Another year has nearly come and gone and this liminal space between Christmas Day and the start of a new year seems inevitably to provide opportunity to reflect back on the year that was on this blog. Blogs are, I am told, becoming something of a relic. Not many people are writing on or reading blogs anymore. Not many people are reading period anymore if the stats are to be believed. Who has or wants to make the time? People’s clicking and sharing seems to have migrated over to less wordy platforms. Read more
Posts from the ‘Sports’ Category
A headline on Facebook this afternoon caught my eye. It came from one of those Christian sites that’s always hunting around in popular culture (movie stars, athletes, etc.) for any whiff of a reference to God or faith. The headline in this case was “Drew Brees Gave a Moving Interview About Faith After Breaking the All-Time Passing Record Last Night.” Brees is a quarterback who plays for the New Orleans Saints. As of Monday night, he’s also apparently the all-time leading pastor in NFL history. So, he’s a pretty big deal. The headline on Facebook was accompanied by the words, “Grab the tissues.” Against my better judgment, I clicked the link. Read more
I’ve been thinking this morning about, of all things, hockey pools. For those unfamiliar with this phenomenon, a group of friends get together before the season and pick which NHL players they think will score the most points in the upcoming season. You assemble your roster and then watch to see how they perform against other people’s rosters in the year ahead. I’ve been doing this with a bunch of guys over the past few days. I tend to be pretty terrible at hockey pools, but it’s all good fun. Read more
I spent my morning commute listening to the first few minutes of an interview with David French on the Ezra Klein show. I know next to nothing about Mr. French, but Klein made a passing reference to a recent article about mixed-race adoption he had penned for the Atlantic called “America Soured on My Multiracial Family.” For obvious reasons, the topic piqued my curiosity. Aside from our family’s own adoption story, I have several friends who are walking this road as well. It’s a road whose contours have changed over the years, at least so it seems to me. I was curious to hear French’s take on things. Read more
So it seems Nike’s new 3oth anniversary ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is causing a bit of a stir today. Kaepernick is, of course, famous for his decision to kneel during the American national anthem before a football game to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Kapernick has been unable to land an NFL job since then. He is currently pursuing a grievance of collusion against the league and its owners who he says are keeping him out of the league because of their displeasure with his protests and his politics. Read more
I’m in Saskatchewan this week for a speaking engagement. Of course, no matter where I go, all anyone is talking about is last Friday’s horrific bus accident, which claimed the lives of fifteen members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. It is a story for which there are barely words. It’s made headlines around the globe. Not surprisingly, here in the Saskatoon area (about two hours from the crash site) it’s ground zero. The grief is raw and palpable. Hockey culture runs deep in each of Canada’s prairie provinces. Many people (myself included) have personal experiences of blasting down wintry roads in terrible conditions to play a hockey game. But in Saskatchewan, a sparsely populated province where vast distances often must be traversed to get from town to town, hockey culture is a different level altogether. Hockey binds these far flung communities together in a way that few things can. Read more
A bit of a grab-bag of unfinished thoughts, provocations, and observations collected over the past week…
I spent my morning commute listening to the first few minutes of this week’s episode of On Being. The episode was an interview with Jonathan Haidt and Melvin Konner and had the delightfully breezy title: “Capitalism and Moral Evolution: A Civil Provocation.” I’ve not yet finished the episode, but I was struck by one line that I heard this morning:
As people become richer and safer, their values change.
