Tori’s First Hit

July 28, 2010


Her first time batting really…


Is Cheerleading a Sport?

July 21, 2010

Recently, a judge ruled that cheerleading is not a sport. Of course the first question is why a judge would be ruling on this at all, but reading the article you see that a college was trying to cut one women’s sport and wanted to use cheerleading to compensate in an attempt to show that it was not violating Title IX (Title IX could be a topic for an entirely different blog). The women who participated in the sport that was cut sued so a judge had to rule.

Now the judge said that cheerleading might someday establish itself as a sport but that today it is too underdeveloped and disorganized to be considered a true sport.

That might be fine from a legal perspective, but it brought to mind one of my favorite arguments. How do you define a sport? I’ve blogged on this before, but not in detail. I start with my basic Olympic rules (which eliminate several "sports"):

  1. If the costume matters, or makeup is applied, it’s not a sport
  2. If you can’t tell who won without a judge (all the time, not once in a while) it’s not a sport
  3. If the name has the word “synchronized” in it, it’s not sport

Really, rules 1&3 are just there for humor. It’s rule 2 that matters. And this rule will offend a lot of people, because we aren’t just talking about synchronized swimming here. This rule eliminates a ton of high profile sports. Yet I stand by it.

A sport is decided "on the field". A competition is judged.

I defy you to come up with a definition of sport that includes diving but excludes cheerleading. They are both clearly athletic. They both have defined moves with established degrees of difficulty. And there are elements of artistry. But here’s the problem. You can extend the argument to things that no one would seriously argue is a sport.

I was a trumpet player. Trumpet is a very physical, athletic instrument. You have to be in shape. There is serious muscle recovery time. Ask any trumpet player who ever worked for the circus (the most grueling gig on the planet) and they will tell you about putting ice on their face after a gig.

There are plenty of trumpet competitions. Degree of difficulty of pieces has been clearly established.

Physical, athletic activity. Well established degree of difficulty. Some artistry. Final score entirely defined by judges. What did I just describe? Diving? Cheerleading? Trumpet competition?

Choice D, all of the above.

You can replace trumpet with dance, or many other similar things. Unless you restrict sport to mean something "decided on the field" the slope is way too slippery.

If 100% of the time it comes down to a judges score, it’s a competition but not a sport. Doesn’t make a competition any less interesting or fun to watch. It’s just not a sport.

Here’s another definition. If a bunch of kids can’t get together and play and compete and clearly know who won, it’s not a sport.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

More Lemonade

July 17, 2010


Danielle loves to do lemonade stands. It’s amazing how many people just give them money…


July 16, 2010

As readers of this blog know, my Mom passed away a year ago. Like my father, she wanted to be cremated, and like my father she wanted her ashes spread at our family’s cottage in Northern Wisconsin.

We weren’t able to do this right after the funeral. And with me and my two brothers spread across the country, it took us a while to get together to do this. Yesterday we finally all got together at our cottage.

The cottage is here:

You can zoom in and see the small lake, Pickeral Lake, that we are on. It’s in the middle of the woods. Nothing fancy, a simple cottage that was originally a hunting lodge. But if you like just hanging out on a lake in the woods, it’s beautiful.

We got the cottage when I was around 9. Prior to that we always went camping, so this was a major upgrade. As I think back, we didn’t actually do a lot there. Swim, canoe, lie on the dock, read, grill brats, chop wood, build fires, try not to burn down the forest. I loved the place.

Living in New York, I obviously don’t get there much. It’s a three hour drive from the Green Bay airport. And it’s not like there aren’t nice places closer.

But the place has a lot of memories. My mom loved wildflowers so she loved to walk around the lake. We’d be walking and she would see some random flower and invariably say something like, “oh, what’s the name of that flower again?”. And she was asking me. A teenage boy. So she would either get the exasperated, “Mom, you always ask me and I never know” response, or more commonly the wise-ass, “that’s the pretty purple kind” response. To which she would invariably reply, “Oh Steve…”.

We would just spend hours hanging out on the dock. We’d read,  Mom would bring down some cheese and crackers. We’d go for a canoe ride, Mom would bring down some nuts. We’d go for a swim, Mom would bring down some Doritos. Life was good.

So there’s really no better place to spread Mom’s ashes. It was a place she and my Dad loved, and it’s a beautiful spot. So yesterday I spent a few hours reminiscing with my brothers about the cottage. We took the canoe out. I swam across the lake. We talked some more and then we spread her ashes around. It was a gorgeous day at the lake, and while a sad task, it felt right.



July 8, 2010

Danielle is doing a two-week gymnastics day camp at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. This is the first time she’s ever had to get on a bus by herself to go to something like this. She has to meet the bus about 6 blocks away at 7:40 am. Thankfully she loves the camp, otherwise getting her ready in the morning could be a real chore.

She asked if she could ride her scooter to the bus. She can’t take the scooter, so that would mean that I’d need to bring it back home.

I think I’ve mentioned before how much Danielle rides her scooter and how perfect a scooter is in Brooklyn. Her old one broke so we upgraded her to the Razor A5. This is a great city scooter. Big wheels to eat up the bumps in the sidewalks, tall enough for adults. It flies. It’s all about the big wheels.

I, of course, indulge my daughter and let her take the scooter to the bus. Which leaves me with a decision. As a mature adult, do I:

  1. Walk the scooter home.
  2. Ride the scooter home.

This really wasn’t even a thought for me. Of course I rode the scooter home. It’s a nice scooter, it’s faster than walking, there’s no real decision to make.

Yet apparently most grown-ups would go with (1). What’s up with that? Have we forgotten what fun is?

Embrace your inner 7 year old…

No internet?

July 7, 2010

Our wireless router finally bit the dust. So we actually have internet, as long as you have wires.

But these days that feels the same as not having internet. Seriously, when’s the last time you connected a laptop to an ethernet cable?

So I’m on my phone tonight. New router tomorrow…

Been busy

July 7, 2010

Sorry for the lack of posts. Origami has had a nice run so I’ve been quiet busy. More to come…