Friday, May 1, 2020

Episode N: la décennie

1 May 2010-1 May 2020. It was odder than I imagined. May you find some joy in it.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Episode 161: Muchachos & Mustachios (2019 Edition)

Hey fellow kids,  it is I, Speedgoggles, the Ghost of Afterparty Past, in all of my post-ironic glory. Whether I might be considered a cautionary tale, an institution beyond reproach, or something in between remains to be assessed, but rest assured my answers to “What the hell are you doing here?” became increasingly cryptic-sinister as the night grew long.
Despite my most sincere efforts, I've yet to be murdered, arrested, or cancelled in pursuits of journalistic excellent (yet). A physical and philosophical nomad in some bizarre eligibility purgatory (how old is too old?), I am destined to return for at least one more year with unfinished business. Despite a lengthy and continued séjour in la belle province™, I've still not yet grasped what exactly a "carabin" is. Does this perhaps point to some greater identity confusion - a quasi-fictional being who is fundamentally a thing that it does not itself understand?

Probably, but who cares.You, dear reader certainly do not. You're here to see if I bothered to objectify you or your friends, not the existential crises which are central to this appraisal. So pitter patter, let's get at 'er.

Spectator of the Year

Speaking of ghosts from the past, our 2019 Spectator of the Year is no stranger to this award. He's gone to great lengths (of hair and in air travel), and great sacrifices (face paint permeating skin and orifices, probable frostbite to sensitive appendages) to wave the tricolour every damn year in recent memory except for Victoria 2017 (understandably).

And yet, time is a circle, and sometimes you end up back in the place you started many years ago: sitting on a fratty couch in the midst of what undoubtedly constitutes several major fire code violations. Except in 2019 your living room belongs to a new crop of harriers.

Congrats to Jeff Mountjoy, long may he (and the Aberdeen) run. 

"Hydration" is a key performance determinant. (photo: Kevin Mackinnon/Canadian Running Magazine).

Bowling for Soup Award

I received no less than three independent, heartfelt apologies/pleas from the men of UofT in regard to their Fashion Crimes of 2018. But as the excellently-coiffed yet mediocre XC talent Jon Snow once so aptly put it, "It's not my place to forgive you for all of it. But what I can forgive, I do."

There was little in terms of lamentable aesthetics this year, and so I'm going to call upon someone who unlike UofT did not learn from their past mistakes. Last year, I offered up very valuable ex-emo kid hair dyeing tips to JS Desgagnés of Laval. I'm not entirely certain he followed it, though it did look a little better than last year's pink. And so the Queen is going Bowling for Soup, whatever that means.

Bleach first! (photo: Kevin Mackinnon/Canadian Running Magazine)

Rookie of the Year

This category has tested my research skills significantly in the past, making it practically a participation award (hate very much). For the first time in a while... perhaps dare I say it... since the first M&M/Nickelback reference in 2011 the actual Rookie of the Year gets to win this award. Congrats to Marcel Scheele of Western for running fast with a furry face.

Still looking at this photograph? (photo: Western Mustangs XC & TF)

Most Improved

It is said that some people improve with age like a fine wine, but I must admit that the concept's not really there for me given my status as an iconically washed up boxed wine enthusiast. Nevertheless, that's not stopping me from appraising the facial hair antithesis to the September Hero.

Speaking of heroes, I hear that one of my nominees is big fan of Nickelback references. If you ask me that seems pretty derivative, but I also heard that his biggest internet aspiration is to be immortalized on this here thing. That's a weird dream, and I couldn't be more about it. Congrats to Evan Ubene of McMaster, for the mathematical proof that 2 < 35. Just don't end up like me, I'm a little worried at the example I've set for the youth (getting ready for parties in public bathrooms).

"and they say that a hero can save us." (photo: McMaster Marauders XC & Track)

Beardo Award

Beards man, it was the thing this year. Some of these were pretty good, but beards are too socially acceptable to really win big hardware with me. Get weird or go home.

Honourable mention goes to Nathan Dehghan of Queen's, for a meticulously maintained offering. Not quite scary enough for the W.

