A media furore has irrupted in Canada outside Quebec (COQ). Strong local support for the return of a storied NHL franchise -- the beloved Nordiques -- to the provincial capital (disclosure: I spend part of the year here in Quebec City), linked to a request for federal financial support has emboldened editorial writers, columnists, cartoonists, and, undoubtedly, talk show hosts to vent their opposition.
Imagine, the Quebec government has pledged to invest $175-million (or 45 per cent of the costs) in a new public multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility in Quebec City. The Charest Liberals have decided it would be an important asset for the city where Aboriginals met Samuel Champlain in 1608, and most of the people in Quebec agree.
On the weekend the 2010 FIFA World Cup ends here are a few reflections...
Four years ago, Canadian viewers of the Soccer World Cup were treated to colour commentary on how the Togolese might struggle with 26 Celsius heat of Northern Germany. Although sports commentary frequently has such inanities, coverage of this World Cup, in South Africa, has had more insidious issues particularly regarding the portrayal of African nations. Canadian media coverage is damaged by continued ignorance of Africa, stereotyping and double-standards which are at times dehumanizing.
The myth of one Africa
Game Over: How politics has turned the sports world upside down
Dave Zirin is the rare sportswriter who covers, in his words, the space "where sports and politics collide." His new book, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down (New Press), explores the intersection of sports and politics over the past three years, touching on the London Olympics and their role in the city's anti-austerity riots, the lack of accountability after the Penn State sex-abuse scandals and the historic player lockouts in three out of the four major professional sports leagues.
We ought to consider R.A. Dickey, who's now No. 1 in the Blue Jays' starting rotation, not just a pitching asset but a cultural one. That isn't because he's a reader, though in one of many life crises he considered teaching high-school English. Nor that he's a writer, with a bestseller: Wherever I Wind Up.
It's because he's a reflector: he reflects on what he lives, and reflects the results back to us. That's what culture does. Creativity is less its essence, no one creates anything from scratch; that's one of the myths of art. What artists make is reflections on reality, including reflections on the reflections of others.
Canadian soccer bodies are phasing in a program to eliminate scorekeeping and standings for under-12 leagues. The spontaneous outrage combusted on schedule. Some was rote, from columnists at the Sun chain with deadlines to meet and clichés at hand: e.g., "this lefty everybody-is-equal garbage." Some came from parents who seem truly anguished that their kids may enter later life unprepared for how harsh and nasty it can be.
Kathryn Blaze Carlson at the National Post helpfully counterposed two putative authorities. One thinks humans are a hierarchal species, and "genetically programmed to compete." The other, "a renowned proponent of co-operation over competition," said: "We compete because we're raised that way, not because we were born that way."
Quick, before this hockey crisis goes away, I'd like to act quickly to try and wrestle some ideas from it, instead of wasting it.
What's eternally awesome is the way individual souls meld with their team. The identification is local, not national, except for rare Olympian moments. And it's with the team, not just players and definitely not owners. It transcends generations and absences. I once left Toronto for 10 years, pre-Internet when it was harder to keep contact, and when I returned I picked up exactly the same feelings of frustration with the Leafs and Argos as before, although entire rosters had been replaced, like the cells of a human body every seven years. The ongoing agony was seamless.