what do you think…

…about concussions and football?

I’m not a sports fan myself so I’d just as soon see the game go away. In theory. I say that because I understand that football, and other contact sports, are acceptable outlets for aggressive behavior. Since prehistoric times man has had to use brute force to survive. Times have changed, but man’s primeval behavior hasn’t gone the way of the dinosaurs.

The over-arching problem is the millions of dollars the NFL dangles before would-be prospects looking to play pro-football. Most concerning, however, is that parents wholeheartedly encourage their sons to play a game which, according to recent statistics, puts their lives at risk. Is the money worth it?

…about bringing trade schools back?

In our rush to outdo, or at least keep up with, China and other countries technologically, America has placed tremendous emphasis on math and science. Our children are pushed to excel academically in order to secure jobs with Microsoft, Apple and the like. As has always been the case, not every child is suited for college.

Trying to force square pegs into round holes is as implausible today as it was in generations past. A child who is more adept with his hands is not going to be happy sitting at a computer all day. Forcing youngsters to pursue careers in the hopes that they will be set financially, can set them up for failure in the long term. Besides which, all the jobs for which they might be better suited are being shipped overseas. Meanwhile, folks who might be happier in those blue collar jobs are beginning to form a new class of “have nots.” They are the ones clamoring for a return to the good, ole’ days when they could “pull themselves up by their own boot straps.”

…about life imitating art…or real life imitating reality tv?

With the media’s constant hype about Donald Trump’s steady rise in the polls, it makes one wonder…”What in the world?” This morning it finally dawned on me…reality TV may have more to do with it than we might like to think.

Look at Barbara Walter’s choice for the most fascinating person of 2015. Caitlyn Jenner!

(Photo…businessinsider.com)

Yes, I get that she champions the gay-lesbian community but that’s primarily because of her celebrity on reality TV. By comparison Johnny Weir, a well-known, gay American figure skater, does not share the same mega-watt platform as former Olympic track and field star Bruce Jenner aka…Caitlyn.

Who would have thought that the Kardashians and the Housewives and the Bachelor would still be with us…years later? And what about Abby Lee of “Dance Moms” fame? My daughter, a professional dancer, cringed whenever she caught a segment of that reality show. How those mothers could allow that evil woman to treat their daughters as she did is unfathomable.

I must confess to watching those shows now and then, especially since they dominate much of what’s available on TV now. I’ve done so with fascination and disbelief. And perhaps that’s what most viewers find intriguing about reality TV. How can these people put their lives out there for millions to see? Do viewers relate to the flaws…the gaffes…the ridiculous lives? Or are these reality stars so far outside our realm of what’s normal, that we watch in disbelief, our mouths wide open?

Is that then, Trump’s appeal? A reality star transcending the small screen into the arena of real life politics? Looking for our votes as…favorite reality star of all time? A vote for Trump as President is akin to saying he’s won the Oscar of all Oscars?

So again I ask you…

…what do you think?

………hugmamma.

 

 

not a football fan…

…normally. However, Russell Wilson and his Seattle Seahawk team mates could definitely steer me towards becoming one.

Unlike my husband and daughter, I’ve no stomach for watching guys body slamming in order to make off with the football…and the game. However, there’s an added element of anxiety in the case of our Super Bowl heroes.

I hate to see them lose!!!

Obviously I’m not alone in this, but for me it’s like I’m Russell Wilson’s mom or something. I can’t bear to see him fall from grace, if you will.

For one thing the guy’s small to be playing pro football, only 5’11. That’s my husband’s height, for heaven’s sake! And the fact that Wilson’s the quarterback, the guy calling the shots on the field, is quite a feather in his cap.

It’s hard to believe Wilson was the 75th pick in the third round selection. The Seahawks soon discovered what he was made of though, promoting him to their main quarterback shortly after hiring him.

His mom must be bursting with pride. She must also be pretty scared every time he gets squashed by a 6’5″, 250+ pounder coming at him.

Holy moly! I’d be wound up tighter than a ball of string if I were Wilson’s mom.

What impresses me about Wilson apart from his uncanny ability on the football field, including the smarts to shift gears in the moment, is his seeming humility off the field. Not that I’ve witnessed it in person, but from what comes across on TV he seems disinclined to hog the limelight, preferring to credit others with their fair share of the glory.

Like other professional athletes serving as role models in their communities, Wilson is involved in charitable work.

