Posted on August 31, 2011
OK, so I’ve been negligent in posting anything for a few months, so sue me!!! I’m a busy guy!!! what with, uh, uh, uh, ok, so maybe not that busy, but very lazy. To be honest, it’s been an interesting couple of months. lots of cycling, not enough golf, catching up with old friends, you know the drill. I’ll try to be more diligent in my posts, and see if I can get creative. Remember the older you get the more difficult that becomes. Trust me, I speak from experience. School starts today at the College of Sports Media, a new group of wannabe sportscasters entering the door. Man are they in for a surprise!!!! I’ll keep you posted.
Posted on August 23, 2010
Every once in a while something comes along to inspire you. It happened to me this past weekend. I just had the privilege of riding in the Tour For Kids, a fund raiser to raise money and awareness for kids cancer camps in Ontario. Over the past four days, Thursday thru Sunday, 550 of my closest friends and I have cycled all over cottage country here in Onatrio. I managed a total of about 435 kilometres, and this morning I’m feeling every centimetre of it. But the pain is wonderful. Knowing that we raised over million dollars to fight kids cancer, and fund three cancer camps makes it all worthwhile. The stories or the families who have lost children to this terrible killer brought each and everyone of us to tears every morning, but they also inspired us to do our best. Many rode at least 100 kilometres a day, some went 160 and a few hardy souls covered 200 kilometres each and every day. Jeff Rushton is the motivation behind Tour for Kids, because he cares, it’s as simple as that. He and his volunteers make sure every cent raised goes to camps Trillium, Quality and Ooochegaias, so kids with cancer can live normal lives, at least for a few days, without worrying about being sick. It was a privilege and honour to be part of this wonderful gathering of people, and I look forward to participating next year and every other year the tour is held.
Posted on May 13, 2010
It’s a dubious reputation to have. If they win, we will riot. Seems to be the mantra of the so called “hockey fans” in Montreal. Why let a silly thing like a hockey game spoil your fun. Let’s make every Monday of the week, “Riot week in Montreal” Hey, you can even produce a reality show, based on the sickest mo-fo in the crowd. Who has the ugliest mask? Who can handle the most tear gas before breaking down? Who breaks the biggest window? How many baton swings can you handle before yelling “police brutality”? Last nights “mini-riot” in Montreal wasn’t anything new, but seriously, what have they won? Nothing yet. Hal Gill said it best after game seven against the Penguins, “it’s all about winning the cup’. Don’t think I’d wanna be on Ste. Catherine street if and when that happens. Shame on you Montreal. I have a feeling Toronto would be just as bad. But then again, that likely won’t happen in our lifetime.
Posted on April 5, 2010
I was raised Catholic. I no longer practice. I believe that all organized religion is a sham. Invented by man to intimidate man. Look at the history of the world. It speaks for itself. For the Catholic Church to be “defensive” about the pedophiles in its midst is an affront to everything, and everyone, that is decent. These so called “men of God” used their positions of power and influence to advance their own deviant sexual desires. For the church to defend them in any way is despicable.
I went to a Catholic high school in Toronto. I was a resident in the school, going home on weekends. I never saw, nor was I expose to sexual abuse, but there was plenty of physical abuse. And the “priests” weren’t afraid to use it. In Math class, our teacher, a large grossly overweight pig of a man, who smelled like a barnyard, loved to literally beat the shit out of anyone who had the temerity to do, what he considered, anything wrong in his class. Another, who was the dorm prefect, would walk the halls at night, silently. He would listen for any unusual sound. If a boy was caught out of bed without a legitimate reason, he was taken to the “priests” office and strapped. Another “priest” would carry a foot-long length of black garden hose under his cassock and strap anyone who stepped out of line. A side ways glance at this animal was sometimes enough. These were not, and are not, “men of God” they are common criminals and should be treated as such. Jail is too good for them, they should be handed over to their victims for the justice they truly deserve. Not a very “Christian” attitude is it? Neither is theirs when it comes to the abuse of power and trust.
