My loves

Toronto Dragons Rugby Baby

I was inspired to write a bit about rugby, one of my great loves after hearing U of T’s new dean of phys ed Ira Jacobs speak last night at the football alumni golf tournament.  Jacobs stressed the importance of competitive sports in the university life and that many varsity athletes and alumni would consider their experience in sport to be as important as their academic experiences in the lecture halls and labs.  I couldn’t agree more.

For many years rugby was a big part of what defined me.  I started playing in my hometown of Burlington for the Centaurs, thanks to my best friend Karen dragging me off the couch and to a beginner’s clinic during the last year of high school.  I fell in love with the challenge of a new game, and the pure physical joy in exerting myself.  There was something about scrumming down, making tackles and running in the open field that the more traditional high school sports could not fulfill.

I went on to play varsity rugby for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and a whole other aspect of rugby opened up for me.  Being a part of a team creates an instant network of mentors, study partners and lifelong friends.  It was a home-base among the overwhelmingly large student population.  I got involved in managing the team, leadership at the athletic department and later leadership at my summer club team, the Toronto Saracens.  I continued to play after university and stopped about six years ago once weddings started taking over my Saturdays.

The rugby social network casts a wide net and it was because of it that I first met Fred.  Although back in those days he wanted no part of me.  I was that (very  young and very stupid) girl who jumped on the field to play intramural rugby with the men!  (Really, what was I thinking).  Fast forward almost 15 years and the two of us are now three, with Amira as the littlest Toronto Dragon.  My non-wedding summer Saturdays are usually spent taking in the game from the sidelines surrounded by my greatest loves; Fred, Amira, and my dogs Kafrey and Six.  Thank you rugby.

Spring Awakening

Pre-amble: These photos have absolutely nothing to do with my blog entry below. Even though they are over three years old (and by extension, demonstrating my skill-set as a photographer three years ago), they are some of the most popular and still garner a great response. With the website make-over I just want to make sure they survives the migration. By the way, that baby is about to turn four in a few short months. Anyways…

I shot an award ceremony luncheon today at the University of Toronto and was struck by the wistful way the staff was talking about getting outside to take a walk at the expense of interupting a particularly productive work groove; or taking vacation time at the ‘right’ time of year to avoid the stress of playing catch up upon their return. (Today is March 18, 2010 and Toronto has been enjoying a week of sun and warmth – you know, the kind that prompts you to dig out your sandals and tank tops).

I felt like I was observing from a different universe. As a self-employed person I have, for the most part, the luxury to control my schedule. I get to spend time with my daughter and pets at home. I can choose to sit outside while answering emails, or take that walk and explore our neighbourhood. And when I work (especially for weddings), it’s intense work-mode with the bonus of getting to know and photograph fabulous clients. I have the best job in the world.

This weekend I will be attending a two day workshop for photographers. It was something I heard about and thought, in that same wistful tone of an office worker, oh if only I could go/I should be saving my pennies for that new piece of equipment/I should spend time with my husband/I should etc etc. All valid reasons but nonetheless excuses. But then, like a fairy-godmother (only in the wish-granting department) my fellow photographer Bryan Caporicci (who will be speaking at the workshop with another photographer I admire greatly, Robert Nowell), granted me a complementary pass to the workshop! Thank you!

So, to pay it forward, I am also going to grant a wish. I don’t want the message to be lost in what has become a very long write-up so look out for an upcoming blog post on the subject. In order to tell the story properly I will also need to get permission from someone involved in a past deed.

Post-amble: I noticed while proof-reading that I used a lot of commas and was reminded of the humorous reaction to excessive comma usage by one of the protagonists in “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery. I recommend that book if you are in the mood for some often droll philosophical ramblings and social observations. There is a plot but it takes a while to get going.