Tag Archives: sports

What to Do With Vancouver’s Rioters

riot, Stanley Cup, Vancouver riot, car smashing, hockey, rioters, looting

Creative Commons: Mike Carlson, Reuters (The Calgary Herald)

It’s already made news throughout North America and farther; the rioting in Vancouver over the Canucks’ loss of the Stanley Cup. While countries like Yemen and Libya have people fighting for their lives and freedom, rioting where they are dying, we have a bunch of goofs rioting because a sports team didn’t win the Cup, because they have too much time on their hand, because they have no respect for anyone else.

A million dollars could not have got me downtown last night where over 100,000 people gathered, and as CBC news reporter Priya Ramu said, many of the people were drunk before the games began and the streets were littered with beer cans and mickey flasks. She heard people saying, if the Canucks lose, riot. There were even people interviewed saying they were down there for the riots. While the percentage of rioters would be a small amount of the total people attending, the fact is that many pictures show gangs overturning cars and fighting with police while many more onlookers cheer them on.

Are these our modern heroes? Is this what’s important in the world? The issue wasn’t just the crowd during the game. There were crowds of people harassing the Bruins at the hotel where they were sleeping, with cars driving through the parking lot all night honking horns. As well a s twitter flash mob gathered in the hotel parking lot to scream and try to keep the Bruins awake. Wow, what a proud record Vancouver holds. I’m sure the Canucks are ashamed to call Vancouver home with this sort of attitude. I guess the term good sportsmanship means nothing to fans and “sore loser” has become the order of the day. People wonder why I don’t watch hockey. With this kind of attitude, which included booing the presenter in Roger’s Arena being so loudly that he couldn’t be heard when handing out the trophies, it’s no wonder I can’t find the sport in these games.

But I have an answer on what to do with the rioters, the looters, the thugs who threatened people and tore apart our city. Like the picture above, many people are recognizable and many of these people will be caught. Here’s some of the things these people should have to do; be charged with the crime, pay for the damages and do volunteer work (that’s no pay) cleaning the city and feeding the poor. But what would be best, since these yahoos have way too much energy and aggression and no sense of what’s important, is to draft them. I’m not fan of war and the draft but it seems to me that if these guys were sent into the army and made to serve without pay (that pay equaling the cost of the damages they inflicted) that at least their aggressions could go to a purpose, a good purpose. I have no sympathy for these jerks, whether men or women. Let them taste what riots are really like from the other side when people’s lives are at stake.

After a rant by one person elsewhere I want to say, it’s not to unleash dynamos of war, rape and torture on unsuspecting victims in other countries but to bring discipline and purpose to these people. Most of them are men with too much time and aggression. Maybe it’s anger, maybe it’s lack of structure. Few of those are going to be sociopaths. Most are able to be trained and I bet that many of them would be crying like babies by even having to face a boot camp, let alone follow army discipline or get blown up. If this seems too hard-edged for some, then give them a choice: five years in jail or two years in the army. They’ll come out of the army with a better perspective than sitting and stewing bitterly in jail, and not contributing to society, which is what they’re doing already.

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Blog Award

I thank Deirdra Coppel for taking the time to stop by my blog and read it, and award me the powerful woman writer award. She is the artist of the award as well.

Deirdra Coppel

It’s a lovely gesture and part of her way of sharing. I’ve found that giving people complements doesn’t hurt and often makes you and the other person feel good. So, thanks, Deirdra. http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/

As it is, it’s late, I’ve been editing all day and packing. I’m on the road tomorrow and still have to finish up a few things tonight so this is all I’ll be posting.

I guess I should mention that I hope to do a site update in the next while, change the them around and maybe start linking to more blogs. But that’s a couple of months from now.

See you all in a few days.

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Winning, Losing and Just Being One of the Gang

There has been a lot of talk lately about sports for kids and how their parents take a walk on the crazy side in berating their children, other children, referees and coaches to get their child to win. They sometimes physically attack the coaches and referees as well. It doesn’t verge on abuse; it is abusive.

