Category Archives: Sports

Golf Game in the Mountains

When we were in Canmore our niece and her fiancé arranged for us to golf a round at the Canmore Golf and Curling Club. It was a great experience.

The problem with golfing at a course with such gorgeous scenery though is that it is hard to concentrate on your game with all that beauty around you. I wanted to take a photo on almost every hole.

Dave came very close to making an eagle on one of the holes.

I had a pretty decent game with plenty of shots that felt really good.

A train track runs along one of the fairways and it was kind of neat to make our way down to the green with a train rushing by beside us.

My niece Olivia taught me a new way to keep score. For each hole she records a happy face, neutral face or sad face depending how she felt about her performance on that hole. I normally don’t keep score when I golf but I like Olvia’s system and I’m going to try it.

We loved our round of golf in Canmore on an almost perfect October afternoon and evening.

After our round, we took Olivia and her fiancé  Miche out to a local tapas restaurant for supper. We shared a creamy penne pasta, a duck confit pizza, mussels, a Caprese salad, and lemon pie. It was fabulous and a good way for us to thank Olivia and Miche for their warm hospitality in Canmore.

The next day our niece took us to the Stewart Creek Golf Course where she is a chef.

Hole 1 at Stewart Creek

The course was stunning! Unfortunately, it just happened to be closed for maintenance during our entire visit so we couldn’t go golfing there.

Hole 9 Stewart Creek

We will just have to make a return visit to golf the Stewart Creek Course.

Other posts……….

I Did the Limbo On the Golf Course

Back on the Course Again

Fun Times With Paul and Shirley

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Watching Bear Town

Bear Town is a Swedish series with English subtitles

Dave and I just finished watching the five-episode television series Bear Town based on a novel of the same name by Fredrik Backman. We had both read the book a few years ago and it was excellent. We were glad we had read the novel before seeing the series.

Just a warning that at the heart of the story is a very graphically portrayed and troubling event. It was hard to read about in the book and is even harder to watch in the television series. But for anyone who has been involved in the world of hockey either as a player, a coach, a fan or a parent the story and message in Bear Town is an important one to consider.

The book and series illustrate that hockey can be a great experience for kids. Hockey teams can help community pride flourish. Hockey can bring people together.

Playing hockey can also be an awful experience for kids. It can batter civic pride. It can divide people.  Bear Town looks at both the negative and positive sides of hockey.  

The story is set in Sweden but could happen in any place where people love the game of hockey.  One thing I appreciated about seeing Bear Town compared to just reading the book is how the deep cold, wintry landscape of Sweden so hauntingly and artistically filmed for the series adds ambience to the chilling truths that unfold in the story.

Both our sons played hockey for a time and there were many good things about that experience for them. They learned responsibility, organization and teamwork, quick thinking and the importance of physical conditioning. They had some coaches who were excellent role models.

They also had coaches who were not good role models and we had to navigate some crazy hockey politics. There were attitudes and behaviours accepted in the dressing room that definitely were not in keeping with our family values. Hockey was expensive and time-consuming so if you weren’t careful it could become an almost obsessive focus of your family’s life in winter that didn’t leave much room for other important things.

Scene from Bear Town – photo by Niklas Maupoix

In Bear Town hockey gives an immigrant kid a place to belong, helps a boy without a Dad find a father figure, gives meaning and purpose to the life of an old man, provides camaraderie for a hockey phenom whose parents don’t have time for him, and inspires hope in a dying community. 

But also in Bear Town hockey creates a culture that entitles young men to think they can treat others violently. Hockey inspires vandalism and blackmail and fosters a locker room mentality that isn’t respectful of diversity. Hockey tears families apart and makes people feel hopeless. 

Bear Town is suspenseful.  It tells a story that will engage you but may trouble you deeply as well. If hockey has ever played a role in your life Bear Town will make you think about that experience in new ways. 

Other posts……..

The Bombers Grey Cup Victory is Exciting But……

Healthy Environments? Not Gyms or Arenas

The Shady Area Between Violence and Non-Violence

White Noise

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A Shy Winnipeg Celebrity

The Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex on Sargent Avenue here in Winnipeg is named after a record-breaking Olympian. Cindy Klassen was a Winnipeg speed skater who won six Olympic medals, one gold, two silver and three bronze. When I was working as a columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press I had the opportunity to interview Cindy just after her first Olympic victory and found out there was much more to her life than speed skating.

I asked her what her favorite book was, and she replied without hesitation Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. But she told me she had just begun reading the plays of Tennessee Williams and was thoroughly enjoying them. A true Canadian she named Blue Rodeo and Steve Bell as her favorite musicians.

