Archive for April, 2012
Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Caught the interview on SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN with Oliver Luck.
You know his son by now, Andrew Luck.
Andrew’s life changed tonight – became an instant millionaire – after the Indianapolis Colts signed him in the National Football League draft. Yes, No. 1.
But this is not as much about the 22-year old Luck, the All-American, Heisman Trophy runner-up and NFL player-to-be taking over from someone called Peyton Manning.
It’s about what his father, former pro player and current Athletic Director at West Virginia University, said in giving his son as many opportunities to play a variety of sports as a youngster. Try them all, was the message, and maybe one fits better than another while going the education route. Luck, the younger one, didn’t need help in school. He went to Stanford. Enough said.
Before that, it was Stratford High School in Houston. He threw for 7,139 yards and 53 touchdowns in his high school career, and rushed for another 2,085 yards. But Luck was also active in more than just being on the gridiron.
That brings me to what’s going on in this part of the world.
Schools, based on direction of physical and health education teachers and coaches, are restricting students to one varsity sport per season in much of the Greater Toronto Area. I can remember, for instance, when students were picked as athletes of the year because of a commitment to as many as six or more sports a year. No more.
Apparently, there are many viewpoints to restricting the number of sports. They range from making sure students stay committed to team practices/games. Here’s another one: ensuring students utilize their time wisely for studies. I would think if a student has impressive grades, why restrict him or her to one sport?
It’s all bizarre to me. For instance, I see nothing wrong with a rugby, soccer or baseball player also competing in track. And with all the on-going kerfuffle focussed around controversial high school athletic association transfer rules, maybe educational institutions should find ways to get more students active and while they’re at it – pull the plug on graduate students who return to school, they say to upgrade marks, but we all know it’s just to play sports.
Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
Had an interesting discussion on Monday with a parent of three children – all athletes (one in high school, one in university and one travelling in Europe).
We spoke about the values of sport as it pertains to building social skills, getting along with people and it also included words about the shenanigans, the good and bad experiences, politics and egos of some people. Suffice to say, we had very similar beliefs – and agreed that respect was missing at the amateur level.
Was going to write about this – but forgot.
Wouldn’t you know, right in the middle of my 60 laps of swimming today, remembered the conversation. As I was leaving the fitness centre, saw a teacher and wondered what he was doing out of class at 1:15pm? Didn’t ask – even though my conscience wanted to know.
But we did talk about several things. He likes our Sunday Morning show on SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN and, well, one thing led to another – including expectations of coaches, declining interest on the part of many students in attending practices and more of a “who gives a damn attititude” on the part of teachers, coaches, students, Boards of Education and the list goes on.
We agreed on some things, disagreed on others. That’s fair. He was interested enough to voice opinions. Some people, and we all know them, only like to hear things the way they want to interpret them. Or, they tend to dis-associate themselves. Funny world we live in.
So, why am I raising this?
Well, it brought back a wonderful presentation by Russ Jackson. You know of him as the quarterback of the Ottawa Rough Riders many years ago in the Canadian Football League. Three Grey Cups, three MVP awards and the honour list goes on and on.
Jackson was the guest speaker a few days ago in Toronto at the Queen’s (University) Football Club inaugural 13thman gala dinner. I was asked to be the MC and he spoke about his days in pro football, how he was offered money to play in the United States, gave his opinions about how to get Canadians at QB in the CFL – a league where Americans get parachuted in all the time.
But you could have heard a pin drop when Jackson, an educator and Principal for three decades, said schools, club and amateur leagues spend far too much time emphasizing “winning”. I have said that for years much to the chagrin of school sports athletic association folks who make it clear that they tend to know everything that is in the best interest of teenagers.
Jackson kept re-emphasizing ”what about respect, caring and hard work”. He’s right. Why aren’t educators focussing on making students better people rather than on scoring points? Why are students who are great athletes, returning for a victory lap, being allowed to play sports at the cost of a youngster wanting to get his or her chance to play?
You get where I am going.
Jackson asks, and so do many others: Is the educational system pushing athletic students or student athletes?
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
I will take a gamble and say that Oakville’s Josh Cassidy and Cornwall’s Dr. Paul Poirier probably have not met.
If they have, fine. If they do in the coming weeks and/or months, the conversation would likely be a wonderful lesson in life for most people.
Their powerful stories – shared with our audience on Sunday Morning show – hit a nerve or two with lots of people. I know, because of the response from many who heard the program. Then, called or e-mailed me. Others chatted about it via Twitter and Facebook. I would think many more talked about it with family and friends.
