Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is pink the new black?

Or maybe it's the new red--depends on what the usual color of boxing gloves is.
I feel as if I have devoted a lot of blog space to the pinkification of women's sports and so I am not seeking out the pink stories, but when things come my way--in 3s--it's hard to ignore.
So the latest is something called Pink Gloves Boxing. And it was featured on NPR's Morning Edition today. NPR! Guess it's time to write a letter.
Pink Gloves Boxing is a fitness enterprise started by two former football players who started to train women in boxing. They have developed a whole package that they now sell to gyms. And the package includes not just information on training routines but the gear which includes: dog tags, t-shirts, and pink gloves--of course.
The thing is, this program doesn't sound to me like it's any different than programs that already exist in gyms. My gym has a boxing class and many gyms have cardio boxing/kickboxing. After all, as the story states "There's no contact, no ring and no real competition."
But don't forget--there are pink gloves--and dog tags. Actually you don't get to start with pink gloves--you have to earn them. Interesting paradox, eh? You have to earn your symbol of femininity by participating in an historically masculine activity.
So this story arrived this morning a day after reading this post over at Fair Game News about troubling trends in women's sporting participation. And it includes the pinkification of apparel and gear.
And it comes a week after an email from my father about a British campaign started by two sisters--both mothers--called Pinkstinks, which objects to the utter pinkification of young girls. The women have been called commies, loonies, and--of course--lesbians for their efforts.
Says co-founder of Pinkstinks, Emma Moore: "We've tapped into something very deep and powerful," says Emma. "Some people plainly feel attacked."
Good thing women can now earn pink boxing gloves so they can fight back...oh wait...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hold the presses: no lawsuit

So it turns out the rumors around Caster Semenya are still based on things that very loosely resemble facts. Semenya has no intention of suing either the ASA or IAAF. She has retained a lawyer--the same firm that represented Oscar Pistorius in battle against the IAAF to run in able-bodied events with is cheetah legs. But the lawyers are there to help with what whatever issues arise from the continued inquisition over Semenya's gender.
I am kind of disappointed.

A few newsy thing

On December 22 the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the case of female ski jumpers trying to get into the 2010 Olympics. This was the last ditch effort of the group which has pursued legal means and made appeals to the IOC, including a letter to President Jacques Rogge--who refused to grant the group's request for a meeting.

I was pleased to see that South African runner Caster Semenya has not faded away after speculations about her gender and intense invasions of privacy. Instead she is fighting back--with a lawsuit against IAAF and Athletic South Africa (ASA) for leaking information about the gender testing. The bungling of her case has also resulted in the president and board of the ASA to step down. It appears that testing began before Semenya went to Berlin for the World Championships and that ASA president Leonard Cheune decided to send her anyway because results were not yet in. But, as we know, questions were raised and information that should have stayed private was not. Again, Semenya was allowed to keep her gold and prize money, she continues to train, but there is no word on what her future in competitive track and field holds.

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Well that's just asinine!"

Indeed it is, Mother. Indeed it is.
That was my mother's response after Christmas dinner to the news (as told by me) that two horses made the AP's list of the top female athletes of 2009.
Plenty has been written about this already and even feminists have taken note. (The italics refer to the sometimes contrived strained relationship between feminism and sport.) The feminists over at Feministing had something to say about it. And so did a lot of other people.
I don't feel the need to add anything else substantial. I don't have some kind of new angle on this story.
The highly problematic comparisons between female athletes and horses and the ones between Serena Williams and the horses are obvious and dismaying.
We could talk about how the people who created the list, the sports editors at AP affiliated newspapers, are predominantly men and predominantly white and middle class. But that's not a big insight either. And it's disappointing any way you look at it. If they were serious that horses count as athletes (and I don't really buy into the argument that a horse once appeared on an athletes of the century list) or if they did it to draw some attention. Because it's a pretty vicious kind of attention all around. I think it does indeed make the AP editors look like asses. I think it makes them look quite afraid of women and the power women can access through sport. I think it reflects the paucity of coverage of women's sports. I think it makes them look like they are very bad at their jobs. Probably because they are.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

By the way...

