Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Guy Rediscovers His Old Sport

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 8:12 AM

It's not easy being the new guy or the new girl in any sport, but even harder if you're from another culture.

The minute you step on the court, green, or field, the regulars start checking you out. Oversell your skills and you'll be found out sooner or later and probably demoted if not shunned. Undersell yourself and you won't get the competition and workout you deserve.

Meet Mohamed, a new guy who rediscovered fun in his old sport.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Fitness, God, and Politics

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 12:03 PM

Does God want you to be fit and healthy and a non-smoker?

Should politicians be judged on their weight as well as the weight of their words?

Should sugary soft drinks be taxed?

Probably. Nobody likes a scold. But elections won't change Memphis much or fix health care. Neither will the Dalai Lama or President Obama or Congress. The only thing that's going to do that is policies that encourage changes in individual behavior.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mind Games

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Ex-jocks battling it out in knockout competition. Slams. Tests of stamina over five days. Teamwork. Unbearable pressure.

Gotta be a tough sport, right? Only if you consider the annual Robinsonville, Mississippi Bridge Tournament at Sam's Town Casino in Tunica a sport.

Are non-contact mental games sports? Former athlete, newspaper columnist, and Memphian Bob Levey thinks so.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

4-Miler Mission Accomplished

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Eight weeks ago, 53 people, most of them non-runners, started group training with a goal of completing the four-mile run at last weekend's Cooper-Young Festival.

"I'm proud to announce that we had 77 percent complete the race and 81 percent complete the program," said trainer Star Ritchey of inbalance Fitness. "A couple of people were unable to do the race due to scheduling conflicts but did complete all the runs with us. Looking at the numbers, we had a few injuries, thankfully none caused by running, but out of all of our "starters" I can proudly say only five people actually quit the program with no reason other than they just decided it wasn't for them."

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Big Box Fitness

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 11:10 AM

I'm ready to pronounce Collierville the Fittest Community in Shelby County. I've never seen a place so well-served by health clubs, including two for-profit giants — Life Time Fitness and Prairie Life — that have entered this competitive suburban market.

Restaurants, homebuilders, multiplex theaters, and big-box retailers previously beat a path to the 'burbs. Now we have big-box fitness. At this rate, it shouldn't be long before there's a workout machine for every man, woman, and child in town.

I checked out the action this week with Collierville resident John Shepherd. John is as old school as they come. Back in the Fifties, he played football, track, and boxed in Golden Gloves, plus a little extracurricular roughhouse. His knowledge and memory of all things Memphis is encyclopedic. If there's a trend, he's usually among the first to spot it. And he can start a conversation with a stranger faster than you can say "what was your name again?"

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

They Got Memphis Moving

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 11:55 AM

William Foster (left) and Hosea Hill
  • William Foster (left) and Hosea Hill
The Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation asked me to write something about youth mentoring. Good topic, questionable choice. My experience doesn't go much beyond my own children. But I just met a couple of guys who know a lot about mentoring and whose story deserves telling.

For more than 50 years, Hosea Hill and William Foster helped hundreds of Memphis boys and girls literally run to success on high school cinder tracks, college and Olympics stadiums around the world, and later in their professional lives as doctors, police officers, and businessmen and women.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

On Sportsmanship

Posted By on Sun, Sep 13, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Serena Williams says other tennis players have said worse things and behaved worse than she did Saturday night at the U.S. Open. She's right, and Memphis tennis fans have seen it.

Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe have raged against fans, umpires, linesmen, and themselves in matches at the Racquet Club of Memphis. Their antics were endured in silence by the linesmen and lineswomen, but they were no less boorish than William's f-bomb-laced tirade of the lineswoman who called a ridiculous foot fault on her at the end of her semifinal match against Kim Clijsters.

One of the biggest changes in tennis is how much better the sportsmanship is since the Connonrs-McEnroe era.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An Inter-Sports Classic

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Thanks to my friend and racquetball expert Randy Stafford for sending along this flier of a bit of sports trivia that deserves remembrance: the handball versus racquetball match in 1972 in Memphis between Paul Haber and Bud Muehlheisen. It was billed as "Hands vs. Racquet."

Stafford has what he believes is possibly the only flier left from the event that matched two highly skilled athletes with very different personalities and, according to Sports Illustrated, drew more than $30,000 in on-site wagers.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Racquetball: A Cautionary Tale of a Sports Boom

Posted By on Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 6:43 PM

In the mid-1970s, racquetball was one of the hottest sports on the planet, and Memphis was its epicenter. Today it's one of those sports, like jumping rope and baseball, that lots of us used to play and few of us still play. It didn't quite go the way of tube socks and afros, but it was definitely headed that way. How and why does a sport with such appeal to both men and women bloom, fade and perhaps bloom again in popularity?

In 1976, Elvis Presley had a basement court at Graceland, where he played Dr. George Nichopoulos and other members of his Memphis Mafia. Memphis had a half dozen racquetball professionals and a young phenom named Andy Roberts who would later win a world championship. One of the city's most prominent businessmen, William B. Tanner, was a racquetball fanatic and promoter who built a court on top of his office building on Union Avenue Extended. Memphis State University, as it was then called, and Coach Larry Lyles started a club team that dominated college racquetball for two decades. Baseball legend Don Kessinger took up the sport and built a court complex. In all, there were more than 150 courts in the city.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stupid Sports Tricks, Part 2

Posted By on Sun, Sep 6, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Got a sports trick — a dunk, dive, trick shot, skater move, serve, leap, lunge, lift, speed bag routine, or yoga pose?

If you do, then send your easy-to-view (and short) video to Get Memphis Moving or post it on this blog in the comments section.

Judging will be purely subjective and grossly unfair. Note: This indulgence was a birthday present from my daughter to her old man. Thanks, Katy. Don't tell anyone it wasn't your idea.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nick Lewis, Hardcore Runner, Knows Pain

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 3:51 PM

An article in The New York Times asks doctors and trainers about jocks, aches and pains, and ibuprofen, but, hey, what do they know? You want to know about dog food you gotta ask the dogs.

Granted, dogs eat cat poop and drink out of the toilet, but nobody knows more about processed dog food. And nobody knows more about pain and pain remedies than serious amateur jocks.

Many of us take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen before, during, or after workouts as routinely as we drink a glass of water. If you think it works, does it work? Or are you fooling yourself and possibly doing more long-term harm than good, as some of the experts quoted in the NYT article suggest?

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