Cassidy is the very talented wheelchair athlete who not only won his first Boston Marathon one week ago, but the 27-year old did it in a record time making him the fastest person to ever compete a marathon in the world.
On Sunday, his second marathon in a week, he finished 9th in London, England – where he’ll be later this summer for the Paralympic Games. Not long after his race, we had an exclusive interview with him on Sportsnet 590 THE FAN.
We started out talking about him, the race in England and how he was diagnosed with cancer in the spine many years ago. But, he then focussed on what’s been on his mind for days: a five year old female struggling with cancer.
You could tell in his voice that if he could make magic to help this girl, he would. While he didn’t beg for financial support for her, he could have used the opportunity. I did remind him to tell us about a website where people might wish to help with a financial donation.
Her determination to win a battle with the horrible disease meant a great deal more to Cassidy than his personal challenges – including twice a day, six-day-a-week training. That was quite clear.
As for Poirier, a 46-year old chiropractor who has battled brain cancer for 16 years and gone through several operations. Wow.
A husband, father and owner of a succesful practice in Eastern Ontario, the Carleton University grad is making the best of his life – and, as a biker in his spare time, raises money to educate people about brain tumours and how to defend against them.
He’s a strong fan of Bikers Against Brain Cancer. You can read more on the web.
But Poirier had more to share.
He’s determined to work hard at bodybuilding. Not necessarily to win the Masters title in the “Mr. Ottawa” competition in November, but to show people that he is not slowing down and has every intention of living life to its fullest.
Athletes and coaches need to realize that for many, there’s more to life than just personal gratification and winning medals. If you missed the interview, sign up to my Podcast and listen to Josh Cassidy at http://www.fan590.com/media.jsp?content=20120422_150706_7580 and Dr. Paul Poirier at http://www.fan590.com/ondemand/media.jsp?content=20120422_145458_5132
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Here we go, the scaled down easy-to-read version of the top male and female athletes of the year in the Ontario University Athletics loop.
More information appears in stories in my Blog and, in case you wondered, the information – for the most part – came from the universities who were asked to complete a form requesting details.
The University of Waterloo was the first to reply and Ryerson University was the last. Here we go.
Brock University (St. Catharines) – Jade Parsons (wrestling) and Mike Lewis (rowing)
Carleton University (Ottawa) – Alyson Bush (basketball) and Philip Scrub (basketball)
Lakehead University (Thunder Bay) – Emma Brightwell (wrestling) and Greg Carter (basketball)
Laurentian University (Sudbury) – Carling Zeeman (rowing) and Manny Pasquale (basketball)
McMaster University (Hamilton) – Katie Anderson (cross country running) and Kyle Quinlan (football)
Nipissing University (North Bay) – Lucia DeMarco (volleyball) and Scott Coulthard (volleyball)
Queen’s University (Kingston) – Natalie Gray (volleyball) and Osie Ukwuoma (football)
Royal Military College (Kingston) – Melissa McKoy (volleyball) and Jason Song (Taekwondo)
Ryerson University (Toronto) – Ashley MacDonald (basketball) and Viktor Anastasov (soccer)
Trent University (Peterborough) – Maija Robinson (rowing) and Joey McClement (lacrosse)
University of Guelph – Jacey Murphy (rugby) and R0bbie Murphy (soccer)
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Oshawa) – Jill Morillo (hockey) and Aldo Maiorano (soccer)
University of Ottawa – Hannah Sunley-Paisley (basketball) and Michael Robertson (track)
University of Toronto – Vanessa Treasure (swimming) and Mike Smerek (swimming)
University of Waterloo – Laura Klein (volleyball) and Garret Rank (golf) and Chris Ray (hockey)
University of Windsor – Miah-Marie Langlois (basketball) and Matt Walters (cross country running)
Western University (London) – Sarah Black (rowing) and Keaton Turkiewicz (hockey)
Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo) – Alyssa Lagonia (soccer) and Kale Harrison (basketball)
York University (Toronto) – Melissa Humana-Paredes (volleyball) and Dontae Richards-Kwok (track)
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Conestoga College in Kitchener caps our coverage at SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN of recognizing the male and female athletes of the year at colleges and universities that make up the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association.
And it was Michael Del Fante and Caitlin Martin who were singled out as the big winners for 2012.
Del Fante, from Sudbury and interested in helping people as a career, is studying Advanced Care Parademics.
