You’re on the wrong stage if you think that withholding your appearance at a game / match is going to solve racial injustice. Racial injustice must be resolved through democratic and legal channels. Absence from duty on a sports field for reason other than illness, vacation or bereavement is a breach of an employment contract and subject to termination. Under such circumstances, an athlete will then have full time hours to invest in lobbying for reform and racial justice. Prima Donna athletes should translate their passion for a cause into a voice for reform as opposed to conveniently withholding their services. Spineless sports franchise owners should fire those who are in breach of contract rather than crater to team group think.
My interest in the NFL ceased six years ago when on one occasion, a cast of color commentators took an occasion to obsess more about the personal problems of one player and the player’s wife as opposed to focusing on the game. You remember that player – the one who got caught beating his wife in an elevator. Then a sequence of TV ads came on and I made a decision then and there to cancel my cable TV. This was before the Kaepernick charade.
Baseball was filled with a continuum of delays and the game lost my trust when my Montreal Expos were sent to the sidelines with the best record during the 1994 season because of a work stoppage. The team was my childhood dream team and I had followed them every year. There was no World Series in 1994.
Also during my childhood, there was a hockey announcer by the name of Jim Robson who called the games for the Vancouver Canucks. He put sport in a wider context than most. You see, at every Vancouver home game that he was on the air broadcasting, he would give a “shout out” to all the “shut-ins” who couldn’t make it out to a game. Well back in the ‘70’s and ‘80s most everyone could afford a seat unlike today so it was apropos for him to acknowledge those that were prohibited through poor health. That gesture of his is something that has always stuck with me. That is….an acknowledgment of a contribution athletes make as entertainers to those keen to digest athletic grace defined by finesse, agility, speed and biomechanical prowess yet whose own bodies have failed them.
In the new world order of naive young athletes thinking they are something they are not….they grandstand. Robson will also be scratching his head I’m sure.
Although a capitalist in every sense of the word, I do see
merit in the position put forward by Novak Djokovic that a fund be set up for
lower ranked players struggling financially during this pandemic. Tennis has
always had a pay grade system which has richly rewarded the top achievers while
paying first round losers a pittance comparatively. The thing about tennis is
that those first round losers are phenomenal tennis players and the game would
not be what it is today without them. Some move up and some move down. Few of
them have had much to say about the pay disparity because they aspire to win
and hope to move up the ranks.
These are not ordinary times and they are forced to the
sideline. Dominic Thiem doesn’t like the idea and makes a justifiable point
that nothing was handed to him as he fought his way to a number three ranking.
He’s young, has come into wealth recently, and has ego pumping through his
veins. I can’t blame him for his position.
Sport is social but it’s not socialist. The sought after
victory comes with reward. However; context and backdrop can never be fully
ignored because the human condition must be rational in its zeal.
Denis Shapovalov had an opportunity to become the first
Canadian male tennis player to win a Masters 1000 (most senior level
professional tournament equivalent to a Grand Slam) Series event today matched
up against the number one player in the world, Djokovic. BTW, we still call all
these athletes that leave Canada due to high taxation levels here Canadian in
spite of their departure to tax havens. They like to keep the warmth of our
country in their heart while paying tax abroad. Few really call this fact into
question with respect to any semblance of National allegiance. The athletes
certainly aren’t to blame but it is interesting how we still like to dress them
with the Maple Leaf and discount the lay of the land.
What if Canadian star athletes decided to stay in Canada?
Certainly, governments would benefit from a return of capital on any funding
awarded to athletes in lieu of their elite athletic status during years of
development. This is not to say that particular athletes don’t give back to
Canada upon capturing success in ways other than a direct return of such
government sponsored funding. Then there’s the direct taxation for domestic prize
pools associated with Canadian events such as the Rogers Cup. Residents are expected
to report their world wide income whereas non-residents to do not. In spite of
tax credits awarded to residents for foreign tax paid, the high tax rates in
Canada would most likely supersede tax credits.
