Category Archives: Ballet

High School Athletes and Concussions

Out of curiosity, I searched the phrase “high school athletes concussions” in YouTube to see what kinds of results would turn up.  PBS did a story a couple years ago on the very topic.

A story by

A story by GQ:

I had a conversation a few months back with a friend about why it is that football is the sport whose game-play produces systemic injuries that affect the health of its players more profoundly than basketball, baseball, futbol, hockey, gymnastics, figure skating, and ballet.*  Hockey players probably experience more dental trauma than other athletes and rugby players surely endure all manner of bruising more often than a baseball pitcher or a futbol goalie.  Is it the length of a football player’s career that makes him compelled to play as hard as he can while he can?

 photo monica_bellucci006.jpg
*I add ballet here because it is a very physically demanding activity.  The feet take a serious beating.

If Johnny Unitas and Michael Jordan were all shook up

Their names shaken and stirred and anagramed.  I just learned of a site that will rearrange the letters in your name (or any word for that matter).  I put my name in it (my full first name and last name) and got:


I put a few other names in it to see what would happen.  And then a few names became many names, which turned into the following:

Hannibal Lecter = ENCHANT LIBERAL

Eliza Doolittle = TOIL IDLE ZEALOT

Snow White =WIT WHEN SO

Tommy Boy = MY TOMBOY

Heathers = THE SHARE

Fire Marshall Bill = BLAME SHRILL FLAIR

Sigmund Freud = FRIGS DUM NUDE

Joy Division = IS VOID JOY IN

Johnny Unitas = OH JAUNTY SHIN

Michael Jordan =IDOL CAN JAM HER

Terry Bradshaw =HER WRY BASTARD

Daryl Johnston = NORTHLAND JOYS

Terry Pendleton = NOT TRENDY LEPER

Ovie Mughelli = UGH! I’M EVIL OLE

Michael Turner = CRUELER HIT MAN

Mike Smith = I’M THE SKIM

Laurent Robinson = STERN LABOR UNION

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets = JOY! SWEET TALK CHOICE RAGGLE

Sugar Ray Leonard = UGLY OR RARE AND AS

Raging Bull = A BUNG GRILL

We Are Marshall = WELL AS A HARMER

Varsity Blues = BEASTLY VIRUS

Pete Sampras = MATES PAPERS

Tara Lipinski = PARK INITIALS

Martha Graham = RAT HARM HAG HAM

Margot Fonteyn = TYRANT OF GNOME

Mikhail Baryshnikov = I’M LAVISH, KINKY, ABHOR

The Nutcracker = CHECKER TRUANT

Swan Lake = SANE WALK



And then there’s the Sloganizer:
generated by

What I Saw when I wasn’t looking

When I was driving down the levels of the parking deck at work today, after rounding a corner, I saw two men, both probably at least fifty-five years old, that were talking to each other.  One of them was eating a lollipop.  That sight made my day.  I don’t recall ever having seen adult men eat a lollipop before (not counting celebrities).

~!~’s top ten TD dances.  I like number 6–Warren Sapp, what are you doing? But I love it!


I was walking around my room today about sunset, and I noticed the shadow that I cast against the floor under the door.  I decided to take a series of ballet-esque posed pix.  Below is the longest my legs will ever appear:

Click here and here for more of Fifth Position.

Click here for something a little Lovecraftian.

Dear lover, I am not pulling string out of my head; I’m just sitting here quietly like a blue wishbone, expecting my feet to hit the ground.

Ohio State Buckeyes, bring in the funk bring in the noise

A trip down most-popular-videos-lane brought me to a small concoction that the Ohio State football team watched as it prepared for the 2008 season.

Consisting of drills, game-play, weight room activity, and cardio exercise footage, this video reveals glimmers of football preparation that I’d probably only see on the NFL Network. I’m talking about footwork.





