From the gladiators of ancient Rome to Ali versus Frazier, history demonstrates that combat sports are among the oldest and most enduring forms of athletic endeavour. Today, title bouts in mixed martial arts and boxing attract millions of fans and dollars. Along with soccer, they constitute perhaps the only truly global sports. But fight fans, often like the fighters themselves, seem bent on self-destruction, fostered through a never-ending debate between fans of both sports who insist that their discipline is superior in skill and entertainment.
This summer a new festival is coming to the South Saskatchewan River: WakeRide '09. “We have such a beautiful river bank, so why don't we use it?” asked WakeRide '09 spokesperson Nicole Martini. “We have a gross winter but summer is so cool.” The wakeboarding competition is part of an effort of the government-funded initiative Urban Playground to attract and retain younger people in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan. The competition levels will include beginner, intermediate one and two, and advanced. There will be big air competitions, different trick competitions, and rails in the water. Sunday is the professional competition, including the likes of Rusty Malinoski, a local rider who has made it big in the wakeboarding world. “We decided that this is just something we want to do to make Saskatoon cooler,” said Martini. “The fact that Rusty comes from Humbolt says that anything is possible; you can dream big, you can achieve your dreams. We want to give that encouragement to kids in Saskatoon.”
For only the second time in history, the International Softball Federation's World Men's Softball Championships will be held in Canada, and the championships are coming to Saskatoon. The only other time the event was held in Canada was in 1988, also in Saskatoon. It is a venue that the ISF has come to appreciate and has rewarded Saskatoon the right to host the championship yet again, the first site since the tournament's inception in 1966 to host the tournament twice. With opening pitch slated for the morning of July 17, the buzz around this tournament is starting to percolate in baseball circles in the city. Generally, championships are held every four years. This year's championship breaks with tradition and comes five years after New Zealand hosted the event.
The May 2 CFL draft selection of Huskies football players slotback Scott McHenry and defensive end Ivan Brown reiterates the effectiveness of the Green and White's football program. Despite a disappointing previous season for the Huskies, teammates of McHenry and Brown will surely find solace in the pair's successful results at the annual CFL draft. Brown was selected 31st overall by the Montreal Alouettes and McHenry 32nd overall by the Calgary Stampeders, both in the fourth round.
If Stalin were alive to discover that one of Russia's biggest national icons in the 21st century was making his fame and fortune on enemy turf in the capitalistic United States, the communist dictator's push broom moustache would undoubtedly turn grey.