Non-residents are expected to pay Canadian tax for earnings on Canadian
So, your game of the week got cancelled but you still want
to work on your strokes. Do visit the board at your local community centre but
practice with it the right way. The right way you ask? Since the set up is
crucial as a prefix for delivering a ground stroke, it makes no sense to be
scrambling with the board since the ball returns so quickly. Instead, feed the
ball to the board –make your stroke and only set up for another stroke if in
control and set up properly. The purpose of this practice is to develop
consistency without producing bad habits which can arise when chasing down
How important is this? It’s critical because the neural
pathways need to be developed without the impedence of experience associated
improper mechanics. Similar to golf, tennis is difficult to pick up without
basic fundamentals learned from somebody. The teaching of tennis has positively
evolved to incorporate larger more forgiving balls and smaller racquets for
youngsters. Becoming versant in
fundamentals is definitely a prerequisite before approaching a board without a
playing partner. There is also no
denying the strength in some of the youtube content. For those who have good
coordination and average athleticism but lack a playing partner, the board can
be a great resource having picked up fundamentals from youtube. Naturally, there’s good and bad content on the
net but it’s mostly good so fear not. You can always hire a tennis teacher
because it’s only in the one on one setting whereby your strokes can be
observed and corrected.
Yes, that’s right – I, Blair Sveinson, am a certified tennis instructor with Tennis Alberta and I invite adults to reach out if keen to take up this wonderful game. I can be reached at 403-397-3110. I’m in Calgary.
If a defending player makes a tag on an offensive player running the base paths but in the process loses control of the ball, so long as the base runner touches the bag or plate, the base runner will be considered “safe”. Hence; if it becomes apparent that if a base runner has made a poor decision to advance yet has committed to the play, within the rules of the came he can contrive a strategy to exert such force on the defender in order to produce a dropped ball. Without question, Mr. Marinich in the Angels Astros game on Saturday July 6th took such a strategy by deviating his path inside the baseline toward the presence of the catcher who was positioned inside the field of play to receive the inbound ball. Had this not been Mr. Marinich’s strategy, the logical path would have been outside the baseline thereby increasing his probability of success by stationing himself further from the ball.
Some MLB pundits are calling for suspension of Marinich
given that catcher Lucroy has sustained an injury. It was indeed a brutal
collision but I suspect Marinich was more motivated by achieving a “safe” call
at home as opposed to hurting Lucroy. It’s apparent to me that the rules of
baseball are more to blame that Marinich. This precise play should give cause
for a rule change.
Ski day at Nakiska and first foray into vlogging March 14, 2019. Busted out with a day off work after the schedule cleared. I’ve had a season pass here for the past five years. Definitely good value if you catch the early bird discount. It’s really the quickest trip from Calgary and need not occupy the full day.
Those learning to ski need an easy going comfortable setting with appropriate terrain. Nakiska fits the bill.
There’s never a snow issue here because of the well developed snow making infrastructure. The snow park is well equipped with ramps, jumps and rails. Downhill skiing not your thing? Just jump on a tube or snap into X country gear and tour the picturesque landscape of Kananaskis Country.
With Brayden Schnur’s runner up finish at the New York Open
this past week, Canada now has five men ranked in the top 110. This is a
statistic never seen before to my knowledge. I had the pleasure of watching
Brayden warm up at the Calgary Tennis Club a couple years back and play the Challenger
Tour event here last fall. He has the physique, the strokes and the drive to
win. However; I’m a bit concerned about the stress he puts on his front knee
during his service motion. He’ll get to contend with the ace machine and ultimate
victor of the New York Open, Reilly Opelka, throughout his playing career.
The two young guns Shapovalov and Auger-Alliasime have burst
onto the scene demonstrating court prowess atypical of their youth. We’ll see
how this pair contends with the rigors of the tour in the face of fully mature
Canadian men on the outside looking in are Peter Polansky
and Filip Peliwo. Peter seems to have more fire burning than ever before and
Filip may be struggling a bit on the mental side of the game as I witnessed in
his match here in Calgary last fall.
The ladies are also making waves. I’m sensing some healthy rivalry
building in their ranks given some competitive off court exchanges. There are a
handful of ladies now in the mix to provide Eugenie with some company. Bianca
Andreescu currently outranks Bouchard.