"'cause I'd rather feel pain than nothing at all" ??? (photo: Maxine Gravina)

Guelph packed a 1-2 punch with Gavin Hughes (right) and Josh Kellier (left). These two boys were so in tune that they nearly ran the whole dang race together (sew cayuuuute). I'll toss the slight edge to Hughes, since I am speedgoggles after all.

#StickingTogether is still a thing or nah? (photo: Guelph Gryphons Track & Field)

Flowtastic Award

I got a secret for y'all, and it is this: running with your hair down is much less disruptive than one might assume, and feels every bit as majestic as it looks. At least one man in the field was in on this secret, and his name was Hudson Grimshaw-Surrette of Dalhousie. My photo hunt also indicated that he does a mean braid.

A man with many hair looks. (photo: Dalhousie Tigers XC)

Community Service Award

As is probably quite obvious, a lot of the decisions I make are entirely predicated around doing weird shit purely as an experiment to find out what happens next. The winners of this award are my spiritual brethren - doing something whack with their appearance for teh lulz. Maybe it's about demonstrating respect for the sport (by rejecting conventionally attractive looks), maybe it's about solidarity with one's teammates, or maybe it's even about ending on here.

Either way, #LookGoodFeelGood.

This years winners are a duo from Windsor, sporting a fine pair of mullets. Business in the front, party in the back. Congrats to co-winners, Brendan Simone (left) and Josh Zilles (right).

ru guys like models or something? (photo: Meg Gregoire)

Team Title

This one was a pretty close call for me. As in the reals, a closely contended race on the team front. I had to bust out the photographic evidence to be certain. I did a recount (jk I can't count). There was a tie-breaker. In my books, that's the quality of the 6/7 guy, however. And so, after many years atop the M&M podium, I must regretfully say that the Calgary Dinosaurs (fossils? too much?) were only good for 3rd. Pennock, Travaglini, and Daniel were good, but the rest of the team came up a little short.

Taio Cruz's Dynamite is an all-time great pop song tho. (photo: USports Canada)
In second place, we have Guelph. They were a little better than Calgary - Hughes, Delaney, Kellier, Patton, Ubene were a solid 5. They didn't win, but they should be proud of this achievement - especially Patton, who is now officially the 2nd most newsworthy person from the town of Fergus.
Close, but no cigar (photo: USports Canada)

Up in the number one spot we have Windsor, bolstered primarily by a strong contingent of mullets (<3). Unlike the other teams, there was 100% buy-in on foolishness: Martin, Zilles, D'Alessandro, Simone, Cauchi, Rioux, Heykink, they all had it going on. And that folks, is how you win.

Put ur hands up 4 detroit (photo: Meg Gregoire)

Individual Title

Now for the real deal awards. Unfortunately, the athlete I very much wanted to the third place award to (unknown Manitoba runner) was elusive enough to lack a confirmed mustache presence on any social media, university publication, the dark web, etc. and also avoided all race photos. Tragic.

In his stead, I present Royden Radowits of Alberta, whose mustache was pretty dece, but more importantly, photographically available. 

Front of pack=photos=awards (photo: Kevin Mackinnon/Canadian Running Magazine)

As alluded to earlier in this piece, there has been much hubris about the presence of over-aged athletes in the university ranks. Detractors claim that the more mature students usurp the glory that should rightfully belong to students following a more traditional scholastic path, and worry that recruiters may be incentivized to give all their roster spots to such students.

I for one, am a bit dismayed about the possibility of stacking teams with men old enough to have proper facial hair. I can't believe that no one has brought up this very grave concern. Imagine! But I am not concerned enough to slash Matt Travaglini of Calgary from the podium. Much too good.

Way she goes boys. (photo: McMaster Marauders XC & Track)
Now this year's winner, he's a real dark horse. Never even heard of the guy, until I looked up his name in the results. But UNB's Isaac Cull delivered, becoming the university's first winner of any kind of  M&M award. Regretfully, his beauty mustache/mun combo didn't photograph too well, but multiple witnesses can confirm that I did indeed swoon every time he passed my undisclosed cheering location.

