Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
The 64th Mayor of Toronto, Robert Bruce (Rob) Ford has just been fired.
Hold on, turfed from his “voluntary” job as head coach of the football team at Don Bosco High in Toronto’s west end – the same school he spent countless hours helping young kids develop their skills in the sport and maintain grades that would earn them the right to play the game.
Check the News Release from the self-proclaimed world’s largest publicly-funded Catholic educational network: Toronto Catholic District School Board (http://www.tcdsb.org/News/NewsReleases/Documents/TCDSB_Statement_Regarding_Mayor_Ford_as_Coach_of_Don_Bosco_Eagles.pdf).
Ah, did this school Board jump on the bandwagon to draw attention to Ford – and, let’s be fair, before comments about him have even been proven?
Guilty until proven innocent. Is that what the TCDSB teaches its students?
The Board, apparently, claim he was “thanked” for his work in a letter – but the “not welcome back” sign was also mentioned. The reason: because of alleged comments he made about students. That’s it. If so, doesn’t the Board have a responsibility to confirm the comments?
Once you get around all the political hyperbole and rhetoric by the Board in a hastily written statement prepared for Bruce Rodrigues, the Director, people behind the scenes will tell you it’s obvious that the Catholic Board (which has had its own share of shady nonsense in past) had very little regard for what he did in the first place. They waited, and waited, for an opportunity.
Read this: “The Board’s primary responsibility is to ensure a positive learning environment for all our students and promote our school’s on-going commitment to academic achievement, well-being and excellence. We recognize and respect that the Mayor’s first commitment is to the priorities of the taxpayers and citizens of the city of Toronto.”
If they felt that strongly, why did they wait until now to boot him out of a “voluntary” job that showed success with students – in a way no other teacher has proven on the gridiron?
Mr. Rodrigues, wait for the facts. You owe it to everyone. Your Board motto: “we transform the world through witness, faith, innovation and action”.
Monday, May 20th, 2013
Have had some really interesting conversations with several people associated with university sports in Ontario.
Topics ranged from media coverage to politics and from NCAA/CIS to politics and from contentious issues to, yes, politics.
Some great discussions. Some interesting personalities and, yes, there were some people AWOL or what I’ll just refer to as being shy – all year.
Those I did speak with, were very appreciative of the university sports coverage – from football and basketball to swimming and hockey, cycling and soccer, etc. At Sportsnet 590 THE FAN, we also recognized every Athlete of the Year in the OUA. Not sure how many other media did the same – if any. Coaches were on the show. Athletic Directors, too. People who cared about highlighting university sport in this province. In those conversations, we agreed on some things and respect for opinion on others.
I will admit to having some bias in what I do. The challenge is to provide guests and topics that people want, and expect, to hear on the show. Dealing with people who perceive things in strange ways and make wrongful assumptions – can often be frustrating.
Is there passion for amateur sport? You bet. For 30 years, highlighting thousands of athletes was my job at a major newspaper in this country. For the past 21 years on radio, same story – but more appealing to the ears on Sportsnet 590 THE FAN.
For some reason there are “some” individuals in the Ontario university sports system who don’t understand what I do. They don’t think I do enough – and also want to have a say on what gets on the radio. Doesn’t work that way. Sometimes topics are contentious, controversial – but also very informative.
With a university year coming to a close, I wanted to express my thanks and admiration to those who were pro-active and took the time to inform and communicate with us. More than 60 interviews – and more than ever before. Guelph, McMaster, Western and Laurier led the group with Sports Information staff who were a delight and did their best to highlight students, coaches and others. Not far behind came Waterloo, Windsor, Ottawa, Carleton and Queen’s. We also heard from UOIT, Algoma, Nipissing, Laurentian, Lakehead and Trent, all with smaller programs. Finally, and this could come as a surprise – not much from Ryerson, Brock, York and Toronto.
Yes, there’s always next year.
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Tragedy has hit an Ottawa family – and beyond.
A teenage girl has died as a result of an accident – an awkward mid-air tackle that ended up taking her life – in a high school rugby game in Ottawa.
Rowan Stringer, who played for John McCrae High, died playing the game she adored.
Last week, the 17-year old hit the ground landing upside down, her head and neck absorbed the blow. Stringer was knocked out and, I am told, never regained consciousness.
