Recent discussion on Canada’s Olympic results both negative and positive are causing me to think. Our athletes and sports programs are not to blame, Canadian society is. We are a wealthy nation and yet we spend far less than smaller nations, or bankrupt nations, on our amateur sports. We cut phys-ed in school and wonder why we have rising health care costs, obesity and sedentary people. Our couch potato ways are reinforced with cities designed for inactivity, cars being couches with wheels.
Canada is the birth place of canoeing and kayaking and we have never medeled. If more Canadians got in a canoe or kayak we would be dominate in the sport. The way we are dominate in hockey because we enroll so many kids the chances of finding greatness increases. The same thing with east African runners, Jamaican sprinters, Brazilian footballers, Romanian gymnasts, American anything and so on. Enrolling more people takes money, not just in schools but communities creating places to play and compete.
Our athletes have to leave to compete and increasingly to train. We need to invest more to bring competition here and the associated spin off businesses. It is more beneficial than corporate subsidies or new roads to nowhere. The commons is something Canadians are losing everywhere, not just for sport but the arts and civic debate or partying. Children are losing their playgrounds, soccer pitches and bits of wilderness to get muddy in.
Direct investment in little leagues and amateur sport will build a healthy Canada and help decrease healthcare costs. Treating sports injuries is cheaper than diabetes and other chronic illnesses from inactive lifestyles. Making access easier would be helpful to, perhaps a sports gear bank like the food banks. I would like to try fencing, Kendo or martial arts but poor people are unwelcome in participating in our society.
Now read the above again replacing athlete with artist, phys-ed with art and music, diabetes with depression and so on. We need to invest in arts because they are the sports of the mind.
I suggest creating a few new home grown leagues for soccer, rugby, etcetera and more competitions for canoeing, kayaking, cycling and beat poetry. I am as guilty as the rest of Canada for not exercising my body as much as my mind. I’ll walk to a further bus stop later.