Rickter Scale: The stuff of legends

Rickter Scale: The stuff of legends

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

Some people’s passion for sports borders on an obsession that can race in leaps and bounds into the realms of psychosis.

Others, on the other hand, find the concept of watching athletic competitions of any kind as enjoyable as finding a parking ticket tucked under the wiper blade on your windshield.

Whether you prefer to root, root, root for the home team or choose to completely dismiss that kind of blather, there are some athletic achievements that deserve our unbridled accolades and applause, even if limited to the confines of this column.

No one will ever reign supreme over the world of sports like a nimble little Norwegian named Sonja Henie, who earned her first Norwegian championship when she was 10.

February 22 marked the anniversary of Henie’s 10th consecutive world figure skating championship, an incredible run she began in 1927 at the ripe old age of 14.

Henie pirouetted to three Olympic gold medals along the way in 1928, ‘32 and ‘36. For those more enamoured by the performing arts should note that Henie went on to become one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses after she hung up her blades for good.

Then there’s David Ayres, the 42-year-old Zamboni driver and part-time practice goalie who added his name to the record book for an unbelievable performance between the pipes, once again on that 22nd day of the second month.

READ MORE: Rickter Scale

Ayres did what no backup goalie had ever done before when he was called on to play during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs after injuries felled the two goalies who had dressed for the Carolina Hurricanes that night.

Who can imagine what must have raced through his mind as he scrambled to get his gear on.

Although Ayres gave up goals on the first two shots he faced, he settled down and secured the win. Not bad for a guy playing with a kidney he borrowed from his mother.

The fact it happened against the Leafs in Toronto sweetened the feat for fans of every other team.

More recently, a young man from Ottawa turned in a run for the ages at the National Football League combine.

His time of 4.79 in the 40-yard sprint is a little less than a half-second off the warp speed of the fastest running backs in the league. Neville Gallimore, however, tipped the scales at 304 pounds as he rumbled down the track, which adds considerably more weight to the defensive lineman’s accomplishment.

And then there was the eight-year-old quarterback for the Saint Laurent Spartans who threw the only forward pass his team attempted in 1958.

Although he nailed a five-yard completion for a first down, the coach benched him for having the gall to draw up his own play in the huddle, and he was unceremoniously shuffled off to play on defence for the rest of the season.

All these years later though, I can still see our halfback hauling in my perfect spiral in front of a handful of spectators shivering in the bleachers on that cold autumn Saturday. To this day the stuff of legends, if only in my mind alone.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.

Rickter Scale

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A fire destroyed a commercial building on Idlemore Road early Tuesday. The fire is under investigation. (Kenn Mount photo)
Early morning fire destroys Sooke business

Firefighters still investigating cause of distillery blaze

The Capital Regional District hopes to be a national leader in zero waste and the circular economy, but getting there will take curbing construction waste and addressing challenges brought on by the region’s growth. Pictured is the Hartland landfill. (Black Press Media file photo)
CRD aims to be zero waste national leader, reduce enough to curb landfill expansion

Capital Region will have to reduce major waste sources: construction, organics from apartments

Langford Fire Rescue (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford looks to strike out on its own for emergency fire dispatch services

Mayor Stew Young says the city is large enough to negotiate solo

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about phase two in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
All of B.C. will eventually ease out of COVID-19 restrictions at same time: Henry

People who have received two doses of a vaccine can’t yet return to post-pandemic activities with each other, she says

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
B.C. First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add 6 seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Most Read