Photo of Cindy Klassen with her Olympic medals in Turrin, Italy by Peter J. Thompson- Can/West News

Asked about highlights of her many travels as a speed skater she didn’t talk about achievements and competitions in those countries as one might have expected. Instead she enthusiastically described a visit to a Picasso exhibit in Italy, a cycling adventure through the streets of Berlin and the wonders of the architecture of Budapest, which next to Winnipeg, rated in Cindy’s books as the most beautiful city in the world. She also talked to me about how she liked to hang out at her family’s cottage. She loved fishing, water skiing and just enjoying nature. 

Cindy was definitely a woman of faith.  She told me she prayed before every race. She didn’t ask God to win but to do her best and she prayed for the safety of each competitor. Cindy told me that through the ups and downs of her skating career God had sustained her.  

She was also really connected to her family. She talked to me excitedly about her brother and her two sisters and proudly listed their gifts and talents and achievements. I asked her where her competitive spirit came from and she told me perhaps she had inherited it from her Dad who used to race dragsters for the National Hot Rod Association. Cindy told me her Mom was her hero and role model. She says she aspired to someday become as kind, warm and loving a parent as her mother.

Photo from the Team Canada website

“I don’t like being the centre of attention”, Cindy told me during our interview. “I’m really very shy.” Of course, with all her Olympic success she was forced to learn to talk to the public and make public appearances, but it didn’t come naturally to her, although watching her do interviews after the Turin Games in 2006 where she won five medals you would never have known that she wasn’t full of confidence.

One couldn’t help but be impressed by her constant effort to turn attention away from herself. She was quick to acknowledge her teammates, her coaches and her family. She readily gave credit and praise for the encouragement, support and help she received from others.

Cindy is now a Calgary police officer- Photo from the Calgary Herald

It has been fifteen years since Cindy’s huge Olympic win and I wondered what Cindy was doing now. I found out from an article in the Calgary Herald that last year she was working as a police officer for the city of Calgary but was on maternity leave, because she had just given birth to a little girl named Phoebe.

From Cindy Klassen’s Twitter account

After interviewing Cindy Klassen I was very impressed. She truly was a classy person. Even though she no longer lives in Winnipeg we have a lasting reminder of her in the city with the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex.

Other posts……..

He Looks Kind

Ten Things About Muriel

My Childhood Reading Heaveno

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A Golfer’s Prayer

Perhaps I should have done this post in April at the beginning of the golfing season to give perspective to the months ahead on the links. But I actually wrote the golfer’s prayer below nearly twenty years ago not at the beginning, but at the end of a golf season. The women in the league I was part of at the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Course were playing their final round of the year together and then having their wind-up dinner. They asked me to pray before we ate.

Of course, I realize that this year there may not be wind-up dinners to end the golf season because of physical distancing limits, so I’m posting this now more as a way for golfers out there to reflect on the golf season coming to an end, to think about what is really important about the game of golf, and perhaps to make adjustments to their perspective on the game before they take it up again next spring.

Dear God,

We are grateful for the chance we had today to play the game of golf.  

We are thankful for the exercise it provided for our bodies, for the sense of companionship we experienced with other golfers, and for the opportunity we had to enjoy the beauty of creation.

Open our minds and hearts to the lessons this game can teach us about life….. that we shouldn’t give up after a few bad holes because things will probably get better if we just keep trying….  that we need to be flexible, if the nine iron won’t do the trick, maybe the pitching wedge will…..  that the lowest handicaps aren’t necessarily earned by the players with the latest fashions in golfing attire or the most expensive set of clubs, but by those who work hard at their game with patience and persistence. 

Bless each person here whether she ended up a winner or loser when the scorecards were handed in today, for if we enjoyed the game we played together we really were all winners. We ask now for your blessing on this food.

Amen. 

Other posts……….

Inspiration on the Golf Course

Seeing Rory McIlroy Up Close and Personal

A Change of Prayer

 

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The Gym in a Time of COVID

Photo by William Choquette on Pexels.com

I went back to the gym this week and I have to say the new experience there is one I am really liking.

Before the gym reopened, every member was asked to download an app on their phone that allows them to book appointments. Only a certain number of people are allowed in the gym during any given 90-minute slot. There is a half-hour between each 90-minute slot for cleaning.

When you book your appointment you can see exactly how many other people have booked appointments during that time slot.  If the number is too large for your comfort you can choose a different time slot with fewer people booked.

So far having an appointment has made me more conscientious about showing up and not postponing going to the gym. Also, the app sends me two text messages to remind me about my booking and keeps track of how many times I visit the gym so I have a record. I guess this would also come in handy should there be a COVID-19 case amongst the gym members. It would be very easy to track who had been at the gym with that person. 

