All Articles Tagged "sports"
As you follow the Olympics, watching your favorite events with youth athletes you are coaching and/or parenting, you will encounter many teachable moments. Here is advice on what to look for and how to use those teachable moments to develop Better Athletes, Better People from Tina Syer (@TinaPCA), PCA’s Chief Impact Officer, who is also a youth sports coach and parent.
It’s up to parents and coaches to help kids draw out life lessons from sports. Sometimes we think kids will simply absorb the lessons that are obvious to us as adults, but that is not often the case. One way to get at those life lessons is by “asking rather than telling” when watching sports together.
For example, watching the recent NCAA Softball World Series with my boys, I asked them right after a walk-off home run, “What do you think she was thinking before that at-bat?” They talked about how she was probably nervous, and we had a wonderful conversation about how she handled those feelings and still hit the game a winner. Then we talked about other times when people feel nervous (before presenting something to the class at school, before performing in an assembly/concert, etc.) and how they could use techniques from sports (like taking deep breaths) to help them in these other settings.
As you watch the Olympics with your youth athletes, keep your eye out for both positive and negative life lessons. If you see poor sportsmanship, you might ask, “What did you think of that? What would you have done differently there?”
On the more positive side, we often see Olympians thanking the officials after a competition. Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings is particularly good at this, and it can be a wonderful example for our kids – to remind them to thank sports officials, yes – but also to take that practice more widely into their lives by thanking people who often go under-appreciated, such as food servers, janitors, bus drivers, teachers, coaches and more.
We also see Olympians picking up their teammates (and perhaps even an opponent) after a loss or disappointing performance. Talk with your kids about times when their classmates, friends and/or teammates are down and what they can specifically do to pick them up – this might be in the middle of a performance or just after it’s over.
Life lessons also are available from the coverage of Olympians attending events other than their own, when cameras often find them cheering in the stands. These athletes are supporting their Olympic teammates (even outside their own sport), which can plant the seed for your kids to support their friends or classmates at others sports events, or music/drama performances, etc.
Also keep a close eye on the medal ceremonies. That’s when you’ll see the opportunity for life lessons in winning and losing gracefully. For example, if a sorely disappointed Silver medalist can overcome narrowly missing Gold and share sincere congratulations, that is an opportunity to talk with kids about times they were disappointed with an outcome and compare it to what we’re seeing on TV. “I remember when you did not get to sit first chair in the orchestra and you were disappointed. But just like this Silver Medalist, you kept your head up and congratulated Jonathan, who narrowly edged you out. That made me really proud of you.”
One last thing to keep in mind is the Olympic motto – “Citius, Altius, Fortius” – which translates to “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” In our PCA workshops, we often ask athletes, “Why is this not ‘Fastest, Highest, Strongest?’“ The reason is that the Olympic spirit and the true nature of competition calls on athletes to give their own best personal performances. Many athletes enter the Olympic Games knowing they don’t have a shot at the podium, but they still give their best personal performance. This is a huge lesson for our kids – in life, our focus should be on giving our own best personal performance – comparing ourselves to ourselves, not just to those around us.
Honestly, if Michael Jordan wasn’t going to say anything remotely revolutionary, then he probably shouldn’t have said anything at all.
It’s not that anything he wrote in his open letter on why he could no longer stay silent about police brutality and the cop killings, was particularly offensive – at least not as offensive as what is currently public discourse in this country on the issues of race and police brutality.
It’s that it’s too late for him to say anything at all, especially something as cautious as this:
“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.
“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.”
Yes, we get it, Jordan: All lives matter. Tell us something we haven’t been hearing for the past couple of years.
And while I would like to color myself surprised, what did anyone expect Jordan to say?
In spite of being a multi-championship winning, legendary basketball player, as well as a successful business man and co-owner of his own NBA team, he is also seen by many within the community as anti-Black and unlikable. It’s a reputation both earned and born out of conspiracy.
