Open Heart, Open Mind with Clara Hughes

On Wednesday, May 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. the Toronto Public Library (TPL) is hosting a lecture with Clara Hughes as part of their Appel Salon Programming series.

Hughes may be familiar to you because of her participation in Bell Canada’s national ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign (which is just a sliver of her advocacy work). A six-time Olympic medalist in cycling and speed skating, Hughes is the only athlete in history to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Games. Her advocacy involves the Nunavik Youth Hockey Development Program, Right to Play and Take a Hike. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Manitoba, holds honorary doctorates from various Canadian Universities and has been awarded the International Olympic Committee’s prestigious ‘Sport and the Community’ award for her commitment to promoting the values of sport and play around the world.

The TPL lecture will be an opportunity to see and hear from Hughes in-person about her book Open Heart, Open Mind, which is a raw and insightful autobiography of Hughes’ past struggles with depression, her foray into elite level sports, her transition from Olympian to humanitarian, and her commitment to break down the stigma associated with mental illness.

Tickets for this event are FREE and will be available starting April 27 at 9 a.m. Book signing to follow the lecture. Donations at this event are welcome and will be shared equally between Toronto Public Library Foundation and Jessie’s: The June Callwood Centre for Young Women.


FREE 2015 Community Coach Training for Toronto Residents

Starting in January 2015, the City of Toronto, in partnership with the Coaches Association of Ontario and other Provincial Sport Organizations, will offer community level coach training to Toronto residents aged 16 years and older.

The Let’s Get Coaching program will run 100+ courses at community centres across the city, which includes the Fundamental Movement Skills workshop and a variety of sport-specific workshops from the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP).

To register, you must have a Client Number and Family Number assigned to you by Parks, Forestry and Recreation. Getting these numbers is easy … go here for instructions.

Space is limited so definitely register early.
To browse the course listings, click here. Note, the courses are listed under:
Coach Training – Fundamental Movement Skills
Coach Training – Sports Specific

Sportswriting from the New Yorker & The Armstrong Lie

As part of my reading escapade series, I’ve taken myself through the essays in The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from the New Yorker, which is a collection that spans almost a hundred years of sportswriting (and features some very funny cartoons). There are a number of stories about early 20th century athletes and sport cultures (ie. boxing, baseball, tennis), some personal essays about sports (my favourite being Haruki Murakami‘s essay about running), and a few contemporary profiles of athletes (Michelle Kwan, Shaquille O’Neal, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong).

The essay about Lance Armstrong, written in 2002 and well before the allegations of doping were proved true, is a piece that idolizes Armstrong. It is self-indulgent and a bit superficial, which raises the question: “Why did Armstrong have this effect on people?”.

As someone who doesn’t follow cycling races of any kind, I am naive about the level of training and skill needed to compete in grueling races like Le Tour de France, which is high-profile and well-respected; and I was curious about the continued impact of doping on the sport. So I watched The Armstrong Lie, to get a sense of the issue, the Tour, its community of cyclists, and Armstrong.

It’s a very good film, well-researched, and thoughtfully critical. By the end of it, I felt like I had only heard a fraction of the story regarding doping, money, celebrity, power, cycling, and Armstrong.