March 30, 2024

Robservations: Turning 60 … thank you, Anthony Partipilo … and vote for Wolseley!

Er, make it Robserv-aging.

This is my 60th birthday and, for the life of me, I cannot figure out where the time went. Or where my keys went, because this is apparently what happens after six decades.

How do I digest this?

It seems like just yesterday that I was 59. Or, maybe that “Dad joke” is 59.

The mind rewinds to July 1, 1980, when Alan Vanstone turned 60. It didn’t bother him, but it really troubled his No. 1 son. (His other child, the charming one, was a daughter.)

How could Dad be 60? How could anyone be 60?

When you are a sapling of 16, it is impossible to fathom being 20 or 25, let alone 30 … 40 … 50 … 51 … 52 … 60.

It is said that “60 is the new 40,” and I certainly hope that holds true, but 20 years ago I didn’t have osteoarthritis, grey hair, a greyer complexion, or a propensity to grumble “kids these days …”

Nobody wondered if my shampoo was actually a weed killer.

And everyone in my world was absolutely sick of the ring tone that emanated from my very first flip phone.

One thing, I should note, has been inalterable over time. I still have a dream job.

After 36 years at the Regina Leader-Post, I joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ organization on Feb. 21, 2023.

The job description: Senior Journalist and Roughrider Historian.

I love the title, and would not dream of changing a syllable, but I am nonetheless cognizant of the simple reality and the basic math.

Senior Journalist + Historian = Nobody Invites Me To Parties Anymore.

But here’s the thing: I can actually write that without being even remotely disconsolate.

For the longest time, I dreaded turning 60, but I now have a different perception of the milestone.

Perhaps I am rationalizing — I most certainly am rationalizing — but in recent weeks I actually found myself looking forward to this birthday and appreciating the fact that, yeah, I have been around for a while.

Longevity is beneficial, after all, when you happen to be a historian.

You have to be around my age to have any vivid recollections of having watched Ron Lancaster and George Reed play, live and in person. It was a privilege, an honour, and a joy.

I am glad I can remember the 1972 Summit Series, which was played when there was a certain novelty to colour TV, a satellite telecast and, for that matter, international hockey.

Back then, nobody ever asked Bobby Orr to “get pucks deep” or lauded an NHL player for his (ugh) “compete.”

In the early 1970s, nobody ever wondered why Dad drove a station wagon. The last time I saw a vehicle of that description, smoke was belching from the radiator and the maniacal driver had just been eliminated from a demolition derby.

The year was 1986 and I was interning at the Lloydminster Meridian Booster.

My bare-bones basement suite did not have cable TV — what do you expect for an affordable $200 per month? — so my dear friend Mark Anderson used to mail me videotapes of the past weekend’s NFL games.

At the time, it seemed like a cutting-edge and resourceful way of following sports.

Now I can watch sporting events on my (non-flip) phone or my laptop.

It is all so modern but, as a creaky historian, I enthusiastically reserve and champion the right to wallow in the past.

For example, the screen-saver on my treasured MacBook is a photo of the Roughriders’ Joey Walters making a one-handed touchdown catch against the B.C. Lions on July 18, 1982 at Taylor Field.

As an attendee of that game, I can verify that Joey was wearing green and white, but the image is in black and white.

It looks picture-perfect to me.


Earlier this week, I had the honour of interviewing Anthony Partipilo, our Chief Brand Officer, for a feature that was published on his final day as a senior manager with the Roughriders.

A.P. made the decision to conclude this chapter in a remarkable career, which has included 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and six years with the Roughriders.

This modest, professorial gentleman is not one to court the spotlight, but he nonetheless accommodated my request for an on-the-record chat.

The session began as follows: “My first question is, ‘Will you please reconsider?’ ”

No such luck. Hey, it was worth a shot.

I have treasured the 13 months in which our careers have intersected and will always be indebted to Anthony for the role he played in hiring me.

After an introductory chat over coffee with President-CEO Craig Reynolds, a more formal session was scheduled with Anthony and our Director of Communications, Arielle Zerr.

Until we sat down in the Aldag Boardroom at Mosaic Stadium, I had never met Anthony.

I am an overthinker and a worrier by nature, so anxiety can easily devour me. Factor in a career change that came out of the blue (or green) and well, I did my best to conceal the trembling and hyperventilation.

Anthony immediately put me at ease. In a matter of seconds, I felt like I had known him forever.

When he and Arielle rolled out the job description, it sounded as though I had written it myself.

Let’s amend that. The position with the Roughriders was everything I could have wanted …. and more.

Slightly more than a year later, I am still trying to process it all — along with, you know, this 60th-birthday issue.

Time does not stop — this is a recording — and a reality in one’s working life is that there will be change. Staff gatherings will be held, from time to time, to say “thank you” and “best of luck” and “Rob, will you please stay away from the cake?”

Anthony has made me comfortable, once again, by offering the kind assurance that this will not be “goodbye.”

It is reassuring to know that I can simply reach for my phone and touch base with someone who, in only 13 months, became integral as a friend and a fountain of perspective.

But, yeah, I still wish he had reconsidered …


The town of Wolseley is one of four finalists in the Kraft Hockeyville contest, which offers a grand prize of $250,000 to the winning community.

The 32-hour voting period, which began Friday, continues until March 30 at 3 p.m.

To vote, visit and, if you have yet to register on the website, complete that rudimentary task.

The winner will be announced during Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday.

Wolseley is up against Elliot Lake, Ont., Cochrane, Alta., and Enderby, B.C.

If a Saskatchewan community wins Kraft Hockeyville for the first time, the prize money will be earmarked for the purchase and installation of a new ice plant at the Wolseley Sportsplex.

The winner will also receive the privilege of playing host to an NHL pre-season game, which would likely be played at the Brandt Centre if the Wolseley bid is successful.


  • Nice people who deserve a plug: Anthony Partipilo, Karina Peterson, Rebecca Perigny, John Phillips, Julia Vaughan, Jacqueline Hurlbert, Caleb Blundell, Ken Volden, Trevor Harris, Rhett Dawson, Brent Buchko, Hugh Dorward, Kelly Remple, Ken Schneider, Tom Pura, Keesha Blenkinsopp, Lana Mueller, Marc Mueller, Andrew Hamilton, Joe Filson, Brayden Lenius, Mitch Picton and the staff and students at Thomson Community School.