Swim meet, wintry November morning… My daughter and I dutifully bundle up and are out the door and on the road by 7 am. One and a half hours down the prairie highway… The pool is packed, the swim teams assemble with all their coloured caps and logo’d hoodies and impressive looking warm up gear… The top 40 pop music leaks drearily out of the speakers… The parents yawn and clutch their coffees and stare at their phones, waiting, waiting for the first race…
I was sitting in a local Starbucks this afternoon when I saw the most absurd thing in the history of humankind: a big glossy advertisement for a product called an “Oprah Chai Tea Latte.” Alongside pictures of what I can only imagine must be very tasty delights indeed (iced or hot) was a (larger) picture of a beaming Oprah Winfrey, lending her teeth, her hair, her celebrity to this product. What does Oprah have to do with chai tea lattes, you might wonder? I certainly did. Did Oprah Winfrey make this chai tea? Did she create the recipe? Did she enjoy drinking this tea in some kind of unique way? Does she own the tea? Did she import it for our benefit? The advertisement didn’t tell us. It simply presented a picture of Oprah, a picture of tasty beverages and assumed that we would make (invent?) the connection. Read more
Hockey is Canada’s Religion! So blared the headlines yesterday after the second of our nation’s triumphs with skates and sticks on the Sochi stage. For much of yesterday, Canadian media outlets were aglow with videos and tweets and updates about brave, patriotic Canadians getting up at ungodly hours of the morning and braving frigid temperatures to heroically make their way to the pub (sometimes, without even the lure of alcohol, if you can believe it!) to watch the big game. There were even heartwarming video clips of mosques and churches that decided to show the game before morning worship. The overall mood was exultant. This is what it means to be Canadian, we rehearsed to ourselves over and over again in myriad ways. Read more
Our church has spent two hours over the past few Sundays wading into the potentially stormy waters of dialogue about human sexuality as part of our national church’s ongoing discernment process. Among the many interesting things that came up over the course of a very stimulating (although far too brief) conversation was the question of the boundaries of sin. “Why are we so hesitant to use ‘sin’ language?” was one question. Why indeed. It’s a good question. Read more
I’ve spent a good chunk of the past day and a half or so in a hotel room while my wife attends a conference. This has afforded me the delightful privilege of uninterrupted time for catching up on a bit of reading, napping, going for short walks. And for watching sports.
I love sports. I have always loved sports, whether this meant playing or watching. As with many Canadian kids, when I was younger it was mostly about hockey, but I could watch pretty much anything—football, basketball, skiing, tennis, track and field…. Even baseball, if I was particularly desperate. Not curling or golf, though. Never those. And not boxing (we had mercifully not yet been presented with the disgusting abomination that is UFC at that point). Even as a child, I understood that one must have standards. Read more
My previous post was critical of our cultural obsession with celebrity and entertainment. I was a bit surprised by the amount of push back I received in various forums, specifically when it came to my views on the monarchy and its dubious (in my view) merits. But it’s relatively easy to be critical of institutions and entertainment options that I care very little for. I spend precisely zero time wondering about the ins and outs of the Royal Family, and I have never watched Glee. It’s not terribly difficult to be critical of people who obsess about things that don’t matter to me. But what about when the argument hits a bit closer to home? When it comes to the world of sport, for example? Read more
This morning I am grimly staring in the mirror at a large red scab that is rapidly moving toward full bloom almost directly in the middle of my forehead. An uncomfortable reminder, this, of the previous evening’s activities when, instead of making contact with the soccer ball as I had intended, I rather abruptly introduced my forehead to an opponent’s skull. This ugly scab seems somehow uglier as I reflect upon the game itself. Up 2-1 in the second half, then conceding three goals in about 10 minutes to lose 4-2—two of said goals almost entirely due to giveaways by the guy with the blotchy red forehead.
Sigh. Read more
Like hundreds of millions of my fellow humans, I spent part of Sunday afternoon/evening watching the Super Bowl. I don’t particularly care for American football (I prefer the real version, where they don’t wear armour and stop for a break every 10 seconds or so), but we were invited to someone’s place to watch the game, and there was to be good food and good people present, so off I went. And, leaving aside the mind-numbing tedium of so much advertising and hype and endless time outs (some unexpected) and the bizarre pre- mid- , and post-game commentary about how God may or may not have been involved in the outcome, it was a pretty good game. Read more
I spent my day off this week at the ski hill ninety minutes or so west of town. I skied a decent amount growing up, but once our kids arrived and I decided to back to school, skiing wasn’t really much of an option any more. It’s not a cheap sport, obviously, and certainly beyond the reach of a student trying to juggle studies with work and a young family. I don’t think I skied more than a handful of times during the first decade or so of my kids’ life. Read more
It’s Monday morning, the kids are back in school, my Christmas flu finally seems to have released me from its miserable grip. A New Year has begun, and life is back to normal. A couple of miscellaneous topics and ideas for a Monday morning, then. These have very little to do with one another other than that they have been collecting dust either in my brain or in my “drafts” folder over the past little while. If this comes across as a rambling mess, or a series of incoherent rants, well, I blame on the accumulation of weeks worth of flu medication which has undoubtedly scrambled my brain. Read more
Exactly two minutes from the time I began to write this sentence, the opening ceremonies for the Games of the XXX Olympiad will begin in London. And, for the first time that I can remember, I find that I could not care less. It’s strange because I like sports. Quite a lot, in fact. But so far, I have precisely zero interest in this ceremony or these Olympic Games. Read more