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    Archived pages: 180 . Archive date: 2012-07.

  • Title: Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: .. Kristina Groves.. the grovesline.. just a place where i hang my thoughts out to dry.. Life is but a Dream.. July 17, 2012.. Leave a Comment.. Row, row, row your boat.. It is rarely disputed that I was rather inept at team sports as a youngster.. Whether that was because I simply favoured solo sport over team sport and missed opportunities to develop those skills or because I was naturally well suited for solo sports and thus excelled at them is really a moot point.. I don’t like team sports so I’m not good at them and I’m not good at team sports so I don’t like them.. Whatever.. Give me the choice between going it alone or trying to make it on a team and I will always choose the solo endeavour.. Cross-country skiing and running, track and field, canoe/kayak and speed skating filled the glorious free time of my youth.. Save for the odd experiment with soccer or touch football to satisfy adolescent social pressures, when it came to sport I was happiest alone in my own element.. Some might argue that solo sports such as these – where repeating the same movement over and over and over again, to the point of sheer exhaustion, simply trying to go fast – are boring.. There is little excitement by way of goals scored, dramatic interceptions or heart pounding, edge-of-your-seat overtime.. I suppose that could be true, but to me there was a simplicity and beauty to these sports that fed my intense desire to improve, and ultimately to experience that rare, elusive moment of Zen.. It is not surprising, then, that the first sport I’ve fallen for since retiring from speed skating is yet another monotonous, highly repetitive, endurance based, pain-inducing sport – rowing.. Gently down the stream.. It took me a while to wrap my head around the fact that I joined the Adult Rec program at the rowing club, and not the Masters or Competitive Program.. I resisted the urge to take it up in earnest, partly because they train at 5:00 – AM! – but mostly because my body appreciates me now.. Instead of constantly pounding away no matter what the circumstances, these days I don’t go hard unless I feel like it.. I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time in unnatural positions that strain my back.. When it comes to working out I do what I want, when I feel like it.. For the first time in eons I feel fit, healthy and rested.. I have no pressing need for therapy of any kind.. This is ridiculously refreshing after a life of massage, physio, chiro, osteo and obscene amounts of acupuncture.. And that’s what the Adult Rec program is all about – show up if you want, go easy if you want, go hard if you want, go for beers if you want… I fit right in.. merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.. Mostly when I’m rowing I feel happy.. My body and mind thrive when learning to master technical skills.. The pleasure sensors in my brain are hardwired for this kind of work.. That I’m not pushing to extremes on a daily basis as I once did in speed skating has no doubt enhanced my enjoyment of being out on the water with a motley crew looking for some fun.. Having said that, when the challenge of how hard I can go presents itself I’m more than happy to jump on board and give it all I’ve got.. Interestingly, I have some of the same technical bad habits in rowing that I did in skating.. I laughed out loud the other day when Coach Kate told me to relax my shoulders – Coach Xiuli would have been so proud!!.. Rowing, like skating, is relaxed power and what a glorious feeling it is to find the optimal blend of the two.. I rarely feel this in the boat, thinking instead of the endless new technical cues I’ve been taught and trying not to tip the boat in the process.. But every once in a while I square my blades early, catch the water just so, and explode with my legs at the right time… in my weird world that feeling is characterized by one little word: awesome.. Life is but a dream.. As I’ve slowly watched my old life drift into the distance, letting go of everything that once defined it, on the surface at least – medals, the Olympics, the pursuit sport of excellence – I’ve steadfastly held on tight to the important things that made that life so worthwhile in the first place.. Learning to row has reconnected me with what drew me to sport as a kid – the intense desire to improve, and ultimately feeling that rare, elusive moment of Zen.. The other night as I watched the junior rowers enthusiastically load the trailer with boats, bubbling with excitement for their regatta the next day, I was wistfully reminded of the days when I was seventeen too, with Olympic fantasies flooding my future and reams of potential waiting to be seized.. But I already lived that life and it was a dream.. In another life, in another dream, I know I could have been a rower.. That’s big talk from a speed skating has-been and probably a big load of bull, but a girl can dream can’t she? I know it’s true that I will not go to the Olympics or ever be a world champion in the sport of rowing, and that’s well, just fine.. The interesting thing, as it turns out, is that these days I am living another life, another dream, and in it I am, in part, a rower.. p.. s.. In my other life, I lived this video.. Coach Xiuli was just like this and she was the best.. Posted in.. Uncategorized.. Ride the Road Tour: June 3, 2012.. June 1, 2012.. There is no doubt that drivers are seeing more cyclists about as more and more Albertans discover that bicycle commuting can combine a twice daily workout with the daily commute.. Increasingly, bicycles are showing up on