Sunday, July 02, 2006

Tour De France

I'm not a cyclist myself, but like a lot of other Americans, I became hypnotized every July for the past few years because of the story of Lance Armstrong. In his book, "It's Not About The Bike," Armstrong talked about his bout with cancer and his road back to cycling, eventially to win the most prestigous race in his sport.

The start of this year's race was yesterday. But instead of the usual talk about who is going to win, the buzz was about the riders removed from the TDF because of an international doping scandal implicating many of the top riders in the world. Although he retired last year, Armstrong himself was accused of using banned substances.

The Spanish authorities say that other sports could be involved, like soccer and tennis. We already know about the controversies with steroids and baseball in this country. And, every olympics, there is always talk of someone who had a positive drug test and had to give up her/his medal.

When I was growing up, sports was about learning the fundamentals of the game, learning to listen to the coach, and learning to work as a team. It was a great way to learn some socialization skills as a kid and to learn some strategy skills also -- skills that you could apply as an adult. In school, we used to joke about the use of "roids" in body builders. But now, the term is "performance enhancing substances," and there's talk about it everywhere - even at the grade school and high school levels.

Kids these days have lost interest in sports. Some coaches and some parents put so much emphasis on winning, that it turns kids off. They're happier in front of the xbox. Decreased interest in physical activity has also contributed to the obesity problem. Granted, playing sports is not the end all and be all solution for a happy and healthy childhood. But, without sports, I think kids are missing out on a lot.

9 comments:

ladybug said...

i used to take Irish Step-dancing lessons from the ages of 8-11. i stopped because the pressure was just too much to "get a medal" at every competition. i can recall tearfully crying in my mom's lap one day explaining how i didnt want to do it anymore, how i was so upset and nervous and "its just not FUN" [now i realize a big part of this was the generalized anxiety disorder i have had my entire life - but was only diagnosed with 4yrs ago]

i recall one competition, and the trip there was absolutely fun, and it was neat waiting for your turn to dance, and then spending the rest of the day(s) walking around watching all levels of dancers compete and see all the different costumes, etc.

the sad thing is this. i loved it. truly loved learning the dances of my heritage and the physical activity was WONDERFUL for my body, no doubt. i always wonder had i not felt so much pressure from the fellow dancers [read: better/more advanced] and the teacher, if i woulda kept up with it, and even gotten involved into more athletic stuff BEFORE i became obese.

Amka said...

I lost interest in sports about the time I was born...

But I did listen to Lance Armstrong's book. I knew about him. He was one of my inspirations. If he could come back after !cancer!, I could come back after just being lazy and then having a very slightly complicated pregnancy.

I'm running now, and lost around 70 lbs since having my youngest. I'm in the best physical condition I've ever been in.

But I still hate sports!

It's me, T.J. said...

Sports *are* good for everyone.

I agree with you.

The problem is, there isn't enough emphasis placed on the recreational aspects. Just the winning.

If you don't make the team, then why bother?

later...

Dreaming again said...

I loved sports. But, I had good coaches ...and team was what mattered.

The only one I didn't quite get it (and not for the lack of the coaches trying) was on track and field ... where I never took first place but always placed ..and thought I was worthless to the team. I couldn't see that consistency was much better than winning first some times and not placing at all others.

I still love exercising and working out. I'm a nut that way.

Dream Mom said...

I always loved sports as a child, teenager and finally as an adult. I excelled at nearly all of them. I can't remember a time when I didn't play sports. When I was 25, I became particularly interested in bodybuilding. This was back in 1983, when the sport was nothing like it is today and women's bodybuilding had just started. I worked out in the gyms and saw how steroids changed so many lives. I lost interest in the sport when the drugs took over which was soon thereafter. Women ceased to look like women. I wrote about it here

People today want to win at all costs. What they don't realize is how damaging and deadly they can be. There are no shortcuts to the winner's circle. Only shorter lives.

wolfbaby said...

When i was younger I loved gymnastics... Mary Lou was my hero, I eventualy got to take lessons but ended up stoping because I didn't want to be in a recital... Some kids enjoy just the sport not the showing off. I agree parents and teachers alike need to focus on the fun of the game/sport itself and not the showing off.

wolfbaby said...

P.S. Finally got you added to my blog roll, my apologies for taking so long...

Moof said...

Sports ... does speed blogging count? Um ... how about marathon blogline reading?

Seriously - the only real sport I was ever into was spelunking ... many years ago. Explored quite a bit of Byers cave in NW GA. I was just talking about doing it again if I move south.

Love to swim too ... but my kids tell me that I'm a lot more like a Moof-flavored tea bag than a swimmer ... *rolls eyes*

Seriously though, I've seen the business you're talking about with kids who are pushed to win, instead of being encouraged to take up a sport for the many other values of playing - sportsmanship, exercise, group cooperation, etc. ...

You're in a perfect position to sing to other than the choir ...

Great post!!! :o)

I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

I am addicted to watching the TDF.

Great blog!

Hh