Most wonderful time of the year

MIKE BELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

Yes, it's a cliche but it's hard to think of a better time of the year than where we are right now.

Well, not weather-wise.

In fact, there's nothing sadder than seeing the faux golf pros at local driving ranges pack up their sticks and pickup lines as the days get shorter and the cold rain starts to fall on their swaying hips and serviceable swings.

(Until next year, Shagmeister -- stay gold, buddy, stay gold.)

No, Cheap Seats-wise is where the goodness is, with all of the worthwhile sports getting good, gearing up or getting under way. (Oh, um, sure, CFL -- you're in there somewhere, l'il fellah.)

Last weekend we had the NFL kickoff, which came with hype and hooplah (a word that only works when you say it out loud) that gave new meaning to the term overkill.

And somehow, even with the subpar quality of some of the games, it didn't disappoint.

Now the NHL season is at the door with the first Flames exhibition game tomorrow night at the 'Dome against the Panthers.

Now, the only thing to do is take a deep breath, say goodbye to your families and your livers -- and enjoy the show.

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Speaking of cliches, now that we're hitting the silly season, the next sports figure -- athlete or writer -- to use the phrase "it is what it is" gets an invasive colonoscopy with woodchip-coated workboots.

Are we all agreed on that?

It means less than nothing.

Of course it is what it is, Alfred Einstein, otherwise it would be something else entirely.

If you have nothing to say, please don't invent new ways to not say it.

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I've consulted with my therapist and, no, it does not make me a class-A narcissist that I drafted Denver Broncos running back Mike Bell for my fantasy football team.

What does, however, is when, at home, alone, with curtains drawn, I celebrate a particularly good run by my NFL namesake by removing my shirt, massaging baby oil on my moobs and whispering almost imperceptibly to the figure cocking its eyebrow at me in the full-length mirror: 'Mike Bell -- you're the greatest.'

Oh, like I'm the only one.

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A few weeks back, I wrote an article about the Stampeders touchdown dances which, at that time, consisted of a rather innocuous booze-drinking pantomime.

Since then, as the attention has grown, the team has stepped it up and gone all-out with a bobsled skit and a relay race.

Now -- especially after last week's loss to Edmonton -- it's become something of an issue with the yays and nays during the leadup to last night's game filling talk radio and killing thousands of trees.

And the team itself, led by Jeremaine Copeland and Nik Lewis, took it as challenge, promising more and more elaborate routines when they took it in for a score.

So, even though it's revisiting somewhere we've already been -- hey, even Paris Hilton has had second dates -- let us wade again into the fray.

The No. 1 argument given for the celebrations is it's added entertainment for the fans in a league, especially this year, that certainly can use all the help it can get.

That's fair -- but for Stamps fans.

You don't walk into someone else's house and disrespect them and their guests -- make no mistake, last week's displays were a sloppy stinkeye to the opposition and its paying faithful.

You just don't do it. You especially don't do it when you're a) playing horrendously, and b) in real danger of losing -- two things that were very much the case.

And please spare the argument those who have a problem with it are too old or too caucasian -- that's such a bogus red herring.

I may not understand you kids and your crazy -- what do you call it? -- hippity-hopping and ride-pimping but the one thing that remains the same in every generation is embarrassing yourself.

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Heckle of the week: "Score a touchdown, win the game/Please don't dance, have you no shame?/I may be old but I still know lame/Save it for after the game."


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