the shoulders of Alberta’s highways as its popularity as a recreational activity increases.. For those living in and around Calgary, the event that has Calgarians talking about bicycles and has kept cycling in the media limelight, the.. Ride the Road.. tour is Sunday, June 3, 2012.. Four years ago it was organized to raise awareness of cycling and the need for separated east-west bike lanes in Downtown Calgary to increase cyclist safety and reduce driver-cyclist conflict.. There is no denying its influence – especially when it attracted participants like the Leader of the Opposition and well know environmentalist, Dr.. David Swann, conservationist and media personality Brian Keating, US Consul-General Laura Lochman and; City Council’s most prominent alderman (who became Alberta’s Transportation Minister earlier this month) Ric McIver.. The event has one of the highest VIP guest return rates and the organizers attribute this to the fact that it is just so much fun.. The ‘.. ’ tour is a chance to experience urban mobility like never before.. It could bring back childhood memories of the freedom evoked by two wheels before you were old enough to possess a driver’s license.. AMA members can traverse the city cycling with hundreds of others while riding on major roads not normally accessible on a bicycle.. Calgary Police Services provides a rolling escort, closing intersections to allow the ‘peloton’ of bicycles to breeze right through, giving participants a unique carefree and car-free experience.. You can ride all 32 km or customize the length.. This is an ideal opportunity to involve your whole family in a healthy outdoor event!.. If you have followed just a small portion of the Great City Cycling Debate you will be asking yourself “But how practical is the bicycle as a means of transportation?” Grab your bike out of the garage on June 3.. rd.. , dust it off and pump up the tires.. After the ride you can relax in beautiful Stanley Park and listen to the beat of the.. Calgary.. -.. based five-piece.. band.. Blueseros where you can discuss the issue with hundreds of other Calgarians who think they know the answer.. ’ tour consists of three rides starting at: 1) Tuxedo Source for Sports or 2) the Shawnessy YMCA and 3) Stanley Park.. The ride from Stanley Park is a slower paced ride suitable for children and parents pulling bike trailers.. It is as flat as possible.. Register with PayPal for the Ride the Road tour or use Karelo.. The.. Calgary.. tour de nuit.. Society.. is one of Canada’s leading engo’s that raises public awareness about the numerous benefits associated with cycling including: increased public health, lower environmental impact, improved traffic safety, reduced traffic congestion, and physical fitness.. One Car-Less Girl.. May 1, 2012.. 1 Comment.. When I first moved to Calgary at eighteen to pursue my Olympic dreams I had little need for a car.. I had a bike and a small circle of destinations that made it relatively easy to get around.. I was also student-athlete poor and had no money for an extravagant thing like a car.. But as I got older and Calgary got bigger my desire to be able to go where I pleased on a moment s notice grew.. The mountains beckoned, as did shopping malls and interesting places to go.. So when my grandfather passed away and I found myself with a small sum to spend on whatever I wanted, I set out to find a good, small, reliable, used car.. I settled on a light blue 1985 Toyota Tercel hatchback.. It cost me $1350.. At the time the price of gas was $0.. 44/L and I could fill it up for $17.. 00.. The tank would last me a month.. Grocery shopping was a dream; I could go hiking in the mountains or toss my bike on the roof and ride wherever I wanted.. I still rode my bike a lot and didn’t rely on my car too much but just having it was akin to freedom.. I became rather attached to that little  ...   little blog, The GrovesLine.. He was jokingly annoyed with me for starting my blog as he had been using me as a guest writer on his own site and figured he’d have more work to do without my periodic contributions.. When I asked him for advice about publishing he was so supportive and offered any help he could give.. He was one of the very best and I’m so thankful I had the chance to know him and to be his friend.. The world has lost a gem in Randy Starkman.. Canadian athletes have lost their voice.. It is incomprehensible to me that he is gone from this world.. Caine s Arcade: Watch this and feel happy!.. April 16, 2012.. I think even a stone would find this story about.. Caine s Arcade.. endearing.. If you haven t seen it already maybe you have as I ve heard it s gone viral take a few minutes to be inspired by this little boy, his wonderful imagination and his entrepreneurial spirit.. It may leave you feeling a little nostalgic for your childhood or simply hopeful for the future because one day little boys like him will change the world.. Either way it should put a smile on your face :).. Mind Shift: Your Daily Commute Be a Geek!.. April 4, 2012.. 