Professional Sports And Moving Forward Past Tokenism

Was pleased and excited last week to hear about Michael Sam, the first openly gay football player, being selected in the NFL Draft.

Then, this week, I saw this video about the number WHERE he was picked… 249th overall.


The NFL Draft comes on the heels of NBA player, Jason Collins, announcing that he is gay.

The biggest difference between the two, is that Michael Sam has not yet “proven his worth” at the professional sports level, (he was drafted out of College, where he was extremely successful) whereas Jason Collins was nearing the end of his career, and had become a free agent, (prior to his being signed by the Brooklyn Nets in February 2014).

No doubt, it is difficult to be first.  There has to be a massive amount of consideration, prior to announcing something that is private, and frankly, SHOULDN’T MATTER TO ANYONE.

Why would any team or sports organization want anything BUT the best players, regardless of color, sexual orientation, nationality or whatever other criteria you want to divide people by.  And yet, it apparently still does.

In one article I read recently, this quote floored me…

One NFL coach, speaking anonymously to Sports Illustrated after Sam came out, said: “I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet.”

I sincerely hope I am wrong… but the Teams who are giving these players their opportunities, seem to be struggling to find success. And both Teams received a “bump” in merchandising revenues, when these signing announcements were made.  And that got me thinking about ‘tokenism’.

If you aren’t sure what tokenism is, here is the Dictionary.com definition:

TOKENISM:

1) the practice or policy of making no more than a token effort or gesture, as in offering opportunities to minorities equal to those of the majority.
2) any legislation, admissions policy, hiring practice, etc., that demonstrates only minimal compliance with rules, laws, or public pressure: Admitting one woman to the men’s club was merely tokenism.

In light of recent ugliness on Social Media by Boston “fans”, directed towards PK Subban (an African-American hockey player), it makes me wonder how far we’ve come, towards being an “enlightened” society.  Many retired hockey players admit, that they do research on the families and friends of opponents, in order to be able to “rile up” opponents in on-ice scrums.  But, as hockey fans, how do we so easily cast aside the legacy of Boston Bruin Willie O’Ree (the first hockey player to break the color barrier in 1958) and call out a player who is a visible minority.  PK Subban is a well spoken, skilled hockey player, who works hard (on and off the ice) to promote hockey as a sport for everyone.

Hopefully, the selection of an openly gay football player, Jason Collins’ announcement, more and  more visible minorities playing hockey, and inclusive organizations such as You Can Play – are just the beginning of a more open and inclusive sports environment, and the culture of sports will become more enlightened.  This would, I think, help move sports fans, and society as a whole, to a better place.

I don’t think that there should be quotas, or requirements, or any such “rules”… but simply allow the best players to play in the top sports leagues, without their ethnicity, skin color, or sexual orientation being of ANY concern.  I believe the only thing that any of these athletes wants, is to be considered on an equal basis, against the others competing for the available positions on the teams.

I don’t think ALL the idiots will ever go away.  But, in the last while, sports fans have seen a LOT of examples of team owners (such as Donald Sterling), team management (Michael Sam getting passed over 248 times), and team coaches (see the “anonymous” quote above), indicating that many of the idiots are still RUNNING the Teams.

Enough.

Haute Note – Personalized Note Cards And Stationery

As some of you may know… on October 1st, Lorie and I bought an online card business… Haute Note!

A company that produces custom cards, personalized notes and stationery.

We have a variety of note styles, as well as designs for every reason and every season.

We feel that in this day and age, when pretty much everyone on the planet has embraced the technology for sending emails, texts, PINS and communicating through any number of Social Networks — there are still occasions when it is “special” to get a card.  A keepsake, or reminder of a moment in time.

Whether a photo Holiday card, personalized Christmas cards, birthday invitations, wedding or baby announcements, save-the-date cards, or something else completely… we can customize and personalize any of the hundreds of designs of cards.

A set of 8 Signature cards makes a lovely hostess gift, a thank you gift, something nice for Aunt Sadie or the perfect something for the hard-to-buy-for person who has everything!

Below are a few examples, chosen at random from hundreds of styles and themes.

You can find more examples at HauteNote.com

(Click on any image below to open the images up in a Gallery Viewer)

phot_hchr_strp_holidaycheer_stripes_t5b clas_tree_weve_1 pngs_bran_mixed_1 flat_addn_pinb_addition_pinblue_5
phot_scpt_taup_script_taupethanks_t2_1 clas_nost_sugr_1 clas_cbrn_plum phot_hpch_crem
holi_fest_juni phot_scpt_save_script_savethedate_t2 drea_popy_redd flat_gree_hell_greetings_scripthello_3
drea_bran_cher clas_long_kngt_1 holi_holi_tree flat_crow_pair_crowns_royalpair_3
phot_cndy_gren_1 flat_crow_prin_crowns_princess_2 cele_gath_cups phot_anim_gren_animalcrackers_green_t1b
cele_wedd_cake clas_holi_gift_1 phot_bbra_blos_2 clas_nost_midn_1

(Click on any image above to see the cards in a Gallery Viewer)

Should you need a personal or corporate Christmas card… a card to announce a birth, or a birthday party… a wedding announcement or a BBQ invite… we have all these, and many more! Check us out at HauteNote.com

You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

 

“Legend Of The Tooth Fairy” – A Children’s Adventure Story

Today is the first of December, and the beginning of the Holiday shopping season… that time of year, when parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are starting to look for gifts for the children in their lives.

