Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity


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Case Study for Kin 6300: How do we Get Syrian Refugees More Involved in Fredericton Rec?

This upcoming Tuesday, Alex (Ries) & I will be doing a workshop on the integration of immigrants in sport and recreation, especially from the lens of John Crompton’s re-positioning theory (check link), which gives strategies for organizations to solve recreation problems. As the first case study, this is a fictional situation below, where Fredericton’s municipal recreation is trying to attract Syrian refugees. The case study incorporates elements of our real-world experiences with research and news stories.  Second years as well, feel free to share your preliminary thoughts! In addition to references, our suggested background readings are also linked below.

For our second case study, time permitting, we will explore the issue of immigrant integration and re-positioning from the sports management perspective, more specifically looking at this article here, namely Joanne Lee-Young’s “Canucks in Canada” about how the Vancouver Canucks are trying to attract Chinese fans & residents to their games. No worries if you don’t get through it! There is a 2-minute video in the link which we will show before class, and we will also give a little background before we go.

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You are the head of a recreation center in Fredericton, and are faced with a challenge of making recreation more accessible and attractive to the many new Syrian refugees who have moved to the city. Indeed, Fredericton has seen more than 500 refugees from Syria move to its neighborhoods in the last year, more than any other city in Canada per capita (South, 2017).

For the most part, Syrian families seem to be integrating well, but there have also been challenges. For instance, a Global News story reported educators at the local Fredericton High School were “overwhelmed” by new refugee students, due to (Bissett, 2016). In fact, just the other day, a camp leader reported a young 7-year-old Syrian boy talking casually about using machine guns (real-life experience; also see Bissett, 2016). Another participant of the same age had social anxiety, exacerbated by an inability to understand his coaches, resulting in him often hiding in a corner during his soccer program (real-life experience). Translators were also hard to find or budget for, resulting in several staff not knowing how to engage new participants (Bissett, 2016).

That said, for every negative story experience a refugee participant had in your recreation programs, there seemed to be ten more positive. One participant won a national award for volunteering, and was now assistant coaching the program she first played in as a participant when coming to Canada two years ago (adapted from Surette, 2017). Another participant reported that the recreation programs created “connection” and “belonging,” allowing him to make many new friends across cultures (YMCA, 2016). Yet another reported hockey to be her favorite sport, despite only trying it in the past year (although, on the whole, you have noticed that refugee participation in Winter sports has been minimal). Indeed, there is lots of evidence that recreation bridges gaps to help immigrant families integrate better into their new communities (Institute for Canadian Citizenship, 2014). As well, many organizations like Fredericton’s Multicultural Association and the YMCA have been leaders helping new refugee families settle in Fredericton (YMCA, 2016).

Still, advocates for refugee groups have noted cost, transport, overly structured programs and a lack of information were big barriers to refugees participating in recreation programs (ICC, 2014, p. 5-6). To help alleviate some of these concerns, the Fredericton government has provided free recreation passes for one year to refugees and has also made bus passes free for off-peak periods (Fraser, 2016; Keefe, 2016). That said, communication and language barriers have still proven a challenge, deterring many parents from signing up their children. You also notice that some children who previously attended programs when free stop attending after the first free year.

As well, when looking at registration rates, you notice a significantly larger number of male refugee participants are participating in sports programs than females, even more than average. One 14-year-old girl in a soccer program for example reported, “We like sports because we’re forbidden from them… There are other girls who’d like to play but their families won’t let them” (This quote is from a real Syrian refugee at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, but is used here to illustrate specific issues around the participation of female immigrants in sport; from Whitman, 2014).

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Given the above, the challenge of how to better “sell” recreation options will be considerable. Fortunately, however, you have learned about re-positioning and theoretical concepts from Kin 6300, which can help you navigate these difficult waters! Given this, some questions to ponder:

  • How do you best “sell” recreation options to new Syrian refugees (especially grls)? As well, how do you adapt recreation offerings to make options more attractive? In particular, consider using re-positioning strategies help navigate your analysis: Would you use real, associative, competitive or psychological positing here?
  • How can you ensure different strategies that are implemented are sustainable in the long-term? How do you implement these strategies with limited budgets?
  • There are many issues around immigrant recreation that you brought up in the case. How are these similar/ different to other recreations trends we have discussed in class (e.g. with concerns about structure, inclusion or female participation)?

Immigrants in Recreation

 


References

Bissett, K. (July 2016). Sudden influx of Syrian refugees overwhelmed N.B. high school: documents. Global News. Retrieved from: https://globalnews.ca/news/2811724/sudden-influx-of-syrian-refugees-overwhelmed-n-b-high-school-documents.

Keefe, J. (January 2016). Syrian Refugees in Fredericton Presented with Bus Passes, Teddy Bears. Global News. Retrieved from: https://globalnews.ca/news/2468509/syrian-refugees-in-fredericton-presented-with-bus-passes-teddy-bears.

Smith, G. (July 2014) Playing Together: New Citizens, Sports & Belonging. Institute of Canadian Citizenship. Retrieved from: https://www.icc-icc.ca/en/insights/docs/sports/PlayingTogether%20Full%20Report.pdf

South, A. (January 2017). Fredericton welcomed more Syrians per capita than other Canadian cities: multicultural association. Global News. Retrieved from: https://globalnews.ca/news/3192030/fredericton-welcomed-more-syrians-per-capita-than-other-canadian-cities-multicultural-association.

Whitman, E. Syrian Refugees Find Normalcy in Football. Al-Jazeera. Retrieved from: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/syrian-refugees-football-201462812734250415.html.

YMCA Canada. (2016). Building Communities for Syrian Refugees. YMCA. Retrieved from: http://ymca.ca/CWP/media/YMCA-National/Documents/Standalone%20documents            YMCA_SyrianSpecialReport_2016_ENG-final.pdf.

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Suggested Background Readings:

Bissett, K. (July 2016). Influx of Syrian Refugees Overwhelmed N.B. School. MacLean’s. Retrieved from: http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/sudden-influx-of-syrian-refugees-overwhelmed-n-b-high-school-documents.

CityNews. (April 2017). Canada 150: Immigrant Parents on their First Brush with Hockey. Retrieved from: https://toronto.citynews.ca/video/2017/04/11/canada-150-immigrant-parents-on-their-first-brush-with-hockey.

Crompton, J. (April 2009). Strategies for Implementing Re-Positioning of Recreation Services. Managing Leisure, 14. Retrieved from: http://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/cromptonrpts/files/2011/06/strategiesforimplementingrepositioningleisureservices_1.pdf.

