Tag Archives: sports

How Does One Person Promote the WNBA?

8 Mar

I’ve had just about enough of WordPress “Myspacing” my writing.  I just wrote a huge paragraph and when I pressed “save draft” it glitched out and erased my work-gah!

Storm-2010 WNBA champions

In honer of International Women’s Day I want to take action.  And I believe in the importance of the WNBA.  And the entertainment factor.  I want more merch availability, more money for advertising, more promotion in general, support from fans, and more teams–way more teams.

But what do I do?  Do I write to someone–who?  After reading a lot of internet articles, I felt more helpless then ever.  How do I–one fan with no money or connections–help a franchise?  The thought is there, but I ended up feeling like a failure, because I left my research with more questions then answers.

Even Chuck

As it is, I have been reading about some notable women in history.  I’ll share the articles with you, so I can at least do something today. . .

http://primajanetcollins.com/

https://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/deborah-sampson/

http://lucyparsons.org/biography-iww.php

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/23/us/flo-kennedy-feminist-civil-rights-advocate-and-flamboyant-gadfly-is-dead-at-84.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/world/peopleevents/pande01.html

http://leanin.org/

https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/womenyoushouldhaveheardof

I Got Nothin’

26 Jan

I am too tired and distracted to write a proper post. BUT I don’t want to break the chain. I’ve posted every day this month and only have a week left. So here’s a quick list of randoms:

*usually I make list with a dash, but I thought as asterisk was more festive.
* We went snowboarding again today–Cool did AWESOME.
*I fell on my butt so hard it made me see stars and I thought I might puke–all in a day’s work.
*Helmets should be mandatory.
*When a pass says rental all-inclusive–helmets should be a part of that.
*Helmets should not be an additional $8 to rent outside of a package deal.
*TMI warning: If you get a big, tender red zit–you ought to be able to relieve the pressure. It’s not fair if you can’t pick at it. . .
*Superbowl is an alcohol-centric event, and I hate that.
*I feel it’s a great omen that my current state and future state are playing–and it would be a sign if Broncos won.
*I really don’t follow FB, because I feel like it takes funds/fans from other sports, and women’s sports.
*I decided DMB’s Warehouse (exclusive fan/membership club) is kind of a rip-off. You don’t get much for the $35.
*It’s disappointing though because that’s one of the only ways to win a meet & greet w/the band.
*My Dad got a new hearing aid–on his own accord.
*It’s the mini-RITE and my Dad loves it because he’s addicted to everything digital–I think he’ll LOVE it!
*I am so excited and jealous for my parents’ vacation: A trip to every tribe in MT and visit to Wounded Knee and all that historical stuff in the Dakotas.
*I can’t wait to see the trinkets my mom gets from said vacation: 1 item from every tribe.
*There were a lot of tiny-tot kids on the slopes today, and it’s adorable to see little ones ski/board like pros.
*I feel tired and behind if I don’t get to sit in my jammies, in my house, for a majority of one weekend day.

On that note, I think that’s good enough for today. I’ll try to write actual-posts tomorrow!

Cheryl Miller = Inspiration

26 Sep

Cheryl put her trash-talking brother, Reggie to shame all of their lives.  Sure, he got more hype by virtue of being in the NBA and having Spike Lee squabble with him, but Cheryl was a superior player and role model for women:

1981 Dial Award for HS player of the year

6th all-time scoring record in NCAA w/3,018 points

1982, became of one of the five female HS players ever to score over 100 points in a game, scoring 105 points against Norte Vista.  Making Miller 3rd highest HS female points scorer in history.

3rd all-time NCAA rebounder w/1534

College player of the year (3x)

1984 U.S. BB Olympic gold medal

1986 she was drafted for US BB League (a men’s league)

1993-1995 USC BB coach w/42-14 record

Coached 4 seasons of WNBA Mercury, going to play-offs once

1995 BB hall of fame

1996 she was the first female TV analyst to call a nationally televised game

1999 Women’s BB hall of fame

I think it’s awesome to see a female that can out-play the dudes.  She paved the way for Sue Bird and other WNBA stars that are amazing and elevate women’s basket ball as well as women’s sports, and females in general.  This story makes me excited to own my Komodo Dragons WNBA team one day when I’m a billionaire 😉

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Out of My Mind

23 Jul

I have been such a head-case on the track (and maybe others would tell you, elsewhere) this summer.  Maybe it’s the stress MELROSEfrom work–the more I’m there, the more I hate everything.  It could be the late summer weather.  I got a later start this year, because of all of May & June rain.  I’m not certain what it is, but I feel so slow and fatigued.

