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Give Hugh an assist on that play

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As unbelievable as it may seem, not every word I write ends up in the paper — sometimes stories are cut down by editors.

Gasp!

I’ll pause here while you try to regain your composure, or try to decide if you need to call the paramedics.

You undoubtedly read today’s story about the pickle that Pembina Trails School Division finds itself in over soaring land prices for school sites in Waverley West.

Maybe you wondered how I got that story.

It was the provincial opposition that gave me a heads-up, helpfully sending me a copy of correspondence from PTSD, and linking me to the record in Hansard in which Tory leader Hugh McFadyen put questions to Premier Greg Selinger.

There are expectations when someone tips you off to a story, and is public about being a source, that they’ll be included in the article. You won’t write it from their perspective, and they may not like how the story turns out, and they may be way down in the story, but they expect that they’ll be included.

Without McFadyen’s staff tipping me off, I wouldn’t have had the story as quickly as I did.

On to other things....

Back to sources, though this time the other kind, the ones who don’t want to appear in the story.

I have one who wants me to pursue a certain story in a certain way, but will only feed me information representing his/her/its point of view, if I agree never to tell anyone that I have a source.

And on a totally unrelated story, a source offers access to an undefined but supposedly newsworthy piece of information, if the CEO of the WFP first agrees in writing to cover any and all legal costs that the source may incur if his/her/its role in this mysterious enterprise ever becomes known and if those in a position of authority in the matter ever don’t take kindly to it. Well, actually, no, I’m sorry, that’s really not going to happen.

No, seriously.

What else is going on, you say? To which I reply.....

Did anyone notice something familiar about my story Friday, in which U of M dean of business Glenn Feltham is leaving Feb. 28 to become president and CEO of Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton?

Such as, last winter when Red River College president Jeff Zabudsky suddenly left with a few weeks’ notice to head up massive Sheridan College in the Toronto ‘burbs?

When colleges offer someone a job, there’s none of this July 1 start-of-the-academic-year to contracts the way that universities do — colleges want you there pretty close to right away.

As my mind wanders again.......

Another weekend of soccer, yet another first experience for me.

Saturday morning I’m out at Coverall for three matches starting at (groan) 8 a.m. My first match is 14-year-old premier girls, skilled, aggressive, a bit chippy but nothing untoward, I didn’t have to call too many fouls and no one got hurt.

Between matches, I had to attend to other business and priorities. I don’t want to give you too much information here, and please, for your own sake, try not to picture this, just try to follow the story...no, please, seriously, don’t picture it, you’ll regret it.

So I’m attending to my urgent priorities, and a father sees me go into the washroom and follows me in, whereupon he addresses me through the door behind which I’m.....um.......er.....

Anyway, he says, "I have some questions for you, referee!"

And when I don’t engage in a dialogue, the father tells me that he’s fed up with his daughter getting abused every game, and we refs never do anything about it and never protect her, and he demands I tell him what legal rights he has as a parent to do something about it in the middle of the match.

So I’m enormously preoccupied, but my silence isn’t satisfactory answer, and he keeps it up through the closed door, and I finally tell him, "Your coach knows how to file a formal complaint about me, but you have no legal rights during a match, you can’t intervene in the match," and again turn my attention back to infinitely greater personal priorities.

And he bellows, "Then next time I’m calling the cops!!!!" and finally has the decency to leave the washroom.

No, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

Speaking of soccer, and this time linking it to education, I had a high school game at U of M on Friday on my day off, for which I had the privilege of paying a toonie to park at the soccer complex. Big signs warning that the university enforces parking regulations right up to 4:30 p.m.

And Sunday I was back at U of M, and saw an UMSU van drive past. No big deal, but I never knew UMSU had a van, maybe I’ll try to recomember if there’s a story in that sometime.

A final note to the owners of the insurance agency we patronize: either offer me a really sweet seniors’ discount, or tell your staff to stop calling me ‘dear’.......sigh.......

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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