Monthly Archives: September 2006

Friday … How I ‘Heart’ Thee

Some Friday morning meanderings …

• I think someone needs to give me a birthday cake intervention. Today is the first day all week that I haven’t eaten cake on (and there are at least 6 pieces left!!) so far … and I’m superbly aware of this fact. And yet … I don’t care. I like it!

• Today is my friend Shannon’s 29th birthday. Shannon and I failed our first driver’s license tests together on the same day. We spent that day, some Saturday about this time 13 years ago as distraught 16-year-olds in tears. Now, Shannon’s coming to watch her first rugby game this weekend and party with my team and I. She bought “rugby game spectating” jeans in preparation. I think she also has a crush on one of my teammates. This amuses me to no end. This teammate of mine reads this blog. This can only lead to wicked wicked amusement on my part. Smirkity-smirk-smirk.

• And guess what? Shannon’s birthday gift from me?! My own birthday cake!! It’s still good. Do you know how many preservatives are in that frosting? I’m already practically embalmed.

• Do you know what else is happening this weekend? I think my boyfriend is going to start camping at my apartment. It’s not technically “moving in” because it’s temporary since he’s going to buy a house or condo soon and is talking to real estate agents. But still … I have to clean up all of my dirty laundry piles, empty out a closet, hide all of my snacks (birthday cake!), make him a key (b/c I only have one), put the feminine hygiene products back in the closet … this could be interesting. And I was just kidding about all the snacks. I am however looking forward to not having to stay over at his old house and my rent will be a bit cheaper for a while … and my cat loves to sleep on his pillow when he’s visiting. My cat has a kitty man-crush on him.

• And oh yeah, Mom, family … Tim’s staying with me for a while.

• We have to line our field tonight. Everyone think happy thoughts that it isn’t raining or something else which would annoy me further …

• Tomorrow we play the Chicago Women at 2 p.m. in our last regular-season league match. It should be a good game and one we can win. Which would mean we could qualify for the Midwest Tournament, something we haven’t done in a few years as our team has struggled. I’ve been informed that I could be flanking, scrumhalfing, or any back position. I said let me know by 1:55 tomorrow.

• Practice was okay last night. Lots of up-downs. No mosquitos (Thanks Frost!). I practiced with both the forwards and the backs. I’m an ambi-player.

• I have to go buy my cat some food tonight. Last weekend I ran out of his regular food and had to buy Friskies at the gas station near my house. He liked this at first, but now he’s not eating it and will only eat his moist food and milk. I keep forgetting to buy him his normal food though (Iams) so hopefully his little furry digestive system won’t implode and kill him and then I’ll be sad and cleaning up dead cat stuff off of my wood floors in my apartment.

• I don’t have cable television, so I’m limited to NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, the CW (formerly the WB) and public television. This has interestingly changed my viewing habits. For instance, for two weeks in a row now, I have watched Wife Swap and it actually sucked me in. It was the one with the Pirate family and the Anal Labeling family that got me first, last week was the Video-Game Obsessed Family with the mom that brought her super geeky husband and son dinner at their computers and the Super-Jock family that was so busy, they didn’t spend any time together. I can’t believe I watch Wife Swap. I should read a book.

• I need to get some work done now. You should too. Happy Friday and good luck tomorrow if you’re playing.

UPDATE: My cake-free day was thwarted! One of my co-worker’s last days at work was today and they had a huge yummy cake covered with sunflowers. You can’t turn down last day at work cake!!

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"Hey NCAA!! Look Over Here!"

Rugby, and particularly women’s rugby, is one of the NCAA’s emerging sports. And now USA Rugby is building steam and finally rollin’ on the NCAA’s Emerging Sport Initiative for women’s varsity rugby under new USA Rugby staffer Becky Carlson.