Even when the feet (and legs) are off-screen, the agility and marvel of the movement are delicate (for lack of a better word) in a manner that I’d previously not associated with football. I knew there was grace, artistic value kinesthetically–just not to this level of awareness. Successful drives are comprised of successful plays, which rely upon completed passes. Building good chemistry between the players is essential, of course, but so is the jack-be-nimble-and-quick quality of each player. Heart and technique are both musts. The drills on the sand and grassy knoll make me think of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Unless one of the persons from OSU’s athletic video department finds his or her way here to shed some light on the matter, I’ve no way of knowing what was and was not deliberate and planned.  At any rate, the juxtaposition of the different segments is consistent in pacing. Even if it isn’t intentional, I like the implication that football players do more than grrr and argh and wear spandex. Strength training is crucial as is speed, but one mustn’t forget the nuances of bodies moving through space.

This/that is why I like football. And, the grr and argh.

The LSU video from 2006 makes me think of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit video for some reason; it clearly focuses on the animalistic, brute strength aspect of the game. The human body as an instrument of destruction and harnessed energy.

The Georgia Tech video from 2007 is probably more like OSU’s than LSU’s, but it’s more ‘informational’ than ideological. Systematic rather than aesthetic.

And another thing:

Don’t forget to squeeze your rear-end muscles.

Or your 80s music and slow-motion instant replay. I could not stop laughing when this thing started.

Female Athletes: Suck It Up, Toughen Up, Beyond Perfect

….or not.


While I was on my way home tonight from a trip to Target and Fresh Market for Bounty napkins and hummus, I heard a news story on WABE 90.1, my local NPR station, about female athletes and injury. It was the Fresh Air segment and featured an interview with writer Michael Sokolove regarding his new book Warrior Girls: Protecting Our Daughters Against the Injury Epidemic in Women’s Sports.

What stood out the most to me about the piece was that women succumb to much injury during basic training for the military, but it takes a more serious injury  for a woman to be immobile and unable to continue training than for a man. Sokolove mentioned that studies don’t conclusively indicate that women can tolerate more pain than men. Relating to sports, he pointed out the drawbacks of the increased presence of female athletes–more women playing more sports (competitively for school or as a profession) means more physiological harm. Moreover, there’s greater expectation for females to take the pain like a male counterpart.

My impression was that Sokolove isn’t advocating the diminishing of the female athlete force; instead, he is bringing to light the necessity for a reconsideration of the role and development of competitive sports (particularly as it pertains to youth culture).* Young children who demonstrate a high level of skill in classical or performing arts (painting, music, singing, non-competitive dance**, sculpting) are encouraged to hone that ability to greater heights of not just technique but also of talent. Apparently, it should not or need not be the same for young children who display an above-average degree of athletic prowess. Sokolove criticized the tendency for these kids to become “too specialized” in one particular sport.

There are so many variables and factors to remember, of course. Pushing your creativity and brain to its limit can occur over a much longer period of time–decades. But the body? Not quite. Again, Sokolove probably didn’t intend to suggest that elementary and middle school-aged children should ignore that they might take to lacrosse or futbol more naturally than they do to tennis or swimming, but there’s moderation and knowing how to treat the body with the right balance of respect and nurture. He emphasized that female athletes need a different kind of training and practice regimen than males. He also noted that perhaps females would benefit more from having female coaches–who ostensibly comprehend the physiological differences between men and women and would therefore be more effective as a trainer.

Click here to read an excerpt from Sokolove’s book and to listen to the interview. It’s captivating!

*I watched a documentary when I was in grad school where sociologist Michael Messner argued that society needs to move past this implicit requirement for women to play as hard as men in order to survive and prove their worth in competitive sports.

**I realize that even non-competitive dancing comes with potential dangers too: eating disorders, pulled muscles, twisted and sprained ankles, stress fractures.

Pix creds: NPR

Read a New York Times article Michael Sokolove wrote about female athlete injury here.