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Stereotyping your own kids

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I hear some pretty weird stuff at soccer games, but Saturday...

I was reffing 15-year-old girls, and doing my pre-game checks. With little kids, I ask if they’re going to be nice to me; 12 and up, I ask if they’re going to be civil to me, usually follow by my telling them I want unanimity, not consensus.

So two or three girls tell me they don’t know what civil means.

And the coach, who’s quite likely also a mother of one of the players, interjects and says, "You have to remember what part of the city we’re from."




This is the stereotyping about a neighbourhood you get from a parent/coach?

Dennis, I hope your Grade 10 teachers will be attending an in-service soon on boosting kids’ self-esteem.

Moving on...

I received an email from someone interested in the ongoing controversy at U of M over the PhD math student who suffers from extreme examination anxiety.

This person wants me to tell her the unnamed student’s ethnocultural background, so she can confirm her preconceived notions.

Sorry, inquiring reader, not in this lifetime.


I guess it’s rude to be invited into a school, see a poster promoting bicycling for exercise, and point out that the people in the poster aren’t wearing bike helmets.

And apologies for my further rudeness:

To the young soccer player who, after I called a foul, says, "On who?" And instead of my saying "Red, six, for pushing," which would have been appropriate, or my saying, "You daring to challenge my absolute authority, you wretched child?", which would have been even more appropriate, I instead came back with a kneejerk, "On whom."

And also apologies to the coach who, after I called one of his players for having his foot inside the six-yard box as a teammate took an indirect kick, bellowed out from 40 yards away: "His foot was NOT in the box!!!!", and I turned to the coach and replied, "Yes, sir, of course you can see it far better than I can from five feet away." That was ever so rude of me, and I am contrite, really, I am.

Change the backdrop for the next scene...

I’m surprised how many Couch Surfing requests we’re getting in the dead of winter, although only two of the recent four seem to have taken the time to read our profile before they requested to stay with us.

We accepted two requests, from a young couple from Wales travelling by train, and from two 20-year-old women from Germany crossing Canada by van. In both cases, they opted to stay with other people in Winnipeg who’d accepted their requests and would be at home the evenings they’re in the city, since we were quite busy and wouldn’t be home much to socialize. Younger hosts, likely, as well.

We declined two requests on the basis of insufficient notice for nights we were going to be out of the house. Apparently some people just send out a request to everyone within the city who’s listed as a Couch Sufer, and show no sign of having read their profiles.

One was a young guy from England, who was already in the city and began his request with "Hey, Martin," and who appeared to be far more interested in partying than we are. The other was sent at 1:04 a.m., his local time; the young guy was hitchhiking across Canada, was in Thunder Bay, and wanted to stay with us later that same day, whenever he happened to hit Winnipeg. I hope he’s not out there somewhere between Ignace and Upsala, trying to keep warm.

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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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