Wilson is an active volunteer in the Seattle community. During the NFL season, Wilson makes weekly visits on his days off to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, and has also visited with soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.[19][119] In the offseason, Wilson hosts the Russell Wilson Passing Academy, a youth football camp, in several cities. In 2012, proceeds from the camp went to the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association, for which Wilson is the National Ambassador.[120][121][122] Since 2013, Wilson has partnered with Russell Investments for its “Invested with Russell” program, which donates $3,000 to Wilson’s charitable foundation for every touchdown he scores.[123]

Wilson co-hosted a charity golf event along with NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington in June 2014 which raised over $220,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Not without his own baggage, however, Wilson is divorced from his long-time sweetheart after only two-years of marriage.

Perhaps what sets Russell Wilson apart from many black, superstar athletes is the fact that he wasn’t the product of inner city violence and family dysfunction. According to Wikipedia…

Wilson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio[13] and grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Harrison Benjamin Wilson III, a lawyer, and Tammy T. Wilson, a legal nurse consultant.[14][15][16] He has an older brother, Harrison IV, and a younger sister, Anna.[17] Wilson started playing football with his dad and brother at the age of four.[14]

His racial background is mostly African American, though he also has some Native American ancestry.[18] His great-great-grandfather was a slave to aConfederate colonel and was freed after the American Civil War.[19] Wilson’s grandfather, Harrison B. Wilson Jr., is a former president of Norfolk State Universitywho played football and basketball at Kentucky State University. His father played football and baseball at Dartmouth and was a wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers preseason squad in 1980. Wilson’s brother played football and baseball at the University of Richmond, and his sister is considered one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country.[20][21][22]

Wilson’s father died on June 9, 2010 at age 55 due to complications from diabetes.

Just like any mom, I’m hoping Wilson continues to do himself proud. I’d like to think his solid upbringing will always be there guiding him through thick and thin.

I pray the morals he learned as a youngster never abandons Wilson, allowing him to fall prey to the overwhelming materialism that ensnares so many in professional sports.

I guess I’m just a proud mama.

…even if i’m not russell wilson’s. 

………hugmamma.

(Wikipedia photo)

 

seahawks all the way!!!

I’m not a foot ball fan, even though I was a high school cheerleader. For me it was more about leading the crowds in cheering our team onto victory.  And, of course, there was the especially close proximity to the players. At the time I was dating the captain.

With the Seattle Seahawks winning streak thus far, football has once again propelled itself front and center in our household.

The difference, however, is that our daughter is home to share in the good times with her dad.

When she lived in Atlanta and Tennessee, our daughter joined friends at a few of the local football games.

Having gone to a high school conservatory where she majored in ballet, our daughter didn’t partake of the normal social scene most high schoolers experience. Nonetheless, she took to football like a natural, although hockey is her first love.

As a Christmas gift for her dad, our daughter purchased tickets to the last Seahawk season game. It was a father/daughter day they’ll never forget.

Because I never knew my dad…he died when I was one…I’m 100% behind my husband and my daughter having a great relationship. And because the Seahawks did their part in nurturing that father/daughter bond, I say…Seahawks all the way! 

…bring back a superbowl win!!!Photo: We're going to the SUPERBOWL!!! #GoHawks……..hugmamma.

God and…football?

A photo of Tim Tebow at the US Army All-Americ...

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Not one of my favorite pastimes to be sure. Too long…watching men chase down a ball…back and forth…back and forth…back and forth. I’m not one for sitting around much. Too many things to do to be a couch potato. But give me a nice Master Piece Theatre series on PBS, and I’m hooked…no commercials to deal with either.

I’ve heard all the to-do about Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow. He’s an attractive, young man in a football jersey as well as a suit. I think any mom would love to greet him at her front door if he came calling for her daughter. Hint, hint. Especially since he’s a church-going fella who obviously loves his mother. I’ve seen a picture of the two together.

While perusing today’s Wall Street Journal I came across the following article by Fran Tarkenton, “an NFL quarterback from 1961-1978,…the chairman and founder of OneMoreCustomer.com.” It seems religion is not new to sports…just more fashionable now.

Does God Care Who Wins Football Games?
by Fran Tarkenton

English: Demaryius Thomas, a player on the Den...

