Internet Sports Broadcast Brings Back Memories of Ali & Frazier

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When I was a teenager in the early 70’s, long-play records were state-of-the-art and the radio played an important role in the lives of every North American teenager.

A fixture in our living room back then was a large console stereo with a built-in radio and a turntable that could play LP, 45 and 78 records. It also had a built-in radio. We thought it had great sound, and for the time, it probably did.

One of my most vivid memories of that stereo was listening to live sporting events. In those days, such events would be broadcast live on the radio and I vividly remember coverage of the Muhammad Ali fights.

My mother was a huge Ali fan, and we never missed the chance to listen to his fights. I remember sitting in the living room with my family, looking out the picture window at our darkened street while somewhere across the world, Ali battled his arch-rival, Joe Frazier. Our imaginations and the fevered voice of the announcer transported us to that crowded stadium…and having the fight play out in our minds’-eye only increased the tension and excitement.

Things have certainly changed, and fights of that magnitude would now be cable pay-for-view at $75 a pop, and they’d be lost among the other 200 high-definition channels bounced around the world by satellite.

However, the other night I was transported back to those days of Ali and the radio…but in a distinctly lower-scale high-tech way. I’m a fan of our university women’s basketball team – my wife played for them when she was a Laurentian U. student – and we watch as many home games as possible. With most games drawing 1000-2000 fans, Ontario university games aren’t at the level of the NCAA. but the competitions are exciting and the fans lively and loyal.

Last Wednesday, the team was playing a Wednesday night playoff game in Toronto – about five hours away. We couldn’t attend in person, but we learned that we could listen to live coverage provided by our opponent’s student radio station.

So listen we did, to play-by-play accessible via the internet simply by clicking a computer link to their website. It was transmitted by cables to my home’s computer router, where the signal was directed through the air, walls and a floor to a laptop sitting on a living room table.

It really was quite amazing.

We lost by two points in a back-and-forth game. But the experience was reminiscent of the old Ali fights – with the game playing out in my mind and the tension almost as great as if we were sitting at courtside.

And it was all provided courtesy of the internet and new technology. Ten years ago, we never would have experienced this game- the technology wasn’t developed yet. It’s a far cry from LP’s and 8-track tapes, and I can hardly wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]sports,Muhammad Ali,Joe Frazier,boxing,radio,fans[/tags]

Performance Enhancing Drugs – Who Is Hurt the Most?

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With Clemens-Gate and the Mitchell report, performance-enhancing drugs are again major headlines in the media.

For track coaches like me, the revelations about professional baseball players taking performance enhancers is no surprise at all. Since the Ben Johnson affair, track and field has been labeled as the sport most affected by drugs. Is there abuse in track and field…absolutely. But is it the sport most influenced by PE drugs? Not a chance. The fact is, track provides a big paycheck to very few people…a way to achieve a college scholarship perhaps, but it’s not considered the pathway to a multi-million pro sport career.

Logic has always dictated that the major professional sports would be most influenced by performance-enhancing drugs. Football, baseball, basketball, and hockey are all sports in which body mass is an advantage and which provide the greatest financial incentives to use performance-enhancers. Hopefully these professional sports will now take honest measures to prevent PE drug use.

Whether performance-enhancing drugs are dangerous is irrelevant. The rules of these sports say you do not use them. So using is the same as false starting, directing a soccer ball with your hand, double-dribbling or taking a short cut through the woods. It’s cheating and it’s stealing. Period.

Who gets lost in the media coverage of this issue, which usually focuses on fan outrage? In fact, those most affected are the clean athletes who came fourth in the major games, who were beaten out for team selections, couldn’t afford a college degree, missed out on endorsement opportunities, trained clean and worked hard but always came up short when comparing their performance against standards set by cheating competitors. These athletes have been cheated of the rewards they rightfully deserve.

The solution? With the amount of money at stake, there will always be incentives to cheat. But two measures may well tip the scales against PE drug use. First, random, out-of-season, without-warning testing – as is done with track and field. Two: follow the lead of the Australians and freeze both urine and blood samples when testing is performed. Keep it for at least eight years and re-test whenever new technology emerges for detecting designer drugs.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

P.S. Don’t forget the official launch of the PE Update.com website.
It’s TOMORROW!!

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[tags]sports,performance enhancing drugs, steroids, HGH[/tags]

Watching the Super Bowl With A Group of Girls

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I usually don’t go to Super Bowl parties. In my experience, you really never get to watch the game – there’s too much chit-chat going on to concentrate.

However, last night, I made an exception. My university women’s track team had a Super Bowl party and invited the coaches. It sounded like fun, but I hedged my bets, saying that I probably wouldn’t stay for the entire game.

It quickly became apparent that my wife, Terry, and I were the only ones who actually understood the rules of football. Here’s a sample of the questions and comments made during the game:

Them: “What’s that on the back of his pants? Is that sweat?”
Me: “Yes, that’s sweat.”
Them: “Well, why do they have to wear white pants?”

“In fact, what do they WEAR under their pants? Look, you can see his bum.”

“Oh, they’re wearing pads? Is that why they’re so big?”

Them: “Why doesn’t that black stuff under their eyes run?”
Me: “Well it’s not mascara.”
Them: “How come everybody doesn’t wear it?”

“I was going to research football rules, so I’d know what was going on, but I forgot.”