...I'm not the only one who has noticed that all this end of the decade stuff is a little premature. Check out Peter Bodo's (of Tennis magazine) column about the best of the almost decade. I usually dislike Bodo but I actually did not take offense at anything in this column--and it's not just because he agrees with me about how to count.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

If we waited a year... name the athlete of the decade until it was the actual end of the decade, this might not have happened.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


To Kacey Bellamy the only UNHer to make the US National Women's Hockey Team. (She's also a western MA native so yea!)
I have to admit I was a little peeved that, after Ben Smith retired after Turino and suggested having a female head coach, USA Hockey went with Marc Johnson of Wisconsin. But after reading this column, I was somewhat appeased.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Money is isn't everything but...

• I n basketball, the $5.85 million per year average NBA salary (in 2008-2009) is 59 times
higher than the $99,500 salary of WNBA athletes.
• I n golf, the annual prize money for women in the LPGA rose by 234 percent between 2006
and 2008 to $62 million, while the PGA annual prize money for men rose by 310 percent to
$214.4 million.
• I n tennis, even though five of the top 10 highest-paid players are women, the top-paid
male tennis player, Roger Federer, earns $9 million more than the top-paid woman, Maria
• I n all sports, the 50 highest-earning athletes in the U.S. (salary, winnings, endorsements,
appearances and bonuses) in 2008 were exclusively men.

These are stats from The White House Project Report on equity in various fields including sport.
The report also notes the lack of leadership and pay equity at various levels of sport, in the US and internationally.

In college coaching and leadership, there is a wide salary differential, linked to the gender of the
coach and of the team. Women in college coaching earn between 40 and 70 cents for every dollar
their male counterparts earn, figures reminiscent of the wage gap of the 1950s. With Division One teams, that difference can add up to over $500,000. The average salary of a Division One women’s team head coach was $659,000 in the 2005-06 season, compared with $1,202,400 for the men’s team coach. In Division One basketball for the same year, the men’s team head coach averaged $409,600, more than double the average salary of the women’s basketball coach.
In the professional leagues, the gender gap can be even more dramatic. The commissioner of the
Professional Golfers Association (PGA), Tim Finchem, brings home a salary of $4.8 million, twice
the earnings of the leading female Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA) tour leader.

Things are not so good for women of color either:

A National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) study from the 2003-2004 season showed that, among the largest universities, 14.8 percent of female athletes were of color, yet only half of that percentage of female head coaches were black,339 and a mere 3 percent of coaches overall were women.
A more recent study of black women athletes and head coaches in the NCAA in the 2007-2008
season shows that, while 47 percent of female Division I athletes who play basketball are African-American, only 11 percent of the female head coaches are African-American.

In the 2008 WNBA season, there was one female African-American head coach. Of Sports
Illustrated’s most recent “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sport,” only 11 women of color are listed: nine are African-American and two are Asian.

I could spend all morning cutting and pasting from this report. But I think you should just go check it out yourself. As I said it addresses other fields such as the entertainment industry, religion, politics, and academia.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good tidings for women's professional sports?

Maybe, according to this article out of an Atlanta paper, a city which will host three women's professional teams in 2010 (soccer, softball, and basketball). Chicago has just as many. [Not sure if they are counting football at all, though. I know there are at least two leagues for women's football but I do not know if they qualify as professional or how that designation is made.]
Anyway, some are hopeful that it's a good time (recession notwithstanding) for professional women's sports. That perhaps people are getting a little sick of male professional athletes behaving badly. That fans don't always like to see their favorite athletes getting arrested (guess we better not look too hard at Diana Taurasi then!) and that female athletes are generally seen as more accessible and more willing to do promotion and hang out with kids, etc.
While I would love 2010 to be a great year for women's professional sports that have no historically been so successful, or even those that are rebuilding (like golf), I have certain problems with some images of these athletes as all goody-goody and and smiley and nurturing to our nation's youth. Not that I am advocating for the Diana Taurasi image, but do female athletes have to do all these things to grow their sport?
I suppose it is better than taking off their clothes which grows some things but not their sports' popularity.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Academic fraud at FSU?