New Brunswick, an underrated province. (photo: UNB Varsity Reds)

Well folks, midnight has come and gone, and for better or worse it's time to crank this thing out. Grievances, praise, and Ig Nobel Prizes in journalism are accepted as always through improper channels.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Episode 160: Muchachos & Mustachios (2018 Edition)

Welcome one, welcome all.

There comes a point in every semi-viral pseudo-celebrity’s life when the thought of retiring in order to retain dignity must be considered. Luckily for you dear reader, the concept of dignity, much like the concepts of self-preservation and post-run core, are all very much beyond my emotional capabilities and/or desires. And after having dumped all of my (variously eroded) earthly possessions into the sea, trading the mountains for the flatlands, what excuse have I to not further debase myself and the men of the CIS USports?

Very little indeed. Because as they say, time is a circle, and I’m back on that 2010 vintage funemployment Amish country parents’ basement lifestyle that begat this here moderately-read mockery of sports journalism. Like Avril Lavigne’s timely album release, this may be construed simultaneously as a curse and a #blessing.

Now, as much as I am certain you people don’t care about my personal life (lawd knows I hardly do), I think we’ll be getting down my blustering about what went down atop ol’ Fort Henry (a few poorly secured port-a-potties, but possibly some other shit). So, get in, get ready, and hold on to your hats.

Spectator of the Year

Some might say that this day was not a great one for split seams, but I think that’s a matter of perspective, if you catch my drift. On this note, I’ll betray a little secret: our Spectator of the Year winner was in fact wearing split seams for modesty (a world first?) under his tough man skirt kilt. I don’t think that’s allowed, but who’d be bold enough to give Jeff Mountjoy the L on his home course, showing so much skin in such weathers? Not me.

Apparently no one snapped any pics of this, so I'll do some recycling.

4-time winner, pictured in 2013

Bowling for Soup Award  

I’m gonna do something a bit unprecedented for this award – because well, it’s my dumb blog and I set the precedent. Usually this thing’s about some dudes who tried to grow a mustache with iffy results, wherein I call them out. I saw something far more egregious this year – the entire UofT team (less one guy) donning shorts over tights. Science says that male birth control is still in the works, but I say it’s already been invented.

Boys with bad facial hair can rest easy for at least another year.

It's cross-country, not crossfit (photos: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Now, I'm sure some nerd will point out that this was probably done in order to comply with league uniform regulations. That may be so, but a certain team on the podium seemed to get away with most of its team in black shorts... and then a little bit of red. But I say that we overlook this small matter in the interest of avoiding the fate of the poor men of UofT.

Rookie of the Year 

Finally, I was able to locate more than 1 rookie with a mustache in less than 10’ of creeping. Statistics might inform the assumption that this is a coincidence, but I like to keep my delusions grandiose, and take this as irrefutable evidence of my cultural influence. I mean, like, enough of the nonsense I commit to digital ink comes into fruition so why not? 

Predictive narration aside, this year's Rookie of the Year is Félix Lapointe-Pilote.

(photo: P. Morin for Cross-Country et Athlétisme)

Most Improved

Were these dudes alive and relevant last year? Who knows, and I guess not, which are the essential criteria for this award.

In the honourable mentions position, we have Mostafa Elkurdy of Guelph. Idk if he had a mustache last year because I pay little attention to alternates. But this year he moved on up to main line, and it was enough to turn my head.
Decent-ier (photos: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

The winner of the Most Improved award is Sergio Ráez Villanueva of McMaster. Lulzy toque, but otherwise excellent execution.

hurtin' for photos this year (photos: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Beardo Award

Not a lot to go on in this category, it seems. Nevertheless, I award Keven Bédard of Laval the Beardo Award. Because sometimes winning is simply showing up. Honourable mentions to Caleb de Jong of Trinity Western.

2fast4photo? (photos: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)
Eee (photos: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Flowtastic Award 
While I’ll admit I was a little disappointed that no one went #longhairdontcare after nature so kindly provided the bounty of a wind machine, I was at least consoled by the mun yield (my second favourite hairstyle option, if anyone’s looking to impress).