When he’s not in the classroom, he excelled in badminton and won a silver medal in Men’s Singles at the OCAA badminton finals in Ancaster. He lost the gold medal game to Humber’s Simon Yip – 21-8, 21-6.
Also chosen as Conestoga’s team MVP in the sport, Del Fante pulled off top marks in the classroom with a grade point average of 3.70 (out of 4.00) and was a league academic award winner.
Martin was tough to stop on the rugby pitch.
From Cambridge, she was the Condors top offensive threat finishing tied for third place in the OCAA individual scoring stats.
Conestoga may have ended the season with a 3-3 record, but the Condors fell short of a huge upset in the gold medal game losing to Humber, 24-19.
Martin, also the Condors MVP this year, scored a try and added two converts.
Also an academic award winner, Martin had a similar grade as Del Fante – but she’s in the Environmental Engineering Applications post graduate program.
Monday, April 16th, 2012
It was a sport that caused a stir this year at Fanshawe College in London.
Jordan Ariss and T.J. Ronaldson, both curlers, also did well enough in the sport to be selected as athletes of the year at the London, Ont. college.
Ariss, from London and studying Office Administration, was the skip of the Falcons mixed curling team that won a silver medal at the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association championship. But, she wasn’t done.
Next, she joined the women’s team as the vice and captain that won a gold medal at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association finals in Peterborough.
Not often a curler gets picked as an all-star twice in one season: allstar skip in the OCAA and allstar vice in the CCAA. Ariss also got allstar status in the classroom making the Dean’s Honour Roll as well as sweeping provincial and national academic awards.
Ronaldson was only the third male athlete of the year, since Fanshawe opened more than 40 years ago, from curling.
Chosen MVP of the Falcons team this year, Fanshawe went on to win a silver medal at the OCAA finals in Sault Ste. Marie. A native of Nipigon, in northwest Ontario, Ronaldson was also a league allstar.
But Ronaldson, enrolled in the Child and Youth Worker Program, may have saved his best for last.
At the Canadian finals, the men’s team went undefeated. Ronaldson won a gold medal, chosen to the national allstar team and had the highest shooting percentage.
Monday, April 16th, 2012
Just been thinking, what can one say about Randy Starkman that hasn’t already been shared by colleagues, athletes, coaches and hundreds more.
The news of his death was a shock. Age 51 – too young to leave us, but his spirit, his message and what we often shared in common - promoting amateur athletes – will live on forever.
I had been at the Toronto Star for 30 years, a good chunk of my life, before retiring two years ago. Randy was surprised when I said it was time to move on – and we don’t live forever. Other things to do. We had shared many stories about young athletes, coaches, officials and more.
Here’s the part that got us both laughing. People confused me with him – and, yup, him with me. Maybe because we both had glasses. Maybe because our last names ended in “man”. We often shared the praise, the jokes – even the mail and the tough times.
I’ll never forget his praise for what I did. He called me the set up man – getting the young kids identified early so that others could take over. One thing, though, he was truly the only “other” to take over. When he did, the words in his stories were like a fine book.
I will remember his outstanding accomplishments that go way beyond the stories, the interviews, the awards and even the politics – and there’s plenty of that at the Star.
Randy often got after me for just sticking with high school, college and university athletes. He thought I should broaden the reach. I threw it right back and said – go with the pros.
He was a pro – and in many ways.
But, like him, my career was set on raising the flag of amateur athletes. Giving them their time to shine – even if wasn’t for a medal, a trophy or even a pat on the back.
Thanks, Randy. Thanks for being there, for your advice, your friendship all those years - but also for those who would have otherwise gone un-noticed.
Monday, April 16th, 2012
So, here they are – the names of 64 athletes, and their sports, who were chosen “Athletes of the Year” for 2012 by their respective post secondary institutions in Ontario.
They are all members of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association – even though some are universities and compete in select sports in the Ontario University Athletics league.
Some schools chose more than one athlete, some struggled to find just the right candidate. For more detailed information about the winners, you can see a variety of stories on my previous blogs.
Congratulations to the winners. No free cars, trips or money. For some, medals. For all – wonderful memories.
