Joy Drop: Fans, opponents showing their support for Canada's women's soccer team

CBC Sports Senior Contributor Shireen Ahmed's weekly roundup of the things that struck her from the week that was.

CBC Sports' senior contributor Shireen Ahmed on the week's happier moments

People hold up signs at a soccer match.
Spectators show their support for Canada's players before Canada's SheBelieves Cup soccer match against the United States on Thursday in Orlando, Fla. , Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/) (Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press)

Friends, it has been quite a week! We are midway through Black History Month. I came across a few things that absolutely made me smile, grin and want to share with you. 

The publication of former NHL player Akim Aliu's book Dreamer led me to the hashtag #28DaysofBlackCanLit. The tag is curated by Jael Ealey Richardson, who wrote the book The Hockey Jersey that I featured in a previous Joy Drop. Every day in February, Richardson will suggest a book written by a Black Canadian author. It's basically a reading list full of incredible suggestions. Some are children's books and some are adult memoirs. Books bring me so much joy and I hope you use this precious information and share with friends.

Next up is a podcast recommendation. My friend Tara Slone (formerly of Sportsnet's Hometown Hockey) has a great podcast called The Undercurrent. Her guest for Episode 8, Bernice Carnegie, is a person who I look up to and whose presence is so important in the hockey ecosystem.

Carnegie is the daughter of Hockey hall of Famer Herb Carnegie and co-founder of the Carnegie Initiative. She is an author and speaker, full of wisdom and generous in sharing it. I enjoyed listening to these two amazing women. I miss Tara as she is now in California, but love that she is making waves with The Undercurrent. Other notable guests are Renee Hess (yes, my bestie), Leah Hextall, Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Aidan Cleary. 

I found a totally adorable video shared by a man named Corree. He is holding his adorable baby and they are communicating and enjoying each other so fully. It's a moment of pure unadulterated joy.

Speaking of clapping and excitement, the Toronto Raptors casually came by a basketball tournament for middle school girls at MLSE Launchpad and surprised them. The players were stunned to see their favourite team walk into the gym. Amazing photos and fun times ensued. Supporting girls in sport is quintessential and we all needed this about now. 

Despite all the happiness there have been challenges this week. But moments of strength and support have nurtured joy. It has been a tough week leading up to the SheBelieves Cup for the Canadian women's soccer team. We watched these phenomenal athletes wear purple shirts saying "Enough is Enough" during the anthem and purple armbands during the match to protest what they call unfair treatment from Canada Soccer.

In a beautiful turn of events, the U.S. women's team, their opponents and perhaps their fiercest rivals, wore the same purple bands and linked arms with them before the match in a powerful show of support. In times of struggle, joy can manifest from solidarity and sincerity. And the athletes on the field deserve that joy. Women's sports is about so much more than competition and I am grateful to these players for showing us this. 

You can find the SheBelieves Cup on One Soccer

I leave you with a new release from Linkin Park featuring the late Chester Bennington. My son sent it to me and explained that the band found this never-released recording and decided to offer it to the world just in time for the 20th Anniversary of their album Meteora.


Shireen Ahmed

Senior Contributor

Shireen Ahmed is a multi-platform sports journalist, a TEDx speaker, mentor, and an award-winning sports activist who focuses on the intersections of racism and misogyny in sports. She is an industry expert on Muslim women in sports, and her academic research and contributions have been widely published. She is co-creator and co-host of the “Burn It All Down” feminist sports podcast team. In addition to being a seasoned investigative reporter, her commentary is featured by media outlets in Canada, the USA, Europe and Australia. She holds an MA in Media Production from Toronto Metropolitan University where she now teaches Sports Journalism and Sports Media. You can find Shireen tweeting or drinking coffee, or tweeting about drinking coffee. She lives with her four children and her cat.

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