She died Sunday night in hospital.
I can just see it now.
There will be some high school athletic associations showing anger at the media. Some university and college sports folks right alongside with them. Ticked, you bet.
I have seen it happen many times before.
From the shady mentality of some of these people, we’re not supposed to report sports news – pertaining to the amateur game – that “they” perceive to be controversial, contentious and even what they call “negative news”.
That includes injuries – including those leading to tragic events and horrifying results.
Many times, I have been told – “write the good news”.
Well, sorry to inform these individuals, that we have to do our job – and the reality is journalists in print and broadcast media are not public relations arms for Boards of Education, Colleges and Universities, Athletic Associations, National or Provincial sports organizations, etc.
What’s my point?
We can’t ignore the story about the death of Stringer – even though it casts a black mark on high school sport.
As can be expected, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board said they would examine the situation – but, judging from previous situations, nothing much gets done over time. Stringer was a Grade 12 student, captain of her rugby team and had played the sport quite a bit ever since it was brought back to her school last year. She had also played during the summer months as part of a local team in Ottawa.
There are dangers associated with sport – and rugby is not alone.
In Toronto, two years ago, Wesley Jorisch, who was a 16-year old student at Marshall McLuhan High, was injured in a Toronto Catholic District School Board junior boys’ rugby game against Pope John Paul II. Published media reports claim that he was tackled by another student and knocked cold.
I can remember angry officials with the Toronto Catholic Board and the Toronto District Colleges Athletic Association desperately trying to prevent me from getting information – and reporting about this incident. They said “it would look bad” and hinted it would affect future relationships.
Really? Well, they failed – as they did on several other occasions.
Not sure whatever happened to Jorisch or many more teenagers injured in sports events – where budgets have been slashed for qualified first aid staff to be on duty. Questions also remain un-answered on whether all coaches should be certified to deal with emergency situations.
Monies are tight. That’s what I have been told. Apparently, not so for trustees and administrators who have plenty to spend on conferences.
There have been many tragic stories in school sport in the Greater Toronto Area. For example, a Peel Region Grade 12 football player died last year, two days after he collapsed on the field during a high school exhibition football game in Brampton. Gene Odulio, 17, was playing defensive back for St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School when he was injured.
I am told that he benefits outweigh the risks for high school students who get involved in sports. Fine. But, as journalists, we have a professional obligation to do our jobs.
Instead of pointing fingers, those in sport – who welcome reporters for “good news” – need to get serious about their own responsibilities and ways of making sport a positive experience. It would also be nice if they take action to make the experience a safe one for students.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Had a great conversation this morning with an enthusiastic woman who inspired me with her determination.
I hope to one day meet Naomi Cermak, make that Dr. Naomi Cermak.
You can hear our interview on Mother’s Day, my SUNDAY MORNING show starting at 7:00am. Her interview airs about 7:28am. If you miss it, later in the day we will have it on Podcast for you to hear at your leisure time.
Cermak is from Cambridge, earned her Bachelors Degree at McMaster University in Hamilton and Masters Degree at Brock University in St. Catharines. Then, her Doctorate in something called “Muscle Physiology”. Higher education at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and it goes on. She can talk, for hours, and keep you focused on sports nutrition. Brilliant, indeed. How about this: she was “responsible for coordinating and conducting the sports nutrition research with a specific focus on the ergogenic effects of nitrate in addition to carbohydrate and protein ingestion for muscle reconditioning”. Did you get it?
She’s also an athlete. Spent a great deal of time in the water as swimming is her forte while studying in The Hammer (Hamilton). At the age of 19, she told me a mole on her foot was diagnosed as skin cancer, two surgeries later things were back to normal. Or, so she was told at the time. Fast forward – 10 years – and Cermak was back getting medical attention. The cancer had returned: this time, stage four melanoma. In other words, life threatening or what some people call “terminal”. There continues to be new medication, advancements in medicine and let’s pray she, and others, benefit – quickly.
Cermak has made a video. It’s well done. It’s emotionally charged. It makes you appreciate life.
