THE AIM of amateursport is to provide a forum on important questions facing the people in the realm of sport and recreation, and to popularize positive experiences of athletes, families and coaches of all lands within the context of defending the best ideals of amateur sport. In other words, we applaud good plays.
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Can I contribute material?
Submissions or suggestions from like-minded individuals, who want to turn things around, are very welcome! I welcome submissions from readers, though I can’t promise to run everything I receive. If you can include some sort of supporting documentation, that’s greatly appreciated.
I’m always looking for new material. If you’d like to suggest an item, please direct me to the original source if you can. I’ll credit you for the tip.
On professional athletes
You will not find articles on amateursport defaming athletes, including professional athletes, whom we respect. We reject the uncultured approach of the sports media, which raises this and that athlete to celebrity status only to tear them down when they are no longer useful. Higinio Velez, manager of Team Cuba that was a finalist in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, put it well when he said of the major leaguers,
“We admire them, we follow them, we see how they play. We have great respect for them, and what they got and what they get and what they still have is something that they obtained through sacrifice, through their sweat. Nothing they get is for free.
“More than 95 per cent of the major-leaguers in the U.S. come from the very low classes, from the humble classes, so what they do is with their effort, with their sweat, their sacrifice and with their love for baseball.”
Commercialization and “entertainment”
Sport mutates and the masses are reduced to spectators of gladiators in the arena when profit, commercialism and international domination is the goal. In our view, the defence of amateur sport necessitates combating the narcosis and disinformation of sport as “entertainment” – an instrument of annexation by the United States, and the neo-liberal, anti-social offensive of the powerful monopolies and corporate sports media of the rich.
The example of Cuba
In this direction, we think it vital to also combat the prejudicial reporting that saturates the media concerning the social accomplishments of the island socialist republic of Cuba in the sphere of sport, recreation and health. Cuba is an inspiring example – not a model! – of a society which as part of its nation-building project provides free access to sport, health and culture, while striving to raise their quality and the participation of the masses of people. These are maintained as a basic right of the Cuban people with sound ethical-moral principles. As one Cuban once put it, the medal should be a byproduct of the masses.
Right to participate is a basic human right
The ability and access of citizens in Canada to participate in amateur sport and recreation is a basic human right that must be secured. The right of high performance athletes to train, compete and retire in dignity and security and not suffer humiliation and poverty or become advertising stickers also must be secured. These rights cannot be reduced to a policy objective of this or that government, a privilege accorded to the elite or the rich who “own the podium.” The serious lack of facilities at the community level and their deterioration must be immediately addressed. The all-round cutbacks to social programs such as sports, recreation, physical education together with “user pay” fees being carried out by governments at all levels must be resisted and reversed.
A nation-building project
The influence and control over national teams and national sport governing bodies by such monopolies as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Bell and Rogers Communications, and Own The Podium in the name of “partnership” and “winning” must be eliminated. In our view, the solutions to the problems we encounter in the sphere of sport and recreation which are also indelibly related to health are integral to building a new nation-building project. The same athletic and team spirit that has shone from outdoor rinks and community parks to Olympic ovals has to be reasserted in the modern conditions with a new direction for sport set by the athletes, workers and their allies who actually organize amateur sport throughout Quebec and Canada. This great nation-building project begins with the courage to say NO! to the corporate monopolies, governments and their neoliberal agendas of reducing sport as their tool.
For a new definition of amateur sport
Not only does it take the courage to resist, it takes the audacity to present a new direction for sport, recreation and health under the control of the actual producers. We must create a new definition of amateur sport suitable to the modern conditions. This means control of how sport is organized, funded and conducted, how and what the sports industry manufactures and its distribution, price of production and how the realized added-value is divided up, and also its claim on the social product, and the restriction of monopoly right to public space such as parks, arenas and athletic facilities. The people of Quebec and Canada must assert public right to sport as with all spheres of life, especially the economy, one that serves the people. Athletes and people together must hold the Harper government and others accountable to their responsibility to defend the people and their right to public services and social programes. Together, let us turn the situation around. All For One and One for All!
Who publishes this?
My name is Tony Seed. I am a journalist/publisher, longtime political activist and enthusiast of amateur sport, resident of Blantyre, Ontario (near Meaford) and sometimes Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada. I began amateursport by providing an archive of articles which I have written or collected over the years that may have relevance today. This web blog is very much a work in progress and unfortunately the time I would like to devote to it has been limited.
I am co-author, with former St Louis Cardinals pitcher Curtis Coward of The Kids’ Baseball Book in 1994, a best seller and still popular among kids, families, and coaches; a certified coach in three sports; and president of the small but active Nova Scotia Cricket Association (NSCA) for some 16 years. In 1987 I founded the Maritime Cricket Festival as an annual festival for cricketers from the Maritimes and Quebec with the motto “Friendship First, Competition Second.” I was lucky enough to be one of the founding members of the Halifax Grandmasters’ Basketball League, 1986. A long time ago I played football and was invited to try out for semi-pro at the age of 17..
I have also published and designed innovative periodicals for cricket, baseball, soccer, scuba diving, field hockey, cycling and popular recreation programs in Halifax public housing. These include two other books: Passport to Diving (1991) with the N.S. Underwater Council; and The Outdoor Resources Directory (1997), an encyclopedic guide – 50,000 copies of which were published in 1997 with the assistance of the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission to promote participation in outdoor recreational activity.
How can I reach you?
You can write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I also maintain a web blog at http://tonyseed.wordpress.com
Thanks for reading.