Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Service of Feel-Good Sports Movies

Thursday, January 11th, 2024

For someone who doesn’t watch sports on TV I nevertheless have an affinity for movies about winning teams.

I recently saw “The Boys in the Boat,” directed by George Clooney, starring Joel Edgerton, Callum Turner and Peter Guinness. I love “You can do it! the underdog wins” kind of film. This one told a true story about an American rowing team in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It was based on Daniel James Brown’s book.

It didn’t meet “Chariots of Fire,” one of my all-time favorite films of any and all genres, with its magnificent score and a more complex story than “Boys,” which I liked less passionately. When “Chariots” runs on Turner Classic Movies, that’s it. I’m in.

I also saw “Ferrari,” starring Penélope Cruz and Adam Driver. I would have liked it more had the interminable racing scenes been cut considerably. [I’m expecting to hear a sigh from racing car enthusiasts.] I most enjoyed the scenery, the acting and the personal interactions in the film. Oh, and it isn’t really a feel-good film, unless you focus solely on the handsome cars, but I don’t want to be a spoiler.

I mentioned “Boys” to a friend who responded with “What about ‘Cool Runnings’ and ‘The Mighty Ducks?’ Those were the cute sports movies of my generation.” He’s almost 40. He added “Cool Runnings=Jamaican bobsled.  Mighty Ducks= youth hockey.” I haven’t seen these.

He continued, “My dad loved ‘Rudy,’ a football movie about Notre Dame.” I missed this one too.

Do you have a favorite sports film? Do you also appreciate the uplifting nature of these movies?

Service of Sports on TV

Thursday, September 14th, 2023

This court on Second Avenue in the 30s often becomes a pickleball court. Otherwise, tennis players practice against the wall on the left.

Retired beloved NYC sports broadcaster Warner Wolf, [whose “Let’s Go to the Videotape” became his trademark], calls in to a local morning radio program every Monday. He predicted that investors in major league pickleball are wasting their money because the game is to be played. It’s not a spectator sport, he said. If you ask Google “how many people play the game?” the stats range from 4.8 to 8.9 million. Wolf is one. He lives in Florida now and plays five days a week.

I was athletic when young but have never voluntarily watched sports on TV and have not loved the baseball, football and hockey games I’ve attended. The exception: watching tennis in person is fun.

Yet the moment Wolf said what he did about pickleball I thought of golf. Millions watch major tournaments on TV. Too slow a game for me when I tried playing it, watching it on TV is excruciating yet my husband adored doing so almost as much as watching his beloved football team which in the day was the Redskins. He also played golf for years.

Do you think pickleball will be profitable for the investors in major leagues?

I am not envious enough of those who look forward to watching their favorite teams in season to force myself to follow. I’m not curious to see if their enthusiasm is contagious though I’m glad so many derive pleasure.

I wonder: if you enjoy watching sports on TV have you been doing so since you were a kid? What about it captures your fancy? Do you also go to the games?

Retired sportscaster Warner Wolf calls in from Florida every Monday morning.

Service of Two Sides of a Tennis Court

Monday, May 2nd, 2022


Image by Bessi from Pixabay

Wimbledon is off limits to Russian and Belarusian tennis players because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to NPR’s Rachel Treisman, “U.K. Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said last month that ‘nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled’ to play in it.”

The players impacted are, as ranked by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the top two in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, as well as two other men in the top 30 as well as the 4th ranked woman, Aryna Sabalenka.

Last week I heard valid arguments pro and con from former sportscaster, now radio morning show host Len Berman, and guest Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of NYU Langone’s Division of Medical Ethics.

Dr. Caplan said that we can’t let the players show up at Wimbledon or at any sports event and he hoped that the US Open follows suit. Russia has committed war crimes, shelled apartment buildings, leveled another country and given that we aren’t going to war we have only two potential weapons: financial and turning Putin into a pariah.

Len disagreed with Dr. C and in a rare show of solidarity his co-host at the WOR 710 morning radio show, Michael Riedel, agreed. Beman felt that it’s not right to take it out on [star] players who have nothing to do with the war.

Dr. Caplan responded that he fears that Putin et al will say “look at what our country can achieve–” He’ll make something of it.

What do you think? Should politics impact whether athletes compete in international competition?


Image by anais_anais29 from Pixabay

Service of Why Must I Pay for This?

Monday, April 11th, 2022

What am I grousing about today? The $660,000 that New York State tax payers are forking over for a new Buffalo Bills stadium.

