Good morning, folks.
Hope you are all doing well and have been enjoying this late-summer spurt of great weather.
I returned to the plant on Monday after a two-week vacation that was very relaxing and full of many Manitoba adventures.
I plan to write about one in particular for our Destinations section in the next few weeks, but let me give you a teaser: there’s a bakery in Gimli that sells the best butter tarts in the world. Yes, the world!
Returning to work after an extended absence has its regular routine. Things such as: catch up on what's been going on in the world of sports (the Bombers and Jays are red-hot); have a look at what's coming up in the next couple of weeks (the Jets are on the ice starting Friday); get a briefing from the boss on what took place while I was away; and answer a lengthy list of emails and several voice mails.
A few of those on Monday morning were kinda — well, let's call them terse.
A number of you wondered why the heck there was not a single word in our Monday print edition on the U.S. Open women's tennis final between Canada's Leylah Fernandez and Britain's Emma Raducanu. You used terms like "shame on you, disgusted and livid."
So, the simple answer to this question is: the match, won by Raducanu in case you missed it, was played on Saturday and we had a full report in our Sunday paper.
Yes, we have a Sunday print edition. No, it's not delivered to your door. But you can pick it up at a variety of convenient locations around town or view it as an e-edition on our website.
There was a time, when we first stopped delivering the Sunday paper, that we would run stories from Saturday in the Monday paper. But that's several years ago now and our hope is that more and more of you have come to rely on our online platform or the e-edition if you don't see the Sunday print product. In the modern 24-hour news cycle, it's hard to justify publishing two-day-old news in print when it's most likely most of you have already heard all about it.
One of you incredulously asked: "Are you so against women?"
Of course not. It had nothing to do with gender. There have been many occasions when a male athlete or men's team — yes, even the Bombers or Jets — did something or played a game on a Saturday and we equally did not report that in our Monday edition, either.
It's one of the reasons Jeff Hamilton came up with the 5 Takeaways feature — a vehicle to use in our Monday paper to cover off those late Friday or Saturday Bomber games.
It would have been ideal to have found a fresh wire story on the women's final and run it in Monday's paper. Unfortunately, there wasn't one.
Accompanying complaints like these is often the assertion that we don't do a good job covering female sports here at the Free Press: that, my friends, is bunk.
When it comes to reporting a good story, we could care less what gender you are, what colour you are, what language you speak.
Other than the Jets and Bombers, we often have more coverage of female sports than male sports — particularly on the local sports scene.
That's mostly the result of amazing athletes like Jennifer Jones, Cindy Klassen, Desiree Scott, Chantal Van Landeghem, Kerri Einarson, Susan Auch, Clara Hughes and Connie Laliberte, who have made that a no-brainer.
And, I challenge anyone to show me a media outlet in this city that has devoted more time and space to covering Wesmen and Bisons women’s sports and girls' high school competitions.
It’s not our job, however, to make women’s sport more popular — any more than it is our job to write nice things about the Jets and Bombers so they can sell more tickets.
Having said that, I can assure you that I am well aware there have been a variety of inequities for many years in female sports, so there are definitely times we go out of our way — you'll have to take my word on this — to ensure female sports get its fair share of the coverage pie.
And while we're on the subject of pie — we were, right? — one other email I received while away asked two things:
As a regular listener of your Jetcetera podcast, which provides solid entertainment and some information, I look forward to taking in the Sports Town Hall on Sept. 22.
I have two questions, however.
The ad, in which your mug shots are pictured side by side, shows Steve's head to be disturbingly large, probably 50 per cent bigger relative to Mike's. Please explain how this can be!
Will there be pie?
The town hall referred to by the author of the letter is Mike McIntyre and I hosting an online event next week that will give you an opportunity to ask questions about the return of sports as the province loosens its public health restrictions.
Our guests will be Sport Manitoba CEO Janet McMahon and Bombers CEO Wade Miller, and you can register for the event and submit questions here.
As for those questions: I think it's pretty obvious why my head is larger — and, I looked all over for pie the other day while on vacay, but had to settle for a delightful plum steusel from the Gingerbread Bakery on Corydon. Poor me, ha-ha.
But I promise if I can find a pie by next Wednesday, everyone will get an equal-sized piece.
Good to be back, folks.
As always, you can reach me by replying to this mailing or by sending me an email here.
• Bullish on Bombers: Mike McIntyre has a column on how the local CFL team is the class of the league right now, both on and off the field;
• CFL Rundown: In his weekly feature, Jeff Hamilton has a look back on Week 6 of the CFL schedule and also notes how the Bombers have separated themselves from the rest of the pack;
• Back on the pitch: Taylor Allen has a story on Canada West finally returning to action with women’s soccer being the first university competition after the pandemic wiped out the 2020 season for most sports;
• Actually on ice: Mike Sawatzky has a story on tryouts for boys high school hockey taking place on Monday and he reports that at least 30 schools have committed to playing in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League this season;
• Gridiron gang: Mike also has a yarn on organizers planning a return to play for the Winnipeg High School Football League, which lost an entire season owing to the pandemic.
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