Seems to be all about the Seminoles this week. Except this time it's not the actual Seminoles, its the student-athletes at Florida State who call themselves Seminoles.
The academic cheating issues at FSU have been covered. The school was investigated for a fairly widespread cheating scandal involving an online course.
But ESPN's Outside the Lines has brought to light an interesting component of academic support in FSU athletics: the prevalence of student-athletes diagnosed as learning disabled (LD). It's a very thorough report that talks to specialists, a former member of the academic support team there (she was fired for allegedly providing too much help), and LD specialists--including the one FSU uses to diagnose their athletes. He is an outsider but gets paid $800 per test he gives to FSU students. He was very candid about the process but the article noted that his testing method is controversial. The model he uses produces an LD diagnosis at almost twice the rate of the other two accepted models. And around 80 percent of the tests he gives to FSU student athletes come back with an LD diagnosis.
Some students come in already diagnosed or already labelled as at-risk students, but some get diagnosed upon entrance. A diagnosis allows for certain accommodations and even waivers to NCAA rules about academic progress.
What it seems is that there are a lot of LD student-athletes at FSU. A third of the football team and 75 percent of the basketball team has an LD diagnosis. At Arizona State the rate is about 10 percent for both football and basketball. The rate of LD in the general population is between 5 and 10 percent.
I think those numbers should give the NCAA pause. No data exist to show the percentage of LD student-athletes across NCAA schools. But it might be time to start tracking diagnoses and implementing regulations about how academic support programs within athletics (FSU has one that costs $1.5 million) are run.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Extolling the Seminoles

So after I wrote this post I realized that I was kind of writing about pool. And I don't know if I think of pool as a sport. I didn't have a tag for it--not that that means that much. I kind of mentioned football so I am going with that. I just needed a jumping off point to get to my social commentary/soapbox and have decided that I don't really want to get into a debate about the "what makes a sport" criteria this morning.

Not the collegiate football team in Florida, but the actual nation of American Indians.
I was watching ever so briefly yesterday evening a Women's Professional Billiards Event (and, by the way, I turned it on when my onscreen guide said "Pool" was on ESPN and I was surprised--pleasantly--to see that it was women's pool; usually the unmodified on ESPN means it's a men's event. But then of course that gets me thinking about why billiards is segregated by gender in the first place...) Anyway, the event was happening in Florida at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe and Casino. It's not that it was held at a casino that is owned by an American Indian nation--I am not naive. But it was curious that there was an advertisement that almost looked/felt like a PSA about the Seminoles. And it was a strange advertisement in that it featured Seminoles doing things that we stereotypically associate with Native American cultures like pow-wows and other cultural celebrations. But they also talked about accomplishments and showed a lot of nice-looking high-rise casinos and hotels. And then there was a line about how the Seminoles are an "unconquered people." Curious. Because Chief Osceola, one of the most recognized Seminoles (largely because of the invocation of his person by Florida State who uses them as their mascot) was captured as he lead a small (100ish) band of resisters to US forces trying to remove the Seminoles from their land during the Second Seminole War. He was actually captured under false pretenses by US government forces when he was told they wanted to meet with him to discuss a resolution to the conflict. He was transferred to a jail in South Carolina where he died of malaria three months later. And I am sure if you ask the Seminoles who live in Oklahoma, where they were forced to relocate, how unconquered they have been historically, they might have a different response.
But it seems the Seminoles in Florida--or at least the people who speak for the Seminole nation in Florida--the ones who granted Florida State permission to use one of their chiefs as a mascot at their football games and on their seat cushions, are into the self-promotion via casinos and pool. There was a Seminole Pro Tour this past year which was a series of 10-ball events throughout the southeastern United States. This WPBA event that was actually held in mid-November, was the culmination of said tour.
I don't know all the issues around Native American casinos, but I know they are controversial within Native American communities, and I certainly see why. I do not expect Native communities to have some kind of coherence that no other identity-based community has, so I understand the discord. But this advertisement and the whole billiards and casino thing and then the advertisement for Seminoles, I guess--or Seminole culture, set off a string of thought that I cannot quite grasp at this time. But I think the situation raises interesting questions on what is native culture, who gets to decide and the issues of tradition, historical discrimination, and economic prosperity--especially its tie to social capital.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Remember that?

