Category Archives: Sports

Golfing in Tanzania

The Kilimanjaro Golf Club

On our last day at Dashir Lodge our host Darryl Peters offered to take us golfing for nine holes at the Kilimanjaro Golf Course.

Dave signs us in for our round
Loading up with insect repellent and sunscreen is essential before you play golf in Tanzania

Our golf round was great fun. We each had our own caddy.

My caddy’s name was Gifty.
Dave with his caddy Walter

Our caddies carried our clubs and teed up our balls and mine even took out my water bottle on each hole to make sure I stayed hydrated. He looked for lost balls and lined up my putts for me.

My friend Shannon by one of the many scenic water hazards on the course
The women’s foursome
The men’s group

Edna our hostess at Dashir was golfing for the first time and she was a natural and had some amazing shots.

We spent time on the driving range and practised our putting before teeing off for our round.

On one of the holes, a pair of gazelles loped across the fairway and on another hole there was a giant tortoise lying on the path to the tee box.

The clubhouse was a lovely classic colonial-style building and we had lunch out on the lawn under a big tree after our round.

Dave and I decided to share a traditional Tanzanian dish called chipsi maya which is essentially french fries and eggs. It was actually quite tasty!

Dave and I have been golfing in New Zealand and Australia. We have gone golfing in Thailand and Borneo. We have golfed together in Hong Kong and on Hainan Island in China.


Now we have gone golfing in Tanzania too!

Other posts…………..

Romance on the Golf Course

You Wouldn’t Believe What You Can See On a Golf Course in Mexico

I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course

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Filed under Africa, Sports

I Wasn’t Excited About This Movie But It Was Lovely

My husband Dave has been wanting me to watch the movie Phantom of the Open for awhile now but I wasn’t that excited. Finally this past week after Dave had cheerfully viewed Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris at my request I agreed to watch Phantom of the Open with him.

And……….I throughly enjoyed the movie! It made me laugh and cry. It’s an absolutely heartwarming story about a crane operator from Glasgow, Scotland, Maurice Flitcroft (don’t you just love that name) who has a dream to play golf in the British Open. And he does, even though he’s never played golf before and doesn’t even own a set of clubs.

The whole thing would seem like a kind of crazy but delightful fairy tale if you didn’t know the film is actually based on a true story. Maurice is played by Mark Rylance and he’ll steal your heart in his argyle golf vest and funky red bucket hat.

There is some stellar acting in the film. I especially enjoyed the performance of Sally Hawkins. (You may remember her from her stunning role as Canadian artist Maud Lewis in the movie Maudie). She plays Maurice’s wife Jean and never loses faith in him. Her life hasn’t been champagne and caviar and diamonds the way Maurice promised when he proposed but she recognizes the value in the love and loyalty he has given her and their children for so many decades.

This film pokes fun at all the rules and regulations and etiquette of the golf establishment which has been pretty exclusive in the past. I liked that.

We learn that following your dreams can be difficult and costly and create plenty of conflict but in the end the love and support of your family is really all that matters.

If you are looking for a feel good movie chock full of nostalgic 70s and 80s songs this is the film for you.

Other posts………

Romance on the Golf Course

I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course

A Prayer for a Golf Tournament

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Filed under Movies, Sports

Cycling and Sipping

For many years my husband Dave has dreamed of doing a cycling adventure in Essex County the beautiful area of southern Ontario where he grew up. In the decades since Dave was a kid the area has become home to eighteen different wineries.

Dave figured a combination wine tasting and cycling tour would be fun. We started the tour yesterday and were joined by two other couples.

We passed many vineyards as we cycled. Because Essex county is located on the 42 parallel, grapes grow in a climate similar to Bordeaux, France and the wine regions of California.

We headed out yesterday morning on the old Highway 18 now Highway 50 along Lake Erie. After a 25 kilometre ride we arrived at the Viewpointe Winery.

I had to have a photo at the winery entrance. I have written a regular column for The Carillon a regional newspaper for the last 35 years. My column is called Viewpoint. It shares a name (minus the e) with the winery.