(2nd Case Study for Analysis, Time-Permitting) Lee-Young, J. Canucks in China: Team Reaches Out to Old and New Fans at Home and Across China. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from: http://vancouversun.com/sports/hockey/nhl/vancouver-canucks/vancouver-canucks-reach-out-to-old-and-new-chinese-fans-at-home-and-across-china.

Pace, Natasha. (February 2017). Winter by the Sea. Global News. Retrieved from: https://globalnews.ca/tag/winter-by-the-sea.

Smith, G. (July 2014) Playing Together: New Citizens, Sports & Belonging. Institute of Canadian Citizenship. Retrieved from: https://www.icc-icc.ca/en/insights/docs/sports/PlayingTogether%20Full%20Report.pdf

Craig, L. (January 2009). Where are the Minorities?. CBC Sports. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/where-are-the-minorities-1.835849.


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An Alternative Model for Partnership: The Collective Impact Model

We had a great class discussion last Tuesday about Milena Parent & Jean Harvey’s management model for community-based sports partnerships. In particular, a highlight for me was hearing about the real-life experiences, challenges & opportunities that  classmates had working in partnerships: Truly, it seems, working with partners can be simultaneously some of the most rewarding experiences one can have in sport/ recreation, and yet also the most frustrating!

For me, the topic of partnership is so interesting, as it represents (arguably) one of the best ways to make a broad impact in a wider community. As John Kania and Mark Kramer write in “Collective Impact,” “large scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination” (2011, p. 36). In other words, organizations that work with partners have a much greater potential to make a long-lasting impact on organizations than working alone. Indeed, for this reason, Parent & Harvey note partnerships have increasingly become commonplace in sport management (2011).

Yet, partners often come from different places, with different agendas and ways of working. In my experience and as seen from our class discussion, “getting on the same page” can be quite the challenge. Thus, what Parent & Harvey (2009) do is quite innovative in creating a Partnership Model for community sport where “no [such] clear model” had previously existed (p. 24). As of their writing in 2009, they were certainly pioneers in the field, but for this blog post, I will explore an alternative partnership model that has been developed since their article.

 

A Reminder of Parent & Harvey’s Model

As we discussed Parent & Harvey’s Partnership Model model in class in some detail, I will not go through it too much, although have shown it below as comparison (2009, p. 27):

Partnership Model, KIN 6300 (Fall 2017)

A Different Partnership Model: Collective Impact

Writing in 2011  in the “community development” field, Kania & Kramer developed another model which has created much buzz: The Collective Impact model, cited over 1,000 times according to Google Scholar. This is also actively used in many organizations as a guiding framework with which to work with others. Indeed, in my own work/ volunteer experience working with Halifax Recreation and the community, non-profit sports organization, Halifax PLAYS, the Collective Impact model was frequently used to set standards whenever working with other partners.

How does the model work? First, Kania & Kramer make a strong case for why organizations should shift from an “isolated impact” framework which competes with other social causes (e.g. for funding) to a “collective” framework which works with others in the community to maximize one’s impact. As one example, the authors acclaim the contributions of Strive, a program in Cincinnati which “brought together local leaders to tackle the student achievement crisis [in that area] and improve education throughout greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky” (2011, p. 36). Although initially made of disparate organizations with varying goals, an approach similar to the one they describe in the collective impact model allowed these different groups to effectively work together to find tremendous success in their joint goals.

The second contribution the authors make is to lay out, similar to Parent & Harvey, the ideal five conditions for collective impact, which are nicely summarized in the graphic below (published in the Collective Impact Forum website, 2014; developed form Kania & Kramer, 2011, and also discussed in Hanleybrown et al., 2012):

Collective Impact Model, KIN 6300 (Fall 2017)

 

Similarities & Differences of the Two Models

In truth, there are many similarities between the models: For instance, both frameworks talk about the importance of shared goal-setting/ getting on the same page, and give importance to the need for consistent evaluation: Here, Kania & Kramer’s “Shared Measurement” is very similar to Parent & Harvey’s “Evaluation” components. Similarly, the two models agree on the importance of communication and having “mutually reinforcing activities,” although Parent & Harvey’s Partnership Model is more detailed in how they break things down. As well, with both models, there is also emphasis on how different parts of the models all feed back into each other.

That said, there are some key differences between the models: First, the Collective Impact model is simplified, likely as its audience is largely non-profits or other organizations, whereas the Partnership Model is designed as a way to consolidate research on partnerships, hence tailored to a more academic audience. As well, the two models have some differences in how they recommend structuring partnerships: The Partnership Model notes the importance of “structure,” “power balance, “leadership” and clear roles (Parent & Harvey, 2009, p. 27), but the Collective Impact framework goes even further. Here, a very specific way is prescribed for most effective partnerships, namely establishing a “Backbone Organization” which could be a partner itself or another created party which is directly responsible for the ultimate management and coordination of the partnership.

 

Why I Like Collective Impact & How It’s Been of Use

While I think the Partnership Model is great, the Collective Impact framework is one that I have used before, and that is “tried and tested” for me. Indeed, in one notable case, I recall a partnership in Halifax that involved several organizations with a goal to improve physical activity levels at a school in North End Halifax, a poorer part of the town: Here, the local school board, Halifax Recreation (the municipality, Halifax PLAYS (where I served as president), Sport NS, & 12+ other sport organizations all came together to introduce youth in the North End to new sports.

However, at first, the partnership had challenges, as each partner was looking for something different: the school board wanted its gyms used more by the community, Halifax Rec was looking to implement more programming, Halifax PLAYS pitched the idea and looked at the project as a way to diversify the population it served, with Sport NS’s organizations were more interested in increasing overall participation in their particular sports. As well, there were no clear standards of measurement at the start and an unclear leadership structure, although everyone was contributing. That first year, although there were many successes, outcomes were not as promising as hoped.

With such initial challenges, we (Halifax PLAYS) suggested the Collective Impact framework as a way to structure the partnership. With this, a much clearer structure was set for the partnership, as seen by our “getting on the same page” the next year:

  • Common Agenda: After some debate, organizations agreed to a shared goal of increasing the number of affordable sports options for the North End.
  • Shared Measurement: Registration rates/ trends for individual programs would be carefully analyzed, with retention/ long-term participation helping judge success
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities: The school board gives space, Halifax PLAYS provides contacts and advertising, sport organizations come and visit, Sport NS serves as a key liaison, and HRM Rec manages registrations & staff.
  • Continuous Communication: We are always talking to each other & keeping everyone updated. This was especially important at the start and continues today.
  • Backbone Support: HRM Rec takes over the role as the key organizer, managing registrations, having key responsibilities for measurement, arranging staffing support, scheduling the various sport organizations that come visit & much more. The recreation coordinator of a local center is identified as the key contact point.