I’m not a sports fan. And friends shrug when I grumble about this saying “This is the way it has always been,” or “If New York doesn’t pay they’ll go somewhere else” and “the Governor, Kathy Hochul, who hails from upstate NY, is watching the back of her core constituents.”

I get it but I still say “Bon Voyage–let the Bills owner pick up the full cost of construction or go elsewhere.”

Does someone who decides to add a greenhouse to their home to grow plants for sale get such support from the state? Will they even have an easy time getting a loan unless they have deep pockets and don’t really need one?

The team owner, Terry Pegula, is said to be worth $5.1 billion. The $660 big ones is a drop in three buckets to him but could help out countless homeless/starving individuals in New York. In radio interviews last week, deli and souvenir shop owners around Yankee Stadium in the Bronx that have barely survived the pandemic said they’d not received stimulus/paycheck protection program money. That money was from the Federal purse. But is anyone lobbying the State to help them?

The money isn’t to support a home for refugees or to house the helpless. Tickets, boxes and NFL brand paraphernalia will generate plenty of money. Why doesn’t Pegula launch a GoFundMe page so fans can help him pay the bill?

I’m letting off steam–what’s done is done. Do you think $600,000 too little to worry about in a $220 billion New York State budget? That it’s fruitless to mention when this happens all the time?

Service of Sharing II

Monday, August 9th, 2021

Sharing makes me feel good to both do and observe.

When men’s Olympic high jumpers Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim from Qatar agreed to share the gold medal they were elated–Tamberi jumped into Barshim’s arms and they hugged. Did you hear me cheering?

If you live alone, the closest thing to sharing at the most basic level is to give surprises.

It’s hard for some to share–the last cookie, piece of cake, slice of pizza–but Americans were generous with their treasure last year.

AP business writer Haleluya Hadero wrote “Galvanized by the racial justice protests and the coronavirus pandemic, charitable giving in the United States reached a record $471 billion in 2020, according to a report released Tuesday that offers a comprehensive look at American philanthropy.” She added that Giving USA reported: “Faced with greater needs, estates and foundations also opened up their pocketbooks at increased levels — resulting in a 5.1% spike in total giving from the $448 billion recorded for 2019, or a 3.8% jump when adjusted for inflation.”

Have you observed some splendid examples of sharing?

Service of All Olympians are Winners

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

A friend wrote on Twitter early this week: “One thing that bothers me about Olympic press coverage is when silver medalists are described as having ‘lost.’ Yes, it’s technically true. But when there are 3 top prizes, I consider any of those positions a win. Being second or third best in the world is an accomplishment.”

A New York Times headline illustrates the point: “Katie Ledecky Feels the Sting of a First Olympic Loss. In the 400-meter freestyle, she was something of an underdog.” She won silver.

The tweet reminded me of what I’d written three years ago: “My father, for years an avid Olympics watcher and supporter, reminded us during each winter and summer game that even the ‘worst’ of the participants are outstanding athletes. It’s easy to forget sometimes when listening to the coverage of the announcers, often past athletes themselves, criticizing a tiny twitch of a knee or microscopic landing quiver.” This was from the post: “Service of Pick Yourself Up & Dust Yourself Off: Olympic Figure Skaters Rule.”

Image by Josh Dick from Pixabay

I never met my husband’s grandfather who rowed for America at an Olympics long ago but I was impressed to learn that. I don’t remember who won–doesn’t matter.

It’s ironic that we can be so hard on these outstanding athletes who deserve acclaim and so easy on kids in team sports where everyone wins an award no matter the outcome. In “The Participation Trophy Debated: What Psychologists Say” on K2awards.com: “Giving children a reward for their efforts is great, because it shows them the value of being present, working hard, and contributing to a team. They are shown how good it is to be reliable, and how important the effort of every person is, no matter if it leads to a victory or a loss.”

The other side of the debate from the same post: “The biggest argument against participation trophies is that handing them out is a form of overprotection for our children. In other words, we hand out trophies to kids, no matter how poorly they performed, so they don’t feel bad about losing. Kids never get the chance to experience failure, or to learn from it. They grow up feeling entitled to rewards for simply showing up.”

Do you come down on the side of the press who consider Olympic gold winners the only ones who count? What about giving all kids a trophy to participate–yea or nay?

