While the FIFA tournament was a national event, with six Canadian cities hosting games, Vancouver has been the big winner -- especially because the Americans made the final. While tickets for the championship match were sold out long ago, the influx of visitors from south of the border spiked spending this weekend.
Last week, FIFA took centre stage in the world media for all the wrong reasons. This week, the beautiful game will rely on its most beautiful players to re-focus attention on the sport itself. That means eyes of the soccer world will be on Canada for the entirety of the 2015 Women's World Cup, which starts on June 6 with a pair of matches in Edmonton and culminates on July 5 in Vancouver.
While the players and fans from Brazil mourned their brutal loss, my son shared the same feelings of defeat. From his folded arms, sulky stare and giant pout -- he was clearly angry about the unfortunate outcome. My son's passionate reaction to the Brazil upset made me reflect on how difficult learning to lose gracefully can be for kids -- and even parents, too.
With the competition in full swing, millions spend hours sitting in front of TVs and computer screens, while their teams engage in grueling matches. Even if you discount all the drinking and snacking that typically comes with watching games on television, the fact that people sit for extended periods of time is disconcerting enough.
In any place where race is tied to wealth, as it is almost everywhere, the stadium will likely look vastly different from the average neighbourhood. Clubs needs to invest in better representing the community in the stadium for their claim to be a true site of integration and inclusion. One way to do this is by changing ticket pricing and distribution.
Now that reality is the new fiction/entertainment, I find myself doubting what's true or false. Is everyone on Facebook really that perfect? Are we raising a generation of wimps? Can homegrown videos reach nine million people organically? Is bacon a food or an industry? And for the love of God, will the real James Franco please stand up.
Parenting is tiring, and fighting your kids' natural tendencies can be exhausting. Growth and change hurt, and there's risk of lasting resentment or shut down if you push kids too hard. But learning and greatness only come with tolerance for pain, and fear, and as parents we need to use the experience our kids don't have to help them push their limits. It's our job.
The Fédération de soccer du Québec (FSQ) caused quite a stir when it announced that a ban on headgear -- religious or not -- would be upheld. If a soccer club makes an exception for the turban, what other exemptions follow? The yarmulke? The kirpan? Why would regulations apply to some but not to others? As FIFA struggles to address persistent racism exhibited in the sport, is it wise to add additional bias to the field? By eliminating a religious symbol, the FSQ strengthens this cherished sporting sanctuary to which congregate almost half of all Canadian kids. In this oasis, there is room for only one religion: the one called "soccer."
This weekend the Quebec Soccer Federation votes on whether to lift a ban that prevents kids from playing soccer -- specifically Sikh players who wear turbans. In sports, you learn to participate and take risks. And you learn to include everyone. It is a lesson that some of the grown-ups still don't get.
Monday's Canada vs. the States soccer game was so good it made you forget you were watching women's soccer, or care (if you did). Too often, female athletes have to fight for airtime, and for recognition. It shouldn't be like that, but sports are sexist in nature. We're all guilty of slighting female athletes. So, thank God for Monday, because we can't now. Compared to this, Usain Bolt's thrilling 9.63 seconds was like a warmup to something better.