The result? Although there are still challenges, the partnership in its second year has proven more successful, with a much clearer direction. HRM Rec’s explicit assignment as the Backbone Organization has been most key, and has arguably created the biggest difference in the partnership: Simply, from a leadership standpoint, the first year had unclear roles, with folks unsure of who to go to in a time of crisis. With HRM taking more explicit leadership the second year, there is much clearer responsibility. Hence, the Collective Impact framework has helped greatly to strengthen our partnership. Since then, I have also used this framework for other projects, and found it very useful.

At the end of the day, whichever frameworks you might prefer, I think some kind of structure is important in partnerships, to establish a firm sense of how partners should work together: With so many different goals & ideas from different organizations, it can be easy to get lost without that structure. As we all develop partnerships of your own in future work, I hope you will also consider using these, or other, frameworks!

 

A Last Note: Acknowledging Christina’s Recommendation of Another Framework

As a final note, although I have not looked into it as much, want to also relay another book  recommended by Christina which looks at partnership frameworks. I have not looked at this in as much depth, but the book explores 21 different collaboration success factors, and is Collaboration: What Makes it Work (2001) by Paul W. Mattessich.

Thank you for passing this on, Christina, & am hoping to check it out!

Colloboration Front Cover, KIN 6300 (Fall 2017)

 

References

Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work Webinar Presentation. (2013). In Collective Impact Forum. Retrieved from: https://collectiveimpactforum.org/resources/channeling-change-making-collective-impact-work-webinar-presentation.

Hanleybrown, F., Kania, J. & Kramer, M. (Winter 2012). Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work. Stanford Social Innovation Review, p. 1-8. Retrieved from: https://ssir.org/pdf/Channeling_Change_PDF.pdf.

Kania, J. & Kramer, M. (Winter 2011). Collective Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review, p. 36-41. Retrieved from: https://volunteer.ca/content/ssir-collective-impact.

Mattessich, P.W. (2001). Colloboration: What Makes it Work. Saint Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.


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Structured vs. Unstructured Play: Analysis of Emily Deruy’s “Learning to Play”

UPDATE: Have added a reference list to the post, and some pictures that were in the initial word version but which may not have gone through earlier. Sorry it’s taken a while to get everything in here. Have been enjoying looking through the other posts :).

Summary of the Article

            My article for the midterm was “Learning Through Play” by Emily Deruy (2016), and was a very interesting one on recess times and play. In brief, this article looks at recess in American schools, and especially how to make play during recess times more effective for school districts.

More specifically, the article cites a worrying statistic where 40% of school districts had “reduced or cut down recess” after implementation of the federal No Child Left Behind act which emphasized scores on standardized tests (Deruy, 2016). Indeed, for many schools, recess and its associated play was seen as a “source of a disproportionate number of discipline issues and a headache for administrators” (Deruy, 2016). Yet, there is strong research which indicates that “play is one of the most important ways in which children learn” with multiple benefits, including improving “children’s physical health and social and emotional learning” (Deruy, 2016; Playworks, 2017).

Here, in an attempt to resolve concerns with play, while also recognizing its importance to children, Deruy looks at a particular initiative to make recess more effective at American schools: the Playworks project developed by Jill Vialet, which in 2016 had been active in 1,200 schools (2016). Through Playworks, a certain amount of structure and “adult direction” is introduced to play during recess times, and the goal is to allow for children to “play safely and meaningfully” (Deruy, 2016 quoting Vialet). To quote their website, instead of assuming that “play should happen organically” (Deruy, 2016), Playworks attempts to intentionally “create play environments that help kids be their best” (Playworks, 2017). How so? The organization sends or trains coaches who then “[teach] kids games and facilitate positive interactions between students” (Deruy, 2016). Teachers also play a more active role in the Playworks framework, no longer just sitting on the sidelines, but actively starting games, going around the playground, mediating conflicts and encouraging participation (Deruy, 2016). Importantly, the approach also emphasizes not using play as a means of punishment.

The results? The program seems to have found success on many measures, and is well-liked by schools. Indeed, the article reports that “conflicts have decreased, cooperation is up, and students are more likely to focus and participate in classroom activities” (Deruy, 2016). Yet, Playworks has also received criticism for being too structured, although Vialet feels that the structured vs. unstructured debate creates a “false dichotomy” (Deruy, 2016). Indeed, proponents have argued the addition of some structure has actually promoted more opportunities for kids “directing their own play” and developing games for themselves, creating a good balance of what children need (Deruy, 2016).

Playworks

 

Many Questions to Raise and One to Explore

            As you read the article, there are many questions that are raised that are worth considering, although some, listed below, we will not have time to explore:

  • What kind of effect do policies like No Child Left Behind have that promote test scores as a standard for measuring educational efficacy? As we see in the article, the policy has not just an effect on academic achievement, but also on play, physical activity and recreation, that is worth exploring. More broadly, how does an academic-focused culture help/ hurt recreation?
  • Reflecting back on the partnership readings (Parent & Harvey, 2010), the Playworks initiative looks to be a project that has connected many partners including the public, private and non-profit sectors. However, as discussed in class and also in the Parent & Harvey (2010) reading, evaluation is an important aspect of successful partnerships. So, my question: How might we measure success of the Playwork initiative? What factors (rates of disciplinary action, physical activity levels, social inclusion) should we focus on when evaluating this/ other play initiatives?
  • What are appropriate ways to punish bad behavior? The article for instance mentions that neither physical activity (e.g. doing laps) or taking away recess time should not be used to punish bad behavior (Deruy, 2016). Yet, working in recreation management, this is probably the most frequent question front-line leaders ask: What is the most effective and ethical way to punish a child? On the flip side what are effective reward systems that could be employed?
  • Also, more generally, what are the benefits of play? This is a broad question with a lot of research support, but looking into what literature says about specific benefits of play, especially around physical activity would be an interesting exercise!

While all the above are important questions worth consideration, and by themselves worthy of developing a very detailed analysis, there is one question I will focus on for the purposes of this blog post: What is the ideal balance we should promote between structured and unstructured play?

