If it was not clear before the Covid-19 crisis hit, It’s abundantly clear now, Long-term care homes in Ontario need more support, let’s face it, they’re in crisis and we need our politicians to act.
This pandemic has disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable among us and has exposed systemic inequities in our Long-term care facilities.
Sure, If you followed the words of many of our politicians today, it seems like they all agree but there has been no tangible action. So what’s the roadblock? Well, it’s very clear to me and to many that the Ontario government failed to act.
Provincial NDP Party Leader Andrea Horwath proposed an 8-year plan that would make full-scale changes to long-term care in the province. The plan would cost 6 billion in initial investment and 3 billion a year in operating costs. Calling for a 50 percent increase in spending in the long-term care sector.
It is common knowledge that Covid-19 has been devastating to our aging population around the world and the numbers are shocking
If nothing else, I hope they can reach an agreement on a staffing standard.Premier Mike Harris and the Ontario PCs got rid of it in 1996. Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to make a change in 2003. Maybe this time it will be the NDP, led by a woman that will take the province where it needs to go.
I know plenty of NFL fans are avid bettors. Whether it be daily fantasy, Proline or making picks through online websites.
My goal of writing this blog is to give you a way, you can make watching sports and betting on games fun for the person or people you are convincing to watch the games with you.
The premise is simple. Give the person the full slate of games.Let them choose the game winner off a random team fact for that week. I am using the NFL as an example, but this can be done with any sport.
This week I chose logos and had 6 of my friends that are not heavily invested in the NFL, pick 6 winners and I played 5 dollars on each ticket. With the promise to split the winnings.
If any of the plays get to about $50-$60 in early cash out, I will take the money and run.
This can be done with out money, instead you can pit their picks against yours or a group. While putting something fun on the line for the winner. Such as cooking/paying for dinner, doing the dishes, or putting the kids to bed.
As a grown man I sometimes feel weird being so invested in the success of my favorite professional sports teams. Especially the ones that are not based out of Toronto or even Canada for that matter. As I have no real connection to them as most of my favorite players from my childhood have since been traded away or retired.
Falling in love with sports at an early age for me was easy, as my dad is a lover of most sports an avid cricket player and played pretty much every year of my life, well into his 60’s. As for my mom, she is as competitive as ever. Give her a chance for her to beat you or prove you wrong in something and she was all in.
By the time I was 6 years old, just starting to play baseball. After watching my older brother play for as long as I could remember. I fell in love with the game. Outside of watching the Blue Jays’ games as a family. I was also able to catch Atlanta Braves games on tv and I quickly fell in love with the team. Being born in 93’, by the time I was 6 I had already heard all the stories of the 93’ and 92’ Playoff runs 10000 times. That same year, the fall of 99’, with buzz of the end of the world about or Y2K. As a six-year-old all I was focused on was seeing the Braves win a world series. As a kid I didn’t get to watch many games to completion. First thing in the morning, it was always a beeline to the front door or living room to find that day’s copy of the sports sections to check the standings to see if the Braves had won. The 99’ season should have been an eerie foreshadowing of what it would be like to be not only a Braves fan but a fan of Atlanta sports teams. As the Braves lost handily to the Yankees in 4 games with game 3 being the only close game.
Starting up a Rally
The word fanatic perfectly describes what most sports fans are but won’t admit too. In both senses of the word. Instead they save fanaticfor that Bills Mafia super fan that loves getting put through tables before Bills games to hype up other fans. Or the fan that will not wash their team jersey for good luck during a playoff run.
Having lived away from home for post-secondary school, both on and off campus. I got a pretty good first-hand experience of a wide array of sports fans from all walks of life. A Lot of things were different, but a few remained the same. Regardless of the sport being played. Or the gender of the fan, you could always find fanatics. I am not sure how it is for most. But for me, I have seen more than my fair share of fights that started with a sports argument. Whether it was, player A is better than player B. Or team A is better than Team B. Or how could you like team A more than team B? For one reason or another the arguments begin and end in disaster.
