So I took a long flight yesterday, and with it, I allowed myself to indulge in my favourite flying tradition: the purchasing of the mindless magazine. This time I chose Glamour with Amy Schumer on the cover, as I had just seen Trainwreck and have continued to appreciate Schumer and the manner in which she pushes boundaries against the “norm” and gives a voice to the box that we as women are often put into about how we are supposed to look and what we are supposed to be. And something to appreciate about her even more is that she manages to do the dirty work of spreading that controversial message while being absolutely hilarious.
Trainwreck was definitely a comedy, however, in it, her father has MS. And while I spent the majority of the movie in stitches laughing, when she is navigating through her father’s illness in the film, coincidentally the one that my mother has had since I was 6, I found myself in tears.
I had no idea that Trainwreck was loosely biographical, and the real Amy Schumer’s father also has the disease.
In Glamour her sister (who’s interviewing her) asks her:
“So Dad having MS (he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when Schumer was nine). It’s a real bummer. Why do you think that didn’t totally f–ck us up and shatter us?”
Amy answered: It definitely changed our perspective. Seeing a parent you thought was invincible completely decline makes you appreciate everything and it also lets you know that life can be horrible for no reason. And I think knowing that has informed a lot of who I am. I don’t know if that’s happened for you. Maybe not. You’re better at detaching. I want to feel what I’m feeling.
It’s exactly how I feel about my Mom’s illness and seeing what she has had to go through, totally randomly and unfairly. In her case, her incredibly positive attitude has taught me about how to go about my own challenges and the gift of a healthy life in general, but I never know when something will hit me about it. But that emotion towards it is always there (Now everyone who felt the confusion of seeing the girl next to them crying at a comedy understands-you’re welcome).
So how does this all relate to blocking a bunch of BC Soccer people on twitter last night.
As with my Mom and her MS and how by virtue of experiencing it, has shaped me in a way I can’t help, playing high level soccer was an outlet for me, and I threw myself with every shred of my heart into my experience, playing on and off in the province until 2011. As a player I experienced a broken system in BC, the Lower Mainland specifically, and as someone that has climbed to the other side, organizing events, I have continued to see how the archaic system is producing situations and affecting opportunities for players in a way that I just haven’t seen or experienced in the 5 other countries I have lived in and been intimately involved in the soccer system.
Last night on twitter, I was checking out the Province Newspaper and came across a lead article talking about there being police presence at a youth soccer meeting in a suburb of Vancouver. Article is here —
Amongst other issues, one is the contention that the club, Central City Breakers has a relationship with a group that is unaffiliated with BC Soccer. This policy of “affiliation” with BC Soccer, is something that has caused soccer clubs to have to go through lawsuits to get the opportunity to take their teams out of province to compete and gives, what should be a neutral governing body overseeing soccer, with an amount of power, laughable to anyone that has experienced soccer outside of the country. In my opinion, a key point of what is holding back soccer in the province from flourishing under the parameters of a competitive marketplace.
I tweeted the article with the subcaption “if this doesn’t paint the picture of how toxic/dysfunctional soccer in BC is…” which led to a barrage of notifications coming in immediately from those offended by what I had said, with the love of a bunch of Christian conservatives commenting on a crude Amy Schumer comment. I’m not sure why the soccer equivalent of a bunch of Christian conservatives (please continue to run with my metaphor here) would buy tickets to a Amy Schumer show (or follow me on twitter) but I don’t think the hate is good for any of us, hence my foray into the wonderful world of twitter blockerage.
That being said, after every major event, and as a running commentary the majority of the time, people talk about how Canada needs to change etc. Yet it’s apparent, the reason why there is no change; too many people are benefitting from the dysfunction, and at the end of the day, it’s about people at the top being fearful of change and losing their piece of the pie, whether it’s their power, and their money, and it is absolutely not guided by what is best for the players.
Anyone that gets that riled up by a simple comment on twitter needs to ask themselves why. People that have nothing to fear and secure in who they are and the job that they do, quite simply don’t respond defensively and/or aggressively.
If we really want to change things in Canada and make it better for the players? It’s simple. Allow the very principles that define competition back into the equation and let anyone start and run programs, and encourage there to be multiple pathways for players to the top. Because that’s where we want all the kids to have a chance to get to, correct? If you are confident in your ability, you don’t care about who is going to stand on the field with you and compete with you and your programs, in fact you welcome it because competition makes us better.
I have nothing to gain by speaking up. I don’t have a card in the game, or anything to gain by things changing for the better, but like any mention of MS or people’s struggles with it, make me tear up, I can’t help but care deeply about soccer in BC and the next generation of kids after being shaped by what I have experienced as a player.
And finally, Trainwreck is a really hilarious movie. Go see it (unless of course you’re a Christian conservative, and then it likely will make you really angry and fearful that the world as you know it will fall apart and then you’ll write aggressive things on twitter, and then…..)
Namaste. Enjoy your day.