The conspiracy part helped to position Jordan as some sort of Black version of a evil tycoon super villain who peddles a product that promoted greed, conspicuous consumption and violence in the Black community. The belief is that people kill for Jordans and the actual Jordan took no responsibility – all while cashing in on millions.
As fictitious as the belief is, it is a theory that is only aided by Jordan’s real-life persona, which many have said was downright rude, competitive and antagonistic to other people of color, who he felt were less respectable than himself.
Or as rapper N.O.R.E once told the RapRadar podcast about a chance meeting with Jordan:
“I seen him shut Redman down at a Def Jam Christmas party,” the Queens native recalls. “We were all sitting there waiting to speak to Michael Jordan. N—-s said, ‘Yo, Redman and Method Man is here.’ [MJ] said, ‘F— rap.’ I seen the n—- say that.”
“That s— hurt me. Def Jam Christmas party, Mariah Carey hosting and s— like that,” he added. “He only spoke to Hov…that’s without a doubt.”
The way Jordan, and his cohorts, wanted us to see him was as a mentor. A hero. A perfect family man. A fine example of what can happen when a kid from a rough neighborhood bootstraps his way to the top. But ironically, it was the real and fanciful images of Jordan were instrumental in the deconstructing of a counter-narrative that Jordan – as well as the media and the NBA – had carefully crafted of the star player over the years.
And the dismantling of his image would ultimately come by the hands of a younger, more socially aware, generation of millennial (and younger), who turned decades of the community’s frustration with the legend into the now-infamous crying face Michael Jordan meme.
Or as noted by Ian Crouch in this article for the New Yorker entitled, “How Air Jordan Became Crying Jordan”
“The further we get from Jordan’s playing days, the easier it is to believe that he was just a marketing mirage. This is partly his doing, even if it’s not his fault. While he almost certainly never said “Republicans buy sneakers, too”—as is often attributed to him to explain why he remained mostly aloof from politics and quiet on social issues—he has always been a meticulous curator of his public image, and a vigilant protector of his right to earn money from his likeness. (There’s even mild concern on the Internet that Jordan, Inc., might soon try to come for Crying Jordan.) It’s ironic, too, that, as the man himself becomes inevitably less cool, the sneaker brand that bears his name has become only more sought-after and fetishized, to the point that “Jordan” and “Jordans” mean very different things. Just last summer, Jordan fell victim to a different Web meme while taking questions from kids at a basketball camp. In a gymnasium packed with young people, a camper popped up and shouted “What are those?” at Jordan, mocking the legend’s new sneakers. The entire place erupted in laughter. Getting owned by a seventeen-year-old: the world must seem like a strange place to Michael Jordan these days.
A new generation of basketball fans knows only this earthly, diminished Jordan, and it seems to have decided that he holds up poorly compared to the man who now claims the title of best player on the planet: Steph Curry. Curry, like Jordan in his day, represents a step forward in the evolution of basketball. And he is the centerpiece of a team that not only wins a lot of basketball games (the most ever this season, surpassing Jordan’s 1995-1996 Bulls) but appears to have a great deal of fun doing so. It’s impossible to imagine Curry punching a teammate in practice, or mocking the lesser players on his team. Curry radiates only joy, which, for now, seems as though it will last forever. Of course, Jordan was young once, too.
“I think eventually people are going to recognize the crying Jordan face more than his actual legacy,” a real twenty-four-year-old person told the Wall Street Journal earlier this year. Please, put a Crying Jordan face on that millennial. And then put one on me, and on everyone else.”
As some will note, Jordan has given very generously over the years, and mostly in secret.
But as many others will argue, charity, while helpful, is not the same thing as activism or organizing. The money that he pledged to two organizations aimed at bridging the gap between the police and the Black community in no way competes his physical presence at negotiations with state legislatures to overturn the North Carolina bathroom law.