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On Sunday, when Denver Bronco wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught a pass from Tim Tebow on the first play of overtime and ran it all the way for a game-winning touchdown, the stadium erupted. At once, people cried that it was a miracle, and Mr. Tebow went down to pray on one knee in his signature pose. Millions of viewers already knew the first words he would say whenever a reporter caught up to him for a postgame interview: ‘First of all, I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!’
     Tim Tebow is not unique. Even on his own team, there are notably devout players like safety Brian Dawkins. In fact, the NFL has had a number of players who were outspoken in their faith. Think of quarterback
Kurt Warner, who famously went from stocking shelves at a grocery store to a pair of league most-valuable-player awards and three Super Bowl appearances. Or Reggie White, one of the greatest defensive linemen of all time, who was also an ordained minister, nicknamed the ‘Minister of Defense.’ The list goes on.
     Religion certainly played a role in the game when I played. I grew up the son of a Pentecostal Holiness minister–we were charismatic before charismatic was cool. I was in church Wednesday night, Friday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night–every week of my childhood. I was there at the first-ever national camp for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in Estes Park, Co., in 1956, along with everyone from legendary NFL quarterback Otto Graham to a young Don Meredith (although fellow quarterback Don and I didn’t make it to many of the meetings). When I went to the NFL, I needed special dispensation from the church to play on Sundays.
     As a player, though, I never understood why God would care who won a game between my team and another. It seemed like there were many far more important things going on in the world. There were religious guys on both teams. If God gets credit for the win, does he also take blame for defeat?
     For what it’s worth, my forays into hoping for divine intervention didn’t work out. I prayed fervently before each of the three Super Bowls we Minnesota Vikings played in. We played against the Dolphins, the Steelers and the Raiders. I don’t know about the first two games, but I was sure God would be on our side for the game against the Raiders! After all, they were the villains of the league, and it was hard to believe they had more Christians on their team than on our saintly Vikings. We lost.
     Faith had a place in every locker room I was in. When I played for the New York Giants, team owner Wellington Mara, a devout Catholic, invited half the priests in New York City into the locker room before games. Sometimes it was hard to find my team-mates among all the priests. I’m sure Mara hoped it would somehow help the team win, but it was never enough to get us into the playoffs.
     Before every game, no matter what team I was on at the time, the coach would always ask the most devout player to say a prayer. This would happen after we’d already been out warming up–so we’d all seen the crowd, we were in full uniform (complete with eye black doubling as war paint), and the intensity of the week had built up to a near frenzy in the locker room.
     The prayer was always pretty much for the same thing: Let there not be any injuries, let everybody play a good game–anything except to win the game. No one ever asked to win the game, probably for fear that God would punish us for asking. After this moment of devotion, the team would all shout in unison, ‘Now let’s go kill those S.O.B.’s!’
     We often attribute supernatural origins to football success, from Roger Staubach’s 1975 ‘Hail Mary’ pass to Franco Harris‘s ‘Immaculate Reception’ in 1972, and we enshrine plays with names like the ‘Holy Roller’ in 1978 and the ‘Music City Miracle‘ in 2000.
     Although faith has been a part of football so long, a player like Mr. Tebow can still be extremely controversial among fans and pundits. But seriously, isn’t it refreshing that the chatter around the NFL is about a great athlete with great character who says and does all the right things and is a relentless leader for his team–and not about more arrests and bad behavior from our presumptive ‘heroes’?
     Tim Tebow is the story of this football season, and a great story it is.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame member and Atlan...

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I couldn’t have said it better myself! I might be a fan…might…if the media broadcast more news touting the exemplary behavior of super star, moneyed athletes. Most of what’s reported is about their bad-boy behavior and their holding out for excessive millions in contracts. I’ve no clue what Tebow earns, but who cares……when he’s a role model for good-guy behavior…

…thanks for telling it…like it was…and still is… ………Mr.Tarkenton… 

a baked potato with butter

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………hugmamma.  😉

 

English: 2009 ESPN Zone Chicago Ultimate Couch...

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street newspaper: japan’s “big issue”

Street newspapers are a phenomenal, global network. I was touched to read that even in the midst of Japan‘s devastation, a street newspaper struggles to survive, its vendors dependent upon its existence, for their own meagre livelihoods. What strikes me as macabre in the aftermath of Mother Nature‘s triple threat, the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear disaster, is that Sendai is now home to thousands more homeless. The following article ran in the Real Change. It gives a first hand account of the people’s attempts to recover from the horrific blow dealt them. 

JAPAN’S STREET NEWSPAPER STRUGGLES AMID DISASTER

THE BIG ISSUE JAPAN / ビッグイシュー日本版

Image by jetalone via Flickr

Vendors and staff at The Big Issue Japan are struggling in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that has devastated the nation.

Miku Sano of The Big Issue Japan said in an email to partner newspapers that in Sendai, which bore the brunt of the tsunami, vendors survived but are unable to sell the magazine. “Things are not easy and will not be the same, but we are not defeated,” Sano wrote.

“The vendors and people in Northern cities are fighting for their lives and for the loved ones. We are trying the best we can to support them.”

