Category Archives: Sports

I’m A Bianca Fan!

I am not a huge sports fan but like millions of other Canadians, I have become an enthusiastic supporter of our countrywoman Bianca Andreescu who just won two major tennis tournaments in a row, Canada’s Rogers Cup and the United States Open. So what is it about this young athlete that has made her a superstar in her home and native land? Here are four reasons I admire her.
1. Bianca is a feminist. For too long women’s sport has taken a back seat to men’s sport. Bianca is determined to change that. At the US Open, her final match against Serena Williams sold out before the men’s final did. After Bianca won the prestigious Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament in March she did an interview with CBC news reporter Adrienne Arsenault wearing a shirt that featured the word EQUALITY in capital letters. When asked about her shirt’s message, Bianca said she wants to use her success as a platform to advocate for the equality of women in sport.

Billie Jean King posted this photo on Twitter after Bianca’s win

Bianca paid tribute to the legendary Billie Jean King who did so much to establish better pay for female tennis players in the United States. Thanks to Billie Jean’s efforts Bianca won the same amount of money at the US Open as the male winner Rafael Nadal.

But at the Canadian Rogers Cup, Bianca walked away with only half the prize money the male champion did. I suspect that could change with someone as persuasive and articulate as Bianca championing equal pay for women athletes in Canada.

Bianca Andreescu gives her dad a hug after winning the US Open

2. Bianca is from an immigrant family. Her mother and father came to Canada from Romania. They have contributed to our country in the fields of engineering and financial investment respectively, and now their daughter has contributed to the field of sport in an unprecedented way. Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky was interviewed in New York just before Bianca played her final game in the US Open. He talked about how his father’s parents immigrated to Canada from Ukraine. Wayne’s Dad loves the fact that Canada is a place where people are welcomed from all around the world. Here they have the opportunity to work hard and become great Canadians. Wayne Gretzky thinks that is an important aspect of Bianca’s story too.
3. Bianca is young. She is only nineteen and yet she is poised, confident, mature, polite and respectful. She handles interviews with aplomb, is quick to give credit to her parents and coaches, and to pay tribute to the great women in tennis who paved the way for her. Sometimes we talk about our teenagers and young adults as ‘the lost generation.’ Bianca is anything but lost. She is looking ahead to a bright future. There are lots of young people out there just like Bianca, who are ready to make a difference in the world and have the skills to do just that. Bianca has become a hopeful symbol of the next generation.
4. Bianca is a woman. Bianca’s long-time idol, Serena Williams, had to pull out of the Rogers Cup final against Bianca, due to a back injury. Bianca, who had never met Williams before, walked right over to her and gave her a huge hug. She told Serena she was the greatest. A beast on the court! Bianca said she could understand how sad Serena must be feeling. Later Williams told reporters Bianca’s warmth and empathy had been the highlight of the tournament for her. Would a male player have acted in a similar way with his fiercest opponent? Somehow I don’t think so.

I’ve come up with four reasons why Bianca Andreescu is someone I admire. I suspect I will find others as I watch Bianca compete in the future.

Other posts……..

Thank Goodness For the Battle of the Sexes

The Goddess of Running Shoes and Olympic Medals

Trying to Become a Winnipeg Jets Fan

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The Harte Trail- Getting Ready For Croatia

On Monday I did another training ride for my Croatia bike trip.  I shared the middle section of a 35 km. ride with my friend Gabe.  She is training for a bike trip of her own in the Baltic at the end of August.  Gabe introduced me to the beautiful Harte Trail. I wondered how the trail, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail got its name.  I discovered the Harte Line was the first section of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway built in western Canada in 1894.  The Harte Trail runs through the forest on the old railway bed. We had the perfect day for cycling, sunny but with a steady breeze to keep us cool. The trail is gorgeous and there is wildlife to enjoy. Gabe and I ended our time on the trail with a picnic in Assiniboine Park. Besides training runs, I am preparing for our bike trip by reading books set in Croatia. The book I am currently reading is  Girl at War by Sara Novic.  I am also continuing to learn new facts about the country each week.  I have learned that………The iris is the national flower of Croatia. Croatia is famous for its strudel called savijaca. It has apples, curd cheese and other delicious things inside. Croatia holds the record for the longest strudel ever baked in the world.

