Category Archives: 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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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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Filed under Art, History, Politics, Sports

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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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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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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Filed under Sports

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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Filed under Croatia, Nature, Sports

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