In an open letter where many were hoping to see Jordan finally take a stand for something, he chose to ride the fence.
And while some might be impressed that a man, known for not saying much about race, finally said something, for others his words and charity are too little and too late.
Now that summer is in full swing, children all over the country are now going full-force in their favorite sport. Whether they’re on a team or enrolled in an intensive camp, we have some advice: If your child is spending the whole year playing one sport, switch it up and also make them play another one.
While most parents–especially fathers–secretly wish that their child is that prodigy who focuses on one sport and at least earns a college scholarship (and will possibly go professional), it is best that they diversify.
For starters, a study published in the Sports Health Journal concluded that there is no concordance between playing sports at an elite level and intense training before the age of 13 or 14. In fact, many of the greatest athletes didn’t pick up the sports that they became legendary in until high school. NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon didn’t start playing basketball until he was 15. By adolescence, a developing child’s body and mind can handle the intensity and develop at exponential rates.
Outside of there not being a substantial increase in skill set before 13, a child focusing on one sport leads to burnout and an increase in risk of injury. Between 73 to 90 percent of single-sport children are more likely to get injured than those who play multiple sports. They’re breaking down muscles, bones, and cartilage while they’re growing. Children who play just one sport are at a higher risk of quitting not only the one they play, but physical activity altogether.
Raising two children, I have become a sports dad. My daughter, Cydney, has been playing soccer year-round for two years. My nephew plays three sports. While he has a lot of potential playing basketball, his future is quite bright in baseball. The two of them rub off on the other. Because of Cydney, my nephew has begun playing soccer. Because she spends three days a week for six-to-eight months a year at baseball fields, Cydney wants to play girls’ softball next year. Soccer has assisted with my nephew becoming a better infielder and my daughter, at five-years-old, is charging for ground balls.
For those that think their child possess the talent to play professionally, the sport that made more than a few pros household names was secondary. Allen Iverson is on his way to the NBA Hall of Fame and basketball was just something he did to keep in shape after football season when he was younger. NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon played soccer until he was 15. Jim Brown is one of greatest players in the NFL’s history, but it’s also little-known that he is considered one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time. Using these three as examples, AI’s famous plays are him being a quarterback with a basketball, Hakeem’s finesse comes from his footwork, and the agility that Jim Brown possessed derived from avoiding getting hit with a stick while running at full speed.
Most children don’t know what they want to do as adults. Are any of us in the careers that we stood in front of a stage in pre-K and said: “When I grow up I want to be a ____?” More than likely, the answer is no. After years of being an aspiring rapper, I stumbled upon becoming a writer.
Playing more than one sport will let your kids have more fun, give their minds and bodies a challenge and a break…and they will have something new to talk about.
No matter where you turn, you see her, those sculpted abs and the unstoppable drive that makes her destroy opponents on the tennis court. Many of us have longed to be in Serena Williams’ shoes at one point or another, even if it was just to dance alongside Beyoncé in a music video or steal kisses from Drake at the dinner table, but do you know what it really takes to be Serena Williams?
Tonight EPIX will give viewers an in-depth look at what it means to be the four-time Olympic Gold Medalist and International sport’s icon. Their feature-length documentary, simply titled Serena, will focus on the day-to-day life interactions the pro athlete has with her family, friends, and business colleagues, and how she navigates competition from opponents. A press release adds “viewers will be witness to the external pressures and vulnerabilities Williams faces in her quest to achieve four Grand Slams in a row (a “Serena Slam”), and her losses at the 2015 U.S. Open and 2016 Australian Open.”
Directed by Ryan White, Serena is expected to give viewers the ingredients to become a champion in their own right and who better to take that recipe from that Williams?
Serena premieres tonight on EPIX at 8 pm.
About 50 years after racial segregation had been outlawed in the US, Gabby Douglas made her historical Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics. But, despite nearly half a century of racial integration in American society, Gabby’s presence on the gym floor was as conspicuous as a polar bear in a desert — a Black girl slaying it in gymnastics, a “White sport”, was extraordinary.
