first nations and baha’i youth bond through soccer

A much greater interest in football (soccer) than I’ve ever had before overtook me during this year’s FIFA World Cup. For the first time, I really saw what the ruckus was all about, and saw, despite the divisiveness that can be born from competition, how the communal enjoyment of sport can be a unifying force. That being said, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’d draw your attention to this story from the Baha’i World News Service!

Both teams in prayer before the beginning of the game.First Nations and Baha’i youth bond through soccer

KINGCOME INLET, Canada, 19 September 2006 (BWNS) — It’s not often the players on opposite sides of a soccer team huddle together for prayers before a game.

But neither is it common for outsiders to play in a soccer league that is otherwise composed entirely of Native Canadians.

The Twin Arrows soccer team, made up of young Baha’is from the cities of Victoria, Nanaimo, and Vancouver in British Columbia on Canada’s West Coast recently wrapped up its fifth season playing in a regional soccer league here, which is otherwise made up entirely of First Nations peoples — one of the indigenous communities here.

Established in 1958, the league is composed of teams representing various tribal communities in and around Queen Charlotte Strait, on the northern end of Vancouver Island and also on the mainland.

The Baha’is were invited to join the league in 2002 and since then have managed to fit in well into a league that is as much about community fellowship as it is about high-energy soccer.

“The purpose for our participation is really to build bridges between our two communities,” said Sebastian Titone, 25, a Baha’i from Nanaimo, who is the team captain and head coach of the Twin Arrows. “In Canada, you generally find the native communities on one side and the white/European communities on the other.

“But as Baha’is, we talk about all of us being one people. So we try to be part of cultural events and to make exchanges of friendship. And soccer is really a big part of First Nations community life, and it is one way to engage in community bridging,” said Mr. Titone.

Read the entire story.

chillin’ day

yeah, it was a cold day today, especially for June. Oddly enough, I prefer cold weather. I said that to the guy behind the counter at Bridgehead and he thought I was nuts. Apparently people came to him all day to complain about the weather (along with buying coffee).

So anyway, besides being cold, today was a pretty quiet day. I got up at about 8:00 (on Saturday?!? ya I know.) to go participate in the devotional program for People and the Planet, a biannual conference sponsored by the Sierra Club. One of my neighbours, Diana, is part of an organization called Faith and the Common Good – which gathers representatives from many religions and faith groups and gets them focused on environmental issues – and they were asked to prepare devotions for the conference, which is how I got involved. I guess someone heard I could chant prayers well. It was cool, although I didn’t stay there too long. I saw a few people I recognized – Tazz‘s friend Rhetta was there, for instance.

I needed breakfast, so, after pausing briefly at a local natural food store for a few groceries, I went walking down Elgin and stopped at The Lieutenant’s Pump for Saturday brunch. It was pretty good (read my review on Yahoo) – I got to sit around eating my omelette and watching England and Paraguay beat up on each other at World Cup soccer (sorry… football).

Once I got back home, I started preparing materials for this week’s children’s class. That took me until about one o’clock, when I jumped on my bike and rode off to Julie and Fanfan’s place for the class. Oddly enough, there were no children. We waited until 2:00, still no children. Oops. We chalked it up to a logistical blip and kept the lesson plan ready for a future class. Fanfan came by at around 2:30, and we all watched some more World Cup soccer together as Argentina and Côte d’Ivoire battled it out. Fanfan roots for Argentina and (to be fair) I rooted for Côte d’Ivoire. It was a more interesting game than the England-Paraguay game.

Now? Well, now I’m blogging, hanging around with the cat, and getting ready for bed. I’ll probably take some time to make phone calls tomorrow, and get settled and ready for next week. This past week has been a bit of a trial, with lots of working late and pushing my limits. I think milk and cookies are definitely in order.

women rock

Kelsey is Canadian by kk+ (cc)And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings – one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be. (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, sec. 227, p. 302)

Congratulations to the women among Canada’s Olympians for proving themselves on the global field at the Winter Olympics in Torino. Of 19 medals so far, Canada’s women have brought home 14 – with speed skater Cindy Klassen garnering a whopping 4 medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze). Way to go – we couldn’t be prouder! [update: as of Saturday night, 16 of 24 medals for women. way to go!]

photo by kk+ (creative commons)

first nhl hockey game ever

rue saint-louisOttawa Senators: 3
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 4
Dan Jones: 1

So after narrowly surviving the worst day ever at work, I joined several of my colleagues from work at the newly christened Scotiabank Place (previously the Corel Centre) at my first ever NHL hockey game, starring the Ottawa Senators vs. the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. We had a VIP room (or whatever you call it) all to ourselves – like a hotel room that gives onto the rink. It was heated, catered and everything, with comfy couches and a private washroom. I felt like a little kid at Disneyland or something. it was awesome (and I kept on saying so throughout the evening – just so it was clear). I even caught a hot dog from Spartacat (the Senators’ mascot), and it was wrapped in a signed Senators bandanna. I traded it for a blanket from a colleague whose kids are way bigger hockey fans than I am – I’m not picky. The hot dog was great. Sure, the Sens didn’t win in the end, but it was a good game, and it was fairly won.

Check out the pictures on flickr.

skates

practice jerseysI bought skates at Tim’s. They’re good, comfortable skates! I always tended to make the excuse that my ankles are too weak to skate, but skating just looks like too much fun, so I decided to take action. It turns out my ankles aren’t too weak. Today I went to the Memorial Arena in Navan and just skated around, learning things like how not to fall down, how to go forward, how to turn, etc. There was a nice guy at the arena who encouraged me and gave me pointers on how not to fall down. Thanks, dude, wherever you are now.

Now I’m in love with skating. Tomorrow’s lesson is how to stop without using the boards.