We can use the elevators, one person at a time to go to the fourth floor of the building where the gym is located but are encouraged to use the wide spacious staircases instead.  I have been doing that and it adds another little kick of aerobic exercise to the beginning and end of my workout. 

The showers in the locker room are closed

They aren’t as fussy about street shoes as they used to be since they want you to come dressed to work out. You can use the lockers but only every third locker is open so it is not crowded in the dressing room spaces.

My gym is spacious, relatively new and has huge windows for sunlight to pour in.  Its huge size makes it possible to space all the workout equipment far apart so you are not close to anyone else.  I like this sense of privacy for my workout. Because there are a lot fewer people in the gym you never have to wait to use any of the machines.

You need to check out small weights and other accessories at the front desk so they can be sanitized after every client uses them. In the past, we were always encouraged to wipe down the machines after we used them, but people weren’t always very diligent about that.  Now they are! I wipe down the machines before I use them too just to be extra safe. 

Because there are fewer people in the gym and our photos are included with the app we needed to download the staff remembers each of our names. They come around to encourage us by name during our workout and to give us a reminder when the time slot we have booked is coming to an end.  It makes things more personal. 

They also put lots of workouts online during COVID which you can still access at home if you aren’t comfortable going to the gym. You can join some of the virtual classes which they continue to run on Zoom and there are some classes I believe being held outdoors in parks. There are lots of options for exercise. 

I really think the effect of the COVID-19 threat has improved the gym experience.  I wonder if we might not find that in other areas as well.

Of course, I know that operating the gym with limits on the number of members allowed on-site means my gym may close because it isn’t financially feasible for it to stay open. With COVID it seems there is always a price to pay. 

Other posts………

Exercise is a Celebration

Into the Wilds of Winnipeg

Let’s Play Ball

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Filed under COVID-19 Diary, Sports

The Fist – Determined or Aggressive

The Fist by Robert Graham- photo from Wikipedia

On one of our many visits to Detroit, we did a guided public art tour where we looked at some of the sculptures and murals on display throughout the city. One artwork I haven’t forgotten is The Fist created by artist Robert Graham in 1986.  The sculpture is a tribute to boxer Joe Louis the first African American athlete to become a national hero. He shattered the myth of Nazi supremacy by beating German fighter Max Schmeling in 1938.  Louis’ accomplishments as a black athlete are said to have paved the way for the civil rights movement of the 60s and for the success of future black athletes like baseball player Jackie Robinson.  

the fist robert graham wikimedia photo by Walter Powers

Photo by Walter Powers from Wikimedia

There has been lots of controversy about The Fist. Some object to the fact the fist in the sculpture is clenched making it seem less a symbol of determination and strength and more a symbol of aggression.  Critics say the sculpture looks like a representation of black militant power and that’s not at all what Joe Louis was about. He changed attitudes by excelling in his field, not through violent confrontation.  Yet his field of sport was a kind of violent confrontation. Certainly, the sculpture seemed threatening to some vandals who in 2004 covered it in white paint and left a message about white people ready for a fight with African Americans. 

I have been thinking about The Fist in the last few days. The way different people interpreted the artwork represent two different kinds of thinking about how meaningful societal change can take place when it comes to racism- through violent action or excelling in your field so that you become a positive, inspiring and influential role model for change.  

The African American community has produced plenty of inspiring role models including a former president, hundreds of celebrated athletes, entertainment icons,  authors, scientists, educators- people who have excelled in their fields, in literally every area of human endeavour. But still, racism exists in the United States some eighty years after Joe Louis became a national hero and…….. it is racism still so potent the country’s current president is confident he can leverage it to hold onto his political power.  Perhaps that helps to explain why some of the protests in America have turned violent in the last few days. 

Several articles about The Fist mention that it is pointing in the direction of Canada just a few miles away from Detroit?  What might that imply? 

black lives matter winnipegThere will be an event on Friday at the Manitoba Legislature in support of the protestors in the United States. Note the fists on the logo for their event. 

Other posts………….

Inspiration from Maya Angelou

It’s Harder to Hate Up Close

Encouragement After the American Election

 

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Hope In a Song, The Toilers, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

basketball team

Dave with a girls basketball team he coached at the Steinbach Junior High in 1981

My husband Dave was a basketball coach throughout his 35-year teaching career.

dave basketball team steinbach

Dave played on men’s basketball teams in Steinbach for some twenty years.

