Friday, April 22, 2011

Be sure to "friend" The Swim Brief

The Swim Brief:  Uh...  "making a big splash?"  "splashing onto the scene?"  awww, forget it.  We just want our mascot to be a fat guy in a brief. 
Some of you might have noticed that I recently started posting at The Swim Brief.  It is (so far) a collaboration with Chris DeSantis and Mike Gustafson, and I am excited to be a part of it.  I am looking forward to being part of a team that will be able to bring regular content on all things swimming.  I am mostly excited about the prospect of getting a rocking string of comments going on every topic out there.  Please help us to get people talking.  That is why we take the time to write this stuff.  We want to interact with you!

I plan to continue to post things here.  Some of the things I post here might not be on The Swim Brief, and other things might... so please keep checking in here and definitely tune in there. When you visit The Swim Brief, you will see that we already have it set up for you to follow us through Google and by "liking" us on facebook.  Please spread the word by suggesting your friends "like" us, and support us in our new venture into the world of swim blogging.

See ya there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Now that's an athlete...

When I was a kid, I kind of thought it was silly that Daredevil and some of the other superheroes did so many gymnastics moves when they were fighting ninja's and stuff, but I learned to accept it.  There was enough cool stuff that I could write it off as really fancy martial arts.  Plus, Elektra was so hot that all the posing added something for my junior high maturity level brain to process on a much deeper level with real complexity.  

Then, when I rented the movie Gymkata, it kind of ruined all that for me.

The skill of gymnastics, the kill of karate, and the dorkiness of a mulleted hero with no acting skills and a hilariously low production budget!

Never heard of Gymkata?  Cracked magazine thinks it is the funniest movie of the 80's. If they can't convince you, maybe the pommel horse fight scene can:

Really kids.  This is the kind of thing we had to watch back in the day.  There wasn't much else out there. No wonder my generation actually played outside instead of parking in front of a screen.  Right?

After watching that, I have to wonder why our military budget does not include equipping our soldiers with gymnastics equipment.  If I had the video chops and the time to waste, I would mash up some C-Span footage, Onion-style, to have a senator making a passionate plea for the funding of it with the use of this vid up on a big screen.  Come on, you know that would be hilarious.  Especially if I could find video of a politician speaking to congress with a kick-ass mullet.

Anyway, in my eyes, gymnastics have been redeemed by a Polish gymnast who has become an internet sensation.  You can't watch this without thinking it is kind of super-heroesque:

Thank you Jozsef Wadecki, for your inspiration.  I will be signing my children up for gymastics this week.  That is freekin' awesome.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The John R. Wooden Award

Wow. My uncle Mark just posted on Facebook that he is presenting the women's John R. Wooden Award to Maya Moore tonight. They are also having a tribute to Mark's dad, Duke Llewellyn

I visited him once in LA and I remember him telling me that Coach Wooden had just had dinner at their house a few days prior. Apparently he grew up hanging around the LA Athletic Club and often saw some big named swimmers like Gary Hall around too. 

What a cool time and place that must have been and what a great honor to be presenting that award!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NCAA and NASCAR... two great money makers that go great together.

Way back when the Arizona State swimming and wrestling programs were cut a couple of years ago, I posted one of my very first blogs at SwimNetwork.  I wish I could find a link to it because I do not have it saved anywhere.  (I asked the SwimNetwork editor to help me track it down but he said it was probably lost in the transition away from WMG.)  In it, I cut and pasted a whole bunch of comments from one of the articles at AZCentral where people were bashing non-revenue sports and pretty much confirming that there are a whole bunch of morons out there who think college sports should only consist of football, baseball and men's basketball...  the ones that supposedly "make money."  One guy even told us swimmers to go to the local pool and do belly flops without expecting a free government handout if we want to swim so badly.  

In that blog post I made a prediction:  that in 10 years the NCAA would stop pretending they care about athletic/academic ideals and allow non-revenue sports to die, they would trade traditional wrestling for WWE-style action, and that the big conferences would move on to even bigger revenue sports like NASCAR.