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

Service of Masculine Stereotypes & How They Impact the Election

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

I suspect whatever your sexual orientation, you have an idea of masculine characteristics that appeal. Athlete? Tennis, football, hockey, soccer, basketball or golf fan? Opera, jazz, rock, hip hop, rap or country music lover? TV watcher or reader?

What about bravery?

Are you masculine if you’re macho, reckless, wild, shoot-from-the-hip, a womanizer and loud or empathetic, cautious, friendly, a family man, nurturing and mild-mannered? The candidates for President represent these characteristics, both easy to satirize or exaggerate which each has done in speeches, via commercials and amplified via spokespeople. Comedians have also had their way with the contenders.

I don’t recall thinking about masculinity regarding candidates in previous elections but today tolerance,  appreciation or intolerance of the various traits of these competitors will impact many a choice at the ballot box. You’re a real man if you don’t wear a mask or if you stick your finger in the eye of the pandemic and you’re a scaredy-cat if you wear one and are Covid-cautious.

We’ll know the answer to the country’s choice tomorrow or soon thereafter.

Are masculine stereotypes bunk? Do you agree that the styles and interpretations of being a “real man” impact voter choices about the 2020 candidates or are the issues paramount?

Service of When What Calms You is Out of Reach

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

Open for contemplation.

Congregants at synagogues, mosques, temples and churches, passionate sports fans and shoppers, movie and concert goers, bar hoppers, exercisers, museum and restaurant enthusiasts and travelers are up a creek these days. There are no religious services or sports competitions, and favorite roosts  that calm, uplift, cheer and/or distract are closed: movie houses, gyms, museums, concert halls, stores, bars and restaurants.

Even hugs are out.

I was looking at a favorite cooking show on TV yesterday but can’t find the ingredients so is there any point?

What do you substitute and how do you maintain your equilibrium when your favorite distractions and sources of solace are on hiatus? What do you look forward to? What’s an anxious person to do?

AKC Museum of the Dog NYC

Service of That’s Horse Racing–The 2019 Kentucky Derby Outcome a Metaphor for Life

Monday, May 6th, 2019

I always watch the Kentucky Derby though I don’t follow the sport and choose my favorite by name–a sure path to failure. I rooted for Plus Que Parfait this Saturday.

As I watched on Saturday I was reporting developments by text to friends who were in a bus. I couldn’t believe it when Maximum Security, who won by many lengths, faced 20+ minutes of limbo while stewards–horse racing referees–studied the videotapes.

When one of the stewards reported the Commission’s unanimous decision to the press–that Maximum Security was out and Country House was the official winner–she took no questions.

The odds for Country House were 65 to one and the payout $132.40. Imagine the chaos at the betting windows in those edge-of-their-seats 20 minutes.

The metaphor to life of the outcome was gut wrenching, reminding me of the times I was the unlikely winner–my boutique PR agency selected to represent brands at a Fortune 50 company for example or me chosen by awards committees to receive recognition–and the times I could almost taste a positive outcome that didn’t happen and the subsequent sickening sinking feeling of disappointment: All that work and elation leading to failure.

I am on the side of Maximum Security. And you? Do you agree with the Maximum Security team that is appealing the decision to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission?

 

Service of Second Chances for People and Pets

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

It’s Easter, Passover and spring, a good time to celebrate second chances.

I saw two Chihuahuas get one. They were on the Furry Friend Finder segment on CBS 2 Weekend, a local NYC metro news show. The dogs were 14 and 15 years old and needed a home–a difficult ask.  They’d been in a previous weekly segment in which the hosts introduce the audience to dogs in search of a forever family. A New Jersey family adopted the two elderly pups—they had a 14 year old pooch to welcome the others.

I’ve written previously about my sister and a friend each of whom adopted ancient orphaned cats, giving the felines a second chance at loving homes.

The odds that Tiger Woods, 43, would ever again win a major golf tournament seemed slim due to a series of back operations and psychological issues that appeared to send him off his game. Yet last weekend he walked off with yet another green jacket at the Masters Golf Tournament and he was no spring chicken–three years younger than Jack Nicklaus, the oldest player to don the trademark jacket.

And then there’s Bill Weld, 73, former Governor of Massachusetts, who is running for president on the Republican ticket taking on a 72 year old incumbent. There was a time when septuagenarians would not be fighting over one of the most difficult and stressful jobs on the planet.

And what about Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris? It is slated for another chance.

I’ve been blessed by second chances, have you? Please share examples.

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