And my times are not what they were last year.  I’m running about 8.40 miles, over 2 minute 400m on most occasions, and 50 second 200s.  It’s waaaay off of even my worst starting season times of last year.  And it’s bumming me out, making me frustrated, and I wonder if I just don’t have it in me.  Am I too old now?  Too out of shape?  Too inconsistent with training because of my work schedule?  Those thoughts slow me down too, I’m certain.

Jackie Warner 1So today, I stopped.  Stopped beating myself up mentally, that is.  Though I still fought many mental battles with myself.  The run felt much the same.  I got tired after the first 110 meters, and wanted to stop all-together and change to 400 splits after the first lap.  But I pushed through.  I told myself the time didn’t matter, and since the first 400 hadn’t been a record breaker I would at least jog 2 miles in order to work on endurance.  The 2nd lap felt horrible.  I was tired, and winded, but I kept on.  And that 3rd lap, which last year was my nemesis, felt better.  I sped up and thought about getting a mile PR out of the deal.  And I ran hard that 4th lap.  And ended up shaving 20 full seconds off my best mile time of the year.  Just like that.  Still not the sub-8 of last summer though.  So there is much work to do.

What that tells me, is that it’s not my body, but my mind getting in my way.

There are so many variable to running, I’m not sure how to achieve some speed.

-do warm-up laps?

-stretch?

-run drills to focus on form?

-change the time of day from morning to afternoon for the runs?

-change up the workouts by doing un-timed intervals/distance only/sprints only/recover less/recover on a jog

-work on arms and breathing?

-Do more Wii-Fit to increase strenth and work on form?

-get off the track and do hills or trails?

-eat better?

-get new shoes, or try new running clothes?

There are so many things I could try that I don’t know which to start with.  But I don’t want to change too many things, because then I wouldn’t know which thing worked, and I don’t want to throw off everything.  I guess this week, I’ll just try to change my mind.  Next week I’ll pick one other factor to vary.

doping suspician

 

When Doing a Group Project. . .

29 Jun

Don’t get me started on the legitimacy of group projects.  I really think it is an instructor’s lazy way out of planning, grading, and time-management.  But part of the problem of groups are social behaviors of the members.  I guess as a general rule, people just don’t know how to work in teams well.  As a lifelong member of sports, leadership, student council, and clubs, I’ll impart some key points I have taken from successful interactions–and those that weren’t so much:

-Firstly, you are all in the group and that’s it.  So instead of kicking mud, just buck up and get it done.  You’ll have to accept Laurel's pics 476the fact that you’re going to work together as a team.

-Instead of looking for differences in team members, search for commonalities.  Believe me, this will help everyone find a middle ground and work nicer.

-Find something for everyone to do.  Make sure everyone has an equal part in the project.  Saying *insert task* here is already taken care of is closed-off.  Group projects are open and even things that are perceived to be done can always be improved upon.

Follow the golden rule–do unto others as you want done to you.  Don’t say or do things you wouldn’t want said & done to you.

Laurel's pics 055-Don’t shut ideas down.  Never say something negative when a new idea is brought to the table.  It takes courage to speak up about an idea, AND it might work.  Thinking of reasons why things won’t work is annoying and change-averse.  Especially if it’s the first thing out of your mouth.  Even if you think the idea 100% will never work, entertain it for a second.  How could it work?  Can it be modified?  Even if not, acknowledge the idea, take time to mull it over, and attempt to change it so it would work.  Discuss the pros & cons.  Shooting down ideas makes people stop saying them.

-Meet in the middle.  Compromise is the name of the game.  Give and take is central to group work.  If you get your way one time, offer for the other person/people to also get their way.  Keep it equal, and everyone’s Laurel's pics 157stamp will be on the project.  I think this is why some people slack off in group work–they don’t feel as if they CAN make a contribution, by having any control over the outcome of the project.  So they give over full control (all the work) to the dominant person.  Make sure everyone gets something they want–or you may just end up with ALL the work.