Distribution of the magazine is impossible in northern cities, “hence, the vendors in Sapporo have nothing to sell,” Sano said. There are plans to re-start football practice in Tokyo, as “many of our vendors said that they want to play football to feel better.”

(If you want to contribute to the efforts of The Big Issue Japan, there is an English language site for donations: http://www.jcie.org/earthquake)

Night View of Sendai City, Japan

Image via Wikipedia

Diary of a disaster
The Big Issue Japan works with the Sendai Night Patrol Group to help the homeless in Sendai City. Staff members have been providing free meals for anyone sleeping rough as the city attempts to recover from the disaster. Aoiki san, head of the patrol team and magazine distribution in Sendai, allowed us to publish extracts from his diary about the relief effort:

March 14: In Sendai, the supply of water and electricity was restored in some parts, but it will take more than a month to restore gas supply. In the Wakabayashi area, the worst affected area within Sendai city, I saw a very long queue of people trying to get half-rotten oranges and only one banana. A thousand dead bodies are left unattended in a gymnasium, and there is no information about those unaccounted for. We are planning to provide free meals of curry rice for everyone from 11 a.m. The death toll is too big to comprehend, and many people seem to know nothing about what to do.

Sendai Airport in Natori and Iwanuma, Miyagi p...

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March 15: Roads, airlines and trains are not allowed to run except for emergency vehicles, and there is the dire prospect of a shortage of goods. More than 1,000 people queued for a motorway bus. I joined a queue for Daiei Supermarket before its opening at 10 a.m., but 30 minutes after the opening, major goods had already gone. There is a shortage of gas cylinders, noodles, tinned food, batteries and rice.

March 16: Public administration is completely paralyzed. Sendai City Council opened a help desk today, four days after the earthquake. Hospitals in the city are only able to provide a partial service due to electricity shortages. Without a battery-powered radio, people are getting no information at all. Many citizens don’t know about the accidents at Fukushima nuclear plant. Local radio stations help people to find out about missing persons. Strong aftershocks at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

March 17: Today the local radio announced about the food at Wakabayashi City Hall, so we had to make 1,000 meals. We gave out curry, miso soup and rice for about 800 people and it was gone in a second. Some hadn’t eaten for three days and queued for the food in the rain.

I am worried becuse there’s no information about what’s going on at the nuclear power plant. I am worried about the radioactive contamination for the north Kanto region because of the north winds. There are thousands of people sleeping in the elementary schools, city halls and public halls. I will do my best to provide free meals tomorrow, although we may run out of stock if we do so.

(Translated by Mayuko Hida and Yushin Toda – University of Glasgow)       

the “good old days”…in merry ole england

The following is from my English friend Sylvia, whom we’ve not heard from in a little bit. She’s been saving it up for this one. It’s kind of an in-your-face reminder that people of a certain age lived “on the edge,” by today’s standards,…and are still here to tell, or brag, about it. You have to admit, they’ve got a point. Enjoy, guvnah! As Sylvia would say.

CONGRATULATIONS to all my friends born in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s!

Tatto-Flavored Wine

Image by Joe Mud via Flickr

First, we survived being born to mothers who drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw eggs, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Our baby cots were covered with bright-colored, lead-based paints. We had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets. And when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes. We would ride in cars without seat belts or airbags. We drank water from a garden hose, not from a bottle.

Balmoral KFC workers and allies picketing the ...

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Take away food was fish and chips. There were no pizza shops, McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, or Red Rooster. Even though all the shops closed at 6 p.m., and didn’t open on weekends, we didn’t starve to death.

We shared one soft drink with 4 friends, from ONE bottle, and no one ever died as a result. We collected old beverage bottles, and cashed them in at the corner store.Then we were able to buy toffees, gobstoppers, bubble gum and some bangers so we could blow up frogs.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter, and drank soft drinks that contained sugar. But we weren’t overweight because we were ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!!

We would leave home in the morning, and allowed to play until the street lamps were lit. No one could reach us all day, but we were okay.

We would spend hours building go-karts out of old prams. We would ride them downhill, forgetting that we had no brakes. We built tree houses and cubbies, and played in river beds with Matchbox cars.

Matchbox 1-75 models typical of the modern (Ma...

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We didn’t have Play Stations, Nintendo Wii, W-boxes, video games, DVDs, 999 channels on SKY, mobile phones, personal computers, the Internet, and its chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS, and went outside in search of them.

We fell out of trees, got cuts, broke bones and teeth. But no lawsuits were filed because of these accidents.

Only girls had pierced ears.

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms didn’t live in us forever.

Easter eggs // Ostereier

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We could only buy Easter eggs and hot cross buns at Easter time. 

