Is It “Diving” or Vuvuzela Pain?

Vuvuzela_webIf you’ve been watching the World Cup of soccer, you’ll have observed many occasions in which players, although seemingly untouched, have dropped to the ground and writhed in pain for many minutes.

They’re “diving,” you might say! Perhaps, but I have a more likely explanation. It’s the vuvuzelas!

Vuvuzelas, a fixture in South African soccer, are plastic horns based on the traditional kudu horns used to call distant South African villagers to meetings.

David Flax, a South African physical educator, warned us about the vuvuzela on the PE Update.com Message Board back in December. Well, he was certainly correct!

Every World Cup soccer venue has multitudes of vuvuzela-blowers and the stadiums sound like they’re filled with hornets on amphetamines. When I say the sound is deafening, you can take that literally. David has since sent me a South African occupational hygiene flyer that shows the noise produced by vuvuzelas can exceed 131 decibels.

How loud is that? Fifteen minutes at 100 decibels can cause hearing damage. A piledriver operates at 110 decibels. The pain threshold is reached at 130 decibels. Vuvuzelas can hit 131.

In other words, everyone sitting in a World Cup Stadium, including the players, might be in constant ear-drum pain from the beginning of the pre-game to the end. My theory is that those players writhing on the ground up may simply be more sensitive to noise than their teammates.

Personally I’ve gotten used to the vuvuzela noise and appreciate the fact that it’s a traditional South African signal to assemble for a meeting. And what greater meeting is there than the World Cup of soccer. South Africa, by the way, has done a wonderful job of putting together this quadrennial spectacle.

And as for the players left writhing on the ground? Perhaps future soccer equipment should include shin pads and earmuffs.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]vuvuzela,vuvuzelas,soccer,football,World Cup Soccer,[/tags]

NBA Coach is a Class Act…So Are You!

School is almost over!! Before you head off for your summer holidays,  I thought I’d leave you with a demonstration of character by an All-Star professional basketball player and coach.

Before a pro game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks in 2003, 13 year-old Natalie Gilbert began singing the American National Anthem, then, in what would certainly be a nightmare for all of us, forgot the words.

In her moment of horror, Portland coach Maurice Cheeks, a 15-year NBA veteran and four-time All-Star, comes to her aid, standing beside her, singing along and encouraging the crowd to join in.

As you’ll see, singing isn’t in Cheeks’ comfort zone, and he later said he wasn’t even sure whether he knew all the words, he only knew he didn’t want her to stand there helpless. She needed help, so he stepped forward

He’s a class act. But he’s only demonstrating the same ethics and motivations that drive most of our scholastic PE teachers and coaches.

Enjoy the video and have a great summer!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]Maurice Cheeks,national anthem,coaches with class,classy NBA player,summer vacation,physical education teacher, scholastic coach, school coach[/tags]

Hotel Room Prom

Graduation_webIn our February 8, 2010 blog, I discussed the problems that occur when high school administrators schedule prom and graduation ceremonies on the same day as championship sports events.

(See “High School Graduation & Sport Championship Conflicts. Can’t They Be Avoided?“).

This conflict forces student-athletes to decide between the culminating competition of their high school athletic career and the traditional coming-of-age event they’ve long dreamed of sharing with family and friends. It can be a difficult decision.

One of my track coaching friends encountered this situation several years ago. Four girls from his 4 x 100m relay team were provincial contenders and opted to attend the championship despite the fact that it required two members of the team to miss their prom and graduation ceremony.

So the coach concocted a surprise to acknowledge and compensate them for their sacrifice. He sent several teammates to a dollar store – they returned with decorations and did up a hotel room in a prom-on-the-road theme that included a disco ball, banners, flowers, corsages and even sashes for the two graduates.

The girls were ushered into the darkened room and the coach turned on music, focused a flashlight on the disco ball and voila – prom night!

It was a ceremony fit for two special student-athletes, created by a special, caring teacher and coach.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]high school track and field,prom,graduation ceremony,graduation versus championship competitions[/tags]

Thunderstorms, Night Meets, Canada Geese and Fireflies Provide an Unforgettable Experience

Canada-Geese_webI ‘m a track fan and I love night meets. There’s nothing quite like them. The stadium lights turn the track into a giant stage as everything around the track fades into the darkness.  There’s a heightened sense of drama because athletes look like they’re performing under a spotlight.