Learning Through Play

 

Some History on my Own Internal Conflict About Play

            The article really was a fascinating read, especially as it explored the tension that is often seen between structured versus unstructured play. Indeed, reflecting on my personal history, I have been an advocate and player on both sides of the equation at different times: For instance, between 2015 and 2016, I had managed a school site for an afterschool program (Excel) with the Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB) which had a mandate to promote structured play. Indeed, not unlike the article, unstructured play was seen by management there as causing too many disciplinary issues and not being conducive to reaching physical activity goals. Indeed, my particular site was often praised by Excel management for how structured it was: Quite literally, from 3:15 PM to 6 PM, every minute of every day was planned out, and even “free time” was very controlled.

Yet, on the flipside, even though much of my professional work has been on the “structured” side,” my “heart” has increasingly leaned towards unstructured play. Perhaps, this is reflective of my childhood: Growing up in Saudi Arabia, I had never been part of a sports program, but played sports constantly in an unstructured fashion. I had never really “fit in” at school, but still looked forward to recess as a break from a structured day. Indeed, closer to home, I have been involved in Halifax as a Board Member of an organization called “Adventure Play” (link in references) which explicitly promotes unstructured, risky play and a move away from the over-scheduling which I excelled in when I worked professionally with the school board or many other recreation programs.

So, where do I sit in the end on the structured versus unstructured debate? Probably somewhere in the middle, although I am honestly still figuring it out. This article however really got me thinking, and I will next look at what I liked and did not like about some of the approaches from Playworks it describes, culminating in a re-evaluation of where I might fit in the spectrum.

Where I Agreed with the Playworks Approach

            On a general note, I do think the Playworks approach has a lot going for it. Indeed, I have been a recess/ lunch monitor in the past, and can share the frustration expressed in the Deruy article that many adults monitoring recesses tend to be disengaged and sitting on the sidelines, as opposed to taking an active role playing with kids or creating positive experiences (2017). Indeed, in my professional life, I have also been a High Five trainer (a quality standard used for recreation in many Canadian institutions), where I actively teach guidelines about how adults should guide play. Here, this can also be related to the reading in class from Barcelona and Young, which emphasizes the need for training of sport coaches (2010). Similarly, “staff training for recess” is also cited as a key recommendation in the Minnesota Department of Education’s article on the matter (Alholm et al., 2013; also see the guidelines recommend by SHAPE America, 2017). As such, I would agree that some level of staff training should be required for those monitoring recess times.

As well, another area of agreement is the focus on peer to peer learning that is described in the article. Indeed, while at Excel, one of my proudest achievements was to implement a version of the Canadian-wide “Playground Active Leaders” or PALS program, where older elementary school students were taught skills to allow them to lead activities for younger kids as volunteers (See the Leisure Information Network, 2017 for a summary of this program).  Indeed, research shows that such youth leadership opportunities has a huge effect in boosting self-esteem and community engagement in youth, and also creates greater enjoyment for the children being led (Jones et. al, 2009).

As a third point of agreement, I also appreciated the emphasis that the article made on children who are sometimes “left behind” (Deruy, 2016). Indeed, the bullying organization, Prevnet, cites research that indicates bullying is “more prevalent in the playground” than the classroom, with the lack of supervision during playground time one reason for this (Craig et al., 2007). To this regard, the Playworks approach seems to have had success, with kids more willing to play.

Some Points of Disagreement

            Perhaps my biggest “beef” with the Playworks approach was its focus on conflict, or the lack thereof, as a key measure for how play should be judged. Indeed, when at Excel, I recall debating with my management that the number of “Incident” or “Accident” reports should not be seen as a measure of how well a program is doing: Here, I argued that conflict is an inevitable part of play and should not require frequent mediation by adults, and also that injuries are naturally going to occur in active play and should not be something to fear. For instance, in promoting unstructured play, Josephine Connolly-Shoonen of the Heart Links Project argues that children must have opportunities to “cooperate, share and solve problems” themselves and to work out “conflicts of everyday life” (2017). Similarly, in “An Investigation of Unstructured Play in Nature and its Effect on Children’s Self-Efficacy,” Starling (2011) argues that resolving conflict is a part of children’s self-efficacy and is something to promote. As well, Karen Stephens argues that “some bickering and conflict in childhood helps kids discover positive ways of resolving disagreements” (2007, p. 1). To this end, the Playworks approach of giving “tools” for children to resolve conflicts is supported by me, but having adults actively “mediating” conflicts (except in case of extreme circumstances) is something I would discourage: Children need space to disagree (Deruy, 2016). As such, measuring the success of programs by the amount of conflict prevented is not recommended.

Another area of disagreement is whether recess is the place to have an initiative like Playworks, or whether this would be incorporated better at other parts of the day: In other words, I worry about sacrificing more unstructured, free time during recess with the Playworks approach, and would prefer if the kind of semi-structured play they recommend was instead taught at in the school day. Indeed, I reflect on my own experiences as a child where I needed that time to “unwind” and worry that creating more structure into recess will not be as effective, even if the teachings given to kids from the Playworks approach is very valuable. Indeed, after much consideration of different sides of the issue, Hyndman suggests that one should “explore school playground interventions that promote ‘unstructured’ active play during school breaks” (Hyndman, p. 65). As an example of unstructured interventions, research has also shown that “greening” or adding more natural elements in schools can have an effect on both promoting unstructured play but also achieving some of the same goals that Playworks espouses to, such as reducing conflict, social inclusion of others and increased physical activity (NSW Government, 2015). Similarly, playing with loose parts has also been shown to have similarly positive effects while promoting unstructured play (Maxwell et al., 2008).

Where I End Up

            After all this, where would I end up in the structured versus unstructured spectrum? Truthfully, I am still uncertain, although think the Playworks approach is one that deserves more research, with more scientifically validated evaluations also recommended to see its effectiveness (related to one of my initial questions). In the end, I believe a balance does need to be struck in between structure and unstructured play: For instance, I think it does greatly benefit to teach kids different strategies around inclusion in games and conflict resolution. However, I do worry that teaching kids what games to play can limit creativity, and think an approach where teachers only step in during conflict emergencies is a better approach than one where they step in during other times. As well, I see value in the training the program provides, but wonder whether this should this done during recess? From my perspective, I feel such teaching should happen during the school day, where recess I believe should remain a place for kids to have that “free play time.” Your thoughts?