Hitting Too Close To Home
Does having sports so heavily involved in your life make you immature in a sense? That’s the question I asked myself as I lay sleepless after the Braves loss in game 7 this weekend. After being up 3-1 and in control at many different points of the last 3 games. Sadly, this is a spot I have been in many times before. Especially over the last 5-10 years or so. It did not make this time any easier. In fact, it made it worse. At no time until the Braves lost game 7, did I think it was possible for them to mark themselves on that side of the baseball history books.
Growing up loving the game of baseball, it was easy to fall in love with some of the unwritten rules and curses that baseball purists over the years have coined. A starting point of my journey as a sports fan that led me to this heartbreak. The curse of the Bambino was something that haunted Redsox Fans for what felt like a lifetime leading up to the 2004 American League Championship series. If you are not familiar with what I am talking about. In 1918 The Red Sox’s sold Babe Ruth (one of the Greatest players of all time) to the New York Yankees and for the following 86 years they never won a world series. Leading some sports fans to call the team cursed. Well in 2004, the unthinkable happened and the team became the first in history to come back from a 3-0 deficit to beat those same Yankees and sweep the Cardinals in the world series thus ending the curse. In jest this would mean nothing, but my older brother Ryan is a Redsox fan. Up until that point as an 11-year-old, I was as annoying as I could be. Letting him know at every chance his team sucked and we got to bear witness to it. You would think the events that transpired would humble me moving forward. Unfortunately, they would not.
The next series of events are oddly related to the first. With my brother being such a big Redsoxs fan, in an attempt to annoy him at every turn. I started to support the Chicago Whitesox. In turn meant my support for the Chicago Cubs was little to none. These facts only matter, to set the stage for the second and one of the more recent 3-1 breakdowns that has led me to this point. In 1945, during game 4 of the world series, local Tavern owner William Sianis was asked to leave the game because his pet Billy Goat was bothering spectators. Upon leaving he proclaimed, “Them Cubs,they ain’t gonna win no more” and for the next 71 years the Cubs failed to make the world series. Until in 2016, with the Cleveland Baseball team up 3 games to 1. The Cubs battled back to win the world series. At this point, as a self-proclaimed baseball purist at 22 years old and being slightly superstitious. I began to believe that maybe I was the curse or something I did prior to watching. Or in a way I showed my support. Something other sports fans can relate too.
This last one is the most painful to date. Really stung but even still. I had been a fan of Kevin Durant from the moment he was at Texas. The moment he got drafted by the Seattle Supersonics I was locked into that franchise. The following year when they picked up and moved to Oklahoma City, I was right there behind them. The Sonics/Thunder had been bad, really bad but I still stood strong in my support. Now years later, on the brink of the finals for the second time in five years. I took it as a positive step in the right direction. Poised to be able to lock Kevin Durant in long term in the 2016 offseason and be ready to be a top contender in the league over what I thought would be the next 4-5 years up until this point.
Heading into the 2016 NBA playoffs with the OKC Thunder up on the 73-9 Golden State Warriors 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals. Similarly, to the Braves in 2020. The thought of them blowing this series did not even cross my mind. But it happened and KD left. At this point, I don’t think I had ever been as heartbroken as a fan. Maybe as a kid when I found out Vince Carter sold out the Raptors in a late game play, in an attempt to force a trade. But at this point it was so long ago and I had moved past that in a sense.
