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Skates vs Soccer: One Man's Opinion

By Ben Meisner

Monday, December 04, 2006 03:45 AM

If Train In PG wants to take the accolades for snagging  Li Jiajun to come to PG to learn English and give the local speed skating club some help, go ahead.

When he returns with the whole Chinese Olympic team to train in PG for the Olympics I certainly would be prepared to head out to the Simon Parking lot and grab a nice tender young crow to eat.

Alas, Reality dictates.

We spent in excess of $70,000 dollars and came back from the Olympics pumping the fact that we were going to strike gold in training. I happened to agree with those who think one athlete was not  the gold we went looking for.

For seventy Grand we could have caught a bus, gone across the rocks to Alberta and grabbed a real pro working out of Calgary and had him come to the city on and off to teach or speed skaters for a fraction of the cost. Just ask him.

There is however a much bigger issue to address, for example what we have been doing in this city for a sport that attracts thousands, I say thousands of participants every year. Has anyone spent seventy grand trying to attract a world class soccer coach?  I hate to say it folks, but that is where you would get your best bang for the buck.

What about a new indoor soccer facility that would enable the young participants to take part in the sport during the winter?  

Speed skating has received a lot of attention, attention I might add from people who have a vested interest in seeing a short and long track speed skating facility built. If we are going to spend the money where the majority of our young people can benefit, then soccer should be at the top of the list and the 10 to 14 million proposed to reach several hundred speed skaters would be better spent reaching the several thousand who take part in soccer every year.

I’m Meisner and that’s one man’s opinion.  

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Ummm....Did you forget about the Northern Sports Centre Ben? Very large indoor soccer component to that! Not to mention the new PGYSA indoor facility which wasn't free to the taxpayer. We also have what are generally referred to as the "best soccer fields in Canada" which certainly are supported extensively by the City.

As for that world class soccer coach, we had one, and now we have one again. Don't think for a moment that was done in isolation by the Association.

And as for Speedskating we actually we do have someone fom the Calgary Oval working here from time to time thanks to the Regional Training Centre, in addition to our Chinese friend.

I seem to recall someone saying the odds of getting anyone here at all was close to zero. Now that we have one you want 50. I too want 50 and will look forward to the crow BBQ as I support those who make it happen rather than sit back and ridicule their efforts.
Reality, how much time do you think the kids will get to use the Northern Sports Centre? Probably the only time anyone other than University students will get to use it will be at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday. I agree with Ben that there should be an indoor soccer field built before anything else is built in this city. Have you seen the amount of kids that use the outdoor fields in the summer? They have no place to go other than a few school gyms in the winter. By the way, I don't play soccer and don't have any children playing soccer. I am just sick and tired of paying for all these things (art gallery, symphony orchestra, etc.)that cater to a very small minority.