5 Comments.. This really sucks.. Whenever I’m in my car, stuck in traffic or not, I wish with all my might that I was on my bike instead.. No matter how windy, rainy or snowy it might be and especially if it’s sunny and warm, I’m instantly jealous of anyone I see riding their bike with vigor and a broad smile stretched across their rosy-cheeked face.. If biking is truly not an option I’d settle for the C-Train, so that I could at least let my mind wander or read a book while someone else takes me home.. Other times, when I am commuting on my bike, I secretly laugh at all the poor souls stuck in their cars and wonder why they don’t know just how liberating and wonderful it is to commute by bike.. I relish the wind in my face, the efficiency of my bicycle and the dollars that remain in my pocket as a result.. And I particularly enjoy realizing that for many destinations in the city, door-to-door commuting times by bike are often on par with those achieved by car, especially once you consider finding and paying for parking, then walking from your car to the door.. I always feel glad when I take my bike instead.. But this is really awesome! I love my bike!.. But alas, I’ve lived in Calgary for fifteen years and sadly fallen prey to the myth that cars provide freedom and that one.. needs.. a car to survive in this city.. I’m not the only one – this is a city driven by cars and by the attitude that a car is the only option available to transport oneself.. And yet I don’t know a single person who loves, or even likes, driving around the city, but we all seem to do it without question.. Why do we mindlessly accept what is deemed a necessary evil when so many have discovered otherwise? Sure there are status, social norms, personal choice and comfort to consider but the notion that cars equal freedom is a grand illusion.. I will admit, that in a land as vast and ambitious as Calgary, in fact its land mass covers over 5,000 square kilometers making it the single largest metropolitan city in North America, it is necessary to have a car in many circumstances.. Getting to the airport, for example, or to the mountains, or to some obscure specialty shop tucked away where no train or bike path goes.. But if you simply change the way you think, you will realize that in the grand scheme of your busy day there is more than one way to get from your usual A to B.. This is better than you think.. A couple of months ago I took the train to an elementary school for a presentation that was ‘way’ down south.. It took almost one hour to get there.. During that hour I read the news on my phone and read a chapter of my book.. At that time of day, in traffic, it would have taken me at least 45 minutes to drive.. But I also would have spent at least 15 minutes in the morning reading the news online at the kitchen table.. The end result was the same I reached my destination and read the paper in a total of one hour, only how I got there had changed no stress, no traffic jams, no parking to find or pay for.. In fact I’ve often driven somewhere in this city only to realize when I get there that I could easily have taken my bike or the train instead.. Too often I’ve let myself slip into the city-made trap of believing that taking my car is faster or better.. Even though I happen to be fairly environmentally conscious, what I’m advocating for here isn’t radical environmentalism or activism or trying to save the planet although those are all noble pursuits but rather a mind shift in how we live our lives and that an alarmingly simple change in the way we structure our time can drastically improve our quality of life.. Save money, get exercise, reduce stress, have fun, be outside, simultaneously! How can anyone convincingly argue against that?.. Of course there are so many reasons not to do it kids, distance, weather, lack of bike skills, too hard, not enough time, getting sweaty, looking like a geek There will always be reasons not to do something, even something as simple and efficient as riding your bike to work.. It’s a shame that we get so sucked in by convention as opposed to common sense.. A few months ago I met an optometrist who lived less than a ten-minute walk from his office.. He chose to drive to work every day on purpose even though it took him longer than walking, for the sole reason of not wanting to leave his expensive car sit unused in the garage all day.. I cannot think of anything more ridiculous than that, including me showing up to an appointment in spandex shorts and cycling shoes.. Geek, yes, but look at the smile on my face!.. It’s true that I look like a geek in my cycling gear, even more so when I stop at the grocery store on the way home and walk around with my helmet on.. But you see I spent twenty-three years racing on long blades in a full spandex suit.. with a hood.. , so obviously I don’t have a problem with looking like a geek.. Somehow I’d rather look like a geek than waste an hour of my day sitting behind the wheel of a fabricated illusion of freedom, only to go park it at the gym and sit on an indoor stationary bike under the pretense of time well spent.. Of course I still drive places, but a lot less often than I used to.. It’s not always easier or faster to take my bike and it does require a little bit of extra preparation.. Riding up the steep hill on Home Road into a headwind is tough and sometimes I grit my teeth to make it to the top.. But life wasn’t meant to be easy, it was meant to be good.. And good is about shifting the way you see things to discover that getting from A to B on two wheels can mean gritting your teeth and smiling at the same time.. The Magic of Play on CBC Sports Weekend.. March 29, 2012.. If you missed CBC Sports Weekend last week check out the video diary of my trip!!.. Click here: The Magic of Play on CBC Sports Weekend.. Fun eating watermelon for the first time!.. Play is.. This might not look that hard but I challenge you to stack five apples!! This little guy was just awesome.. Previous Entries.. Welcome to the Grovesline!.. I skate in circles daily.. Sometimes I train and sometimes I race.. Then sometimes I write about it and/or other things.. Enjoy!.. The Straight Dope.. Factoids.. Things I Care About.. Miscellaneous.. Digits.. Grovesline Archives.. Select Month.. July 2012 (1).. June 2012 (1).. May 2012 (1).. April 2012 (3).. March 2012 (3).. February 2012 (1).. January 2012 (1).. November 2011 (2).. October 2011 (1).. September 2011 (3).. August 2011 (1).. July 2011 (2).. June 2011 (3).. May 2011 (2).. March 2011 (1).. February 2011 (3).. January 2011 (1).. November 2010 (2).. October 2010 (1).. September 2010 (3).. July 2010 (3).. June 2010 (2).. May 2010 (1).. April 2010 (3).. March 2010 (5).. February 2010 (2).. January 2010 (5).. December 2009 (2).. October 2009 (1).. May 2009 (1).. April 2009 (1).. February 2009 (1).. November 2008 (3).. October 2008 (1).. April 2008 (1).. March 2008 (1).. February 2008 (1).. December 2007 (1).. May 2007 (1).. March 2007 (1).. October 2006 (1).. October 2005 (2).. September 2005 (1).. February 2004 (1).. December 2003 (1).. November 2003 (1).. September 2003 (1).. March 2003 (1).. February 2003 (1).. Blogroll.. 