“Female athletes in this country deserve a higher level of availability in the sport of Rugby,“ Carlson added. “Creating this opportunity for women can only lead to more opportunities beyond an intercollegiate career,” Carlson added. “In supporting the element of NCAA Varsity Rugby, we are ensuring an avenue of student-athlete participation, just as NCAA soccer or softball provides.”

A lot of us have mixed feelings towards rugby teams becoming varsity. I’m in favor of it ultimately because honestly, I’m tired of my sport being seen as “fringe” and varsity status at both the collegiate and high school level will add to our legitimacy and help all teams grow.

Others disagree. I’ve heard comments that being a varsity sport takes away rugby’s uniqueness, it’s social nature and may even affect the overall physical nature of the game.

Some of these comments lean more towards I don’t want varsity-status to ruin our after-parties, while others, like some of my own thoughts, realize that some of the great traditions of rugby is the camaraderie build with other teams and players through our social nature … but realistically, does that have to end completely?

I have also heard that the game would require less contact or physicality, that it might play by the same rules as high school teams where you can only drive a scrum a set amount of meters, etc. And all players will wear scrumcaps, shoulder pads, etc.

Any thoughts on this? Anyone have experience with varsity programs at any level?

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Eagle 7s Teams Announced for NAWIRA, Dubai 7s

I had heard about a few of these player selections a while ago, but here’s the announcement list on the Eagle 7s teams traveling to Barbados and Dubai …

[And why can’t I find this officially on either USA Rugby or WomenEagles?]

Developmental 7s team to Barbados/NAWIRA in November and the tour’s head coach will be U.S. 7s Asst. Coach and Midwest 7s Head Coach Mark Santiago.

Barbados:
Tess Kohanski, Syracuse U
Liz Dilly, Washington Furies
Jackie Limberg, Chicago Northshore
Sue Hanson, Wisconsin Women
Annie Antar, Atlanta Harlequins
Kate Hennenberg, Belmont Shore
Laurel Stender, Las Vegas, NV
Olivia Anglade, Stanford U
Amanda Bonnano, Miami RFC
Tania Carlson, Chicago Northshore

And let me be the only site to say that Sue aka Scottie B. is playing back with us back in ol’ Wisconsin, not Northshore, for 15s while she focuses on her 7s training.

US 7s Team to Dubai and possibly also the USA 7s and Hong Kong this year. Phaidra and Ellie just finished the 15s World Cup and were named to the Cup’s All-Tournament Team.

Dubai:
Phaidra Knight, New York
Amy Daniels, Beantown
Courtney Warner, Berkeley
Alison Price, New York
Inez Rodriguez, Keystone
Daniela Mogro, New York
Kelly White, Belmont Shore
Christy Ringgenberg, Valkyries
Ellie Karvoski, Little Rock
Jen Starkey, NOVA

Congrats to all!

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Because this made me laugh out loud …

I like to check in with Dennis York, an anonymous political and hilariously sarcastic blogger here in Madison, as often as I can because almost all of his posts make me laugh out loud.

Sometimes I also shoot soda out of my nose and all over my computer screen.

If you are an overly-sensitive, politically-correct blowhard, avert your eyes.

Dennis’ post on Tuesday was entitled “Bring Me Your Tired, Your Weak, Your Gay” …

All of the great philanthropists have found a cause to champion, and I plan to be no different. Mother Theresa will be a saint one day because of her work with the poverty stricken children of Calcutta. Andrew Carnegie donated money to build 2,500 public libraries (where I can now check out “Jackass: The Movie” for free). Marion Barry personally worked day and night to rid the streets of crack cocaine and hookers (by keeping them all in his hotel room).

You may ask to which particular group I have suddenly become sympathetic. It’s a group of hopeless, downtrodden individuals that have little chance of success in life. I am talking, of course, about ugly gay people.

And then he ends with a side note on Brad Pitt which made laugh even harder …

Brad Pitt is a genius, and I apologize for underestimating him all these years. As you may have seen, he has vowed not to marry Angelina Jolie until “everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.”