-Don’t criticize the other person’s efforts.  Even if you think they suck.  And if you must–b/c it’s explicitly against the project’s guidelines or some other extreme situation–temper it with 2 pieces of praise.  People remember negative things far better.  So if you gently put down a person’s idea (only b/c it is El Nino, L cubed, L-Tronexplicitly against the rules!) really, tell them 2 ideas of theirs you like.  Sounds cheesy–but really do this.

-Never use the words, “bad,” “insensitive,” or marginalizing a population” in association with your partner’s ideas or work.  I mean, c’mon this should be basic stuff–but using negative language to describe other group members or their ideas is off-putting, rude, and counter-productive.  Refer to golden rule above.

-Don’t ignore problems.  They need to be dealt with early on.  Silence makes problems grow, not disappear.  And it is disrespectful to other member’s feelings to deny problems or concerns.  When there is a disagreement, do not undervalue the other person’s feeling or opinions by saying there is no problem, and adding statements like, “relax” 8th grade VBor “chill out.”  You are pretty much saying, “You are oversensitive and stupid and I’m not listening to your high maintenance complaints.”  Not the greatest attitude from teamwork or productivity.

-Communications have broken down, nobody is happy, and some rules above were broken.  You have to fix it.  Firstly, take responsibility for YOUR bad behaviors.  Whatever they were.  Then, listen.  Really listen to the group’s concerns.  And all of you work together to FIX it.  Don’t rehash who’s fault it was or what went wrong–move to correct things.  Address problems by actively brainstorming solutions.  This is critical–don’t just complain or point out problems, say how to make errors better.  Otherwise you will be up against a defensive, upset Laurel's pics 555reaction.  The group will probably break down all-together at this point, and then what?  One person will end up doing all the work, everyone will be disgruntled, and nobody likes that story.

-OK, so you don’t like an idea or portion of the other person’s work.  Instead of bad-mouthing it, vetoing it, or deleting it, why not just modify it?  ADD to it to make it better.  Just remember to keep the original idea.  This is what can make a group project great.  This is multiple people linking brains to make things better then just one person alone.  It’s what will make everyone invested in the project too–and keep communication open, and respectful, and Sierra Exif JPEGpositive.

-I should have said this sooner, but start right away.  It is much easier to edit then conceptualize.  And one procrastinator holds up the entire group, because steps cannot be skipped without making crucial decisions as an individual.  Make all the decisions FIRST, and then if there is a lazy, slacker, procrastinator, at least you have the outline or bones of the project ready to turn in.  Let me repeat–Don’t save the project until the last minute, b/c this makes your partner have to procrastinate as well (Douche).

-Lastly, make sure to give everyone props.  Everyone should walk away feeling appreciated and valued and proud of their own and everyone else’s contribution to a project well done.

—-

Laurel's pics 233And when you’re watching a presentation:

-Don’t embarrass the presenters.  The experience is already nerve-wracking, don’t be a dick.  Remember–YOU have to take a turn up front too.

-Don’t ask intense questions they can’t answer.  Leave that to the instructor.

-It would actually be cool if you asked an easy or fun question the presenter might be confident about or ready to discuss.  Laurel's pics 833It’s OK to make other people look good–they just might return the favor.

-Don’t dispute what they say.  There’s no point to this–have you ever been presenting and someone’s argument made you change your facts?  No of course not, it’s too late.  This only makes people feel dumb and embarrassed.  It’s counter-productive and ass-holish to call peers on erroneous facts when the research is complete, papers are written, and it’s too late to do anything about it.

-Don’t criticism their research, visuals, or presenting style while they are putting themselves out there in front of the class.  facial muscles 1People are nervous.  They are humans.  Refer to golden rule.

-Especially don’t do these things if you’re the instructor.

-If you think someone was ill-prepared or did a shitty job, take off points.  No need for public humiliation   Shame on you, bitchy prof.

—–

Anyway, as a person who hates, hates, hates putting my grades in someone else’s hands, I hope some of these tips help every person in a team and make the project even better!  Because let’s face it, those mo-fo professors aren’t soon going to grade twice the work, take twice the time, and assign individual projects. . .