350.. org.. Agenda Sport Marketing.. Bike Calgary.. Clean Air Champions.. Gluten Free Girl.. Good News Network.. Grist.. Inhabitat.. International Skating Union.. Kidsport Canada.. Pure Green Living.. Randy Starkman s Olympics Blog.. Right To Play.. Science Daily.. Shareable.. Speed Skating Canada.. Sport At Its Best.. The Daily Abuce.. Email Subscription.. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.. Join 720 other followers.. Pictoids.. More Photos.. Twitter Updates.. Life is but a Dream.. wp.. me/pKk27-hn.. 1 hour ago.. Seriously embarrassing: Research on oil-sands impact cost centre its funding, scientists say.. soc.. li/6JS3Tkb.. 1 month ago.. Ride the Road Tour: June 3, 2012.. me/pKk27-hj.. Kristina Groves.. Blog at WordPress.. com.. Theme:.. ChaoticSoul.. by.. Bryan Veloso.. Follow.. Follow Kristina Groves.. Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.. Powered by WordPress.. 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  • Title: Life is but a Dream « Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: Share this:.. Email.. Print.. Like this:.. Like.. Be the first to like this.. ~ by Kristina Groves on July 17, 2012.. Leave a Reply.. Cancel reply.. Enter your comment here.. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.. Email.. (required).. (Address never made public).. Name.. Website.. You are commenting using  ...   commenting using your Twitter account.. You are commenting using your Facebook account.. Connecting to %s.. Notify me of new posts via email.. Send to Email Address.. Your Name.. Your Email Address.. Post was not sent - check your email addresses!.. Email check failed, please try again.. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email..

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  • Title: Uncategorized « Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category..

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  • Title: Ride the Road Tour: June 3, 2012 « Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: ~ by Kristina Groves on June 1, 2012..

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  • Title: One Car-Less Girl « Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: ~ by Kristina Groves on May 1, 2012.. One Response to One Car-Less Girl.. I think you get extra props for posting this on a rainy day :).. moniquesullivan.. said this on.. May 1, 2012 at 1:11 PM..

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  • Title: Randy Starkman: Big Heart, Big Results « Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: ~ by Kristina Groves on April 17, 2012.. One Response to Randy Starkman: Big Heart, Big Results.. Dear Kristina:.. Your Dad and I had a long talk tonight about our upcoming 50 year high school reunion.. As we always do, our conversation wandered all over the place,but we always find time to talk about  ...   blog and your article about Randy Starkman, I have just read it and I must say I had a lump in my throat at times.. What a wonderful tribute, I am sure Randy got the message.. I hope all is well with you,.. Best personal regards,.. Jim.. Jim king.. April 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM..

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  • Title: Caine’s Arcade: Watch this and feel happy! « Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: ~ by Kristina Groves on April 16, 2012..

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  • Title: Mind Shift: Your Daily Commute — Be a Geek! « Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: ~ by Kristina Groves on April 4, 2012.. 5 Responses to Mind Shift: Your Daily Commute Be a Geek!.. Great article though you don t *have* to look like a geek to get around on your bike :).. http://www.. calgarycyclechic.. com/.. cawlin.. April 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM.. I agree!.. Cranking up Home Rd.. after a westerly commute through westerly wind is still better than driving especially on a snowy day!.. And there s never anything wrong with grocery shopping in spandex with a helmet on!.. seacloudfamily.. April 5, 2012 at  ...   helmet legislations and promotions keeping people off their bikes and in their cars?.. http://video.. tedxcopenhagen.. dk/video/911034/mikael-colville-andersen.. Something to think about.. Kerry.. foodlova.. April 9, 2012 at 5:44 AM.. Hi Kristina! I totally agree.. We love the bike culture over here.. Nice bike btw! I found this controversial/interesting Tedtalk about bike helmets.. April 9, 2012 at 5:46 AM.. I never consider that I might look like a geek when I go places with my cycling gear on here in Finland it s completely normal! :D.. kiviaho13.. April 26, 2012 at 9:51 PM..

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  • Title: The Magic of Play on CBC Sports Weekend « Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: ~ by Kristina Groves on March 29, 2012.. One Response to The Magic of Play on CBC Sports Weekend.. Love it! :).. April 26, 2012 at 9:46 PM..