This is an inspired work of genius. Every man around the country who is being nagged by their girlfriend to get married can now just say they are taking a principled stand on an important cultural issue.

Girlfriend: “When are you going to propose to me?”

Boyfriend (half asleep, face down on couch): “Yeah, I’m uh… like, taking a stand in favor of gay marriage or something. We must remain vigilant, despite the long odds. Solidarity, sister.”

Girlfriend: “Wow, I didn’t know you were so political.”

Boyfriend: (farts)

I think the overload of sugar in my cake has kicked in at full dosage now …

ADDED: I almost forgot, I found this blog via Dennis York as well – Joe Mathlete Explains Today’s Marmaduke. It is stuff like this that leaves me in awe of the human mind and it’s ability to amuse me.

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Rugby Bits & Bites … Enhanced with Purple Frosting

• Via USA Rugby, the new Board has made a big To-Do list and in case you missed it earlier, the 2007 Championship sites are set and you can buy your tickets for the USA 7s now.

• More importantly, USA Rugby is building momentum with their work on the Youth and High School rugby development (High Fives to KT!) and they have built a new home page for it here.

• Goff’s updated his Women’s College Rankings for Sept. 27.

• I can’t remember if I already blogged this, but Patty Jervey is this month’s Women’s Player Profile in Rugby Magazine. And she’s AWESOME.

• Also in Rugby Magazine’s online updates this month … a Buzz McClain piece discussing how Ralph Lauren (who I actually like as a designer) is in a legal battle with Barbarian for rights over trademarks. Seems Ralphie doesn’t want us using the word “rugby” on any clothing … in which case, I still like your clothing, but you can kiss my ass.

• Via Wes Clark’s Rugby Reader Review, a good opinion piece on Gridiron (aka American Football) versus Rugby and Is Rugby Safe for America’s Youth? (also via USA Rugby). And if you’ve never looked around RRR, definitely check it out.

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"We’re people," Utley says. "We’re not these ‘pre-pregnant’ things that exist solely for the purpose of child-bearing."

Via Women’s Sports Foundation, a story on a female wrestler who was barred from competition in June because she refused to take a pregnancy test prior to a match.

According to the article:

“The athlete feels this test is discriminatory because it places an undue burden on female athletes in making pregnancy screening a prerequisite to competition, a burden that their male counterparts do not have to face.”

And I agree. Plus isn’t this just common sense and control over your own body? If I thought I could be pregnant, I certainly wouldn’t play in a rugby game. So basically, it’s the government telling these female athletes that they need protection from their own actions … Can you imagine if all of us had to have pregnancy tests before we could play in our games each week? Even if you were positive you were not pregnant?

And yes, this affects the gay girls too. Because you would then need to prove you were a lesbian to get out of the test somehow.

Turns out this was in Missouri and it affects more than just wrestlers, but boxers, kick-boxers and the like …

Against the Ropes
The state says female fighters can’t throw a punch without a pregnancy test
By Kristen Hinman
Article Published Jun 28, 2006

Longtime wrestling promoter Tony Casta was scurrying around the South Broadway Athletic Club a few months ago, setting up for the much-anticipated first match between his newest recruits, Christie Summers and Jennifer Starr. Then out of the blue, Casta says, a state inspector announced that the Saturday-night bout would not take place unless the promoter called for a doctor.

The same thing happened to promoter Sam Richardson and his female wrestlers, Jenn Natalia and Jewells, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in House Springs.

On both occasions, the inspector for the Missouri State Office of Athletics said the matches were off — unless pregnancy tests were administered to the women competing.

“I told him this was wrong,” says Casta. “I think it’s ridiculous.”

But the promoter proceeded to find a neighborhood physician, who agreed to do both tests on-site for $60.

Jenn Natalia and Jewells, who learned of the rule five minutes before their scheduled takedown, were enraged that they could not fight.