The wind drops to nothing, there’s a bite to the air, and conditions become perfect for competition. And there’s an elevated sense of anticipation, as if everyone in the stadium is holding their breath, waiting for the next great performance.

Our regional championships were held in my hometown last week, and a lightning-delay forced the meet to linger into the night. Of course, I was delighted by Mother Nature’s intervention. As always, the night competition heightened the track experience, but nature provided two perks that made the evening even more special for me.

As the meet was ending, a large flock of Canada geese flew over the field, barely clearing the stadium roof. A fly-over by the air force couldn’t have been more dramatic. Everyone became silent,  the only sound a chorus of honking and the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the powerful birds as they thrust the air beneath their wings. They had appeared suddenly, close above us, highlighted in sharp detail beneath the stadium lights and then just as suddenly disappeared into the darkness, their sounds slowly fading into the night. It was definitely a “wow” moment for everyone who witnessed it.

The other special experience happened soon afterward, as I rode my bicycle home, two kilometers down a dirt path.  Pedaling beneath its overhanging canopy, I could barely see the silhouette of the bordering tree trunks as I flew down the path. Suddenly, without warning, I was surrounded by hundreds of fireflies, igniting and disappearing like signal lights in the darkness. Sensing my approach, they moved to the edge of the path and formed a flickering audience for over 200 meters as I pedaled through them, my jaw wide open in awe.

A track meet under the lights … a fly-over by floodlit Canada geese … a flood of fireflies… all in one night!  Life can be good.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]track and field,track & field,night track meets,physical education,Mother Nature,Canada Geese,fireflies[/tags]

Can Physical Education Unite a War-Torn Country?

Athletes-Shaking-Hands_webWhen it comes to physical education, it seems that Uganda is more advanced in its thinking than many North American school boards. Rather than firing PE teachers and cutting PE from school curricula, Uganda’s ministry for education has announced that they’ll be recruiting 3600 new physical education teachers over the next two years.

In justifying this expenditure, the minister stated the well-known (but often ignored or misunderstood) rationale of improved health among students.

However, he also  expressed a benefit that is overlooked in North America but is of great urgency in a country with a long history of civil war…unity!

In education minister Kamanda Bataringaya’s speech, he appealed for local leaders to support sport in their districts as a way to unite their communities. In his words: “Very many countries fight each other but when it comes to sports, they are one.”

Fitness, health, national unity.

In Bataringaya’s words,  “So, education should go hand in hand with sports.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Reference: Paul Watala and Joseph Wanzusi, “Government Eyes 3600 to Train Physical Education,” AllAfrica.com,  April 8, 2010.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education,PE,physical education advantages,physical education and unity,sport and unity,sport advantages[/tags]

Resources: Free Videos Teach Desktop Yoga for In-Class Physical Education

Yoga_web1When we think of physical education classes, we automatically envision students exercising in a gym. However, the reality is that many teachers don’t have a gymnasium in which to work. That leaves them with the challenge of finding activities that students can perform in their classroom.

Three PE Update.com articles that describe in-class physical education activities are: Non-Elimination Musical Chairs, Fitness Breaks, and Favourite Sports Routines.

However, the Alberta Centre for Active Living has another option…yoga! That’s right, yoga can be performed while sitting at a desk, and this website provides four videos that show you how.

The Free Yoga Videos

The videos are free and can be downloaded to your computer (“.wmv” version) or played immediately on your computer screen using the “.mov” version.

How to Apply

You can try to memorize the routines or set up the computer so you can watch them while leading your students. You may even be able to use audio-visual equipment to show the routines directly to your students. The downloadable version are larger than their “streaming” counterpart and can be expanded to screen-size. There will be some loss of quality, but the videos are still viewable.

Not only does desktop yoga qualify as a physical education activity, it can be a great tool for when your students need to calm down and focus.

Video Link

See the videos at:

http://www.centre4activeliving.ca/workplace/trr/tools/yoga_atdesk_en.html

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!
To subscribe to the free Fun Stuff for PE Newsletter, Click Here!

[tags]physical education,yoga,in-class physical education,desktop yoga,[/tags]