Tag Archives: sports

team play

you know when you lay down for a nap and its only suppose to be 30 minutes, 40 tops, and it turns into a 3 hour sleep?  well after church today i had me one of those naps. now because of that im wired and wide awake as the minute hands approaches a quarter to 3am.
this isnt going to be good for my insomnia..

i walked into the st andrews gymnasium just shortly after 5 tonight.  at 5 they begin serving the community dinner to the poor and homeless of the city.  tonight they had all the tables covered with red and green table clothes for christmas.  i noticed 6 new tables in the large room and faces ive never seen before.  the need for food among those below the poverty level continues to grow here.  these newly added tables and new faces are a silent reminder of that.

paul is the first one to me.

‘are we playing tonight?!’

last week when we canceled street soccer for the week paul was the most upset, or at the very least showed it the most.  his face physically dropped from a giant smile (that he usually wears) to a floor-rattling frown when i told him ‘no street soccer this week’.  some of our guys (paul especially) really look forward to this night together playing sports.  to some it may look like just a game with a round ball and small red nets, to others it means spending time with a community of friends doing something they love.

‘yes we are.’

big hug.  we are a group that loves to hug 🙂

other players get up out of their seats and make their way over.  informal team meeting happens.  more players asking about practice tonight followed by high fives and fist pumps.  i wish i was always this popular.

glen cant play because of a leg injury but decides to do color commentary from an elevated seat on the stage.  glen usually likes to give play-by-plays on the action, with an enthusiasm unmatched by most.  his stories are so seamlessly told along with his commentary that i dont notice the change overs.

‘what a great move by ryan!  that reminds me of the time i moved from east vancouver out to the mountains.  what a rough winter that was.  colder than the north pole, i swear!  i saw more snow that year than i bet you will ever see in your lifetime.  i hope it doesnt snow this winter.  i dont have any winter boots. i sold them for a silver toaster oven so i could touch up on my baking skills.. what a pass!’

thanks, glen.

lots of players out tonight.  some new faces and younger kids.  dylon, who i guess it about 9 or 10 years of age, played on my team with john, who has almost lost his big belly!  he looks so much healthier.  dylon came out with a couple of older at-risk youth who have been out to play a few times.  unsure and slightly hesitant at first, he eventually became comfortable in his new surroundings and played really well.

i get thinking about what type of background dylon comes from and what he goes home to.  foster home?  group home?   it makes me think that we need to do something more intentional with kids of younger ages as well.

fransisco, a relatively new player from chile, is out once again to play.  he has a smooth style to his game thats pretty graceful and fun to watch, even better to play alongside.  only problem is that his english isnt very good and my spanish isnt any better.  communication between us is quite difficult but we manage.  the guys love having him out and playing with him.  he seems quite grateful to have a community of people to belong to and we are more than happy to have him.

after the last game wraps up (a win for val’s skins team), everyone shakes hands and says their goodbyes.  some guys say a short goodbye and leave for home, while others hang out till the last possible moment, soaking in every last bit of time with their teammates and coaches as they can.

starving for community.

nets and balls are put away.  lights go off in the gym.  doors are locked up. couple more hugs shared between friends.

street soccer is over for another week,  and its now time for me to wrestle with the sandman.



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tragedy in kansas

for some of us its just another sunday.  for those in kansas city, this sunday will be much different than last sunday and all the preceding sunday’s leading up to today.  tragedy has a way of doing that.

a couple of days ago, a young professional football player who plays for the kansas city chiefs took a gun and shot his girlfriend, the mother of his newborn baby, multiple times dead.  he then went to the practice facility where he works to thank his coach and general manager for all that they had done for him.  then he turned the gun on himself and took his own life.

we hear about these situations in the news often enough that we become numb to them.  people murder other people.  its a sad reality that we a forced to deal with.  people also take their own lives, leaving behind people who cared for and loved them.

i came across this story because im a sports fan and because im a sports fan i tend to visit sports websites to get my ‘fix’.  what was first reported as a suicide by a football player soon became a story about a football player who committed murder-suicide.

what happened inside that young man’s head?

i read a few of the comments tagged along at the end of one of the articles.  most people were very sympathetic towards the situation, offering their rip’s and condolences.  some people werent as kind and offered their distaste and judgment towards the young man.  i read some very harsh and hurtful things that i hope his family or friends didnt come across.

it amazes me the senselessness that comes out of some peoples mouths and, in this case, fingers at times.

was this simply a case of domestic violence taken to the extreme?  maybe, but maybe not.

football is a violent sport that involves men crashing into each other with tremendous impact, often times injuring players.  many times those injuries cant be seen on an x-ray or be helped with some physiotherapy.  head injuries are very common in a game where men bash their helmets against another man’s.  with enough force, a person’s brain can shake inside their skull and cause damage.  we call this a concussion.  concussions have been shown to contribute to depression, anxiety, mood swings, lack of ability to control stress, loss of social judgment and aggression.
could this young man have been dealing with some mental illness due to head trauma that had flown under the radar?

in a society that stigmatizes people who deal with mental illness, its more common for people to live with unaddressed and undiagnosed mental health issues/illnesses then seek help.  people who wouldnt think of saying a racial or ethnic slur glibly talk about nut cakes, lunatics and crazies.  its no wonder more people dont seek help.

or maybe the young football player just snapped.

in professional football, as in most professional sports, players are more commodities than human beings.  weight, strength, height, 40 time, jersey number, etc.  im just as guilty of it at times, getting frustrated when one of my favorite players has an off-shooting night.  they arent simply numbers on a roster or spreadsheet.  they are people with emotions, sensitivities, dreams, families and lives away from the sports field.  when we dehumanize human beings, should we be shocked when they dont always act human?

whether it was mental illness, a sudden aggressive, irrational mood or something else we are unaware of, it saddens me more than i can articulate in words.  but why?  i didnt know know him, his victim or anyone related or close to them.  i cant explain the why, i simply am.

im learning as i get older i cant nor do i feel the need to explain everything.  some things just are.

rip jb and kp

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