Rock, Paper, Scissors Sports Channel Coverage

Rock, Paper Scissors

In an age in which legitimate sports like track and field , amateur wrestling , lacrosse, rowing — in fact most Olympic sports — struggle to get any television coverage whatsoever, I have just seen the ultimate sports television travesty .

Yes, I just witnessed the USAPRS League Championships on ESPN2.

What is the USARPS, you might ask? Well, it’s the United States Rock, Paper, Scissors League.

That’s right. Full sports television coverage of a rock, paper, scissors tournament. Tongue-in-cheek? Perhaps, but not to ESPN, who have given it a national audience and more airtime than many legitimate sports.

The League is sponsored by Bud Light, has a grand prize of $50,000 for the championship and features competitors like “Shears” Maanum, who competes while wearing a hooded, silk boxers’ warmup top.They compete inside a small ring and the commentary features terms like “cradling the pump” and “speed pumping.”

Don’t believe me? Check out the USRPS League website. The World Rock, Paper Scissors Society is also a must see, and includes information on Gambit Play, such as “The Avalanche,” in which the player employs three “Rocks” in a row. According to the website, this gambit” is a relentless and devastating offensive maneuver, which requires bravado bordering on recklessness to execute.”


And if you really want to see some hard-hitting athletic action, check out this video at YouTube.

Tongue-in-cheek? Perhaps. But not to ESPN, who have given it a national audience, and more television coverage than many legitimate sports, involving real athletes.

Hmmm…sports channel coverage of spelling bees, poker, and now rock, paper scissors. What’s next— Full college scholarships for Rock, Paper Scissors? NBC coverage of the Channel Changer Time Trials?

Dick Moss, Editor,

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[tags]sports,physical education,coaching,rock paper scissors[/tags]

A Good Luck Message From A Caring Coach

Track Meet Photo_girls

As the scholastic sport season winds down, I’d like to post this message from a coach to his athletes. Circumstances beyond his control left Colin Ward, the head track coach at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, unable to attend the city championships with his athletes – athletes with whom he’d been working for months.

While he couldn’t be there in person, he sent a message that encompasses practical advice with inspirational words. It also embodies the true spirit of scholastic sport.This is the message he sent before the meet.

Coach’s Send-Off
I want to say good luck to all of you as you head into the City Championships! I wish I could be there to see all of our training pay off. I want you to know, you all have the capacity to exceed yourselves, most of you have worked very hard to get to this point, and with these few tips you will be able to make the most of your experience this week!

1. Cheer for each other and watch each other! Most people need an audience, or at the very least, appreciate the words of encouragement that come from friends and team mates.

2. Support each other. Some people will have great days and simply need to be congratulated, others will have bad days, and just need a friend to sit with.

3. The little things matter! Our team usually does better when the conditions are horrible because we pay attention to details. That means……..

  • Rest the day before, and get a good sleep before and during competitions.
    •    Eat well and drink lots of water,
    •    Dress properly. You should have the clothes to stay warm in any weather. The engine only works when it is hot! If you get cold, you may as well throw away months of training.
    •    Cool down! Most of you know to warm-up properly, but if you don’t cool down you are slowing your recovery. A light jog for 10 -20 minutes is a good use of time after an event.

4. Focus on the positive. You might not do as well as you were hoping to, but beating yourself up over it won’t do any good. Focus instead on what went right, then think about areas for improvement. This is not always easy to do in the heat of the moment, but it is worth keeping in mind.

5. Have fun!! High School will be over before you know it. Enjoy these moments with your team and friends. Years from now it won’t matter how you did, it will just matter that you did.

And post videos and pictures for me, I’ll be following the events closely.”

This is the final blog post until September. I won’t post during the July or August vacation period because I’m not sure there’ll be anyone to read them. Have a great summer!!

Dick Moss, Editor, 


Dick Moss, Editor,

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Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,track and field,coaching,coach>[/tags]


Nelson Mandela and the Power of Sport

Nelson Mandela, inspirational leader of South Africa and the man widely believed responsible for ending apartheid and civil strife in that country, passed away last week at the age of 94. Anyone who watched the movie, Invictus, knows that Mandela used rugby as a way to unite South Africans of all colors during perilous times.

His belief in the power of sport was no Hollywood fabrication. This video of Mandela, speaking at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco in 2000, illustrates his views.

“Sport has the power to change the world.
It has the power to inspire.
It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.
It speaks to youth in a language they understand.
Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair.
It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.
It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”

As physical educators and coaches, sport is your language and your tool. Be proud in knowing that every day you cultivate Nelson Mandela’s high ideals.



Dick Moss, Editor,

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Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,Nelson Mandela,Mandela and the power of sport,Mandela and sport>[/tags]

Some Team Nicknames Aren’t Intimidating

Ferocious, tenacious, aggressive, fierce, proud. These are the qualities we usually associate with our sports teams.

As coaches, we want the very mention of our team’s name to strike fear into the hearts of opponents. We want them sitting in their locker rooms the day before they play us, stomachs knotted in fear, thinking, “My gosh, tomorrow we play the Screaming Scarlet Eviscerators. Maybe my mom can write me a note so I don’t have to go.”