Algonquin College (Ottawa) – Josh Harris (volleyball) and Sandre Bascoe (basketball)
Boreal College (Sudbury) – Not provided
Cambrian College (Sudbury) – Eric Leishman (cross country running) and Shawna Metcalf (volleyball) and Kelsey Fielding (volleyball)
Canadore College (North Bay) - Dan Trudel (cross country running) and Liza Grenon (cross country running)
Centennial College (Toronto) – Ryan Lue (badminton) and Melissa Kennedy (soccer)
Conestoga College (Kitchener) – Michael Del Fante (badminton) and Caitlin Martin (rugby)
Confederation College (Thunder Bay) – Philip Kennedy (curling) and Sarah Lalonde (soccer)
Durham College (Oshawa) – Dave McMann (volleyball) and Tiffany Albath (golf) and Janna Hagan (fastball)
Fanshawe College (London) – D. J. Ronaldson (curling) and Jordann Ariss (curling)
George Brown College (Toronto) - Dayvon Reid (badminton) and Melissa Vilar (basketball)
Georgian College (Barrie) – Shane Rowe (basketball) and Jasmine Paton (golf)
Humber College (Toronto) – Terrel Bramwell (volleyball) and Adrian Cord (golf) and Keyla Moreno (soccer) and Vicky Seimon (cross country running)
La Cite (Ottawa) – Jose Bruno Mata (soccer) and Michelle DeRepentigny (soccer)
Lambton College (Sarnia) – Mike Lucier (basketball) and Melanie Bouchard (basketball)
Loyalist College (Belleville) – Matt Woods (volleyball) and Dianne Bouder (basketball)
Mohawk College (Hamilton) – Aminu Bello (basketball) and Justin Scapinello (volleyball) and Rachelle Abella (basketball)
Niagara College (Welland) – Alex Campbell (basketball) and Marieka Ouimette (volleyball)
Nipissing University (North Bay) – Scott Coulthard (volleyball) and Lucia DeMarco (volleyball)
Redeemer University College (Ancaster) – Jeremy Stevens (soccer) and Janelle Koopmans (badminton) and Katherine Harvey (badminton)
St. Lawrence College (Brockville) – Chris Love (hockey) and Dawn Martin (cross country running)
St. Lawrence College (Cornwall) – Mathew Milberry (hockey) and Sarah Tyrrell (soccer)
St. Lawrence College (Kingston) – Brennan Smith (golf) and Richelle Moore (cross country running)
Sault College (Sault Ste. Marie) – Nick Dawson (curling) and Michelle MacLeod (curling)
Seneca College (Toronto) – Matt Raguseo (rugby) and Sanjay Ashokumar (badminton) and Patricia Lau (badminton) and Samantha Evans (basketball)
Sheridan College (Oakville) – Khalid Abdel-Gabar (basketball) and Frank Pento (volleyball) and Melissa Cappelletti (volleyball)
Sir Sandford Fleming (Peterborough) – Jamie Switzer (cross country running) and Kelly Killoran (basketball)
St. Clair College (Windsor) – Graeme Robson (curler) and Robert Malbasic (soccer) and Keri Bagley (fastball) and Grace Hartman (cross country running)
Trent University (Peterborough) – Joey McClement (lacrosse) and Maija Robinson (rowing)
Monday, April 16th, 2012
St. Lawrence College of Kingston actually does have male and female athletes of the year – Brennan Smith and Richelle Moore.
All we can share with you is minimal information as the College’s Kingston Campus staff was one of three who didn’t reply to several requests for information - in our annual pitch to members of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association.
Smith is a golfer and placed 26th at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championship in Roseneath, P.E.I. The Ottawa native, who won a bronze medal at the OCAA golf finals in Cornwall, is also studying – golf and business administration.
Moore is a repeat winner of the female athlete of the year award and a distance runner. Apparently, bronze was her colour this year.
She’s from Napanee and interested in a career in business administration.
On the competitive sports scene this past season, Moore won an individual bronze medal at the OCAA cross country finals in Kingston and then went on to win another medal – bronze, again - at the CCAA finals in Kamloops, B.C.
She was also only the second distance runner from the Kingston-area College to win a medal at ther national finals.
Saturday, April 14th, 2012
They are students studying Sports Conditioning and Police Foundations.
They are also athletes.
Both in volleyball.
And Dan Trudel, from North Bay, as well as Liza Grenon, from Sudbury, are now the top male and female athletes respectively at Canadore College in North Bay.
Trudel, in Sports Conditioning, was the team leader on the Panthers men’s volleyball squad and finished 5th overall in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association standings for kills (219) and 6th in overall points (241).
The volleyball team didn’t fare as well finishing with a 6-12 record, good for 7th place in the OCAA’s West Region and missing the post-season round.
For Grenon, she had a season that included big numbers in kills (218) – good enough for second spot in the OCAA individual stats – and digs (105). However the Panthers team finished in last place in the West Region with a 3-15 record.