Joy Drop: Reasons to smile on this Canada Day

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

Colorado Avalanche centre Nazem Kadri greets the crowd during a rally following the Stanley Cup parade on Thursday in downtown Denver. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)

THE LONG WEEKEND IS HERE! Friends, here are some beautiful things to get you smiling as you head into a lovely long weekend.

For starters, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that one of the happiest moments for me this week was watching Nazem Kadri hoist the Stanley Cup after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 in the series final. I was so moved by this moment I wrote about it

There are ways in which sport advances necessary conversations in wider society and there are also ways that sport is a vehicle for progress. Hockey continues to have its dark parts exposed for reckoning and its dirty laundry aired so it can be cleaned. So, it was important to take some time to revel in this win and see so many people cheer Kadri on. 

Also, his fashion choices are incredible and timely. 

This online notebook is about joy. One of the things that bring me great joy is the Atlantic Ocean. I was covering the MWBA Championship weekend in Halifax last weekend (more coming!) and got a few moments to sit on the rocks at Point Pleasant Park (where I spent many hours in my youth) and enjoy the fog rolling in while breathing in the briny ocean air. I hadn't been back in many years and it was a thrill to be there working in my hometown. On my way to work, I stopped by the oldest independent children's bookstore Woozles, a place that continues to be magical for generations of families. 

While my best friend Catherine and I walked on the Halifax Pier, I started singing Barrett's Privateers. Totally à propos. The morning before the finals, me and Catherine and her daughter went to check out Beyond Van Gogh: An Immersive Experience.

I was stunned at the perfect combination of art history, digital imaging and storytelling. It was gorgeous. There are exhibitions all across Canada. It's a fantastic way to introduce or re-engage with art in a spectacular way. My father took me to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam when I was 13 and this experience was so different. It leaves one with an appreciation for new media and for embracing creativity in whatever way suits you. That is the point of art: to embrace it and hold it and interpret it in a way that you want to. And if you want to bust out into a slow dance with your almost five-year-old niece standing on your feet as Don MacLean's song Vincent plays and lights reflect the paintings onto the floor, you can do that, too. 

Shireen Ahmed, right, and Pearl Burton in Halifax on June 26. (Shireen Ahmed)

On this Canada Day, I would like to leave you with a poignant piece by Indigenous artist and legend Buffy Sainte-Marie. Take a few moments to listen to her words, hear her voice and think about the history and the present. My friend, Andrea Warner, wrote Sainte-Marie's authorized biography. It captivated me because not only is Sainte-Marie a force of good, she combines unapologetic storytelling with her gift of music while drawing to the egregious acts of violence against the original people of this land. 

Listening to Indigenous artists and reading Indigenous journalists and respectfully immersing in Indigenous voices is always beneficial. And acting in a way that is conscious and necessary and recognizes principles of Truth and Reconciliation. It only strengthens the community and this place we call home. 


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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