All posts by Sean Smith

Sports Editor 2016-2017 Senior Copy Editor 2015-2016 Associate Senior Copy Editor 2014-2015

Sports teams to look out for

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hether it’s overhearing a conversation on the subway, seeing someone repping their team colours, or watching a game in a sports bar with a panoramic view of more screens than you could possibly take in at once, sport permeates nearly every facet of our lives. The university boasts some of the best amateur sport in the country and some of the best athletes in the world — the best part is that U of T students can attend Varsity Blues regular season games free of charge.

The Varsity Blues make up a total of 44 teams competing in 26 different sports, which can make finding a team to follow or a sporting event to attend very overwhelming. The following is a brief look at the standout teams and players to keep an eye on this year:

One of our most decorated teams last year was women’s volleyball, whose home games are held at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. They are the defending Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Canada Interuniversity Sport (CIS) champs, winning the CIS banner for the first time since 1976. Following their 19–0 undefeated season, the team was awarded the OUA Team of the Year Award, and Alina Dormann was awarded the CIS Rookie of the Year Award.

In swimming, both the men and women posted unparalleled seasons, each winning the CIS banner this past year. Blues swimmer Kylie Masse also qualified to represent Canada in the 100m backstroke at the Rio Olympics and holds the Canadian record in the same event.

Despite winning only three of their eight games last season, Blues football will forever be a must-see. Attending a post-secondary football game is a rite of passage and Varsity Stadium is a venue steeped in football history. The stadium used to be the home field for the Toronto Argonauts and hosted some of the most legendary Grey Cup games — notably the 1950 ‘Mud Bowl’, where bad weather and field conditions covered the players in mud from head to toe by the end of the game.

U of T track events will also be great to watch. The women’s team successfully defended their CIS title last year, while the men brought home the OUA banner to hang in our halls, earning their first CIS podium finish in over 20 years.

Watching varsity sports is not only a show of support for your school and fellow students — it is a fun and rewarding diversion from academic stress. While we may not be a Pac-12 school, the calibre of our teams and athletes make Varsity Blues games a worthy way to spend your night out.

Campus athletic facilities

The University of Toronto has some of the best sports facilities in the country. With Tcard in hand, students have access to the same resources that our national teams used to train athletes for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and the Rio 2016 Olympics. The facilities provide opportunities for students to train, compete in intramurals, attend drop-in programs, and watch the Varsity Blues compete against other universities.


UTSG

The downtown Toronto campus is littered with fields, arenas, and high-performance athletic centres. Perhaps the most iconic is Varsity Centre located at Bloor Street West and Devonshire Place. It houses a 5,000 seat stadium and a 400m running track. The varsity football, soccer, lacrosse, and rugby teams all compete here.

At the Hart House Athletic Fitness Centre, you can work out in a building that’s nearly 100 years old. The state-of-the-art equipment is almost anachronistic against the stunning gothic architecture. The building houses a suspended indoor track, an art deco pool, as well as gym and fitness equipment.

The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport is in its second year and is home to brand new weightlifting facilities. The varsity basketball and volleyball teams play their games here. The building also houses the David L. MacIntosh Sports Medicine Clinic, which offers athletic therapy, message therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic treatments.

The Athletic Centre (AC) is the most comprehensive of all the UTSG facilities — though it may be the ugliest. A 200m indoor track, three swimming pools, seven gymnasia, and a strength and conditioning centre are but a few of the features located within its massive, concrete walls. The AC hosts varsity swimming and track and field events.

UTSC

This campus is home to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC). Built for the games, it offers a strength and conditioning studio, a cardio studio, a 41-foot rock climbing wall, a diving tank, and a hardwood field house. TPASC is one of the most technologically advanced sports facilities at the university: there is a portion of running track equipped with pressure sensors and motion capture technology, and the depth of the pool is adjustable.

UTM

The Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre (RAWC) is another multi-purpose sport facility comprised of a 25m pool, three gyms, a sports medicine clinic, and an indoor running track. The centre also has a dance studio and hosts both the national and provincial training centre camps for Olympic weightlifting.

