WATCH: B.C. student with Down syndrome becomes basketball legend
A student with Down syndrome scored a dramatic buzzer-beating three-point shot this past week inspiring his school, province and country.
“He’s got an incredible spirit about him. He’s so positive. Just an awesome, awesome kid.” That’s what Greg Schellenberg, Director of Athletics at Heritage Woods had to say about Reid Demelo following the annual Kodiak Klassic tournament according to City News1130.
The Kodiak Klassic took place in Port Moody, B.C. this past Thursday with the championship game finishing out with the Heritage Woods Kodiaks getting the best of the Kitsilano Blue Demons.
The moment that made this game special was that the final basket was scored by a kid who wasn’t even on the team. With two minutes left in the game, the entire gymnasium began to chant, “We want Reid, we want Reid. And it’s deafening, you can’t ignore it.” said Shellenberg.
Coach Schellenberg walked over to the other team’s bench and asked the rival Blue Demons coach if he could sub in Reid Demelo, a Heritage Woods student with Down syndrome and a loyal fan of all the school’s various sports clubs.
The other coach agreed and with thirty-seconds left Reid was subbed in. Demelo wasted no time barrelling down the court before getting a pass and shooting from behind the three-point line to sink a perfect shot after the buzzer. The post on social media shows the gymnasium going into “absolute mayhem.” It was a great day for sportsmanship and the power of inclusivity.
The Canadian Football League (CFL) is the greatest example of Canadian national pride and the symbolism of Canadiana within a sports setting. Canada has always been a country where diversity is not only accepted but considered a source of strength.
In the mid 20th century, CFL was a place where diversity was accepted, in particular as a playing ground for African-Americans to play football in an environment free of discrimination. The Toronto Argonauts currently operate a platform for anti-bullying efforts and ensuring that youth know that the CFL is a platform for strong Canadian values.
Every fall, the Grey Cup is hosted in a different city each year in Canada and is known outside of the country as our version of the “Super Bowl” as represented in the media. The showcasing of the Grey Cup to a worldwide audience has the ability to represent Canadian patriotism, an idea that we as Canadians hold deeply.
We see true Canadiana every year at the Grey Cup with the Mounties in full uniform. No other sports league invites Canada’s treasured police force to present their trophy. Every time the trophy is handed off, every Canadian should be in awe of how unique and how special our country is.
At the Grey Cup this year, support for Canada’s vital oil and gas industry was on display by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Statements such as these are not seen anywhere else, but on the only stage where true Canadian spirit is showcased.
The acceptance of all athletes and personnel, regardless of race or creed, in the world of sports goes beyond the need for players or a full roster card. It speaks to the fact that Canada is a diverse nation and will always be accepting of any individual without regard to their nationality or ethnicity.
Football is seen as a symbol of homegrown Canadian professional sports with multiple meanings beyond the sport. Canadian universities outnumber American universities in regards to draft numbers and have special Canadian-only selections. There is always a particular emphasis on Canadian talent on every squad.
There are also basic differences between the CFL and the NFL, such as in scoring, ball size, field size. To many, the CFL style of football is like watching an entirely different version of football compared to watching the more hyped NFL-style football.
The CFL is largely seen as a league of diversity, of common values and goals, and a particular Canadian national pride. Those characteristics define in part what being a Canadian stands for.
There is no other major sports league in Canada that is solely Canadian and prides itself on being so. The league may not receive the highest of ratings, but it is the one league we know that is ours and ours alone.
Just watch a game for yourself to feel the heritage while watching. It is a feeling you cannot experience when watching any other sports league. It is the only league that has the word “Canadian” in it.
The past history of the CFL has definitely shaped the way we see its current formation.
The big-name ownership of the Argos (including Wayne Gretzky and John Candy) certainly catapulted the CFL into the much-needed spotlight by the early 1990s. Then a failed experiment in the mid-1990s led to expansion in multiple areas of the United States for a three-year duration; seven teams came and went.
It was this defining moment, where the league realized that they were not an international brand, but that they were Canada’s league, and needed to ensure the country gets behind the league to truly make it something special. It should be known that the commissioner of the league from 1996 to 2000 was John Tory, Toronto’s current mayor. Tory played a big part in saving the league entirely.
There is no doubt that the CFL will continue to display signs of strong Canadian values and culture, showcasing the uniqueness of Canada, and represents a one-of-a-kind point of view of how Canadians view professional sports, being Canada’s sole nationwide major professional sports league.
The CFL defines and moves us Canadians. No other sports league can do this in the ever-changing climate of professional sports.
All writers enjoying respect and popularity in their lifetimes entertain the hope that their work will outlive them. The true mark of a writer’s enduring influence is the adjectification of his (sorry, but it usually is “his”)—name. An especially jolly Christmas scene is said to be “Dickensian.” A cryptically written story is “Hemingwayesque.” A corrupted legal process gives rise to a “Kafkaesque” nightmare for the falsely accused. A ruthless politician takes a “Machiavellian” approach to besting his rival.
But the greatest of these is “Orwellian.” This is a modifier that The New York Times has declared “the most widely used adjective derived from the name of a modern writer … It’s more common than ‘Kafkaesque,’ ‘Hemingwayesque’ and ‘Dickensian’ put together. It even noses out the rival political reproach ‘Machiavellian’, which had a 500-year head start.”
Orwell changed the way we think about the world. For most of us, the word Orwellian is synonymous with either totalitarianism itself or the mindset that is eager to employ totalitarian methods—notably the bowdlerization or suppression of speech and freedoms—as a hedge against popular challenge to a politically correct vision of society dictated by a small cadre of elites.