We received air guns and catapults on our 10th birthdays.

We rode bikes or walked to friends’ houses, knocking on their doors, or ringing the doorbells, or just yelling their names.

Mum didn’t have to go to work to help dad make ends meet.

Football and cricket had tryouts, and not everyone made the teams. Those who didn’t, learned to deal with disappointment. Imagine that! Making the team was based upon merit.

Our teachers used to hit us with straps and sand shoes. Bullies always ruled the school playground.

Parents never bailed us out if we broke the law; in fact, they sided with the law! They didn’t give us stupid names like Kiora, Blade, Ridge or Vanilla.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and learned to handle them all.

Congratulations! You’re one of us.

You might want to share this with others lucky enough to grow up as we did, before the lawyers and government regulated our lives for our own good. While you’re at it, you might email this to your kids too, so they’ll know what brave parents they have.

pip-pip…cheerio…and all that rot!…hugmamma.

“quidditch, anyone?”

This is one sport for which I might sit in the bleachers. Just to see how the game of “Quidditch” is played in the real world, not J.K. Rowling’s fantasy land, would be worth the price of the ticket, I think. According to Jilian Mincer’s Wall Street Journal article today, Quidditch was first played in 2005, with brooms that didn’t fly. So how did the players mimic the “real” thing? “…race around in capes and goggles with broomsticks between (their) legs, while shooting balls through mounted hula hoops.” I’m not sure I could keep myself from laughing, although I’m sure I’d try if I was surrounded by die-hard fans.

In a couple of weeks, on November 13 and 14, sixty college and high school teams will compete for the “Quidditch World Cup.” Where it once was held on the Middlebury College campus in idyllic Connecticut, the games will now be held at a park in Manhattan, the Big Apple. ” ‘Our hope is that it will be a real coming out party for the league,’ says Alex Benepe–one of the sport’s founders and president of the newly formed nonprofit International Quidditch Association. It’s now played at hundreds of schools, he says.”  Benepe is convinced that ” ‘A lot of sports’… have ‘become more like work. Quidditch is just about playing a game. It’s just about having fun.’ ”  Valerie Fischman, however, has other plans.

Fischman, “who plays Quidditch at the University of Maryland, would like to see it go much further. She’s been finding out what needs to be done to get the sport NCAA status. That, she says could ‘be a stepping stone’ to becoming an Olympic sport.” According to the NCAA, “40 to 50 schools need to sponsor a varsity sport for it to consider sponsoring a national championship. The most recent sport to gain such status: women’s bowling.”

Kristen and Aimee Howarth, twin sisters at Texas A&M founded a Quidditch team. Initially, it was met with cynicism by other campus organizations. While skeptics remain, more are coming around because of the game’s physicality. “The co-ed game isn’t for the timid–pushing, tripping and some tackling is allowed.” Evidently there were some broken bones at last year’s World Cup. “Ziang Chen, a sophmore at Purdue University, started a team there last year after seeing videos of the sport. ‘When I saw how brutal the sport is, I thought I would like to try it,’ says the former high school football player.”

Registered World Cup teams hail from “Ivy League Yale to football powerhouse Ohio State. Some get school funding, while others are unofficial squads, scrambling to find equipment.” NYU sophmore Sarah Landis met with 60 other students to get up a team in time for the World games. ” ‘We all secretly wanted to play this sport since we read about it’ in the books,…’ ” A resourceful person, she purchased $3 brooms at a nearby Halloween store. Others wanting more upscale equipment can go to Alivan’s website where the “Scarlet Falcon” sells for $59 and the “Sienna Storm, “$79. The company is proud to be the retail source for “the official broomsticks of Intercollegiate Quidditch. It also notes its brooms ‘do not fly.’

As in years past, bystanders on the sidelines will be owls and wizards. But this year they will be joined by entertainers, some who regularly play the subways. Part of the game’s whimsy is the “spray-painted plastic trophy cup” on which the “winning team gets its name written…with a Sharpie pen. …” And while Aimee Howarth worries that if Quidditch becomes too intense that it might lose some of its whimsical roots, Mr. Benepe doesn’t think the game’s magic will ever disappear. His long-term goal is to get “students of all ages to play.” Sounds like a noble cause. Hopefully the professionals and money managers won’t infiltrate this fantastical game of child’s play, removing all the fun, making it all about the almighty dollar.

quidditch, hugs for preserving the fantasy…hugmamma.

dressing to “wow”

Ynez Sines is an overnight celebrity. Others have traveled similar paths to sensational success, like Kim Kardashian, a darling of reality TV. Her body hugging fashions with plunging necklines accentuate her natural assets, which include a gorgeous face. These days, such apparel seems the style of choice for reality TV divas. Picture the women of the “Housewives of…” shows, “Jerseylicious,” “Bethenny Gettin’ Married?,” “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” the “Batchelor,” and  “Batchelorette.” So why the uproar over Sines?