So I am not, let it be stated for the record, going to discuss any of these best of the decade stories. It is a principled stand based on the fact that it's not the end of the decade. Not until next year. 'Cause you can't start counting at zero.
That said I read one of those very pieces (I said I wouldn't blog about it, not that I wouldn't read them) that included some of the best or most interesting or ironic sport quotes of the years 2000-2009. Some indeed interesting, some not so much.
But I was reminded of that incident with John Rocker in 2000 (which, as we know was not the start of the current decade or even century; I am being too nitpicky about this?) where he said to Sports Illustrated that he would never play baseball in New York because he didn't want to ride the subway with, among others, the queer with AIDS. That got Rocker a lot of press and a two-week suspension at the start of the season and a $500 fine.
So I was thinking about this in light of the recent fines and reprimands handed down to Serena Williams. I have not commented on them and I feel like this perhaps might be a glaring absence. Maybe because I had heard the figure of $1 million and a several months of suspension tossed around. But I did not think the $82,000 was that bad. She makes a lot of money. And she threatened someone and used profanity. Absolutely the coverage of the event was racist and sexist. And it's likely that this hyper visibility contributed to the fines that were levied. So in that way, it is true that her punishment was indeed tinged with racism and sexism.
Rocker's punishment--if we can call it that--was practically a reward. $500 is nothing. And two weeks off for a pitcher; give me a break. Baseball, unlike tennis (minus that whole overlooking of Andre Agassi's meth habit) is a little more strict. Fines levied against players are almost always in the thousands of the dollars. And it is still seen as nothing.
So what's my point here? I actually don't know. Something about how standards are always going to vary based on the sport, and the athlete--including the athlete's gender, sexuality, race, age, education level, and religion. If I come up with something more profound, I will re-post. Until then I am going to try to enjoy the transition into the last year of the decade.

Friday, December 11, 2009

More eyebrow-raising IOC decisions

It's so lovely to find someone who agrees with you--especially on a cold, windy Friday morning as you feel a cold (but hopefully not the flu) coming on.
The IOC has been making some changes to the summer games program, allegedly in the name of gender equity, that has a few puzzled.
LA Times writer and blogger Philip Hersh is one of those and I agree with him--for the most part. The addition of mixed doubles to the roster seems a little silly. While I enjoy mixed doubles and seek it out when I am lucky enough to get to a tournament that actually has it (mostly the Grand Slams), it's another thing to include it in the Olympics where tennis should not be in the first place. Track cycling, with a much smaller international presence, has seen its events reduced--well the men's events anyway. The IOC, upon recommendations from the International Cycling Union (so it's difficult to know where exactly to lay blame), has dropped several events for men and added more for women. Seems good in the aggregate but apparently (and I know this much about track cycling so I am going with what I have read) the events dropped, especially the men's individual pursuit, are some of the best in the sport. Like I said, I know very little about track cycling so I cannot make a convincing argument about which events should stay or go. I do appreciate that an attempt at equity was made, however, but regret that chances for furthering the appeal of the sport have been compromised in the process.
You know who did make a convincing argument, though? Tiger Woods on why golf should be allowed in the Olympics. Hehe. We all know how I felt about golf in the Olympics and banking on Tiger being part of the games in 2016; and how the IOC was just kind of drooling all over themselves when he was part of the pitch. And this is why I have been singing the schadenfreude song for a few days now.
Hersh makes points about which sports should be in the games that I have made before. He believes, though, that basketball (because it helped grow the game internationally) and ice hockey (because it's still important to some countries) deserve their place even though they do not meet the criteria of the Olympics being the ultimate (or near ultimate) prize/honor within the sport. I think both sports should be in there--not necessarily for the reasons he provides. But I think they should be played by non-professionals. And I realize we're going to need to revisit the notion of what makes one a professional in order to enact any such change.
Anyway, check out Hersh's post on these latest decisions and the IOC's wacky decision-making processes. It's a good read.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ireland misses the point about FSU's "dress code"