Posted on February 27, 2010
As I sit down and allow my fingers to find their way across the keys of my computer, there is still the gold medal hockey game and closing ceremonies to be completed at the games. But for all intents and purposes, the Olympics are over. I’ll be heading home tomorrow after a rewarding visit to Winnipeg. No matter what happens in the hockey game, in my mind, as feeble as it is, I think these games have been a complete success.
Vancouver was a perfect host. You can’t control the weather so there’s no use complaining. The games themselves were the best ever for Canada when it comes to gold medals. I hope the brain trust in Ottawa understands the need for funding at the amateur level, and maintains the Own the Podium Program. After all, can anyone tell me what’s wrong with being the best?
The games started on a downer with the death at the Whistler Sliding Centre, but I also think it showed the athletes what life was all about. The true Olympic spirit took over and it was evident throughout these games. The athletes, especially Canadian athletes, were gracious in victory and defeat. Yes even Jon Montgomery and our women’s hockey team. I don’t blame them for their celebrations at all.
Joannie Rochette was one of the most courageous athletes at the games. Losing her mother and continuing the competition in her honour was valour above and beyond the call. She could easily, and understandably have decided to go home. The Olympic family embraced her in her grief.
The television coverage was interesting to say the least. The consortium promised us coverage like we’d never seen before, and they delivered. Trouble is it’s what they delivered. I didn’t like the fashion and entertainment aspect of the coverage. It was as if the so called commentators were the stars and not the athletes. If you measure success by the ratings, I guess I’m in the minority, but I would love to see a breakdown of the numbers regarding when people were watching. Were they watching Jeannie Becker and Ben Mulroney, or hockey, speed skating and skiing. But come to think of it I’m not the demographic they’re aiming for, so my opinion doesn’t count.
I’ve had the privilege of working three Olympic games, so I’m not going to criticize the commentators who covered the athletic events. Sure they could have been better prepared, and yes they should have been better prepared. But no one knows what an individual will say in a live situation until you’re presented with it, preparation or not. People react differently to pressure. Some shine, some don’t. What I don’t like, is stating the obvious i.e. “they have to have their best performance tonight”. I think it goes without saying, especially when a medal is on the line.
On a personal level, These games have been have been one of the most satisfying I have ever been involved with. And I wasn’t even in Vancouver or Whistler.
I was coaching and mentoring the Aboriginal commentators who worked for APTN. These men and women, most of them never behind a microphone in their lives, worked, and studied and applied themselves to deliver the games in eight Aboriginal languages. And they pulled it off with flying colours. I am so proud of every one of them accomplishing something that had never been done before. I was honoured to be part of their success.
Everyone will have their memories of the games. Some good some bad. and yes, there will be those who won’t be able to find anything good to say about what happened on the west coast. But I for one, will take home nothing but wonderful memories. Today, more than ever I am proud to be Canadian.
Posted on February 20, 2010
It’s hard to believe the games are into their final week. While there has been considerable criticism of the television coverage, the consortium is improving. We have been treated to tastes of everything in the sports spectrum. The agony of defeat, Melissa Hollingsworth in the women’s skeleton and her heartbreak at finishing fifth, and the thrill of victory. The absolute unadulterated joy of John Montgomery’s gold medal in men’s skeleton. The village of Whistler and the city of Vancouver have embraced the games wholeheartedly. Trust me, once the games are over they will never be the same. The communities will change forever with a new sense of pride in what they have accomplished. Just ask Calgary. The Alberta city is still basking in the afterglow of the 1988 games. It’s hard to describe, but the games do that.
As for the Aboriginals and their coverage, they are flying high and enjoying every minute of it. I can feel their confidence and pride growing with every event. Seven more days, and so much more to accomplish.
Posted on February 16, 2010
I’ve been here a week, and I’ve had the pleasure of dining on bannock, bannock with moose meat, and various other Aboriginal delights. I can tell you, the folks involved in the games here in Winnipeg are having a fantastic time. The atmosphere is outstanding and everyone is in such a positive mood. Their performances have been first rate.