Women dressing to attract men probably began with our prehistoric ancestors. Like their contemporary counterparts, cave women needed an edge over the competition. Capturing the strongest cave man was essential to keeping  food on the table. But we’ve come a long way in dressing for survival, to dressing for the WOW factor. Where a woman might have narrowed her audience to a handful of men, she now wants to impress every man who sees her. And that can range from a roomful to a worldful, of men. Grabbing the attention of the competition is an added bonus. Maybe the media’s coverage of “red carpet” events has contributed to our narcissism.

We have increasingly turned our focus toward better health, including a better body image. Efforts to eliminate anorexia and bulimia are ongoing, as is obesity. On one hand we are attempting to regain control over our bodies so we can live our best lives; on the other hand, we continue to worship celebrities and models for their rocking, good looks and hip, hot fashions. It seems like an oxymoron to be striving for self-acceptance, while remaining shackled to our desire to look like someone on a magazine cover or a TV show. It’s as convoluted as trying to save in this economy, while trying to spend our way out of a recession. It’s a struggle, but it can be done. I guess.

Sines is neither a reality TV diva, nor a red carpet regular; she works in an all male environment which, for the most part, revels in grunge and sweat. So why the need for body hugging styles and plunging necklines as a 9-year-veteran, professional sportscaster? Her response? That’s how she’s always dressed, and she’s not making any changes to her wardrobe. So why twitter that she was “embarrassed and uncomfortable?” It’s like “wanting her cake and eating it too.” So what’s wrong with that? Don’t we buy a cake to eat it?

I’m guilty of having worn hot pants in the day, even in Guadalajara in the early 70’s when I was a summer program student at a local college. I dressed provocatively to captivate my husband when we were dating. Obviously my tactics worked, 40 years later we’re still celebrating marriage. But I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have dressed to provoke unwanted cat calls from football players, of any ethnicity. I think it would be similar to walking past construction workers in tight jeans and blouse. 

I’m not averse to athletes, having dated the captain of the football and basketball teams in high school. It just seems that their attention would naturally be drawn to the human body, since playing sports involves their bodies. Being in a locker room is probably like being in a frat house, with behavior bordering on bawdy. I wouldn’t want to witness what goes on, but that’s my choice. According to journalist Cokie Roberts on GMA this morning, Sines presence in locker rooms is part of her job as a sports reporter.

The stand-off between Sines and athletes in locker rooms is being addressed by the NFL, and in the court of public opinion. I don’t think we’re looking for a winner; I think we’re looking for both sides to be accommodating, going forward. The best scenario would be if Sines modified her professional dress, and the players were more respectful in the presence of female reporters. Whether that happens or not, is for both sides to decide. Of course the resolution will impact the female-male professional relationship, beyond the locker room. Miniscule, small, medium or large, change is already underway. Eyebrows have been raised, so there’s no going back.

accommodating change, for the better…hugmamma.

attractive, or irresponsible?

Ynez Sines, the Mexican sports reporter in the midst of an NFL investigation into sexual harassment charges leveled against members of the NY Jets football team, claims she is only a “witness” to the events which occurred in the locker room. Essentially, her tight jeans and white, button-down blouse provoked comments by some players. Having been within earshot, Sines twittered that she was very embarrassed and uncomfortable. Yet she explained on ” Good Morning America” and the “Today Show,” that she didn’t want the situation to become the brouhaha that it has. But now that it has, she is content to leave the matter in the hands of the NFL. Will she rethink how she dresses on the job? No, she wants to remain true to herself, dressing as she pleases.

Sines is entitled to live her life as she wishes. She’s chosen to be a sportscaster, with access to the men’s locker rooms. She’s obviously aware what presses mens’ “buttons,” athletes being no exception. That their testosterone levels are “through the roof” after exiting a game like Roman gladiators of old, should be no surprise. Being the sole woman in an atmosphere heavily laden with male hormones running wild, requires Sines have the impenetrable skin of an armadillo or a rhinoceros. Judging from her appearance, she bears no resemblance to either. She looks more like a fawn, vulnerable.

