Sunday, March 19, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Champions of tomorrow

I've fallen behind in the effort to post my published work to the blog. I'm going to try to catch up in one fell swoop today. Otherwise, my last run of columns will descend into the dusty history of my hard drive. We wouldn't want that, would we?

This piece was written just as the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy were closing. Whenever a major milestone-type event occurs, I tend to reflect on the meaning of life. I guess I'm trying to figure out what it all means, and where we fit. Either that or I'm looking for an excuse to avoid real work.

Either way, while I was waxing poetic over alignment of the planets, I noticed some neighborhood kids (though, here in Canada, we add the "u" in a nod to our British roots) playing street hockey. A column was born.
Future Olympians start in the 'hood
Published Tuesday, February 28, 2006
The London Free Press

I watched some kids from my neighbourhood spend an entire Sunday afternoon playing street hockey.

Truth be told, they really weren't very good at it. They spent more time missing passes and fishing their ratty tennis ball out from underneath parked cars than actually playing.

But when the clouds rolled in and the snow started to fly, they stayed outside, missing passes and crawling under dirty cars.

Every once in a while, a grown-up would drive up, park the car, and hurry into a nearby home to escape the chill. These kids in their mismatched hooded sweaters and tuques kept playing, oblivious to the weather.

I watched this spectacle at almost the exact moment Canadian athletes were finishing up our country's best Olympic performance in history. They walked into the stadium in Turin as champions, yet each one of them had to start somewhere. I'm certain each one of them carried a memory of a childhood playground.

I wonder if I perhaps witnessed a future Olympian on that snowy afternoon.

Your turn: What's your story of sports excellence? What drove you to excel? (Note: you need not be an Olympian to respond. I'm sure your childhood t-ball experience would be just as poetic.)


Chatty said...

No excellence in sports here. I only excel in watching them and paying the ticket prices!

Michele sent me today Carmi.

Ash said...

As always Carmi...a great read!
I grew up as the only white kid on the rez. I HAD to play whatever game/sport the big kids deemed for that day, ot I was toast (white toast, but toast)
It taught me how to be tough when I needed it...I went on to become a swim coach and swim competively in my adult years. I think my childhood gave me what I needed for that!
I love your perspective on things. :)

Mrs. Fun said...

never liked sports or dance. hmmmm, not sure why. I do love a great workout, does that count?

michele sent me today ;)

Carmi said...

It absolutely counts, Mrs. Fun.

colleen said...

I'm just happy to know kids still play outside! I'm not very atheletic, but I jump on my big trampline...and dance! hello from michele's.

rashbre said...

An interesting column. There has just been a story in the UK about the different attitude to Champions of Tomorrow.

In the UK there has been debate about the cost of providing high profile facilities (eg for 2012 Olympics) vs the cost of basic facilities so that people can use sports ameneties.

Big debate about the increasingly non sportiness of the Brits and ways to increase involvement.

I suppose there ahs been some similar trends in other developed economies. Tough to get enough of the right kind of exercise.

Here today from Michele's.


Shane said...

no excellence in sports here either. Although I enjoyed playing touch football in the streets near my home in Hawaii as a child. I played basketball in gradeschool - I was a good defender and could steal the ball - but I was a horrendous shooter. I was more of a band geek (but not quite as geeky).

Laura said...

Loved this story of the future Olympians from your neighboUrhood! Isnt' that cool, the way they stayed outside long after the clouds rolled in. It's so good to be a kid sometimes and get caught up in your game.
Your post brought back memories for me of the little kids who used to play street hockey in our old neighbORhood.
(I'm from the US,so I spell it differently, sorry! LOL)

When we first moved to the old house,I had just bought my first pair of inline skates. And...well, I didn't know how to STOP once I got going. A little five year old street hockey pro came up to me on skates that were 2 sizes too big for him and showed me how to stop.

We skated all the way down the street that day, me and my new friend, who later grew up to be an ace 14 year-old all star little league pitcher!

So I guess this is his story, not mine. But thanks for jogging my memory. :)

LilRed said...

You know, it's interesting. I love sports (watching them, that is). And if I can be at the event rather than being confined to seeing it on TV, even better. But I never played sports growing up. I was more inclined to dance (tap being my favorite, which I actually took back up a few years ago).

Thanks for stopping by Lip Schtick, by the way!