He has played on many different basketball teams.  Our sons inherited his love of the sport so basketball has been a big part of our family’s life. toilers park winnipegIt’s not surprising then that one of the spots Dave took me to on our daily pandemic bicycle adventures was a Winnipeg Park dedicated to a basketball team. 

toilers basketball teamThe Toilers were Winnipeg’s provincial champions in basketball more than a dozen times during the 1920s and 30s.  They won the Canadian title three times during that period. toilers basketball team memorialIn 1933 they were travelling home from international competition in Tulsa Oklahoma and their plane crashed. Two team members died. 

dave cycling toilers parkToilers Park is on a piece of property that was once owned by a team member.  He had a cottage on the site and the team spent so much time there it became known as Toilers Camp. toilers parkIn 1965 the city designated the location as Toiler Memorial Park.  In 2004 the team was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and in 2015 the park was refurbished, securing its river banks, improving drainage, and adding a memorial art piece. 

I am really appreciating how our cycling rides are teaching me new things about Winnipeg. If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic these rides wouldn’t have happened because Dave and I would have been busy with our jobs and our many family and community commitments. That is one small silver lining to our current crisis. 

ABORTION PROTEST

Demonstrators, one pro-choice, the other, pro-life, hold up signs during a protest in reaction to South Dakota’s new anti-abortion law, outside the Federal Court building in downtown Sioux Falls, S.D., Thursday. March 9, 2006. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

I have been noting that many of the opinions about our freedoms being violated by the mandatory COVID-19 restrictions seem to be coming from the same segment of society that calls themselves pro-life.  Yet loosening up on our current restrictions is sure to end the lives of many people. At the same time, I call myself pro-choice but right now I believe that people shouldn’t have a choice about remaining in isolation. Too many lives depend on it. It’s interesting how circumstances can influence our interpretation of our important principles. We need to start thinking of ways to help those with these seemingly polarized opinions on these issues find some common ground. 

To end his interview with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night Michael Moore sang the chorus from a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter called Why Shouldn’t We?  You can hear Mary singing it here. The words of the song are very appropriate for our time.  Mary writes about believing in things we cannot see, believing in things that give us hope, believing we can change things that we are told can’t be changed and believing in the things that make us all the same.  She ends with a statement of faith. 

So come on darling, feel your spirits rise
Come on children, open up your eyes
God is all around, Buddha’s at the gate
Allah hears your prayers, it’s not too late
Why shouldn’t we? 

 

Other posts………….

Discovering Peanut Park

Basketball, Gender, Hoop Dreams and Art

Pro-Choice and Pro-Life. What Might We Have in Common? 

 

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Filed under COVID-19 Diary, Sports, Winnipeg

Who is Gaylord Perry and What Does He Have to Do With The Apollo 11 Moon Landing?

Gaylord Perry

I had no idea who Gaylord Perry was till Monday afternoon when I met him in person.  My sister-in-law Shirley had arranged for us to take part in a special event being organized by the Scottsdale vacation community where we are guests.

The view of the ball field from our private box at the Scottsdale Stadium

We were going to a major league baseball spring training game to see the San Francisco Giants play the Arizona Diamond Backs.

With my sister-in-law Shirley in our VIP lounge overlooking the ball field

Our event package included a bus ride to the San Francisco Giants’ Scottsdale Stadium, seats in a VIP box, a hearty lunch with beverages of all kinds, and a chance to meet Gaylord Perry a right-handed pitcher, famous for his spitball. Perry played in the major leagues from 1962 to 1983, nine of those years with the San Francisco Giants. Perry is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Shirley and Dave outside the Scottsdale Stadium where the San Francisco Giants host their spring training games

After the game was underway we could take turns talking to Gaylord, asking him questions and getting an autographed baseball card from him. We could pick which card we wanted from Gaylord’s collection. Dave chose a card featuring Gaylord and his brother Jim who was also a major league pitcher for 17 years. Both Perry and Jim won the Cy Young Award during their careers. The award is for best pitcher in the league in a given year. I picked a card showing Gaylord as a six-year-old grade one student in his home community of Williamston North Carolina. I told Gaylord I had once been a first-grade teacher. My sister-in-law Shirley and brother-in-law Paul had a chance to meet Gaylord as well. Gaylord was wearing a San Francisco Giants shirt because the Giants were the first of eight major league teams he played for. Shirley asked Gaylord to verify a story she had read that he hit his first homerun in the major leagues the same day as the first astronaut walked on the moon.  Gaylord said that was true. The story goes that although Gaylord was a prized pitcher he was such a poor hitter that the manager of the Giants once said to a sports reporter, “Mark my words, we will land on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a homerun.”  Five years later on July 20, 1969 at a game at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, Gaylord hit his first major league home run just thirty minutes after the announcement was made over the loudspeakers at the ball park that Apollo 11 had landed on the moon.

