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Archive for the 'Sports' Category
These guys always seemed to be a bunch of juvenile, self-righteous assholes who enjoy the fruits of a modern transportation system while pretending to be above it all with their bicycles and simpleminded cultural leftism. The core of the Critical Mass experience are the massive traffic-fouling group bike rides on urban streets. By now CM is mainstream and tolerated by the powers that be with, I assume, the understanding that any daring transgressions will be restricted to off-peak hours. So it becomes just another annoying street event like the parades and art fairs and filming the hot TV show that are given dispensation to block traffic and inconvenience drivers. Of course I would never participate in such a thing. However, it turns out that some of my friends do these rides, and they asked if I wanted to join them. So I said, sure, sounds like fun.
Following the great kayaking challenge of 2012, my friends invited me to join them on a paddling day-trip in Manatee Bay, not far from Key Largo.
In the wake of the first Presidential debate, a lot of people have been using boxing metaphors, analogies, and images. Which reminds me of three good songs:
Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer
Tom Russell, The Pugilist is 59
Tom Russell, The Eyes of Roberto Duran
Nothing says the 4th of July more than a great game of baseball. From the White Sox blowout victory over the Texas Rangers last night.
One of my daughters is almost 12 now. She is active in gymnastics and has been on and off for many years.
When she was much smaller, I would say five or six years ago, she was in a gymnastics “show”. It was basically a prelude to real competitions, where the children do simple techniques in front of an audience – moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas.
At the end of that show every child was allowed to step atop the podium and receive a first place medal. This could be a Madison thing to make kids feel good (we are just a bit liberal here from what I have heard) but I have no idea if they do this elsewhere.
I told my wife at that time the following:
“This sets up unrealistic expectations for the future. Most of those kids sucked and they still got a first place photo and medal, and have a great feeling. The kids that worked harder were screwed.”
Fast forward to today. My daughter made nationals for gymnastics, fortunately hosted here in Madison. She only had to beat one other kid to qualify to the national meet. She has been getting absolutely dusted this week in every event by kids from all around the nation. Of course we are dealing with a very browbeaten kid.
I told her that I didn’t feel sorry for her. I said that she clearly needs to work harder and doesn’t deserve to be the champion if she doesn’t have the skills. I also told her that it was great that she was able to qualify for nationals and have the privilege to compete – many kids didn’t stick with it.
I think that this will be good for her in the future.
It is my personal opinion that children are far too coddled. Maybe I am an asshole of a father. I don’t think I am.
In general, I am not in favor of government regulation of pretty much anything, since most of the time the rules don’t make sense or favor certain parties, and/or are written by people that don’t know what they are talking about. But I think what I saw Saturday night was an exception that I am willing to make. What you see below is our fight team head coach taping the hands of one of our fighters. As an aside, we had three fighters in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition Saturday night and went 3-0, with two knockouts and one submission.
I have been backstage many times with the fighters, but there was never anyone watching or looking around. The woman dressed in the black is a state of Wisconsin inspector. She was making sure that the taping of the hands was legal.
There are rules now on how you can tape hands – the most important being that you can tape between the knuckles, but not over them. This disallows the “casting” of your hand, which effectively turns it into a club. The regulation tape is only 1″ wide.
After the hands were taped, the inspector signed the tape. Then the glove goes on over the taping, and that is taped as well – and the inspector watched me doing this and signed off on that too. After you are taped and signed, no fighter was allowed to leave the locker room area without having an inspector escort (typically to the restroom, or to the cage to inspect for footing and the flex of the fence).
In the old days, none of this happened. We just taped the hands, one of the guys running the fights would glance at it, and that was that. There were no locker room regulations, or anyone from any authority back there. The inspectors also checked everyone’s shorts and one guy had to cut some laces off that weren’t able to be tucked away.
The pre-fight meeting was better too. The referee clearly explained all the rules (there are many more than you think) to the fighters and the coaches and corners. The promoter of the fights also said that no taunting of the opponent would be tolerated, and that if you did taunt, you would never appear on the card again. And that went for coaches and seconds as well. Celebration, OK – but taunting, no way.
