Thursday, June 11, 2009

Taking time to smell the flowers

Shep knows!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Big girls don't cry

Pain is relative.

That's what I told the walk-in doctor this morning right before she jabbed a needle into the bicep muscle of my left arm.

Why? It had been more than 10 years since my last tetanus shot.

And when you walk into a doctor's office with a gaping wound on your knee from sliding into first base last night, a physician tends to ask questions.

Except that wasn't why I was paying my visit to the clinic.

I hit my up-the-gut single and stood on first base, comfortably. A lefty was up next. All night long, he had been going right-centre field.

This time, however, he fully turned on that inside pitch and drove it up the line. I had just enough time to spin away, so it didn't hit me in the chest.

The ball caught me on the left tricep - an inch lower and my elbow would have been shattered. Forty pounds lighter, and I might not have an arm left (holla up to the sturdy girls!).

Steamer, playing on the next field over, says he and his teammates heard the ball hit me.

I dropped to the ground like a sack of bricks. Luckily, my buddy, who was pitching, is well versed in First Aid. He knew all the right questions to ask, knew all the right moves to make.

I'll admit. It hurt. Not as bad as my broken hand, not as bad as the torn ligaments, but more than the broken wrist and the torn patellar tendon ... see? Relative.

And I needed a few minutes before I could get on my feet. My teammates - and, for that matter, my opponents - were tremendously concerned and, for that, I thank them.

But I shed no tears.

Physical pain is just something I can handle, for whatever reason. I suppose because it's a reality of the sporting life, one I've lived since I was five or so.

If only my heart could be so resistant!

Friday, June 5, 2009

To enlighten and inform - or fill the holes?

Every time there's a cutback at a newspaper, my heart bleeds a little.

Every time there's a cutback at a newspaper that used to be mine, my heart breaks.

My former employer, Kamloops This Week, announced a few days ago it would be killing one of its thrice-weekly editions.

Our little paper will no longer be publishing on Sunday.

I cried. Oh, how I cried, as I remembered the premiere editions we put out -- me as sports editor, Dale Steeves on politics, Ed Mehrer on the cops, Elsbeth Duurtsema-Mehrer on entertainment, Jason Payne and Brendan Halper shooting the lights out on anyone in the province.

We couldn't be stopped. We not only put out great papers, we were great as teams and all those folks I remain proud to call friends and former teammates.

Ed posted this on his Twitter account in reply to my post: 'Wow that's sad about KTW going down to two days per week. I remember there was talk when we were there of 5 days a week. Sad.'

We were that good. We were making that much money.

The current editor of KTW, Chris Foulds, writes a blog and bemoaned the death of the Sunday edition. He been awaiting the announcement for months, knowing it was happening at other papers in the Cariboo Press chain.

He was even on vacation when word came down.

My dearest friend, Dale Bass, had to help the editorial staff handle the shock. She had just had her heart broken.

When the bean counters make their decisions to cut back or close a newspaper, they're usually not around to see the fallout.

From reporters to editors and from ad designers to sales staff, people care about the papers they produce.

We have bled, we have sweated and we have cried over the newsprint and ink that ends up in a recycling bin, at the bottom of a birdcage or flying aimlessly around the downtown, caught up in a stiff breeze.

We have informed, educated and enlightened the people who vote, the people who shop, the people who care about the communities in which they live.

And we are tossed aside, sometimes with a severance cheque, sometimes with a pat on the back, sometimes with an email saying 'you're no longer needed.'

I sat and poured my heart out on Foulds' blog, recounting my six years under the banner of KTW and letting that editor and his staff know they are not alone in their fight.

On Twitter, I'll rail against newspaper cutbacks and the snobbery of those who pretend to be journalists. I wish I could do more.

To Foulds I wrote that a financially viable transition to online journalism will save jobs. But if that isn't undertaken, what of the communities who lose their newspaper.

One need only look at the MP spending scandal in the United Kingdom to see what effect good journalism can have. The Daily Telegraph has proven that compelling stories sells newspapers.

So that is where newspapers must go: strong, investigative journalism. The surface stories found at city council -- the ones that will fill a five-inch hole -- are necessary evils, but what lies beyond. What if we start scratching the surface?

Will a newspaper here in Canada support the kind of journalism triumped by the Daily Telegraph?

Or, as Bob Grainger told us at the Cariboo Press editorial conference in 1998, are reporters just filling the space around the ads?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I miss you in my heart

Dear gym,

The little tag that gives me access to you mocks me at least twice daily.

It dangles from my key chain, the edges digging into my palm as I turn the lock to open or close my doors.

It hasn't been swiped in two, maybe two-and-a-half weeks. And I feel shame.

But sometimes life gets in the way and you have to take a bit part in the play of My Life. Look, I don't like it any more than you do.

In fact, I went shopping for a new pair of 'going out' jeans last weekend and, hey, I had to go up a size. This ranks among a few of the things that don't make me very happy.

There's a bunch of stuff in my life I'm trying to sort out right now but trust me when I tell you, I will come back to you soon.

You are my source of release, you are the one entity upon which I can strike my fury that won't hit back.

You make noise when the plates clank and clang together. But it's noise I enjoy, because it eases my stress in a world where there is much tension, in a world I find unfulfilling, a world that seems to be constantly demanding my attention.

And when I place your weight on my shoulders, it may be heavy but I can push against it and feel strong, more confident and so beautiful.

Love you! I'll see you soon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The proverbial straw takes my back out

I never enter lightly the decision to drop someone as a friend.

Although with Facebook, Twitter and the like, it's an easy task ... hit the little X next to that person's name and voila! presto, chango, they're gone.

I did that today.

The individual in question, whom we shall call Gasbag, responded to my Facebook status bemoaning cutbacks at one of my former newspapers.

He wrote: And people wonder why we newbies mock the 'old' media. Sad sad situation.

To demean those of us who have bled ink for a lifetime by admitting he 'mocks' us is something for which I won't stand.

To fail to respect those of us who have paved the way for the foundation of 'new' media is not easily forgiven in my world.

To forget many of my other Facebook friends are journalists - and many of us have been laid off by an industry we gave an unrequited love - is incredibly insensitive.

Gasbag and I have engaged in debate over the state of journalism prior to today. And his inability to listen, never mind understand, an opposing opinion has been remarkable.

Now I know all two of you who may stumble upon this post may see shades of me in what I just said.

That's something I humbly accept. It's also something I'm trying to improve about myself.

And as such, I can't have in my life a person who will negate with his words the improvements I try to make in me.