Mark Lee

About Mark Lee

Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.

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The price of oil has skyrocketed, leaving jet planes stranded on the ground. The Iraq war drags on, meaning the prices will continue to spiral even as US presidential contenders blabber on about seemingly inconsequential topics, ferocious storms, deadly earthquakes and out of control fires compete for our eyeballs here on the Web, on TV and in the newspapers.

But hey, come under my um-ber-ella – that’s my favourite pronunciation since Rihanna renamed it in her teeny-bop song – and reflect on some of the pleasant stuff that we’ve been enjoying over the past month or so, like the northern summer and its festivals, the Euro 2008 soccer competition and Wimbledon and the athletes of the world prepping for the Beijing Olympics.

Yeah, let’s now even forget about those who want to take the little moments of glory from the athletes to make political statements, which we concede need making but not this minute. The Dali Lama said it’s OK with him for the game to go ahead.

Follow me now and see how the people of Spain must be overjoyed at celebrating in such a short period the triumph of their footballers over Germany in the final of the European Cup and to have Rafa Nadal slay the Roger Federer tennis giant at Wimbledon and take the all England championship trophy, the most prestigious of all the hardware in the sport.

Personally, it was my five best weeks of TV. I even got a pair of cross trainers (courtesy of my wife) and started using the tennis courts across the street from our house that I had completely ignored in the three years we’ve been at this place. And my son took over my soccer boots and togs that had been on vacation for the past two years I haven’t ventured to the soccer fields with the other Caribbean old-boys who, on Friday evenings, still fool ourselves that we’ve still got “it”.

On the tennis court, the Williams sisters are our pair: Venus is my girl and my wife roots for Serena. After they got to the semis of the singles, I couldn’t get any takers for a bet that Williams would win.

Just loved the court announcer each time she gave the score in the doubles final: “Game Miss Williams Miss Williams.” Even the naysayers on the BBC 606 site have to now accept the power and majesty of their royal highnesses, the queens of Wimbledon, which would be Whimpleton without them.

And now the season. It’s a cliché for me now, the H.D. Carberry poem “Nature”: the one that starts, “We have neither summer nor winter, neither autumn nor spring”. He wrote that for Jamaica but it’s just as true for Trinidad, Guyana, Barbados or Belize. We just have one big continuous season.

Not so in the temperate climes where many of us have ventured – hopefully from the monotony. Toronto has two seasons – a merged fall and winter and a combined late spring and summer and this latter can be glorious not just for the beautiful blooms after the drab whiteness of the snow season but for the riot of festivals.

Canada with its two first languages and its first nations, is officially a multicultural country where Spanish and Croatian soccer fans can fly their flags and blow their horns when their teams win at soccer – unlike in the USA where only Irish flags can be fluttered besides the stars and strips and the perpetrators not considered separatist, un-American, traitors.

This past weekend for example, there were Italian, African and other festivals at various locations across the city. The ubiquitous Jamaican possé was all over the Afrofest, parading their dreadlocks and jerk meats as though they had just got off the boats from Nigeria or Ghana. There was some great music from all over the continent and a chance to sample foods from Ethiopia to Senegal.

And yeah, a Chinese looking guy was manning a stall bedecked with Bob Marley posters and red, gold and green craft other merchandise. I can’t swear for the country of origin of his goods but between Canadian multiculturalism and the anthropological claims of the origin of the human species, we’ll allow him a bye.

And this is how it should be rally, under my unber-ella: matters of war and peace should be settled on the sporting fields; racial and trading issues should be settled at huge open air summer festivals; and oil disputes, religious intolerance and discrimination proponents should be encouraged to settle mars close to the heavenly bodies and where there’re acres and acres of open space for anyone eager to drill the soil.