Many years ago when my daughter was still a student at a performing arts conservatory, my husband and I accompanied a group of young dancers to a dance festival in Utah. Looking forward to the trip with excitement, the teenage girls made plans including what to wear. Twelve years ago, the dress code on airplanes was not as relaxed as it is today. (But definitely more relaxed than a decade earlier.) So my daughter’s announcement that a couple of the 13 and 14 year olds planned to wear short shorts upon take-off, garnered our disapproval.

I explained that the girls would receive unwanted attention from men, whose leering glances would undoubtedly follow the youngsters sashaying their way down the aisle of the aircraft. I’m sure they would have approved if the looks came from attractive boys, but men in business suits? Picturing it, my daughter felt the image was a yucky thought. The dancer who initiated the trip’s provocative dress code eventually left the conservatory, and enrolled in a public school where she was in and out of relationships, seemingly in search of love and security. We were happy to recently learn that she is settled, enjoying marriage and motherhood.

I agree that women should do what they want to do. But I think it wise to consider the realities of life when making choices. If Sines were my daughter, I would be concerned for her safety. Dressing to look beautiful, her explanation, will draw attention, good and bad. Men shouldn’t “cross the line,” but who’s going to stop them? Rapes are reported in the news with regularity. Something snaps in a rapist’s mind, he victimizes a woman, killing her to eradicate his crime, knowing that if he’s caught he’ll most likely serve a life sentence. While that can end life as he knows it, he’s still alive and cared for, until he dies. Unfortunately his victim is gone forever. I wouldn’t want that for Sines. I wouldn’t want that for anyone’s daughter.

A woman can, and should, fight for her rights. I just think she should choose her battles, and life, so she can continue to be an activist for women’s rights.

the right choice, hugs for…hugmamma.

brit loves america

I thought the following TV Times piece was especially interesting since I have several good friends who are Brits. Some even read my posts. Here’s the article, in part.

“Piers Morgan loves America” by Kate O’Hare

He may be Irish by ethnicity and British by nationality, but Piers Morgan loves America, and over the course of several years as a judge on NBC’s “American’s Got Talent,” …he’s gotten to see a lot of the nation and its people.

He’s even written a book about his experiences, called “God Bless America: Misadventures of a Big Mouth Brit,” released in 2009.

“When I used to come here as a young show-business reporter for one of the London papers, I had a warped view,” Morgan says. “The only Americans I met were lawyers, entertainment agents, managers and celebrities, which is not a very good reflection of the real America. So, you end up thinking all Americans are like that, because they’re the only ones you meet.

“The same way, if you’re on holiday in Europe, and you see a bunch of football hooligans fighting, you go, ‘God, they’re a bunch of savages.’ “

As to what he’s learned during his travels, Morgan says, “What a huge country this is, and so varied. As I’ve traveled around with ‘America’s Got Talent,’ I’ve gone to the North, South, East, West–everywhere very different.

“The common ground, I think, is that American people are very courteous in a way, I think, Brits have unfortunately become less courteous. There’s a great spirit and energy about America. There’s a real can-do mentality, where you don’t have a social class structure. Your structure is based on achievement and people who have done well for themselves. You embrace that and encourage that.

“It’s intoxicating for Brits, where a lot of the time in Britain, it’s what kind of silver spoon you were born with in your family, is how you get on.

“So it’s nice, the can-do mentality. America’s not perfect, but it has a great spirit to it. Certainly if I was in trouble, I’d want to have a couple of Americans in my corner.”

We can take pride in being Americans.

hugs for us…hugmamma.

 

a football player, and more

Read an amazing article in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Meet the NFL”s Most Interesting Man.” In part, it reads “The wonderfully named Zoltan Mesko speaks five languages and grew up dreaming of being an aerospace engineer before graduating from Michigan with a business degree and a master’s in sports management. He got lured into football only after he smashed a ceiling light with a kick ball in his Twinsburg, Ohio, junior-high-school gym.”

Romanian by birth, Mesko moved to America in 1997, when he was 10. Having left behind a war-torn country, his parents, both engineers, found living in a New York City apartment not much better. “It was expensive, dirty and cramped-even for three people–so they moved to Twinsburg, a Cleveland suburb with a large Eastern European community.”

In high-school Mesko discovered he could earn a college scholarship as a punter. “When he told his parents, they didn’t believe him. But Mr. Mesko knew they couldn’t pay for college, so he devoted himself to the singular skill of kicking a football as high as he could.” With the help of his father who “sent VHS tapes of Zoltan’s highlights to 86 colleges,” and his mother who researched school rankings according to their academics, he was the nation’s top punting prospect before his senior year. He was offered a scholarship to Indiana, and thereafter, admission to every Ivy League school. Wanting the best of both worlds, Ohio State and Columbia University, Mesko enrolled at Michigan State University.