Of people and pedophiles

If you are reading this, it is because some desire or another has led you to. Thankfully your desire to keep reading is a fairly simple one; no one is telling you that it is immoral or illegal to continue. Sexual desires, however, are more complex. Even talking about sexual desires, if done at all, often requires the use of hushed tones, a trusted audience, and a private setting.

Given the stigmas surrounding certain sexual practices this is hardly surprising. While a growing number of people are challenging these stigmas in certain contexts —U of T’s sexual diversity program tackles this problem through education, for instance — pedophilia is seldom discussed. It is rarer still that pedophilia is discussed in the contexts of treatment or social integration, and as such, it remains at a critical distance from social settings.

It is safe to assume that most people have a strong visceral revulsion to pedophilia in any context and under any circumstances. Threats to our children evoke in us strong protective instincts — a response that is deeply ingrained. It is true that pedophiles that have acted on their desires have harmed children irrevocably, but it is equally true that not all pedophiles hurt children. In fact, in scientific circles, a conception of pedophilia as a permanent condition that affects people irrespective of their moral inclinations – they cannot help being attracted to children – is becoming increasingly acknowledged.

It might come as a surprise, but there are members of society who are not otherwise bad people and who also sexually desire children. For what is likely the vast majority of pedophiles, this desire is one that their conscience will never let them act upon; instead of recognizing this struggle and offering help, much of society acts with unspecified prejudice.

On the whole, this attitude is harmful to individuals afflicted with pedophilia, and society as a whole. The current social climate is so caustic that pedophiles fear to seek treatment, which increases their risk of suicide because they end up trying to cope in silence with desires they can’t fulfill or justify; it also increases the likelihood of them actually committing sexual offenses.

In contrast to the wealth of scathing popular opinions, the testimonials of some self-diagnosed pedophiles speak strongly to the misery of coping with the condition. U of T has no student group dedicated to the support of non-offending pedophiles to reach for comment, but Virtuous Pedophiles, an online support group for non-offending pedophiles with over 200 members, acts as a platform for people to post about their struggles. One post from an anonymous 20-year-old man exhibits both sadness and a reliance on others that is entirely divergent from the typical vilification of pedophiles. “I wish with all my soul that I could have a brain that’s wired normally… I don’t think I can get through this on my own,” he writes.

In an equally candid statement during an episode of the popular podcast This American Life, a young male pedophile speaks about his battle with a nature he can’t change and the limits he places upon himself, for the benefit of a child he will never have. “The thought of having a kid is very scary. I’m not convinced I could ever allow myself to do that, you know, as much as I may want it… for both of our safeties,” he said.

Within scientific circles — both at U of T and around the world — understandings of pedophilia diverge from social definitions. According to scientific communities, pedophilia is not only a permanent mental condition, but evidence is also not sufficient to support the idea that pedophilia is a behaviour born of malevolence or inadequate social skills.

Dr. James Cantor, an associate professor of psychiatry at U of T, whose clinical work and research interests are largely devoted to understanding pedophilia, is also the head of research for the Law and Mental Health Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He said that pedophilia is “innate that the person is essentially born with it and can’t change it over the course of life… it isn’t something that they chose and it isn’t something artificial that was forced on to them.” He goes on to say that it is “the only way to explain the existing research.”

Within the clinical world, pedophilia is considered a mental health issue, with treatments being offered and developed; and yet, the dominant social response to pedophilia is not conducive to helping the people who suffer from it. The treatment options currently available involve either using chemicals to block the pedophiles sex drive, or psychotherapy, which seeks to integrate people into what might be considered normal society.

Our legal system, however, does not reflect this scientific understanding. U of T professor emeritus of philosophy, and philosophy of sex scholar, Ronald de Sousa points out that there seem to be “some obvious, really weird things in the way that the law is in this area, in that, people [can] basically be found to have committed a crime, a thought crime, a crime that doesn’t have any basis in what they’ve actually done.”

