Archive for the ‘athletics’ Category


Caber Toss, Sioux Falls Heavy Games

1 June 2013

Check off the manly bucket list: throwing a caber. On one attempt I managed to flip it.

Click Here for a video of the 2013 Sioux Falls Heavy Games Caber Toss

For more about the local sponsor of the Heavy Games:


Brothers Get Back-to-Back Holes in One

29 May 2013

Astoundingly, on May 27 two brothers, ages 11 and 9, got back-to-back holes in one. Playing on the Hillsview Golf Course in Pierre, they sank the 14th hole from 148 yards and 128 yards, respectively. Josh and Alex Rowe were, as one might expect, elated.

Pure elation? Not exactly. First a note of competition from the older brother: “[W]hen Alex found his ball in the hole and realized he had also shot a hole-in-one, Josh said he was a little disappointed, at first, before he found out just how rare it was for two brothers to shoot an ace consecutively on the same hole” (Argus Leader, 29 May 2013, 7A).


Olympic Quiz

11 August 2012

Quick – name the two events men do not compete in at the Olympics.









Answer? Synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.


Rah! Rah! Rah! for Male Cheerleaders

2 November 2011

I just had to share this.  The following comes from Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac.

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It’s the birthday of cheerleading, which made its debut at the University of Minnesota on this date[2 November] in 1898. Pep clubs had been around for a couple of decades, especially at Princeton, where their all-male pep club led the crowd in unified chanting to motivate the football team. In 1884, Princeton alum Thomas Peebles moved to Minneapolis, and brought the pep club concept along to the University of Minnesota’s football games. Two of the university’s rugby players, John Adams and Win Sargent, came up with a “team yell” that same year to cheer on the rugby team: Ski-U-Mah, which neatly rhymes with “Rah, rah, rah!” But all of these chants and cheers were led from the stands.

In the fall of 1898, the U of M’s football team had suffered three consecutive losses, and fans were desperate for a way to raise team spirit for the season’s final game against Northwestern. The pep club brainstormed plans to further involve the spectators, and nominated a group of “yell leaders” to lead the crowd in the now-traditional chant, “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-U-Mah! Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Minn-e-so-ta!” One of the yell leaders, Johnny Campbell, took the radical step of running out to the playing field with a megaphone. He faced the crowd, whipped them to a frenzy, and got much of the credit for Minnesota’s victory.

Cheerleading was a male-only sport until 1923, when the first female cheerleaders took the field. This phenomenon didn’t really take off until the 1940s, when the male student body was depleted by World War II. The ’20s also saw the advent of acrobatics, human pyramids, and dance moves to accompany the fight songs and chants.


Hitman Sniper and Zombie Blood: Drinking Masculinity

6 September 2011

There was once a day – I’m thinking of the late 19th century – in which special drinks with dubious medicinal effects were sold on the basis of overconfidence in scientific breakthrough.  What has changed isn’t the wild claims and general quackery, but the kind of willful ignorance we as American consumers exhibit as we buy such products.  We know that 3 mg of Echinacea isn’t going to restore our entire psycho-somatic equilibrium.  But it sure feels good to buy a pretty can of sugar water labeled “Overdrive.”

As long as we’re buying 16oz containers of fantasy, why not market them with a gendered identity in mind?  With gender is more and more an ornamental accessory to our lives, we can finally drink ourselves into manliness.  Such has become the reality of 7-11 stores everywhere.  Marketers have pegged young males as the primary consumers of energy drinks, so much so that you’ll never see something advertised as “manly.”  That would unpoetic, stating the obvious.  Instead companies sell the feeling, offering something akin to the experience of primitive hunters amplifying their own power by consuming the life-essence from the slain.  Accordingly, we’re offered a veritable smorgasbord of dude-drinks with names like “Mountain Dew Game Fuel,” “Adrenalyn Stack,” “No Fear Bloodshot,” “TAPOUT,” and (my personal favorite) “Zombie Blood Energy Potion.” 

“Of course I’ve been awake for four days straight.  I’m an assasin-dunkmaster-executive-rockstar-bodybuilder-fratboy-ninja-warlord-executive who drinks zombie blood for breakfast.”

Not to leave anyone out, there are a handful of opened up for women’s energy drinks: “Redline Princess,” “Pink,” “Vixen Energy Drink.”  But the fact that these libations broadcast their femininity as loudly as possible just underscores the fact that marketers by and large have oriented sales to the peddling of masculine identity.  Kathleen E. Miller found that college undergraduate men on average consumed 2.49 energy drinks a month, compared with a modest 1.22 cans of the stuff among women (Journal of American Journal Health 56:5 [April 2008]). 

Miller does not claim a 1:1 correlation between energy drinks and irresponsible risk taking, but she warns that energy drink consumption is a good predictor of “toxic jock identity.”  I wasn’t aware that “toxic jock identity” was a condition, but, dear me, it sounds serious.  If only the energy drink industry would devise thirst-quenching technology with extracts to offset the symptoms of such macho ridiculousness in the first place.


Kick-butt Self-actualization

4 August 2011

In the long, sweaty tradition of Jazzercise, Tai Bo, and countless other dance/exercise programs, another has been added: piloxing. As a hybrid of pilates, boxing and ballet, it is being marketed as a workout specifically for women. Its sell-line: piloxing turns average women into “tough and agile boxers, gracious [graceful?] ballerinas and hip street dancers.” A snippet from one of the initial DVDs features an exotic dance instructor wearing pink trim and encouraging composure while building ripped abdominals.

In a capitalistic culture promising vicarious experiences for every type of self-fulfilment, piloxing fits in nicely for women. Administrative assistants and saleswomen and homemakers everywhere can be hardened warrior princesses. Now, which exercise routine serves as the equivalent for men?  Where can I sip a martini like James Bond while landing devastating roundhouses?


What Ever Happened to Bill McCartney?

19 January 2011

Remember Bill McCartney?  The celebrated football coach of the University of Colorado and founder of Promise Keepers was everywhere in the 1990s, the heyday of the men’s movement.  “Coach” McCartney, loved or hated, was a force within modern Evangelical Christianity.  Even after the beginning of the death spiral of Promise Keepers began in the late 90s, he hung on the organization, and left only in 2003.  Over the next five years he founded The Road to Jerusalem, a dispensationalist parachurch organization getting American churches to support messianic Jews in Israel in order to hasten the second coming of Christ.  Then, in 2008, he returned to Promise Keepers as chairman of the board, though no real signs of life have come from the organization.

Just last November, at age 70, Coach Mac made it known that he was interested in heading the University of Colorado’s fledgling football program again.  That made a stir, including among some vocal college employees, who protested the hire of a “homophobic” and “sexist,” referring to several comments McCartney made over the years as an outspoken Evangelical.  The university ended up hiring Jon Embree.