It was interesting listening to the mens hockey game today between the United States and Norway. George Nakogee and Jules Spence were doing play by play in Cree. They kept on using the word and I’m writing this phonetically, “kess-che-mo-gah-man” I finally asked Abel Charles my translator what it meant and he said the English translation was “long knives”. That’s the name the Cree give the Americans instead of referring to the “United States”. The term has been used since before the civil war.
Another term I learned was Tah-zeh-tak… it means believe. Tiorokwathe Gilbert says it before his telecasts in Mohawk.
What a fabulous experience this is turning out to be.
Posted on February 13, 2010
I was proud to be Canadian last night, on a number of levels. First and foremost, the class and dignity shown by more than 60,0000 people in B.C place when the Georgian team made its way into the stadium during the athletes parade. The dancers stopped and stood at attention, and the spectators paid tribute to the fallen luger with warm and heartfelt applause as the mourning athletes made their way around the main stage. It is incomprehensible to understand what the family and friends old 21 year old Nodar Kumaritashvili are going through following his passing yesterday on the Whistler track.
I was proud of the opening ceremony. As understated as it was, it was spectacular. I especially enjoyed the poetry of Shane Koyczan who so eloquently told me what it meant to be Canadian. Sometimes we need subtle reminders of how lucky we are to live in this country, that we so often take for granted.
And I was proud of the six Aboriginals I had the pleasure of working with last night on APTN. Harry and Abel called the ceremony in Cree, Tiorkwathe and Wesley in Mohawk and Abraham and Karliin in Inukitut. simply put they were brilliant. They picked up their first gold medal of the games with their performance last night. Today, it’s Canada’s turn!!
Posted on February 10, 2010
So the winter games are set to begin. I’m not in Vancouver this winter. I’m spending the games in Winnipeg. OK, stop shaking your head I can explain. I have been given the opportunity of working with APTN, Canada’s Aboriginal Network for the next three weeks. No I won’t be on the air, I have no Aboriginal blood in me. But, having said that, I have had the privilege of training the commentators who will be calling the events in eight aboriginal languages. The majority of these people have no previous broadcast experience so this is an adventure for them, and for me. I have been meeting with them the past few days, and can tell you they are as ready as they will be for these games. They have been working hard researching and rehearsing, and will do their nations proud when the games get underway. The commentators come from across Canada, from all three coasts, and have been working very hard to get themselves ready. They’ll be calling the opening and closing ceremonies, hockey, figure skating, skiing curling and more. I’ll be here until the end of the games, so I’ll be filing regular reports. It’s the Olympics, let the games begin. We’re as ready as we’re gonna be!!!
Posted on January 20, 2010
Okay, so it may not be the most action packed sport you can be a part of. But there are occasions when it is the most fantastic sport in the world. Take Monday January 18, 2010. I had the privilege of being part of the WFN(World Fishing Network) crew that fished for Sailfish in Pompano Beach Florida. It was a perfect day, about 75 degrees, calm seas, and light winds. Eight of us on the boat, three crew, Mike Myatt from the International Game Fish Association, and four of us. We were on the water by 8 am, about two miles off shore. The morning was a little slow, a few kingfish hits and a pod of curious dolphins, but no sailfish. The all of a sudden, it took off!!!
I had the first fish on. Turned out to be a 60 pound sailfish. What a fight he put up, and I have the bruises on my abdomen from the fishing rod to prove it. Took about ten minutes to bring him to the side of the boat, and confirm the catch. We then released him. I have never experienced a thrill like that in my life. All four of the WFN crew caught fish that day. My son, Mark, Host of the Reel Road Trip on WFN, was one of the lucky ones as well. For the day, we caught six sailfish, released them all unharmed.
It was a perfect day. One that I will never forget. What made especially terrific was the fact that I got to do it with my son.
Who says fishing isn’t exciting!!!!