It’s not just in gymnastics that Black athletes are sparse, the same can be said for other sports like lacrosse, swimming, soccer, tennis, and crew, to name a few. So what exactly is going on here? Aren’t we post-racial by now?
It’s no accident that in today’s society, the basketball courts and athletic tracks are dominated by Black athletes, meanwhile white athletes dominate in the pools and on the tennis courts. While it might be tempting to explore “the why” of this matter from a genetics angle, the root cause of it is probably more socioeconomic than biological.
The preparation for sports competition at the intercollegiate level and beyond begins several years in advance of college. Youth and high school sports programs are crucial to the skills development of an athlete; the quality of the coaching and sporting facilities; and the variety in sports offered are largely determined by the amount of funding available for these sports programs. In her book, White Sports / Black Sports: Racial Disparities in Athletic Programs, Lori Latrice Martin notes:
Neighborhoods that are predominantly white, tend to have more homeowners than renters, higher housing values, and greater access to resources and quality schools with quality sports programs and facilities. Neighborhoods that are predominantly black tend to have more renters than homeowners, lower housing values, and less access to resources and quality schools with quality programs and facilities.
The far reaching effects of a history of racial discrimination and economic oppression against Blacks in America rears its ugly head (yet again) in the form of informally segregated residential neighborhoods, which results in disparity in opportunities. The cost to maintain a 50m Olympic-size pool or manicured grass for sports like golf and soccer is hefty, in comparison to the upkeep required for a running track or basketball court; thus we generally see more Black athletes in basketball and track, whereas White athletes have wider access to more types of sports.
Not only is access an issue, the personal monetary investment to participate in “White sports” can be cost prohibitive; a private tennis lesson in the Boston area can cost you about $70/ hr, and a new top of the line field hockey stick could set you back about $300.
A friend of mine who played intercollegiate field hockey in the Midwest told me that field hockey was largely perceived as a private school thing, and that some students had never even seen field hockey before seeing it played for the first time in college. “College fields, courts and rivers are now teeming with equestriennes, female soccer players, rowers, and other athletes, but almost all of them — 70 percent — are white,” writes Welch Suggs in the essay: Title IX Has Done Little for Minority Female Athletes.
While racism in sport definitely does exist (Gabby Douglas spoke about this in an interview with Oprah, and we all know about the hate Serena Williams has had to endure), as a former field hockey player myself, I personally never felt disparaged by my teammates or coaches because of the color of my skin. However, there were a few times when discouragement crept in — stemming from members of the Black community itself.
As a young girl, I’d never thought of sports as being “Black” or “White” but high school quickly changed that. As a freshman, I learned that I played a “White sport,” because Black people would sometimes qualify my Blackness by adding words like, “but you play field hockey,” to the end of a sentence, as if to say that I wasn’t really Black or Black enough. I was Black but with an asterisk — a coconut — brown on the outside but white on the inside. For any teenager, high school is a tumultuous time where you’re just trying to figure yourself out and fit in, so such comments did make me question my choice in sport. I stuck with field hockey though because I loved it so much, and I was able to go to a great college partially because of my athletic achievements. By the time I got to college, I didn’t care anymore if people thought that I was coconut.
It’s unfortunate that there’s a lot of money left on the table in the form of college scholarships that Black athletes are not accessing at the moment. Hopefully as the socioeconomic barriers that have prevented minority athletes from gainfully participating in classic “White sports” crumble over time, we’ll see a rise in the participation of Black athletes in more sports. Role models like Gabby Douglas, Serena Williams and Simone Manuel will continue to be important as well to break racial stereotypes about Black women in sports.
The professional sports arena is messier than any reality show these days.
