Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

NFL Pool

Anyone interested in doing an NFL pool this year? Email me this week at mrscomethunter “at” rogers.com if you’re interested (so I can have a contact email), and we’ll see if we can get enough people. 
Season opener is Sept. 5th, and we’d use Yahoo Pro Football Pick’em.

Athletic Disappointments

It seems like every time I turn on the news lately, there is another world-class, record-breaking athlete admitting to doping (the latest athlete in the spotlight is Lance Armstrong).
These people amaze us with their abilities, we are proud of them because they show how must faster and stronger humans can be, and hundreds and thousands of people are inspired to join a specific sport or to get fit in general because of their performance. They’re continually pushing the limits, and it’s amazing to watch.
Then we find out it was all because of chemical enhancements.
Some don’t care – regardless of how they did it, the athletes still inspired a lot of people, and they didn’t sign up to be role models, right? Lance Armstrong probably raised millions of dollars for cancer research – are all those people who donated money because they were inspired by him now angry? Do they feel slighted or betrayed?
I don’t know, I find I get really disappointed. I think it’s so exciting when someone comes along and shatters world records, completely dominates their sport, and leave everyone in their dust. No matter what the sport, I love watching people at the top of their game, like Tiger Woods, Sidney Crosby, or Michael Phelps. It shows that (extremely) hard work and dedication can make you better at something than everyone else on the planet. But, when it comes out that doping was involved, it’s just such a disappointment to find out that maybe people can’t be that good without interventions. That maybe you can only achieve average athleticism without it. That we’re all just destined to achieve mediocrity. Plus, there are some serious health dangers that come with doping – shouldn’t we want to protect our athletes from that, just like we want to protect them from getting head injuries?
There’s just no way to know who’s doping and who’s not – at least not for a few years until the testing catches up with the doping methods (which is why we often find out about these occurrences years after the fact). How can we make every competition a fair one if this is the case? Should we just allow any and all doping, since that’s the way it seems to be going anyway? Maybe we should have doping and dope-free Olympics?
What do you think? Is doping in sport a big deal, or is it just part of it now?

NHL Boycott

With the NHL season looming, DH and I have made the decision that we’ll be boycotting the league this year (although they might be doing it themselves if things don’t get straightened out).
It’s a tough decision – we used to love watching hockey. But, in the last couple of seasons we’ve found it has really gone downhill with the lack of consistency with penalties (especially those involving headshots and unnecessary violence) and the “old boy” feel of the game commentary (calling players girls/pussies/gay because they don’t fight, etc.). Raising a little boy has really made us become more aware of how bad it is, and we don’t want that around him.
Even after a Calgary ruling to increase the age at which hockey players are allowed to bodycheck, junior leagues across the country are still allowing children as young as 11-12 years old to do it during a game (source: Winnipeg Free Press). This is even after a study came out that found hockey players younger than 13 were 3 times more likely to suffer concussions or major injuries if bodychecking was part of the game.
It’s now well-known that concussions are incredibly serious injuries. They are cumulative over a lifetime and can have troubling long-term effects:
There are an increasing number of retired athletes who have been diagnosed posthumously with a degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  Researchers at several centers around the country are studying this disease, its cause and progression.  The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy in Boston states that CTE is the only preventable form of dementia.  Ninety percent of confirmed cases have been in retired athletes. Athletes who have a history of multiple concussions have a higher incidence of dementia and dementia-related diseases later in life.

(source – emphasis is mine). In addition, it seems that concussions are much more harmful to a teenage brain, when it’s still deep in development mode.
Crosby’s concussion – a result from a hit from David Steckel during the January 2011 Winter Classic – seemed to be changing things in the minor leagues, but Steckel himself was not punished for the hit. Crosby ended up playing a few days later, even though he was injured, and suffered another headshot from Victor Hedman (also not punished). A year later, he was still not concussion symptom-free. Yet, even though it’s talked about in NHL circles, nothing seems to be changing. Hell, even one of the main page features on the NHL site is about the “biggest hits” from last season.
For us, enough is enough. We’ll stick with sports where unnecessary violence is taken seriously and penalized appropriately.