See-Saw

 

References

Alholm, Lisa et al. (2013) Recess Moves: A Tooolkit for Quality Recess!. Minnesota Department of Education. Retrieved from: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/docs/2014/other/140500.pdf.

Brendon, H. (January 02, 2015). Where to Next for School Playground Interventions to Encourage Active Play? An Exploration of Structured and Unstructured School Playground Strategies. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 8 1), p. 56-67.

Maxwell, Lorraine E., Mari R. Mitchell, and Gary W. Evans (2008). Effects of Play Equipment and Loose Parts on Preschool Children’s Outdoor Play Behavior: An Observational Study and Design Intervention. Children, Youth and Environments 18 (2), p. 36-63. Retrieved from: http://www.colorado.edu/journals/cye

Connolly-Schoonen, Josephine (2017). Thinking Outside the Sandbox: the Importance of Unstructured Play in Children. The Heart Links Project. Retrieved from: http://www.stonybrook.edu/heartlinks/unstructuredplay.pdf

Craig, W.M., Pepler, D.J., & Atlas, R. (2000). Observations of Bullying in the Playground and in the Classroom. School Psychology International, 21(1), 22-36.

Maxwell, Lorraine E., Mari R. Mitchell, and Gary W. Evans (2008). Effects of Play Equipment and Loose Parts on Preschool Children’s Outdoor Play Behavior: An Observational Study and Design Intervention. Children, Youth and Environments 18 (2), p. 36-63. Retrieved from: http://www.colorado.edu/journals/cye

NSW Government Family & Community Services (2015). Play and Leisure Practice Guide for Occupational Therapists who Support People with Disability. Retrieved from: https://www.adhc.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/file/0006/338172/Play_and_Leisure_Core_Standard_Practice_Guide_access.pdf

Playground Activity Leaders in Schools (P.A.L.S.) (2017). Leisure Information Network. Retrieved From: http://lin.ca/success-stories/playground-activity-leaders-schools-pals.

Society of Health and Physical Educators (2017). Strategies for Recess in Schools. Retrieved from: https://portal.shapeamerica.org//uploads/pdfs/recess/SchoolRecessStrategies.pdf

Starling, Paul E. (2011) An Investigation of Unstructured Play in Nature and its Effect on Children’s Self-Efficacy. University of Pennsylvania Scholarly Commons. Retrieved from: http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1016&context=edissertations_sp2

Stephens, Karen (2007). Teaching Children to Resolve Conflict Respectfully. Parenting Exchange. Retrieved from: http://www.easternflorida.edu/community-resources/child-development-centers/parent-resource-library/documents/teaching-kids-to-resolve-conflicts-respectfully.pdf

The Community of Youth Workers Union (2006). The Benefits of Play and Playwork. Retrieved from: http://www.playscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/Documents/CYWUResearchComplete.pdf

What We Do (2017). Playworks. Retrieved from: https://www.playworks.org/about/what-we-do

Disclosure: Internal sources are not cited here. Also, in full disclosure, time limited my ability to read all of the above in as much detail as might be preferred, with most articles skimmed. However, some of the articles were ones familiar to me in past research on play, and every effort was made to ensure my representation of any article was as accurate as possible. Also, some organizations/ former employers had been referred to in passing during the article, and links are here: Adventure Play, Excel and High FIVE.


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American Football and Politics

This article written by Vann R. Newkirk II explores a hot button topic in today’s sporting climate which I find extremely fascinating. The central theme of the piece is in regards to how football is the most popular sport in the United States and is seen as a platform for common ground between sports and politics in American society. Interestingly enough, the author feels as though the perceived image of the peaceful divide between football and politics is a farce and has been exposed by recent events such as the Colin Kaepernick protest and the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election to office.

As football has become a fully integrated sport with a large percentage of African American athletes, the one compromise was that the sport itself would not extend into politics. Sports can be seen as an escape from the issues on the outside and any type of connection to political issues in particular can affect the product on the field or the enjoyment one gets from it. In a nutshell, sport has become much more commercialized than it once was and this almost makes it a necessity to separate it completely from any form of politics. Moreover, “the popular appeal of sport increased significantly during the course of the twentieth century (and)…its closer links with the corporate world over this period transformed the institution of sport” (Smart, 2007). Furthermore, from some people’s perspective, “sport is seen to be nothing more than just another generic business enterprise subject to the usual government regulations, market pressures and customer demands” (Smith & Stewart, 2010). There is a lot of money at stake when it comes to the NFL and its primary stakeholders will go to great lengths to ensure that controversy is mitigated as much as possible. One of the most interesting points brought up within the article is how football has replaced religion as the most popular social activity in the American South. In a sense, “southern sports teams embrace the notion that attendance and participation by competitors and fans alike have made the activity, especially collegiate football, the new locus of religion passion” (Lewis, 2013). As total attention has shifted to the sport, every small issue within its ecosystem begins to become more and more magnified. Football is so much more than just the product on the field these days – it is something that completely consumes American life. There is a constant news cycle that comes with the NFL as there are major stories and developments every day of the year essentially. The amount of reverence the league has because of its constant action and developing issues is astounding. The divide between football and politics which had lasted for so long was so stark. The seemingly inconspicuous act of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner sent ripples through not only the NFL, but American society in general because of the established separation between football and politics. The election of Donald Trump further compounded the growing unrest as Trump chose to call out Kaepernick and anyone else who chose to support his cause and join the protest. At the end of the day, the NFL has so much power within American culture and over time, they should be able to sweep the issue of political unrest creeping into the sport under the rug.  However, Kaepernick’s actions helped reveal a side of the NFL that we were not privy to before. Several players chose to use their platform as an opportunity to speak out and drive potential change within society. In my humble opinion, any player who chooses to break the norms and make a stand is extremely brave and deserve respect. It takes courage to stand in the face of criticism and fight for what you believe in.

From a personal perspective, the aftermath of the NFL political drama was very surprising to me and made me critically evaluate why people support the NFL and its member teams. As an ardent fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team located in the deep South, I was able to witness firsthand a large contingent of fans who were extremely upset with the team after anthem protests in Week 3’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. During the national anthem before the game, a substantial portion of Jaguars players took a knee during the anthem while most of the other players stood and locked arms. Additionally, the team’s owner Shad Khan, chose to be on the sideline and lock arms with the players as well in an act of solidarity. I was moved by this action and thought it was really empowering. Khan, originally from Pakistan, was a known supporter of Donald Trump during his campaign and donated a substantial amount of money to his campaign. For him to stand in the face of Trump and admit that his stance on the political debate was not just was a major step for social justice in my view. However, as a result of the team’s protest, a plethora of fans and supporters of the team vocally expressed displeasure of the incidents that occurred before the game. I witnessed several accounts of people posting on the team’s Facebook or Twitter accounts proclaiming that they were surrendering their season tickets and not following the team until they apologize for their actions. Furthermore, even Jacksonville’s mayor Lenny Curry said “I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and anthem…I think it’s stupid to do otherwise” (DiRocco, 2017). I was surprised by this backlash and did not realize the amount of people that were so against these peaceful protests.

