Posts Tagged "sport"

The Truth About the Olympics

Dear Kid,

Well, it’s official. Usain Bolt is faster than you are. DearKidLoveMom.comWell, it’s official. Usain Bolt is faster than you are.

He’s also taller. And has his own pose.

Simone Biles is bouncier than you.

She’s also shorter. And her eye makeup is more sparkly.

Ryan Lochte is cooler than you. His response to being held up at gunpoint in Rio was (and I quote) “whatever”.

The American women play volleyball better than you do. Other American women play soccer better than you. Or maybe they don’t.

There are a bunch of people who fence better than you do (but not better than Inigo Montoya).

There are people in Brazil who have cried more than you over the last several days and people who have screamed more than you (mostly fans).

There are athletes who lift far more than two of you. And Michael Phelps is going to have to start lifting heavier weights to be able to carry around all his medals.

I love watching familiar and less familiar sports.

I miss sleep, but I love the Olympics.


Love, Mom

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Have You Heard About the Latest Scandal??

Dear Kid,

Do you think this bike will participate in the Tour de France? No motorized doping here! DearKidLoveMom.comThe Tour de France begins soon and (obviously) so do the allegations.

Actually, the allegations have already begun (does that make them pre-allegations? Prallegations?). And this year, we have New and Improved Prallegations.

The "extra motor" doesn't come from motorized doping but from get a friend to ride the bike with you. Bicycle built for two. DearKidLoveMom.comThere are the standard allegations about cyclists doping (old news). And New-This-Year, we’ve introduced Motorized Doping Allegations.

When I first heard about Motorized Doping I thought it was a speedier way to ingest banned substances (it’s not). Then I thought it was a different kind of drug cyclists were taking (it’s not). Then I stopped guessing.

Turns out Motorized Doping is about doping the bikes!

Yes, someone has taught the bicycles to take steroids!

Do they have to change the sign if riders are motorized doping participants? What would it look like? DearKidLoveMom.comNo, that’s not it. Someone has figured out how to get the bicycles to swallow small but powerful motors.

Yes, the point is that somehow elite cyclists have found a new way to cheat in the Tour. They have little motors (I am not making this up) hidden in the bikes that are somehow connected through buttons and/or blue tooth to make the bikes go faster/stronger (We can rebuild him! [Extra points if you get the reference]).

This is such a big deal thing that even NPR did a story on motorized doping.

Le Tour officials were going to scan bikes to check for motors or batteries, but then they were shamed into taking this much more seriously. They’ve decided to set up heat scan sensors along the route at random and unannounced places to check bikes for hidden mechanical assistance.

Or maybe mechanical assistants if there are mini robots involved.

In any case, we now have a new scandal to worry about.

Love, Mom

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Mud, Guts, and Glory. And Cold. And a Celebrity.


Dear Kid,

Last week Pi found out about the Mud, Guts, and Glory race. She felt it was too late to train for the competition, so she invited me to volunteer with her. Being the kind of Mom I am, I said yes before I found out what volunteering involved.

That is how it came to be that at extremely early in the morning o’clock I found myself sitting alone in the woods next to a pile of tires with no pen, no paper, and only 20…19…18 percent left on my phone battery. Not one of my better planned mornings.

The tire carry at Mud, Guts, and Glory 2016. Pre-race and pre-mud.

The tire carry at Mud, Guts, and Glory 2016. Pre-race and pre-mud.

I’d been assigned to the Tire Carry obstacle. Really, Pi and I had both been assigned to the Tire Carry but they were short on volunteers and moved her to the Weaver. Did I mention that one of the reasons I agreed to volunteer was to spend time with her?

There I was, by myself. At an obstacle in the middle of Stage 5 of the race. I had about half an hour until the Elite competitors began and the first one wouldn’t get to my area for an hour and a half or so. Here’s what I was thinking.

My feet are cold. Really cold. How can nature be this cold in May?

I have to find a way to entertain myself. Commune with nature. Yep, there’s nature. Still surrounded by nature. Nature doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

What do people do in nature? Try to relax. People relax in nature, right? I’m not one of those people. People paint in nature. Think about whether you’d like to paint the trees. I’m sure someone would, but not me.

15%.  Why doesn’t nature come with electrical outlets?

The race starts in 10 minutes. They won’t reach my station for more than an hour. That’s a lot of nature to contemplate.

I try harder. I look at the trees. The poison ivy climbing up the nearest one winks at me.

13 percent. 

Dear lord.

I listen to the wind in the trees. I picture a gentle breeze on a hot day. I compare that to the reality of a sub-arctic morning with a 90 mile an hour wind.

The poison ivy smirks. It doesn’t care about the cold.

Did you know that nature doesn’t come with coffee? Who invented a coffee-less nature? Coffee’s natural. There should be a Keurig around here somewhere.

Oh, great. My phone’s dead.

Then out of nowhere, colorful racers burst around the corner, running easily and enjoying the course.

Nope, that didn’t happen. Not even a little bit. I was hoping it would, but it didn’t.

I started pacing on my little platform to warm up. I felt like the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo.

Eventually, The First Runner came sliding silently down the hill.

mgg-hillSerious competitors are focused. Really, really focused. Really, really focused on competing. No small talk here. The First Runner grabbed up two tires, slung them over his shoulders and headed around the loop. At the end, he dumped the tires and off he ran. I cheered for him. He didn’t seem to need the encouragement.

Ten minutes later, runners 2 and 3 arrived. They didn’t seem to need the cheering either.