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  • Title: Kristina Groves
    Descriptive info: An Important Story To Tell.. March 26, 2012.. 2 Comments.. It’s the honest truth that most of the news we hear about First Nations communities in Canada is overwhelmingly bad.. I pay close enough attention to current affairs to at least know that.. The most recent wave of bad news to wash over the country has been about the remote Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario.. Did anybody see? Did anybody hear? Maybe it’s the relentless barrage of global tragedies that makes us numb to more bad news.. We either do not believe or support what we hear.. We are loath to admit that this is the reality in Canada, our Canada, that Aboriginal children are reaching suicide rates substantially higher than elsewhere in Canada and the world.. It seems unlikely to us that they receive significantly less funding for healthcare and education, that some have no school at all and that their parents still struggle to overcome years of trauma at residential schools.. I will admit that I have been, while not unsympathetic to the issue, at least embarrassingly uneducated.. So when I found out that Right To Play, for whom I have been an athlete ambassador for several years, was working in Ontario with Aboriginal youth I immediately felt the urge to visit and learn more.. I wanted to go and see if Right To Play could have the same positive impact there as they have had in so many other places around the world, using sport and play as tools for development for hundreds of thousands of disaffected youth.. Maybe this would finally be a bit of good news for the First Nations people of Canada.. On the first night of the trip I was honoured to sit with the Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Shawn Atleo at a dinner organized by Right To Play.. I asked him what the greatest difficulty facing Canada’s Aboriginal people was.. His answer surprised me.. It was not alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, education, healthcare, or unemployment, but rather the very root of all of these problems – a systemic lack of self-confidence.. The basic premise of the Right To Play First Nations PLAY (Promoting Life skills in Aboriginal Youth) program is the development of youth leadership, and by extension confidence, through local community mentors.. The youth themselves identify the needs of their own communities and then work together to implement new ideas and activities.. There has been steep learning curve.. I learned about the challenges they’ve faced in just getting kids to show up, to speak, to engage.. These are early days, but there are already plenty of successes to celebrate.. And then comes me, an Olympic athlete with weird skates and shiny medals, hoping to share and teach and learn.. I’m not sure what I expected, but what I encountered was to me a sort of chaos: kids running around yelling, not paying attention, playing silly games.. To the staff this was a thing of beauty – kids running, playing, yelling!!.. Amidst the chaos, while attempting in vain to teach some of the kids to skate, terrified that one of them would fall and hit their head, I wondered to myself if I had made a mistake in being there, talking to kids about the Olympics and trying to teach them to speed skate when they had little hope of understanding my life, in much the same way I had little hope of understanding theirs.. I was doubtful that a connection could be made, in so short a time, across a gap so wide.. After the community feast in Sheshegwaning First Nation, as we were preparing to drive back to Sudbury, one of the girls I met asked me if I was ever coming back.. I replied that yes, maybe one day I would make it back there for another visit.. Still unsure of my impact I asked the girl why she wanted me to come back.. And she said, “Because nobody ever comes here.. Her reply made me feel good and sad at the same time.. I helped make a difference, even though it was small, but who else is ever going to go there, just to see them? I visit schools in Calgary all the time, where the kids are accustomed to special visitors and presentations.. In Nipissing and Sheshegwaning they are not so lucky.. But in Nipissing and Sheshegwaning, so I hear, the kids are still buzzing about my visit.. In the end I understand more intimately how little I actually know about the complexity and scope of the history of First Nations.. I am more empathetic to the Aboriginal people of Canada and inspired to continue supporting Right To Play in their efforts to make a difference.. I saw the beginnings of positive change, I saw smiling kids who were excited to play, use their voices and even perform traditional dances just for me.. I saw the seeds of confidence being sown and the potential of a new generation begin to sprout.. It’s new growth of good news and that’s good news to me.. Life is Wonderful, Life is Strange, Life is Hard.. March 19, 2012.. Back in the familiar surroundings and relative comforts of my own home, it’s hard to imagine that the week I just had actually happened and that it wasn’t a dream or some crazy trip to an alternate universe.. It’s remarkable how quickly we can become reacquainted with our own normal lives after otherworldly and eye-opening experiences.. Regardless of where I am sitting now however, I am not entirely the same person I was a week ago, as we all are not, having lived through another seven days and evolved, to a greater or lesser extent, into someone just a little bit older and wiser, for one reason or another.. For me, that reason is the experience not of visiting a parallel universe, but rather witnessing my own little universe expand exponentially, as I move farther away from the confines and structure of high performance sport.. My week began with three days of surprisingly intense work at the CBC, preparing and then calling the races from the Short Track Speed Skating World Championships in Shanghai.. This is still high performance sport – yes but television is a planet unto itself, on which I often feel like a visiting alien.. Thanks to the date line and time change I could watch all the races beforehand, analyze in advance and prepare notes so as to hopefully sound smarter than I