Hard to believe that once upon a time, the National Organization for Women was considered radical. That a lot of the popular sentiment that said the American women's movement of the late 60s and 70s as man-hating and radical came from the very visible actions of NOW.
But today, and even back then to a certain extent, it's just a lot of the same liberal status quo junk; the "you go, girl" empowerment rhetoric that has not a lot of substance behind it.
So my disappointment upon reading Patricia Ireland's (former NOW president) opinion piece on Florida State University women's basketball team's new snazzy website was palpable but not surprising. A few weeks ago, there was some chatter on teh internets about said website with people weighing in on the potential homophobia and certainly heteronormativity that underlies this website which features players dressed in evening wear. Blogger and sports writer Jayda Evans wrote about the FSU site as well as the overall promotion of women's basketball.
Pat Griffin responded to Evans's piece and offered some insights and history on media guides and the sexification of female athletes. The issue also promoted some talk over at Women Talk Sports.
And most people understood the slipperiness of this slope and the nuances of this issue even if not everyone agreed with everyone else.
Patricia Ireland doesn't seem to understand any of it:
There is nothing wrong with being glamorous -- but everything wrong with placing women in a box where they're expected to conform with someone else's expectations. Women fought long and hard for Title IX so we could put on a uniform and compete on the court -- without having to sacrifice being women.
“We didn't fight against dresses, but did fight against the fallacy that said if you wore a dress, you couldn't be a competitor. To now suggest the opposite -- that if you play sports you shouldn't wear a dress -- is the same kind of backward thinking that in the past attempted to block women from full equality.

No one suggested the "opposite"--that you couldn't play sports and wear dresses. People did however, note how sometimes people athletes are compelled to do so to prove their femininity in order to be able to put on that other uniform. And Ireland assumes that not being able to wear dresses is a sacrifice; something that denies our allegedly inherent womanness, I guess.
There is a longstanding belief that feminism and sport--even women's sport--has a problematic relationship. Reading Ireland's piece, I can see how this belief is perpetuated. It does not appear that she has a great deal of knowledge about the current state of women's sports other than the fact that Title IX has increased opportunities. Just as I exhort athletes to become familiar with feminist principles, I now exhort feminists* to become aware of some of the issues around and within women's sports.

*Realizing, of course, that some athletes do identify as feminists and some feminists are women's sports advocates and knowledgeable about related issues.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Taking aim at the alma mater

See, I knew I would be back to critiquing someone this week. And how appropriate that is the anonymous columnist from my alma mater's student newspaper. (In my day, when I wrote for The New Hampshire, they didn't allow anonymous columnists.)
Anyway, anonymous Joe (he admits to being male), has a holiday wish list for the University of new Hampshire that includes a few sport-related things.
First he wishes for a new football stadium because the current one is "small" and "ugly." I never thought it was that bad. He said that because the team has done so well recently they deserve a less-embarrassing facility. Perhaps. But it clearly has not affected recruiting. After all if you can make it to the second round of the post-season, you must be getting quality players who come in spite of the allegedly crummy stadium. And, of course, it costs a lot of money to build a new stadium. Anonymous Joe said that a new stadium, though, would bring in more revenue. But alas, it would still not be enough revenue to cover both the costs of said new stadium and the costs of the program. UNH is not one of the dozen or schools fortunate to have a football program that actually turns a profit. And football stadia, unlike say hockey arenas, usually sit unused 42 weeks of the year (in terms of revenue-generating activities anyway).
Anonymous Joe would also like UNH baseball back. Seriously, UNHers, it's time to build a bridge and get over it. I was there when baseball was cut--along with lacrosse--and since that time even more athletic programs have been cut, including crew. It's New Hampshire. And baseball may still retain its moniker as the great American pastime, as Anon Joe notes, but we all know that's just some lingering romantic notion. We live in a capitalist country where football is king. In other words, baseball is not coming back to campus.
Also, curious that Joe thinks UNH "adopted" Title IX in 1997 (when baseball was cut), as if Title IX was optional or that they hadn't been subject to it since, oh like the 1970s. When I was there, UNH claimed compliance under prong two. Don't know where they are at at this point.
Anon Joe does do a nice shout out to the women's hockey team and encourages the student body to engage in more random acts of fandom at some of those other sports that are not football and men's hockey. Good job, Joe.
And as someone who not resides in UMass territory, I really appreciated his sign off: Stay classy, not UMassy. Sorry UMass peeps. Old rivalries die hard.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Good for you!: Readers speak back

