Not measuring stick

TROY WESTWOOD

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

"No chance in hell" was my response when asked my opinion of the Bombers pulling off an upset in Montreal on Sunday.

I, along with most everyone else, was wrong.

Great for the team to go into Percival Molson Stadium and steal one. Helps the record out. Everyone can smile for a week.

Don't you dare use it as a measuring stick though. Would be much better off to view it as though you just walked into a bear's den and kicked the bear out of a deep sleep.

If the Bombers have the opportunity to play in the Eastern Final, that same bear is gonna be waiting for them, grumpy and pissed off.

How much different of a team you wonder? After all, Montreal played most of their starters for the whole game right?

Well, remember this. The Bombers just beat a team that tried to fake a punt well into the fourth quarter at about mid-field.

The fake failed and the players and head coach were giggling about it.

A strange environment these "meaningless" games create in professional sport.

Such a delicate line to walk -- keeping the integrity of the game, avoiding injury, and staying mentally sharp.

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In many instances sport provides us with a measuring stick as to where we are as a society.

The events of last week involving the Transcona Nationals and the North End Nomads show us what we all know. We have a long way to go in becoming a society, a community that treats each other with kindness, respect, and tolerance.

Much of the responsibility of the actions, words, and ways of thinking expressed by the youth falls squarely on the shoulders of parents.

If we as parents take a more active role in teaching kindness, respect, and tolerance towards all human beings with different skin colour, spiritual beliefs or culture, we can help to greatly minimize, or completely eradicate such behaviour from our children.

Tough to do this if you as a parent are ignorant enough to use such language or have such thoughts.

If you do, I wish you well on your road to any level of wisdom as the years go by.

If it helps you to change your ways, I would ask you to please give some thought to how your words or way of thinking affects your child and his or her future.

Coaches have the power and responsibility to help shape the minds of young ones.

I would encourage at least once a year, regardless of what sport you coach, that you address your players on this subject.

Referees must have the courage to assess penalties if they hear anything during the course of the game. If we hear our teammates speak language that is unacceptable, we need to address our teammate immediately and inform them sternly that such language is unacceptable. What is completely unacceptable by other players, coaches, referees, and parents is silence.

If we are aware of such behaviour, we must address it. If we think there is a possibility of such behaviour, we must address it.

Sport is a microcosm of society, of our communities. We cannot tolerate hateful, ignorant language or ways of thinking based on the understanding that someone is something less than us because of the colour of their skin, spiritual beliefs or culture.

We cannot tolerate this in society, in our communities or in sport. We, through choice, have the power to come to a deeper understanding of things different from us.

To act at all times with kindness, respect and tolerance. It is critical to instill these teachings in the youth at every opportunity.

Troy Westwood is a former Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker. His column appears two days after every Bombers game.


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