Them: “Sacks? Ouch? They record that?”
Me: “It’s not what you think.”
Them: “Oh good. I was thinking that poor guy. Three times.”

Them: “That’s the end of the first half? Does the other team get the ball now?”
Me: “No, both teams can have the ball in both halves. Both teams had it in the first half. “
Them: “They did?”

All good questions. I had a lot of fun. I love those girls.

But I was home in time for the second half kick-off.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]sports,football,Super Bowl,physical education,coaching[/tags]

15-Passenger Van Problems

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The most dangerous aspect of coaching is travel. School teams are frequently transported by van, often with the coach at the wheel. I’ve been that driver/coach dozens of times, and it can be risky business.

Coaches experience an adrenaline crash after competition and must often fight fatigue at the wheel. And being the captain of a vehicle containing other people’s children is an incredible responsibility. Their lives and the well-being of their families and friends is literally in your hands. The frightening thing is that their safety is sometimes out of your control. Snow, fog, oncoming drivers (possibly impaired), rain and ice may all be the cause of an accident you can’t prevent.

That’s why my heart goes out to the families of the high school athletes in New Brunswick, who were killed recently while driving home from an inter-school basketball game. I particularly feel for the coach who was at the wheel when their van hit a patch of ice and slid uncontrollably into the path of an oncoming transport. It’s every coach’s nightmare.

It has yet to be been determined whether it was a contributing factor, but the team was traveling in a 15-passenger van. Studies have shown that these vans lose their ability to maneuver when fully loaded. Part of the problem is that adding passengers to such vehicles raises their center of gravity, reducing their stability. The other problem is their configuration, in which a large portion of the vehicle extends past the rear wheels. It’s an unstable design.

Many schools now prohibit the use of such vans. This leaves many teams with a problem— how to provide transport to away games. A common solution is to rent two 7-passenger vans. The problem is a slightly higher cost and the fact that you need two drivers. This is a trade-off because the chances of finding two experienced drivers are less than finding a single driver who is good behind the wheel. The other option is to rent a bus with a professional driver. The obvious problem here is cost.

There is another solution — a 12-passenger van. They are essentially the same as a 15-passenger, but less of the vehicle extends beyond the rear wheels. Our squad has been using them this year and they’ve worked well. There’s enough room in the back luggage area to accommodate at least one bag for most of your passengers. And the cost is about the same as a 15-passenger van. Not all vehicle rental companies carry them, so don’t give up if the first company you contact says they’re not available.

It’s worth looking into.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]sports,vans,team,physical education,coaching[/tags]

Injury Excuse Extraordinaire

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I have heard many reasons for injury in my 25 years of coaching. Some were beauties, but I think the one I heard this week is the best ever.

One of my sprinters has been nursing a sore hamstring. When I asked him how he had strained the muscle, his response was that he was playing hockey…video game hockey!

That’s right, he pulled a muscle playing a video game.

His full explanation: he was sitting on a chair with his legs upraised, feet resting on his bed and the controller on his lap. As he was playing, he kept shifting his weight back and forth and sideways while avoiding checks from virtual defensemen. When he stood up to go the bathroom, he found that he’d pulled his hammie.

I give him full credit for honesty. He must have been tempted to say he’d pulled the muscle while squatting 400 pounds or performing uphill sprints in the snow.

Do you have an injury that matches this? Send it in the comments section, or through the PE Update discussion forum!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]sports,physical education,injury,coaching[/tags]

The NFL is a Great Sport Psychology Lab

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One of the reasons I enjoy sport is that it puts people put into situations of great stress…we then get to observe how they handle the pressure. I experienced a great example of that this weekend, in the NFL playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. As a graduate of the U. of Wisconsin, I’m a Packer fan, so I was watching this game with great interest.

The game took place in Green Bay, under the lights and in blizzard conditions. A new feature of the Packer’s offense was third-year running back, Ryan Grant—a player who had never taken an NFL snap before being traded from the New York Giants this year. Grant had risen from obscurity to become a star in the final two months of the regular season.

However, on the first play of the game, with the ball on Green Bay’s 18-yard line, Grant fumbled a short pass. Seattle subsequently scored. A kickoff, and two plays later, Grant again fumbled, leading to another Seattle touchdown. After only four minutes and three plays, Grant had cost his team 14 points.

The normally raucous stadium was quiet and the silence must have settled like a shroud onto the young tailback’s shoulders. Watching him on the sideline, he looked stricken. Grant had fumbled only once throughout the regular season and here he had done it twice in the first 70 seconds of his first playoff game.

Fortunately, his coach and his team did not panic and they rallied around their running back. On the sidelines, veteran quarterback, Brett Farve told Grant, “Forget about it. You’re going to have plenty of opportunities. Go down swinging, man. Don’t worry about it.”

The Packers marched down the field and scored. Grant touched the ball only once on that drive. Then, instead of being sent to the bench, he started getting play calls. Grant took off, running with a vengeance and with a debt to repay. He finished the game with over 200 yards and scored three touchdowns, leading his team to a 22-point win. His 201 yards were a team post-season record.

It was a lesson in resilience, and patience and the faith of a coach and a team in a young player. It was exhilarating to watch Grant rise above adversity. The darker it is, the more important it is that you shine, and I was able to see that in Ryan Grant. To me, that’s what sport is all about.

Here’s a Youtube clip of Grant shining in that game.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KysILrmQ_M

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]football,sports,physical education,NFL,playoffs[/tags]