Security was also tighter. I had to show my “seconds” license from the State of Wisconsin to receive my passes to enter the locker room and to be cageside. By the way there is no test to be a second. Just fill out a form and send in $40.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I typically disdain the government getting into stuff like this, but every single person there from the State knew exactly what they were talking about, knew the rules, and were extremely professional and helpful. There were a lot of questions since this was the first time a lot of us had seen a state presence such as this and all were dealt with fairly.
The fighters have to go through a much more rigorous testing to get their license; blood work, doctors inspections and more.
MMA is huge and getting bigger every day. I think that a set, established, group of rules is a good thing for the sport, and will help keep idiots out of the ring and out of the way.
Every year my father and I go salmon fishing on Lake Michigan for Fathers Day out of Kenosha. Due to scheduling conflicts we were not able to make it until last Sunday. Above is the Washington Park Velodrome, the oldest operating velodrome in the United States. Too bad there were no races this day, but it was cool to see it. The banking is steeper than it looks. Information and history on the velodrome here and here.
The following day I caught a beauty king. It was a good weekend with dad.
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Carl from Chicago has been keeping it quiet, but his new wingsuit hobby is starting to catch on.
For those who are interested, I have begun blogging about a two week bike trip I recently took to the Pyranees at Life In The Great Midwest. It will probably end up being a fifteen or twenty part series so feel free to follow along over the next several weeks if you like.
For this blog I have a few short thoughts about how I felt as a tourist in southern France.
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The worst part about riding your bike through the Pyranees in southern France is the awful views at the top of the mountains. This from the top of the Tourmalet.
I recently went on a bike trip to the Pyranees in France. I trained for this for over six months, slaving away in my basement on a trainer as well as doing other workouts in the hostile winter here in exchange for two weeks of payoff on the mountains in France. Everything went wonderfully on the trip (more on this later). I was pretty excited when I was packing and leaving. It was the sort of feeling that you got in college when you knew you were going to ace a test. All the preparation and pre-work was done, it was simply time to perform.
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In the category of “headlines so obvious that you can’t believe you haven’t seen them sooner” here is a BBC article titled
Qatar’s Bin Hammam accused of buying 2022 World Cup
While I am far from a football expert I wrote about it here in particular how the greens that protest everything under the sun didn’t seem to mind NOT using some of the dozens of world class stadiums already built for football (soccer) around the world and let Russia and Qatar win the next 2 world cups, which required the construction of many more stadiums, which strikes me as completely the opposite of being “green”, but I can’t follow their logic anyways.
Back to the Qatar bid which seemingly MUST have been based on bribery because no logical set of criteria would award this tournament to a bidder that
1) had a non-existent history of success and barely even participated in the sport on the global stage
2) had no facilities to utilize
3) would likely have to play games under the blazing sun in virtually a furnace
4) would have to truck all fans in from around the world to attend the games
But of course we know why they won as is stated in the article above.
Suspended Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has made public an e-mail that claims Mohamed Bin Hammam “bought” the 2022 World Cup finals for Qatar.
I do like Australia’s response to the final outing of this obvious outcome.
Meanwhile, independent Australian senator Nick Xenophon has demanded that Fifa refunds the Aus$45.6m (£29.6m) they spent on their unsuccessful bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Xenophon said: “It appears corrupt and highly questionable behaviour goes to the core of Fifa. “Australia spent almost $46m on a bid we were never in the running for.”Now we hear that bribes may have been made to fix the result for who will head up Fifa.”
Finally let’s just drop the pretense of these international organizations being for anything other than the interests of those that run them. That goes for the Olympics too. Want to reward Russia for their fine behavior in the international stage, including the invasion of Georgia and general meddling in all the states on their borders? Give them the winter Olympics, in a facility that isn’t even built (no bribery there, either).
I have taken a few weeks off of my protest photos and videos because basically I have a life to live and kids to raise – and for some reason the direct deposit monies from the ChicagoBoyz home office in South Florida haven’t been getting through to my bank account.
We do have a lot of developments here though and I would like to get you up to date with them if you are at all interested, along with a few personal stories.
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I have been practicing Muay Thai for almost four years now. I read a variety of information sources about Muay Thai, and sort of live that life – I guess you could say.