One of the answers happening in some leagues and schools is to have sports without keeping score. They have decided there are no winners or losers, just players. This is another example of the overly coddled era we live in, where playground slides are lowered because kids might tumble, safety measures are enforced and basically everyone walks around padded from the real world.

While it may be a good thing in some instances, especially with children, to lower the competitive level, I don’t believe it should ever be eliminated completely. Yet, there are two sides to this coin. One extreme was the example above of people pressuring their children to win win win, or Amy Chua’s (the tiger mom) father saying second place wasn’t good enough and a disgrace. Winning definitely can give a person a sense of confidence and yet, not everyone wins. But one can try to do the best possible. Winning is what the Olympics are all about and most sports. There are the best in their field. But to obsess over it can be an imbalance in life and psyche. I remember playing on a dart team where we were the division that wasn’t very good. We played, we wanted to win but we didn’t beat ourselves up if we didn’t. Yet there was one guy on one team who was so adamant about winning that he was a giant jerk. Even his team apologized for his rude behavior. The Tonya Harding figure skating debacle where her ex-husband and goons tried to break Nancy Kerrigan’s leg is an example of how extreme that need to win can get. The movie Black Swan is an example of the fears of not being the best. Extreme obsessive competing can drive you crazy.


Creative commons: From Scrape TV News http://scrapetv.com/

The other side is that there always must be someone who losses. Sometimes a person doesn’t try hard enough and sometimes they just cannot beat the others no matter how hard they try. This is the state of the world, whether in sports or jobs or almost any other aspect. One person wins, others lose. It doesn’t mean they’re failures; they’re just not the best in that category. I’ve lost some things, I’ve won some things. Sometimes I didn’t care enough and sometimes I did but my skills weren’t there. That is life and to remove the winning and losing from a child’s rearing only makes them unprepared to hand the ups and downs of the real world.

But there are ways to balance these sides. Make sure a person is encouraged in what they do and encouraged to do well. Don’t berate them if they fail, if they’re trying. Help them learn to cope with not being the one winner and keep the winners from becoming terrible blowhards. As a shy child I was often picked last for all sports in school. I didn’t have a chance to shine, already being singled out as “different.” I became self-conscious. If the teacher had divvied up teams instead of having the same kids do it all the time, that would have helped level the playing field. It’s okay to lose but it’s not okay to be a loser and cliquey behavior, bullying and mob mentality happen in children with fewer social nicety filters.

Even being one of those who did not excel in sports as a child, I would not eliminate sports where you compete against someone. As a writer, I have faced a lot of rejection, but it makes me try harder, and become better. That too is competition and I live with it. We need to be more accepting of people being at different levels and abilities, yet still encourage people to compete and excel but in a healthy and balanced way, with few emotional scars.

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Why Protest the Olympics

There are people out there wondering why anyone would protest the Olympics while others are happy to protest anything for the sake of protest and anti-disestablismentarianism. Recently as the torch relay began in Victoria, pre-emptive strikes were taken by the organizers to ferry the torch bearers in a van around protestors. According to other media reports the protestors and police both met their mandate without violence or arrests.

Yet these torch bearers were cosseted away so that the protestors couldn’t protest the relay. Now I don’t know what exactly this group of protestors were trying to raise their voices against in regards to the Olympics but the last I remember (despite the changes to human rights laws that Harper has been making) Canada was a fairly free country with the right to freedom of speech. That means that if we disagree with our government and politics, or if we agree, we are allowed to voice our opinions.

BC MLA Harry Bloy would rather we have a totalitarian state in which everyone is a shiny happy person loving all that the government does. And if not, well then, off with their heads. He in fact stated the following: “People who protest the Winter Olympics are nothing more than terrorists with limited intellect…” Wow. So now we have one of the new catch phrases in our modern vernacular, right after George Bush’s overused hyperbole of “axis of evil”  and the “war on terror” with using “terrorist” for anyone who does something I don’t like.

