Category Archives: Sports

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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Free Solo- What If He Falls?

What if he falls?  That question must have been going through the mind of every person on the camera crew who filmed the National Geographic movie Free Solo which just won the Oscar for best documentary.  

We watched it last week in a Merida theatre.  In the movie legendary rock climber Alex Honnold scales El Capitan a rock face in Yesomite Park that has claimed the lives of thirty one people in the past and they……….. were climbing with ropes.  Alex reached the top of El Capitan without ropes or any kind of protective gear, not even a helmet in just under four hours. A crew of photographers led by husband and wife team Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi filmed Alex’s ascent.

Alex with his friend Jimmy Chin who co-directed Free Solo

In a New York Times video some of the crew on the movie, who by the way, were all expert climbers and friends of Alex’s, say they had to mentally prepare themselves for the fact that Alex might fall and they would witness his death.  In order not to distract Alex, remote control cameras were placed in the most difficult sections of the climb and their footage collected later. After watching the film I thought about………….

Alex and his mother have climbed together

  • What makes some people do death defying things like Alex did?  The film implies that his relationship with his mother who had very high expectations for her children was a factor. The film also suggests that people who attempt dangerous things like Alex does may have a brain abnormality that makes it difficult for them to feel fear. You can read more about that here. 
  • Practice certainly makes perfect.  Alex prepared for his solo climb for two years. He trained with weights and stretches and climbed other mountains to practice and………… he had climbed El Capitan countless times with ropes before he did his free solo feat. He had a notebook where he wrote down almost every single motion he would make on the mountain.  He knew exactly where he would put his hands and feet with each move upward. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel Alex says it was like cheorographing a ballet and he was basically doing the meticiously planned dance almost intuitively as he climbed El Capitan. 
  • What will Alex do now?  He has achieved the pinnacle feat in his career.  He has made a great deal of money from sponsorships. He has bought a house with his girlfriend and started a charity that supports solar energy intiatives worldwide. But I can hardly see him being content. He says there are several rock faces in the world that are perhaps higher and more difficult than El Capitan but they are in such isolated places it would be almost impossible to even get to them. So what do you do when you’ve done everything in your chosen field? 

I can recommend watching Free Solo.  It will give you plenty to think about and the cinematography during the actual climb is utterly amazing. 

Other posts………

Two Films About Menstruation You Need to See

Haunted by the Movie Wild Life

Leave No Trace

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Filed under Movies, Sports

Bowling For An Audience

One afternoon we went to a movie theatre at a mall here in Merida. My sister and brother-in-law and our friend Rudy were going to see a film Dave and I had already seen, so we decided to try a documentary from Lebanon instead.  We’d rendezvous after our movies. The ticket attendant assured us our documentary would either be dubbed in English or there would be English subtitles but……. once the film started rolling all the dialogue was in Arabic and there were only Spanish subtitles.  We left.  Now we had more than an hour and half to kill till the others got out of their movie. There was a bowling alley in the mall and I suggested we go bowling. Negotiating the rental of bowling shoes was a Google Translate marathon but finally we were all set up for our ten pin game. The bowling alley was huge but only two parties were bowling, us and a family of four two lanes away. Dave the natural athlete stepped up to the line and bowled one strike after another.  The Mexican family nearby was delighted.  They began clapping and cheering for Dave after every shot. They totally neglected their own game to watch Dave bowl. The mom went over to get snacks for them to enjoy while they cheered Dave on. My husband’s athletic prowress has garned him lots of attention on the ball diamond, basketball court, golf course and football field in the past. But I think this was the first time he was the star on the bowling lane.  After one game I suggested we go somewhere and read our books till the others finished their movie.  Our Spanish family of fans needed to get back to their own bowling game. They’d had enough excitement for one day.  

Other posts……….

Let’s Play Ball

A New Sport For Dave

I Slept With A Champion Last Night

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Let’s Play Ball – Mayan Style

Having a husband and two sons who are baseball and basketball players means I’ve watched a whole lot of ball games in my life, but I’ve never seen a game like Pok Ta Pok. We watched a match one evening in front of the major cathedral in Merida.  The name comes from the sound the 4 kilogram game ball makes as it is passed from player to player. See the round hoop on the right hand side?  The ball needs to pass through it to score. We had a wonderful pre-game event – a pasta and pork tenderloin supper courtesy of my sister Kaaren and her husband Ken on the lovely outdoor patio of the home they are renting in Merida.  We were joined by our friend Rudy, and Kaaren and Ken’s friends from Winnipeg who are here to spend a week with them.  After the meal we headed down to watch the game from bleachers that had been set up alongside the Pok Ta Pok court. The guys were discussing the Jets game happening in Winnipeg before the Pok Ta Pok game began.  Dave was following on his phone as the Jets beat Anaheim 9-3. 

Dave at the ball court at Chichen Itza.The ring Dave is pretending to  shoot at is exactly like the one that was in the centre of playing court in Merida. 

I had seen a Pok Ta Pok court  when we visited the ancient Mayan community of Chichen Itza in 2007.  The court in Merida was open and did not have high walls like the one in Chichen Itza and the ring the ball would be shot into was in the center of the court in Merida and in Chichen Itza it was on the wall. 

Before a Pok To Tok game can begin there are lots of cermonial rituals that are carried out. Note the players have painted their bodies and are wearing traditional Mayan attire. See the ring the ball will go through? 

The game was fast paced and each team had four male players.  I wondered if women every play the sport.  The men hit the ball back and forth to each other but could only use their hips or thighs for doing so.  I thought their hips and thighs must be pretty bruised by the time a game was over.  

See the fire ball above the one player’s head?

After the Pok Ta Pok game we were treated to a demonstration of another version of the game where the ball is set on fire and the players use their hands to pass it to each other and then try to put it through the hoop.  I figured they must have had some kind of powder or cream on their hands to prevent them from getting burned. 

aztec ullamaliztli players Aztec ullamaliztli players performing for Charles V in Spain, drawn by Christoph Weiditz in 1528.

Pok ta Pok as depicted by Christoph Weiditz in a 1528 Spanish manuscript

It was an interesting evening seeing a sport invented some 3000 years ago still being played today. 

Other posts………

Take Me Out to the Ball Game- Osaka Style

Maybe an Iguana Ate My Golf Ball

Tigers Baseball

 

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Filed under Mexico, Sports