actually am when the time came to go air.. Even still, live-to-air is pretty stressful and the hour whizzed by in a snap.. That early morning was scarred by the tragic news that another Canadian skier had died from a crash at a ski cross World Cup.. While the world of television scrambled to adjust the programming, I found myself struggling to comprehend what had happened and mourning the loss of someone I didn’t know.. Knowing that my good friend, and high performance director of the Canadian ski cross team, Dave Ellis, was in the throes of a great personal and team tragedy made it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand.. Dave’s best friend my boyfriend Scott grew up skiing at the Craigleith Ski Club north of Toronto and was coached by Nik Zoricic’s dad Bebe for many years.. He remembered a little Nik ripping around the ski hill, and he could tell back then that Nik would one day be a world-class skier.. This personal, albeit distant, connection to Nik’s death and the raw, inexplicable circumstances of the crash made me feel so sad.. I hate it when people say ‘the show must go on’, but that day I had to get out of my own head and do my job.. After wrapping up the Sunday show I rushed to the airport to catch a flight up to Sudbury for a whirlwind four-day field visit with Right To Play to learn about the new PLAY (Promoting Life skills in Aboriginal Youth) programs that began six months ago in 39 First Nations communities around Ontario.. When I found out that Right To Play was working in Ontario with Aboriginal youth I immediately felt the urge to visit and learn more.. All we tend to hear about First Nations communities in Canada is bad news, most recently with the plight of the people from the Attawapiskat First Nation and with good reason it is a national tragedy that has been ignored for far too long.. But I wanted to go and see if Right To Play could have the same positive impact there as they have had in so many other places around the world, using sport and play as tools for development in hundreds of thousands of disaffected youth.. In four short days I learned a lot about a lot of things, which, to sum up, doesn’t amount to much.. I learned that you cannot learn about the complexity of an issue like this in four days.. If anything, I was simply exposed to a tiny snapshot of the history, tragedy, desperation, opportunity, resiliency, and now hope, of the First Nations people in Ontario.. I talked to Aboriginal youth in Nipissing and Sheshegewaning First Nations about the Olympics, my experiences as an athlete and tried my hardest to teach them how to skate.. I was stressed to the max watching these kids rip around the ice without helmets (a cause that I failed miserably to implement) and optimistically tried to get them to do speed skating drills when all they wanted to do was not do speed skating drills.. I was inspired by the few who were keen to learn, and confused by those who were afraid to.. Amidst the chaos I wondered to myself if I had made a mistake in being there, talking to kids about the Olympics and trying to teach them to speed skate when they had no hope of understanding my life, in much the same way I had no hope of understanding theirs.. After the skating session in Sheshegwaning was over I felt unbelievably relieved that no one had fallen and cracked open their head.. And I was totally unsure of what I had accomplished, if anything at all, by being there.. When the Right To Play staff later debriefed about the events that day I was surprised to hear how positive they were and that the kids had been so amazing.. From where they had started in October last year, it was a giant leap forward that the kids had shown up at all, that they had paid attention for ten whole minutes and that they had gotten on the ice to skate, with smiles no less.. It made me realize how unrealistic my expectations had been, and just how challenging it has been to get this program off the ground.. A trip like this one deserves a great deal more than what I’ve written here and I will soon give it its due.. But for now I am simply digesting the week that was, the one that was eye opening, heart crushing, heart-warming and world expanding, where I lived through a stressful job, the death of a fellow athlete, and a glimpse into the complex lives of Aboriginal youth in Ontario.. It was a week where I learned that life is not just going in circles as I’ve often joked it is.. But rather that it is constantly expanding, as is the infinite universe we inhabit, and that through this expansion we simultaneously experience all that is wonderful, strange and hard.. From Schedule B to Schedule Me.. February 7, 2012.. Recently I learned that I’ve been unceremoniously removed from Schedule B.. I didn’t even know what Schedule B was, or that it existed for that matter, until I found out I was no longer on it.. At a recent meeting of the powers that be at Speed Skating Canada, where such things are decided, my name was briefly highlighted then swiftly deleted without so much as a sigh, or so I’m told.. Schedule B is a list of athletes, determined by each sport in Canada and submitted seasonally to Own The Podium, who are deemed to be medal contenders in international competition.. The list is used to allocate resources and funding for various things like training camps, physiological testing, travel and equipment etc.. The athletes on the list have earned the right to be on Schedule B through podium performances and as such have a solid proportion of resources directed at keeping them at the top as long as possible.. When I decided to retire I unwittingly removed myself from the famed Schedule B, although, as I’ve mentioned, I had no idea of its existence or that it bore my name for many years.. To know that I could be simply deleted, from a life of 23 years in sport, with the touch of a button was, well, sad, funny and strangely cathartic.. Nothing is permanent in this world, not the least of which was my place on Schedule B.. In  ...   