Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts

01 August 2021

Sports Build Character


women's soccer

Why yes, I watch women’s soccer. No, I don’t watch men’s. Why do you ask?

I started watching women’s soccer (‘futbol’ in other parts of the world) three or four years ago. Women’s bodies in motion… What’s not to like? it’s wonderful. Except for Sweden in the Olympics opening game.

Lord Jesus

If you’ve seen international men’s soccer, you’ve met the drama queens, that star player from Italy or India or Indonesia who collapses on the field (the pitch), gasping, groaning, giving a grand performance as he prays to Saint Sebastian he may walk again. Once the referee flashes a yellow or red card, suddenly he hops to his feet, all fit and well once again. Lord Jesus, it’s a miracle.

When one of the women is knocked down, she gets up, perhaps given a hand by an opponent, and keeps  on playing. Not to say it couldn’t happen, but I’ve never yet seen a drama play.

US-UK soccer

Meanwhile on ESPN…

Yes, I know the rumors (definitely exaggerated) that the majority audience ‘plays for the other team’, but it doesn’t matter. When buying season tickets for the Orlando Magic, my friend Thrush also bought season tickets for the Orlando Miracles, the women’s counterpart of the Magic. At some WNBA games, we were about the only guys present, but no one cared. We weren’t looking for dates.

Ted Lasso
Ted Lasso

Now, Back to the Game

I have a reason for bringing up soccer. Apple TV offers an original comedy series that improbably grew out of adverts for NBC Sports.

Check out Ted Lasso. Two Americans are hired to coach a British football club, a sport they know nothing about. We’ve seen the fish-out-of-water premise before– mix-ups, screw-ups, bust-ups, dust-ups, and usually happy fix-ups. This show delivers more than you expect.

Ted Lasso is not about the sport, but about the people. It’s funny– Melodie Campbell funny– but the best aspect is the characterization. Several cast members carve out three-dimensional spaces for themselves. It keeps heart, a big heart. And characterization… Did I mention characterization?

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a soccer/football fan or don't like sports at all. Athletics doesn’t matter because the action occurs in the boss’s office, in the locker room, in the showers, in restaurants, and especially the local pub. A few moments happen in bed. The first season took ten episodes before we saw a play on the pitch (field). That was simply a build-up for an easy-to-miss key moment between egotistical player Jamie Tartt and…

You had to be there. It’s about characterization. We can learn from it.

Apple TV. Season 2 commences now.

Coaches Beard and Lasso
Coach Beard — Coach Lasso

19 December 2016

Basketball


Yes, I know football season isn't completely over but round ball has begun. Way back in the dark ages when I was in high school, girl's basketball was rather boring. Pardon me while I loosen my corset. We could only play half the court. In other words there were three teammates on one half of the court and we were guards. We had to guard the forwards of the opposing team. When we got the ball we could dribble the ball to the center line that divided the court and pass the ball to our forwards who could then work the ball down to take a shot. I guess they were afraid we'd have a sudden case of the vapors and swoon and fall to the floor and have to be revived before the game could continue. But in all honesty beginning in the 1890s when women started playing BB, they had to wear long skirts, Only their heads, feet and hands could show. I'm assuming they had to wear corsets and petticoats so guess the idea of swooning was not actually a bad idea. I'm not sure when girl's were allowed to play five man, full court basketball. Everything I found on google mentioned 1971 but I know that wasn't correct in Texas. Seems like it might have been late fifties. One of my younger sisters played all through high school in the mid to late 60s and played by boy's rules.

My oldest son, Phil Lee (not my oldest child) played basketball in Junior high. His son, (who was Phil's oldest child) Jarred born in '89 played in junior high and his daughter, Jackie was born in '93 also played in junior high. Think they both started in Little League Basketball leagues before Junior High. Jackie was a very good player and had an excellent coach early on. She wasn't big enough to play high school or college ball as they wanted girl's who were close to six foot tall. But Jackie wanted and hoped to coach basketball when she graduated from College.

Jackie graduated from Texas State University in December of 2015, a short year ago. She got married in January of 2016 and her first teaching coaching dreams came true this past September, She's the Girl's Freshman Coach at Hays High School in Buda, Texas. Buda is a bedroom community just a few miles south of Austin, TX.

Jackie's Freshman Girls team played in a tournament, this past Saturday, Dec 11th at Bowie High School in Austin. I was excited to be able to attend and watch my granddaughter coaching girl's basketball. Talk about being thrilled. I had watched my son play, both grandchildren Jarred and Jackie play and now getting to watch my granddaughter coach was awesome.

Not only did her girls play. they won the Freshman Girls tournament. And it wasn't easy either. They played their first game at 1:30pm. If they won, then they would play the second game at 4 and if they won the 2nd they would play the third game at 6:30. The idea being you keep playing if you win. And the Hays Freshmen Girls won all three games.

Jackie's Mom, Dad and Maternal Grandmother came from Fort Worth to watch. My youngest son, Roger Grape, and youngest grandson, Lucas Grape-Kreuger who both live in Austin attended. So with myself, the Paternal Grandmother, in attendance, the coach had almost as many fans as the team did to root and clap for them.

This was just an awesome experience for me and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Merry and Happy to each and everyone of you. May your holidays and the New Year be the Best Ever.

26 July 2016

I've Got the Rhythm In Me


by Barb Goffman

Hell is freezing over. Anyone who knows me even slightly well will certainly think so when they realize that this week I am writing about .... yes, it's true ... sports.

I've never been into most sports. I don't like playing them. Or watching them. I've never had good hand-eye coordination, and every time a game comes on, I'm always itching to open a book.

But there are some exceptions. I like watching figure skating. (The beauty of the skaters gliding on the ice, combined with making flips and jumps and landing them with lightning precision--wow.)
And I'm a big fan of gymnastics too. Who doesn't remember Kerri Strug during the 1996 summer games, running on an injured ankle and vaulting herself and her USA teammates into Olympic gold?

There's one sport that mixes the beauty and athleticism of both skating and tumbling, and it has become a favorite of mine. Rhythmic gymnastics. And it's coming to a TV (or computer or other high-tech device) near you in just a few weeks, courtesy of the summer Olympics.
Never heard of rhythmic gymnastics? Maybe you've heard of it by its alternate name, something I've heard people sneer at: ribbon dancing. The entire sport was trolled during the last summer Olympics, with people declaring it's not a sport, that it's just dancing on a carpet with ribbons. The sport has been trolled so much that if you go to Team USA's website, they have a whole page explaining the athleticism involved in this sport. And yes, it is a sport. A beautiful one.

So what is it, for those who don't know? Picture a gymnast doing a tumbling routine, but at the same time, she has to keep a ribbon, hoop, ball, club, or rope constantly moving. The athletes perhaps are too good, making their routines look easy, which has encouraged
some people to declare rhythmic gymnastics to not be a sport. But these routines require skill and endurance, beauty and passion--sure sounds like a sport to me.

Not convinced? Check out Team USA's Laura Zeng compete with a ball during the 2015 World Rhythmic Gymnastics championships. 



So I'm excited for the rhythmic gymnastics portion of this summer's Olympics. The competition is scheduled near the end of the games, August 19 - 21st. Want to learn more in advance? NBC has some information about this year's USA team on their website. Click here to check it out.

If you've ever participated in rhythmic gymnastics, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. What's it really like? How hard it is to learn to do? Please share for those of us who love this sport. And for everyone else, what's your favorite part of the Olympics?