Thursday, July 30, 2015

Scenes from the last Sunday

Before I left Toronto at the end of the Pan Am games I made some notes on the day of the closing ceremony.

The games were exciting to watch.  I have written before about the problems related to nationalism. Nationalism does nothing to blur the ersatz boundaries--no more than social constructions--between us all. That written, it was fun to watch the Brazilian fans and Argentinian fans chant for their squads when watching team handball.  I was rooting for the USA in the Canada/US basketball game but I still enjoyed observing the energy in the arena for those cheering for the home country.  The racquetball contest I observed was fascinating- as much because of the aficionados I saw and spoke with near the arena--than the game itself 

I liked how the city was prepared for the games.  Lots and lots of volunteers telling you how to go where you needed to go. The city was filled with yellow shirted young men and women clearly indicating their affiliation with the games. It took me three days to get it, but the subways were free to anyone who had a ticket to the games.  This would have spared me a shekel or two from the cab rides to the exhibition center,  but regardless, I am/was impressed with the infrastructure.

I met some interesting folks.  A fellow at a sports bar called The Loose Moose told me that he worked for a game board company.  Maybe I should know about this, but apparently there are cafes in most big cities where people come in to play, not electronic but old fashioned, board games. So, you walk in with a bunch of cronies and you want to play Chutes and Ladders, or Monopoly. You get a board, grab a table, have a cup of coffee and play.  He said it was a booming business.  

Another fellow tells me that he worked the games and was involved with transportation. His company is hired by clubs and athletes to make sure the players or coaches or representatives get to the where they need to go. So, you are the team from Puerto Rico and your basketball team has to play at the Ryerson arena at 6. You don't call Ghostbusters, you call this person's company and he arranges the flights, hotels, busses, who gets the bags--the whole deal.  You sponsor a famous athlete and want him to be seen at the superbowl, you call this guy's company and he arranges the travel and all logistics associated with the visit.

My dad would say wisely (as was often the case) Capitalism stinks but it is better than anything else. And here you have two companies that exist because someone had ideas and there were incentives to realize them.

The city, and perhaps the country, has a healthier attitude toward sex than we do in the US.  I saw a commercial for--of all products- a Maytag washing machine that was steamier than any tv ad I have seen in the states.  A report on a news program reported the injury of a "sex trade worker."  Hmm. Sex trade worker would be referred to as prostitute where I come from and the word would be coated with stigma.  On a radio program I heard a female dj describe a fellow at the beach with a funny hat, a pot belly, and an incongruous speedo but opined that given where he was at, "he will probably get laid anyway."

Then there was the proselytizer with the shirt.  I will write about him later.

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