Color Me Rad

19 Jun

june 2013I saw this on 125’s blog and knew I HAD to do it.  It was running, but more importantly, it was rainbow colors and 1980’s.  What’s not to like?  I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.  Lame.Not knowing anyone in Spokompton made it difficult though.  My Nevada and Missouri friends are too far away.  My Aunt–too old, shy, and out-of-shape.  Cool.  Honestly can be a real dud when it comes to physical activity or crowds.  Especially in combo.  Convincing her to run with me would be a chore.  Co-workers–well have to WORK.  Especially if I’m not there.  And speaking of that ALL of these races (and every fun public activity) falls on Saturday.  And I work every Saturday morning.

So the odds were stacked against me from the start.  But I traded my life away at work and the other tech agreed to take my color blast 2race Saturday (5 hours at MOST) and birthday Saturday (open for 3 hours)  if I worked a Wednesday (9 hours if I’m lucky) and Thursday (a Forster day which would make me have to work 4 days in a row) for her.  I got the short end of the stick, but both Saturdays were that important to me.

Next, I tried to convince Cool.  And of course, she was having no part of any run, colored or not.  So I bought my $30(!) admittance.  This secured me a shirt, sunglasses, my number, 1 color color blastpacket to throw, and a fun-run.  I worked and worked.  And worked on Cool, really trying to talk up the race, guilt, and coerce her.  What finally got her?  I asked her to line dance with me.  Apparently, running is a better choice than cowgirl line dancing. . .  Good to know.  By the time (6 weeks later?) I got her to come with me, the price had gone up to $50!  Bummer, and ouch–but it was going to be fuuunnnn.

I’m not certain what all that money goes toward.  A charity WAS involved, but I have a hard time believing they saw all of color bomb 2my $80.  And the shirt?  Royal blue–not good for color-running purposes.  The white ones?  Extra$$$.  More color packets?  More extra dough.  There was also other merch and you could buy photos of yourself running.  And buy food.  And beer–though I never saw any that wasn’t just the raceway’s concession domestics–ick.  So I deemed it over-priced greatness.

The packet pickup was a well-oiled machine.  Like a huge amount of volunteers, computers, tables.  Order.  Which never happens.  Everything was well-marked, and we did not have to stand in line for 1 second–despite 1500 people being confirmed to run.

lame

They asked us to be there at 7AM.  And they were out of town, in the boonies, and charged $5 to park.  So we parked in the Casion’s lot next door.  Free.  Yay for us smart-cookies who scouted out the scene 2 days early!  Anyway, 7AM in Spokompton is chilly.  And I got the impression that the organizers had us gather early and corral right by all the for-sale merch–to stimulate us to BUY.  There was also a “party.”  They had dancers on a stage–like choreographed dance movements and all, and I was mostly embarrassed for them.  I also wondered if those people were from Spokane, or traveled around the country doing these parties???  I never did find out.  They also had a DJ trying to generate enthusiasm.  I was put-off when he said something to the effect of, “Ladies, show me what you’ve got for some color packs!!!”  Gross.  It felt a little contrived. Like they were trying too hard to be cool.  Maybe this goes over better in actual cities like New York, or places where people are–drunk.

costumes

I did, however, enjoy seeing the costumes–I KNEW people would wear them!!!  And also people-watching was amazing–sorostitutes always make me laugh–especially old-in-the-face ones.  One of them looked to be trying to hold it all inside, but couldn’t contain herself during some horrible rap song.  She was mouthing the words and doing small dance moves to what was probably her “jam.”  Extra-lame.  Next time we do a color run I have an excellent costume idea.  And I tried to get Cool to do it with me this year, but it was difficult enough just getting her there.  And you can’t be the ONLY one wearing a costume.  But I want to get a bunny-rabbit suit.  Full on head and everything.  And would start the race as the white rabbit, I’m late, I’m late from Alice in Wonderland–and end as the Trix rabbit!  So awesome!  I hope nobody else thinks of it before we get to do it.  Because it’s not at neat once someone has already done it.

4113512-R1-054-25A
-As we were run/walking, assorted stations were throwing environmentally-friendly colored corn starch at runners.  Of course, the goal is to get as much color as possible, so we came close to the volunteers.  Who were there specifically to throw colors on people.  And after the pink 1K–I was still all white.  So at the purple station, I really slowed down.  And got the littlest bit, from off of someone else.  I thought maybe I looked RBS–resting bitch face syndrome, so made an effort at green to smile.  Still, no one wanted to throw at me.  Hmmmm.  So at the final orange station, I did bird wings, ran up smiling, and slowed down directly in front of each of the 3 volunteers.  And got nothing at all.  No orange was thrown at me.  I am apparently too good at disengaging, as the volunteers were reluctant to throw color on me–even though I was 80’s-style and even when I was smiling and spirited.  Weird scene.