Photo by Andrej Šalov from Wiki Commons

In the city of Zadar which is along the route we will drive before starting our bike trip there is a sea organ. It is an architectural sound object, a kind of experimental instrument that creates music using sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps.  This was part of a project by architect Nikola Basic to reconstruct the broken concrete wall along the sea after it was damaged during World War II.

Other posts…..

 Gearing Up For Croatia

Lots of Cyclists

 

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Lots of Cyclists

“What a waste of money for something so few people use.” I was coming home from the Winnipeg airport in a cab in May and my driver was complaining about the bike lanes in the Exchange District where I live. He thinks they slow down traffic and are a waste of taxpayer money since so few people cycle. I love the bike lanes because they make me feel so much safer while biking in the city.
This past week Dave and I did a morning cycling trip to train for our upcoming bike holiday in Croatia. We saw lots of bikers. I started to count all the cyclists that passed us but couldn’t keep up. As we exited the Forks I stopped to take a snapshot of this sign. It keeps track of daily and annual cyclists that pass that point. It was only nine in the morning and already more than a hundred cyclists had whizzed by that location.
I found a 2018 survey that said about 20% of Winnipegers ride their bikes either every day or several times a week in summer. Perhaps bike lanes aren’t worth it for such a small percentage of the population but perhaps the number of bikers will increase as the number of bike lanes increase.
I walked by the bike security area for the Fringe Festival one morning last week on my way to the gym. It was just before noon on a weekday and already plenty of people had brought their bikes downtown to take in a Fringe play. A volunteer was watching their bikes in a secure area to prevent theft. A quick count revealed some sixty bikes and I thought about how that meant sixty less cars downtown needing to find a parking space. Later I saw another hundred or so bikes locked up near Old Market Square and thought about the reduction of downtown traffic they represented. 
I’d like to see more Winnipegers using their bikes. I know there are downsides to bike travel- chance of theft, short-season weather-wise, lack of bike lanes in some areas and the chance of accidents but there are also upsides- physical fitness, better for the environment, save parking costs and an opportunity for socializing.

Let’s cycle Winnipeg!

Other posts………..

Exercise is a Celebration

Biking in Switzerland and Germany

Biking the Beach in Costa Rica

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I Can’t Believe I Did That!

“Aren’t there any women’s cricket teams in India?”  I did a blog post recently about an interesting installation in the Vision Exchange exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  You can read all about it here.  The installation includes a marble cricket bat to illustrate that cricket was introduced to India by the British.

Sarindar Dhaliwal The Cartographer's Mistake

The Cartographer’s Mistake by Sarindar Dhaliwal

Last week I was showing the installation to a group of high school students and was talking to them about how India now excels at the game of cricket. They are champions who have been known to beat British teams.

india cricket champs

A team from India wins the Under 19 World Cricket Championships in 2018

I showed the high school students the same photo I had included in my blog post of a young men’s championship cricket team from India. When I did that one of the young women on my tour asked, “Aren’t there any women’s cricket teams in India?”

I felt so embarrassed!  “I can’t believe I did that,”  I thought to myself. Here I am a proud feminist and I had neglected to include a picture of a women’s cricket team in my presentation! What was wrong with me? When I got home I quickly went online and sure enough, India has a strong national women’s cricket team that has been very successful on the international stage. I inserted their picture into my blog post and printed one up to show to tour groups at the art gallery in the future.  

India’s national women’s cricket team

Although women do not have parity in salary, or media coverage in the field of sports as of yet, we are on the road to that kind of equality and I should be doing everything I can to promote it.  The only thing that made me happy about the whole embarrassing incident was that there was a young woman bold enough and confident enough to call me out on my lack of inclusion.  I told her how much I had appreciated her question when I apologized for my omission.

