Monday, April 09, 2007

Never Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story

UPDATE!!!! GARE JOYCE REPLIES!!!! CHECK MY COMMENTS SECTION!!!

First things first, read this:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=swiftcurrent

Also check out Keen's blog. He has some good comments from people in regards to the article. Good discussion as well on www.network54.com/forum/40684 and www.whlfans.ca


I've added some more thoughts since I first published this earlier today. If you've already read this, I've added content.

Gare Joyce was in Swift Current for the 20th anniversary of the bus crash. I was surprised at the negative slant he took in his article.

No mention of the dozens of volunteers required each game night that make Bronco hockey possible. Just talk of how they all ingnored the four broncos display in the lobby to get to selling 50/50 tickets.

No Mention of the challenges or successes of the smallest market in the CHL.

I hope Gord Hahn is cool with what was written about him. For "Honda" to be portrayed as anything other than a very caring individual with a heart of gold is unfair.


I've said it before and I'll say it again. "Don't haterize on Leo". Brady had his issues in the past and is a very articulate and smart kid. Writers have a VERY nasty habit of taking things out of context and only writing what proves their point. Brady could have very easily said "I love Swift Current, sure we have to pay for mistakes of past players but I enjoy my time here and wouldn't want to play anywhere else in the world."

Paper people and writers are notorious for doing this. Ask Harv Martinez how often the Lethbridge paper has skewed his post game words. Ask Dane Crowley about his first interview in an Everett paper. Most athletes have a story about being taken out of context by paper people. Thankfully our locals Bowditch and Mah are above this.

Gare Joyce spent an entire weekend on the bus and likely talked with everyone on the team. Anyone find it odd that of all the coaches and players he only quoted Leavold? That's cause Brady was the only one that gave him anything he could use in his negative article. All others probably had glowing reviews of our fans and of the city, leaving him with nothing.

I'm hurt that he thinks Swift Current doesn't show respect for the four players that died. I think we've all stopped to see the display in the lobby. I thikn we've all cracked a beer and talked about the four players and their impact. As a ten year old kid it was my first brush with death. Four of my heroes died that day. I'll never forget my mother just saying over and over again "those poor boys and their families" and watching her burst into tears while my young mind tried to process all of it. Maybe that's something I don't want to go through and relive everyday, but it doesn't mean I don't have respect for the display in the lobby.

"But if you put your ear to the door, you'd know this is the minimum interruption in a culture of denial in a town where the only thing tougher than looking through a scrapbook might be looking in a mirror."

I hope Gare Joyce can look himself in the mirror. A story of half truths. I would like to hear Brady Leavold actually say what Joyce claimed he said. I would like to hear the unedited tape recording. To slander our city and print those "quotes" from Brady is disgusting. To say that we as a community should have trouble "looking in a mirror" is lunacy. We should hold our heads high. We should be proud of the success of our team, and what we as a community have done to keep it viable. Parents of our prospects should know that their kids will have a good hockey experience in our city.



Maybe he's right in that we could have done more to commenorate the 20th anniversary of the loss of the four players. It is fortunate that there is no template for a situation like that in junior hockey. There is no 'right answer' when dealing with grief. Just another uninformed view of the little market that could in the CHL. Let him have his big city opinion and we'll remain "stoic".

R$

ryanswitzer@hotmail.com

9 comments:

Gare Joyce said...

I just quoted Brady but the fact is that I talked to many Broncos players and they basically all had the same line -- that the locals gave Broncos players a hard time. To run a list of quotes from a dozen players wouldn't have advanced the story an inch. I quoted Brady accurately. The others backed it up. His was a representative quote, not an exceptional one. All of them said that those who gave them a hard time in school were often in the stands cheering them on game night and they can't figure that out at all. I feel sorry for them, but many people are cold beyond belief.

I actually think Dean and Hunch do a helluva job with their team. The Broncos were competitive beyond reasonable expectations. I liked the kids whom I met. They're a good reflection on the program. I think junior hockey can be hard on the players -- I only wish the best for them. But it wasn't me who said that the team could have done more to honor the SC 4 over the years -- it was Fanner and Tim Tisdale and S Kennedy and other who are thoroughly entitled to their opinion and if you want to deny them that, that's your business. As for Gord, I can't imagine his pain and I wish he finds some peace and happiness in retirement.

Switzer said...

Gare,

First off, thanks for replying here. You're taking alot of heat on the www from Bronco fans and I appreciate the response.

"All of them said that those who gave them a hard time in school were often in the stands cheering them on game night and they can't figure that out at all."

Why didn't that make your article?

"But it wasn't me who said that the team could have done more to honor the SC 4 over the years -- it was Fanner and Tim Tisdale and S Kennedy and other who are thoroughly entitled to their opinion"

I don't think alot of people disagree with you/them that we could have done more. I think there is much disappointment at the Graham James angle. 30+ years of consecutive playoff appearances? The highest per capita attendance of anywhere in the CHL. The large staff of volunteers that makes it all possible? I know you're not a "puff piece" kind of guy, but the Graham James thing was covered nationally when it happened and has been relived in Sheldon's marathon and book. While what happened was horrible and disgusting and shouldn't be forgotten it is not the sum of the Broncos existence.

