Sorry to see that Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait, Wait…Don't Tell Me was hit by a car while riding his bike in Chicago yesterday. According to Mr. Sagal "I was zipping along on my racing bike (which, as it turns out, might be cursed) at about 18 miles an hour on a quiet road in a Chicago suburb, about ten miles from my house. I noted a hatchback at the stop sign coming from my right, I kept on going through the intersection, but she didn’t see me and pulled into it. I had time to yell STOP STOP STOP! but not to brake, and she never saw me. She hit me with her left front fender, I think, not sure, but it was LOUD. I spun up in the air, came down on my back on the ground, possibly hitting the car again on the way down. I hit my head pretty hard on something, or somethings, but I was wearing my helmet and it cracked instead of me."
Sagal expects to be released from the hospital today or tomorrow.
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination…."
Above is part of Title IX, the federal legislation designed to ensure that all athletes are given equal access to, and benefit from sports. Yet, there are still egregious examples of inequities in sports. For one such case, look no further than the photo below.
Pictured here is our own Shane Neil (sporting his City Coach kit and a smart pair of 3" pumps from Payless) after his victory at the inaugural Regis & Kelly High Heel-a-thon. It hardly seems fair that at this year's event the winning woman will receive a free car, while the male winner's prize will once again be a relatively paltry $1000.
No less than the Women's Sports Foundation sees it my way. "The issue of equal purses should be questioned when men and women are competing in the same sporting event in which a single ticket is offered. There is no justification of paying one sex higher than the other….how would the public react if there were higher purses for white athletes than athletes of color? Sex discrimination is no different than race discrimination."
For too long now, men dressed in women's shoes have been discriminated against. How much longer will we as a society sit silently and allow such an outrage?
Below is a repost about a Village Voice piece that examined the influx of African runners into our local running scene. While it contrasted the Africans with local “fitness runners”, the real resentment seems to come not from the fitness runners, who would never make it to a podium anyway (and from whom I’ve never heard any complaints), but from some local elite runners who feel that the immigrants are unfairly displacing them from their rightful place on the podium, taking their glory and prize money. Some of these local elites voice the complaint that the Africans have an advantage because they don’t work full time jobs and have nothing to do but train. Just as in my original post, I challenge any of those local runners who envy the Africans’ ability to do multiple workouts every day to trade places with them for a year. Quit your troublesome full-time job and trade it for a part time one driving a cab, packing groceries, cleaning houses, or – if you’re really lucky – pacing groups of 10-11 min/mile runners. Move into a modest apartment in the Bronx with 3-4 others. Remember, you’ll also have to give up your health insurance, so don’t plan on getting injured or sick. Fill up that Metro Card, because you won’t be taking any more cabs for a while. And it’ll be Metro North up to Rockefeller State Park (for all that fun training that you’re so lucky to do) next time instead of driving. You can throw out those takeout menus, because you’ll be fixing your own food at home. Don’t worry though – you don’t have to send all of your prize money back to your family (whom you haven’t seen in years). Just some of it. Start packing. Check in with me next year and let me know how all those cushy advantages are working out for you.
The Crossfit phenomenon continues to grow, so it seems like a good time to take another look. Some Crossfit proponents react to facts the way the Wicked Witch of the West responds to water. Since their PR machine shows no sign of weakening, allow me to introduce some truth.
FACT: Crossfit’s founder, Greg Glassman has said, “Triathletes are sorely lacking in strength, speed, power, flexibility, accuracy, agility, and coordination, but they’ve sure got a lock on malnutrition.” Some of the best coaches I know were not particularly accomplished athletes, and are not impressive physical specimens – and certainly I fall into both these categories – so normally I wouldn’t point out that Mr. Glassman (pictured at the left in the photo above) is not exactly an Adonis. But as the old saying goes, “Pasty, soft people shouldn’t throw stones”, so I’m not sure he’s the one to be picking on anyone’s appearance. More to the point, what does an athlete’s appearance have to do with anything? Are we training for a race or a beauty contest?
A while back, some folks over at the NYRR Facebook page were whimpering because they didn't get finisher's medals after a race. Thanks to Jeff Wilson (who reads far more highbrow publications than I do) for finding this New Yorker cartoon that perfectly captures my thoughts on the matter.
Last night I got a note from an athlete that upset me a little. She is relatively new to our squad, and is a hard working, dedicated runner. She has been dealing with some pre-existing injuries that have forced us to reconsider this season’s goals. In her note she said that she would understand if I didn’t want her to register under City Coach at races. Of course i told her that all I ever ask from my athletes is effort, and clearly she gives me that, but I felt bad that she would think I wouldn’t be proud to have her wear our colors.
Of course it goes back to the age-old argument about whether it’s better to have your fastest possible race, or to win with a sub-par performance. I love winning – or more to the point, I love when my athletes win and I get to take the credit for it. But some of my proudest moments have come when an athlete has made an incredible effort but not made it to the top step of the podium.
I wondered why the athlete in question – or anyone else – would think that I’d be upset with them if they gave their best effort. Then I remembered my favorite movie quote. Click play and you’ll understand.
A couple of seasons ago, the lovely and understated Emily Kindlon announced that our team mascot should be a three-legged dog. I liked the concept – we're not always pretty, but we get the job done. Killer even offered to harm an intact animal if necessary. The legend grew, as folks sent us photos of tripods, and our Reach the Beach team even had a related theme song. Now our boy Mordy has told us about a well funded study to examine the running style of three-legged dogs.
OK – she'd have been fine without me. But in 2003, I was lucky enough to coach Rebeccah Wassner. She was already crazy fast in the swim and run, and in no time she was flying on the bike as well. She won the 25-29 AG at Nationals and was third overall that year. Today she's a top pro and defending champion in the NYC Tri. Here's a nice interview she did on yesterday's news.
That’s not one, not two or three, or even four. That’s FIVE – count ‘em – FIVE fist pumps as a victorious Nicole Sin Quee crosses the line. Perhaps she’s auditioning for a job on the new season of Jersey Shore.