4113512-R1-026-11A

But we both had a lot of fun, and got some color, and pelted each other with more color.  And Cool is a 5K convert and would be open to doing another themed event.  Oh–and we got astounding pics with the waterproof disposable we purchased prior to the event (genius idea) to (over)post on Facebook.  Which is the whole point of these theme races anyway.  We would like to do a mud run or foam run, but this can never occur since I work every Saturday morning.  BUT we will certainly keep our eyes peeled for such things after we’ve moved to Colorado!!!

4113512-R1-016-6A

Aside from being all about money, my one complaint about the race was they did not have trash cans (bomb-prevention my boss suggested) but they did have plastic baggies and plastic water bottles littering the raceway.  I guess this could have been a raceway regulation or WA law or something, but I felt weird dropping trash on the ground.  But other than that, it was a good event for a birthday weekend!

Rule #3 of Animal Restraint: Be a Cheerleader

26 Sep

As a restrainer of animals, being anything aside from positive, supportive, calm, and patient is counterproductive.  Everybody involved needs you to be miss Sunshine-super-patient to maximize chance of success, and minimize strife and injury.

Cheer on the animal (and it’s owner) you’re restraining, by telling it reassuring things in a gentle voice.  This should be constant and second-nature.

It’s very important to be supportive to the DO-er when you’re the restrainer.  Say, “Good job,” “You can do this,” etc. . . when things are going better then expected.  When things are worse, let the do-er know it’s hard, the animal is not cooperative, the task is a high level of difficulty, you’ve seen others mess it up more in the past.  No use in making someone feel bad or frustrated with their efforts.  It just makes future tasks more difficult.

Don’t be a bossy holder.  Let the DO-er perform the task in the way the usually do, and the way they are most comfortable doing it.  Let them take the lead on the thing, and direct YOU how they want the animal held and positioned.  There is more then one way to skin a cat. . .

Don’t sigh or show impatience when the task is taking a long time.  Even if you feel annoyed inside.  Buckle down.  Showing annoyance only makes the DO-er more nervous and agitated then they already are.  And they will likely struggle more.

On this same note, if you are the restrainer, don’t insist on switching.  Let the DO-er tell you when they cannot accomplish the task and need you to do it.  DO-ers, DO NOT poke an animal 80 times, or otherwise torture a pet if it is just not happening for you that day.  Know when to stop and ask someone else to jump in.

Trade off.  Do not always jump to take ALL the blood draws, place all catheters, whatever.  Share back and forth.  Otherwise, one of you becomes the bitch-holder and the subservient.  And no one likes that.  Also realize, if you’re new to a place–you are likely going to ending up doing more holding then doing for awhile.  It’s also a good idea to trade off, not only for fairness purposes, but so that both people are good at both restraint and the tasks needing performed.  Vet tech skills are definitely a use it or lose it deal, and no one should become rusty on either side of the animal.  Practice both restraint and the tasks equally to really hone both skills.  Especially, if someone is sick, or quits, or if you need to switch positions for a vet or new staff--you need to be competent everywhere.

That said, if you know you’re not great at something, or you know your co-worker is a star at one particular task, back off and let them do it.  You should practice and take hints from the super-star, but only on nice animals, during slower times, and not to the point of hurting the animal in order to learn.

And that all there is to restraint.  Mind the hierarchy, keep it cool, and remember team-work.  Good luck, animal workers!

 

Clogging Starts

14 Sep

Potential directions to take my scholarship essay.  I’ll try to narrow it down from here:

1}  About to Perform:

Using my peripheral vision, I scanned right and left, to make sure I was lined up in perfect formation with my teammates.  Despite the downward angle of my head, I could tell the lights were bright.  Staring at my own, freshly polished white leather performance shoes, I could only hear the chatter and rustling of the audience that had amassed in the large auditorium earlier in the day.  I tried to remain calm and collected, but I could hear my own tense breathing as I anticipated the first notes of the song, which would cue the beginning of the dance.  I worried the stage would be slick under my taps, but assuaged my  nerves by reminding myself the sticky Pepsi they had poured over the stage was sure to do its job and provide traction.  I adjusted my arm just slightly, feeling the sequence of my fuchsia and turquoise lycra costume brush my shoulder as I did.

