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Monday, August 11, 2008


I have been avidly watching the Olympics since they began on Friday. I love the summer games much more than the winter games. And NO, it's not just because volleyball falls in the summer games. =)

But there is something that bothers me about some of these "Olympic" events.

The Olympics began in Greece as a competition among the elite athletes (get it, Athens--athletes) as a test of strength, speed, stamina, and skill. No one could be compared to these Olympians because they were head and shoulders above the "normal" Greeks as physical specimens.

Now we see the modern Olympic games. I don't doubt that every Olympian is the most skilled at his or her event. BUT, some of these events do not hold true to the strength, speed, and athletic quality that the Olympics was born out of. I don't think that air rifle is an Olympic-level sport. Fencing? Seriously folks, these are NOT athletes. They couldn't hold a candle to the training and physical strength it takes to be in any of the track and field events, swimming, cycling, etc.

I'm also not a fan of the judged events. This also detracts from the original intent of the Olympic games. Judging is too subjective to truly declare "the best" in the event. Although gymnasts and divers and the like are highly trained, strong, competitors, they leave their fate to subjectivity. And we've seen time and time again of the fallacy of this issue...judges not scoring because of prejudice, discrimination, or just plain idiocy (the Chinese women gymnasts were docked .10 point because the judges didn't like their uniforms).

So what is an Olympic event?
  • Running/swimming/cycling faster? Olympic.
  • Lifting more? Throwing farther? Olympic.
  • Scoring more points IN A PHYSICALLY DEMANDING SPORT? Olympic.
Therefore, ping pong is not a sport. It is a past time that should NOT be an Olympic event. Badminton is NOT a sport. It is a past time and NOT an Olympic event. If these are considered Olympic events, then we may as well have Olympic poker, foosball, billiards, bowling, bocce ball, and beer pong. They require the same physical condition and training as some of these other "Olympic" events.

Olympic competitive eating anyone?

Note to self: Find an event to get Olympified in.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Am I old?

Am I old?

The scenario:
Dewey Beach is a small beach town by Rehobeth Beach. Dewey has good beach areas, plenty of hotels, and the strip of bars and clubs to keep the parties going...until 1 am when they close. My man and his buddies have gone to Dewey for several years running for his birthday celebration. But this year was a little different.

We arrived Friday, laid out by the pool, ate some food at Starboard, and prepared for our night out on the town.

As we walked up a driveway leading to two clubs, it was hard not to notice the prominent difference in atmosphere between these neighbors.
  • The club on the left was full to the brim with beverage-wielding young adults. While the dj pumped top 40 hits, there was some sort of contest going on that occasionally caused a whooping holler from the crowd in between pelvic-grinding dance moves.
  • The club on the right was full, but all of the patrons were seated, enjoying their meals and perhaps a beer or glass of wine. A calypso band added a Marley-esque relaxed atmosphere. The noise this club yields, outside of the cool band beats, is a dull mumble of stimulating conversation.
So which club would we enter? As we are all hovering around the bubble of 30, where do we fit more? The Mtv 20 something crowd OR the AARP groupies?

As we entered the silver-laced bar to the right, it occurs to me that we don't quite fit here. A couple is dancing a waltz on the lower deck by the band and much of the conversation reeks of retirement. Not to mention the bartender who thought she "got us" by carding us. Clearly we are the youngest ones in this establishment.

BUT, none of us were interested in the Paris-Britney obsessed crowd in the bar to the left. Personally, I didn't want to throw out a hip trying to make my way through the packed house of skin-baring babes (or should I say babies). The irony is that we all admitted that we used to love that kind of bar.

So does this mean we're old? We'd rather dance a jitterbug and talk about hair replacement than get beer spilled down our backs? And by the way, why are those are only two choices?

Note to self: Design stylish orthopedic shoes. Who said getting old had to be style-less?

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What is the deal?

As volleyball season is a week away, I am very, very excited at the prospects coming back, looking forward to meeting the incoming freshmen, and putting it all together for another run at a state championship. Looking at the rising juniors and returning Varsity girls, I can't wait to see what my months of brainstorming on what I could do to get us that final pearl, that seemingly unattainable feat for this young program who has been denied the blue banner on the wall for three straight years. And as many of us athletes know, once you get a taste of something great, something amazing...that number one ranking and state champion title...you want it more than anything the next time around.

But there is a dark, ominous cloud shadowing my excitement: the ugliness of uncertainty has been rearing its head in the rumor mill. My staff and I have heard all shades of "so-and-so isn't coming back to play next season." After a perfectly fabulous season, great team chemistry, and few intra-team issues....what??!?!?!

What is with the uncertainty? Why don't athletes want to continue playing in the program? This situation isn't isolated to my team or this season, so what's the deal?

Is it positioning? The classic "I should have played that spot instead of her" syndrome?

Is it loss of interest? The old "I don't like playing anymore" issue?

Is it conflicts with teammates or coaches? The ever-present "She doesn't like me/I don't like her" debacle?

While all of those are possible (or probable), I feel that they are all parts of a pervasive issue that is creating weaker, less able kids that believe they should get everything they want when they want it.

My generation (and those before me) were raised with the idea that you finish what you start, you don't question authority, and hard work will pay off in the long run. What is the deal with these athletes? They're not bad kids. They are respectful...to my face. They do work hard. If they didn't, my teams wouldn't be as successful as they were. But on what planet to they think that difference of opinion, be it coach-wise or teammate-wise, isn't going to exist?

Maybe a forum should be presented every year to every kid and parent involved in school and any after-school activities. The theme would be this: working hard and dealing with conflict are parts of becoming a well-rounded, productive adult. Not everyone can be the best. Not everyone wins 1st place. Not everyone is a starting athlete. Not everyone wins the award. And sometimes it isn't fair (or what you deem as fair). But if you quit, and give in, then the person you thought was wrong wins. What could be worse than losing...twice...to your worst enemy??

Maybe I'm totally off-base and there is a plague of disinterest running rampant around my county. But I can't help but question what is making so many kids stop playing a sport they've played for years for seemingly no reason.

All I can say is that there are few people in this world that have ever said that they were sad or wrong for finishing what they started. Not many would say that a difficult situation made them weaker or hurt them beyond repair. The majority would say that sticking to something proved they could do anything they put their minds to and, in the end, they were better for it.

I can't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't play because I disagreed with my coaches, or if I stopped because I had a teammate who didn't like me, or if I stopped because I didn't think I liked playing anymore. I would have missed out on so much...and I would have more regrets than anything else.

SO why don't these kids want to be better people?!? Or a part of a great experience? And most importantly put a State Championship banner on the wall????

Note to self: Apparently winning 4 straight Regional titles isn't enough. Obviously embarrassing a cocky home-team to advance to the playoffs isn't enough. Clearly having two energetic, athletic, and knowledgeable coaches isn't enough. Research what x factor is missing to retain kids in the program.

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