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Sports (the best ones, anyway)

  • Feb. 5th, 2010 at 3:18 PM
Storybook Gossip
So the Superbowl is this weekend, which means I'll be fast forwarding through the game in order to see the commercials, and/or watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. It's not that I don't like football, exactly. It's just that I don't care. At all.

I coach a high school colorguard and was IN a high school colorguard, which means that for the past eleven years I've been to at least four or five high school football games a year. Sometimes significantly more. I care so little about football that I actually didn't figure out what was going on in the game until two years ago. It all suddenly came together and BAM! I understood what downs were! And I...still didn't care.

I say this not to alienate those of you that LIKE football-- it's a perfectly good sport and if it makes you happy, football-it-up whenever you want. But I do find it a little sad sometimes that sports like football and basketball get all the attention. There are some other sports out there that require just as much athleticism, skill, and practice, yet are either entirely misunderstood or totally hidden from the mainstream world. So today, I'm going to show you videos of three (there are way, way more than three under-recognized sports), in the hopes that you'll understand how totally kickass they are and become a fan yourself.

1) Winterguard
Ok, ok, I'm biased because I coach this, I know. But nonetheless. Winterguard usually practice as much (or more) than their high school football counterparts with usually zero support from the school (no one is throwing us any pep rallys). They get hit in the face-- without a handy helmet-- and have to have precision, grace, and strength that would make any QB blush. Yet there is NO recognition from schools, administration, or the general public; if you're not ON a winterguard, you've probably never even seen one perform.
This is an independent--ie, college/adult level show:

This is a high school level show I adore:

2) Baton twirling
If you happen to follow me on twitter, I posted a link yesterday about some boys in Japan that think they're awesome for "pen spinning." Look, boys, I hate to break it to you, but girls have been doing that in sparkly outfits for decades. And they can do it a zillion times better than you. No offense.

3) Team rhythmic gymnastics
I do not understand how they do these things. I simply do not.

Bonus videos on the above sports, if you're cool:
My favorite winterguard show. Ever.
Winterguard WITH baton
Winterguard WITH...mattresses
It's 1989. And this little baton twirling girl is here to school you.
Rhythmic gymnastics training
Italian Rhythmic team 2004
Rhythmics in the 2008 Beijing Olympics


( Comment )
rachelbateman wrote:
Feb. 5th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for posting this! In high school, I was on a high-kicking, baton-twirling drill team, and it used to frustrate me to no end that we got very little support.

People didn't seem to understand how much training and hard work goes into sports like this. And every year, when we qualified to go to national competition, we had to find a way to get ourselves there. While the administration bought the football team new uniforms. Again. (To be fair, they were a great football team, but come on!)
watchmebe wrote:
Feb. 5th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
I FEEL YOUR PAIN. My group has never gotten so much as one dollar from the school. We're 100% student funded (to the tune of about $800 per student, per season). And let's not even get started talking about getting practice space...
rachelbateman wrote:
Feb. 5th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
We were lucky enough to at least be able to use the field house or the JV football field for practice space, provided we did it at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. :)
watchmebe wrote:
Feb. 5th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
An administrator recently told us "Couldn't you just you know, practice less? Say an hour or two a week?"
I suggested she ask the basketball team to do the same.
rachelbateman wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
Wow. That is bad!
clarinet_10 wrote:
Feb. 5th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
How very right you are!! I know EXACTLY what you are talking about.

I'm part of a marching band and everyone I tell this to just calls me a band nerd. But what they don't see are all of the hours that we spend practicing, how much physical and mental effort that it takes and how competitive it can be. At my high school the band practices twice as much as the football team and we compete in NATIONAL events - not just state.

It's totally unfair that stuff like guard and band get over-looked so easily. Honestly, I don't see why football and basketball are such a big deal.

So props to you for bringing stuff like this to the attention of the public. Guard is totally hard-core stuff. I know that I could never do it.

P.S. - Phantom Regiment totally rocks my socks off. Their drum corp and their guard are TOTALLY top notch!!
arieleishen wrote:
Feb. 5th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
Video 1 was pretty impressive.
Video 2 made me cry.
Video 3 HOLY....

Thanks so much for sharing these! Going to check out the others!!!
theeagerreaders wrote:
Feb. 5th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
Wow! Thank you for sharing these! I've always been impressed by the coordination, strength, & flexibility involved in baton-twirling & gymnastics. And those winterguard videos are seriously giving me chills with their awesomeness. Amazing! That "Chimeras Winterguard 1999" performance?! Absolutely incredible!!
patricksjessica wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
Very cool videos! Thanks for sharing. It sucks that these sports aren't widely supported.
evilhobbitgirl wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
I appreciate this post! :)

I really miss winterguard. I have never watched any rhythmic gymnastics, how cool! The coordination they have with those balls is impressive.. I'd never be able to catch one behind my head with my shoulders. O.o
bondgwendabond wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
Wow, wow, wow--I've never even heard of Winterguard, but that first video has me thinking that there should be a Glee spin-off of that title. WOW.
kristin_briana wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
That was gorgeous! I particularly loved the rhythmic gymnastics - HOLY CRAP.
claire8sterling wrote:
Feb. 7th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
Really, the superbowl thingy is this weekend?
(Anonymous) wrote:
Feb. 7th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
Sad Truth
Not to seem too pedantic, but an easy formula for discerning the palatability of a sport in America is to look at the aesthetic appeal, rather than, say, the amount of skill required. The vast majority of Americans want sweat and pain and brute strength, not grace and coordination, even if the latter happens to require a greater amount of "proportional" strength.

Westerners are somewhat akin to ancient Romans; they want to see gladiators in an arena who can hit each other really hard, or leap into the air and slam a ball mightily through a hoop, or hit things really hard with wooden sticks. It's the aesthetic of patriarchy, of the "warrior," and I can only assume that it took hold in a time where war was a way of life, and the warrior was revered above all. You could almost say it's in our cultural DNA.
( Comment )

Oh, hi!

My name is Jackson Pearce-- I'm the author of retold fairytales (SISTERS RED, SWEETLY, FATHOMLESS, COLD SPELL), funny contemporary stories (PURITY), tales of wishes come true (AS YOU WISH), and middle grade adventures (THE DOUBLECROSS, coming July 2015, and PIP BARTLETT'S GUIDE TO MAGICAL CREATURES, coming May 2015).

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