Here’s how I see the whole Olympics thing. The Olympic sports are a great thing. Having the top athletes compete against other countries in something that isn’t blood and violence is something that should be encouraged. Extolling the best in the world in athletics is a memorable moment and people who excel whether as brain surgeons, ballet dancers, runners or engineers should be acknowledged and cheered for their excellence and skill. I applaud that.

What I do not applaud is the Olympic committee (both internationally and VANOC) which makes their rules over those jurisdictions civic, provincial and federal. What I do not believe in is spending millions, promising the taxpayers all the time that the Olympics won’t run overbudget nor will our taxes be raised (can anyone say HST) to pay for this fanfare…and all the time we know they are going to go overbudget. What I do not support is millions of dollars spent for fancy buildings, some of which are only temporary, while people are losing jobs, and lives, because of healthcare cuts. What I protest is a million dollars worth of free tickets for politicians when nothing has been mentioned on what people who don’t have a $100 for a ticket can see.

I think these are worthy things to protest. Not the sports themselves, nor the athletes. I protest attitudes and security of a greater level than that of visiting heads of state even seem to get. I protest to the fact that anyone who has a problem with so much money gone to frivolity is deemed a terrorist by an arrogant politician who has no clue what it’s like to be underprivileged. I protest to a lowbrow attitude that anyone who dislikes the Liberal government’s brazen disregard for people in real straights (and taking forever to even give paramedics a contract) is considered of low intellect. Mr. Bloy, let’s you and I go take an IQ test and see who comes out on top.

I also protest people who protest anything just for the sake of being contrary, but I don’t believe this is the case with many of the protesters. They want people to know that not everyone is happy with the money being thrown at the Olympics, and when has an Olympics event ever made money for the hosting city? Isn’t it only once in recent memory? It would be better to say that I don’t protest the Olympics but that I protest VANOC and the International Olympics Committee, and I’ll continue to as long as we see unfairness and inequality happening even with this.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/greater_vancouver/burnabynewsleader/news/68785952.html

Addendum: Feb. 14–In light of the fact that this is now getting even more attention, although I wrote it several months ago, I’m going to add to it, to clarify. And to comment to the comments below.

I’m a little amazed that the commenter below equates spending tons of money with fun, joy-filled lives and spending no money with a boring, joyless life. There is quite a range in between no money and some money. Not to mention that, guess what, you can actually have fun and not be bored by spending little to no money. But I’m not going to list activities for you here. Spending far overbudget on the Olympics does not necessarily lead to joy. Did you see anywhere in my post where I said this or that we should spend no money? Nope. What I protest is the overspending and VANOC/IOC’s attitude.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about read my recent post about the IOC’s attitudes towards Australia’s athletes hanging the boxing kangaroo flag in the Oympic village, or my post of Feb. 9th in regards to overkill on the budget. Here are a few more examples of the wastage of money better spent.

I know someone who was hired to get the communications village built up at Whistler for the various media. A temporary structure, it was already behind schedule and he was the second or third person hired to oversee it. Meetings in Madrid and other parts of Europe and a command to get it done, no matter the cost. He was also replaced by yet another person. Who knows how many to this date but you can bet money was wasted replacing person after person as some used the prestige of having an Olympics contract to push them into a better job, or the ones in charge let people go so they could maneuver in who they wanted.

Here’s another example. Campbell bragged this week of the $450 million spent on sports as part of the Oympics while at the same time his government has cut the arts funding budget for BC from $47 million to $3 million in just two years (that’s over 90% cut which no other area has experienced so drastically). Arts, like all the ones seen at the Olympic opening ceremonies. It’s not wrong to support sports but it is wrong to slash and get rid of arts and then demonize and pit artists against children saying if we give money to the arts we cannot give chidren a school lunch program. Even $47 million is pretty small peanut next to what’s been spent on sports or the Olympics over all. Oddly they didn’t pit the athletes against the children.