An example of such a law is Section 163.1 (c) of Canada’s criminal code, which makes illegal “any written material whose dominant characteristic is the description, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years.” This law makes a very specific interaction with imaginary depictions of unreality illegal — De Sousa remarked that, due to laws like this, pedophilic desire might be “the only thing that remains in the criminal code that can be designated as a thought crime.”

Cantor also said that laws requiring therapists to report pedophilic desires of their patients are “overactive,” and that if a person is “born sexually interested in children through no fault of his own what we want him to do is come into therapy and get help.” Cantor argues that since “the therapist is required to pick up the phone and call Children’s Aid Society, which is the current law, [and having to] arrest this guy and take him out of society,” pedophiles are deterred from seeking the help they need. “So, instead of having pedophiles in society receiving sex drive reducing medications, or whatever, we have pedophiles out in society completely unbeknown to anybody.”

The systemic reaction to pedophilia is somewhat confused, and public perception of pedophiles is so corrosive that an equitable, measured reaction is likely far off. In light of statistics that suggest that as many as five per cent of men and as many as one per cent of women may be pedophiles, it is important to note that society treats non-offending members of this group poorly, due to the egregious crimes of a few. We should reconsider our prejudices rationally; continuing to vilify non-offending pedophiles endangers their lives, and precludes opportunities for improvement of society.

Oms noms

PUTTANESCA

This traditional Italian pasta dish takes its name from the Italian word for prostitute. The dish was reputed to be popular among prostitutes because it is inexpensive and extremely nutritious.

2 Tbsp of olive oil

½  a tin of anchovies

3 cloves of garlic

1 tomato

A handful of olives

Basil or spinach (optional)

Parmesan cheese (to taste)

Pasta

Begin boiling water, when water is boiled, add in pasta and cook until al dente.

Mince the garlic and dice the tomato.

On medium heat, in a frying pan, heat the oil and then add the garlic and anchovies and cook for five minutes. Add the olives and tomato to the pan. Once everything is warm, drop the heat to low and add the basil or spinach.

When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and mix with the sauce.  Serve hot and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

FRENCH COTTAGE MUSSELS

This French peasant-food recipe is dead simple, tastes great, and will add a little chic to your table. It’s great for convincing parents or dates that you’ve developed some culinary ability.

1 kg of mussels

2 carrots

1 stalk of celery

2 onions

2 cloves of garlic

1 bulb of fennel

1½ cups of white wine

Splash of cream (optional)

Make sure the mussels are closed. If the mussels are open tap the outside of the shell. If the shell doesn’t close, discard it, along with any mussel whose shell is cracked .

Thinly slice the carrots, fennel, and celery, dice the onion, and mince the garlic. Sauté the veggies in oil or butter over medium heat until they appear coated. Cover the veggies while they soften making sure to stir frequently.

When the veggies have fully softened add the wine and bring it to a boil. Add the mussels and cover. Cook until mussels have opened — this should take about five minutes.

If using cream add it in now.

Mix the broth in with the mussels. Serve with good bread for dipping into the broth.

INDIAN SPICED POTATOES

For those with dietary restrictions this meatless, gluten-free recipe — borrowed from one of Vancouver’s hottest Indian restaurants — is a spicy delight for modest budgets.

1 lb new potatoes

2 Tbsp oil

1 large onion

1 tsp turmeric

1 Tbsp salt

½  tsp ground cayenne pepper

¼  cup water

Handful of spinach (optional)

Slice the potatoes into ¼ inch slices, dice the onion, and combine the salt and spices in a small bowl.

Heat the oil on medium heat until hot then add the onion, cook for five minutes.

Add the salt and spices cook for a minute, and then add the water and potatoes. Bring water to a boil and drop heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Gently stir the potatoes. If they start to stick add more water.

Cover and cook until soft.

Add the spinach for another couple minutes or until it wilts. Serve as a flavourful side to a protein of your choice.