Speaking of impressin’ me much, a good tip for getting your name in this thing (prospective employers googling your name will be amused, I’m sure) is to ply me with compliments, liquor, transportation services, and housing. Ben Weir of UVic, the runner-up in this category spoke to me once, and told me that he found my work to be at least somewhat amusing on at least one occasion. I didn’t really talk to a lot of other real humans in the year 2018, so this feedback was particularly impactful. 

Mun not visible, but it was pretty ok. (photo: Ian MacAlpine)

In the winning position, we have a repeat: Ryan Greico of Calgary. Tee-bee-ehsshh I don’t even think I’d be capable of constructing a better bun myself, let alone one that was structurally stable enough for 10km of bouncing.  

What's the secret? Bobby pins? Hairspray? Pls advise (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Community Service Award

Simply put, this award is about personal courage (fact: this song played on the radio as I crossed Tragically Hip Way). It takes some guts to make yourself look silly while doing a thing that arguably, already looks pretty silly to most outside of yours truly. There were two solid examples in the field that emulated the values of this award.

In the runner-up position we have Jean-Simon "Queen" Desgagné of Laval. I think he was trying to do some sort of red ombré stripe thing, but it turned out pink (pro-tip: bleach first, red is not a colourfast dye... er not that I would know anything about dyeing my hair odd colours). He could have tried to fix it, but he just rolled with it and I respect that. 

Yass queen? (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Now, if you know one thing about me, it's that I love mullets. Wish I had one, actually. Maybe I'll get one in the process of achieving my other dream (appearing as an extra on the Trailer Park Boys). Until then, Tyler Kiyonaga of Calgary will live my mullet dream, and win the Community Service Award for his contributions to the people.
Giving back to the community, the right way. (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Team Title

Did you know that in the last three editions (2017, 2015, 2014) the winner of the M&M Team Title has gone on to win the real deal in the following year in a fairly unprecedented fashion? I don't know about you, but I'm fairly certain that makes me some kind of prophet. You best pray that I wield the power of my pen upon my prey responsibly this time around.

One might guess that based on the individual awards thus far, plus the good ol' fashioned west coast (?) bias I've allegedly developed, that Calgary is probably in the running. This would be correct. Muns, mullets, mustaches, plus some quality running (don't worry, I've not forgotten what my handle means). Unfortunately, it was not quite enough for the W with me - 4/7 is not a fraction I can work with. Find yourself a fifth, and we can talk. Third place for Calgary.

It's too bad, it's too bad (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Led by some solid results up front my Connor 'Black Velvet,' Most Improved Elkurdy and rounded out by some other variously furry chaps, Guelph sneaks in for the silver. As on the course, as on the blog.

Like boots or hearts, oh when they start (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

It's been a while since this team last impressed me, but the les boys are back! One part hair dye gimmickry, some long locks, some beards, some 'staches and one very on point banquet ensemble. Laval FTW, and should my power hold, the 2019 title.
Fresh (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Individual Title

After finding out last year that I have a substantial fanbase in Winnipeg, I have been greatly incentivized to consider their mustache offerings more seriously. I don't know much about Connor Boyd of Manitoba, but he did have a pretty ok mustache, and that gets him third.

Takin' care of business (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Up in the 2 and 3 spots, we have two good ol' 'berta boys. Since commencing M&M, I've been peculiarly wedded to the melodies and facial hair of the province's greatest export (Chad Kroeger). Love it or hate it, I can't get over it.

my most profane Alberta fantasy (photo: @MackLamoureux)
Anywho, in the runner-up position we have Stefan Daniel of Calgary for his frosty 'stache.

what an adorbs expression (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)
In the winning position, we have teammate Russell Pennock of Calgary, moving up from last year's Most Improved. I warned last year that he should lose the hat if he wanted to be in line for the big prize, but there was simply no competing with this offering.
still hate hats, tho (photo: Ian MacAlpine for USports Canada)

Once again, we’ve come to the end for another year. As always, wider media interest and/or Nobel Prize in Male Reproductive Health notifications may be forwarded to whichever contact info you’re competent enough to dredge up. In the mean time, I’ll be fading into the night to devote my time to uncovering what exactly a “carabin” is, with results to be released on a need-to-know basis.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Episode 159: Muchachos & Mustachios (2017 Edition)

Miss me?

