I'm about set to depart Rajasthan, "The Land of Kings." My train leaves in two hours. Udaipur has been most pleasant; I prefer small-town India to the chaos of the big cities. Some sports and India related nuggets for you to chew on, before I head for the station ...
1. It hasn't gone unnoticed out here, by me at least, that the Toronto Blue Jays are playing .833 baseball, and tied for first place, so far in Grapefruit League action. I'm not going to say it, because it would be totally ridiculous, but you know I'm thinking it.
2. The smell of feces is far too commonplace, and far too acceptable, in India. But with cows, millions - it seems - of stray dogs, horses, mules, monkeys, goats, pigs, and the odd camel roaming around, I guess there isn't much anyone can do but accept the stench. Perhaps, after another month or two on the subcontinent, I too won't be bothered by the smell. But I doubt it.
3. In seven games for the Maple Leafs, J.S. Giguere is sporting a .917 save percentage. Boners abound!!1 But, since I've only watched him play one game, his first, you tell me: has Giggy played as well as that number above suggests? Or are his first two games in the blue and white, back-to-back shutouts, distorting the view?
4. I'm as liberal as they come. I believe marijuana should be legalized, and I'm all for gay marriage, and gay rights. But this one I don't quite get: heterosexual Indian men - best mates, let's say - who walk down the street holding hands. I'm talking really holding hands: fingers locked between each other's. Maybe it's me. Perhaps I'm just not that in tune with my sexuality, but the thought of holding hands with a male friend of mine while we walk down the street makes me slightly uncomfortable. I couldn't do it.
5. I see that the Toronto Raptors are tenuously holding on to their playoff position. You didn't think it was going to be easy, did you? Also: I haven't been keeping up to date with Chris Bosh's injury woes; just tell me it's got nothing to do with either of his knees.
6. Even Ian White would be jealous of some of the epic moustaches I've seen out here in Rajasthan.
7. Before the Toronto Blue Jays were Roy Halladay's team, they were Carlos Delgado's. Now that the Halladay years have been left behind for the history books, yes, the Blue Jays are Vernon Wells' team. He is the veteran in the club house. "The player" who has won the most accolades, and represented the Blue Jays at the most All-Star games. What's wrong with him coming out and saying it? Since when is confidence, and taking charge of the clubhouse in the spring, a bad thing? Nothing, absolutely nothing, would please me more than to come home to Toronto in June to fine Wells in the midst of one fine fucking season. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: I believe in Vernon Wells.
8. The average Indian has absolutely no qualms about belching, breaking wind, picking his nose, and, if a man, urinating in public. It's these cultural differences that I find amazing everytime I visit.
9. I just brought up the Toronto Maple Leafs' player stats page on Yahoo! Sports. In one month, Brian Burke traded the team's top scorers, three through eight: Alex Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Lee Stempniak, Jason Blake, and Ian White. I'm not sure I've ever seen this type of mid-season roster upheaval. It's a good thing: the Leafs stink.
10. Based solely on reading what my fellow Leafs fans have been tweeting, I think I'm going to grow rather fond of Luca Caputi. And he's from Toronto. Local boy!!!1
11. Not enough people hate Matt Cooke. I fear that will remain the case even after his most recent display of douchebaggery.
12. A beggar approached my cousin and I a few days ago in Jaipur, asking for money. We politely lied and said we didn't have anything to give. As the beggar walked away, he called us "conjoose;" cheap. A bad day at the office, I guess. And a terrible begging strategy, if I must say so myself.
13. I saw a photo of Ponikarovsky celebrating a goal with Evgeni Malkin. Poni must feel like he's dead and gone to heaven.
14. There's an Indian singer in heavy rotation on MTV out here named Prince. He gets a million points for originality. As an entertainer, and even an athlete, it's all about the team around you; the people you surround yourself with. I remember reading Mario Lemieux's biography, and learning that, upon entering the NHL, he wanted to wear #99. He wanted to prove that he was in fact the greatest hockey player in the world. (Full disclosure: I'm on the Lemieux side of the Gretzky/Lemieux debate.) Mario's agent at the time, I believe, or someone close to him, told him the idea wasn't such a hot one. So Lemieux flipped #99 around, and wore #66. Personally, I think the NHL would be right to - as they did for The Great One - retire #66 league-wide. No one should ever be given the option to wear it again.
15. I'm going going, back back, to Delhi Delhi. Will hit you up from there.