Like I mentioned earlier, besides the Jays the Braves were my next favorite sports team. I have followed them ever since that 1999 world series run. The last time the Braves had won a playoff series before this year was 2001. Something as a fan I didn’t even notice. I knew we made the playoffs most years. For the first 12 years of my life the Braves won their Division every year as well. It was when someone mentioned that we had not won a series in almost 20 years, prior to beating the Reds in the first round. That I noticed the Braves were the textbook definition of a treadmill team. So much so that I didn’t even realize that they had been so far from postseason success for so long because of how dominant they were in the regular season, winning trades and developing players. Once we took down the Reds, then the Marlins, then got up 3-1 on the Dodgers, none of that mattered again. It seems like I would be able to celebrate like it was 1999. Just like the situation with the Thunder, this Braves team is well ahead of schedule. In terms of when most experts thought they would be able to compete. On one hand the future has and seemingly will always be bright for the Atlanta Braves. On the other hand, I have been here so many times before that it is very hard to lock in and stay positive on that type of mindset.
I don’t think I will ever be able to, nor want to cut sports completely out of my life. What I do want to try and do is change the way I consume it, as well as the way I let the outcome affect me. Being an avid sports bettor and Fantasy sports head. and a fanatic of one certain team or player can really be detrimental to your objective decision making in both activities. With almost all my other attachments, even the Toronto Bluejays or Toronto Raptors, none is harder to break than my attachment to the Braves. I am not sure if it is because they never really saw the low points that the Toronto teams did, as such I was able to lean on the Braves in the other teams’ down years. Or that being from Toronto, I have never met that many Braves fans. Kind of having it as my own in a world filled with other fanatics felt special. Even with all that said, I am going to try and take a step back from supporting any team that is outside of Toronto. For the simple fact that even if they do win, I cannot participate in the championship parade. After going to the Raptors Championship parade in 2019. It is an excitement I will forever chase.
The differences and similarities of the Green and the Ndp Parties in Canada is an area I want to attempt to draw attention to. With the main purpose being the idea of the two parties joining forces to take over the left wing of politics in Canada and to continue to push Canada forward as a leader in progressive thinking in the world.
As someone who did not vote in the last Canadian Federal Election and a self proclaimed left wing libertarian. I felt my integrity would be lost if I voted for Justin Trudeau. At the time, I was really dumbfounded with the idea how any person of colour could openly support Justin Trudeau for Prime Minister. I was a supporter of his first run around the block but after it came out that he had done Black face not once, but twice. I jumped ship and never really looked back.
After being able to spend alot of time growing my relationship with my dad over the last 7 months of being on lockdown, to working from home. He explained to me one day while we were discussing the daily circus that is American politics why he had no problem with continually supporting the Liberal Party at every level possible no matter what.
It was that explanation that led to my passion to write this. As a black man who Immigrated to Toronto in 1974. My father had a lot to say about why he always makes sure he goes out and makes sure his vote counts.
But the fact that he was one of the first world leaders to really embrace multicultural immigration in 1971 meant that my dad in 1974, at 23 years old was able to be sponsored by his older sister to come to Canada. As a result his younger sisters and mother were able to follow in the coming years. For him and many other newly immigrated Canadians, they thought this not possible if not for the Liberal Party of Canada. In combination with the treatment he received consistently from noticeable groups of Canadians that opposed the idea of new Canadians and thought that by voting Conservative, that they would not only stop the arrival but to be able to send back the current first generation immigrants in Canada.So for him, every election day he goes out and votes for the party that has the best chance at making sure the Conservatives do not take power.
Pierre Trudeau was the man in charge at the time of the Liberal party. As a result he gets the credit at a higher level. That same support was able to resonate almost 40 years later to help his son Justin take power of the Liberal party of Canada.As well as, majority control of Canada’s Federal Government. All this being done with a far less than stellar record. To the point he was able to hide his photos of him in black face through his first election all the way up until his re-election campaign 4 years later. To all the ongoing scandals over the last year.
To that I can now draw my parallel, just like in the election of 1974. Just months prior to my father touching down in Pearson Airport. It seems like the Canadian support for this generation’s Trudeau is failing for all the same reasons his father did. And the series of political events that led up to that point can offer foreshadowing of what could be to come for Canada. Whenever the next federal election would be.