Of course you did. Well friends(?) – it’s back! After a lengthy hiatus, largely spent in some precipitous corner of the Pacific Northwest, your not-so-humble forum poet laureate slash journalist has returned to the fray. Whether it was the #socialmediainfluence or the aching desire to fulfill my ultimate destiny as the token quasi-tragic CIS alumnus, by some fate I was dredged to stand upon the shore for the 2017 edition of Muchachos & Mustachios. And though I stand rusted, my purple wig caked in 10 eternities of salt (organic, sea-derived), I have resolved to bring the people what they want: ambiguously-motivated objectification of men's hair with a side of spurious CanCon references.
But, for the slim minority who click on this tome for the prose (luvs ya), I think we should do a brief history, for all the kids out there. Assuming you don’t care enough to go back and read the old editions, or your web browsing skills prevent you from figuring out the sidebar, I have created a visual summary of all previous editions, beginning with 2011. Some might say I’ve covered a lot of ground over the years (one must #earntheparty, after all).

all a blur, really

But enough of this sad nostalgia. Let the preamble taper off and the floodgates open.

Spectator of the Year

The thing with having a national championship on an island is that you find out who the #truefans are. Travel expense aside, there’s always the chance that Poseidon invites you to become the human embodiment of trash and/or living poetic justice for a few hours on the ferry terminal floor.
Anyways, I could choose to reward the efforts of the various Vikes homecrowd fans with their swords and fake red hairs, but like… nah, because I am fickle. I’m giving this one to the guy who was smashing dollar store metal mixing bowls. Efficient and cost-effective in a land of excess.

Meh emoji, #mood. (photo: Cross-Country et athlétisme/ P. Morin)

Bowling for Soup Award

I had to bust out the old FB creep method to make sure that these fellows had anything going on, which is a sure sign that this award is well-deserved. But all is not lost – there is at least some solace in bravery.  Congrats-(ish) to Graeme Wach of Dalhousie and Santiago Bessai of McGill for er… trying (I suppose).

Hmm. (photo: Cross-Country et athlétisme/ P. Morin)
Maybe? (photo: Cross-Country et athlétisme/ P. Morin)

Rookie of the Year

Once again, I had to do some digging for this award. Captains, what doing? Anyways, after a laborious research stint, I finally found a rook with something to work with. Congrats to Arthur Deloignon of the Universite de Montreal (what is a carabin?).

Photo-shy in Vic (photo: Carabins Cross-Country)

Most Improved

Can someone who suddenly opts to sport a Chad Kroeger goatee and a backwards cap be considered an improved man? Perhaps not to most (outside of Alberta), but in the forsaken realm of my mind it is so. I have no idea what Russell Pennock of Calgary was doing with his life before this (heard it was the shampoo/blow-dry/run), but in the realm of the mustache blog, he was worthless until this year. Congrats on the most improved award. Lose the hat next year and you’ll be sniffing at the more important podium.  

Feeling way too damn good(?) (photo: Cross-Country et athlétisme/ P. Morin)

The runner-up award in this category goes to a previous winner of the Bowling for Soup Award, proving that is possible to go from “Someday,somehow” to “just like a paperback novel, let’s rewrite an ending that fits.” Congrats to actual runner-up Connor Black of Guelph for upping his game without having to resort to grey zone performance enhancing methods (JFM).

Silver side up  (photo: Cross-Country et athletisme/ P. Morin)

Beardo Award

This year’s winner would surely have won this award last year had I not been busy being dark speedgoggles or whatever. Offensive and alarming, Jeff Tweedle of McMaster wins the Beardo Award.
I am afraid of birds tbh. (photo: Guelph Gryphons Track & Field)
While the runner up’s team had a number of quality beard showings, something about the great look of anguish-despair in all of his race photos caught my eye. Congrats to Nic Morin of Laval and his bandana in the runner-up position.

can taste finish line? (photo: Cross-Country et athletisme/ P. Morin)

Flowtastic Award

There were many good variations of long-ish locks in this year’s race, but the name says “flowtastic,” and so the winner will always be someone brave enough to go #longhairdontcare in the race. This year’s winner is Jonathan Favero of McMaster for going full untamed merman in the rain.

