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Kids, be healthy in old age

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So today I've made it to 63, the age at which my father dropped dead of a heart attack.

No, don't run away, I'm not going to go all totally morose and morbid.

Look, kids, when you get back to school next month, be BFF with your phys ed teachers. They're going to be encouraging you to find enjoyable ways to be healthy and active your entire lives, so work with them, eh?

I've pounded this message umpteen times, so I won't dwell on it here.

But.

The stereotypes say I should have already joined a seniors' group and learned to play bridge, or even -- shudder! -- taken up golf, but since Saturday I've kayaked flat out for two hours in a strong wind, gone swimming several times, worked out at the gym, and run for 90 minutes each of the last two nights refereeing soccer. And as I've also said umpteen times, I don't have a single athletic gene in my body.

You listening, kids? If I can do it, so can you. And OMG, don't even think about going within 10 feet of tobacco, lol.

Lecture finished.

Time for another topic.....

One of the things I notice when I'm sitting in the upper deck at a Bombers' game that I don't see on TV, is how when the ball is down in the red zone at either end, coaches and players from both teams are standing several steps out on the field to get a better angle to watch the play. Um, isn't that a penalty?

But at least the zebras are now occasionally calling it when the receivers in motion are behind the secondary by the time the ball is snapped.

Speaking of the CFL, as I just was doing, and which you would have noticed if you had been paying attention, howcum the CFL stats come out with scoring as the lead category? It's just not that important a stat. You know it's going to include eight kickers and big guys who get sent in on first and goal from the two, but not necessarily the people who got them to the two. And when the CFL stats come out as a whole package, scoring is followed by field goal kicking and converts, instead of leading with passing or rushing or pass receiving.

Yes, I agree with you, these are the major issues facing the world today, and good on me for prioritizing them as such.

As for field goals, how about including the average lengths of field goal made and of FG missed. On punts, instead of just yards and average, let's also see how many went out inside the 20, and how many got shanked out beyond the 20 for a penalty or went for a single.

And I'd like to see stats that show which DBs have the most interference calls for how many yards, or which O-linemen get the most holding calls, and conversely, which receivers draw the most interference calls, or which defenders draw the most holding calls.

Back to education.....

I just figured out how to unsubscribe from an appalling mailing list of messages sent out recently by one of my contemporaries in education.

I won't give him the satisfaction of seeing his name in print, but he was a student at U of T when I was at Glendon College (as we have always called it, the main campus of York University). Even then, he got his name in the student papers as a right-wing yahoo, and has put together a career defending people and causes I'd euphemistically call white supremacist. I don't know how I got on his mailing list, to receive messages which started with a diatribe about a coffee chain's TV commercial that showed an interracial couple, but I'm hoping that I now won't receive any more of his disgusting thoughts on Canadian life.

Harumph.

In keeping with my mission to improve the public education system, here's a wee suggestion for improving communications.

Say a guy calls the office of a small school division, a place not exactly teeming with people, one in which you'd probably know who was around, and the guy asks if a particular exceptionally-senior civil servant is available. The call is put through. Guy gets voice mail, leaves a message.

The bureaucrat doesn't call back, so the guy follows up with an email, and back bounces an automatic reply indicating that the bureaucrat is in the middle of a three-week vacation.

OK, here's my idea to facilitate partnering with stakeholders and reaching out to the community in the interests of positive learning outcomes. The person answering the phone advises that the individual is away on vacation when you ask if he/she is available, and asks if you want voice mail or if someone else can help you, and the individual on vacation leaves not only an email vacation reply, but a voice mail message saying he/she is away, and indicating the date of return.

No, I won't charge a consultant's fee.

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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