I talk to people in this city worried about the raise in taxes that will come (and has in several ways already) because of the Olympics. They worry about their children suffering under the debt that we will still be paying off twenty plus years from now. Yes, the Olympics cost money. That’s a given. But there could have been much more of a middle ground and I for one never believed the glosses that  came out in the beginning where they (politicians of course) promised us that we would not see a hike in our taxes to pay for this and that it wouldn’t run overbudget. Oddly enough, to the commenter below, because of spending all this money we could very well be leading boring and joyless lives for years to come because of the tax burden that we will be shouldering. Next time you choose a book over a movie or a walk in nature over dining in an expensive restaurant, tell me if you’re having a boring and joyless time.

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New Things: Hockey

When I was a kid, my family used to watch hockey and cheer on our team. This is more amazing than it seems and perhaps shows just how Canadian we really were. There were not as many teams as now and my family was definitely not a sporting family. My younger brother went into martial arts but other than that, we did no more than was required of us in school.

So, that we watched hockey, when I think back, was just odd. Unless you’re Canadian and it’s a Canadian thing to do. But as I hit my teens I didn’t watch it anymore and really grew tired of the fights. I’ve seen maybe a few games over the years on TV when I’ve been at a friend’s, but have paid extremely little attention.

But last night I actually went to my first live hockey game: the Canucks against the Anaheim Ducks. We got to watch from a private box so the seats were good and the view was on the side near one end–not a bad angle. I’ve never been in GM place before. It’s very spiff and full of the usual tacky hockey merchandise. I saw a guy wearing a big foam puck on his head.

The first thing I noticed about the game was that it was so quiet. I’m used to the run-on commentary of TV and all the replays. Here they just skated and shot. Some replays were shown on the big center screen that also displayed the game. People of course cheered, or booed when there was a penalty. But another thing I’ve never noticed on TV was that people clap during good plays. Is this a Canadian thing or do they do this in the US too? It was very polite and inspiring.

Something else you don’t see is that they shovel the ice every ten minutes; mostly women with long hair and one guy. And oddly enough almost every time before the shoveling, a fight breaks out. This was not inspiring. Wouldn’t all that ice help cool tempers? Is this some well-timed maneuver to keep the fan’s adrenalin up through the ice break? I’m not sure I get why people would clap and cheer for the fights. Most of the tussles were small and broken up quickly. But there had to be one dogpile. I just called it hockey group sex.

I guess I saw about half the game because you tend to socialize in the boxes and go for a drink or food. Besides the dumb fights, I actually enjoyed watching the game and at one point chose to watch as opposed to socializing. Somehow I missed a couple of the goals against the Canucks and hadn’t realized those 20-minute periods had extended into overtime. When Anaheim scored (final goal 4-3), everyone just got up and left and I was going, uh what happened? 

Maybe it’s that Canadian thing again but I think I’d actually go to a game again. Go Canucks!

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Art Olympics

Well shiver my timbers and call me a dumbbell. The other day I talked about “Video Gaming as an Olympic Sport” and facetiously suggested a few new ones including writing a novel and caricature drawing. Well, who knew, but there were once art Olympics, or art contest at the Olympics. Total surprise to me but the founder of the modern Olympics, the French Baron Pierre de Coubertin had a vision which included art.

The artistic competitions were hotly debated and contested, getting off to a rocky start for Sweden in 1912. Only 35 entries were received. The categories for art were: sculpture, architecture, literature, painting and music. Not all categories were filled and gold, silver and bronze medals were not awarded in all. All art pieces could not have been previously published (though there were exceptions for architecture) and all had to relate to sports in some way.

Due to excuses of funding problems or note enough time, the next art Olympics were in 1920, then for the years of 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936 and 1948. The art categories sometimes had subcategories such as prints, paintings and water colors/drawings for the painting section, but it could vary from one Olympics to the next. After the initial entries of 35 pieces in 1912, there were usually over a thousand, and thousands of people viewed the exhibits.

