Tag Archives: Sports

The Appreciation Series: Athletes

While you’ll usually find me highlighting great businesses, today I wanted to take some time to highlight an amazing group of people.

When I was a kid, I played in different organized sports leagues, like hockey or baseball. Typically, the coaches were the dad of someone’s kid and from time to time it was the mother. Often, the parents were just doing it to volunteer and spend time with the kids, and in many cases they didn’t know much about the sport. In general, they were simply there to organize the practices, meetups, etc.

Fast forward about 40 years, and my daughter who is part sporty girl is involved with a number of sports including soccer, volleyball, and track and field. Maybe it’s just good fortune, but in many cases the coaches and organizers are either varsity, Olympic, or professional athletes in those sports. As I’ve gotten to know these coaches over the last few years, I’ve found myself with a newfound respect for their level of commitment and the amount of time, effort, and money they put into training to get to the elite level they are at.

While there are professional athletes in dozens of sports, unfortunately there are only a small number of sports where professional athletes are able to make a living playing their sport. Too often, athletes have to supplement their passion for sport with another job to pay the bills.

Over time, I’ve had the chance to learn about the way these athletes work and think. From their dedication and pursuit of perfection, getting up before the sun to train, facing long days at the office followed by long days at the sports complex, recovering from injuries and not letting injuries slow down other aspects of their lives, it’s been a real eye opener as to the enormous task athletes face on a day-to-day basis.

As a general suggestion to employers, many of the skills that athletes have learned are certainly transferable to different jobs and careers. Time management, patience, discipline, and self-confidence are only a few of the many skills that most athletes possess.

While athletes may not necessarily have previous experience at a particular job, given all of the other characteristics and assets they can potentially bring to the table, they should without a doubt be considered in the hiring process.

Over many years of being involved with sports, from playing in sports leagues myself, to cheering on my daughter, I’ve come to the conclusion that sports can certainly make you a well-balanced and versatile person.


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Keeping Great Customer Service Up and Running

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog highlighting my great experience at The Running Room. At the same time I was dealing with The Running Room, one of the SQM employees directed me to another shoe store that she’s been dealing with for years, known as Running Free, and in particular the Ajax location.

The owner, Steve Ockrant, immediately called me to introduce himself and while he suggested it was best if I came in, due to his schedule and distance he offered to bring some shoes over to my office, for me to try on. Realizing he was doing me a favour, due to our mutual friend, I must say I’ve never had such special service for a retail product!

Steve came, we chatted, and he brought six pairs of shoes for me to try on. Based on the sizes and styles he brought, he was able to narrow down the shoes that would work best for me, and then a few days later he returned with more shoes. He even left me with a couple of pairs for me to walk around the office in before I made my final decision.

Although I returned both of the pairs that made it to the shoe finals, I eventually made it out to his store where two of his amazing employees found the perfect pair for me.

If you are ever looking for great shoes, at a great price, but more importantly amazing and knowledgeable staff go to Running Free, ask for Steve, and mention my name.

Running Free

(416) 410-3733



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Customer Service That Deserves A Round Of Applause

Mirvish Productions is a theatrical company, based in Toronto, Canada.  The company was founded by David Mirvish, son of the late Ed Mirvish (owner of Honest Ed’s and the Royal Alex Theatre).  Not only have the Mirvishes helped Toronto become one of the most important theatrical centres in the world behind Broadway and London, but the company is responsible for bringing Broadway shows across the border.  In recent times, the company has brought Cindy Lauper’s popular, Kinky Boots to the city (currently playing at the Royal Alex Theatre).

And let me tell you, the company’s success must have something to do with their phenomenal customer service….

The story begins last year, while my wife was visiting New York City.  During her trip she went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway, and after returning home she told me that it was a must see!  Not too long after her trip, Mirvish Productions announced that they would be bringing Kinky Boots to Toronto, and my excited wife immediately bought tickets.

Six weeks before the date of show, my wife started to experience back pain – later diagnosed as a disc pushing on her sciatic nerve.  With treatment and therapy she began the road to recovery, but with the date of the show fast approaching we were both becoming increasingly anxious about her ability to attend the theatre.  For starters, our tickets were in the balcony, and there are no elevators in what is one of the oldest theatres in the city.  In addition, while the theatre itself is beautiful, the seats are quite tight, and not overly comfortable, again due to the age of the building.  Afraid of possibly losing our chance to see this fabulous show, I called Mirvish Productions hoping they can somehow assist me with the predicament which we were in.

Within minutes of contacting their head office, I was directed to a manager who listed to my issue, indicated that they can probably come up with a solution.  Less then an hour after my initial call, another employee called me back with various solutions to my problem.  The first proposed solution was that we move from a balcony seat to the main floor so we could avoid climbing the stairs.  In addition, the employee offered us a seat on the aisle, to allow wife some additional room to stretch out.  Alternatively, another option was to change the tickets for another date in the future, hoping that my wife’s condition improves, allowing her to enjoy the evening in more comfort.