2}  The basic step–into history of the dance and my teaching of it

Scuff your toe toward the ground as if you’re trying to get bubblegum off the bottom of your shoe.  Harder-really throw your foot toward the ground.  Yes, that’s it there’s the double.  Now double.  Step.  Toe.  Step.  That is the basic clog step!”  I heard and said those words so many times, I could not possibly tally them.  When I took my first clogging class as a second grader, and when I taught my first students as a fifth grader that was always the initial introduction to the Appalachian dance.

3}  Performance Logistics–and the lessons learned

There were quick costume changes, that required throwing off clothes and hastily pulling on the next routine’s accessories.  My least favorite shows had a bigger crowd behind the stage then watching the dancing.  Often weather conditions were not optimal for being dancing outside in lycra and sequence.  There were times when the flooring was make-shift, or slippery.  Other times, our music was cued wrong, or too quiet, or playing at a different speed then we had practiced.  Sometimes nerves would cause team members to wander off track-and you would have to steer them back in the right direction—or pretend you were having fun and there was no problem at all.  A lot of the time, I had to warm up the audience and convey the message we were illicit through my facial expressions, movements, or steps.

4}  The Car Ride TO clogging

Eating my “dinner” or string cheese, a cracker pack, and an apple, I spelled the fourteenth word on my spelling list.  My mom was quizzing me during the twenty minute car ride into Carson City for clogging class.  We would not have time for homework after class, because it went right up to my bedtime, and tomorrow would be an early morning.

During my years of clogging activities, my family and I had to maximize our time.  Every moment was utilized, because with clogging and school, there was not a lot of time to spare.  This taught me valuable, life-long planning skills.  I am now able to balance many activities because I did it with dance for so many years.

5}  Duets

Maybe we should start out with a double-double at the chorus, I suggested to Allie, my duet partner.  We were at the studio an hour before the little girls’ show class began to work on choreographing our steps to “My Mind,” a catchy Ace of Base Song.  We wanted our duet to have crowd appeal for shows, but be technically strong so we could perform it for the judges at Broadway Bound.  Incorporating both aspects, as well as agreeing with each other was not always easy.

6}  Putting together shoes or hair + makeup and how those things display characteristics of my personality.

I took the white canvas shoe and aligned the silver, double tap on the toe.  This part was always the most difficult.  I smeared the “Shoe-Goo” liberally on the underside of the toe and quickly placed the tap in the middle of the glop, glue squeezing out around the edges.  Hurriedly, I used my rag to clean the excess glue so it wouldn’t dry or muck up the tap.  Then I carefully folded the rag and put it on the top side of the toe so when I placed my metal C-clamp over the tap and shoe, and tightened it down, there would not be an ugly mark.  Three more taps to go.  I repeated the procedure carefully. Tediously.  Then, the worst part of the process waiting 24-48 hours for the glue to dry.  It was always heart-wrenching to wait for the taps to dry on, remove the C-clamp at least, eager to put the shoes on and practice, only to untwist the clamp and have the tap drop to the floor.  Later, I would worry about polishing the scuff marks off the shoes using the thin, white dye–or I wouldn’t.  Maybe these would just be my practice shoes.

My stick-straight, blonde hair never did hold a curl.  For clogging performances, all the girls in my group had to apply blue eye shadow and bright red lipstick so our features could be made out under the harsh lights.  The stage makeup was ugly close-up, but you could see that we had eyes and lips when we were on stage.  We also had to wear our hair in high ponytails with the strands in back falling down in curls.  My hair wanted no part of these acrobatics.

My mother would put curlers in my ponytail early that morning.  While I patiently sat on the toilet lid, she would roll small strands of my hair in the spongy, pink curlers.  I hated pink.  Then showers of sticky hairspray would coat the locks.  Fumes choking everyone in the vicinity.  I would wear my pink curlers until I was in the wings of the stage, with my coach frantically yanking and untwisting the curlers back out.  By the time the three minute song was over, eleven little girls with stage makeup and curly pony tails would come off the stage.  One little girl (me) would have straight hair. . .

7}  Go through the practice schedule and detail a practice.  Tell what that did for me.