Favero leads the way. (photo: Cross-Country et athletisme/ P. Morin)

As much as I enjoy the liberation of setting one’s hair to the wind, I always have an eye for a well-constructed bun. Runner-up in this category goes to Ryan Greico of Calgary for keeping that ish on the up for 10km. 

On point after all them rains. (photo: University of Calgary Athletics)

Community Service Award

Much to my disappointment, there was little in the truly outlandish category this year. While winning the more solidified, mainstream categories is most coveted, I would argue that the Community Service Award is the cornerstone of this blog. Like its real-life counterpart, it ensures the preservation of that which is rare and unquantifiable.  Perhaps the closest I saw to that ideal this year was the presentation offered by Cal Dewolfe of Dalhousie. I’ve always been a fan of the team’s tiger shorts, but there was an additional je ne sais quoi about Dewolfe’s very bad faux-hawk/frosted tips combo that was a little better than the rest.

def a fridge photo candidate (photo: Cross-Country et athletisme/ P. Morin)

Team Title

If anyone knows anything about the real world value of messageboard hype, it’s me. And though this can sometimes be a double-edged sword, it seems that Calgary went the “it’s gonna be forever” route as opposed to the “down in flames” path (sry for not incorporating something about loving the game). They might not have won the real race, but sometimes success is based on intangibles. And so, the team title goes to the Dinos – had some ‘stache lowsticks in the individual cats, and good variety. Only 5/7, but it only takes 5 to score on the course, and with me.

Dino-myte (photo: University of Calgary Athletics)

When it comes to CIS (not Usports, ain’t about that #branding), Laval brings it wherever they go – race, dance floor, and personal grooming is a place of no exception. A solid effort here – and that earns them 2nd.

Bien fait.  (photo: Cross-Country et athletisme)

On the flipside of things, if anyone knows anything about how it feels to be a human trapped in the body of a meme, it’s me. Unfortunately for McMaster, this meme has less to do with purple wigs and debauchery, and more to do with finishing 4th in the actual race for about the hundredth time. I originally had Mac penned in for the medal position, but after a recount had to concede that... it was not to be. Bronze to Guelph. BOOM!

Back in it. (photo: Guelph Gryphons)

Individual Champion

Typically, this here blog maintains some decorum with regard to calling out randoms, because I don’t have time for that hatorade/lawsuit $wag. However in 2015, I decided to give the shout to some dude from Manitoba. As it turns out, they do have the internet out at the 100th meridian, and their boy getting the shout may have been the most eventful thing to happen in a few decades out in the Peg. But more importantly, this was enough to land this publication on the wall of the men’s locker room (my greatest dream, obviously).  This piece of information was so intoxicating that it solidified the Individual Champion category in favour of Patrice Bulloch of Manitoba.

We could go on about the mullet and 'stache (an improvement on an already good 2015 offering), but it is said that a picture is worth 1000 words (and I'm speechless).

10/10 (photo: Cross-Country et athletisme/ P. Morin)

While a more detailed search ousted this runner-up from an early lead, if something’s good enough to force a cat-call out of me during pre-race strides, some recompense is in order. And there’s no denying I like me a mullet, I like me some neon and I like me some classic ‘stache. Congrats to my fellow bubble boy Kieran McDonald from Alberta for this fine effort and razor-sharp attention to detail.

#YOLO (photo: Cross-Country et athletisme/ P. Morin)
And in the third spot? Tarc Murmel.. or is it Marc Turmel? Idk, some dude from Regina.

Nike shill? (photo: Marc Turmel)

Actual events were much rainier than prophecied.

Well folks, as sad as it may be, that's it for at least another year. As always, hatemail, general interest and journalistic awards may be forwarded to me as you see fit (pls @ me, so lonely). But until next time, keep your 14s on the grass.