Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Once an athlete, always an athlete. You never lose it. Your entire life, you have certain values ingrained in you that make you who you are. Teamwork, goal-setting, discipline, competitiveness, leadership, fair play… we all know how it works.

So when a friend of mine sent me a link for a feature by Curve magazine which profiles women over the age of 30 who are becoming amateur athletes, I wasn’t at all surprised.

The piece is entitled “All American Girls,” and profiles women over the age of 30 who are becoming amateur athletes in sports they’re trying for the first time. From surfing and power lifting to flag football and rugby, the stories of these women should inspire all of us to leave our fears and doubts about injuries and time commitments behind and take to the fields of games we’ve been itching to try since we were young. They might not be professionals, but as far as athletic competition is concerned, it’s just the beginning.

One of these profiles really caught my eye, and it’s about Mona Rayside who plays in a rugby club in Washington, DC.

Mona Rayside is 30 years old and has been playing rugby since 1991. Although rugby has been famously dubbed “the barbarian’s sport played by gentlemen,” it started attracting ladies in the mid-1970s and now rivals softball for popularity. Rayside plays for the Maryland Stingers, one of the top women’s club teams in the nation.

Rayside likes the sport because it resembles “female power.” She says, “When I started playing, it was a revelation, because all of a sudden people were excited to see a big ol’ girl come on the field,” she recalls, a smile in her voice. “Rugby … helped me recognize and find my own strength, and to realize that I was physically strong and that that was something to be desired.”

As a basketball player, one of the aspects about Rugby that I am particularly jealous of is the sense of community among its players, or, “ruggers.” First, they’re tough people in general. To go out there and take a hit with no padding on has GOT to hurt. But they encourage each other to get right back up and keep playing.

Second, after the match, they DRINK (party + eat) with their opponents! Often dubbed a “drink up,” this great tradition ingrains sportsmanship and respect for the sport in each of the athletes.

Third, I love the sense of community. I am jealous of the clubs set up for those of us out of college in cities around the world. These serve as “families” of sort (much like my college basketball team was for me). It’s a great way to meet people and have fun. I miss that sense of community, and having moved to a new city, I wish I had it here. Unfortunately, when it comes to basketball, it seems that level of organization seems to dissipate after college.

Although I’d love to try it, I don’t have the time to commit to learning rugby right now. And I don’t think or want to think that I’d enjoy taking a hit that hard.

Plus, my “love” is with basketball. My community is found among basketball players, or “ballers.” I’ve been playing the sport competitively since I was about six years old.

With the overwhelming national popularity of women’s basketball, I really wish there would be more formalized “clubs” that we could join and participate in as adults . I’m not talking about just rec leagues. I’m talking about clubs, membership-oriented communities of adults who fund raise, practice on a regular basis and travel to play in tournaments on the weekends in various cities.

Ballers, where are we? It’s time to get organized. Maybe we can learn a few things from our “rugger” friends.

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Ok, I have to admit: when I first read this article I started to laugh. Apparently, the Wii Fit is causing quite a stir. Apparently, it told a 10-year-old that she is obese, and obesity experts are outraged.

In today’s society of youth and multimedia, I first thought the Wii Fit could be a good thing. Maybe, instead of sitting still and playing with these games, the kids would actually be moving. But I still can’t go back on my instinct that these games are not the same as actual outside sports which involve HUMAN INTERACTION, and they’re turning our kids into “zombies.”

Wii Fit was released in Japan on December 1, 2007, in Europe on April 25, 2008, May 8, 2008 in Australia and May 21, 2008 in North America. In North America, Wii Fit was launched on May 19, 2008 with an exclusive release at the Nintendo World Store in New York City.

But when this was launched in Europe, a ten-year-old British girl stepped on the game’s electronic balance board and entered her height, and the Wii labeled her ‘overweight.’ She was reportedly devastated.

Obesity experts are outraged — they are concerned Wi Fit could damage children’s body image and are telling parents to be warned. Many fitness experts don’t even believe in BMI anymore, especially with children, because they’re constantly growing and the BMI can change monthly.

I actually think it’s a good thing. It’s about time kids get a “reality check” on their weight. If they’re “overweight” or “obese,” they need to see it and start making changes in their lives. I actually HOPE they get embarrassed in front of friends. It should be embarrassing.

Maybe then, they’d get pissed off and actually turn off the damn TV and go outside and play. This is a beautiful time of year. It’s an AWFUL time for the Wii to come to the northeast of the U.S. People should be encouraged to go outside, not sit around a TV and MAYBE work up a sweat.

That said, I think the Wii Fit has amazing potential for people who are confined to a living room due to suffering a stroke, sickness or disability. Further, it has great potential for seniors, whose bodies maybe can’t handle the harsh impact of exercising outside.

If you’re interested in what the new game has to offer, check out this YouTube video. It goes through some of the games. The intelligence behind this thing is amazing. I’m just concerned about the impact it will have on society.

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If you’re just out of college and you’re trying to get in shape but can’t seem to motivate yourself to get to the gym every day, I’ve got an answer for you. Try rec sports.

As a former athlete, I didn’t really know what to do with myself when I realized it was all over. I took a few months off to recuperate, but soon got bored. So in an effort to get active and meet some people, I joined Head First Sports Leagues, in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area.

Through Head First, I’ve met a great group of friends who I hang out with often. Through a contact, I even got involved in coaching. Playing rec sports is a great way to meet people and have fun. After our games, we often go out in Georgetown and have a beer or two and watch some sports games (which is very common).

I’m involved in women’s basketball (competitive), coed basketball (competitive) and coed soccer. I also try and play for my work’s softball team, if I can make any of the games. The kids on these teams are just like me. They’re looking for an outlet other than the expensive booze during happy hour. I don’t know about other cities, but in this one, rec sports is extremely popular.

In Washington, DC, on a beautiful weekday night, if you go to the National Mall, you will see about a hundred different sports games going on at one time. From kickball to Rugby, flag football and softball (and other creative games), young professionals are gearing up and getting active. And it’s a really cool thing.

For more information on collegiate sports, check out the National As. You can also check out Recleagues.com

If you’re in a specific city, just Google “rec sports” and your city see what you find in your area. I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Don’t be shy. Get out there and play. It’s

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