that the summer of '11 would be his last as a member of the Victoria Beach Yacht Club. A former cab driver and long-time Hobie Cat racer, Roger came to epitomise a Victoria Beach generation even as his peers sold out to the glamour of engineering in east Asia or to selling highly caffeineated beverages to skiers, snowboarders, and other west coast kids who weren't good at hockey as kids.

Such a stalwart Winnipeger was Mr. Ritsema that few thought the bright lights and power politics of Ottawa would chames him. But, as this reporter found, no sooner had the J. dried on the Ritsema yacht club locker than had Roger sold out to the high-flying Ontario lifestyle.
I met Mr. Ritsema at the downtown Ottawa Hy's, where, he told me (repeatedly), "he makes his big deals, obviously." Mr. Ritsema appeared to have gained weight, a shock to those who remembered him in his trademarked beach stance: gauntly thin, wrapped in an oversize towel, his head under the shade of a Green Team '96 hat and his eyes hidden behind Hobie sunglasses. Some maintain to this day that Radar's look is an pale impression of Ritsema. He seems to have left that look behind. To lunch he wore a power suit, a gaudy silver watch and what he referred to loudly as "Gucci-bucks-nigga-no-laces."
This reporter expressed surprise that Mr. Ritsema had abandoned a burgeoning academic career in the field of natural sciences for the world of commercial real estate development. "It was a natural switch," said Ritsema, "I went from studying the survival of the fittest to being the fittest." He took a pull on his glass of a rare '58 merlot. "This is me surviving."
Reluctant to reminisce about his down to earth prairie upbringing, Mr. Ritsema preferred to steer the conversation back to his new home. "There's just this raw energy about Ottawa," he said, "it's like a dose of Manhattan mixed with a shot of Ibiza." I mentioned that watching bureaucrats trudge from home to office and back again under gray skies hadn't given me that impression. "You gotta live here to get it I guess," said Ritsema, lighting a cigar as he leaned back in his cavernous chair.
As lunch wound down and Mr. Ritsema spent more and more time touching his hand to his in-ear Bluetooth, I pitched him one last question. Surely, I wondered, he must miss the time spent drinking casual beers and sharing laughs on cold 'Peg City nights.
Mr. Ritsema sniggered as he picked up his platinum Visa and pushed back his chair. "Please," he said, "the night life here makes August long at VB look like Deborah Hill's 16th birthday party."
And with that, he was gone.

Grandma turns Grandson over to police after his yacht escapade

Ben Peterson no doubt expected to his Grandma to keep, well, mum after he stole the family’s laser and took it for a joy-sail on a summer weekend.

No such luck. Now the 25-year-old Victoria Beach local is facing nine months in jail.

His Grandmother, Barb was out of town when he set off in the boat with a friend – neither one of them experienced sailors. Unluckily for him, Mr. Peterson ran into trouble off the north side of Elk, and after firing a flare for help, had to be rescued and towed to shore.

His Gram Ma told the VB Herald that she felt obligated to go to the police and teach him a lesson; though making the decision to do so was “absolute hell.” But it was a matter bigger than the ruined boat, she explained. (The family has since sold it, the Hearld reported.) Rescue workers had to spend time fetching her son from the lake when they could have been busting “beer drinkers and dope smokers” on the beaches. “It’s not what you want as a parent but have to do what you feel is right,” she said.

The penalty may seem stiff but Mr. Peterson did have a few more offences on his conscience: two stolen sandwiches and a bag of roaches were also found on the boat, and he admitted to stealing two coozies from Jers, and skipping out on several family meals – though the judge told him stealing his Grandma’s boat was his most serious offence.

When reporters asked her about her relationship with her Grandson, she claimed: “We will be fine. He accepted he was in the wrong and that’s it as far as we’re concerned.”

Of course, Mr. Peterson still has to serve out his jail time (and carry a criminal record with him).

No word on whether Grandma will visit.