Our hockey team and history is more than Graham James.

I'm just one example of a Bronco fan who's first date was a Bronco game. the first time I cried tears of joy was the 89 mem cup win after Tisdale's goal. I didn't even cry when my kids were born! We've had nights with 3,000 people in the rink. 1 out of every 5 people town was at the game!!! On the mem cup winning team did you know the guy who scored the winning goal, winning assist and winning goalie where all from Swift?

Anyway Gare, you're an author and award winning writer and I'm a hack with a blog. I'm sure you could type an educated response to this to put me in my place. Fact is Gare, your article hurt alot of people. As a community we love our hockey team. We were pumped about the exposure ESPN was going to give us. For us to be portrayed as a cold, unfeeling community that should have a "hard time looking in a mirror" that bullies our current team and doesn't care to remember Dec. 30 1986 is not fair and not accurate. We are stoic and we are proud, and we are better than your article made us look.

Mole said...

Hey Switz, great response to this "clown shoe". I have no respect for anyone who comes to a town representing that he is writing a tribute paper to the 20th anniversary of a tragic event, and then shows up under false pretenses and writes this public bashing of a great community.

It was obvious from reading the article that his intention was to bash a town from the get go. Using the memory of the 4 Broncos simply to fuel the fire, is completely dispicable. I invite you all to look at how forced the quotes he took from joe Sakic were. Mr. Joyce could only grab two little fragments of a sentence to even support his ideas. If this isn't proof of a preconceived opinion on what he was going to write about, I don't know what is.

The fact of the matter is that members of the sports written media who have never played sports, don't understand sports, and can only memorize stats, and write smeer papers. This lack of knowledge and talent is obvious throughout this paper.

For the record, I am not from Swift Current, and have only been two Swift once in the last two years. Having said this, I feel that a moment of silence was a very respectful way of rememberring the 4 Broncos, and a hell of a lot more respectful than this idiot USING this tragic inceident to simply stir up contriversy and further his reputation for being a contriversial writer.

This guy has a reputation for writing non-truth's and exagerations. If you don't believe me, ask Don Cherry to give an opinion on this guy. Gare Joyce - the crap you write is only fit for the National Enquirerer.

In what was supposed to be a tribute article to the memories of 4 young men, Mr. Joyce dropped the ball completely. Linking there memory to the Graham James story, is dispicable, and he should rot in hell.

Anonymous said...

You say here you quoted Brady accurately, but at whlfans.ca, Brady says he was taken out of context and those aren't his quotes. I'm going to side with Brady over a slimy poor writer who had only one intention and that was twisting a great story and making the city and team look bad.

Joel Siemens said...

Hey GARE JOYCE, guess what you should be ashamed of yourself. This team and this community support the Broncos year in and year out. I dont know what more you wanted on the anniversary. Were they supposed to parade the family around or WHAT? If you think you know all the answers then what num nuts. At the moment the town STOPPED. Every Bronco knows about the crash and that is why we have the four leaf clover on EVERY jersey. Even through all the redesigns guess what its still there. Our first special edition jersey was an fine example of what we do. The crest was the FOUR LEAF clover. Simple yet paid the respect of the tradegy.

Come around every year for the last home game and try and tell me we dont love this team. This year and every year the guys get a 5-10 minute standing ovation. This year as well. We lost to Regina in game 6 in overtime. Did the fans leave? HELL NO the place was still packed as we gave the players their due. Name one other place where that happens.

Yeah lets turn an article about the bus crash and turn it into Grahame James and you call us direspectful. You are on classless joke of a reporter.

I better end it here before I type something thats gets me in trouble. All I can say now is Please dont come back.

Gare Joyce said...

Well, first, I hope you read my story in full -- I noted that it was Kruger to Tisdale on the winning goal with Kruger in the net. It was mentioned in the piece that all are SC-born and bred. The championship is all there. That's a point easily put out of the way.

Maybe I'm taking heat from the people of SC but remarkable little from other places outside the region. In fact, people are amazed that there wasn't more done, not on the 20th anniversary, not other years. And that the McBains can say that James did a good job with the team in the wake of the crash--when the players could have surely used psychological help--is hard for me to fathom. Do you have an explanation for that? If so, let me know. And let Sheldon Kennedy know.

It's one thing to say the story was covered "nationally" but the fact is the crash and the Graham James story is under the radar in the U.S. where the vast majority of espn.com readers reside. This is an introduction for many of them by reason of geography and age demographics.

