Justin Lynch: US Swimming’s Next Michael Phelps?

Justin Lynch: US Swimming’s Next Michael Phelps? (Ozy)

“What do you do once you’ve beaten Michael Phelps’ record? At 16 years old? For swimmer Justin Lynch, 18 last month, he just keeps practicing, chasing the dragon of his record-breaking memory, with an eye on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

That memory-making moment came at the USA Swimming finals last year. He’d broken a Phelps age-group record in the 100-meter butterfly at 14, but now competition was stiffer among the older swimmers. While many of his competitors in the 15–16 age group had already ballooned up with muscles and ripped six-packs, Lynch looked pretty ordinary, his appearance giving no hint at the beast in the water.

His record-breaking swim made headlines in 2013, but not just for his time. With an African-American father and a Filipina mother, Lynch will be the only minority swimmer on the [University of California, Berkeley] team. Swimming is overwhelmingly white, perhaps a result of the history of discrimination in access to municipal swimming pools. The modern-day result can be tragic: Nearly 70 percent of African-American children between the ages of 5 and 14 have little to no swimming ability, and they drown at rates three times that of white children.”

Looking forward to hearing more from this talented young man.


Culture of blaming the victim is root cause of failure for NFL, Ravens in Ray Rice case

Culture of blaming the victim is root cause of failure for NFL, Ravens in Ray Rice case (Yahoo! Sports)

“This undue process happened because it was comforting to think there were two sides to this story. Many people didn’t really want to see that video. They wanted to believe Rice was attacked by Palmer and did something to warrant being punched in the face. From the moment part of the video became public over the summer until Monday morning, it was easy to put some blame on Janay Palmer.

The woman always gets the burden of proof and the burden of pain. The woman is always cast as the gold digger, the mentally imbalanced stalker, the inappropriate dresser. The woman is always the provocateur.

If Palmer didn’t have her privacy invaded – if Rice’s punch happened in their non-videotaped home – he would still be a hero and she would still be the hero’s suffering wife.

Place the blame on any institution here: the Panthers or Ravens, the NFL, the legal system, or the media. But this isn’t an institutional failure. It’s a societal failure. We don’t believe women. We think they’re wrong and we have to be convinced they are right. It took weeks of humiliation and a videotape before Janay Palmer got some justice, and it isn’t much justice.”

We need to take a good, long look at ourselves, at our culture, at our values, and decide what kind of world we want to live in. Is a star football player really more valuable than a woman’s life and well-being? How much longer are we going to accept this narrative of blaming the victim? When are we going to start holding men accountable?

World Cup Soccer Stats Erase The Sport’s Most Dominant Players: Women

World Cup Soccer Stats Erase The Sport’s Most Dominant Players: Women

Only one thing mars my enjoyment of watching the World Cup, and it’s the absence of one small word. Just a tiny qualifier in a statistic that really should be corrected as our men’s team continues to gain respect internationally. So I ask the American commentators, please stop announcing that Landon Donovan is the “all-time U.S. leading goal scorer.” He is not. With 57 international goals, he’s not even in the Top Five.

The all-time U.S. leading goal scorer is Abby Wambach, with 167 goals, followed by Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (130), Michelle Akers (105) and Tiffeny Milbrett (100). In fact, Abby Wambach is the all-time leading goal scorer in the world, among all soccer players, male or female.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Landon Donovan has achieved. It is commendable. But every time he sits there, silently allowing that phrase to be rattled off — “all-time leading U.S. goal scorer” — without pointing out that he is the all-time leading men’s goal scorer, it does take away from what Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm have achieved — total world domination.

In sports like tennis and gymnastics, where the U.S. women clearly outstrip their male counterparts, no one talks about the men’s statistics without that clarifier. Why is soccer different? Why are almost all other sports different? Why do people consistently claim that Mike Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in college basketball when he is still 115 wins behind Pat Summit, with a significantly lower win percentage (his .763 to her .841)? How hard would it be to simply slip the word “men’s” into the conversation, if nothing else, in the interest of accuracy?

Really great feminist analysis. What I love most about this article is how she ties the coverage of the World Cup to the corporate world, to politics, and to other sporting events. Her writing is very straightforward and easy to understand; the parallels she’s drawing are clear.