I’d be amiss not to reference the formally developed
coaching development program over at Tennis Canada as an obvious resource in
propelling Canada upward in the international tennis scene.
I’ve put these three C’s together because alliteration wasn’t
foreign to any of these three. My biggest miss for cancelling cable has been the
celebration of athletic feats through language. There was Bob Costas’
deployment of vocabulary atypical of the arena but succulent to the scholastic.
Mary Carillo triumphed with unrehearsed back seat colour laden with one- liners.
Howard Cosell’s deliberately slurred maligned characterizations injected fodder
for the fortunate fans of Wide World of Sports.
Costas is in the news because of an opinion in the face of
the sports machine. He’ll retire after a good run and his legacy will be
steeped in his affinity for the formidable phrase fitting to the forum (okay, I
can do alliteration too).
I have no idea what happened to Mary but her charisma simply
shone through the TV.
Although young as an admirer during the Cosell years, I remember Cosell as an obvious stalwart in and industry critical to extracting entertainment value from sport. There were the Muhammad Ali interviews and the Monday Night Football mantras such as “he could go all the way”. As a boy, it became evident that there was eloquence in sport beyond finesse on the field. In spite of having snipped the cable, my sense is that the market and mystique of midfield monologue has now left the broadcast booth. Was Cosell’s opinion that ex-athletes were not best equipped for the microphone correct? I suspect yes with exceptions. ���F�z�Q4 �h
I agree. Believe in something and while doing it, undertake the process for change available to every other citizen in your country rather than grand standing at the sidelines of a sports venue. Western democracies are endowed with the right of speech freedom. This right empowers citizens irrespective of race, sex, or religious affiliation to express themselves in the public domain. What is the public domain? Well, you can write a letter. You can recite your beliefs on a street corner. You can visit a government official. You can attend a political rally. You can start a political party. You can espouse your beliefs in conversation. You can light up the twitter sphere with one liners. You can form an organization as a form of lobby. As you can see, the opportunity to freely express oneself has many outlets.
Colin Kaepernick had chosen a method of expression convenient to him in an apolitical domain – the football arena in a football uniform employed by a football franchise in the spotlight broadcast around North America via television. He chose an outlet reserved for an occasion other than politics and it was his right. The interesting thing about his behaviour is that his employer has the right to sanction him accordingly for behaviour not in accordance with his duty. His behaviour will obviously impact the perceptions of other potential employers. Some citizens loyal to his cause may empathize with his plight and even lavish him with praise of courage. However; it would be misplaced. I view Colin Kaepernick as a career martyr deserving of his plight. I consider him lazy for not pursuing the outlets of expression available to him with the same vigour in parallel to the apparent passion he brings to a cause.
As for Nike’s endorsement of him, I’ve been avoiding Nike in stores for decades.
Tennis Canada is making headway in player development. Upon taking the Instructor Level One course in 2014, I sensed that the curriculum for the introductory player was strong. There have been advancements in addressing the needs of the young players. This year at Roland Garros, four Canadian women have merited entries into first round qualifying with No. 120 ranked Francoise Abanda leading the charge. In fact Ms. Abanda was seeded 16 in the qualifying tournament.
Indeed, Ms. Abanda has ruffled some feathers of late in her claim that race has played a role in the context of her lack of exposure on the tennis scene despite her rise in ranking. She could be right. She could be wrong but she’s allowed to feel the way she feels. One can label her as a “victim” or a grandstander. In a facebook post just yesterday, I wished luck to the Canadian men vying for the French Open title but I did so having first checked the first round of the women’s draw having concluded that no Canadian woman made it through qualifying. I am sensitive this way knowing full well the current state of Bouchard’s game and the past history of Canadian women’s tennis. Bianca Andreescu just missed by the way.
I’m willing to cut Canadian sport reporters some slack given Canada’s tennis track record. The most decorated Canadian tennis player, Daniel Nestor, did in fact move out of the country (for good reason due to our exorbitant tax system) and his residency would have been relevant in our sports reporters refrain from covering him. Have you heard of him? Canada’s attention to the sport has paralleled the relative lack of players at the top level but it’s good to see that things are changing. More indoor facilities and grass roots programs will further improve the sport’s appeal.