The biggest problem was that the Olympics state that athletes must be of amateur status and it was contended that the artists were professionals. The art Olympics were canceled but the Cultural Olympiad took their place in 1956, showcasing various artistic forms in conjunction with the Olympics. I didn’t know there was a special name for the festivals and to tell the truth I’ve never heard of the Cultural Olympiad. But then I’ve never been to the Olympics and considering the Olympic committee’s penchant for branding, of course there is a Cultural Olympiad.

So, art is no longer an Olympic sport, alas. Video gaming could possibly become one, but I doubt it. But if you’re at all interested in being part of the artistic Olympiad for Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics then you can check it out here: http://www.vancouver2010.com/en/CultureEducation/CulturalOlympiad/ArtistRegistry/Guidelines

And below is a database of all countries, medals and Olympic sports, including the art Olympics should you like to see who won. Nazi Germany won quite a few in 1936 Berlin Olympics. Somehow not a surprise. I’ll still dream of writing haiku, villanelles, sonnets and plays at Olympic speed and wiles.

http://www.databaseolympics.com/games/gamessport.htm?g=10&sp=ART&enum=130

http://www.databaseolympics.com/sport/sporteventlist.htm?sp=ART

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Video Gaming as an Olympic Sport

You think that’s a joke, don’t you? Well CBC’s The Current interviewed Johnathan Wendel today, a champion PC gamer who is campaigning to get video gaming as an Olympic Sport.

I’m sure there are many eyes a’rollin’ out there. But he argues that professional and champion gamers these days are fit and not eyeglass wearing, out of shape, pimple faced geeks. He runs and does sit-ups and his hand-eye coordination and trigger finger must be fast and accurate. As well, he must work out strategies to gain on his opponent or to be able to psych them out.

O…kay. So there is some activity with the eyes and the mouse finger and maybe spinning quickly around in your chair to answer the phone or grab a health drink while shooting down your opponent. But I know some gamers, adults, and I have to say they fit the stereotype of eyeglass wearing and out of shape. They’re past the pimple faced stage but I’m sure they imbibe their share of pop and chips. However, I also know at least one person who’s as likely to have Fillet Mignon and burgundy wine while gaming, and he has a doctorate in computer graphics.

I’m aware that there are more than the stereotypical video gamers out there and that to compete for any length of time in anything, be it word games or running, you have to keep in shape. This means eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and exercise. But Olympic level? Mr. Wendell argues that there is as much activity as someone who is skeet shooting. Fair enough, but one thing the Olympics have in all sports and that’s actual physical movement that amounts to more than a shift of the eye or a twitch of the mouse finger.

We haven’t seen chess made an Olympic sport and darts has a better chance. I mean, when I played darts I considered it exercise. Shoot with the right hand, lift your pint with the left. Both sides of the body exercised and you get up to stand before the board. Actually, I’d love to see some medieval style darts where the darts were like short spears of up to a foot or so in length. But then I wouldn’t make it on the Olympic team no matter the length of dart.

I can see it now. The future Olympics; here are just a few sport to watch:

  • video gaming (with streamlined mice and chairs and special goggles)
  • Wii sports (in truth they’re closer to being an Olympic sport) alongside the same sports with real equipment
  • caricature drawing (it takes hand-eye coordination, artists must be checked for doping)
  • writing a book in three days (that takes speed of typing and a calculating, organized and creative mind)
  • dog walking (physical skill to weave around the leash while trying to control the beast)
  • cat brushing (make the pelt shiny and smooth and avoid the swift moving claws)
  • fly fishing (hand-eye coordination of getting the worm on the hook, casting the line and luring the catch, and not falling into the drink)
  • chess (oh heck, why not, it’s uh…stimulating)
  • card dealing (not poker but the shuffling, flipping and turning of cards in record time)
  • prestidigitation (just so I could use the word, sleight of hand, takes wiles and much coordination)
  • political double speak (takes fast wits, dodging hurled insults and making up things on the spot)

I wonder if Mr. Wendel knows just how much he could expand the realm of the Olympics. He could become the father of the new sports Olympics and cyber athletes, just as Bill Gates father the new computer age. And I know I could try out for several areas.

Ah yes,

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