It was widely agreed that the NDP Party carried the Liberal-Pierre Trudeau minority government for the 18 months heading into that election. Something we are currently seeing with the 2020 Federal NDP and Liberal Parties.
The main topic that drew the vote of non confidence was inflation. Something present day Canadian’s are really feeling the full force of as covid has attacked our global economy and people have begun to hoard items and resell them for insane mark ups.
The NDP Leader at the time, David Lewis. Was really proud of his ability to “change the vote” . When in all reality he fed into the problem the NDP and other smaller left wing political parties have when reaching out to voters. Especially people like my father. Who use their vote, to vote for the party that is left on the political spectrum of the Conservatives and has the best chance at winning.
So by not only aligning the NDP with the Conservatives but being proud and not resentful in doing so. He alienated what could have been the beginning of an orange or green wave that had the chance to take over Canadian politics for almost the next half century.
I come to that conclusion by not only looking at the resounding Liberal majority government win that happened in the 1974 Federal election. But the present day stigma that the NDP currently have of not being winners and as such people do not want to “waste a vote” supporting a party with no chance of winning.
The Present day Federal Green Party of Canada, In my opinion falls victim to many of the same downfalls that caused the demise of the Social Credit Party of Canada. A party similar in setup to the present day Green Party. It is my belief that both the Green and the Social credit parties had an inception similar to the NDP Party. The other 2 major parties put up with them for a lack of a better term. As they draw interest away from their competitors base.
An example would be the Conservatives profit by drawing some of the Liberals more left facing base to the NDP. As the NDP will never win and they had no chance at swinging those voters. On the Flip side, the Liberals benefited from parties like the Social Reform Party and the Present Day Green Party as they draw voters that may have high Conservatives value on things like gun ownership rights, religion, same sex marriage and women’s reproductive rights. But also care about sticking it to big business. Fighting for the blue collar worker and the environment. As a result the Liberals are able to swing those voters that they would never be able to reach using their platform.
I will not pretend to be fully studied in Canadian politics because I am not. By simply typing in 1974 elections you will be able to find many resources describing a lot of issues that fit the mold of what we are currently dealing with today. From both left and right wing facing publications. Here is one bit of reading that aligns with my train of thought:
I say all of that to say this, for there ever to be a real 3 Horse race vs the 1 on 1 deathmatch we currently see going on in Canadian politics. The left, mainly Jagmeet Singh and Annamie Paul . The leaders of the Federal NDP and Green Parties of Canada. Need to be able to do 2 main things in my opinion to start a left moving political wave. One the world has never seen.
The first would be to find a way to either join forces in full. Something that is much easier said than done.And has been attempted in the past and has failed. Some might say the second attempt was better than the first but that is a whole other rabbit hole of left wing political history to jump into.
The driving force behind this idea would be to get the new party into a place where they can force consecutive minority governments flipping back and forth between the 2 larger parties. Leveraging their ability to “change the vote”, while still standing firm on their distrust for both sides. Being able to do this consistently while growing the number of seats won is a very hard task. Something Jagmeet Singh has attempted to do with varying success. Depending on who you ask.
The Second and most important point to this.Canada at its core is in debt to the Indigenous people of the land on which it is built. Because without them the picture we see of Canada could be very different. This is not something that is an opinion or up for debate. It is a fact. The same way that it is a fact that the American government used slaves to create the foundation of their society. In a much similar fashion the Indigenous people have been forgotten then vilified at every turn when trying to protect and fight for the basic rights and promises that were made and ensured to them by the Canadian government many times over since July 1, 1867.
But since then, at every review of the progress vs the promises that were made. They have missed the mark EVERY SINGLE TIME, in my opinion.This can been seen in the stories made public recently of how Indigenous people are treated in some hospitals around the country.You couple that with the silencing of the Mi’kmaw people trying to hold the RCMP and the Canadian Government accountable to policing people that are willingly going against a Canadian treaty and ruling from the Supreme Court. All for a larger share of a market they have a full monopoly in. When compared to the Mi’kmaw Fishers.