Over the years of commenting on different blogs and boards I have become friends with more than one professional Muay Thai fighter actually in Thailand, along with many people who go there to train in Muay Thai for pleasure, and some people who go to Thailand to report on the Muay Thai scene.
When the protests in Thailand erupted a few months ago, I was of course scared for the many acquaintances that I knew were over there, on the way there, or on the way back. The shots of the violence in the streets were a bit scary. I admit they weren’t anything like the tanks in the streets of Egypt, but the riot police was called in to Bangkok and the army was “on call”.
Over and over my friends in Thailand reported that not only were they not concerned about the rioting, but that outside of a small, few square mile area of Bangkok that you were really in no danger at all. Outside of Bangkok life was proceeding as usual, and many people didn’t even know what was going on outside of their small towns.
I wonder if it is this way in Egypt. I haven’t heard reports of any city blowing up besides Cairo, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, of course. I guess time will tell.
Cross posted at LITGM.
FIFA is the international body that selects the host city for the Football (Soccer, to us) World Cup. Recently they made the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Soccer is huge in Europe, as are Green mandates and an obsession with global warming among the intellectual class. Nuclear and coal plants are routinely pilloried in the press and there is a large investment in alternative energy as well as the purchase of carbon offsets.
In reviewing the Russian award, from wikipedia:
“The Russian bid proposes 13 host cities and 16 stadiums, thus exceeding FIFA’s minimum requirement. Three of the 16 stadiums would be renovated, and 13 would be newly constructed.”
Let’s think about the vast amounts of resources and construction that will be needed to build these soccer stadiums, especially since they aren’t needed today (they have obviously gotten along fine without them for decades) when there are a multitude of stadiums that already exist that could be used throughout the rest of Europe. All of this construction represents a waste and you’d think that the recycling collectors and global warming zealots would raise a stink about this.
Even worse is the 2022 bid award to Qatar. While Qatar recognizes that these permanent stadiums aren’t needed and plans to donate portions of the five stadiums being built to other countries after the game, the stadiums will be built with some sort of outdoor air-conditioning technology needed in order to bring down the daytime temperature into something that spectators can stand. I can’t imagine how outdoor air-conditioning on this scale can be remotely environmentally friendly, and that additional power generation capacity will be needed in order to meet this need.
It would seem that the best way to conserve resources would be to utilize existing capacity rather than to build new capacity, from scratch. Or maybe that just applies to things less important than soccer.
Dan and I went to the Illini at Wrigley yesterday and it was a lot of fun. I obtained these tickets by purchasing four end-zone season tickets from Northwestern for $384, which allowed me to buy up to 8 seats for this game. An excellent trade, especially because I took my parents to the Northwestern home opener (they are alumni) and others had a great time with the Iowa game and my brother took his son to the Purdue game and toured the campus.
I thought there might by a fly-over so I recorded the end of the national anthem, sung by Blackhawks singer Jim Cornelison, which was great. There was no fly-over but here is the video nonetheless which gives a good feeling for how close we were to the action on the field.
We were in the end zone that the offense played away from because of the bleacher walls. This didn’t impact the game as badly as we thought it might; we did see some cool drives that started deep in their own territory as well as the TD return by Northwestern. At that point it was obvious how many Northwestern fans were in the seats relative to Illini fans; they were the clear majority. The seats were absolutely right by the field which was fantastic for us and we really liked the view.
Next summer I am going to France to ride my bike in the Pyrenees on some famous mountains that are featured in the Tour de France from time to time. Also on the agenda is a race. It has been a long time since I have been out of the country; my passport was expired so it had to be renewed. I decided to do it by mail.
The government was pretty efficient! I sent my old one in on October 21 with the required forms (and $110!) and received my new passport yesterday, November 5. Exactly 15 days door to door. I think that is pretty damned good for a government agency. If you need to renew a passport, perhaps this is not a busy time of year for them. On a sad note, the dollar is getting killed right now and this vacation is getting more expensive by the day – I bought some euros a few months ago, but apparently not enough. But currency markets are funny, we will see how it goes.