Since I am usually such a Complainin' Jane when it comes to problematic things lay people say about women's sports, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to actually laud someone. (Don't worry; I'm not going soft. I am sure I will be back with something cynical to say tomorrow--or the next day. I have a busy week ahead of me.)
The men's versus women's sports issue is making headline news again thanks for NBA commissioner David Stern's prediction that women could be playing in the league in 10 years. And then there was, of course, the "no ways" from people like Lebron James and Anthony Parker--brother of Candace who thinks that while his sister is just swell, she is not NBA material.
Anyway, it seems the Modesto (CA) Bee took up the issue of the lack of popularity in women's sports and did some of that blame-gaming stuff where they attribute the lack of interest on the part of women as the reason for the alleged demise of women's sports.
But in bold, concise and convincing fashion, a reader noted the lack of sports available for viewing:
Television is saturated with men's sports, not women's. Look at how much time is devoted to women's sports on local stations during prime-time news. Most women's sports events are not even covered, and when they are they are not given equal coverage.
I follow golf, but it is difficult to show support for women's golf when four men's tournaments are aired but no women's tournaments, unless it is at 3 a.m. Don't put all the blame on women's sports sliding into oblivion because women aren't watching when clearly and sadly the sports world is still male dominated in television and in local newspapers. Give us a break. We would watch and support women's sports given the chance.

Good work!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bystander responsibility

I was part of an interesting dinner party conversation the other night about the responsibility of being a gym goer, a gym owner, or a gym employee. The talk was about one's responsibility when seeing someone who is doing something dangerous. Though we mentioned things like bad form and lifting too much weight or general overexertion, what the conversation really turned to was eating disorders. As a gym employee (kind of--I teach a couple of classes so I am more of a contracted employee) I was asked what our gym's (many of us go to the same establishment) policy was regarding confronting people with eating disorders. I doubt there is one. I know of other gyms that will discontinue a membership when they feel someone is engaging in disordered behavior. But that doesn't seem very productive either. Some other establishment will be eager to take that person's membership fees--probably my gym.
We didn't come to any kind of conclusion. I spoke rather abstractly about trying to create an environment--in my own classes anyway--that is about personal progress and actively eschews some of the dominant fitness discourses (working off that ice cream, mashed potatoes, brownie; working for tighter abs, toned thighs, etc.). Anyway, I left with a little more to think about.
But last night, I became quite disturbed by my bystander status and the previous evening's conversation really took on a new meaning.
Because last night I played tennis, actually at my gym's sister gym the next town over, next to a father hitting with his daughter. And it was disturbing. I know all about crazy sport parents, I watched that Bravo show several years ago. And I know about crazy tennis fathers--Mr. Dokic and Mr. Pierce to name just two.
But this guy was, I have no doubt, abusive. He was constantly berating his 9-year old (I am guessing her age--definitely younger than middle school). I heard one positive statement during the entire hour. But mostly it was negative statements that had a shaming tone to them; and that most definitely had a controlling tone. He told her to pick up a ball nearby to start a new rally. And then he yelled at her for not picking up the one he felt was closest to her. He questioned her committment if she wasn't jumping on her toes when he had a ball in his hand to start a rally. He packed up his racquet once and walked off the court about a half hour in leaving her to pick up the balls because he did not feel she was committed enough or paying enough attention or something. It doesn't matter, actually, because it was such a control move. he packed up again at the end of the hour leaving her to pack up the balls and racquets. Have I mentioned that this girl is 9? That she doesn't even play competitively (she told my doubles partner); oh and that the dad, who constantly corrected her form, was not that good of a player himself. She'll be better than him sooner rather than later. Perhaps this is part of the reason for his atrocious behavior. He may be pushing her away from the sport before she reaches that point.
And this happens every week according to my teammates. And apparently they have witnessed similar situations with other parents.
I was so angry and so sad. And so frustrated. What could I possibly do? Calling him out in front of his daughter would likely create a scene that would not be at all productive. No one I was playing with knew his name. We only know the daughter's first name.
I am thinking about reporting his behavior to the club manager. And I am thinking of contacting my friend who used to work for child services and asking about what is considered abuse.
But I am really at a loss. I think too often people stay out of situations like this because they feel it is none of their business. But I see this girl already steeling herself against his behavior and his words. We all realize, at some point, that our parents are human and not perfect; but 9 years old seems too young to see that your father is an ass.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I'm crying too

