Leafs and Sports Talk       


My son and I had a heated conversation on Saturday evening about the Toronto Maple Leafs. You see, Matthew is one of those super crazy Leaf fans, who lives in some kind of special dream world when it comes to this hockey team. Matthew and I love to talk about sports, probably what keeps me connected best with my teenage son. His knowledge about every sport, every player and every team is vast, and he is insightful and thoughtful. Well, except of course when it’s the Leafs.

Many (okay not all) Canadians can be divided into two kinds of people: sports fans and those who detest sports. There are levels and layers of fandom, but in the world I live in it’s often one or the other: the love of sport or the extreme dislike of it.

I fit into the former category, though I admit I don’t love all sports. I introduced Matthew to baseball (my favourite sport) when he was very young, and before he was ten he was hooked on sports. As he grew older, he added hockey, then basketball, then (to my horror) NFL football. Oh, football. I don’t like football. But I’ll get to that later.

When I launched this blog, about 5 ½ years ago, I wanted to create a space where I could write whatever is on my mind, or to share my thoughts on what I see, feel and experience. I have written extensively about sports, but as I look back over the last couple of years I have barely touched on the topic. But on Saturday evening I just had to write. I’m still laughing as I type right now, following the most entertaining conversation I had with Matthew about the prospect of the Leafs, 1) winning the Stanley Cup, or 2) just making it past the first round of the playoffs.

Our conversation was absurd. I sat there, trying not to crack a smile, as he tried so hard to explain to me that his beloved team would make a huge trade at the deadline, that they’d have all the pieces needed (in the GM’s final year of his contract) to go all the way, or at least make a strong run of it. Have Leaf fans been saying this every year since 1967?

Every time I shot back with a snide remark that not enough of the living population even remembers the world in 1967, when his team last won the Cup, he’d swing low and say, “Well, my team is better than yours,” or “Your team loses early too.” I then remind him that MY team (yes, the Carolina Hurricanes!) at least won a Stanley Cup in this century (woo hoo great day back in 2006!). We bickered like this all evening.

It was absurd.

It was wonderful.

Matthew loses all sense of logic when he debates the merits of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But give him any other sport, any other team, he can banter with the best of professionals or beat writers. His knowledge is almost encyclopedic, and his natural understanding of the business of sport is awe inspiring. He just gets it. Matthew understands why a team trades THE franchise player or signs the guy who had an off year. He reads the news articles, blogs and social media posts. I make fun of him sometimes that he takes sports so seriously that he sucks the fun out.

But when he talks about the Leafs, it’s all fun. No logic. No intelligence. Just nonsense. And I love these moments with him. Our Leafs talk transformed into Jays talk, then Raptors talk, then a conversation about our plans to eventually visit every Major League Baseball park together. While I’ve been to many parks, so far together we’ve only seen the Jays in Toronto, the Cubs in Chicago and the Mariners in Seattle. Where should we go in 2023?!

But our conversation didn’t end. As the evening wore on, we moved on to our hope to see the Raptors or Leafs on the road this winter, in cities like Los Angeles (Raptors) or Raleigh (the Leafs, who I’m sure will lose to my Hurricanes). We could have talked for hours, except I eventually sent him away so I could go to bed (and he went back to watching late-night sports).

Saturday night is indeed a great night to watch sports, and Matthew would sleep in late and laze around all day on a rainy Sunday in November – if it wasn’t for NFL football. Sunday football, the bane of my existence. I have tried to like football, okay, even tolerate it. But no, I sit in the detest camp when it comes to football. To Matthew’s credit, he hasn’t given up on me. He will talk to me about some random player who ran for a record number of yards or a quarterback who was sacked (I do know the lingo), and I will roll my eyes. When he’s desperate, he tries to get his 6-year-old sister interested. She just wants him to play Barbie with her.

Sports can push people apart, but it can also bring them together. And that’s the story of Matthew and me. We will disagree fiercely about the plight of the Maple Leafs, but we also held our rally towels proud at the Rogers Centre back in October during the Jays’ very pathetic game one of their failed playoff run. He will tease me incessantly that I may choose to watch a low-quality show like Love is Blind on Netflix on Sunday rather than some huge NFL game, but we’re sitting side by side, on the edge of our seats, when there’s 10 seconds left in the Raptors game and they’re up by one point.

Our Leafs, and general sports talk, will continue for days and years to come, I hope. Especially the teasing part, since, well, will they ever win the Cup?

**Quick note as I publish this blog post on a rainy Sunday afternoon: I want to send my personal congratulations to the Canadian National Soccer team at the World Cup. This team of hard-working athletes has made everyone proud, and they are to be commended for their strong play and great teamwork.