There were several homeruns in the game we watched between the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamond Backs. The Giants won the game with a score of 11-9. 

Other posts…………..

Spring Training in Florida

Tigers Baseball

Take Me Out to the Ball Game – Osaka Style

Let’s Play Ball- Mayan Style

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The Bombers Grey Cup Victory is Exciting But…………..

Photo by Johany Jutras from the Blue Bomber website

“Did you watch the Grey Cup?” A man in the bus shelter yesterday morning struck up an immediate conversation with me about the Bombers Grey Cup win. People at my gym were chatting about the game in every corner. During the course of the day, I overheard many excited and positive conversations between strangers as I made my way around the city. It was nice to see people connecting and talking over their common love of football and Winnipeg. I went to a Grey Cup party on Sunday where there was great food, good friends, and people enjoyed cheering the Bombers on together. 

But………. despite all that good feeling I have to say that I have quite a number of doubts about the value of having a professional football team in Winnipeg.  Here are just a few. 

blue bomber victory

Photo by Frank Gunn Canadian Press

The risk for traumatic brain injury while playing the sport is significantly high. Does all the hoopla about the Bombers encourage more local kids to participate in a sport that we know can be extremely dangerous?

Investors_Group_Field_2014Our province under the leadership of Brian Pallister forgave almost 200 million dollars in loans used to build Investors Field in Winnipeg, where the Blue Bombers play. Winnipeg is facing all kinds of challenges right now.  The city is thinking about curtailing bus services, closing libraries, shutting down parks and swimming pools. The province isn’t stepping up to help ………….yet they had 200 million dollars available to provide support for a field where an elite group of men throw a ball around in an entertaining fashion. 

Photo of Zach Collaros from the CFL website

The average salary for a Manitoba teacher in 2019 was $53, 302.  Zach Collaros the Bomber’s quarterback makes around $500,000. When one compares the contributions teachers and football players make towards the betterment of society and its future things seem just a little skewed. 

Photo from the Winnipeg Cheer Team Facebook page

Football is a male-only sport.  Shouldn’t we be promoting sports that give women an equal opportunity to excel and a chance to make the same kind of money men do?  The most visible role women seem to have in the Bomber franchise is as cheerleaders.  They wear skimpy outfits, don’t get paid and “cheer” the men on.  Although I am sure the cheerleaders are really nice young women they don’t necessarily present the kind of equal opportunity role model I’d like to see for young girls. 

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket.  I won’t even complain too much this afternoon when the Grey Cup Parade is going to cause delays in my bus trips between work and volunteer commitments.  It’s great to see Winnipegers feeling positive about something and maybe that positivity will give us the energy to tackle some of the big challenges our city is facing and work towards the kinds of changes it is important for society to make. 

Other posts…………

The Shady Area Between Violence and Non-Violence

Super Bowl Ads- A Woman’s Perspective

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Filed under Sports, Winnipeg

Three Observations About the Jets Game on Sunday Night

 

These nice Jets’ scarves were draped over our seats when we arrived at the game.

I went to the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers game on Sunday night courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law.  Here are three observations.

  1. I felt really sad for Carl Dahlstrom who thought he had scored his first goal in the NHL only to have it disallowed after they reviewed the play because Scheifele was offside.  This prompted me to do some reading about the whole offside thing and there are those who say it takes away too much of the excitement of the game.  Some want to get rid of the offside challenge possibility after a goal is scored. I think I might be in favour of that. 
  2. The five minute overtime period was the most exciting part of the game.  I did a little research and discovered that only having three players plus the goalie on the ice during overtime was just instituted in the 2015-2016 hockey season. I think that was a great decision. It certainly made me sit up on the edge of my seat in nervous anticipation. 
  3. I was pretty happy that Kyle Connor scored the first goal in the shootout.  As some of you may know I decided last year to choose one Jets player to follow more closely in my attempt to become a little more literate and informed about the game of hockey.  I chose Kyle. I was on pins and needles when the season was about to start and the Jets hadn’t re-signed him.  I thought I might have to choose another player for my special guy. But thankfully that wasn’t necessary. The Jets inked a pretty sweet seven-year deal with Kyle just a few days before the season-opening game.

The Jets won the game in a shootout when both Kyle and Patrik Laine outsmarted the Oilers goalie.

Other posts ……….

Trying to Become A Winnipeg Jets Fan

That Jets Hat

White Noise

 

 

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