Tuesday, January 27, 2009


When I first conceived the dakband project (click here for story) I was responding to a need for a tool that could be used to promote sportsmanship and community within the youth sport context. My other business, Justplay collects data about the conduct of players, coaches and spectators (parents) in organized youth team sport environments. We analyze the data and present it back to administrators so they can identify variables that might contribute to problem behavior within their leagues and organization. As a result we've become 'experts' in some of problems facing youth sport organizations, especially those concerned with conduct and behavior. The dakbands were meant to be a solution to these problems, to encourage parents, players and coaches to focus on what De Coubertin (the father of the Modern Olympic Games) called "a nobility of spirit". Sportsmanship.

Although many parents and coaches insist that the positive character development that is associated with sportsmanship is a main factor for encouraging their children to participate in sport, few take the time required to teach it, emphasize it and highlight moments that capture it's essence. Research indicates that individuals (both youth and adults!) involved in sport do not by default learn to be good sports. Sportsmanship is a skill and it must be taught, emphasized and reinforced. We must learn as a culture to prize and reward, and recognize those moments that offer our children the opportunity to grow, not only as athletes, but compassionate, noble, generous human beings.

In honor of this effort we now have Sportdaks. Sportdaks are just that, dakbands that can be used by players, coaches and spectators to encourage and reward moments of sportsmanship, leadership, sacrifice, friendship and respect (both big and small) within the sport environment. Imagine being able to watch, as a team, as your dakbands travel from community to community encouraging people on and off the field!

We have prepared a tip sheet for coaches and parents to help implement the dakband concept into your games and practices.

If you share a story of sportsmanship in the comments I will send dakbands for your entire team! (random selection of a winning story)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No Invitation for Me

I had hope right up until Monday evening. In fact when I found a registered mail notification in my mail box Monday afternoon my heart skipped a beat. Could it be? A last minute invitation to Barak Obama's inauguration!!

I have been nursing my inaugural fantasy for a while now. Someone in Chicago or Washington would pass a dakband along to someone in Obama's inner circle/family and they would immediately recognize the potential of the dakband project to support the summons to unity and community that the new president has heralded. As a result, of course, Kara and I would be invited to participate in the event that marks the beginning of personal and global reform.

I will even confess that when our local newspaper featured a front page article about three local high school students who had somehow managed invitations to the inaugural ball simply due to their political and civic engagement I was incredibly jealous proud! :)

When the dakproject began just over a year ago a friend commented that he thought the dakbands would be much more successful in the U.S. than Canada. At first I was somewhat offended by his remark, but he went to explain his reasoning. Compared to Canadians, Americans are much more outgoing, unreserved and quite frankly, friendly (especially to strangers). So he could see them being less afraid/embarrassed to approach someone they don't know from Adam and offering them a dakband for their act of kindness. I definitely understood his point. Thankfully however, we Canadians have disproved his theory and are embracing our 'inner American' with enthusiasm that inspires me. Having said that, I believe that the new president has created a tipping point for the dakband project in the U.S. He has prepared the way, and dakbands are a tool that can help to pave that path with stories, both great and small, that literally show us that change is all about relationship, connections with our fellow citizens. A deliberate consciousness of concern and kindness, that transforms the world we live in by transforming each one of us, and encouraging us to contribute our best.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Radio Interview

My radio interview with Matt Galloway of CBC's Metro Morning is posted (under podcasts). Please have a listen. It is short, but sweet.

Monday, January 12, 2009


This morning I did a radio interview on the Metro Morning show. It was at 6:15 in the morning, which means I left my house at 5 am, and my bed at 4:20. Just in case any one is wondering, Starbucks is not open at 5 am (in Burlington) - or Toronto for that matter.

I was thinking on my solitary drive into the city, at such an ungodly hour, that one advantage would be the parking. However, I arrived at CBC studios with barely five minutes to spare and not a parking lot in site. So I parked under the Metro Hall building thinking I am very clever because it is just down the street from the John St. entrance I was told to use so early in the morning. Unfortunately, the Metro Hall building is enormous, and no one is there at 6 am. I found myself pounding on the Tim Hortons retractable metal barrier while shouting, not attractively, "Excuse me, Excuse me...Can someone please tell me how to get out of this building?" Thankfully, someone did. But the entrance I so cleverly assumed was John St., was in fact Wellington St. Now I am ungracefully running through the very empty halls of CBC (yes I am in a skirt and some not-very-practical-but-very-cute boots) shouting, "Hello, Hello..." To whom, I don't really know. By now of course it is past the 6:00 am arrival deadline I was given. Fortunately a kind man named Gord found me and took me to the studio.

Despite the flustered start (quite literally, listen to the interview) the interview went very well. We have received numerous emails, calls and orders, so somebody is awake at 6:00 am :). I have arranged to post the interview under our podcasts so please keep an eye open for it in the next day or so!!

If you want to read a wonderful story please check out band #142406 and enter the number in the box that says Dak code.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year

I have been pondering about this post for a few days now, well since the New Year - as the title may obviously reveal. Do I reflect on the year past, or ponder the year ahead, or write a novel and do both? Yesterday I decided that I couldn't possibly remain clear headed for long enough to write about both because I have committed to a week of sunrise to sunset fasting for the first week of the new year, and I am finding it extremely difficult to think about anything other than food!

I decided that in lieu of the traditional resolution I would challenge myself to reflect on a daily basis (at least for a limited time) upon the abundance and good fortune of my life, while considering the reality that millions of people in the world go without everyday. Every time a hunger pang gnaws at my stomach, or I feel a bit 'faint' I remind myself that I have the luxury of simply opening the fridge or the cupboard to relieve that hunger. I'm only at day 4 and I cannot (at least so far) imagine an entire month of this, such as is practised for Ramadan! But perhaps by the end of the week I will have learned to embrace the hunger and concentrate on the self reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment that should inspire generosity, kindness and charity! We'll see.....and I'll definitely share the rest of the story, or transformation!

I would like to share with you two stories that appeared in my local paper on December 31 (solving my posting dilemma, at least when the hunger fog cleared enough for me to remember where I stashed the paper!). Both stories were 'Letters to the Editor'. The first story caught my eye because it was titled, Spreading Kindness: a couple and their children were at Tim Hortons (a coffee chain in Canada) and when they went to pay the cashier told them that the woman in front of them had already paid for their order. The best part of the story was that the author wanted to let the secret Santa know that her gift of giving was contagious. The second story was similar but even more dramatic, a woman was at the cash register of a grocery store, having rung through all her groceries when she realized that she had forgotten her wallet at home and had no way to pay. The man behind her in line offered to pay for her bill. He would not allow her to repay him, but suggested she make a donation to the local food bank in his name - which she did. The best part, wait for it......"acts of kindness make the world a better place."

How simple. How true.

Wishing you year that is overflowing with deliberate acts of kindness, both given and received.