Check it out: http://konainspired.thismoment.com/base/kona?region_id=us-en&content_id=719&tab_id=20
Take a minute and vote for her as that’s the only way she will “Make The Impossible Seem Possible”. Deadline is May 31. She’s hoping to get to Hawaii to compete in the World Ironman Triathlon in October. That’s a super event and a combination of swimming, biking and running. You have to be in tip-top shape and Cermak is determined.
As Cermak says on her Twitter page, “When You Put Your Mind To It .. Anything Is Possible”.
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Cheers for offensive lineman Hunter Steward from Kingston.
Yes, good Kingston boy – as Don Cherry would say.
Good football player, too, from Liberty University, a private Christian post-secondary institution located in Lynchburg, Virginia.
He was picked by the British Columbia Lions ending what started out as the Calgary and Eastern Michigan pick ‘em show at the Canadian Football League draft of college and university players.
Follow along. U of Calgary’s Linden Gaydosh went No. 1 to Hamilton. Then, Andy Mulumba, from Eastern Michigan U, to Winnipeg.
Back-and-forth again, U of Calgary’s Mike Edem went to Montreal via Edmonton followed by Corey Watman, from Eastern Michigan, to Saskatchewan.
No. 5 pick from – Calgary. No kiddin’ and it was Steven Lumbala to Montreal.
Would it be Eastern Michigan again, well, Steward ended it.
Fact of the matter, the CFL teams had a fairly good idea where the talent was and the pros went shopping to Alberta and Michigan.
In seven rounds, 60 players were picked and if you keep score: 44 from the CIS and 16 from the NCAA. Twelve of the first 23 were Canadians at U.S. schools.
It was great to see Watman, from the suburbs of Newmarket, picked and Milton’s Matt Sewell, with a Vanier Cup from McMaster and now CFL pick No. 8 (by the defending Grey Cup champion Argos), go in the opening round. Both been on my SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN show and wrote about them as high school athletes (picked them back than as all-stars) when other major media had interests in places other than school sports. Might get an argument, but the people who know tell me that both Watman and Sewell became great football players with solid university coaching.
Whoops, almost forgot Mississauga’s Brent Urban – another lineman – who was No. 15 chosen by Hamilton via Edmonton and British Columbia. Great athlete at U of Virginia – and likely going back there for his final year if we are to believe what he said on my show this past Sunday Morning. You can hear it on Podcast (http://feeds.feedburner.com/SundayMorningGrossman)
Check the complete list. Lots of names you will see playing in the pros – if not next season, then not too long after in the CFL.
Just in case you were wondering, the cupboard was dry for the U of Toronto and York U. In other words, the pros by-passed two of the largest universities in Canada.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Confirmation of two things we already knew.
But for the record, they are now “official”.
“Play Ball” time for the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association with a minimum five Colleges agreeing to form a league in the fall.
We had know this for some time, but someone got a bit ticked that it had to be formally approved at the annual general meeting of the OCAA
So, now Durham, George Brown, Humber, St. Clair and Seneca.
Only George Brown and Seneca are new. Last year, Durham, Humber and St. Clair competed with university teams in the Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association. The CIBA will be glad to know St. Clair has left as that College won the championship last year.
Baseball Convenor Ted Beale, from St. Clair, confirmed the OCAA league had been in the planning stages for some time.
Should be nice to have baseball – in the fall.
And the University of Toronto finally announced what others had known for days: John Campbell is the new head coach of men;’s basketball.
Campbell coached at Dalhousie where he helped the Tigers win two Atlantic Conference titles and was Coach of the Year in 2011. He was also on the coaching staff that led Canada to a silover medal at the Workld University Games in China and, last year, coached the British under-20 squad at the European championship to a sixth place finish.
According to the school website, Dalhousie had a 15-14 overall record last year.
The University of Toronto, with a 3-17 OUA league record last year, finished in last place in the East Division.
Good luck, coach.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
It was just one of those days.
Two disturbing items came across my desk.
Not the kind of things one wants to hear when your job is trying to accentuate the positive of amateur sport.
That’s a huge challenge in itself, especially when trying to educate the so-called educators about the values of raising the flag for young athletes. But, leave this for another day since the likelihood is that many affiliated with Boards of Education simply don’t understand, remain protective of their jobs and do a heck of a job deflecting justifiable criticism.
