I am pleased to announce that after last year's "Four Seasons of Moving Vigorously", fundraising for a law scholarship for a Canadian Forces veteran, the Canadian Council on International Law is now accepting applications for a $2000 scholarship named in honour of Leslie C Green. Details may be found here. Thanks to those who supported this initiative. We are hopeful that we will be able to repeat the scholarship annually, and certainly welcome additional contributions.
Four Seasons of Moving Vigorously
Follow my efforts in 2012 to complete a series of endurance events in support of the Canadian Council on International Law Veterans Scholarship. I do so in the company of a team of others, assembled as Citizen Athlete. Click on the banner to the immediate right for more information about our team and how to join.
Admission by donation in support Girls Gotta Run Foundation.
ABOUT THE MOVIE
Town of Runners is a feature documentary about young runners from Bekoji - an Ethiopian highland town which has produced some of the world's greatest distance athletes, including Tirunesh Dibaba, Kenenisa Bekele and Derartu Tulu. For more information see http://www.townofrunners.com/
ABOUT THE PANEL
Before the film, join us for a panel discussion with 4 superb elite speed and endurance athletes — nationally ranked competitors, world championship medalists, and/or Olympians in several sports -- who are also law school colleagues, graduates, practicing lawyers or articling students. The panel members will recount their experiences balancing legal careers and excellence in sport and related issues. In alphabetic order:
- Jennifer Hopkins, uOttawa JD, counsel, Trade Law Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (gold medalist in International Triathlon Union Paratriathlon World Championships, 2011 and 2012, two time Ironman finisher; uOttawa varsity Cross Country Running team, 2002-2003).
- Morgan Jarvis, Queens JD, articling student at Gowlings (Ottawa) (14th place finisher at 2012 Olympics in rowing double sculls; bronze medal in the world championship lightweight quad sculls in 2005; bronze medalist at the U23 World Championships in the lightweight double sculls in 2004 and 2005).
- Michele Krech, uOttawa JD student (top 8 finisher at Canadian Track and Field Championships in heptathlon; competitor at 2012 Olympic Trials; Multiple-time medalist at Athletics Ontario Track and Field Championships; University of Ottawa Track and Field Athlete of the Year (2011))
- Cristy Nurse, uOttawa JD student (two-time world silver medallist in rowing in the women's 8 and 2012 Olympic Team Member; under 23 National Championship in the women's pair; 2010 OUA Varsity Basketball Championship with the University of Guelph).
ABOUT THE CAUSE
The event will be held on Friday March 15 in room 302 (Norton Rose Classroom) in Fauteux Hall at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. The event begins with a small silent auction at 6 pm.
Seating is limited and is available on a first come basis.
This screening is organized by the uOttawa Law running group.
Admission is by donation with donations go to the Girls Gotta Run Foundation, an organization that provides support for impoverished Ethiopian girls who are training to be professional runners. Girls Gotta Run was featured in Canadian Running magazine last April. To read the article, visit http://www.girlsgottarun.org/storage/CanadianRunningMagazineApril2012.pdf. For more information on GGRF, see http://www.girlsgottarun.org/.
The screening of the film will be introduced by a member of the GGRF board of directors, joining the event via skype.
A celebration of excellence in support of a great cause! Not to be missed!
I am pleased to announce that through the generosity of many individual donors, including some who followed this blog, the Canadian Council on International Law will be awarding its first Leslie C Green Scholarship in International Humanitarian Law to a first year law student and Canadian Forces veteran in academic year 2013-14. The initial award will be $2,000.
I am drawing up the criteria and application procedure for this scholarship over the next few weeks. I would, however, like to thank those who supported my Four Seasons of Moving Vigorously -- that is, my fundraising efforts. Thanks also to the many who supported the even more impressive fundraising efforts of Félix-Antoine Turmel-Doyon.
We intend to keep this award alive for future years. It will persist through the individual donations of individuals like you.
If you would like to know more about the award, the background is described on the CCIL website here. We will also develop a website honouring Leslie C Green, the international humanitarian law scholar, World War II veteran and long time friend of the CCIL in whose honour the award is named.
Thank you again.
We are going into a third week of running in our nascent uOttawa Running Group. So far it includes a few students and faculty training for the Ottawa Race Weekend 10k or Half Marathon and fundraising for Girls Gotta Run. We have been meeting weekly Saturdays at 10 am in front of the Chateau Laurier. Now that the snow and ice have come, our runs will be south down the Rideau Canal and starting next week (Dec 8), we'll move our meeting point to in front of the Westin Hotel (and in the lobby if it is cold), adjoining the Rideau Centre. The current distance is about 5k, but can be longer if people want to join me in heading back south along the Canal after the official loop. See this map for the "Winter course".
I coach lightly and, when it is a bit warmer, have been shooting some video using Coach's Eye and narrating some form suggestions.
In late winter, we'll do some speed work sessions out at the Louis Riel Dome (a full 400 meters indoor track).
But right now, we're focused on easy aerobic pace sessions (as in a pace at which you can hold a conversation). It is non competitive. We'll leave the racing for the race, and the latate threshold and VO2 max work to the speed work sessions.
This is a "no runner gets left behind" group. On the Saturday runs, faster people go ahead. But once they reach the end of the run loop, they turn around and re-join the group and then run ahead again -- a little more mileage for the speedy folks.
