Category Archives: Sport

X-Country Ski Tips Mild Weather

Waxing becomes more important as temperatures rise because the subtleties associated with stride length, kick wax surface length, wax application technique all play into your ability to maintain stride when course manoeuvrability becomes restricted.  You’ll find that you can really blaze in moderate temperatures if you’ve prepared your skis effectively for the conditions. 

If it’s old snow, you’re using glister as your kick wax.  This stuff is gooey and you don’t need that much. In fact, I recommend that you shorten from your cold weather kick wax length because of the power of this stuff. You want to be careful that you don’t get it in contact with your glide bases because it’s a nuisance to remove while anticipating your ski day.  On course it’s best to take breaks during the flats since restart will be easier since glister wants to adhere while stationery.  Take full advantage of the slick conditions by extending even further during stride. Aim for a 90 degree finish at the knee with aggressive poling. On a good track with nicely prepared skis, these are the days where you’re close to the athletic zone actualizing the benefits of this aerobic winter sport.

Don’t despair, “skin skis” (google it) are now all the rage allowing you to bypass the kick wax procedure should you want to just get out on the trails with no fuss.    

Stampeders Deserving of New Venue?

Now it’s the CFL commissioner who’s has been espousing what he thinks the city of Calgary needs to support the Calgary Stampeders. 

Well, if you fumble the ball at the three yard line with a minute plus left in the championship game negating the opportunity for a two score point spread and fellow players are indifferent to positioning themselves correctly on the field to defend against the possibility of a fumble – I’m not so sure that the “professionals” care enough about their team for me as a taxpayer to care about them? Seven of them had literally littered the right half of the field immobile. This is not good football. This is laziness and poor execution of backup coverage at the most critical moment of the most critical game in the season. Yes, the Argo scampered the full 107 yards for the TD. This indifference is not dissimilar to the Stampeder holding penalties at critical junctures in the game or the objectional conduct perpetrated by a player wallowing in disappointment over failed execution. 

Miraculously, the Stampeders found redemption with seconds left in the game after a dropped pass when a completion left them within field goal distance of tying. When a second down field goal could have put the game into overtime under poor play conditions, the team opted for the more risky play of throwing down field setting up the ultimate sorry end via interception. 

Any hard core Stampeder fan who witnessed a similar meltdown in 2016 must be questioning their season ticket purchase plan for 2018. I certainly would be.  In fact, I had given up my season tickets years ago not because of poor execution and player indifference but because of the continual interference of fellow fans as they made their frequent trips to the beer stands and loos during the action. For some it’s just a beer fest and the game doesn’t matter much anyways but for a sportsman such as myself, it’s simply too tough to watch at times other than the concluding spectacle. There’s certainly good grace in losing a battle fought with furor but this morning I’m in gratitude for my severed cable TV and having not given this team my attention during the season.            

Herd Mentality Takes The NFL

Of course the U.S President of the United States, Donald Trump, should have ceased reactionary tweeting when he took office at the White House. Of course he should not have waded into this anthem kneeling chicanery enacted by NFL players through twitter. However; he is entitled to have an opinion with respect to protocols, conduct, and assembly of Americans in witness to the ceremony of the country’s national anthem.

Americans exercising their civil liberty are entitled to their opinion regarding each others’ conduct. If a citizen has a grudge to bear against their country, they have the freewill to express themselves within their law abiding rights. Each American has the autonomy to choose which way they wish to fight their civil battles within their rights. I suspect that many Americans lacking weekly television exposure while administering their own rights for justice would rather see NFL players take their grievance(s) to the appropriate forum for resolution rather than grandstanding in front of folks enthusiastic about watching some football.

I, personally, stopped watching football in 2014 upon learning of an NFL player beating his wife in a casino elevator. There was much ado about whether the player should be suspended by the league or not. The story line had morphed from the strategy of defensive alignment, pass protection, finger tip end zone catches, and fourth down late game conversions into a gong show about the conduct of privileged elite players having difficult managing themselves.