The people of Swift Current should be proud in the accomplishments of this franchise on the ice, no doubt. That the directors chose not to do more with honouring those who died appalls people from away--like me, they'd stand out "like sore thumbs" or seem like "snakes" in SC. Look at what major league baseball is doing for Jackie Robinson's memorial (and he died as an adult if early of natural causes). The lessons of history, however painful they might be, are lost without timely reminders. Many in SC want to forget rather than remember--that's the story and it was other people (Kennedy, Wilkie, Fanner, Tisdale) saying it.

I feel for the current players, really. Junior hockey is not an easy life anywhere. It's very demanding. And when Brady and the others talked about the local kids at school I never saw it coming -- but then I'm from big bad Toronto. In grade school I sat next to the captain of the Marlies in school and everyone gave him respect and space. Same with others who had profile.

It's funny ... all the community love for players and team that you write about ... well, many people I sounded out in places away from the arena had a very negative view of the players--I didn't include it because it was anecdotal and maybe not representative.

If you want to criticize the story, just let me know the errors in it. If you or people posting on this board or others want to call me names, then you've conceded this contest of merits by virtue of childishness.

Switzer said...

Gare,

Thanks again for the reply. Despite our opposing views on this issue, you are a well known and respected writer and I'm flattered to have you visit my little place on the web.

"Maybe I'm taking heat from the people of SC but remarkable little from other places outside the region. In fact, people are amazed that there wasn't more done, not on the 20th anniversary, not other years. And that the McBains can say that James did a good job with the team in the wake of the crash--when the players could have surely used psychological help--is hard for me to fathom. Do you have an explanation for that? If so, let me know. And let Sheldon Kennedy know."

Once again Gare, I'm NOT ARGUING with you about how the 20th anniversary was handled! Some think we did enough, some think we could have done more. The club was thinking simplicity, you want Jackie Robinson. You have your thoughts and that's fine. I'm sure it was frustrating for you to come all the way to Swift Current for what you thought was a huge event and get a mere moment of silence.

Do I have an explanation for the psychologial help issue? No, No one has an explanation. Graham James was a "master manipulator". You and Sheldon Kennedy have covered that and no one is arguing with you. Once again, the Graham issue is a horrible thing that Swift Current has paid the price for that has hopefully raised awareness and prevented other attacks of the same nature.

BUT NOT THE SUM OF BRONCO HOCKEY!

"It's one thing to say the story was covered "nationally" but the fact is the crash and the Graham James story is under the radar in the U.S. where the vast majority of espn.com readers reside. This is an introduction for many of them by reason of geography and age demographics."

Well, I wonder were the US gets their lack of understanding and distorted view towards Canada? By giving Americans a view of small town Canada like this all you're doing is contributing to the next Rick Mercer special.

"It's funny ... all the community love for players and team that you write about ... well, many people I sounded out in places away from the arena had a very negative view of the players--I didn't include it because it was anecdotal and maybe not representative."

"Anecdotal and not representative" excactly. Swift Current, like any market is always happier when their team is winning. The last few years have been tough. The local attitude towards the team when you were in town was not as high as it was during the playoffs when fans took over the noise level at the Brandt Center in Regina. Swift Current gets on a high after the wins and a low after the losses, but the community does support the team unwaverlingly. As far as the treatment of the players in high school, I invite you to read unedited comments from Brady Leavold on the issue at whlfans.ca

"If you want to criticize the story, just let me know the errors in it. If you or people posting on this board or others want to call me names, then you've conceded this contest of merits by virtue of childishness."

I left name calling out of this Gare. We're both media professionals, you on a much larger scale. I can appreciate that you are a pro and want to get the most entertaining angle out of any story you write. I'm sure your readers down east and in the US think your article is pure gold! Congratulations for that! If you can look in the mirror and know that you were ethical in writing it and you honestly conveyed all the facts to the best of your ability then good for you. By visiting myself and Jon's blogs to defend your actions and integrity are you trying to convince us or yourself?

I didn't realize this was a contest. Thanks again for the reply Gare. I will warn you, Keener spends alot of time in the weight room ;)

Gare Joyce said...

Lots of time in the weight room, doing what? Keener should spend less time at Tim Horton's. Again, no errors were cited, I'll make the assumption fair-minded people will make: The story is right but you're unhappy with it.

Switzer said...

The story is right and we're upset by it?

You came to Swift to cover the 20th anniversary. There wasn't much done for it. So you talked to some players about some of the tough things about life as a Bronco, and played the Graham card.

Is your article "right"? In some ways yes it is. Is it one sided and negative? Yes. Are there positives you could have written about instead of the amount of space devoted to Graham? Of course. Did your artilce have 'errors'? From your perspective, I guess not. The context is in question, but I'll even give you the benefit of the doubt.

What if I made this statement of your hometown: "Toronto is a city filled with murder, pollution, prostitution and a medical community in denial of the SARS epidemic which frightened the continent a few short years ago". A statement without error, but also leaving out The World's most amazing entertaiment facility, the scenic CN tower, two time World Series Champs, Canada's NBA team, an unmatched passion for it's hometown NHL hockey team and the amazing concert that followed the SARS issue.

Do you see where I'm coming from Gare?