Amelie Mauresmo announced her retirement today, shedding tears in the process.

I think we need to do some mutual comforting.

Was sad I didn't get to see her play in the 2009 French Open when I was there but glad I had the opportunity to see her in both New Haven and New York.

The new Olympic spirit?

So remember when everyone was all "boo hiss China"? They were about to host the Olympics and a lot of Americans got their retro commie high horses to talk about--well mostly how great the West and free speech and capitalism are. And granted there were a lot of problems worthy of critique like Darfur and the displacement of people and killing of animals and arrests of dissidents, etc. But those critiques, as I recall, were pretty free-flowing. Sure a lot of athletes took their problematic Switzerland stand but there was discourse at all levels really.
So here we are, two years later and everything is all rosy for Vancouver in a couple of months, right? Yeah, not so much. Apparently the whole "the West is a bastion of freedom and democracy" is crap when it comes to hosting the Olympic Games.
Amy Goodman, author and journalist and current host of Democracy Now was detained at the US/Canadian border when she went to Vancouver to give a talk about US health care and the wars in Asia. The Canadian officials did not seem to believe she had not planned to talk about/criticize the Olympics. They let her in but demanded she leave the country within 48 hours of her arrival. This article has a link to some audio and video of her talk--in which she does talk about her detention at the border. She has also written a column about her detention and what she did find out about what Canadian and Olympic officials are putting their energies toward: security against local dissenters. Not those faraway amorphous Eastern terrorists--but those who have a problem with the way the Olympics are being staged and who and what is disappearing in the process. So when Goodman crossed the border she, by her own admittance, knew next to nothing about the Olympics, now she knows and has given more voice toward the problems surrounding them. Can you say "irony" (without being stopped by the border patrol)?
Also, check out the podcast from the CBC's December 1 show that talks about how artists and performers are signing contracts that include a clause that they will not criticize the games.
O(h), Canada indeed.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thinking about becoming a party crasher

OK so I probably wouldn't get quite the amount of attention as those other party crashers that continue to make headlines (I don't know which is worse all the hoopla over the party crashers or the previous hoopla over the fact that curry was served at the White House!). But I just found out the entire US Women's National Ice Hockey Team from the 1998 Nagano Olympics are being inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame tonight--in Boston! The whole team. (Well Cammi Granato isn't coming because she is about to have a baby--but she's already in as an individual; inducted last year.) But this includes some of the veterans that are still training for the upcoming Olympics. And heck, I don't have any plans. If only I could find out where it is happening...
Anyway, the group is being honored for their contribution to women's ice hockey, for being pioneers in the sport, etc.
Also, the late Frank Zamboni is being inducted, which is kinda cool.