Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bragging Moment -- Canada Games 2007

My 17 year-old niece Lisa will be playing hockey in Whitehorse next week. Lisa is a goalie for Team Ontario and is competing at the Canada Games.

The Canada Games, you ask?

You'd be forgiven if you didn't know that Canada's elite young athletes are up North representing their provinces in speed skating, skiing, hockey etc. If it weren't for my niece, I wouldn't even know the Canada Games exist, which makes me wonder why the government of Canada and the provincial governments aren't doing more to promote this showcase of young talent.

This would be a perfect opportunity to show how 'ParticipAction' can pay off -- or they could just promote the Canada Games because these kids have worked so hard to get where they are in the sports they love. The provinces these young people represent would do well to show their pride before and during the competitions -- not just in the case of a win.

I've often wondered where our Olympic competitors come from -- what route did they take to make it to the top of their sport? Here is one of the stepping stones to the Olympic dream and how many Canadians will know about it, let alone watch? Why is there so little in the news about these high achievers?

A lot of these kids are like my niece. They have dedicated their lives to pursuing their dream and yet they also excel academically and personally. Lisa, for example has an average above 90% in her final year of high school and is heading to the US on a full hockey scholarship next year. We hear so much about the bad kids -- I'd like to hear someone in the media or government talking a bit about these good ones.

Tune in if you can. The Games started on the 23rd and go right through until March 10th.
TSN is showing some of the events and so is APTN.

Lisa and Team Ontario play Newfoundland on Monday, and PEI on Wednesday. I can't see that either game will be televised in the Toronto area (I've checked both TSN and APTN listings for next week and they're showing other games, but not Ontario). If anyone notices listings for Ontario Women's Hockey, please post in the comment section.

These kids deserve the glory these couple of weeks will bring. They represent our hope for Canada's future. They are ambitious, talented and committed young people, and you shouldn't have to be a family member to know that they're out there, working hard and representing their home provinces. Canada should be watching.

Go Ontario!

2nd EDIT: See Sheila Copps in today's SUN.

EDIT: candace has pointed out that I had missed some coverage -- and apparently the government was well represented at the games (apologies).
I guess the fact is that the coverage is there, but it's one of those things you don't see unless you're looking for it. I've only been flipping through the papers lately, and often I have only one ear on the TV during the news -- assuming most people are like me, they might not be aware.
Glad to see that it isn't as buried as I thought. Thanks Candace for the heads up.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Pimp up your crib"

Does that kind of language offend you? It really bothers me.

My ten year old is off school with a cold. Last week he told me about an ad he'd seen where they used those words. I told him that he must have misheard. This morning when it came on, he called me in and I heard it myself.

Those words were being used to advertise a new website for kids called "The Big Rip". I've been to the site and it seems harmless enough. Kids play games, post videos and chat. What bothers me is that this was being advertised using those words 'pimp your crib' during Jacob Two-Two on YTV. He was watching YTVWest between 9:30 and 10 a.m. EST, which means the show aired between 6:30 and 7 a.m. here on YTVEast .

That show and the website are geared toward kids 8 to 12, but no doubt younger kids are watching too. Am I alone in thinking that this kind of language is vulgar and inappropriate, despite its recent emergence in popular culture and media?

When we blur the lines that delineate child and teen or between teen and adult, we are saying that what is acceptable for one group is acceptable for all.

Language matters. Words can elevate or corrupt. They can inspire or degrade. That's why the way we speak to and around children is so important. Perhaps ripping a foul word and modifying its meaning in order to make use of it commonly, serves a purpose amongst the younger generation -- maybe it makes them feel edgy and shocking. Maybe they need that to validate their feelings or some other such angst-ridden thing. Or maybe it's an juvenile form of rebellion. In most societies when the young rebel, the older generation looks at them and thinks 'they'll learn' but our boomer TV execs and media seem to get swept up in the excitement of saying dirty words and actually expand their usage -- the Toronto Star recently had a contest 'Pimp My Kitchen'.

"Pimp" might have a dual meaning these days, but most dictionaries I can find maintain the commonly understood definition. Either way, it doesn't belong on a TV station geared to kids. Let the teens and twenty somethings have those ugly words and keep them on their MTV -- but when it comes to YTV and young kids, they should keep it clean.

email YTV via Corus Entertainment.