Back to what is more of a disturbance: the death of a 21-year old talented athlete and also the serious mistake made by another.
Jake Eliopoulos had a bright future.
In 2009, he was a second round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays – and 68th overall in the amateur draft of Major League Baseball. Having played baseball in Newmarket, a student at Sacred Heart, he turned down a chance to sign with the pro team – and re-entered the draft the following year.
Again, the 6-foot-3 left-handed throwing pitcher turned down contract offers after his selection, this time, in the 15th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers and again in 2011 by the Blue Jays in the 43rd round.
Oh yes, he also played for Canada’s National Junior team.
Not sure what the cause of death was. All we know, from the Toronto Blue Jays organization, is he left us too soon.
And now the story about 25-year old University of Winnipeg student – Andrew Cunningham.
He’s from Toronto, went to Eastern Commerce Collegiate and counseled kids to steer clear of drugs.
Rather than scoring in basketball, and he was very good at that, Cunningham scored an 18-month conditional sentence for selling crack in his old crime-ridden neighborhood – and he sold it to an under cover cop.
Justice Alison Harvison-Young said “(Alexander) was engaged in trafficking cocaine in the very community where he was volunteering and encouraging youths to stay on the right path.”
Harvison-Young imposed a stay-at-home sentence, instead of a two-year prison sentence as the prosecution had urged.
Alexander has been a good student at U of Winnipeg and his offences date back to before he was in Winnipeg.
Not a good day.
Saturday, April 13th, 2013
Not much we can share about the Athletes of the Year.
So, here is what we know. Both know what to do on the ice.
It’s not hockey, but curling.
Megan St. Amand and Phil Tribe were the major award winners at a College that only has four varsity sports.
Amand, the Thunderhawks curling team skip, is the top female athlete at the Thunder Bay college.
From Thunder Bay, she is also graduating from the Pre-Health Sciences – University program and was the MVP of the curling team.
Tribe, also from Thunder Bay, was the top male athlete.
MVP on the curling team, he is graduating from the Forestry Ecosystem Management Technology program. Tribe was chosen a Second Team all-star by the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association and is a recipient of the provincial league’s all-Academic award.
Saturday, April 13th, 2013
There was lots of Thunder in Ottawa the other night.
Nothing to do with the weather, but the Thunder came in the form of celebration as Algonquin College highlighted its top athletes of the year.
Rugby star Danika McDermott, from Orleans, was chosen top female and Ottawa’s Philippe Yeldon earned the award for top male.
McDermott, a 26-year old student in the Paramedic Program, was chosen Player of the Year in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association.
A prop and also an OCAA all-star, she scored three tries in four games this past season. Algonquin finished with a 6-0 league record and, in a bizarre end to the season, shared the league championship with Humber after a series of mix-ups in which the game official did not follow OCAA protocol for playoff action.
A 22-year old student in the Fitness and Health Promotion Program, he is also an all-Canadian and provincial league First Team all-star.
Algonquin, which had last won a provincial championship three years ago, had a 17-3 record. But Mohawk eliminated Algonquin in the playoffs this time with a 3-0 semifinal win.
Winner of the OCAA East Division scoring title, Yeldon compiled 374 points, 270 kills, 48 blocks and a league-high 56 aces.
Saturday, April 13th, 2013
St. Clair College in Windsor recognized its top athletes with an evening of celebration at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts.
Catching the major attention at the 46th annual event, the male and female Athletes of the Year.
Luc Su, a third year badminton player and in his graduating year of Business Administration Marketing won the top male athlete award.
A three-time St. Clair academic award winner, Su is also the male Athlete of the Year.
On the badminton court, Su was a bronze medalist in Mixed Doubles at the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association championship this year. That was one position better than the previous year.
Golfer Heather MacKenzie won the female Athlete of the Year award.
Graduating from the Business Administration Professional Golf Management Program, MacKenzie won an individual silver medal this past season at the OCAA championship. In 2010 and 2011, she had placed sixth.
Her performance this year helped St. Clair win the league team championship – a first for St. Clair.
At the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association final, MacKenzie placed 9th. It was a significant improvement over 2010 (23rd) and 2011 (22nd). She was also recognized for academic excellence by the CCAA and a third time by the OCAA.