Matt Barnes became a trending topic on Wednesday after reports that he drove 95 miles to his estranged wife Gloria Govan’s Los Angeles home to “beat the sh*t” out of former teammate and current Knicks coach, Derek Fisher. According to Page Six, Barnes’ six-year-old sons called to tell him that Fisher was at their house. Reportedly, Barnes dropped everything after receiving the call and hit the road. It’s reported that he arrived at the home around 11:45 p.m., which is when the alleged fight broke out. Apparently, Govan was not off limits during the incident, as some reports claim that Barnes “spit in her face.”
Representatives for the estranged couple have not commented on the incident, but the NBA has acknowledged that something went down between the former teammates. The incident is currently under investigation, according to a spokesperson for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Fisher flew to California Saturday afternoon to see his children. The Knicks had Sunday off, but the player-turned-coach missed practice on Monday due to travel issues, ESPN reports. He did, however, make it to Wednesday’s night’s preseason match.
When questioned about the incident and what may have fueled it following the game, Fisher had this to say:
“Personal and private matters are personal and private. We’re obviously public figures, but we’re at work. So I won’t be commenting on anything that’s happened personally or privately for me.”
He did, however, reveal that he spoke with Knicks players regarding the possible altercation.
“I wanted to make sure that before they were asked about it at least that they heard from me directly about my state of mind and how present I am,” Fisher said. “I’ve been through a lot in life and experienced a lot of things. And sometimes we go through things in life that we can or cannot control. I’m here; I’m focused. It’s not something that’s going to take me away from who we are and what we’re trying to do. And I assured them of that. The only way to do that is to go out and do your job, and that’s what we’re going to do tonight.”
“It kind of caught everybody off guard,” said Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. “Nobody really knew what was going on. Still, nobody knows the details of what’s happening.”
I really have no idea why menfolks like Dr. Boyce Watkins object so harshly to Lee Daniels’ smash hit television show “Empire”?
Actually I do: it’s about the women and the gays. It’s always about the women and the gays…
That is certainly the theme in Watkins’ latest essay entitled, Why I refuse to support the coonery of the show, “Empire.”
I use “latest” as a relative term here considering this was originally posted in March of this year. Still this link, along with similar sentiments about the show, have been making the rounds again in lieu of the Empire’s second season premiere. As such I thought it best to address some of the “finer” points in the essay.
“When the Fox Network released the new show, “Empire,” I was concerned about what I might see on screen. Fox is not known for producing the most favorable images of black people, so I figured this show wouldn’t be any different. For some reason, black dysfunctionality makes for great television, and there is a long line of white guys getting rich off of our willingness to celebrate all that makes us miserable.
If you do some research, you might notice some of the same things I’ve seen in this ghetto-fied hood drama: Pimps, hoes, thugs, gangsters, emasculated black men, and all kinds of other kinds of stereotypical coonery that many of us have grown tired of seeing portrayed on-screen. Lee Daniels is apparently the man responsible for this televised monstrosity, and I wonder if a day will ever come that the majority of us will refuse to support directors who pimp their people to help bigots like Rupert Murdoch get rich from modern day minstrel shows.”
I am not going to bore you with the rest of the essay, but rest assured it is filled with the same ugly vitriol you would find in most essays and social media rants about the effeminate men and Black women.
And to be clear: Watkins may try to hide it inside a need and desire for more favorable images of black people” as a whole, but this is an attack on Black women too.
In fact, Watkins has made a habit (some would say a career) railing against programming created for the entertainment of Black women. “Scandal” is one. Reality television is another. And now “Empire” which, according to this article in Vulture Magazine, is the ratings share “equivalent of a Super Bowl” among African-American women between 35 and 49 years old.
Without saying it directly, Watkins, as usual, lays the onus of both the destruction and the repair of the community falls on the shoulders – or in this case, the eyeballs – of Black women. After all, it is our entertainment and viewing habits, which are allegedly hurting our image. And it is our support of “Empire” that is allegedly helping evil media mogul Rupert Murdoch get wealthier.
