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From the archives

Our Violent National Game

The great hockey debate continues

Pax Atlantica

NATO’s long-lasting relevance

John Allemang

John Allemang has his stopwatch ready for the Paris Games.

Articles by
John Allemang

Claims to Fame

Life before and after the podium May 2024
Fame is a funny thing. People we don’t know will win Olympic medals in Paris this summer and suddenly find themselves at the very centre of things. In an instant, they’ll have become famous — but what’s the point of fame if it doesn’t last? Nothing had prepared Percy Williams for the transformative moment, measured in fractions of a second as a sprinter’s victory must…

That Fertile Field

What springs from buried lightning October 2023
In the fall of 2022, archeologists ­digging through the clinging mud in an abandoned vegetable garden near the Tuscan spa town of San Casciano dei Bagni poked at a layer of tiles and made a startling discovery. Hidden under a protective cap of terra cotta was a bronze thunderbolt, the emblem of the almighty god Jupiter and a sacred object from the first…

Solitary Bird

He wrote this but as an essay September 2022
Walking may be the closest thing to the universal human activity, but every walker, like every footprint, is unique. Some people saunter and wander and ramble. Others plod along, blocking the path for those trying to power ahead. Many just proceed onward in their own sweet way, one foot pursuing the other, indifferent to the pedestrian fact that they are doing something worth…

One Foot in Front of the Other

Round and round an endless track March 2022
No one could accuse Bruce Kidd of peaking too soon, not after reading this rich and fascinating memoir of a teenage sports celebrity turned global traveller, educator, activist, historian, political strategist, community builder, creative university administrator, social critic, and perpetual gadfly. It’s hard to believe that the author, a vital, joyfully argumentative man, was named Canada’s Athlete of the Year a full sixty years…

The Three Pamphleteers

Addressing the unconcerned and the unaware November 2021
Decline is relative. It took Edward Gibbon 3,180 pages in six volumes of my small-print Everyman edition to describe the Roman Empire’s slow and inevitable collapse over nearly one and a half millennia. Andrew Potter manages to dispatch our current screwed-up society in a mere 128. Because a short attention span is one of the most damnable characteristics of our particular decline — the simple answer: blame social media — we should be both grateful and unsurprised that Potter can take us down so…

Portrait of a Writer

David Macfarlane’s new memoir July | August 2021
Why should we believe in the orderliness of memory? Memoirists, whose soul-baring genre is thriving as never before, have convinced us that daily life has a clean structural shape, that writerly remembering can impose meaning and inspiration on all those bygone highs and lows and in-betweens through the symmetrical logic of storytelling. It’s a pleasing…

Ink Stained

Reflections on newsrooms past September 2020
The creation of a newspaper — the fat, opinionated, story-filled scroll of repurposed pulp that used to hit the front door with a thud each morning — was rightly known as the daily miracle. Anyone who talked their way into the biz back when print held sway couldn’t help but be amazed by the warp speed of journalistic transformation: A few hours…

White Noise

Much ado about diversity July | August 2019
We need to talk about white identity, says Eric Kaufmann at the start of this prickly, panicky book about the anxieties felt by pale-­faced conservatives fearful of being swamped by people who look different. How is your typical liberal Canadian, immersed in the modern ideals of multiculturalism and unafraid of a beige-­tinted future, supposed to…

Eat, Die, Live

On life, death, and a good meal in between January | February 2019
Learning to Die: Wisdom in the Age of Climate Crisis By Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky Spoiler alert: We’re all going to die. It’s just a matter of when. That’s the problem with climate change, and the seemingly hopeless discussions around it. If individuals aware of their own mortality still treat living as the norm and death as a…

On a Personal Note

A look at boyhood, a guide to goodness, and sports-based parenting December 2018
  Boy Wonders: A Memoir Cathal Kelly As a fluent and artfully plain-speaking sports columnist for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, Cathal Kelly has attracted readers who aren’t instinctively drawn to the swings and misses of his subject matter. He stands apart from the inbred culture of professionalized athleticism with an aloofness that feels…