In a day and age, when after you buy tickets (concerts, theatre, events, travel, etc.) there are typically “no refunds or exchanges” I was extremely surprised by how accommodating and responsive the company was.  While I expected to be told that there was nothing that could be done,  Mirvish Productions (and I believe Ticket King) truly made an effort to find a solution to my problem by providing me with not just one, but three different solutions, resulting in me being able to breathe a sigh of relief that I would enjoy my night out, once way or another.

As for the chosen option, like they say on Broadway…the show must go on, so with my wife insisting that she wanted to see the play on the original date of our tickets, I took them up on their offer of changing the seats to an aisle on the main floor.  A few physio sessions, and multiple exercises later, my wife was able to sit comfortably with her legs stretched out. Without a doubt, she and I enjoyed the show much more than we would have if Mirvish Productions hadn’t been so accommodating.

As for Kinky Boots, it is an absolutely fantastic production, and one of the best musicals I have seen in a long time.  It portrays a strong message of respect and dignity, while being light, fun and easy to follow along.  The tunes are catchy, and trust me, they will be stuck in your head for weeks to come.  I highly recommend it for either a night out with your significant other, or an enjoyable evening with friends.

Don’t worry, if you sing too hard, Mirvish Productions and their excellent customer service will have your back.

Ticket Enquiries


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Toronto Sport and Social Club Hits it Out of the Park

Between my hectic work life and spending time with my family, I find that I often barely have time to see friends or get out of the house for some exercise. Fortunately, I recently discovered Toronto Sport and Social Club and am now able to do both at once!

The club offers participants the opportunity to take part in multiple, co-ed sport leagues, in a range of levels from recreational to competitive. I play soccer with the club once a week and have found that it’s a great outlet to burn some energy, make some friends, and play the sport that I love.   However, if soccer’s not your thing then don’t fret, they offer plenty of other sports from squash and sailing to  dodgeball, lacrosse, and soft ball.

Rob, the Managing Director of the club, claims that TSSC is the NEW social network, and I tend to agree with him. Not only does the club have sport leagues, but they also host events such as city wide scavenger hunts, intro classes to different sports, and weekend tournaments.  The club has given me the opportunity to make new friends, meet business associates, and even set friends up on dates.

So whether you are looking for something to do for the weekend or for the summer, put down your smartphone, lace up your cleats, and go join the new social network!

Toronto Sport and Social Club
185 Bridgeland Avenue, Unit 110
Toronto, ON  M6A 1Y7


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Customer Service- A Home Run at Play It Again Sports

Compromise and effective budgeting are the name of the game when it comes to kids. Recently, my daughter outgrew her baseball glove—which seems to be happening fairly regularly with all her clothing and sports equipment—so we decided to buy her a new one. There was one condition though, the glove had  to be pink or purple—her condition, not mine. Fair enough, girls will be girls, but I also wanted a good quality glove that would last her for a while, so I went to Canadian Tire and browsed through the Rawlings gloves. There were a few with pink and purple, but all were too large for my daughter’s hand. Our neighbour’s daughter had a pink Rawlings glove, but my neighbours seemed to think they weren’t manufacturing that kind anymore. Well, I called up Rawlings Canada’s Customer Service line to make sure and got some very helpful people on the line who directed me to a few Ontario stores that might carry the glove. I called the store closest to us and they were willing to order the glove from the States, but it’d take three weeks to get there and included shipping costs, so I turned to the next store on the list- a Play It Again Sports in Burlington.

Burlington is a little out of the way for me, but, as any of you fellow parents know, you’re willing to go the extra distance for your kid. I called the store and got the store owner/operator on the line, Gord, who told me they had the glove. This was just before the Easter Weekend, though, and his store was going to be closed on Good Friday. Just my luck, I would be driving right through Burlington on Good Friday and wasn’t sure when I’d be out that way next. Did Gord ever step up to the plate. He told me he only lived five minutes from the store and gave me his personal number in order to call him when I got to Burlington so he could swing by the store and open it up for us. I mean, it’s Easter weekend, his day off, and Gord was planning on taking his family out for breakfast that morning, but he still made time for us. That’s excellent customer service if I’ve ever seen it!

We pulled into the store parking lot around 10 am and there he was waiting. He brought us into the store and showed my daughter three different gloves. She ended up settling on the size 11 3/4 glove with some pink trim around the edges and a pink centre. It took a total of ten minutes, Gord locked up the store and we headed on our merry way. For a sale that totalled forty dollars, Gord was willing to take time out of his holiday to help my daughter and I out and give us a great experience at his shop. The Burlington store is a little out of my way, but the next time I have a sporting goods need I’ll be sure to make the trek out to see Gord. He definitely hit a customer service home run!
Play It Again Sports
3450 Dundas Street Unit B19
Burlington, ON L7M 4B8


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