Category Archives: Sport

Flames Arena Deal Iced

Once again your tax dollars have been wasted. This time on a fantasy gone wrong. The Saddledome is a relatively new building built for the 1988 Olympics but for many it was already outdated because it wasn’t good enough for particular musical acts and there wasn’t enough luxury revenue generating suites for the liking Flames brass. For the wrong reasons, Calgarian’s tax dollars intended to meet the needs of every Calgarian were committed toward a special interest and a sport represented by players and management whose salaries far exceed those responsible for contributing funding. It was odorous from the beginning and the rightful ending has arrived but not without costs. The Flames Arena Deal is Iced but count on continued deliberations.  

You see….back when community rinks were established in the 1940’s and1950s all over Canada, these rinks were built with the pretext of bettering communities because all taxpayers would have access to them for figure skating, hockey, and recreational skating. Community programs could be advanced through the utilization of the facility. The health and wellness of all Canadians could be advanced in lieu of a community investment. This model is a good representation of a budget line item worthy of public funds given the direct benefit to tax payers.

You’ve all heard the economic argument of “spin offs” from building bigger and better. The trouble is that there is simply too much risk in postulating “economic benefit” from the standpoint of the magnitude of investment. Canadian cities are becoming more diverse with an aggressive immigration policy attracting new citizens who have not been acclimatized to the sport of hockey.

The NHL and its teams are financially successful evidenced by published salaries earned by players. In a capitalist model which Canada is barely retaining, corporations should be looking to the markets or investors for funding and not the public purse. 

Ironically and yet to be confirmed by rumours it may become evident that the nixing of the deal had much to do with a matter relevant to a reasonable Flames request associated with public funding of roadways / public works associated with the vicinity of the arena.

This has been a fiasco and could have been avoided. My sense is that prior Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi had his instinct correct in the beginning about this project but then ceded his position from variables which I’ll allow you to speculate.          

Ski Gear Safety Tips

Now that we’re “gearing up” for the new ski season, I’ll give some gear tips to help keep you safe this winter. With many seasons under my belt while reading the occasional review on mountains and gear, I seldom see gear safety write ups…..so here goes my take.

Not all ski brakes are designed equally. Some fold up nicely while clamping in and others may not. If brakes do not elevate and wrap inward, then protruding brakes can catch on your snow pants or boot buckles. This could send you tumbling. Upon stepping in, check on your brake alignment with feet apart. If they don’t fully wrap, you can manually bring them in with a squeeze in order to save a trip to the pro shop. However; do have a technician tend to them in advance of your next outing.

Ski poles are still sold with straps. When you insert your hand into a strap, you don’t want your pole to catch on anything while whizzing by….like boundary netting. Never put your hands through pole straps in advance of disembarking from a chair.

Binding settings – this is one that you do think about. The settings need to be adjusted to your weight and proficiency level. If there’s a change in these two variables, your settings need to be changed accordingly.

Boot grips – there are none so buckle down when walking around the base area and mid-mountain lodge. This way your more nimble gait will lessen the chance of a slip. Smaller steps when walking in boots.  

Sun screen for your nose and lip balm. Ha ha.

Good Biomechanics of Running

I’ve been running recreationally my whole life with a particular hiatus during period of some knee discomfort. Today I comment on good biomechanics of running. My experience in running combined with my undergraduate degree in sports science compels me to evaluate good running form. My component coach during my fundamental course work in “kinesiology” in first year was Gabor Simonyi. This Hungarian master of hammer and shot put technique has a storied history in Canadian Athletics typified by the seven of eleven conference championships won by my Alma Mater the University of Alberta during his tenure and coaching leadership. He was a quirky slight fellow more adept at the intricacies of biomechanics than of the administrative side of sport as testified by former athletes.

Gabor had two primary focal points around the stride. I remember him incessantly referring to angle of attack and center of gravity. In my mind, I see him to this day demonstrating the foot hitting the ground in a backward propelling manner appealing to his students. One never gets set up properly without the necessary forward lean. We need to want to go just like the skier looking down the escarpment looking to attack versus cautiously navigating a path. Naturally, good mechanics also require stability in the pelvis and relaxation in the ankle. With a mind keen to move forward rather than up, we limit the impact as the foot lands. Arms work productively with balance and thrust.

Fatigue is a reality in running and the heroic propensity to overdo is ever present. People should take breaks when fatigued. Endurance arises from repetition and practice. Us mere mortals are always in a continuum of fitness due to schedules and lifestyle demands cognizant that exercise is our own responsibility to ourselves.    

The New Mental Health Mantra

It’s all getting a bit ridiculous wouldn’t your say – this new mental health mantra. Suddenly there’s this new excuse for failing or missing the show. When nothing else sticks…just pull this one out of the hat because the whole internet universe has gravitated toward it and you know how politically incorrect it would be to call it out as “bull”.

You see few of us are ever faced with perfect circumstances when delivering the goods. There’s always something in the context of the playing field not to mention haunts from the past. That is what makes the show adrenaline filled and exciting. One is faced with the task at hand along with the context in which we present ourselves albeit the training and obstacles overcome. We may not meet a standard we expect of ourselves but a measure is taken at a point in time. It’s not a matter of win or go home. It’s a matter of doing our best.

If you put your name forward as a contestant, you have a duty to meet the obligation unless obvious unforeseen circumstances present themselves practically. If you don’t feel up to the task…then don’t put your name forward.

At Wimbledon, Naomi Osaka took an entry spot from an embattled tennis player who would have scrambled to qualify likely indebted using scarce resources to travel amidst COVID concerns. In the world of professional tennis there is much disparity in pay between players who consistently make it through to later rounds and players who qualify to make the draw.  Osaka is wealthy. Many of her tennis compatriots are not. She should have thought of them before deciding to contest the event if she was stricken with mental anxiety.

The Simone Biles situation is unfathomable in the context of my aforementioned. If she had thought that her mind was in such a state that she could not pull off the difficult dangerous manoeuvres, with the support of her coach she should have simply adjusted her routine accordingly in order to honor her commitments to her team, and her country. In my opinion, government funding should be withheld from athletes who fail to appear in the Olympic Arena having qualified citing a “mental health” concern. As far as I’m concerned, any individual who has demonstrated the characteristics and training necessary to qualify for international competition also possesses the mental acuity to perform.     

Tennis Career of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – Takeaway

Some superstars come right out of the gate as gifted with magic in their ground strokes. What about the tennis career of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova? Other players have required time to develop the neuro-pathways with coaching in order to manifest the weaponry to compete at the highest level.

At 29 years of age Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova finally made it into the final of a grand slam event. This is a woman who had lost consistently over a number of years in the first, second, and third rounds of both doubles and singles events. She has a sprinkling of quarter final appearances to go along with some absences due to injury or failure to qualify. She obviously kept working on her game in order to improve with sights on a grand slam championship.

So here she was the other day in the 2021 French Open final getting blown out in the first set to an unseeded dark horse but found resolve to comeback and compete vigorously. I can just imagine the talk she gave herself at the first set break revisiting all the training she had done along with all the mediocre results in her long career. This would have been a moment of truth for her similarly to when we are all faced with similar situations when it’s time to step up and perform. Will we wilt or will we shine? On this day Ms. Pavlyuchnenkova shone by taking the second set 6-2 and losing the match by posting 4-6 in the third . She gave it her absolute best manifested something better than the past. You see – that’s what we are aiming to do. We are aiming to deliver something better from day to day. When there’s a regression, we double down and push harder. We go the extra mile. We test ourselves thereby adding fruitfulness and vigour to our being while managing other important elements of our life.

Congratulations to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on her 2021 French Open tournament!