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Riding The Pine: Tim Bowling’s personal reflection of professional hockey in “Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey Goodbye”
In “Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey Goodbye,” Tim Bowling, an author, poet, and a fishing boat deckhand (Stewart et al 237), articulates how professional hockey has evolved over his lifetime. He laments how a game he was enamoured with no longer captures his complete attention and is not as relevant in his life as it once was. However, Bowling admits he still has a sheepish curiosity for the latest news and highlights (238), is still “mildly attracted” (239) to the game for its grace, beauty, and skill (239), and yearns for a Stanley Cup Final with two Canadian teams; most importantly a final with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the
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Like many Canadians, Bowling can recite simple statistics about the game; six of seven Sutter brothers played in the NHL (239) or Bobbi Clarke’s battle with diabetes are a couple of examples. It is easy to determine, from his narrative and expressions, Bowling is a fan of hockey and has been for his entire life. Like many other fans, he realizes the game has changed and in his opinion, not for the better. Along with his narrative, Bowling uses contrast to support his opinion in such a way that balances the old traditions with the new nuances of the game. For example, Bowling draws on some parallels of one of the newest superstars in the league, Sidney Crosby, to unequivocally the greatest player of the game Wayne Gretzky: Sidney Crosby “is expected to challenge the scoring statistics of Gretzky one day” (239). Bowling continues to use contrast comparing the years it takes to master skating with the simple fundamentals of running, jumping, and catching (239); basic skills used in baseball, basketball and football. His view is that hockey players are the most skilled athletes in the world and other athletes pale in comparison. Furthermore, he adds to this contrast by stating “if you can’t skate, you can’t even take to the playing surface.” (239); this description compliments the demands, skill, grace and beauty of the game of

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