We drove a half hour to get to the blue two story Pinkerton’s Studio of Dance.  All of the lean and graceful ballerinas leaned nimbly on the benches in the hallway.  Jazz dancers in black spandex pants and soft shoes stretched on the floor.  The tap dancers with their shiny black shoes did homework on the stairs between classes.  And then there were us cloggers.  We had a hardier build, and were loud, and crude compared to the lithe, graceful dancers within Pinkerton’s walls.

I walked into the mirrored room and put on my worn, white practice shoes, tying the purple sparkled laces extra tight.  The toes of my shoes were black from working on my buck steps and a hole was just starting to form on the ball of both shoes, since the majority of the steps required slamming the ball of my foot to the floor.  Since most of the other types of dance required leotards for practice, the studio was uncomfortably warm for my tee shirt and gym shorts.  I was sweating already.

Our teacher switched on a country song to warm us up.  It sounded extra loud and twangy over the soft, classical echoing down the hallway.  We had to have loud music to hear the beat over our tapping.  We danced “Twist and Shout,” one of the first songs you ever learn as a clogger, and went into “The sign.”  After dancing a few easy performance songs, we stopped the music in preparation of learning the steps to our new performance routine.  It was always to the latest pop music so the crowd would get more involved.

I stood in the back line studying my reflection in the mirror, while my clogging teacher watched our feet.  Once my class got the step down, we added the arm movement.

8}  Mention something I missed out on due to clogging, but why it was worth it and what it taught me.

My friends at school would talk about “The Simpsons.”  To this day I have never seen a full episode, so at recess when the subject would come up, I would be lost.  As my best friends laughed about Bart’s latest antics and Homer’s ineptitude, I would just listen, not having anything to contribute to the conversation.

While my friends were gathered around their television watching cartoons with their family, I was at clogging practice.  Or studying my spelling words in the car as my mom drove us to clogging practice.  Or at some performance at a festival in a park somewhere.  Maybe I was just out in the driveway, shoes on, practicing my steps for our newest dance.

Though it was no fun to be in the dark about the coolest shows of the time, I do not regret my enthusiastic participation in dance.  While my friends were sitting, I was working my calf muscles and strengthening my lungs by doing a series of fast double-steps, stomps, and windmills.  Instead of mindlessly watching the sit-coms, I was using my mind to memorize not only countless steps, but a wide variety of songs, as well as choreography that went with each different routine.  By missing that family-time in the evenings, I was learning to work with a diverse group of people in a team, adapting to dissimilar audiences, and taking instruction (and criticism) from clogging instructors and judges.

Aside from not knowing who exactly Krusty the Clown is, whatever happened to Lisa’s saxophone, or if Marge ever got a hair cut, I think I fared pretty well with the life skills I accrued.

The Komodo (Dragon)s!

25 Aug

WHEN Cool and I are rich, we are going to purchase a WNBA team.

It’s the team-owners that drive the sport and the hype.  And America does not have nearly enough support for all the talented female basketball players.  Firstly, there has to be a team to cheer on.  There needs to be many teams, one in all of the important places across the country.  Then, there has to be huge hype to generate crowd excitement, which ultimately generates revenue.  Where there is hype, there will be talented players.

Women’s BB has an overabundance of talented players, but not a lot of places to play, and hardly any hype.  The consequence:  No money.  So there isn’t a bunch more athletic hopefuls.  The WNBA is missing out on some of the world’s best female basketball players, because those gals can make more money playing for other leagues in foreign countries.  France?  Russia?  You read that right.  FIBA is apparently a BIG deal.  How sad for the best (basketball) country in the world.  America, there ARE sports aside from Football, you know!

Cool and I will move to change all of this with our team.  It will be in Colorado of course–because hopefully that is where we will end up long term.  The mascot will be the Komodo Dragon.  Maybe just the Komodos.  I’m not sure yet.  Anyway, this animal is bad-a$$!  It’s big, it’s fast, and it can climb and bite and dig.  Very cool stuff–check out my post on the Wiki Real Life Dragons.

And if you look, the mascott doesn’t necessarily have to be in the vicinity of the team:  Lions, Tigers, Panthers, as examples.  And it’s super-lame to base the women’s team off of the men’s version already established.  Cool and my team will be it’s own entity–we don’t need to base our name, color, and mascot on the NBA counterpart.

