I have never liked playing sport. As physical education is not mandatory in college, I have not been playing sport on a regular basis for three years. Consequently, there is little to say about my own practice of sport during this exchange year (everything is below).
In March, I went once to a winter resort (which was less than an hour’s drive from Montreal: Ski Bromont) after midterm exams. I rented skis, ski boots and ski sticks; and I skied during several hours (in fact, by myself, alone).
The resort was nice; ski lifts worked very well (with moderate lines), there were not too many people, and the quality of the snow was pretty good (even though temperature was slightly positive at the foot of the slopes). Unlike France, ski slopes are split up in three categories: easy (green), difficult (blue) and very difficult (black); the gap between easy slopes and difficult slopes is quite noticeable.
Surprisingly, the core of the resort was on the northern slope; therefore, you had to go to more remote (southern) slopes in order to avoid the blizzard (which was very cold and prevented you to see properly the slope due to the blowing snow).
An Australian student was part of the day trip. He was about to ski for the first time:
Yes, I’ve never skied before. […] No, I don’t think that ski lessons make sense; it’s a waste of time and money. Anyway it should be easy: you just have to slip on the snow as you descend the path; the only thing you have to do is to stand up, right?
I do not know what he eventually did. If he managed to ski during that day, he must be really gifted…
I also went several times to a ice–skating rink. I did not know how to skate so I was a bit scared as I went for the first time on the ice. Now, I feel more confident (and I do not need to hold the bar all the time) but I am still very hesitating as I move. However, at the last time (last Saturday), I did not fall at all on the ice! Overall ice–skating was an enjoyable experience and I do not regret it.
There are many skating rinks in Montreal. The most prestigious seems to be the winter rink in the Old Port of Montreal, but I have not gone there (due to a mismanagement of my schedule). You can also go the skating rink in the Mont–Royal Park, on (or near?) the Beaver Lake. I also went twice to the Atrium–Le 1000 indoor rink : in both times, I was received a free entry as an international student (while this rink uses to be very expensive). Usually, you have to pay for the entry (unless it is a public place), for the material rent, and for the locker.
That is all for practice; now let’s talk about watching sport. At the very beginning of the academic year, I saw a varsity football game. Later, McGill teams played their matches.
I went once to see an ice–hockey match which was played in McConnell Arena (in the upper downtown campus). McGill Redmen were facing Concordia’s team (Concordia University is the other English–speaking university in Montreal).
Ice hockey is a very ‘violent’ sport: players use to hit the edges of the ice field (which are protected by plexiglas walls); and an argument often occurs among them. Anyway they wear a very heavy sportswear, with a helmet and leg warmers (if you watch carefully at them you will find that they are « sharp featured » and « massive »).
Eventually McGill Redmen lost at the very end of the match (during the shootouts). McGill is definitely not the no. 1 university in Canada for sport. Beyond the sport result, many McGill supporters were really ill mannered, as they were yelling insults to Concordia players.
I only went to university plays. Indeed, NHL (National Hockey League) matches are too expensive for a student — would you pay $50+ for sitting at the very rear of the arena? —; and the Montreal team did a very poor season this year — would pay so much for an almost guaranteed defeat of the Montreal Canadiens? —. Anyway, I do not like sports.
PW, the migratory martlet