“Nobody was enforcing it beforehand,” complains Julie “Jewells” Utley. “I wrestled in a match in December and no one said anything about it.”

The Office of Athletics has regulated boxing, wrestling, kickboxing and full-contact karate since 1983. The agency collects ticket taxes and a raft of licensing and permit fees from promoters, contestants, managers, timekeepers, referees — even the valets who help contenders disrobe in the corner of the ring.

The office’s inspectors, who oversee every boxing match, have the right to say how much petroleum jelly a fighter may smear on his body, and whether “head and facial hair presents any hazard to the safety of the contestant.”

Last November the licensing board began mandating that the state’s 27 licensed female boxers and wrestlers — and 72 others who travel to Missouri for competitions — furnish negative pregnancy results. The test must be performed no more than seven days before a match, and a physician must administer the test and sign off on the results. Over-the-counter tests are prohibited.

State officials say there was no particular incident that precipitated the rule and have not heard of any fetus being aborted during a boxing or wrestling match.

“Several states have adopted something similar, and that’s what we based our decision on,” says Kim Grinston, attorney for the Missouri Division of Professional Registration, which oversees the Office of Athletics.

Local wrestlers call the regulation insulting and invasive. “If I found out I was pregnant, I would not get in the ring,” says Carla “Lacey” Hall of Lonedell, Missouri. “Who would?”

“It’s cost-prohibitive,” adds Utley, “especially for the girls who don’t have insurance.”

Utley contends that the regulation also violates the female athletes’ civil rights by differentiating them from male competitors and seeking to “protect us from ourselves.”

“We’re people,” Utley says. “We’re not these ‘pre-pregnant’ things that exist solely for the purpose of child-bearing. We should take care of our health for ourselves, not because we might have children eventually.”

(“Pre-pregnant” is a term coined earlier this year in federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the guidelines urge all women to treat themselves as if they could conceive at any time.)

In March Utley filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, and Tony Rothert, the group’s legal director, says he’s considering legal action against the state.

“If we’re talking six months along, then maybe the state has some interest in prohibiting people from particular activities they find dangerous,” says Rothert. “But one, two, three weeks along? That’s a risk for the woman to assess for herself.

“I haven’t heard anyone at the state say this rule is about protecting fetuses,” he continues, “but obviously you suspect it, given that the change happened in the current administration, which seems to make regulations for that purpose.”

Replies Kim Grinston: “This is not a pro-life thing, or a Republican thing, or a Democrat thing. We wanted to make sure Missouri was consistent with regulations in other states.”

Grinston says Missouri reviews rules constantly to make sure they fall in line with other states’. In this case, the Office of Athletics last year learned that 30 states require boxers to submit pregnancy-test results.

“I would agree that there’s a national trend toward pregnancy testing, but the frequency is a problem,” says Rothert. “If you have three matches a month, and you need to get tested before each — there’s not that many opportunities to get pregnant in a month. And there’s no exemption for people who know they’re not pregnant because they haven’t had procreative sex, or they’re on birth control, or they’re sterile. If you have your tubes tied, you still have to get tested. If you have sex with women, you still have to get tested.”

The Office of Athletics says it is reviewing the rule, but many wrestlers and promoters are unappeased and are battling for complete deregulation of the wrestling industry.

“Every year they pile on more and more rules, and it seems like the costs keep getting higher and higher,” says Andrew Hall, who wrestles tag-team with his brother under the moniker “the Lumberjacks.”

Promoters pay the state $400 every two years for a license, and they also pay taxes on every ticket sold, plus permit fees for each match — $150 for wrestling and $25 for boxing.

As for income, some wrestlers earn nothing more than a post-bout meal; others might make $50 a match. Their two-year license costs only $40. But as of last year, wrestlers must also foot the bill for HIV and hepatitis tests in order to qualify for a license.