The overall idea is to prime the tendons for harder work later on. I have also proposed some core workout routines and suggest one other run a week and some cross-training (i.e., spinning sessions) for those thinking of training seriously for the event.
As we get closer to the racing season (12 weeks out), I am happy to propose some more formal structure and a "training plan".
The group is open to all comers. If you want to run with us on Saturday morning, you are welcome to do so. If you want some coaching or wish to participate in some of the more structured workouts, then you should also be willing to pitch-in on the fundraising activities for Girls Gotta Run. We'll get those underway in January.
We have a simple electronic "sign in" log for the Saturday run -- sign up isn't required but it helps to know if people will be turning up. (We'll use a -20C (with windchill) cut off: if the Friday evening forecast is showing a temperature of -20C with windchill for Saturday morning, then the group run is "cancelled" and running becomes a private affair! We won't try to gather a group.)
It's a great way to meet some new people in the law school community and, as we start to grow, more generally. Faculty, students, members of the legal community, others, all are welcome!
Hope to see you out there.
Last night, I finished reading USADA's report into the Armstrong matter. Not the press reports. Not the counterspin. The report. And it reads like a series of small streams that come together as a massive river -- it is beyond damning. And while the credibility of some of the witnesses has been questioned for years, that of others is unimpeachable. Confronted with this assemblage of evidence, I can no longer harbour doubts and claim to be rational. The story told by USADA would be fodder for Shakespeare -- with the notable absence of any redeeming hero (other than USADA itself).
When I was a boy in the 1980s, I would huddle with friends to watch the truncated, tantalizing coverage of the Tour de France available at that time in Canada. I would follow the exploits of Greg Lemond and Steve Bauer (both still the most admirable of sportsmen) and would want to emulate them, just as most of my peers wanted to be Wayne Gretzky. One of my clearest memories as a young teenager was watching the agony of Steve Bauer's near victory at the 1984 Olympics, nipped in the sprint by a competitor who later admitted to doping during his racing career.
I was a horrible bike racer. But the sport taught me discipline while others caroused. It made fitness a lifestyle that abated when other pressures of life pressed, but which has now been renewed. It gave me a sense of purpose while others in my peer group had none. It taught me honour.
And those attributes have made all the difference, if not in sport then in life.
And now as the father of a young daughter, I wish to guide my child to experience those same qualities. I want her to enjoy sport, to strive, to dream, to learn what it is to lose and even perhaps to win and to excel to the best of her naturally, ethically and honourably honed abilities.
Sadly, the Armstrong saga may re-ignite the siren call of voices that urge radical solutions like legalization in response to what they see is a losing war against doping.
But this saga and the fight against doping is about more than professionals or Olympians, although they are obviously on the front lines. Instead it is about allowing a kid to dream -- dream that he or she too can accomplish. Accomplish without a bag of blood stored in a Spanish refrigerator or a testosterone patch on the arm.
Dick Pound put it best in 2003:
Well, sports is so important to so many people, particularly young people, and it's a precursor to how you're going to behave in other aspects of social intercourse. You look around the world today and what have you got? The accounting profession is in the tank. You've got the business community in the tank. You've got the Enrons. You've got political shortcuts and all these kind of things, that it's very important to have some kind of activity where you can say to people 'this is on the level.' You respect the rules, you respect your opponents, you respect yourself. You play fair. I think that bleeds over into life as well.
I don't want my grandchildren to have to become chemical stockpiles in order to be good at sports and to have fun at it. Baseball, take your kid out to the ballpark some day and you say, 'Son, some day if you ingest enough of this shit, you might be a player on that field, too.' It's a completely antithetical view to what sport should have been in the first place. It's essentially a humanistic endeavour to see how far you can go on your own talent.
If we, like pro-cycling, let unprincipled, shadowy Italian doctors become the gatekeepers to realizing dreams, we put young people to an election, the same election that is said to have dominated the USPS team: put junk in your body, lose or quit.
No good parent would ever expose their child to that sort of culture. Better that they dream with the help off a Wii than enter a sporting world where, if they show any talent, the good doctor will make an appearance. I believe that to be true even if that good doctor were a fully licensed professional in a world of legalized doping.
Better that there be no sport at all than bipedal experiments in biologic engineering.
Those who wish to legalize doping imagine it as the answer to unethical behaviour; a "can't beat them, join them" solution. And in some other areas of life, legalization makes sense. But the fact of violations can never be the justification for legalization, absent compelling evidence that the social ills of the ban outweigh the social pathology of legalization. And there is no way that is the case in sport. Sport is by definition the humanistic entreprise that Pound describes. That it is sine que non, its defining element, its only purpose. Anything else, and it is mere entertainment (And there are "sports" that have obviously already cross that line. Not surprisingly, they are ones in which anti-doping is not even on the radar).
For all genuine, real sports -- the humanistic entreprise Pound celebrates -- anti-doping is not the failed prohibition of the 1920s. The analogy should instead be drunk driving: once socially acceptable, now the very definition of anti-social behaviour.
And so USADA and its equivalents fight a necessary battle, and the cheaters who have clawed their way to the top with sweat, tears and doctored blood should be hooted from the stadium. Just like a drunk driver and the bar that carelessly served him or her, those that dope and those that abetted them must be named, shamed and shunned. They are not wronged heros. They are frauds who dared us to dream of surpassing ourselves and turned out to be nothing more than artful conjurers of illusions.