A man, a photo and the long search to find the person in it

A man, a photo and the long search to find the person in it  

See that guy? The one in the photograph. Worn work boots, yellow construction hat, hooded sweatshirt, purple winter jacket, broad shoulders, serious face, slumped forward, hands clasped, eyes locked on the stranger’s camera pointed at him.

That guy, who is he?

The photo provides a vague clue. Its caption reads: “I was Defensive Player of the Year.”

That could mean anything. High school. College. Professional. From 20 years ago. Ten. Five. Played linebacker. Defensive end. Cornerback.

That’s the genius in Humans of New York, a blog that features portraits of New Yorkers, so many hipsters and bankers, couples and their children and their grandparents, natives and immigrants, homeless and rich, tattooed and bearded and costumed. The portraits come with short descriptions, sometimes one sentence, sometimes four, just enough information to light cauldrons of speculation, to begin an exercise in collective fiction writing done by strangers on the Internet. The captions provide the beginning of the story. What you see in the picture is the rest of it.

This is a quiet story. It’s not flashy or dramatic; it’s simply a tale of trying to find someone, and what the search comes to mean for the man in the picture and the people searching for him. The story also asks the important question of why? Why do we care? Why do we need to know?

What’s your story?

In The 1870s And ’80s, Being A Pedestrian Was Anything But

In The 1870s And ’80s, Being A Pedestrian Was Anything But

We may think of baseball as America’s national pastime, but in the 1870s and 1880s there was another sports craze sweeping the nation: competitive walking. “Watching people walk was America’s favorite spectator sport,” Matthew Algeo says in his new book, Pedestrianism.

“In the decades after the Civil War there was mass urbanization in the United States [with] millions of people moving into the cities,” Algeo tells NPR’s Robert Siegel. “And there wasn’t much for them to do in their free time, so pedestrianism — competitive walking matches — filled a void for people. It became quite popular quite quickly.”

Huge crowds packed indoor arenas to watch the best walkers walk. Think of it as a six-day NASCAR race … on feet.

“These guys were walking 600 miles in six days,” Alego says. “They were on the track almost continuously. They’d have little cots set up inside the track where they would nap a total of maybe three hours a day. But generally, for 21 hours a day, they were in motion walking around the track.”

I can’t tell you how much joy knowing that pedestrianism was a sport has brought me today. Just imagining people lining up, eating snack, and gambling, all over long-distance walking matches… it’s pretty fantastic. How is this not a movie yet?!

For related old-school fun, be sure to check out an article I linked to a while back about Hippopotamus Ranching. No, really.

Mets second baseman ripped by New York radio hosts for taking paternity leave

Mets second baseman ripped by New York radio hosts for taking paternity leave

New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy is missing his team’s first three games after the birth of his first child. Murphy’s wife went into labor on opening day, so he went to Florida to be present for the birth. Murphy is now taking the full three days of paternity leave allowed for Major League Baseball players. 

Does any of that sound out of line or horrible or a betrayal to his team and profession? It shouldn’t. It’s pretty standard practice when a new child is brought into the world. 

However, Murphy is getting ripped on New York radio for not cutting short his paternity leave and returning to his team. Mike Francesa, the popular New York sports radio personality, spent about 20 minutes of his show Wednesday talking about Murphy and paternity leave. He was surprised that MLB players even take paternity leave, even though it’s a fairly common practice.

The article goes on to discuss the absolutely bat-shit overreaction to this by several sports broadcasters. I read this article this morning, and I still can’t get over it. I am so baffled and to be quite honest, I think the biggest problem is that he is only allotted 3 days leave. I’m not even going to acknowledge the rest of the craziness. It would be funny if it wasn’t so awful.

Ethics, Morality And A Ticking Clock For How To Report On The R**skins

Ethics, Morality And A Ticking Clock For How To Report On The R**skins

A fascinating media analysis on a very controversial topic: what to do about the Washington R**skins? I won’t try to summarize such a lengthy, well-researched piece. I will tell you to read it though, whether you have an opinion about it or not.

For more about this issue, and other issues important to Native America, I encourage you to read Native Appropriations, one of my favorite blogs and the perfect place to dive into to learn more about why wearing a “Pocahottie”/Indian Warrior Halloween costume is not okay, why some people are offended by Indian mascots, and why you should not be that asshole wearing a Hipster Headdress.