a World Cup in Berlin last season.. What a calamitous circumstance I found myself in at that moment, concussed, confused and already considering retirement.. Some difficult months ensued as I slowly navigated through a long recovery and eventual (but unrelated) decision to retire.. Now, almost simultaneously, I’ve ended up on the other side of both a long, wonderful career in sport and an unfortunate, unwelcome (of course) head injury.. Obviously I would rather not have experienced eight months of feeling lousy but the only acceptable conclusion I can make is simply that life has its ups and downs and I’m thankful to have made it through.. Interestingly, much like the symptoms of concussions themselves, the issue of head injuries and their enduring repercussions has remained prevalent, albeit somewhat quietly, in the media for some time now.. That the topic came to light at all is surely no mystery given the number of high profile hockey players and athletes who have fallen prey to an ill-fated knock on the head.. Its staying power, though, has been remarkable, and oddly encouraging, in that the significance and impact on those affected are slowly gaining mainstream acceptance and establishing widespread concern among those capable of doing something about it.. But the announcement that Sidney Crosby will return to action tonight has sparked a new flurry of commentaries and opinion pieces in the media about whether the concussion issue really has led to definitive change and action on the part of the powers that be to crack down on headshots and malicious hits.. I’ve followed these stories with the kind of interest that only those who have lived through a head injury can have: the natural desire to never think about or experience one again tempered by the inescapable connection to all those who have ever lived, or will live, through one.. One piece I read lamented the usual ‘slippage’ that said crackdowns invariably face as tough talk and action slowly recedes and things simply return to normal (read: dangerous).. Brendan Shanahan sure made some harsh calls in the pre-season but where is he now? I’m sure Daniel Alfredsson and Ryan Miller would like to know.. Historically this is the way things are dealt with in the NHL and somehow no matter how many times the issue returns it always seems to slip away again without any sense of meaningful change.. Alternatively, other commentary I’ve heard is convinced that the recent concussion debate has led to concrete change for the better and an increase in awareness that just wasn’t there before.. Maybe this is true, maybe it’s not.. I’m certainly not deep enough in the know to make any sort of informed declaration one way or the other.. But based on the ongoing media reports I’m encouraged that there is heightened awareness, education and action regarding head injuries throughout all levels of the sport community.. Unfortunately their frequent, ongoing recurrence and subsequent ignorance at the top is akin to a nasty wart that just won’t go away.. But who am I to spoil a party? Sydney Crosby’s return to the field of play is certainly a moment that will be long remembered as the heralded homecoming of one of the game’s greatest.. We will all, undoubtedly, hold our collective breath and brace for that first check into the boards, and hopefully all sigh with relief as he goes on to spin some miraculous play, the very kind he is especially known for.. I don’t claim for one minute to understand the weight of expectation that now sits heavily on his shoulders.. I can however empathize, along with everyone else who has ever been through it, and probably even those who haven’t, with those inevitable enduring thoughts he will have about what might happen if he ever has to go through it again.. That lingering risk is not something easily forgotten.. I am particularly aware of the issue on this day, it being my one-year concussionniversary.. I find myself thinking a great deal about the past several months and the impact the injury has had on my well-being.. It would, however, be un-human of me to despair.. Concussions are indeed a tough blow and have inflicted silent suffering on far too many.. But human beings also have a great capacity for recovery and are inherently driven to succeed at that which conspires to inspire them.. If Sidney Crosby, and anyone else who has ever overcome a time of great hardship, should forever be remembered for anything, it is most certainly that.. Immersion, cubed.. November 6, 2011.. It would be safe to say that I never truly excelled at short track speed skating.. I used to think I was awesome of course, but if I toss those rose coloured glasses overboard and look back instead with clear, nostalgia-free vision, there is really no doubt about my complete lack of short track talent – it was definitely not my forte.. I still did it of course, for many years in fact, while I patiently counted down the days until I could move west and find my true home on the long track.. I was, however, pretty good at speaking French.. I grew up in Ottawa and took French immersion in school from day one.. I was fully bilingual relatively quickly and followed through with French all the way through high school.. I didn’t take math in English until my ill-fated rendezvous with Calculus in grade 13, which surely must explain my poor grade in that class!.. After moving to Calgary it became pretty clear that any opportunities to keep up my French were few and far between.. This is one English-speaking town.. I did my best to practice with the Quebec skaters whenever possible, but over the years it became obvious to me that my French was slipping away.. I still did many interviews in French and got by reasonably well, but I was increasingly bothered that I could not remember if it was ‘le’ or ‘la’ or ‘un’ or ‘une’ or what the right word for ‘________’ was.. Mix in a solo trip to Norway where I was forced to put into practice the Norwegian lessons of my youth and eventually much of my French became a mélange of poorly conjugated verbs mixed in with the odd Norwegian word that I was absolutely certain was actually French.. As for the world of television, it’s been a one-way street for me as long as I can remember.. Like everyone else I have mostly been a passive viewer, whiling away many an hour on the road or at home, glued mercilessly to the tube.. I’ve occasionally been an active participant, through broadcasted races and interviews.. But I’ve never been on the other side of the lens, taking part in the making of TV or