Kayaking

This past Saturday I had my first kayaking lesson, and it was awesome!
I’ve been in a kayak before, but it was more of a tourism thing, and we didn’t learn any specific stroke or technique. I remember enjoying it, though, so I thought it’d be fun to give it a try for real.
Saturday was a gorgeous day – sunny and not too hot. We learned about the different types of kayaks and paddles, and then we all tried out a few kayaks before deciding which one fit the best. I was in a sea kayak, which tend to be longer and have higher cruising speed than white water kayaks, but can be harder to turn.
After some more land-based chatting, we each got into our own kayak and off we went. We learned a few different strokes: forward, backward, draw and sculling draw (to move sideways), the sweep (to turn in place), and the stern rudder (to turn while going forward). We also learned how to raft together our kayaks for safety purposes.
We spent a lot of time practicing, which was amazing. I loved being on the water in my own little kayak-bubble, concentrating on my movement and technique, and enjoying my surroundings.
At the end of the lesson, the teacher demonstrated the wet-exit – basically how to get out of your kayak safely if it capsizes.

Gotta say, I was really nervous about it. I’m not a huge fan of putting my head under water, especially when I’m in something. But, after three attempts at rolling the kayak over*, I went under and got out pretty quick. 
Looking forward to the next lesson in a couple of weeks!

*It was actually nice to know how hard it was to tip it over!

Are We Going Backward?

Over the past few weeks, there have been a few things floating around the news, the blogosphere, and around the water cooler that really make me wonder if we’re going back in time:
– All the cuts to science in both Canada and the US (is it going on elsewhere too?)
– Cuts to the local education system
– The fact that women still make far less money than men
– The focus on violent behaviour in the NHL playoffs, how it’s just part of the game, and how that is actually bringing in larger audiences (while I’m losing complete respect for the game)
– Issues over reproductive rights in the USA

WTF is going on in our world right now? Is it just me, and all of a sudden I’m more aware of these issues, or do others feel the same?

Thankfully, there are new episodes of Glee, knitting, and good chocolate in this world to take my mind off things.

Men Behaving Badly

DH plays in a recreational soccer league for men over 25 (though the average age is probably closer to 35 or 40). You would think by that age that people would be calm and laid-back enough to have a fun and friendly game.

You’d be wrong.

A few days ago, during the game before DH’s, a bench-clearing brawl broke out. Can you even?

Apparently, a player kicked the ball and it came pretty close to another player’s head. The second player thought the guy did it on purpose, so he shoved the guy. The guy shoved him back. Now, usually that’s where it ends. The guys would get sent off and play would continue. But, I guess a third guy was up for a fight, because he came running from half-way across the court and shoved one of the players too.

Of course, this escalated things, so punches were thrown and at one point there were 4-5 guys kicking a player who was lying on the floor.

Isn’t that absolutely appalling? I mean, seriously…this is a middle-age men’s recreational soccer league. A lot of the time there are families there watching. How in the world does this kind of thing even happen?

I’m slightly worried that DH will continue to play in this league in the summer. Yes, the league won’t be letting those players back in, but this isn’t the only altercation he’s witnessed. There’s constantly 1-2 total jerks on each team who seem like they’re looking for a fight. A lot of players – be it from having a lack of ability or from just been aggressive in nature – are overly physical and go after the guy rather than the ball. One guy, who was a goalie, got his hand broken and wasn’t able to work for weeks because some other guy took a run at him while he was grabbing the ball.

It doesn’t help that the refs in the league don’t seem to call many fouls, which means players start getting frustrated and will take more of an aggressive slant to their playing (because if the other guy/team can get away with it, then they should too). But, I still don’t think that should excuse this type of disgusting behavior.

Yes, there are times where it’s appropriate to be competitive, there’s nothing wrong with that. But when it escalates to crap like this, especially when it’s supposed to be “just for fun” and a way to get some exercise, it makes me embarrassed for the human race.

SuperBowls of Yore

Since we started dating, DH and I have made a tradition out of SuperBowl Sunday. We plan our menu weeks in advance, spend the whole day in our sweats sitting on the couch, and watch hours of pre-game wonderfulness before the game itself. It’s a whole day of laziness, and we look forward to it every year.

Things are a bit different now though. Evan usually takes a 1.5-2 hour nap and then goes to bed at 7pm — which would give us a nice opportunity to watch our favorite pre-game program, Road to the SuperBowl, and then be able to watch most of the game in peace.

Apparently, Evan had other plans. He took a 50 minute nap, was a crank-osaurus from about 4-6:30pm. We tried to put him to bed then, since he seemed tired, but he would just not go down. So, we missed pretty much the whole first half. He finally went down at about 8:15pm. At least we got to watch most of the last half.

Sometimes, all I want is one afternoon/evening to sit on my ass, eat a crap-load of junk food and watch TV. Is that so much to ask?

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