And if us Black Queens [eyeroll] would stop watching these frivolous programs that do nothing but distract us from raising children and making sandwiches for our men (that’s why they are emasculated), our men would be free to get jobs, stay out of prison and get down to the business of nation building.
But let’s suppose it’s all true. Let’s imagine for a moment that “Empire” is nothing more than a high-tech minstrel show, bankrolled by FOX with an agenda to turn all Black men into the gays and Black women into weave-wearing, White-men screwing NeNe Leakeses. My question is when will menfolks like Watkins lead by example?
What I mean is why are there never any essays connecting the dots between Murdoch’s evil plans to harm the Black community and FOX Sports?
Besides reality shows and “Empire,” there is no other more problematic image of Black people on television than what has come out of the NFL. I’m talking sexual assaults and domestic violence. I’m talking the financial castigation of Black men through exploitive contracts and poor ownership opportunities. And I’m talking head traumas, broken backs and other permanent physical damage to the players themselves.
Murdoch gets paid handsomely off of that oppression too. In fact, his Fox Sports networks are gaining ground on ESPN in terms of ratings, including in Black households. Taking a stand against the “coonery” by boycotting Murdoch’s sport networks and broadcast of NFL games would be the ultimate opportunity for the brothers to flex that invigorated-brand of masculinity, which they are always claiming is being snatched away from them by Black women, effeminate Black men and The Man.
And yet there aren’t any scathing essays imploring the menfolks to empower themselves through a boycott of the upcoming Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcon or the New England Patriots vs Dallas Cowboys games on FOX Sports. To be fair, Watkins, in 2008, did call for a boycott of NCAA basketball season, some of which might have aired on FOX Sports. But that was solely about getting college athletes paid. And he made no mention of how our support of March Madness contributed to FOX or Murdoch.
I guess he was cool with us lining Murdoch’s pockets back then. Just like how it was cool when we all went to go see X-men, Planet of the Apes, Alien vs Predator, Fantastic Four, and other action films produced by FOX. You know because Murdoch owns a lot of shat including the film studios, production and distribution companies and television stations in which great deal of our entertainment comes from?
Nope. Watkins, and others brothers who charge others with the task of fixing the Black community’s image, rarely seek empowerment through self-control and personal accountability. Instead, these fellas mostly seek validation of themselves through the policing of what the we women can say, do or even enjoy.
What’s most interesting in Watkins’ angst over “Empire’s” alleged role in bankrolling Murdoch’s empire is that Watkins himself has been a guest quite a few times on FOX programming. Talk about contributing to one’s own demise. But I guess that was different, huh?
The U.S. Open started yesterday, and we officially have tennis fever. While we’re rooting for Serena Williams to win it all, we’re also looking forward to seeing what she’s going to wear on the court. Williams has played in everything from a denim skirt to studded hot pants, and her daring style choices are an inspiration both on and off the court. So we’ve come up with three outfits of our own that we hope would make the No. 1 tennis player in the world proud and make you look like the ultimate fitness fashionista. Get inspired by the following ensembles:
The color blocking and mesh detail on this Monreal London dress help it stand apart from the typical tennis whites. Throw it on with a fresh pair of sneakers and some shades and top it all off with a sporty backpack.
Dress, Monreal London – $415 / Sneakers, Mango – $80 / Backpack, Herschel Supply – $55 / Rings, Kohl’s – $7.99 / Earrings, Kate Spade – $32 / Headphones, Beats by Dre – $300 / Sunglasses, Ray-Bans – $160
The world’s biggest athletes will receive honors for their achievements at the 2015 ESPY Awards tonight. With so many Black athletes commanding their courts, fields, stages, and rings, we decided to look at 15 of today’s biggest and most dominant Black athletes in the world of sports.
Are you going to watch Floyd Mayweather v. Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd? Floyd is regarded as the best boxer of his time, but some of the controversies in his past are giving boxing fans pause.