While I do understand that political issues within the realm of the NFL are a very controversial topic, I personally feel as though the players have the right to express themselves however way they wish to. Consequently, it was a shock to the system to see so many Jaguars fans making such strong claims following the team’s protest. This entire event made me re-think about the essence of sport and the reasons behind people’s support for players or teams. The motivation behind fan support varies a great deal and some people can be swayed by certain actions. In this case, the political protests disrupted the core values of some fans and forced them to re-evaluate their allegiances. While I cannot relate to these feelings, I do understand their perspective in a sense. Fandom can be fickle – especially when politics enter the framework.

Discussion Questions to Consider:

  • If political protests continue to persist during NFL games, will the league become less popular in the realm of American sports?
  • What can be done by NFL owners and other stakeholders (sponsors, community partners, etc.) to mitigate the outside pressure while keeping players happy at the same time?
  • Is there a particular reason why political protests have not occurred as frequently in NCAA Football as they have in the NFL? Does average age of athlete play a factor?
  • Is Colin Kaepernick not an NFL roster today because of his lack of ability or because of the perceived distractions or issues owners/general managers feel he would bring to a team?
  • What steps can NFL owners take to find common ground with the players and eliminate the need for unrest between the two parties?

References

DiRocco, M. (2017, September 26). Jacksonville mayor: Players’ decision to kneel for anthem ‘stupid’. Retrieved October 31, 2017, from http://www.espn.com/blog/jacksonville-jaguars/post/_/id/22695/jacksonville-mayor-players-decision-to-kneel-for-anthem-stupid

Lewis, T. T. (2013). Religious rhetoric in southern college football: New uses for religious metaphors. Southern Communication Journal, 78(3), 202-214.

Smart, B. (2007). Not playing around: global capitalism, modern sport and consumer culture. The Author(s) Jorunal, 7(2), 113-134.

Smith, A. C., & Stewart, B. (2010). The special features of sport: A critical revisit. Sport Management Review, 13(1), 1-13.

Accompanying content:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXTTnkmgS1A – Example of Jaguars fan(s) speaking out following the protests in London

https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/jacksonville/anthem-protest-divides-jacksonville-jaguars-fans – Further examples of Jaguars fans actions and thoughts following the team’s protest


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“Professional” Sports – Inside Junior Hockey

Part 1: Summary

Sam Berg, while not bound for stardom being a 14th round pick in the OHL, had professional aspirations in the game he loved. His unbridled enthusiasm was evident, as he “jumped off the wall” (Cibola, 2015) when he received the phone call alerting him that he was drafted. There was nothing stopping him from having every opportunity to achieve his dream; that is, until he did not make the OHL and a shoulder injury derailed his career altogether.

Berg however, had academic aspirations as well. He had signed a contract with McMaster University, allotting a full scholarship for Berg to play on the hockey team. To Berg’s dismay, said contract was not upheld by the OHL; they had not even signed it. Outraged, Berg turned to class-action lawyer Ted Charney, who convinced the teenager that there was more at stake. Together, they launched a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League.

The class-action lawsuit has since gained traction; the group of former players demand minimum wage, holiday pay, and basic Canadian employee rights. This however, like any social-movement, is accompanied by scorn, criticism, and outrage from the public. As the status-quo begun to be challenged, Berg received the brunt of it all (including from his grandfather). He has undertaken a cause that he believes to be just, and while it may “ruin” the Canadian junior hockey system, it is well within his rights as a Canadian citizen to do so.

Now, years later, Berg has no ties to the game he once loved (other than the impending lawsuit). He has cleared his room of all memories, stopped following the sport at the professional level, and speaks cynically when addressing hockey altogether. The issue is quite prevalent, as many will be affected by the outcome of Berg’s class-action case. Its reach extends far beyond junior hockey players, and into the communities in which they play, and those living in said communities. Changing junior hockey changes Canada.

 

Part 2: Critical Analysis

            Junior hockey is widely seen as “hockey in its purest, most sacred form” (Cibola, 2015). It connects Medicine Hat to Chicoutimi, transcends culture, race, religion, and unifies the country by cheering for teenagers who are attempting to pursue their dreams. Fans buy tickets, jerseys, and merchandise, ultimately sustaining these small-market teams, so much so, that these players are afforded the opportunity to play the game they love. Junior hockey however, has been touted as being the junior league most likened to the NHL in the world; it prides itself on its professional makeup. These professional aspirations transcend all levels of the league; the general managers have professional aspirations, as do the coaches, players, and even the mascots! These aspirations are what drive the negative experience that Berg outlines in his case against the CHL. Junior hockey is caught somewhere between a unifying community organization and a professional hockey league. Despite its shortcomings, much like my position on professional sports in general, has the opportunity to offer great things to a plethora of people. The given negatives in large part fueled by capitalistic aspirations, can be eclipsed by the many positives. The CHL is lesser of all evils in “professional” sports.

Junior hockey, despite offering quite a bit to their surround communities, do not necessarily appease Foster and Hyatt’s “fan nation paradigm” (2008); the fickleness of the leagues truly impedes their ability to do so. Despite seeing pictures of Brad Richards and Sidney Crosby within the halls of the Colisee de Rimouski, it is posited by Mason, Duquette, and Scherer that the actual arena is not seen as a part of the heritage or nostalgia; it is in fact the act of attending the game and watching the stars on the ice that satisfy that criteria (2006). Despite the limitations junior hockey has in relation to fandom, it still does benefit the communities at large; many do so without turning a profit.

As cited in the article, only one third of CHL teams earn a profit, while one third break even, and one third run deficits. Despite professional aspirations within said organizations, there are philanthropic agendas amongst the owners of many of these franchises. Many owners purchase and operate their respective teams in the interest of the city they love. Hundreds are employed, tourism (albeit minor), is brought to the cities, and players are given the opportunity to achieve their dreams, while all being qualified to subsidized (or free) post-secondary education upon completion of their junior careers. Those however, are not the only benefits players receive.

