Ten Thousand Panamaniacs


Up until about a week ago, I was pretty “meh”: on the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games coming to Toronto. I haven’t been anything resembling a sports enthusiast since age twelve, such large sporting spectacles often eat up a city’s public funds (that could often be better spent elsewhere), and everyone is a bit terrified of the logistical and congestion nightmares the Games will cause in the city. And I still largely feel that way. But two things caused me to become (slightly) interested in the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games:

1) Roller Figure Skating.

Prior to last week, I had no idea such a magical sport existed. It’s like figure skating, but on roller skates (not blades!) and not on ice. Have you ever heard of something so amazing? The sport features men and women competing in solo choreographed performances set to music, all scored by judges. Apparently, Colombia dominates this sport, which will, by Saturday night, I assume be my new favourite sport. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about sports since the Oakland A’s won the 1989 World Series. If it’s half as amazing as this, my mind will be thoroughly blown.

(I promise to provide a full report on my figure roller skating spectator experience.)

2) The associated cultural events. Including a reading by yours truly.

In addition to one hemisphere’s best and brightest athletes, the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games are also showcasing some of the world’s best artists at a series of cultural showcases called Panamania. (I would have also accepted “Panamonium.”) In terms of concerts alone, there’s an embarrassment of riches, with free shows from The Roots, Janelle Monae, Chromeo, A Tribe Called Red, and way more.

I will also be part of the Panamania, as the Ontario Book Publishers Organization is showcasing a few Ontario children’s writers at Ontario’s Celebration Zone (231 Queens Quay West) during the Pan Am Games. On Tuesday, July 14, at 11:00 a.m., you can catch readings by myself, as well as David Skuy (Striker), Loris Lesynski (Crazy about Soccer, Crazy about Basketball, etc) and Sangeeta Bhadra (Sam’s Pet Temper). I guess I should read something sports-adjacent. There is a little about curling and volleyball in the Dead Kid Detective Agency books. So, if for bizarre reasons you are free and bored next Tuesday morning, please join me at Ontario Celebration Zone (located at Harbourfront Centre, at 231 Queens Quay West), and I will gladly read to you.

Otherwise, best of luck surviving the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games!

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