I wholeheartedly believe that being able to “change the vote” by making sure Indigenous people of all ages, across the country, regardless if they have any political loyalties currently.Have the ability to feel like their vote matters. To even get to that point on a higher level we need to provide 1000x support to all Indigenous communities. We need to make sure that we protect them at every turn. That starts with listening to them when they voice their concerns and fight unrelentingly to close the gap between the average quality of life in their communities in comparison to that of the rest of Canadian communities.
This can be done by any party in Canada and really is the cheat code to a Pierre to Justin type loyalty that can cement, this time a political party in Canadian history and/or a Political ideology into world history for ever.
For a Party like the Liberals, I think it would give them controlling interest in the Canadian people for years to come if done correctly in a way that appeased some of the right or center leaning people in their base.
I do not see the Conservative party with any real shot at pulling this off but I could be wrong.
So that leaves the NDP and the Green parties.
Being able to influence a generation is one of the main reasons I think the Liberal party of Canada has been able to stand so strong in Canadian politics despite all their shortcomings. There is a chance now for that same type of influence to be used on a group of people that are silenced by a system that was meant to hold them back. Being able to earn the trust and loyalty of the Indigenous people of Canada is the Key to long term success in Canadian politics.
With all the Major American sports leagues set to return in the coming days/weeks, I thought it might be a good idea to drop some basic betting tips the average sports fan can use to try and make a little extra money while watching.
That being said, always bet responsibility and within your limits. These tips are angled towards how to start small and finish big. Whatever big might mean to you.
The first thing I like to do before uploading money to a betting site is to establish how many games I may want to play for the night and how I want to play them.
If I choose to single bet games vs parlay them, there are a few ways I normally play that situation. First, I would identify all the games with a heavy favorite. These games are normally a lot safer, especially when just starting out with your bankroll. If I am going to play this way, I typically like to do this with a favorite that is playing earlier on in the day. So, if there is an underdog I am high on playing later in the night, I have a bigger bankroll to play in that game. Additionally, when looking to bet on the heavy favourite to win, I sometimes wait for the game to start to see if the favorite falls behind early, for increased odds. This tactic is a bit more aggressive but can lead to much better payouts. Normally, I only use that strategy consistently when betting on the top 3 to 5 best teams in the sport. The last maneuver I may make when single betting games is to bet on the underdog. The hope is that they get ahead early and you cash out of the bet while the return is positive. Depending on the site you use, you may not be able to cash out early. I use Bet365 and that is one of the main reasons I stick with this platform.
Moving on to playing parlays, where there are 2 main things I want to touch on; first is how you pick the games to be in your parlay, the second is the type of parlays you can play.
Easiest way, in my opinion, for less experienced bettors to play parlays, is to find 3 mid to heavy favorites you like and put them on a ticket. This works really well at the start of a bank roll. Especially if you like playing smart and plan on betting on games for multiple days. In a perfect world, you are taking the better team on paper and you should be in a favorable position to cash out of the parlay if you do not feel like letting it run to the end of all the games. With that established base of 2-3 games, if you wish to play a bit more aggressive you can add 1-2 underdog plays. Like I stated above, I would position those games to be later on in the night so if the heavy favorites hit, you will be in a great spot to cash out if your underdogs take the lead early.
Now that you have your games selected, it is time to choose what type of parlay you want to play. The number of game markers you select will determine the number of parlay types you have to choose from. These are called Round Robin Parlays. For example if you have 5 games ready to bet on. You can bet on all 5 games as 1 bet or to round robin the 5 games for a total of 26 parlays. This style of betting works really well when starting with smaller bankrolls. As you can get the most action for your $$$.
I hope these fundamentals help you pick up a bit of cash while betting on your favorite sports. I am going to start posting my best picks and parlays on my new Instagram @rjpicksandparlays at least 2-3 times a week.
