Answering the big questions

It is fortuitous that our series on teaching children about religion is running during the Olympics. Not because the Olympic ceremonial has a certain ersatz paganism to it, acknowledging in a roundabout way that great public spectacles need a religious component, but because we have been hearing a lot about parents. Rare is the athlete profile that does not include a mention of parents who for 10 years drove Junior to practice before sunrise, spent family vacations at low-end motels in dead-end towns for competitions, worked double shifts and took out second mortgages in order to pay for the dream of Olympic glory in a sport their neighbours had never heard of. And we laud such parents for their devotion and sacrifice. Without such committed parents, Junior’s resolve may have flagged and the happy day of his bronze medal would never have come. Cue the inspirational music. Continue reading

Cheering on the oddballs

Most winter Olympic sports are quite obscure. But that’s their charm.

Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988, and I have very fond memories of our city welcoming the world — or at least that small fraction of the world interested in winter sports. It was a great festival of goodwill, and we Calgarians gamely went to the Olympic Plaza to cheer the champions of some of the world’s most spectator-unfriendly sports. Continue reading

Is God on the Saints’ side?

Will the Saints go marching in? The old spiritual is about heaven: How I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in … And should New Orleans win the Super Bowl this Sunday, many of the team’s fans will consider it heaven on Earth. If the devil were trading football victories for souls on Bourbon Street, one fears that he would do a brisk business. Continue reading