Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Toronto Parks are finally Smoke-Free!

posted by Mitch Zeltzer

Based on an amendment to a Toronto Municipal Bylaw, smoking is not allowed within a 9 metre or 29.5 foot radius of play areas.

So from now on, when you and your children visit one of the 833 playgrounds in Toronto parks, you will be able to take a deep breath and enjoy the great outdoors, as the City of Toronto make a great step toward a smoke-free city!  

According to the City of Toronto website, here are some of the reasons for this change:
  1. Second-hand smoke harms your child’s growing body.
  2. Seeing a caregiver or loved one smoking increases the chance your kids will try smoking.
  3. Young children could eat toxic cigarette butts or choke on them.
  4. Your child has more smoke-free places to play, now that both the schools and Parks, Forestry & Recreation playgrounds ban smoking.
  5. Cigarette butts release harmful toxins into the ground and take a long time to decompose or biodegrade.
Click here for more information.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An incredible display of sportsmanship

Posted by Adam Kertesz

In a world where sportsmanship has sadly lost much of its meaning, and we seem to have lost all hope in our future generations, here is an inspiring story that shows how truly compassionate high school students can be.

Here is the link to a fantastic article by Rick Reilly at, but to paraphrase: In Indianapolis, a junior varsity girls softball team (Roncalli) was completely dominating a game against a team (Marshall) from an inner city school playing their very first game in school history. The Marshall team showed up with very little equipment, and most of them (including their coach!) have never even seen a game before. Roncalli then did what NO ONE would expect them to do: an inning and a half into the game, after not losing a game for 2.5 years- THEY forfeited the game. And what happened next was just amazing to watch:

"The Marshall players did NOT want to quit," wrote Roncalli JV coach Jeff Traylor, in recalling the incident. "They were willing to lose 100 to 0 if it meant they finished their first game." But the Marshall players finally decided if Roncalli was willing to forfeit for them, they should do it for themselves. They decided that maybe -- this one time -- losing was actually winning.

That's about when the weirdest scene broke out all over the field: Roncalli kids teaching Marshall kids the right batting stance, throwing them soft-toss in the outfield, teaching them how to play catch. They showed them how to put on catching gear, how to pitch, and how to run the bases. Even the umps stuck around to watch."

So the next time you hear about pro athletes getting arrested, fighting with fans, refusing to shake hands with their opponents; or about kids getting into fights, laughing at their opponents when they score a goal, refusing to shake hands with their opponents (because their 'heroes' the pro athletes did the same thing)... think about the girls in this story and how little a 2.5 year winning streak meant to a team that in one afternoon, probably without even realizing it, changed the lives of that Marshall team. The players on both of these teams all walked away that day not just as better players, but as better people too.