In addition to an education, players receive weekly allowances. Typically, they fare $60/week, but this is simply spending money. Billets offer their homes (and fridges) to these athletes, housing and feeding them throughout the season. On the road, meals are paid for by the team. Equipment is purchased by the team, apparel, and on many occasions, formalwear needed to wear to games. There are virtually no vital expenses for a junior hockey player. Aggregated, this amasses to thousands of dollars every year in informal payments. While Berg argues that “labor in sports is not different than labor in general”, he is right. However, for the parallel to be made in labor, so too must it be made in compensation. Free accommodation is not the standard in other industries, and while expenses covered on the road (business trips) and equipment necessary to perform one’s job is expected, there are still many other expenses to account for. According to Stats Canada, in 2015, a household of one spends roughly $35,816 every year on average; this includes rent, food, education, and other expenses (Stats Canada, 2015). Conversely, minimum wage throughout the country averages at roughly $11.00/hour (Stats Canada, 2017). If the CHL was equated to full time pay (7 days/week, 10 months/year), it would amass to $26,000/year. That would not cover expenses. One must ask, would life truly be better for junior hockey players if they were to be paid? The analysis however, does not halt at comparing revenues and expenses, as it too becomes a social issue.

Berg’s case is fight for rights and freedoms guaranteed by Canadian legislation. He, along with his like-minded peers, are fighting for equality, equity, and justice for junior hockey players as a whole. They are seemingly frustrated with the capitalistic regime that concentrates profits to a select few. The question is, what if there are no profits?

A minimum wage in the CHL would absolutely foster the closure of many CHL teams. At the bare minimum, two thirds of the league would be running immense deficits, as they do not effectively pay billet families, and would now incur the entirety of the added cost of salaries. Teams would fold, regardless of revenue sharing. This would be detrimental to Berg’s cause. Many of his peers (himself included as a former replacement level player), would have been/would be out of “work”. The most socialist of ideas likened to Guilianotti’s Marxist approach, has capitalistic consequences. Only the best couple of hundred players will be employed when all is said and done. That is of course, if the sparsity of the teams throughout the country and the increased travel times from Kelowna to London would not put the surviving clubs in the red, ultimately folding the CHL altogether. If Giulianotti describes sport as an “ideological tool to misleading the masses to sustain bourgeois control”, then the CHL hardly constitutes as sport (Guilianotti, 2005). The vast majority of owners have no financial interest, and the masses are the ones benefitting at large.  There will be nowhere to play hockey, and no subsidized education (while playing junior and afterwards). This all however, does not make light of the rigorous conditions these teenagers are put through.

Early practices, late nights, long road trips, and little free time is the norm in junior hockey. In a study published by the University of Guelph, roughly one third of junior hockey players lose more than 1% of body mass after a tough practice (Palmer & Spriet, 2008). Moreover, in another study conducted within the BCHL (a junior league similar to the CHL), 379 concussions were reported within a two-year span; 90% of said concussions occurred within a game (Goodman et al., 2000). Conditions can often be quite grueling, there is no denial of that fact. It is not an easy life, however, as previously detailed, the informal compensation is substantial. Many posit that these hockey players cannot choose where they play (Cibola, 2015), however, that only holds true within the confines of the CHL. Every year, hundreds of drafted players forego the life offered by the CHL to pursue other junior leagues and NCAA aspirations. The CHL “drafts”, often likened to those for war, do not bind one to play for one specific club, simply one club within the league. The choice is also the players’ to not play at all; they can pursue scholarly pursuits, attend their local university at cost, and live very normal lives. Junior hockey is in fact a choice, and an ongoing one at that.

The fact remains that the CHL is not perfect, nor will it ever be. It is however, the lesser of all evils in “professional” sports. Revenues are passed onto local communities, and the players are afforded opportunities that otherwise would have not been made available to them. There are issues of overworking teenagers, however, it is in pursuit of a dream and large paychecks. Despite the minimal chance of ever reaching the NHL, (nearly) all players are given the opportunity to attend Canadian university upon completion of their time in the league.

Many questions are still to be asked, as much of this area is in fact grey.

  • Can conditions get better for junior hockey players?
  • Is the hockey community as a whole better without junior hockey?
  • Can a “youth team” system, as seen in European soccer, be a better alternative to junior hockey?
  • Are junior hockey players employees?
  • Does any amount of “goodwill” counteract the negative impact junior hockey has on certain players’ lives?
  • Is junior hockey a professional sporting league?

The Following is a pair of comic strips outlining the juxtaposed positions of both sides. While the players maintain that they are at the whim of the their CHL franchises and therefore demand compensation, the CHL argues that one cannot get blood from the proverbial stone. There are simply not enough profits to be shared.

References

Canada, G. O. (2017, January 27). Average household expenditures, by household type (One-person household). Retrieved October 31, 2017.

Conrad, M. (2015, May 20). Hockey/Nashville Predators/Smashville. Retrieved October 31, 2017.

Current And Forthcoming Minimum Hourly Wage Rates For Experienced Adult Workers in Canada. (2016, December 06). Retrieved October 31, 2017.

Foster, W. M., & Hyatt, C. G. (2008). Inventing Team Tradition: a Conceptual Model for the Strategic Development of Fan Nations. European Sport Management Quarterly,8(3), 265-287.

Giulianotti, R. (2005). Sport: a critical sociology. Cambridge: Polity.

Goodman, D., Gaetz, M., & Meichenbaum, D. (2001). Concussions in hockey: there is cause for concern. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,33(12), 2004-2009.

Hune-Brown, N., Tetlock and Dan Gardner, P. E., Gillmor, D., & Fontana, K. (2015, November 20). Hockey’s Puppy Mill.

Mason, D. S., Duquette, G. H., & Scherer, J. (2005). Heritage, sport tourism and Canadian junior hockey: nostalgia for social experience or sport place? Journal of Sport & Tourism,10(4), 253-271.

Mayes, M. (2015, September 14). Malcolm Mayes cartoons for May 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2017.

Palmer, M., & Spriet, J. (2008, January 16). Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

 

 

 


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Barriers and facilitators when hosting sporting events: Exploring the Canadian and Swiss sport event hosting policies

By N. Romoff

In the Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Leopkey, Mutter, and Parent (2010) offer a broad comparative analysis between Canada and Switzerland, and their varying approaches to hosting sporting events. While the article does not formulate a conclusion, it does offer valuable insight into the stark differences between the two nations.