Plus the komodo dragons will convey well.  You can render them cute or scary.  I can see the merch now–I’d wear it.  Maybe I’ll design some and wear it about before we garner the money to actually buy a team.  I’m certain it will be a crowd-pleaser.  I forgot to mention, our colors will be:  Black white checker (reminiscent of the NASCAR flag) and Green.  A nice pretty green–that just happens to bring out the green in MY eyes.  The uniforms will be exceptionally cute.  I’m thinking volleyball-style ribbons to roll up the sleeves.  And certainly not super, super long jerseys where you can see the tuck-in line under the shorts.  Our WNBA team’s uniforms will flatter and be functional.

Chime in if you have any ideas to add 😀

Olympic Diving + AIDS

16 Aug

Women’s Diving should be parodied:
-Brittany Violet’s coach = Weird in a way I have trouble articulating.  Creepy phrases, stilted hugs–I WISH I could find a video clip somewhere to show you.
-the commentator’s repeated “Entry needs work, entries are important, look at that huge splash!”
-the seemingly arbitrary bandage tape patterns

And who knew men’s diving was so GAY? As I’m watching, my gay-dar is tripping with almost every dude diver that steps onto the platform.

With my interest in history, the gays, and AIDS–how did I not know about Greg Louganis?

He was such a premiere diver that the Chinese filmed his form and used him as a model.  And look at the Chinese diving domination now–in part because of the emulation of Louganis’ form.  In the 1988 Olympics, he hit his head on the platform during a dive.  The doctor, gave him 5 stitches in his bleeding skull (without gloves).

According to the Wiki:

he suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the springboard during the preliminary rounds while performing a reverse 2½ pike. He completed the preliminaries despite his injury, earning the highest single score of the qualifying for his next dive, and went on to repeat the dive during the finals, earning the gold medal by a margin of 25 points.[1] In the 10m finals he won the gold medal performing a 3.4 difficulty dive in his last attempt, earning 86.70 points for a total of 638.61, surpassing silver medalist Xiong Ni by only 1.14 points.[1] His comeback earned him the title of ABC‘s Wide World of Sports “Athlete of the Year” for 1988.

As an interesting side-note:  Louganis had tried to bring Ryan Whate to the Olympics to share in the experience, but White’s visa was denied due to his (well known) HIV+ status.  The world didn’t know Louganis’ HIV+ status until he authored a full-disclosure book in 1994.  He says he found out a few months before the Seoul about his HIV positive status.

Most of his sponsors dropped him (except Speedo who retained him as a spokesmen for another 13 years) and he was roundly criticized for putting competitors at risk.

I think Sports Illustrated addresses the issue best:

Changes were instituted at all levels of sport to address these fears: Doctors and trainers now wear latex gloves when treating athletes; players who begin to bleed during a competition are immediately removed from the game and cannot return until the wound is cleaned and bandaged; and all blood is treated as potentially contaminated blood. These are prudent and sensible measures.

And despite the concerns expressed following Louganis’s revelations, there’s no evidence that additional precautions are needed. The likelihood of one athlete’s spreading the AIDS virus to another athlete during competition is so remote as to be infinitesimal. In fact, only one athlete, a recreational soccer player in Italy, is even suspected of having been infected with HIV during a match (he knocked heads with another player who turned out to be HIV-positive). But even that case was disputed because doctors couldn’t rule out other risk factors.

The IOC was correct last week in restating its position not to require athletes to undergo a blood test for HIV. Olympic athletes who have tested positive will continue to be allowed to compete, provided they have their physician’s approval that they are healthy enough to do so. Louganis was under no obligation to divulge his condition in 1988, nor were there public health reasons for him to have revealed it.

So let’s return the locus on Louganis to where it should be. He was unparalleled as an athlete. He carried himself with grace and dignity his entire competitive career. He was, and is, beloved by the American public. He developed AIDS, not because he was an athlete, not because he was homosexual, but because he didn’t practice safe sex. 

Further, the Wiki explains:

But his blood in the pool actually posed about zero risk. The blood was diluted by thousands of gallons of water, and “chlorine kills HIV”, said Dr. John Ward, chief of HIV-AIDS surveillance at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, skin is a very effective barrier to HIV. Only a diver with an open wound would face any risk. “If the virus just touches the skin, it is unheard of for it to cause infection: the skin has no receptors to bind HIV,” explained Dr. Anthony Fauci.[2]