Wednesday 26 September 2007

Bloggers Unite Against Abuse

In conjunction with Blog Catalog, today is the day when thousands of bloggers will post about some type of abuse in an attempt to raise awareness.

I would like to raise the issue of potential abuse suffered by children involved in organized sports. As with all types of situations where a person in power takes advantage of someone more vulnerable, by far most situations do not involve such behaviour. In other words, the vast majority of the millions of sports leagues and activities organized for children worldwide result in positive and enjoyable experiences.

This makes the instances where abuse does take place all the more horrible and loathsome.

To come forward with allegations of abuse requires a real sort of bravery that is admirable and deserving of respect. Words such as "bravery" and "courage" are thrown around so easily these days that they have almost lost some of their meaning. But the actions of someone like Sheldon Kennedy are without doubt worthy of such designations. Kennedy had the guts to come forward knowing that regardless of what he suffered through, his image would be altered forever.

I salute Sheldon Kennedy and others like him who have gone through the worst of nightmares, continued on to achieve success and had the guts to try to help others who may be suffering through the same predicament.

As with all such terrible types of abuse, awareness is one of the tools for preparing people who may be faced with such potential nastiness so that they are able to react. Such crimes are still shrouded in shame and guilt for those who suffer the abuse and the only way to eliminate that aspect of it and, most of all, try to prevent it all together, is to talk and make children aware of the warning signs.

For parents with children involved in organized sports, the best method of prevention is a respectful and transparent vetting process for all adults involved in coaching or any other position connected with a youth team. Another way is to involve yourself in some direct way with your child's team aside from simply dropping them off at the baseball diamond or soccer pitch.

When you are satisfied and confident that beyond any doubt your child is in safe hands, you can be content with the knowledge that his or her sporting experience is likely to be a positive and character building experience that will carry through life.

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Hockey Narrative: New Blog about Hockey

I haven't been posting here for a while as I've been writing articles for my new blog, Hockey Narrative. I'll still be posting here but all articles and opinions on hockey will now be at:

Hockey Narrative is not a team specific blog. There you will find articles about happenings in the NHL, the occasional nostalgia piece...

Game summaries from the upcoming season...

And feature length articles about various issues surrounding the game.

Please take a look at Hockey Narrative and feel free to leave any comments or suggestions.

Thursday 16 August 2007

Universiade Update: Day 8 Photo Gallery

On day 8 I watched 2 basketball games, Germany versus Russia, and Japan against Serbia. Both were fairly lopsided yet still entertaining affairs.

Germany making a layup

2 for Germany

Russia making a 3 pointer

Pacino taking time out from his filming schedule to do some reffing

Pacino surveying the action

"I'm asking you to defer to me on, well...everything. Or we'll have to chat after the game..."

Russia won the game with relative ease, 94-76.

Japanese fans before the game

This was the story of the game between Japan and Serbia. Japan set foot over the centre court line and they were stapled to the floor by the Sebian defense. Serbia forced their opponents to the 24 second buzzer on many occasions, resulting in many poor shots and turnovers from Japan.

Solid defense from Serbia

This Serbian bruiser scooped up a boatload of rebounds

"What? I'm not allowed to bury someone in the hardwood when they go up for a shot?"

More stifling defense from Serbia

Making it difficult for Japan

Japan player swarmed as he dares to step into Serbian territory

Number 9 shooting for 3

2 points inside

Japanese fans hammered into silence

After the half-time break it was never close. Final score 76-62 for Serbia.

Universiade 2007 is almost finished with many competitions wrapping up on day 9 and final ceremonies on day 10. Despite the inconveniences, it's been fun.

Universiade 2007 mascot. Apparently no special name. As far as I know, it's known simply as "rabbit."

