Final Call Part One

So it’s finals week at the school I teach at and today I just gave my very first objective/essay final. My brain is mush. I’m not exaggerating. I believe it is a cross between porridge and pudding. I have essays to grade coming out of my ears and christmas presents to wrap and…I’m making excuses, I know.

I am not finished with Kerry Fraser’s The Final Call. I will be by next week because school is out on Tuesday. But going through the book this slowly and then having to write about it is making me far more specific than I usually am in reviews.

That’s my positive spin on my slackery.

I’m about halfway through and I’m really enjoying it. I don’t know all the names that Mr. Fraser drops (mostly other referees), but the vastness of his knowledge and experience is awesome. He’s seen and done so much. The chapter on keeping fit made me feel like Jabba the Hutt. His work ethic puts the rest of humanity to shame.

All that said, in reading, the writer in me began to voice some concerns. He jumps around a bit in chronology and it’s sometimes difficult to follow. There are those readers who might be miffed (annoyed or even taken aback) at his openness about his faith (Catholic) and how that has guided him through the years. I didn’t particularly find it preachy, but I know that that could bother some readers.

But my favorite part, so far, came in the chapter entitled “Sidney and Mario.” Before you roll your eyes or click off of the page, hear me out.  As I’ve mentioned before on here, I’m really a newbie to hockey and to the Flyers. I’m not from Philly nor have any allegiance to Philly for any reason. My dislike for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins is purely atmospheric with having a Philly best friend and liking the Flyers. I know some about Mario Lemieux; that he was skilled, a Penguin and perhaps not the best of humans, but again, most of the hockey people I interact with are Flyers people. All that to say, I went into this chapter expecting for that bias/prejudice to be reversed by some really nice story about Sidney and Mario’s charming personalities and great hockey skills.


Mr. Fraser does not deny the skill for either player. However, he does give some information regarding the ‘superstars’ early antics on the ice. Both of them yelling/complaining to the ref’s (Fraser included) and how he, Fraser, dealt with it, both respectfully and firmly. He conceded that both players grew into leading captains and more respectful men, but once the chapter ended, I was left with a ‘yeah, still don’t like them’ feeling.

I felt validated for this feeling. “Yes, not liking the Penguins is a good thing. See, it’s there in black and white!”

That’s my tidbit for this week. Barring snowstorms and the like, I should have the rest of the book finished and reviewed for next week. Go buy Christmas