On another note, I have jacked up my workout regimen (more) so I can be competitive in the race (165 km with a finish atop the Plateau de Beille) and I have been looking into post workout recovery supplements/drinks. I have read conflicting information that says I should take these drinks immediately after working out and also that I should wait until the next day. Any info you have on this subject would be appreciated as to what and when I should be doing after my workouts to supplement my muscle development.
Cross posted at LITGM.
I started blogging at my “homebase”, Life In The Great Midwest on November 20, 2004. Here is my first post:
My first post, I guess, should be a quote from one of my heroes, Ronald Reagan.
“Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”
LITGM is an immense collection of posts about different subjects. It has been a small group blog for some time now. We have a lot of fun there and I have made a lot of wonderful friends. I also blog at some half dozen other locations.
People have different reasons for blogging. My main reason was to keep my (admittedly poor) writing skills sharp and to keep up on new technology as far as the sharing of ideas goes. I know that my writing will never be as good as someone like Ginny, but I do try my best.
It will be interesting to see where blogs end up in another five years. Frankly I am surprised that they have lasted this long. Best buggy whip around, I always say.
To the meat of this post. It seems that I have now come full circle. I have decided to write a small book, and I hope that my blogging over the last 6 years will help me with the writing of it.
The subject matter will be how physical fitness has changed my life. I am now an upper end amateur athlete, and I participate in running, strength training, cycling and Muay Thai kickboxing. The changes in my life have been nothing short of amazing and I not only want to share my story with others, but I want to help others receive this gift.
I want to give the information away for free and my initial idea is to put up a website where people could download a copy for free by clicking a link for a pdf file. I don’t know much about print on demand books.
Any help our commenters could provide here would be greatly appreciated as to what you think would be the best way to distribute this. I hope to get it done by Spring and have made it my winter project.
I just hope Jim McCormick doesn’t review my book, as his review will most likely be better and longer than my text :).
Posted by Lexington Green on 9th September 2010 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Prompted by an Instapundit link to a THE BEST SPORTS CALENDAR EVER!!!!!!
… I now present “The Invention of Curling”
Scene: Scotland circa a long time ago.
Duncan: “Och, Angus tis winter! There’s nay work, nay hunt’en and nay fight’en. We’re bored.
Angus: “Oh, aye, we’re bored.”
Duncan: “We’ve got naught to amuse our persons with save a frozen pond, some smooth river boulders and our wimmen’s brooms.”
Angus: “Oh, aye, and we’re drunk.”
Duncan: “And we’re drunk.”
Yes, like all winter sports, curling began as a drunken bet. (Come on, you can’t tell me that the luge, ski jumping or ice dancing were invented by sober, thoughtful people!)
Yet, now there is something relentlessly bourgeois about curling (and it’s not just because the players wear polyester slacks and sensible shoes). Curling is a sport of thought and patience. It is the sport of moderation. It’s the sport for people who get up in the morning, every morning and quietly go forth to make the world work.
I find it endlessly fascinating and I can watch it for hours. I was born in the wrong clime for I should have been a curler. I tried Texas style curling by shoving armadillos across the hot asphalt at discarded tires…
… but it’s not the same.
Yesterday I heard about the death of Georgia’s Nodar Kumaritashvili. He was doing a training run on the luge when he lost control, went airborne, and slammed into a pole at a speed of approximately 90 mph. There is video, but I will not link to it. You can find it if you want. It is somewhat disturbing.
And how would I know that the video is disturbing? Because NBC, while crying their crocodile tears, showed this guy dying over and over and over last night. I had my children in the living room to have a peaceful night of watching the Opening Ceremonies and had to scramble for the remote while NBC kept showing the replay of the unfortunate athlete’s death.
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Imagine that some of our Congresspeople–Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Robert Byrd, for example–formed a professional sports team. Baseball, basketball, football–take your pick.
Would anyone invest money in such a team? Would anyone go to watch it, for any purposes other than mockery? I think the answer is pretty obvious.
Well, the average Congressperson probably knows far more about sports than he knows about business. Almost certainly, he watches sports on TV…he may well have played himself in his younger days…whereas the typical Congressional knowledge of business is comparable to a baseball-watcher who doesn’t understand the difference between balls and strikes. Yet this Congress, with the encouragement of the Administration, is arrogating to itself the power to micromanage every business in the country in excruciating detail.
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