WORD ON THE STREET: The Olympics are Over

RAY RILLEY, 56, HELL’S KITCHEN (“Or what’s left of it”)

Did you watch the Olympics? You said you paid attention to the hockey game between Canada and the United States.

Just in the newspaper. I know the US was not given good odds going into the game. They surprised a lot of people.

Somebody said that because Canada has so many NHL veterans and the US has so many relative newcomers, that watching the game was like watching a varsity team scrimmage with the JV. Do you think that is an accurate way to think of it?

No. No, they’re all professional players. Canadians are just inherently better hockey players than Americans. Where are you from?

The USA. Why, do you think I talk funny?

Yes, a little. You sound Canadian.

That’s the Minnesotan in me.  By the way, do you think we could argue that Minnesotans are inherently better hockey players than the rest of Americans?

It seems like hockey is a bigger sport in the East than in the rest of the country. I don’t know about Minnesota, per se. If you tell me it’s big there, I’ll believe what you’re saying. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, The Northeast in general: the farther you get away from there, it’s like nobody cares about hockey.

Did you grow up playing hockey?

No, never did.

Did you ice skate?

No.

How about roller skating?

Um, roller skating: yes.

Did you play roller hockey?

No.

You know, it’s not too late for you. They have city leagues in the summer, or if you want—

—I know. It’s getting very big, especially on Long Island. Street hockey is huge there.

Is that where you’re from?

No, I was born in Philadelphia. I lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. I’m your tri-state guy, here.

Did you hear about the luger who died?

Yeah.

What do you think of figure skating?

I don’t see a sport in that. I understand it’s a competition but I’m a baseball and football fan, primarily. With football, you see the sport in the clicking of the helmets.

Baseball has the crack of the bat.

And the blocking of the base. It’s not entirely a non-contact sport.

What do you think is the most honorable sport for an American man to play?

If I had my choice I would want to be a baseball player. To me they have the most fun life of any of the professional athletes.

What’s up with the weather? Do you think this most recent snowstorm is going to be our last of the season?

No, because we have March now and it’s a very unpredictable month. It could be 90 degrees one day and then 45 degrees the next.

In Iowa we say we’re not in the clear until the high school girls have had their state championship.

The girls’ championship must be after the boys’, then, huh?

Yeah, I suppose so.

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