Death In The Ring

Chris Iorfida of the CBC has penned a thoughtful piece on the death of “Mixed Martial Arts” fighter Tim Hague. It was with great sadness that we learned of this tragedy. There will be an investigation and it’s looking like somebody responsible for the sanctioning of the contest is going to be up against some hard questions but in spite of the grilling, I suggest that the public at large needs to take a hard look at the savagery of these bouts and the appeal they have for their entertainment dollar. When UFC (Ultimate Fighting Challenge) first came out, I was frankly aghast. Call me conceited or pollyannaish but my instinct at the time was, “don’t these people have better things to do than watch their kindred get pummeled? Where have we gone as a society? What are we teaching our children? What would our bona fide soldiers from history think of our sense of amusement toward their means of sacrifice for our liberty?”

I recall sitting in a first year “ethics in sport” university class among fellow idealists of youth while witnessing the result of a poll conducted by our professor. “Who thinks boxing should be outlawed?” The result was overwhelmingly in favor. Appreciably, as Mr. Iorfida points out in his article, there are governing bodies set up with criteria in place for the purpose of ensuring that mismatches do not occur.  However; something may have gone awry here and there’s nothing to say that the same outcome could not arise even if competitors are equally matched. I was a big football fan until the evidence started to pour in that men’s lives after football were being detrimentally affected because of the impact of repetitive brain blows.  It took a class action law suit for the NFL elites to finally pay attention. I do actually adjust my way of thinking in lieu of facts as they are presented. Hopefully, the market for this kind of thing starts to dry up because of people’s refute of indignity while the aesthetic purity and tight regulatory execution of formal disciplines of “martial arts” thrives.

Still Watching Hockey?

They chase a puck around a rink for multi-millions and reside in the U.S. preventing the imposition of Canada’s high rate of tax while you tote the j.o.b. for nickels in comparison. You pay into Canada’s social welfare state and sometimes irresponsibly pony up a three figure event ticket for an apparent privilege of sitting in beer and mustard stained seats. All the while your backdrop is emblazoned by the corporate logo of Scotiabank. Your neighbour to the left needs a pee break again because getting wasted is his idea of a night out on the town at the good ol’ hockey game. You lest not wait yourself for period intermission should the bladder be acute to line up anxiety. By the way – those multimillionaires want you to pay more tax for their new age arena and as for the Olympics….forget about it – the spirit doesn’t quite align with the profit motive and the violent spectacles for which you cheer, pay and celebrate. The hockey establishment has successfully marketed a strategy with a belief that in the absence of your own progressive realization of a life purpose, you will annually pay thousands for season tickets and the opportunity to witness another’s actualization of a capitalist ideal transmuted through a game.  As a bonus you might get to see a street fight on skates and the manifestation of legal thwarting and impunity from assault laws.

Reburbished Deleted Post Flames Arena

Naturally, the Calgary Herald deleted my sarcastic post on Gary Bettman’s Calgary appearance.  Hence; I reproduce it here.  Oh Yes, BTW Ken King of the Calgary Flames apparently used to work for the Calgary Herald.

This is what I said “Expect the Calgary Herald to delete posts representing articulate opinions against the construction of a new arena.  Apparently Gary Bettman knows what you need and cerebral folks have provided him a forum to patronize.”

Federer’s Backhand In Australia

Prior to his injury, Federer had dropped his number one ranking but today he has won the Australian Open.  Tennis pundits in recent years have bestowed the best one handed backhand drive in the game to Stan Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet.  Wawrinka most likely today generates the most power from the back hand wing and Gasquet utilizes more torque from a smaller physique.  However; Roger Federer today demonstrated the importance of a compact back swing and set up to deal with the immense power generated by today’s tour players.  While enjoying the highlights this morning, I noticed that Roger was always delivering the drive on the backhand side during service return when in years past he would often deliver the more defensive blocking style of return.  It’s evident that in the run up to his tour return that his team put a focus on absolute conviction of the backhand drive from every backhand position on the court.  This would have lead to more repetition in practice and mastery of set up.  Today he delivered fluid cross court backhand winners at will with acute angles while managing points with sustained depth from the base line all in the context of that human back board on the other side, Rafael Nadal.  Not only now a legend of the game, in Roger Federer tennis has never had a better ambassador of the sport.

Some Credit To NHL

Some credit to the NHL is in order as I took in a couple of periods of the Flames vs Hawks last night at Big Al’s pub over at International Avenue.  No fights!  Some inspired play by John Goudreau of the Flames.  Fairly tight checking with low scoring and the O/T shoot out didn’t conclude until the 7th round.  The goalies prevailed over the course of thirteen straight one on one encounters.  Some sharp stick handler tallied the winner with a somewhat controversial deposit following a deke which arguably entailed backward movement of the puck – hence testing the rules.  In fact, I’m surprised that officiating didn’t utilize video replay for confirming the game winning goal.

