Category Archives: Sports

Critical fumble


Forget archery, here’s something to really get outraged about: the total ineptitude of the U.S. 4x100m relay teams. Now admittedly, Olympic sprinters must perform a much faster handoff than I did when I ran on my high school’s 4x800m team. Even so, passing the baton just isn’t that hard. For one of our Olympic teams to fumble it is astonishing; for two of them to do it is just embarrassing.
How did this happen? Are they taking some form of steroids that makes their hands slippery as a side effect? Was the baton sabotaged with grease by a rival team? Did they just not practice the handoff, ever?
I bet they’ll be practicing it for 2012. In the meantime, maybe they can get a sponsorship deal with Butterfinger bars.

Historical precedents

Perhaps the silliest part of this article about aggressive Christian proselytizing by the U.S. Olympic archery coach is this near the end:

To be an effective archer, Lee said, athletes must learn to clear their heads and focus. “If you are Christian,” he said, “then people can have that kind of empty mind.”
Asked if people of other faiths could learn to focus in the same way, Lee said he was not sure.

He’s not sure? Is he really unaware that Zen Buddhists used this very technique for centuries in Japan? It seems like an Olympic archery coach should know this.
Anyway, it’s hard to get too worked up about archery, but clearly this guy should be fired—his faith-based coaching described in the article is completely inappropriate and unquestionably could drive away talented athletes who aren’t Christian. And even if those archers don’t leave the team, I can’t imagine that it helps them focus.

Lacrosse Culture

Slate has a piece on why lacrosse players are an especially obnoxious breed of jock. Those of you who went to high school with me already know this; I was in one of those communities in the Northeast where lacrosse was a big sport, and indeed several guys from my school went on to play lacrosse for Duke. (I have no idea whether any NCHS alums are among the current ignominious Duke lacrosse team.) Fortunately after a couple of years in California I had forgotten that the letters “LAX” denoted something besides an airport.

Misleading notation [Open Thread]

I guess there are Olympics going on now? One of my fellow physicists was asking me where to watch them online; via Lifehacker, the answer is nbcolympics.com.
While on the subject of sports, I see via Boing Boing a helpful guide for quail hunters. And as usual, the Daily Show has the final word on this topic. (Unless Fafblog decides to weigh in.)
In music news, I woke up in the middle of today’s 290K seminar to see what appeared to be guitar tab notation on the blackboard under the heading “Stripes White”. But it turned out the speaker was talking about stripes in the 2D Hubbard model, rather than discussing the guitar part of a White Stripes song. Anyway, I have an album to review:
Cat Power: The Greatest: The title of this album must have annoyed Matador’s marketing department, who have gone to some lengths in the packaging to assure the prospective buyer that this is indeed a new LP rather than a greatest hits collection. I liked her previous record, You Are Free, but it was fairly minimalist, so the richer and brighter textures of this one are a nice change. There’s nothing quite as entrancing as “Werewolf” (which has become one of my mix CD standbys) but overall I like it better than her earlier works. Apparently she enlisted the help of some legendary soul musicians for this one, but since I’m not terribly knowledgable about soul the significance of this was lost on me. The song “Hate” sounds like her style from You Are Free, while referencing a Nirvana song and classic Engrish specimen; “Could We” is more representative of this album.

Accuracy in Race Names

This morning’s Stinson Beach Trail Run would have been more aptly named the Mt. Tamalpais Trail Climb (Which Happens To Start At Stinson Beach). This was a course so steep that at one point it was necessary to climb a ladder to continue. The t-shirt depicts runners going up a gentle incline; this would be accurate if I wore it while lying on my side. It was a nice place to run, as it’s basically the same forest as Muir Woods. But next time I’m bringing a sherpa.

And I thought it was a long way to drive

My friend Eliza is training for the AIDS/Lifecycle bike ride, which runs from San Francisco to Los Angeles over seven days. In the process she is raising money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. She has a webpage on the AIDS/Lifecycle site where I am told a training blog will be appearing.
Needless to say we at Arcane Gazebo are all about severe tests of human endurance, especially if they also involve beautiful California… vistas. So please join me in cheering her on, and if you have a few bucks to spare to help her toward her fundraising target, it will not only go to a good cause but you will be rewarded with the ability to carry more arrows. No, wait, that’s just in Zelda. But it will still go to a good cause. (It’s possible to donate online through the link above.)