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Bell to be Banged up

The acute sense of self-awareness weighing down on Mark Bell right now must be stifling. John Ferguson Jr. must be feeling claustrophobic as well. It can't get much worse for your reputation as a general manager of an NHL team than when it's announced a player you recently acquired in a trade is likely going to be sent away to jail for 6 months at the end of next season:

"Bell pleaded guilty in a San Jose courtroom Tuesday to charges of drunk driving causing injury and hit and run.

The Leaf forward, picked up in the Vesa Toskala trade with San Jose in June, will be sentenced to six months in a Santa Clara ,California county jail to be served at the end of this upcoming season.

Official sentencing will be in October."


The worrisome thing for all concerned, including Leafs fans, is that Bell may not have hit rock bottom. You might think that such an announcement would jolt a person into clear-eyed and rational decision-making. But alcoholism (I'm not suggesting that Bell has been clinically designated as such, though his past definitely suggests a chronic problem) is not a shrewd, lucid beast and steers its booze-soaked victims as far away from rationality as possible.

With bile and self-loathing percolating in his guts, Bell's self-conscious mind may be plotting the next step in his self-destruction. Here's hoping he sorts himself out.

Universiade 2007: Day 7 Photo Gallery

I took some photos of South Africa and the Czech Republic in women's softball today. The diamond and surrounding area had a kind of bland, disinterested atmosphere. Baseball/softball isn't big in Thailand and this was reflected in the lack of spectators and general feel of malaise. No one even asked for a ticket as I wandered into the grounds.

More signage idiocy

Seating area

Czech Republic's pitcher

South Africa started out quite well with a few base hits but they couldn't convert any of them into runs. The Czech Republic scored 3 runs in their half of the first inning though SA still showed some good defense to close out the inning before things got of hand.

Safe at first

Out at first

Things got subsequently worse for South Africa as they started making errors. The Czechs started laying on the offense with 3 more runs in the second and 5 in the third.

Stealing second

Pop fly

Fixing up an injured South African player

South Africa got a base hit in the third and promptly put this speedster on as a pinch runner. She didn't waste any time in her attempt to steal second and was thrown out by the much sharper Czech team. I think the South Africans sensed they were a bit outclassed but made a good effort and kept things light in their dugout.

Pinch runner on first

Having fun in the dugout

The Czech women were sharp in the field as well.

Czech 2nd base(wo)man

Hammering a double into right field

Runs piling up for the Czechs

It was 11-0 for the Czech Republic in the third inning when I checked out. I'm guessing South Africa didn't make a stunning come-back.

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Universiade 2007 Update: Day 6 Photo Gallery: Women Fighting

Today in the photo gallery, some shots of the men's 10 meter platform diving and women's judo.

Even though this first picture was well out of focus, I like the surreal effect.

10 meter platform diving

Forward somersault

Touch your toes in the air, it's good luck

"Air myself out before I take the leap..."

"G Force yeaaaahhhhh!!!""

Nice takeoff

And here too

Clean entry

This was my first real opportunity to see judo matches live. Not quite as aesthetically appealing as teakwondo, but still enjoyable to watch. I don't think I've ever witnessed a sport which so completely fatigues its participants as with judo.

Evenly matched


Kazakhstan in blue, Mongolia in white

Hmmmm, took me a few minutes to figure out what was what in this one...

"You say you've got an itch on your back?"

"Right there?"

"Ok enough, I've got to get back to laying a whuppin' on you..."

"One and a two and a.........."

Canada faces Korea

Canada lays a thrummoxing on Korea

"Don't even try it..."

"Yes, I will try..."

"Ok, that's it..."

"I give up. Just let me rest on your leg for a bit..."

Canada wins

Austria against...


Two tough (and photogenic) combatants get down to it

"I'm gonna mash yer head into the mat..."

"Stay down!"

"Bad girl!"

"Was that good for you too?"

"I've just about had enough of this crap!"

"Yeah? Come on then. Let's see what you've got..."

Looks like she had what it takes

France wins

Taipei throws Ukrainian rag doll but rag doll prevails in the end