The analysis is undertaken both horizontally (within the country), and vertically (transnationally). It outlines event-hosting policies (or lack thereof) at the national level, along with funding issues, and operations at the municipal level.

Canada has quite rigid policies in place, and by doing so, has begun the fostering of accompanying legislation. The policies act as a checks-and-balances system, enforcing the adherence to certain guidelines to maintain the desired level of excellence hosting sporting events. Canada too holds much pride hosting sporting events of all levels, as seen with the wide variety of events hosted throughout the country, culminating in a very successful Vancouver Olympics in 2010. With said policy-based rigidity, comes the freedom of having no discernable budget. This system is flipped entirely by the Swiss.

Conversely, Switzerland does not hold any legislation or national policies when it comes to event hosting as a whole. They then, have the opportunity to operate freely, and host as they see fit (within their set parameters of mega-events of course). The Swiss feel compelled to host said mega-events, as they pride themselves on doing so; this can be seen by way of the self-titled “Olympic City” of Lausanne. Their lack of official policies however, see the seemingly requisite structure and feedback through their rigid budget. An allotment is given towards events, and when said allotment is consumed, one must reapply for more funds. This ultimately replaces policies, limits, and quotas seen in Canada.

Overall, the Canadian and Swiss approaches to sporting-event hosting vary greatly, however they both hold themselves accountable by way of checks and balances. Whether it is in Canada where said feedback is embedded within the process by way of policies, or in Switzerland where it is done through funding, both offer enough accountability to avoid instances of disastrous event-hosting seen elsewhere.

Reference:

B. Leopkey, O. Mutter & M.M. Parent (2010): Barriers and facilitators when hosting sporting events: exploring the Canadian and Swiss sport event hosting policies, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 2:2, 113-134

The following is a short poem outlining an interpretive analysis, with accompanying discussion topics, and subsequent interesting questions raised:

Winter, summer, spring, fall,

There is no break in the year for sports,

Some care to host, some not at all,

Just please ignore the feasibility reports.

 

Is it policy or quotas that drive success,

Canada and Swiss must be compared,

Mindset; whenever possible, create a mess,

Bidding process inherently impaired.

 

Transcending level, all be welcome,

Canada hosts with open arms,

No Budget, but legislation in place,

Fostering excellence, turn minor sports into farms.

 

An event one can’t miss, hosted by the Swiss,

The home of the torch , Olympic Village by name,

Reapply for more funds, on our soil they’ll run,

Can we exist without it, or is it our claim to fame.

 

Feedback must be constant, there is no doubt,

Should it be ongoing, or embedded for clout,

The swiss do the former, the latter the ‘nuck,

Must we remember, some always run it amok.

 

Are there answers? Does anyone know?

The fact remains that dollar figures continue to grow.

Man is golf; drawn to the green at all costs. Hope lies in those not keeping score.

Insert instructions for perfect event-hosting paradigm here


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Mediated Nostalgia, Community and Nation: The CFL in Crisis and the Demise of the Ottawa Roughriders

This article by Nauright and White (2002) examines the position of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in Canada in the 1990’s, the popular media discourses surrounding the CFL and a nostalgic view of an idealized Canada, and the crisis of Canadian Identity as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) saw North America more integrated than ever. The 90’s were a troubling time for Canadian Identity as a number of issues arose throughout the decade. The long-term relationship between Canada and Quebec was unknown and many believed that secession was inevitable. The case could then be made that the rest of Canada would then be broken up, as the Maritime Provinces would then be separated from the rest of Canada. This alone put Canadian Identity into question-if Canada was not a nation from east to west than what was Canada?

Another blow was dealt to Canadian Identity as the continued southern expansion of the National Hockey League (NHL) saw 11 franchises join the NHL: San Jose, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Florida, Dallas, Phoenix, Colorado, Carolina, Nashville, and Atlanta. Only one of which was in a Canadian market and in the case of Phoenix and Colorado two Canadian franchises were sent south (Winnipeg and Quebec respectively). Hockey has been at the core of Canadian Identity for the greater part of the century and seemingly losing Hockey to the United States was very troublesome for Canada.

The CFL followed the lead of the NHL and began expanding south as Baltimore, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Shreveport, Memphis, Birmingham joined the CFL. The CFL commissioner had even gone as far as saying that “the league’s future was not in Canada, but through expansion in the United States”. Several of the Canadian CFL franchises were in financial trouble so it could have been argued that this was a wise move. However the American CFL franchises were even more troubled than the Canadian franchises, many of the teams only playing one season. One team that did have success were the Baltimore Stallions as they reached the Grey Cup in 1994 losing to the BC Lions, then made it back in 1995 defeating the Calgary Stampeders to become the first non-Canadian team to win the Grey Cup. The success of the Stallions caused a lot of insecurity among CFL fans in Canada. The CFL had always been a place where American influence was minimized, but now that the Grey Cup was in American territory that may come to an end. The Stallions were shortly after disbanded because of NFL relocation that sent the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and renamed them the Ravens.

This then brings up the notion of nostalgia and how it is used within the sports media context. There is such a rich history of sport in Canada which can make it very easy to capitalize on consumer’s feelings and emotions. During the financially troubled 90’s most of the CFL teams leaned on nostalgia to keep the doors open. While the Roughriders were in crisis the media discussed the relation to the “glory days” of the franchise in the late 60’s and 70’s. What was always ignored was the earlier years of the team when they nearly had to shut-down operations. Nostalgia is still used today when sports franchises are in trouble or have not had much success. Particularly the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs have such a deep history that reliving the past becomes almost a weekly occurrence (especially when they are struggling on the ice). Nostalgia is so powerful because it takes away the pain of the present and allows us to remember the good aspects of the past without worrying about the troubles of the time.

Fast-forward 20 years and the CFL may be stronger than ever with a recent re-branding taking place. The NHL has continued to expand south, but Canada was able to regain the Winnipeg Jets and could have another franchise in Quebec or the Greater Toronto Area in the foreseeable future. To close I would like to leave you with the most difficult and thought provoking question that was raised in this paper: “what makes Canada Canadian?”

References:

Nauright, J., & White, P. (2002). Mediated Nostalgia, Community and Nation: The CFL in Crisis and the Demise of the Ottawa Roughriders. Sport History Review, 33, 121-137.

Additional articles:

http://www.cfhof.ca/grey-cup-winners/

https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-expansion-history/c-281005106