I think the winery is called Viewpointe because its grounds provide a spectacular point from which to view Lake Erie. Here Dave points out some of the large ships plying the lake waters.

Interestingly three of the wines we tasted at the Viewpointe winery had labels featuring scenes from the highway we had just cycled down as we made our way to the winery.

As we drove I collected mental photos of the memorable things we saw- grand colonial style homes, family graveyards with tilted tombstones, old barns decorated with painted images of Amish quilt designs, speed limit signs crawling with vines, fields of rustling corn stalks, colourful flower and fruit farms and ancient trees with huge trunks.

At Viewpointe we picked out tasting flights that included four different kinds of wines they make on the premises and ordered some lunch. We enjoyed our wine and food while watching the sunshine dance on the waves of Lake Erie .

One of the wines several of us tried in our flights was called The Real McCoy. The story associated with it was so interesting.

The wine is named after Elijah McCoy. His parents were fugitive slaves from Kentucky who escaped to Canada via the Underground Railroad. McCoy was born in Colchester county and went to Scotland at age 15 to study engineering.

He invented a new product for lubricating steam engines. Train engineers found it so effective they were known to ask for ‘the real McCoy’ to prevent being disappointed by inferior copies. I had heard the idiom ‘the real McCoy’ many times before but never knew its origins.

The design of the Viewpointe Winery was inspired by Mettawas a luxury hotel and casino built in the late 1800s in Kingsville by Hiram Walker the creator and founder of Canadian Club Whiskey.

The original Mettawas Hotel built in 1889
Trying some breezy summer wines at North 42.

After a second stop to do some sipping at the North 42 winery we cycled home down the Chrysler Canada Greenway.

You can see the greenway cycling path behind me.

The greenway is this lovely cycling path created along an old railroad line built by Hiram Walker in the 1880s to transport whiskey for his distillery in Windsor down to Kingsville and Leamington.

In the 1980s the then abandoned rail line was give to the Essex Region Conservation Authority and Chrysler Canada made a substantial donation to turn the railroad line into a bicycle path. It goes by fields and farms and through forests.

We stopped by an apple orchard and tried out some of the apples that had fallen from the trees.

It was a perfect day for cycling, warm and breezy with a beautiful blue sky.

We followed the greenway back to The Grove the cute little boutique hotel where we are staying in Kingsville.

Later in the evening we went to a restaurant called Mettawas for dinner. It is right along the Chrysler Canada Greenway where we cycled. It used to be a train station and was built by Hiram Walker. Guests coming to Walker’s casino and hotel called Mettawas alighted from the train at this station in Kingsville.

Hiram Walker who founded The Hiram Walker and Sons Distillery in Windsor Ontario in 1858. It became famous for its Canadian Club Whiskey.

I realized later we’d had a bit of a Hiram Walker day. We visited a winery designed to look like the casino and hotel he built, cycled along the bed of a railroad he built, and had dinner in a train station he built.

The food at Mettawas was delicious as you can see from our clean plates.

After supper we were ready to head to bed after a 50 km cycle, some great wine, great conversation and great food.

Other posts……….

A Fascinating Conversation in A Tiny Wine Shop in Lisbon

Biking in Bali

I Drank a Beer in Austria

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Filed under Canada, Cycling Trip- Ontario, Sports, Travel

Have You Played Ladder Ball?

What is going on in this photo?

We learned a new game on Sunday at a family get together in Leamington, Ontario. It is called ladder ball and since the Driedgers LOVE competition we had a ladder ball tournament. My husband Dave and our great niece were the championship team and they are posing above for their victory photo with the ladder that is a part of the game.

There are ladders stationed at both ends of the playing area and each team has three sets of tethers with balls attached on each end.

You throw your tethers and try to get them to wind around one of the ladder rungs. The top rung is worth 3 points, the middle rung 2 and the bottom rung 1. The team that reaches 21 points first wins.

Dave and I were ladder ball rookies but of course his natural athletic abilities made him a champion despite his novice status. I was abysmal at the game and felt sorry for my sister-in-law Julie who had been teamed up with me.

Thanks to the luck of the draw Dave’s ladder ball partner was our great niece who is a natural athlete just like her great uncle. She is a phenom on the running track and a star in competitive swimming.