So, you have to imagine the terror I felt when I saw a picture of the car Michael Waltrip is racing next weekend: 

Granted, this car was designed to celebrate his alma mater's football national championship last year, but still... does no one else fear that this could be the beginning of a really dangerous relationship?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My awesome new hat!

This Viking helmet was a surprise gift from one of my former swimmers, Katie Kearbey. How cool is that?! The beard is removable. It fits perfectly. I couldn't have asked for a better surprise. Aaah, the perks of being a blogger.

I have been thinking about changing our summer league mascot to Vikings just so I will have an excuse to wear it more often!

Thanks Katie!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Tostito's Fiesta Bowl only cost about three bucks... theirs was a lot more!

Paid country club memberships at multiple clubs. $1200 at a strip club. $27,000 a year as a "car allowance." A birthday party costing $33 grand. $95k for the chance to play a round of gold with Jack Nicklaus... Sounds nice, doesn't it? Those are just a few of the perks that the shirt and tie guys who run the BCS seem to regularly pay out on someone else's dime, according to the recent corruption report on the Fiesta Bowl.

Heck, Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker was finally fired for, among other things, reimbursing employees for political contributions! Really? The heads of sporting organizations might be engaged in corrupt political dealings?  I can't imagine such a thing!?

Mr. Junker already has big plans for the next World Championships.  He is weaseling his way onto the FINA Bureau as we speak.  Won't he fit right in?

Even if you already thought the BCS system was ridiculous, your mind will be blown when you read this article at Yahoo! Sports:  BCS Conducts Shallow Probe as the Party Rages On.  No, really.  Read it.  This one too, that outlines some of the details of the crazy spending spree.  The full report is here.

An excerpt:

If Emmert (NCAA President Mark Emmert) is any kind of leader, he should be furious right now with the details of the Fiesta Bowl report. Bowls’ ability to buy favor with administrators is indefensible. He should demand a full investigation into the bowl business and seize control of the sport’s postseason from these third-party businessmen.

After all, where does the Fiesta get all this money to waste? From the schools, of course (and then, in part, taxpayers and student fees)...

The BCS cuts to the very core of what’s wrong with college athletics – the arrogance and entitlement of the people in charge.

Hey, at least we aren't USA Swimming!

I have read a lot of comments on various articles that warn us swimmers that maybe we don't want to be a mainstream, big-time sport.  Maybe we don't want swimming to have the attraction of so much profit that it will lure creeps like these guys into bringing their profit-at-all-cost CEO mentalities to running the show for us.  Many would say, with all of the recent problems at USA Swimming and with FINA, that we are already there.  Is there something that attracts these people to sports in particular, or is this just our version of the evils of the corporate world?  

...of course, the Fiesta Bowl as an organization didn't really break any laws so there probably won't be any charges filed anyway.   

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Little Relief from Apple's Arrogance

I have been pretty loyal to Apple since I got my first iPod. I have had my iPhone for almost two years now, and it has always bothered me that when I am browsing the web it doesn't read flash. I guess there is some kind of geek tech pissing contest going on between Adobe and Apple about whose code is best or something.

It has bothered me enough that if my contract was up for my phone I would switch to Android right now and when I think about getting a tablet I really want to try something else.

When my wife got an iPad for Christmas, I honestly could have cared less. Why bother browsing on a fancy tablet if most of my favorite sites are half blank and none of the videos will play? Swimming World is pretty much a list of dead links and a few ads on an iPad, which sucks because I spend a lot of time there. Also, a lot of buttons and drop down menus don't seem to work correctly without flash either.

A few months ago I downloaded the Skyfire web browser to my phone because it promised it could play flash video. I was disappointed at first because it was very limited in what it could play, but they have been constantly updating.

This morning I pulled up and the videos actually played! Woo hoo!! I am pumped to go home and load it to the iPad tonight. Finally, a little relief!

Apple, Skyfire just saved your butt. I was totally ready to bail on my iPhone. But I will warn you... video is not enough. I won't be buying myself an iPad until you get over yourself and allow me to see web pages the way they were intended. I would rather give my money to a company that values my user experience more than their own ego.

If you want flash video to play on your iPhone or iPad, I can now strongly recommend downloading the Skyfire web browser from the app store. They really are helping to make the swimgeek experience more complete.