Wednesday, January 7, 2015
this link to a draft version of a paper Larry and I did about researching pro wrestling, and how to enter into what is still very interesting subculture. Tim was called the "Fireman" in the chapter. Thanks you Tim for the part you played in one of the coolest experiences I've ever had.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Last night I learned that during the course of the year, the sport that is the "most watched/attended" behind major league baseball is…horse racing! I would have guessed the NBA, given the length of the season and the number of teams, but nope…horse racing. This is troubling for a couple of reasons. First, as a former Division I distance runner, I don't get why so many people would rather watch horses run in circles while only hardcore, scrawny runner fans watch distance events live or on television! Hell, we are lucky to see a few laps of an Olympic 10,000 meter race. Second, and more seriously, horse racing has recently been exposed as a sketchy business, not just for PETA folks, but for anyone who cares about "fair play" in sport or…well…the welfare of the disposable heroes of the assorted golden derby sweepstakes. For over 20+ years, scholars in sport philosophy have written on the ethics of using animals in sport, from hunting to dog fighting to horse racing. We know that for years the practice of doping horses was common, and that many people made serious bank on the hooves of animals that were discarded when their bodies finally gave in. Of course, that sounds a bit like any number of former NFL players, doesn't it? The NFL players, though, had some degree of agency. Emphasis on the some. Combine the animal abuse with the well documented issues of the jockeys' eating disorders and various forms of self-abuse, and I wonder how far away we are from an NFL or WWE level of scrutiny?
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
For the first time in years, the University of Tennessee men's and women's basketball teams have both qualified for the "Sweet-16" round of their respective NCAA tournaments. I don't watch basketball much, but every year I check in to see how my alma mater is faring in the annual March festivities that rake in millions for everyone except the players involved. There is a lot of news today regarding the NCAA and unions, professionalism, coaches faking their resumes…the usual really. But I am thinking of the recently released data from the University of Central Florida (courtesy of Richard Lapchick and colleagues) regarding graduation rates. This information comes out every year at this time. Sort of a needed but often unwelcome squirt of lemon on the tournament that, lest we forget, takes place before, during, and after most athlete-students' spring breaks. Now, the news for the UT women is pretty good, as it is for most of the women's teams actually. In fact, the UT women were one of 21 teams with a 100% graduation rate (990 APR). But for the men, Ole Rocky Top sagged a bit with a 60% graduation rate (still reasonable 973), and a notable graduation rate of 43% for African-American players vs. 100% for White players.
Now to put this in perspective, the overall graduation rate for UT athlete-students is 75%. So, given the women's numbers and the overall numbers for UT athletes…something is going on. Oh, lest anyone think this is a unique occurrence, the UCF report's data show that for all men's teams in the tournament, White male players graduate at a 24% higher rate than African-American players do. Of course, the numbers are a bit skewed given the possibility for different numbers of students from these racial groups. This needs to be said. However, there are clearly racial and gender differences between the two UT teams, and that is troublesome, or should be, for fans interested in college sport. If the NCAA's exceedingly proud ads declaring that "There are over 380,000 student athletes, and most of us go pro in something other than sports" are at least partially true, then some of the male Vols better cheer while they can. Fans of both Tennessee teams should feel much more comfortable while watching the "Lady" Vols, and knowing that win or lose, at least they will probably have something to hang on their walls after the nets are long gone.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
|1991: "Light" referred to the scale, as I thought i was heavier. |
Guess I wanted to get to 130!
For decades, women have been told that their bodies are not acceptable, whether because they can "do more" or because their partners would like them better if they did something to change themselves…however and in whatever way they were "supposed" to. In class this week, I talked about how my college teammates and I used to somehow gauge our fitness levels by how many ribs we could see. Six pack plus a side of ribs, Tennessee style. We were distance runners, and I was bulimic. I was 2+% body fat and I consistently wrote "Fat!" and "Loose weight!" in my training log. Now, I was not in the very tough, differently gendered situation many female athletes are in. But it was, quite simply, a purging situation for a while. Looking back, it is still troubling to remember how normal it felt to puke up whatever "extra" I had eaten that day. So…fast forward 20+ years. For a bunch of reasons, and as a result of interrelated social factors (e.g., media images, masculinity, changing notions of aging, etc.), I am…susceptible isn't the right word...but I do find myself looking at Sly Stallone's body at his age, the bodies of 40+ WWE wrestlers, and the host of commercials aimed at guys like me, and my abs, my biceps, my wrinkles, my sexual prowess, my hairline, and wondering…what the hell am I doing wrong? Women have Oil of Olay…what am I using? Let's be honest though: After 40, your abs just have to be functional, not ripped. It serves no actual purpose. Yet today before I left for work, I made sure my "belly," which is what I call any adipose tissue I have, wasn't visible with the shirt I had set out to wear. People can be morbidly obese, and others can starve to death. Getting ripped means nothing. Repeat. Repeat again. Ad nauseam.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Saturday, March 8, 2014
|Ivan "Polish Power" Putski|
Here is an example of how to talk people into buying tickets to a match: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lvxZTy28zQ
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
P.S. Don't forget to follow my new Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/DrTedsportcult