That’s why we give our teams nicknames that embody these traits: Lions, Hawks, Vikings, Wolves, Red-Eyed Panthers.

Keeping this in mind, it’s surprising how many teams are named for less than frightening things. A quick scan through a university directory reveals some interesting monikers.

For example, some team nicknames seem downright nice. I can’t imagine a friendlier contest than one between the Gentlemen of Centenary College and the Monks of Saint Joseph’s College. Or the Poets of Whittier College and the Missionaries of Whitman College. Heck, they probably don’t even hire referees for their games.

In contrast, one of the yuckiest matchups would have to be the Banana Slugs of U. of Cal at Santa Cruz versus the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian. How’d you like to mop the gym floor after that one?

And another messy contest in which the feathers are sure to fly: the Fightin’ Blue Hens of Delaware against the Power Gulls of Endicott College.

Some nicknames conjure up powerful images: The Austin College Kangaroos slam-dunking the basketball. The Fighting Parsons of NYACK College telling their opponents, “Don’t elbow me again, or I’ll give you a good blessing.” The Florida Southern Moccasins getting stepped all over by their opponents. The Rhode Island College Anchormen doing their own play-by-play TV coverage. The Retrievers of U. of Maryland-Baltimore County going for the long ball. And the Vandals of Idaho U. spraying graffiti on locker room walls wherever they play.

And then there are the totally uncoachable Mules of Central Missouri, in contrast to the Diplomats of Franklin and Marshall College, who’ll do anything you ask. And, of course, the Chokers of Grays Harbor College, who, for some reason, always seem to miss that game-winning shot.

Some schools, realizing their men’s team nickname may not be popular with their female athletes, have a separate women’s nickname. The Weevils of U. of Arkansas-Monticello mercifully become the women’s Cotton Blossoms. The Student Princes of Heidelburg College become the Student Princesses. However, some teams are not so sensitive to the image of their women’s teams. Surely the Jumbos can’t be a popular nickname among women athletes at Tufts. Ditto for the Pittsburgh State Gorillas or the Trolls of Trinity Christian College.

Finally, there are some team nicknames that just leave you wondering what they are—a great strategy for keeping the opposition confused and unprepared. How do you match up against a Gee Gee from the U. of Ottawa, or an Ook from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology? And what exactly is an Washurn U. Icabod, or a St. Louis U. Billiken?

If nothing else, the research I’ve done for this article has given me some great words to use in my next Scrabble game. For example, do you know what a Saluki is? Or a Catamount? Let’s break out that Scrabble board!


Dick Moss, Editor,

Saluki: A hunting dog native to Asia and North Africa. Team nickname for Southern Illinois U.
Catamount: A wild cat such as a cougar or lynx. Team nickname for Vermont U.


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[tags]physical education,team nicknames[/tags]

Tennis Video is Inspirational for Female Athletes in Every Sport


Welcome back to school! If you’re looking for some inspiration, I’ve just found an incredible tennis video, produced by the New York Times Magazine. With the U.S. Open tennis championships just over, it’s very timely.

Called “The Beauty of the Power Game, ” the video shows some of the world’s top female tennis players hitting the ball, close up, with special effects, in slow motion and with music in the background.  It’s a wonderful illustration of the power, strength and beauty of female athletes.

Segments include: the incredible flexibility and recovery abilities of Kim Clijsters; the tremendous power generated by the backhand of Serena Williams; the ballet-like movement of a spin-around groundstroke produced by Elena Dementieva; and the rippling quadriceps of Samantha Stosur as she absorbs the shock of ground contact during a forehand. Victoria Azarenka’s segement showing the ball exploding off her racquet is especially notable.

If you’ve ever had doubts about the strength and power of female athletes, be sure to watch this video. These women are strong, and athletic, and beautiful. It’s inspirational for female athletes and coaches in any sport.

And be sure to see the companion slide show: “Women Who Hit Hard.”


Dick Moss, Editor,

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[tags]tennis video,tennis slow-motion,Kim Clijsters,Serena Williams,Elena Dementieva,Samantha Stosur,Victoria Azarenka [/tags]

You Don’t Need The Best Facilities to be the Best Athletes

The World Cup is over and I’m still blown away by what players at that level can do with a soccer ball. But what happens when you combine soccer with Capoeira, the acrobatic martial art from Brazil? Take a look (warning…don’t try this at home).

These young athletes aren’t practicing on groomed grass fields. They’re performing in an inner-city setting on dirt lots, paved streets, rooftops and courtyards. This video may help your students to realize that it doesn’t take the best facilities in the world to become the best athletes in the world. It takes work, dedication, constant practice and the obvious passion for one’s sport demonstrated by these athletes. Incidentally, Brazil is one of the best soccer countries on the globe.


Dick Moss, Editor,

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[tags]soccer, Capoeira,soccer skills,acrobatic soccer moves[/tags]