The poison ivy didn’t bother cheering. Apparently it had already computed the outcome.

Eventually Pi showed up and made the day much more entertaining. She has that effect.

Michelle Warnky of American Ninja Warrior fame was the second woman we saw. She is a rock star. (This is my crazy impressed face.)

As the day went on the course, um, deteriorated. By that I mean where there had been mud, there was MUD. Where there had been slippery, there was treacherous. Where there had been sprinters, there were walkers pulling themselves along by their mud-covered fingernails. (Still, they did more than I did, so I’m not dissing.) Where there had been silence and concentration, there was conversation and camaraderie. It was fun.

The poison ivy continued to show its superior attitude. The Keurig didn’t show up. Neither did the feeling in our toes.

Still, it was a pretty cool day.

Love, Mom


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How College Athletes Remain Academically Eligible

Dear Kid,

I’ve been thinking about college sports.

I can only assume these athletes stay on top of classwork with the help of some magic, a bit of time travel, and exceptional tutors. If it’s anything else, I’m not sure I want to know… DearKidLoveMom.comThis should not particularly surprise you, since we are in the middle of March Madness (and by “middle” I mean the early days) which means everyone and their brother is talking about brackets and basketball and how to skip out of work in order to watch Important Sporting Events.

It will (probably) not surprise you that I’m not trying to skip out of work since I can barely figure out how to follow basketball. (It helps when Dad yells, “Look right there! Right There! He grabbed his arm! He definitely grabbed his arm!! That’s a foul! You have to call that!” and then they show the alleged foul in ultra slow motion. Fourteen times.)

I have been thinking about college sports in terms of (wait for it) academics.

Yes, I said it. Sports and academics. In the same sentence. I’ll write quickly so I can finish this before the fan police arrest me.

I sort of understand that some sports can be played around an academic schedule. Like crew (I still haven’t figured out if one actually “plays” crew, but go with it for a moment). When you were rowing, you went to class (presumably), did homework (presumably), worked out with the team (for sure), and studied (presumably). (NOTE: I assume these things because I was not there to see you do them and you didn’t really talk about your academics that year. Also, you didn’t get kicked out which was a good hint that you were busy learning something.)

I assume that even some sports with more, um, political and alumni pressure can be played while continuing with one’s academic pursuits.

What I’m confused about (at this particular moment) is how one breathes the rarified air of playing basketball during March Madness and manages to attend class, do homework, and study subjects other than the next team on the schedule. The travel alone makes it seem daunting if not impossible.

So how is it that these athletes stay academically eligible? I can only assume some magic, a bit of time travel, and some exceptional tutors. If it’s anything else, I’m not sure I want to know…

Love, Mom

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Defining Dallas

Dear Kid,

I am on my way to Dallas.

Dallas, Texas, that is. Turns out there are 5 or 6 (depending on which website you check) cities in other states with the name Dallas, not to mention a few counties, and at least one very important guiding eyes dog.

Dallas is the 9th largest city in the US. It was once part of Mexico, and then from 1836 to 1846 it was part of the sovereign country the Republic of Texas. Mostly it’s part of the state of sports (primarily football, but we’ll get to that), We Do Things Big Here, and weird stuff.

It is illegal to modify the weather in Dallas unless you warn residents via local newspaper. It is also illegal to fish using electric shock.

We’ll be flying in to the DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) airport which is bigger than Manhattan Island and may or may not be home to the world’s largest parking lot. We will not be sprinting from the gate to the car rental and we will allow plenty of time to hike to the gate on our way home Friday.

German chocolate cake was invented by Sam German of Baker’s Chocolate Company. The recipe first appeared in the Dallas Morning Star in 1957. The cake is named after the inventor not the country.

Dallas was founded in 1839, by John Neely Bryan, a lawyer from Tennessee, who wandered into the area and decided to start a metropolis (20 streets).

At the State Fair of Texas (also known by me as the Fried State Fair) you can purchase fried beer, fried Coke, and fried Cadbury Creme Eggs. There is a 52 foot Big Tex statue at the entrance of the fair. Makes you want to buy a ticket right now, doesn’t it?

Dallas is known for oil, although there aren’t any oil wells in the city.

Dallas has a zoo which was founded in 1888 with two mountain lions and two deer. It’s a lot bigger now (both the city and the zoo).

According to Fortune magazine’s marketing research, more popcorn is consumed in Dallas-Fort Worth than anywhere else.

Dallas is known for invention and industry (in addition to oil). The frozen margarita machine was invented there (it was a repurposed soft ice cream machine), the integrated circuit computer chip was invented there (not frozen), and the ATM was invented there by someone who was tired of waiting in bank lines. Clearly, the modern world would not be possible without Dallas.

A piece of cake from President Wilson’s daughter’s wedding is built into the Woodrow Wilson High School’s cornerstone.

Where there is oil and margaritas, there is shopping, and Dallas has a lot (and by “a lot” I mean more places to shop per capita than anywhere else in the world). The first planned shopping center in America was developed in Dallas in 1931. At one end of the shopping scale, 7-Eleven was founded in Dallas; at the other end, Neiman Marcus opened there.

The Dallas Cowboys were originally known as the Dallas Steers. The name was quickly changed, however, when the team’s general manager decided he didn’t want a castrated mascot.

And sports. Texas sports. Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Hams (the original name of the professional baseball team), Dallas Stars (hockey), Texas Rangers, FC Dallas (soccer), and countless minor league/college/high school/club/misc teams. Lots and lots of sports. But mostly football.

And for the next few days, me.

Love, Mom

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