The incident was a great reminder that even those of us with the best of intentions can sometimes fail to be as inclusive as we should be.  

Other posts………..

Include Me Please

Inequality at the Wailing Wall

Why Are They Difficult Women?

 

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Filed under Art, Education, Sports

Trying to Become A Winnipeg Jets Fan

About a week before the Jets clinched a 2019 NHL playoff spot I decided it was maybe time I took a little more interest in my hometown team.  Although I’ve been to an occasional Jets game and I confess I did get a little caught up in all the playoff hoopla in Winnipeg last year, NHL hockey just isn’t really a passionate interest of mine.  

With my sister at a Jets game

But……….. my husband shares Jets season tickets with friends and is a dedicated fan. My younger son is a walking encyclopedia of Jets information.  My brother and his family all LOVE the team.  My sister and her husband are ringside regulars at the MTS Centre. Even my ninety year old father, who never really had much interest in sports when I was growing up, faithfully watches the team on television.  And I had noticed lately many of my female friends were extremely knowledgeable about the Jets and liked to talk about them.  So with a good chance that my city was soon to go white and wild again, I figured I should maybe get in on the action in a more informed way.  

Watching a Jets playoff game last year with my brother and sister-in-law

I decided I would read one newspaper article a day about the Jets and I would pick one player to follow and take a special interest in.  I was amazed how my one article a day habit made it possible for me to chime in on conversations about the Jets.  I could now be part of the speculation about when Byfuglien and Morrissey would return from their injuries, whether coach Paul Maurice had what it took to take the Jets all the way, and if there was some friction in the Jets dressing room that was being kept under raps. 

It wasn’t as easy to pick a player to follow but I looked at some stats, watched some interviews, read some articles and settled on Kyle Connor.  I liked the way his family supported him.  I loved how his Dad had built these hockey rinks in the backyard for Kyle and his brothers and how his father shared his love of hockey with his kids. Kyle says he learned to have fun and be creative with the puck fooling around on those backyard rinks. Kyle wasn’t a one sport wonder either.  He was a gifted and coordinated athlete who played golf, baseball, football and basketball before honing in on hockey. I liked a quote I read where his Dad said the thing he loved most was seeing the smile on Kyle’s face when he played hockey and the great camaraderie he enjoyed with his teammates. 

kyle connor's family

Kyle Connor with his family

I think what clinched my selection of Kyle was watching an interview with his Mom, brother Jacob and sister Krystal.  Jacob talked about how his brother is rarely in the penalty box but rather out scoring goals.  Krystal said how proud she is of her big brother and Mom Kathy recalled how terribly hard it had been for her when Kyle left their home in Michigan at age 15 to play junior hockey in another state.  Kyle sounded like an all round nice kid from a really nice family.  

By March 20th my plan to follow the Jets was in full swing.  I was reading articles and following Kyle every game. That interest was rewarded mightily on March 23 when the Jets clinched a playoff spot in a game against the Nashville Predators and my Kyle had an assist and a  HAT TRICK!! 

The NHL playoffs start this Wednesday here in Winnipeg and although I may not be as gung ho a fan as some of my family and friends I will at least be an informed and interested observer. 

Other posts…………..

Jets Fever

That Jets Hat

Did You Enjoy the Game?

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Swimming With Manatees

Dave gets suited up in the dive shop.

Today is National Manatee Day, so I am reposting this blog I wrote in 2014. We went snorkeling at Three Sisters Springs a manatee sanctuary near Homosassa Florida where we were staying with our friends Jeff and Anna.  Jeff arranged the tour for us and suggested we go on the 6am launch with a boat from the Bird’s Underwater Inc.

Getting ready to swim with the manatees in Florida

Few snorkelers or kayakers are in the water at that hour and so the manatees are laid back and friendly. The West Indian manatees wait for the sun to come up before heading out to the Gulf of Mexico to eat seaweed. 