contributing to content from the opposite vantage point.. And then a call came asking if I’d like to do some commentating for the CBC this speed skating season and I soon found myself sitting next to one of the most iconic voices in Canadian sport, that of Steve Armitage, in a broadcast booth learning the ropes and how to call a race.. So what do these three things have to do with each other? Well, last weekend they all came crashing together in an inexplicably peculiar manner, as I donned my newfound broadcasting hat in the French province of Quebec at a short track World Cup in Saguenay.. I was re-immersed into the world of short track speed skating and French speaking Quebec and newly immersed into the world of broadcast television.. It was quite an education.. A few short weeks to brush up on my admittedly weak short track knowledge seemed barely adequate to become the new voice of the sport to the Canadian public.. And did I mention that we were going live? It turns out when they tell you they’re going to show only the 500m’s live, what it actually means is that the server in Toronto might go down and you also need to call the 1500m’s live, now, GO! Say wha?.. It would have been funny to see me on camera while calling races as I often finished saying something on the fly, possibly incorrect, followed by shaking my head and wringing my hands in silence as I tried to think of the next right thing to say.. Not surprisingly, there were a few flubs.. Like when I said ‘oh geez’ on air after a multiple skater crash, or when I referred to a skater as ‘that Japanese guy’.. I also took to making up words: when trying to describe the new team-skating rule, I brilliantly announced that it is no longer ‘unallowed’, followed by, ‘uhh, I don’t think that is a word.. ’ Steve Armitage saved me by deciding that he would ‘allow it.. ’.. I was definitely limited by my lack of in-depth expertise on the finer technical aspects of short track speed skating, but I will learn.. I was however, not limited at all by my well-earned ability to instantly become fodder for teasing by any new group of people I encounter, in this case the CBC crew.. It didn’t take long for me to acquire, much to my dismay, the nickname “Poutine” which I will most certainly never shake.. Long story.. It’s a good thing I have thick skin.. I am quite certain that as I kid I raced at least once or twice in the Georges Vezina arena in Saguenay.. While passing through its hallowed halls, adorned with tributes to legendary short track speed skaters like Marc Gagnon, some twenty years later, a plethora of long-lost short track memories arose from the cobwebby corners of my mind.. Happily, my ability to speak French returned in much the same way.. I was in the same place again, but also not.. How curious it was to experience old and new, past and present, as one and the same.. It was immersion, cubed.. The collision of memory, language and media became a new, layered experience unto itself.. It was fun, exciting, challenging and a little bit stressful.. I’m not quite sure about this but I think this phenomenon, this blending of varying dimensions, degrees and directions is generally something people refer to as ‘Life’.. Oh, hello Life.. Red Wine, Blue Cheese, Green Art.. October 12, 2011.. In just a few weeks Green Calgary will be putting on a spectacular fundraising event at Hotel Arts in Calgary! I m thrilled to be the MC for this event as it promises to be a great night in support of a great organization working to make Calgary a greener city.. Mark November 3rd in your calendar and pick up your tickets.. here.. !.. Green Calgary.. is a dynamic, non-profit urban environmental organization with a mission to empower Calgarians to create healthy homes and communities through environmental education, products and services.. Art and design can have unique abilities to engage, inspire, and move people toward a healthy environment and a peaceful, sustainable world.. This event, hosted by Olympic Medalist and environmental champion Kristina Groves, is a twin celebration of local sustainability a celebration of connections between art and the environment by showcasing environmentally themed work by local artists and the achievements of Green Calgary.. Please join us for a gala fundraising evening on behalf of Green Calgary, the city’s leading urban sustainability non-profit organization.. The inaugural “Red Wine, Blue Cheese, Green Art” gala celebrates the connections between arts and the environment.. The highlight of the event will be an auction of environmentally themed works by local artists.. Details:.. The Date.. : November 3, 2011.. The Location.. : Hotel Arts.. The Time.. : 6:00PM to 11:00PM.. The Food.. : A delectable strolling menu featuring local and organic ingredients.. The MC.. : Kristina Groves—4X Olympic medalist and sustainability advocate.. Special Guests.. : Sans Façon—visiting artists from Glasgow, Scotland currently working with the City of Calgary to create environmentally themed public art.. The Entertainment.. : Green Fools Theatre, Kris Demeanor and his Crack Band.. Tickets.. : $100 per person, or buy 9 and get one free!.. Participating local artists currently include: Derek Besant, Lisa Brawn, Chris Cran, Helena Hadala, Eric Louie, Audrey Mabee, Gary Olson, Teresa Posyniak, Paul Van Ginkel, and Carl White—with more to come!.. For tickets, please click.. Your ticket Includes:.. • Entrance to the Gala at Hotel Arts, 119 12 Ave SW.. • An evening of local art, live entertainment, celebrity guests and a strolling menu featuring local and organic ingredients.. • The chance to participate in both the silent live auctions of environmentally themed art from Calgary and area artists.. • The opportunity to take home art that inspires moves you.. • Canadian singer and songwriter.. Kris Demeanor.. will perform for your listening pleasure.. • Performances that will delight you from.. The Green Fools Theatre Company.. • Meet visiting artists with.. SansFacon.. , an Artists-In-Residency Program through the UEP (Utilities and Environmental Protection) at the City of Calgary.. • Entry to the Green Calgary.. Art Marketplace.. November 4th 5.. th.. • Good Karma.. Hope you can make it!.. Next Entries..

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