The game has taken positive steps to enhance the entertainment value.  In spite of there being regulations around the size of goalie equipment, in my opinion those goalie pads are still too big.  The Hawks may have won the game had the Flames goalie been fitted with a smaller catching glove.  There weren’t many penalties and much to my surprise the game was played quite cleanly.  Moments of suspense were endured by Flames fans when their team was shorthanded in the overtime period.  However; the dump and chase style of play is still evident asking one whether coaches believe that offense can penetrate to the net with the three on two rush.  This particular game was defensive dominant thereby limiting the excitement factor.  The four on four format for the overtime is a definite positive.  Advertisement interference was pleasingly tolerable – especially when matched up against the adjacent screen carrying the Broncos and Texans.  I did not witness any acts of poor sportsmanship and coverage by Sportsnet was good.  Given my criticism of the NHL, some balance was due.  A shout out to Big Al’s for your warmth as my host!

Ad Hoc Tennis With Kids

Sitting at the computer this Saturday night thinking….it’s way too nice out tonight not to get outside.  Reached for my tennis bag and headed over to the community courts.  Figured if there’s nobody there, I’ll just hit against the board.  Nobody there and the board was gone.  Had a silent chuckle.  It does indeed need replacing due to chips, cracks and holes.  My balls were forever veering off due from such.  Watched a group kick a soccer ball around and then looked back at the court and there were three kids sitting on one of the tennis nets.  Oops….they were gonna catch it.  Headed over and talked to them about how tennis players like to keep the net at the same height and hence nobody sits on it.  They asked what I’m doing here anyway.  I mentioned that I thought I might catch a game but nope.  They asked if I had another racquet and if they could play.  Hard to say no under the circumstances and yes my spare was in the kit.

It started out as three enthusiastic boys.  We set up mini tennis boundaries (the services boxes) for some back and forth.  There was some chat about whose turn it would be next.  Then “Slam” came along who set up the rules.  I thought how ironic of a boy’s name on this evening in the context of the most celebrated of tennis competitions.  There was going to be five misses each before they handed off to the next in line.  Skateboarders appeared and organized mayhem ensued.  The three boarders all of whom knew clearly that skate boarding is disallowed on the court but they cooperatively heeded my request to skate the perimeter.  Slam showed great promise while making his shots.  Then came along five more cousins including I’d say a three year old little boy and a six year old girl.  Of course all kids were tracking the balls and this girl intuitively knew exactly how to one bounce a ball back to me with the straight arm in the air just like at Wimbledon.  If she only knew she needs no ball girl lessons.

With dimming light I huddled up the clan and exclaimed they all have great potential to learn tennis skills and suggested that they inquire with their parents for racquets.  Upon packing my bag, a skateboarder gave me one last reason to smile when he whizzed by and said thanks for not yelling at us.

Sochi in Review

Thank God everyone is home safe and sound from Sochi. Unfortunately, not as many
local Russians had a chance to see the Olympic events due to logistical issues and
security protocol. Delegation heads were certainly counseled to remain mute on
particular negative attributes of the events and proceedings. Snow challenges were
apparently handled expeditiously and there was never a mention of scheduling glitches.

The Netherlands encountered the most success with the fewest athletes. It’s
obvious that this nation along with Norway knew exactly how to focus
training around one sport (skating and cross country skiing) with most available

The dramatic undulating swings of the Canadian women’s hockey team win over
team U.S.A. had to rank as the most exciting Canadian moments of the games.
The larger ice surface fostered pure play making and the four on four action
in overtime tested athletes’ endurance.

The sentimental moments are always cherished because the side stories are what
underpins the spirit of competition, fair play, and sportsmanship.

The Russian X country skier seen struggling with a broken ski while being
assisted by a Canadian coach exemplifies the spirit of the games. To finish
last is oftentimes a worthy accomplishment in the context of hurdles

The facilities will hopefully survive period is disuse. Russia’s government
will be challenged to exercise creativity in utilizing facilities for non-
sporting as well as sporting occasions.

These thoughts are only a microcosm from an early morning couch potato watching
from afar but it’s easy to sense the palpable bonding amongst all those who
in some way shape or form etched their name to the games’ success.

The family support of athletes will live in the hearts of competitors forever.