I did a little research on the origins of ladder ball. The game was patented in 2002 by a postal worker who had played the game he invented for decades with his family. Apparently it became popular on American campgrounds in the late 1990s. It is also called ladder toss or ladder golf.

Ladder ball is lots of fun and I think we will have to consider buying a game for our family summer get togethers with our kids and grandkids in Manitoba.

Other posts…………

The Amazing Race Driedger Style

Driedger Top Chef Competition

I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course

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Filed under Family, Sports

Hockey Canada- Evolve or Die

Hockey is like every other living organism: it has to adapt and evolve, or else it will die.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hockey long considered our country’s national sport is in serious trouble. The ‘good old hockey game’ made famous by folksinger Stompin’ Tom Connors is far from looking ‘good’ in the eyes of most Canadians and the ‘old’ game is clearly in need of sweeping modernization. 

The latest scandal tarnishing hockey’s reputation is an allegation eight Canadian Hockey League players, including members of the 2018 men’s World Junior team, sexually assaulted a young woman.  

Hockey Canada, the governing body for the sport, settled a $3.5 million lawsuit with the victim using a fund made up in part by the registration fees parents paid for their kids to play on teams affiliated with Hockey Canada nationwide.  

Canada’s Minister of Sport Pascale St- Ong has responded to these revelations by freezing government funding to Hockey Canada saying they must present a concrete plan for implementing major organizational and cultural change.  

Hockey is like every other living organism: it has to adapt and evolve, or else it will die.

That quote at the beginning of this column is from the novel Bear Town by Fredrik Backman.  Published in 2016 it tells the story of a small town where the hockey team is the focus of local pride.  When one of its stars is accused of raping a teenage girl people are forced to rethink their attitudes towards the game.  Has hockey created a patriarchal, misogynist ethos that has been determinantal to their community? 

Andrea Skinner a partner in a law firm in Toronto who played varsity hockey for Cornell University is the new interim chair of Hockey Canada

That’s also an issue Hockey Canada is dealing with and it’s challenging. The organization has begun to address the patriarchy in the sport by appointing Andrea Skinner as the first female chair of their Board following the resignation of former chair Michael Brind’Amour. 

However, a quick look at the list of directors for the organization over the last couple of decades reveals its leadership has been almost exclusively male even though females have  officially been playing hockey since the 1980s and the Canadian women’s team has done our country extremely proud achieving unparalleled success on the international stage. 

The Canadian women’s team wins Olympic Gold at the 2022 games in Beijing

Overall far more money is invested in developing male players than female players and women get paid a pittance compared to men if they go professional.  Misogyny is defined as ingrained prejudice against women which can be exhibited by an attitude of contempt. Could the unfair treatment and lack of recognition for women in the hockey world be fostering at least in part, the kind of contempt that led to the actions of those hockey players in 2018?

Twenty-six academic scholars from universities across Canada recently wrote a letter to the Minister of Sport and included evidence from studies showing hockey in our country has a deeply rooted ‘win at all costs’ culture that normalizes among other things violence, aggression, drinking, homophobia, bullying and degradation of women.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

They claim in the last two-decades researchers have consistently found a highly sexualized culture in elite male youth hockey dressing rooms where it is fairly common to hear violent language being used to describe relationships with women. 

The scholars realize most men coaching hockey, leading hockey organizations, working as hockey commentators and making money selling hockey products aren’t bad people they just don’t reflect a modern Canada.

They’ve used their power to protect the outdated definition of what it means to be a successful man in the hockey world- aggressive, physically dominant, white, heterosexual, and emotionally restricted. They challenge these men to be the catalyst for changing hockey culture. 

As these male leaders decide whether to accept that challenge I think they would do well to consider Fredrik Backman’s words.  Hockey needs to adapt and evolve, or else it will die

Other posts……….

Bear Town

The Shady Area Between Violence and Non- Violence

Shin Pads and Toilet Paper

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Filed under 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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Filed under Sports, Western Canada Travels

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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Filed under Media, Sports

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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Filed under Religion, Sports

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