On February 24th, I wrote that the Own the Podium backers might be disappointed by the medal count. Exultant must be the way they feel now.
Last night a non-CTV channel was running that ad about the boy trying to get enough money for hockey by applying for a part-time job. In my practice I see kids like that, whose parents are on welfare, or single parents, or single-earner families who can’t begin to afford the expense of enrolling them in sports. Some of the lucky ones are in Tim Horton’s programmes.
I recall one unhappy boy in foster care, who got a new family when he was twelve. He couldn’t skate, but now he’s playing hockey, and happier than I’ve ever seen him. Most of that change comes from the support of his foster family, but not a little from being able to play a sport he loves. He and his family are gold medal winners in my book. The money that supports him comes from the Children’s Aid Society. When you are thinking of donations, remember the kids in care. They are ours, through the Crown, our responsibility.
Soccer is the game that matters to many of the kids. Doesn’t cost too much, lots of fun, aerobic, and outside. Summer Olympics are coming. Let’s see some support for the budding summer athletes.

Wealthy people don’t savour the little things in life – The Globe and Mail

Wealthy people don’t savour the little things in life – The Globe and Mail.
This article reports on a two part study which is to appear in Psychological Science. This is the flagship journal of the Association for Psychological Science, so the articles are, I presume, peer reviewed. I was left with questions such as how to measure awe, or joy. These are some of the emotions they claim are reduced in those who have money, or think about money(not necessarily the same people). The second part of the study had observers decide how much an individual was savouring a piece of chocolate by how long it took the individual to devour it, and how much the person appeared to enjoy it; this after seeing a picture of money. Somehow it doesn’t sound very scientific to me, but someone gave them a grant to discover, I suppose, whether money can buy happiness.
The Own the Podium people certainly seem to think that money can buy medals. For a country with a base of thirty million or so people, competing against countries with three hundred million, I think the Canadian athletes are doing very well. They needed better training facilities and better coaches and a great many other things that I have no knowledge about, in order to improve and compete. And they are! However, training and coaching can only go so far. It comes down to muscle length and strength and talent and drive and genetics. These are not for sale.
Some countries identify children as potential athletes, almost in the cradle and train them all their young lives. Even this is no guarantee of success on the day, in the five seconds or five minutes or five hours it takes for an event.
It can’t be predicted on a spreadsheet. The mysterious backers who donated to the effort may be disappointed in the return on their investment, if they only count the medals. Perhaps they are the individuals the psychologists should study.

Black Bloc

News | About Vancouver | Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games | CTV Olympics.

The protest groups at international events as diverse as the G8 and G20 meetings to the Olympics seem to have become fixtures. According to the article above, a group of anarchists move from protest to protest, dressing in black clothing and wearing masks. It seems to me their only real objective is a day out, play-acting their fantasies, and harming other people as they go.
“Oh but we never hurt people,” they cry.
Really? What about the people whose cars they damaged, and the small shop owners who sees a month’s income disappear to pay for broken windows. Whose cars were they: perhaps a young couple just starting out in life, or a single father, or an elderly woman clinging to her independence?
“Oh but the cause, the noble cause,” they answer.
Cowards and thugs, I say, likely escaping from boring, tedious, low-level jobs, if indeed they have any.
Martin Luther King didn’t hide his face. Mahatma Ghandi didn’t draw courage from being part of a mob. Protest on, peaceful and non-violent marchers. The rest of you, leave.