Last night in a battle of two undefeated playoff teams, The Cleveland Indians were able to take down the BlueJays with a final score of 2-0. Marco Estrada pitched a complete game but ran into some trouble in the 6th allowing a one out walk to Jason Kipnis and then a 2 run home run to the next batter, Francisco Lindor. This was all the power the Indians needed as the Jays bats failed to produce any runs for the first time since September 30th.
The Jays were able to threaten with runners in scoring position with 1 out in each of the first three innings but each time Kluber stepped up and got some really big outs. 0-5 with runners in scoring postion and 8 runners left on is no way to win games in the post season. The BlueJays know this and will look to wright the ship as the series takes a quick turn around with game 2 being played this afternoon at 3pm.
The Jays will send 20 game winner J.A Happ to the mound to face off against Josh Tomlin for the Indians. In Happ’s only start this year against Cleveland he went 7 innings giving up 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 11. Tomlin’s line last time out vs the Jays was 6 innings of 1 run ball on 7 hits while striking out 8. In what would turn out to be a 2-1 win for Cleveland in 19 innings.
The Jays have to get to Tomlin early in this game in order to give their pitching staff, who has carried them for most of the year up to this point some room to work. Unlike the Rangers, the Cleveland Indians play really good defense and love playing in low scoring game, where they are able to put the game in the hands of their bullpen to shut the door, starting from the 7th inning on.
Coming into game 2 the Jays will be with out the services of Devon Travis as he left last nights’ game in the bottom of the 5th with a knee injury. It will be interesting to see if the tag team of Darwin Barney and Ryan Gions can make up for the loss of Travis. On a more positive note the BlueJays will be getting the services of left handed pitcher Francisco Liriano back after he took a pitch to the neck in game 5 of the ALDS.
The Jays bullpen should be well rested after the long break in between series and Marco Estrada going the full 9 last night. Which is all the more reason the Jays need to jump out to an early lead and hand the game off to the bullpen to shut the door and have this series tied 1-1 as it heads to Toronto for game 3 on Monday.
BlueJays vs Cleveland American League Championship Series Game 1 Primer
Time: 8pm Eastern
4 wins down, 8 to go for the Jays on their path to a world series championship. After making quick and easy work of the Texas Rangers the next team standing in their way of advancing is the Cleveland Indians. Cleveland was able to down the Jays in the regular season series 4 games to 3 but coming into the championship series the Jays are the favorites to advance. For many Toronto Sports fans, a series win here would bit of revenge for the Eastern conference finals loss the Toronto Raptors were handed by the Cleveland Cavaliers during this years Nba playoffs.
Just like in the Texas series the Jays hold the Starting pitching advantage. To date in this post season the Jays pitching staff has held opponents to a .179 batting average and have only walked 8 batters compared to the .214 and 21 walked batters of the Indians pitching staff. Unlike the Rangers, the Indians have 3 quality starters with Corey Kluber who pitched 7 shut out inning vs the Redsox last time out, taking the mound tonight against Marco Estrada for the Jays. Both pitchers preformed admirably last time out so the pressure is on each team’s offence to see who can make a chip in the armour first.
The Bluejays Bats have been red hot to start the post season. Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki had lead the charge with 20 of the Jays 27 runs batted in between the 4 of them. Which is 5 more than the whole of the Indians lineup during the post season. The top 4 of the Indians line up do all the lifting on offence where as, the bottom of the lineup has done a great job of getting on base and into scoring position to allow the big bats of the Jays to clean up nicely.
Game 1 is where the tone of the series is set and I believe if the Jays can get to Kluber early it will strike fear into the hearts of the rest of the Indians pitching staff for the rest of the series. The Indians are a good team but if the Jays bats stay as hot as they are and the pitching staff stay as solid as they have been I don’t think any team in the majors aside of the Chicago Cubs can handle the Jays in a win or go home 7 game series.