Indeed, it was thanks to Orwell’s books—forbidden, acquired by stealth and owned at peril—that many freedom fighters suffering under repressive regimes, found the inspiration to carry on their struggle. In his memoir, Adiós Havana, for example, Cuban dissident Andrew J. Memoir wrote, “Books such as … George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 became clandestine bestsellers, for they depicted in minute detail the communist methodology of taking over a nation. These […] books did more to open the eyes of the blind, including mine, than any other form of expression.”
Animal Farm and 1984 are therefore invaluable to young students who are learning their national history and in particular, the spectacular cataclysms of the 20th century that came about as a direct result of totalitarianism on the far right and the far left. Their inclusion was uncontested until recently. A few weeks ago I wrote about a school board in Ontario that had decided, “as a response to TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] calls for action,” to jettison its literary program that had featured giants like Shakespeare and Orwell in order to fill the curriculum with indigenous stories.
This does students a terrible cultural disservice. There’s nothing wrong with non-indigenous students learning about indigenous culture—but they should not be learning at the expense of their own aesthetic and intellectual heritage, which opens young minds to the creeds, principles and events that bind us as a nation.
Collectively those ideas are contained under the umbrella of “liberal democracy,” a set of beliefs and assumptions featuring equality under the law for everyone and the sanctity of individual freedoms. Liberal democracy has, for many decades, suffered setbacks under the rising hegemony of “postmodern” theories and Marxism-based ideologies, headquartered in academia. The new mindset—encapsulated by Orwell’s “some are more equal than others”—has encouraged a state of “velvet totalitarianism” in virtually all university communities.
Indeed, as College Fix editor Daniel Payne pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal op ed on campus speech repression, the university environment today is reminiscent of Animal Farm, where “no one dared to speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.”
But now that I have seen a certain set of teachers’ guidelines to teaching Animal Farm in Grade 10, I am reminded of the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for.” In arguing for the retention of Animal Farm on the high school curriculum, it had not occurred to me that the lessons drawn from it in 2019 would be different from the lessons traditionally drawn—that is to say, the lessons Orwell himself wished to be drawn from it.
Orwell is, however, a dead white European male, and therefore what he intended his book to be no longer carries moral weight—or any weight at all—with educators moulded in a post-truth era. The British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) is a case in point. According to their two-page lesson plan for Animal Farm, the students will:
- Recognize Boxer and other characters, including Benjamin and Clover, as symbols of labour and working people;
- Appreciate some of the struggles of working people as a theme in literature;
- Develop and write a paragraph demonstrating awareness of Boxer or others as a symbol of labour
Poor old “I will work harder” Boxer, perhaps my all-time most memorable literary character. Symbol of “labour” and “working people,” is it? Is “labour” terminally naïve, dim-witted and completely lacking in critical thinking ability? Is “labour” credulous to the point of self-sacrifice? Are “working people” unable to tell the difference between democracy and tyranny?
Of course, Boxer is lovable because he is child-like. He stirs pity in us, but also agitation and distress. He is the strongest animal on the farm, yet he demonstrates to us that physical strength is no use if he who possesses it does not recognize his own oppression and challenge his oppressors, but in fact willingly submits to it (“Napoleon is always right”).
Nowhere in the lesson plan is Boxer alluded to as those in the working class who are exploited by the rich, but who are as well the collateral damage of Marxist ideology and its most disastrous reification in the Soviet Union. In fact suggested “Activities” include the telling of stories—all local —about union strikers in B.C.’s mines, woodworking and Fisherman’s unions who were beaten up or who “died under strange circumstances” (like Boxer, you see). A student with no knowledge of Communism’s terrible history would infer from this lesson plan that “working people” are a monolithic class, and everywhere oppressed in exactly the same way, even though, of the examples of anti-union violence offered in the Activities section, none occurred later than 1937. The word “Soviet” does not appear anywhere in the BCTU notes.
And yet, as Orwell made clear in his preface to the Ukrainian edition of Animal Farm, the book was written with a clear purpose:
On my return from Spain I thought of exposing the Soviet myth in a story that could be easily understood by almost anyone and which could be easily translated into other languages. However, the actual details of the story did not come to me for some time until one day (I was then living in a small village) I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge cart-horse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.
Orwell is respected by both liberals and conservatives precisely because he was even-handed in his criticism of unfettered capitalism and Marxism. He was a socialist himself, but wrote in the same preface, “for the past ten years I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the Socialist movement.”
Withdrawing Orwell’s Animal Farm from the high school curriculum is a form of pedagogical neglect. Laundering the novel’s message to serve as a propaganda tool for ideologues is an abuse of power. Orwell cannot object to this contamination of his legacy. Are B.C. parents satisfied to be “Boxer,” or will they become “aware of their strength” and demand justice for Orwell?
Sportsnet reported earlier today that the Calgary Flames fired their head coach Bill Peters after allegations of racism were made by former player Akim Aliu on Twitter.
They were incorrect. They have pulled their original article and clarified that Bill Peters has not been fired but is under investigation.
On Monday, Aliu claimed that Peters, who he referred to as Mike Babcock’s “protege” had used racial slur against him “several times” while Aliu played for the Chicago Blackhawk’s AHL team, the Rockford IceHogs. Peters had previously been Babcock’s assistant coach.
Aliu tweeted: “Not very surprising the things we’re hearing about Babcock. Apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree, same sort of deal with his protege in YYC. Dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
Tonight, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ended a 29-year championship drought by defeating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33 to 12 in the 107th Grey Cup.
Led by a stifling defence, the dynamic quarterback duo of Zach Collaros and Chris Streveler, and hometown hero running back Andrew Harris, the Bombers were able to stave off the Hamilton Tiger-Cats who were favoured to win the game.
The Grey Cup was played in Calgary, Alberta in front of 35,439
at McMahon Stadium.
The last time the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the Grey Cup was in 1990 when they defeated the Edmonton Eskimos by a score of 50–11.