“In 2009, he set Michigan’s records for gross yards per punt, at 44.5, and net yards per punt (gross minus the return), at 41. He was also named an Academic All-American and became the first specialist in 130 years of Michigan football to be named a captain. ‘That’s one I’m proudest of,’ he says.”

On July 16, the 24 year-old, 6-foot-4 punter signed with the New England Patriots. At the NFL’s minimum wage salary of $325,000 a year (we should all try out at that rate), plus a team bonus of $187,250 Mesko “might be among the poorest players in the NFL but is probably the richest kid from Timisoara, Romania.”

a football player, and more…hugmamma.

NFL, for the men

My recent focus has been women, so I’m turning the limelight over to the men.

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, an interesting article got my attention “Who Forgot to Turn Off the NFL?” I have a difficult time paying homage to athletes with attitude who make a lot of money. So I perused the paragraphs, searching for ammunition to bolster my opinion. The subtitle read “As Football Booms, Once-Sleepy Training Camps Become Stages for Grudges, Boasts, PR Stunts and Psychodramas.” Aha! I thought. Here’s fodder for me to chew on.

The article opens with remarks by Dick Vermeil, former NFL coach,  “Sometimes in your effort to make the team better, you bring in players who bring a lot of attention to themselves,…These distractions are an irritation.” The article goes on to list some of the “sideshows.” Cincinnati’s camera-hogging wide receiver Terrel Owens and media magnet Chad Ochocinco are teaming up as “Hot Summer Couples!” Washington’s defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth has failed to pass the Redskin’s fitness test. Might it have anything to do with the fact that he opted out of the team’s off-season training program? Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady hasn’t yet recommitted, once this final year in his 6-year contract expires. Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens safety, grumbles that he’s not able to quickly access game film from the team. Minnesota Viking quarterback Brett Favree still “sits on the fence” about retiring (for the third consecutive year). Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steeler’s quarterback, returned to camp before serving “a multigame league-issued suspension after an incident at a Georgia nightclub.”

NFL Network analyst and former Steeler defensive back and Hall of Famer, Rod Woodson describes current league athletes as “mouthier…and less beholden to the idea that all team business should be handled in the locker room. ‘Today’s players seem like they have an agenda every time they speak to the media,’…” Vermeil contends that “the NFL’s summer landscape has become increasingly loony.” even before the training camps commenced. A contributing factor might be the NFL’s increased popularity. According to Harris Interactive, pro football “has risen to a 35% favorable rating among American adults in 2009, a 46% increase since 1985.” In the past decade it’s shown an average 3.7% increase in regular season TV ratings, while three other major U.S. pro sports leagues saw an average 35% drop in ratings.

“The appetite for all things NFL was apparent Friday in Westminster, Md., when 11,506 attended the Ravens’ first full-squad practice, the largest turnout for a nonscrimmage practice in team history. When the big-talking Jets arrived at their camp site in Cortland, N.Y., on Sunday, 1,500 fans lined the street to welcome them.” Woodson seems perplexed that the league is in the news even when nothing’s going on.

Patriot’s longtime coach, Bill Belichick seems to suggest that present day players are being coddled. ” ‘Compared to when I came into the league, there is no training camp,…in 1975, we started camp July 5 and our first regular-season game was Sept. 21. It was forever; it was 2 1/2 months. So has training camp changed? (The players) have no idea.’ 

 The article ventures to add that training camps in earlier times were “far more likely to induce yawning.” The big news in 1990 from the Vikings camp was how to get more touches for running back Herschel Walker, and that 5 players from the Chicago Bears missed their camp startup. The San Fransisco Chronicle reported one day that phone service in the 49ers dorm was temporarily disrupted.

Comparing the hoopla surrounding NFL training camps today, former NFL coach Jerry Glanville claims “that training camps have always been crazy. The only real difference is the impression itself. ‘It’s just covered better…Nothing that’s going on hasn’t happened before 100 times.’ ” He remembers when the Houston Oilers required players to “complete a mile run in six minutes in order to practice. But the team’s star running back, Earl Campbell, couldn’t do it. The team’s coach at the time, Bum Phillips, came up with a solution, Mr. Glanville said: ‘If it’s 4th-and-a-mile, I won’t give him the ball.’ ”

Have the fans unknowingly created modern-day NFL Frankensteins who lay claim to all they see? Or are we unfairly scrutinizing every detail of their lives in an attempt to know them better? Do the players call attention to themselves, or do the fans put the spotlight on the players with unrelenting adulation? Maybe there’s enough guilt to go around.

what do you think?…hugmamma