Legend Of The Tooth Fairy - Bruce Kilby & Ken Johnson

Some friends of mine have written a children’s adventure story, revolving around the Tooth Fairy, Dragons and their interactions with humans, led by the young boy, Garth and his group of friends.  Written by Bruce Kilby and Ken Johnson, and illustrated by Sean Cannon, the “Legend Of The Tooth Fairy“, is 239 pages full of a fantastic and engaging children’s adventure story… for less than $20 !!!

The book is available through

Fireside Stories Publishing,

and available from Bruce,

at events in Langley, BC…

or you can purchase it

online through Amazon.

 

If you are in the Vancouver area, there will be a number of events in the Fraser Valley.  You can find the details on Bruce’s Fireside Stories Publishing website

The artwork on the Chapter Plates are, to me, striking reminders of the type of books I grew up reading.  Below is the Dragon illustration that kicks off Chapter Five.

Legend Of The Tooth Fairy - Chapter Plate Drawing

If you are looking for a great gift for a younger reader, Legend Of The Tooth Fairy might just fit the bill ! 

Happy shopping !!!

Remembrance Day Musings

Poppy - Remembrance Day

There are a bunch of posts and articles flying around right now… talking about the different colours of Poppies, and which ones different folks support. (Red or White)

I haven’t had an opportunity to read most of the articles, and I don’t know enough about the various discussions and debates to comment on them… and to me, any discussion about this is really quite pointless.

When I see a Red Poppy, I think of my Dad, and my Grandfather.

 —–

Alex Buchanan - GrandfatherMy Grandfather (Alex Buchanan) is a man I never knew, who lived and worked in Singapore.

Before the Second World War, he fought against the injustices of the time, for those with skin of a different colour… at a time when the British Colonials thought nothing of their two-class system.

When the war started, he managed to get his family and wife safely onto a freighter, and stayed behind to help fight the Japanese invasion of Singapore… which didn’t last long.  All the guns were fixed… pointing out to sea.  The Japanese invaded through the mainland, and Singapore quickly surrendered. 

My Grandfather spent the remainder of his life in Changi Prisoner of War camp, which is where he died.

—–

On September 3rd, 1939, my dad was a young man who had just celebrated his 20th birthday a few days earlier.  He had just started working for the BBC in Scotland.  Then, at 11:15 in the morning, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany.  A day later, my Dad was a soldier.

Like countless others, he signed up immediately… and through 1945, he was assigned to various units as a radio operator on the front lines… until he was wounded.  Then he would get sent to a hospital, to get patched up, and he would be re-deployed to another unit, on another front.

Robert Harold GrayHe fought in Italy, Crete, Sicily and Africa.

He was a young man, named Robert Gray, who lived on Hamilton Road in Rutherglen, Scotland. Funnily enough, he knew three OTHER Robert Grays who lived on the same street in the same town.  Not so funny, was the reality that my dad was the only one of the four who came home alive.  And my dad knew full well that it was only by fluke that he made it home.  There was a particular moment during a battle, when his unit was being overrun by the German Army, and amid the retreat, he let a fellow soldier go ahead of him.  That soldier was immediately killed by a grenade blast.  My Dad was evacuated, with more shrapnel wounds, but lucky to be alive.

After the War ended, he was discharged, and went home to Scotland. The first thing he did was burn his uniform, and put away his medals.

He didn’t ever glorify war or hold a grudge.  One of his eventual best friends when he came to Vancouver, was a German neighbour, who lived across the street, who had been a bomber pilot during the Blitz.

My Dad didn’t sit around telling war stories.  He didn’t like or want to talk about it. 

He only allowed us two windows to peek through, to catch a glimpse of the pain he had seen and endured during the war years:

 – During my teenage years, on Sunday nights, he would listen to Dame Vera Lynn’s record, over and over.  Often I would come in, as he was singing along to the song “We’ll Meet Again”, to find him with tears in his eyes, lost in another time.

  – During this time, he and I started watching Remembrance Day services together… until he passed away in 1999.

Since then, when Remembrance Day comes, I don’t go to the Cenotaph… I observe the Ceremony, spending time with my Dad’s memory, and thinking of the sacrifices that he and his friends made, to try to bring sanity back to the world.

The Poppy to me is a symbol of my Dad’s and Grandfather’s generation… most of them, now gone… who gave us gifts that we still enjoy.  Freedom and choice.

I do not diminish or discount the importance of having discussions and debates about the issues of Veterans’ support, peace-keeping efforts and the role of armies in the modern era.  However, I shall recuse myself from that discussion.  To me, the intent of Remembrance Day is to remember those who gave years of their lives, or in some cases, their actual lives, to fight for the intangible values of Rights and Freedoms, that we now enjoy. 

The Poppy doesn’t glorify war.  There is no glory in war.  There is only sacrifice and loss, and that is what we honour on Remembrance Day.

I shall wear my Red Poppy, and with it, cherish spending a moment of Remembrance with my Dad,

We’ll Meet Again

We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where.., don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.

Keep smiling through,
Just like you always do,
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds, far away.

So will you please say hello,
To the folks that I know,
Tell them I won’t be long,
They’ll be happy to know, that as you saw me go
I was singing this song.

We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where,don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.

We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where, don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.

 

Songwriters: Arthur Wilkinson, Ross Parker, Hugh Childs

Published by: Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

Manic Monday

It has been a crazy time at our house, as appliances and lights stopped working, and THEN we discovered Carpenter Ants had taken up residence in the front of our house.

For everyone who is asking, here is what the front of our house looked like, about an hour ago.

IMG-20130826-00120 IMG-20130826-00121
Removing the rotten/eaten supports, framing & headers.  Stripped back to wood untouched by water or cooties

 Cue the music…  Here is The Bangles… Manic Monday !!!