Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cast of the Broadway Show Pippin wants to save Temple Men's Gymnastics

Here's a video made by Temple gymnastics alum and current Pippin performer, Richard Maguire:

This crisis and others like it should force universities to rethink how resources are split between sports. As this Deadspin article illustrates, it wasn't the infamous Title IX legislation that is decimating some of the smaller men's sports but the disproportionate amount of funding that goes into sports like football. And though football brings in big bucks at some schools, it runs at a loss at many others. And because football teams are awarded the lion share of athletic scholarships that a university has to offer male athletes, when it comes time to cut programs and scholarships, the fringe men's sports are the ones to suffer. Because women don't play football, there is no comparable program on the women's side that sucks up such a huge portion of available resources.

In the case of Temple, they tried to be a big time football team and have lost a ton of money on it. As Barry Petchesky writes:

The chase for bigtime football is a pyramid scheme, and the Owls remain afloat at the expense of those sports on the bottom. What happens when the con man runs out of suckers?

One of the arguments that is typically made for football is that it pays for itself in terms of revenue that comes from ticket sales, TV contracts, and video games. But that's only true some of the time. As the Temple example demonstrates, that's not always true. 

If it's all about revenue generation then perhaps let's admit that student-athletes are professionals. I mean, that's the task of professional athletes--to generate profits for their owners. And if they are such, they should be compensated with more than just scholarships. After all, their schools and the NCAA makes a ton of money off of their backs and most college level football and basketball players will not going onto to earn huge contracts in professional leagues. But if supporting college athletics is about something more than profit, it is perhaps time to reconsider how we apportion our limited resources and athletic scholarships.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Job Ad That Proves How Desperately You Need the Person You're Trying to Hire

I was perusing the writing job section of Craigslist as is my custom and I found this ad from Major League Soccer:

They are looking for "preditor"--which according to the body of the ad is a hybrid term meant to combine "producer" and "editor." If only they had an editor who could've pointed out that this sounds kind of awful.

If you're looking for a "preditor" perhaps the folks at Dateline and To Catch a Predator can help.

Obviously, this ad proves that they are in desperate need of what they're searching for.

But at least it isn't as bad as that other hybrid term--Dr. Tobias Funke's infamous combining of "analyst" and "therapist" to become the world's first "analrapist."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Anti Anti-Vaxxer Satire: Jenny McCarthy Takes Her Dog to the Vet

I wasn't a fan of Jenny McCarthy back when she was on MTV or in Playboy, but posing nude or sticking your tongue out on camera are neutral actions for me. I didn't give her existence much thought, one way or another.

But several incarnations later, the "actress" and View co-host has become one of the leading voices in the anti-vaxxer movement that gained momentum despite lacking scientific credibility. She urges parents to not vaccinate their children, hearkening to a discredited study that linked the injection to autism. Thousands of studies have proven otherwise yet the anti-vaxxers still insist and persist.

Part of the reason they are so persuasive is because vaccines have been so effective. We rarely see the diseases they prevent and we don't know how bad things can get. But as the daughter of older parents, I have heard my mother describe the fear that would accompany summertime in New York, which is when outbreaks of polio would spike. My great aunt (my mother's aunt) contracted the virus. The result: her face was partially paralyzed, which also slurred her speech.

When Jonas Salk introduced the polio vaccine, "My mother rushed us out to get it," my mother recalled.

Because this great aunt survived her bout with polio and lived a long life, I was able to see firsthand the effects of the virus against which I had been vaccinated as a baby. The features on one side of her face were tugged upward and on a slant as though there were invisible marionette strings pulling on the corner of mouth and eye.

I don't think you need to witness the effects of a disease such as polio to understand that you don't want your child to get it. Open a history book or search "iron lung" on the internet. Polio is still a big problem in places like Pakistan. And in the age of globalization, it's "have virus, will travel." Problems such as disease rarely stay local.

Which brings me to my first contribution to Medium, which is a satirical look at the anti-vaxxer position, imagining what a visit to the vet looks like for McCarthy after she refuses to vaccinate her dog, using the same reasoning that she does for not vaccinating children.

McCarthy: Vaccines cause autism so therefore dogs that are vaccinated can get autism. This isn’t hard to understand.Miller: Let me reassure you, autism spectrum disorders have never been diagnosed in canines.McCarthy: Haven’t been diagnosed yet. The last time Ping Pong received shots at this office, he stopped sniffing butts at the dog park for days. He just dug a hole alone in the corner of the field.

Check the rest out here and let me know what you think.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Missing In Action: The Shushunova on Floor Exercise

I was just watching Oksana Chusovitina's floor exercise performance at this weekend's Mexican Open where she performed a Shushunova at the end of her floor routine when it hit me--where have all the Shushunovas gone?

Not too long ago, gymnasts were collapsing/falling/landing prone in every routine. It also made one think that your torso was just as good to land on as your feet.

Often these jumps were not pretty nor did they fit the tone of the music. But they looked hard and painful and in gymnastics, if you can't make it look beautiful and effortless, you should let everyone know just how hard you're working. That's what this Code of Points is all about, right?

Still, I kind of miss seeing them all of the time, especially when the alternative seems to be that ugly turning switch ring leap.