Father’s Day: A personal essay on love, loss and love


A couple years back I spent a few months woodshedding, taking a class in creative non-fiction at Ryerson University here in Toronto. I didn’t have a specific reason for doing it beyond curiosity, and a desire to tackle a new challenge. On the job I write about other folks all the time but this class … Continue reading

So I’m Running the Chicago Half Marathon


Like many journalists I’m a procrastinator by nature but this week, for once, I made a decision and took action well in advance of any deadline. Tuesday night I registered for the Chicago Half Marathon, which takes place Sept. 7, starting and finishing in Jackson Park. A crew of us are getting together in Toronto for … Continue reading

The Fight of Their Lives, Chapter 1: Shadow Boxing


Dec. 15, 2007 In the first instalment of a six-part series boxing trainer Chris Johnson and his young proteges learn that boxing’s not just about beating the guy across the ring: It’s about conquering the opponent within. A Battle Against the Opponent Within MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER Chris Johnson paces like an expectant father as 3 … Continue reading

The Fight of Their Lives, Chapter 2: Pain and Glory


While Shavar works to shed ring rust, a prodigal boxer returns to Johnson’s gym. Dec. 16, 2007 A Boxer’s Pain and Glory MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER Shavar Henry’s rope is a blur as he skips, its silver handles flashing with each flourish. Then he trips. And trips again. Then his iPod falls off his waistband … Continue reading

The Fight of Their Lives, Chapter 3: The Fight and the Fright


A national team training camp gives Steve Rolls a chance to prove to coaches — and to himself — that he can go blow-for-blow with Canada’s best amateur boxers. Dec 17, 1007 MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER WINDSOR – Steve Rolls spears his sparring partner with a jab, then glides away untouched. A provincial champ last … Continue reading

The Fight of Their Lives Chapter 4: The Healing Power of Boxing


Chris Johnson’s final pro fight put him into a coma but a near-fatal brain injury didn’t dull his passion for boxing. In fact, he loves the sport more than ever because it’s his therapy. Dec. 18, 2007 MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER Shavar Henry makes the hand pads sing, boxing by numbers with Chris Johnson calling … Continue reading

The Fight of Their Lives, Chapter 5: A Boxer’s Split Decision


At the provincical final Shavar Henry tests the limits of his fragile hand while Steve Rolls struggles to connect with his inner champion. Part five in a series. Dec. 19, 2007 MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER WINDSOR – In the Holiday Inn ballroom, Shavar Henry trots into ring with a self-assured swagger, but he’s a bit … Continue reading

The Fight of Their Lives, Chapter 6: End of the Road?


In the series finale a newly confident Steve Rolls confronts tough opponents and even tougher questions about his future in the sport. MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER RICHMOND, B.C. – Francy Ntetu marches forward, convinced he’ll crush the smaller man with his heavy hands. “Allez, Francy!” shouts a spectator in the sparse crowd at the River … Continue reading

Long Shots Chapter I: The Holy Wars


Tensions rise between the teams and the teammates as the Jean Vanier Mavericks take on the Saints and Mother Teresa Scarborough high school players embark on long, difficult journey to an Ontario championship, writes Morgan Campbell. 31 May 2003 – Toronto Star The Jean Vanier Mavericks are one of the best high school basketball teams in … Continue reading

Long Shots Chapter II: On a Cold Night…


1 June 2003 – Toronto Star By Morgan Campbell JANUARY 10 The change room door swings open and in walks Oliver Prince to announce an important bit of news. He has the skinny on tonight’s opponent, the North Albion Cougars. “They’re suss,” the 6-foot-5, 215-pound star basketball player tells his team. “Kamar Burke is gonna … Continue reading

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