It was very cold and we left the dock in darkness and fog with our knowledgeable and capable guide Donna.  When we arrived at the springs only the two boats from our sanctuary with about 10 snorkelers each were there.  And did we see manatees! How I wish I’d had a underwater camera. (The photos of manatee in this post were all taken from on board the boat after we’d been in the water for about ninety minutes.)  One of the women snorkeling with us said this was her fourth visit to Three Sisters springs and she had never seen as many manatee on any previous dive. 

They swam right under us. I’d think I was swimming over a high rock only to glance down and realize there was a manatee beneath me.  Once I looked over and Dave had one manatee nipping at his ankles, another with its nose right up to his face mask, and he was petting a third beside him.  

Donna told us if we were very still in the water the manatee would come right up to us and they did. I could pat their thick hide and feel the bristly hair on their bodies, touch their long whiskers, run my fingers along the scars on their skin, brush away the algae sticking to their backs, rub their bellies when they flipped over and see the seaweed in their mouths. Their flat wide tails brushed against my body and they nibbled on my hair. 

The manatees have a sort of pre-historic quality about them and that makes sense because they’ve found fossils of manatee in Florida that are 45 million years old. Their nearest relative is the elephant. 

We saw little babies and juveniles and huge adult manatees  We saw mothers nursing their babies and adults mating. We didn’t realize how cold we were after all that time in the water till we got on board and were just shaking. The manatee were so amazing you didn’t even think about being cold. Once Dave had his wet suit off and his clothes back on he stood out in the sun at the back of the boat to warm up. As we left the Three Sisters Spring area about ten new boats had arrived with dozens and dozens of snorkelers. Kayaks were beginning to fill up the cove.  The manatee wanting to escape from all the commotion were heading out to sea in large numbers and away from the spring area. I was so glad we’d come early before so many of the manatee left the cove. 

Swimming with the manatee was a great experience. I was a little apprehensive and scared about it before hand but the manatee were so gentle and it was such a thrill to get up so close to such intriguing  sea creatures. 

Other encounters with interesting creatures are described in these posts……….

Hong Kong Frogs That Sound Like Cows Bellowing

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Bison

It’s All Happening at the Zoo

The Animals of Australia

Seeing Sea Creatures 

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Filed under Florida, Nature, Sports, Travel

Keeping Score For Sue

Dave and Rudy on the La Ceiba Golf Course’s ninth hole

During our time in Merida, Mexico we were staying only a five-minute walk away from a golf course.  Dave and our friend Rudy bought monthly memberships at the course and they golfed almost every day.

Dave and me on the eighth hole of the La Ceiba Golf Course

I like to golf too but nine holes a couple of times a week was plenty for me. If Rudy’s wife Sue who died in December of 2017 had been with us, as she was in the past on many golfing holidays, I know I would have golfed more. It was fun to golf with Sue who took her game seriously but enjoyed visiting with me as we made our way down the fairways. We laughed together and had a good time. Golfing without her just wasn’t the same.  On one of our last visits together I told Sue that one of many things I would really miss about her was golfing together.  She said she would miss that too.

Sue and me in our new golf hats ready to hit the links at the Mountain Brook course in Gold Canyon Arizona

Then Sue, who was never shy about offering her advice, told me she really felt if I kept score in my games I’d get better.  I usually don’t keep score on the course, but rather just appreciate the good shots I have and enjoy the scenery and social aspect of the game.  However I told Sue that I promised to keep score during my golf games in the future just because she had asked me to.  Last winter we went on a holiday in Portugal with Rudy but I couldn’t golf because I had just been in a cast for a broken wrist and had strict orders not to golf from my doctor.

On the first hole at the La Ceiba course

However I did go golfing about ten times this winter in Merida and after each hole I told Rudy my score and he wrote it down. Each time I did that, I thought of Sue, and wished she were out on the golf course with us. 

Other posts……..

Sue

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