What I learned about Myself this Week

I just had a very busy week. Okay, a very busy few weeks. Maybe I should expand that to a very busy few months. But somehow this past week I craved for a quiet moment to just write, here at Kinetic Motions. It gnawed at me. The busier I was, the more I wanted to go back to my blog, where I can be myself and where I can speak my mind. That’s the first thing I learned about myself this week.

I met a new colleague this week at a post-work evening get together. It’s at small, more intimate settings like this that we can develop professional and personal friendships with the people we work with. As I spoke with this person, we both shared some nuggets about our lives, and when I mentioned my blog, her face lit up. She asked me a question so many of us get all the time – is there anything you are passionate about outside of work? I didn’t hesitate to answer her: writing.

But then I felt embarrassed, as I have this blog, which I established back in 2017, and my last post was from July 12th, 2022 – four months ago. How can I love writing, how can I have a real passion that I ignore?

So here I am, back at my computer, in a quiet corner in my house on a Saturday morning, doing what I love: writing. And as this busy week has drawn to a close, I started to reflect that I learned a lot about myself this week. I had many moments that made me pause, and I’d like to share some of them with you here.

I can’t do it all

While it is very kind that many of my friends, family and definitely my peers, have described me as Superwoman, it’s really not accurate. For sure I am very capable, but I can’t do it all. No one can. If something in my life – work or personal – starts to take much of my time, it must come at the expense of something else.

This was particularly the case this week, when one very urgent and important item took over about 80% of my attention at work. I had to prioritize it, as it affected hundreds, if not thousands of people. But it meant that I had to disappoint many individuals, for whom I am a trusted partner, and for whom without me their work may have been stalled this week. I had to remind myself that sometimes that’s just how it is. Sometimes I can’t do it all.

I need to surround myself with great people

I was invited to participate in a virtual Women in Leadership conference this week through my employer. I wasn’t a speaker or panelist, just a viewer through an online portal. And my luck, this full-day event was also on what was probably my busiest day this week. I knew I couldn’t attend the full day, so I did my best to listen in when I had the chance. And I’m so glad I did.

I took so much away from the sessions I did have a chance to attend, but one in particular will stay with me. The keynote speaker talked about the power of people. Well, she actually spoke about much more than that, but I listened intently to her advice about making sure that we lean on specific people in our lives, to help us grow and succeed.

Each person, she said, was represented by a finger on our hand: the cheerleader (who gives us a thumbs up!), the mentor (who points us in the right direction), the coach, the peer and the friend. This wasn’t earth shattering information, and this speaker is widely known for sharing this. But it was the first time I heard it. And I realized that for me, I am lucky that these different relationships are often connected. Some of my best friends have coached me. My greatest cheerleaders have often been my peers. Mentors throughout my career became my friends.

For me, it’s not about having these five relationships, it’s about surrounding myself with great people, who may, on any given day be my cheerleader, my mentor, my coach, my peer and in many cases, my friend.

I’ve done some cool stuff in my life

Back to that evening when I met my new colleague, I started to think about where I am today and where I’ve been. What I’m doing today, in 2022, is very different from the life I led 10, 20 or 30 years ago. And I’m really happy about that. It helped me realize that when I have a really busy, or tiring, or frustrating day or week, that I have shown myself that my life has been full of twists and turns, often very exciting ones, and that next week will be better.

Thirty years ago – November 1992 – I was in high school (oh my gosh I’m that old!). The Blue Jays had just won the World Series, and it was around this time of year that I had my aha moment In my chemistry class that my true dream was to be a sports journalist. It was also the time I created my crazy cartoon character, Kinetic Man. He was – and is – my “man of action.”

Twenty years ago – November 2002 – I had recently joined Rogers Sportsnet and was quickly promoted to be a member of the Assignment desk. I had also just bought and moved into my first house. And in those ten years since I was in high school, I received an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree in Journalism, and I got married and lived around the world (France, Israel and New York).

Ten years ago – November 2012 – I was working at Sears Canada and had just been promoted to be Director of Corporate Communications and Executive Director of the Sears Canada Charitable Foundation. And in those ten years in between, I had changed jobs twice, I had two children and traveled around the world with my family.

Today is November 12th, 2022, and I am leading Communications at ADP Canada, surrounded by skilled, professional colleagues who have my back. And while the past ten years may not jump out as the most exciting, they have been fulfilling. My third child was born, I continued to travel with my family, I (okay all of us) have lived through a global pandemic, and I started my blog.

So, as I sit here, on a quiet Saturday morning, I can smile as I think about what I learned about myself this week. I have so much I can be proud of, and I am grateful to the people who have cheered, mentored and coached me, and have been my peers and friends. There will be many more busy days and weeks, which I know may bring me down and frustrate me. But as the mother says, in one of my favourite childhood books, there will be “no good, terrible, very bad days…some days are like that. Even in Australia.”