Category Archives: Sports

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, decreasing funding for police services, 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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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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