“He Called On It All” – A Motivational Video for Track Athletes

It’s track and field championship season. If you’re looking for a video to motivate your runners, check this out. It’s not a high quality production, but it’s set to music and the message is great. It’s called “He Called on it All.”

It shows Olympic 800m champion, Dave Wottle, in his surprise come-from-behind victory at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. It shows Wottle, wearing a white cap, trailing the field by 10m over the 1st lap. It does a nice job of following Wottle in his final 300m as he moves up on the field, then the final 100m in which he overcomes an apparently insurmountable lead to win.

It’s interspersed with video of current American 800m star, Nick Symmonds, running similar tactics at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. He’s wearing a white singlet and black compression shorts.

If this doesn’t get your runners fired up, nothing will.

The video concludes with the quote by Norman Harris – a description of Jack Lovelocks’s finishing kick to win the 1936 Olympic 1500m:

“It came like electricity, it came from every fibre, from his fingertips to his toes.
“It came as broad waters come through a gorge.”.
He called on it all.”

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

P.S. Norman Harris, the author of the wonderful verse that ends this clip has told me that the words shown on the video have become confused. In fact, the correct wording is:

“It came as broad waters come through a gorge.”

Thanks for the feedback, Norman!

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[tags]physical education,track and field,800m,Dave Wottle, Nick Symmonds[/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!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

P.S. FYI:
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]

PE Teacher With a Flatulence Problem

There’s nothing better for brightening a depressing February day than a little potty humor. And since this is a physical education blog, why not potty humor with a PE twist?

The following video, entitled “Simmer Down,” portrays a PE teacher with a flatulence problem. Who knows, maybe this has happened to you!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]physical education teacher,pe teacher[/tags]

Practical Skills for Physical Education

Practical Skills for Physical EducationThousands of North Americans experience serious injuries every year as a result of shoveling snow.

To some degree, this is the result of a lack of technique training. Who, after all, teaches snow-shovelers the essentials of lifting with the legs, keeping the back straight and avoiding rotational twisting of the torso while the feet are planted?

It makes me wonder why we don’t we teach practical physical skills in PE…skills like shoveling snow, lifting sofas, cutting grass or hammering nails. There’s a good chance that students will spend more time over their lives operating a snow shovel  or lawn mower  than climbing ropes or doing handstands.

But where would they practice such skills, you might ask? Hmmm. I believe that teachers should offer their own homes as physical education life-skill labs, and receive school board reimbursement for the provision of these excellent learning opportunities. I personally will be the first to volunteer. I have an old sofa that needs moving right now. My PE students could remove it using my pickup truck that could use a wash, wax and polish – another highly practical skill-set    🙂

In the meantime, here’s a video of another practical skill we can add to our curriculum – using juggling to hammer ceiling nails.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]practical physical education skills,pe skills,pe curriculum,physical education curriculum,pe humor,physical education humor[/tags]

Evolution of Dance – Fun Moves for Your PE Class

Are you looking for some dance moves to teach your class…or just something for the dance floor at your niece’s wedding? Check out this funny video as it tracks 5 decades of popular dance moves from the 50’s to the end of the 20th century. And while the video is funny, it does provide a visual illustration of popular music and corresponding dance styles as they have evolved over those 50 years.


For the sequel, (Evolution of Dance 2) see:



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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]dance,physical education,dance in physical education classes,dance moves for physical education[/tags]

Why Are There No Timeouts in Endurance Sports?


I watched a basketball game this weekend, in which play was stopped over and over again for timeouts. There were so many timeouts that the final 30 seconds of the game took five minutes to complete.

Typical comments from commentators included: “That was a good timeout. You could see the team needed a breather.”
Or…
“That timeout was perfectly called. Coach needed to change tactics. What a momentum-change that provided.”

Hilary, one of my cross-country runners, takes exception to timeouts in team sports.  In Hilary’s words, “If they can take timeouts in basketball because they’re tired, why not in cross-country?”

Good point. I’d love to be able to call a timeout when my cross-country racers are dropping off the pace and need a break. Or in a middle distance track race, when my runners are boxed-in on the curb. It would make a big difference if I could jump onto the track with my hands in the traditional time-out signal and get the officials to whistle the race to a stop. A 30-second conference  with my athlete with instructions such as:

“I told you to stay off the curb, Joe. Now get back in there and move out of that box!”

And off to the races again, with Joe nicely moving out of his boxed-in position and ready for a kick to the finish.

Alas, I fear this is never to be.  All is not fair in love and war…or, apparently, sport!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]sports humor, sports humour,physical education,timeouts in sport[/tags]