Category Archives: Sport

Canadian History Almost Made Today

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 soil.

Tennis on The Board

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 errant balls.

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.

Lucroy Marisnick Collision

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.

Nakiska Day Trip

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.

Homesteader Fork

Canadian Tennis On The Map

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 men.

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. 

Costas Carillo Cosell

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

Nike’s “Believe In Something”

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.

Talking Canadian Women’s Tennis

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.   

The Passing of Warren Miller

Without question, Mr. Miller and his annual ski movie editions were tantamount to the excitement circulating through the halls of Kamloops’ Sahali Junior secondary as friends and I anticipated the first snow and trips to local Tod Mountain (now Sun Peaks Resort). The thing most distinct in my memory of his adventure movies was his calm yet drama filled voice and perfect annunciation fitting of the exuberant spirit of the sport. This self proclaimed “ski bum” grew his audience from modest beginnings by sharing with friends scenes captured from his eight millimetre camera taken at Sun Valley Idaho while working as a young ski instructor.

Over time, with success and a growing budget, he moved his sets world-wide and depicted wondrous winter landscapes as backdrops for elite skiers stunting or careening knee deep in breathtaking unmarked fresh powder. Now, I marvel at the planning which would have went into acquiring the miraculous footage when factoring in winter travel, weather, procuring skiers, cooperation from resorts and heli-ski operators. As teenagers, these things didn’t cross our minds while mystified by the possibilities of where our ski interests may lead along with the upcoming ski season.

In anything we do, there needs to be particular seeds of inspiration which compels us to move and to actualize the joy freedom offers. To this day, Warren Miller and his movie making team play a definite role in inspiring yours truly to seek winter solace and athletic prowess in the mountains ranges of Western Canada and to them I say thanks!   

       

Federer Berdych Highlights Aussie Quarters 2018

Roger was on the ropes throughout the first set but his iron clad mental toughness shone during critical points late. From the opening serve of the first set breaker, the wilting effect had hit Tomas perceptibly.

It’s rare that you see Roger make a poor shot selection. In particular, on this day his backhand was exacting short hop topspin loops with concise accuracy during particular episodes of desperation which proved more than just defensive at times. He used a well disguised backhand drop shot also which definitely caught Berdych off guard. 

There is never any inefficient energy expelled during the Roger Federer ground strokes.  At 36, his court movement is still lizard like tracking shots with the benefit of an anticipatory sense matched by nobody. You may have to be a tennis player to appreciate the extensiveness and exquisiteness of the Roger Federer grab bag of tennis shots. It’s one thing to possess the arsenal but to know exactly when and how to deploy it with blazing reactionary instinct is another. He never seems to waver when down a break and you’ll never see him quiver at the very rare miss hit.  He doesn’t short circuit stroke fundamentals in spite of his prowess and continues to glow in the glory of victory with a modest charisma destined to color the record books with distinction.