“They want us to have the tests every two years,” complains Hall. “What good is that going to do us?” He adds that the escalating costs send wrestlers to Illinois, which does not regulate the sport.

“We’re fed up with being treated like we’re a real sport. We’re just entertainment. Everything is predetermined. It’s all rigged,” says Hall.

Seconds Casta: “We could go to the Muny or the Fox Theatre, run a show for a week at either place, and have the same exact show, the same exact moves, the same exact outcome of every match. Is that a sport? No. That’s entertainment.”

Andrew Hall and his wife, Carla “Lacey” Hall, have begun collecting like-minded letters from fellow wrestlers and are calling upon State Representative Brian Nieves to push for deregulation of the industry during the next legislative session.

“Come fall the representative would like to work toward getting a bill going,” says Rita Clarkson, Nieves’ legislative aide. “But he’d like to do some more research himself first.”

Meanwhile, women such as Julie “Jewells” Utley are boycotting their beloved sport. “Until this rule is gone, I’m going to be a valet — a cheerleader, basically.”

What do you think? Leave it in the comments.

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"Rugby has kept me sane through all my academic endeavors."

Great feature article on a rugby player who’s a grad student at the University of Michigan and helping children with Down Syndrome …

Rugby player links athletics, academics
She’s a team player on the field and in Down syndrome work
Monday, September 18, 2006
BY TRACY DAVIS
News Staff Reporter

Meghann Lloyd is what you might call a colorful person.

It’s not just because of the varying shades of blonde or red that she tints her hair, or the rainbow of bruises she often sports.

Lloyd, 28, is a doctoral degree candidate in kinesiology at the University of Michigan and a champion rugby player. Although the Canada native has played club rugby for years, she recently retired from the demanding time and travel of the Detroit Rugby Football Club women’s team, which she helped bring to a Division II National Championship in 2004.

Although most of Lloyd’s time nowadays is consumed by her doctoral pursuits, the connection between her physical life and her academic life is strong. Lloyd’s studies focus on adapted physical activity, or physical education for anyone with a
disability.

She first started working with children with disabilities as an undergraduate, changing majors four times before settling on kinesiology.

While earning her master’s degree, Lloyd began to narrow her field of study. She looked at self-regulation in children with and without “developmental coordination disorder.” When she arrived at U-M, she began studying whether the use of infant treadmills helps children with Down syndrome who are at risk for cerebral palsy develop more normally. Her dissertation is about the impact of physical activity on those children.

“I’ve always enjoyed physical activities and sports. … I feel like there’s more that can be done for the children in that realm. There’s just so much learning that takes place outside the classroom.”

Lloyd, who grew up in Toronto, earned her master’s at McGill University in Montreal and her undergraduate degree in kinesiology from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, where she started in organized rugby. While in Quebec, she played for the Montreal Irish Rugby Football Club.

“Rugby has kept me sane through all my academic endeavors,” Lloyd said. “It’s a great community of people and a great physical outlet, although I don’t think my academic advisors or my mum ever understood that.”

Beyond Lloyd’s athletic and academic gifts, Dale Ulrich, professor of movement science and director of U-M’s Center on Motor Behavior and Pediatric Disabilities, calls her a team player who is an unusually good collaborator.

“She works extremely well with everyone,” he said, noting that she is very confident without being intimidating.

That translates to her relationships with her research subjects as well.

Lloyd worked with Laura O’Connell’s daughter Molly, a 21 month old with a form of Down syndrome known as Mosaic Down syndrome. O’Connell said Lloyd went above and beyond providing information, and although she’s no longer working with Molly, she’s still a great resource for O’Connell.

“You don’t research a disability until you are faced with one, and Meghann had a wealth of information to give me,” she said.

“She’s had a great impact on Molly’s life. Typically with Down, they are slower to walk. Slower motor development means slower cognitive development. So our big push was to get Molly walking, and Meghann helped us do that.”

O’Connell believes that happened sooner than it would have otherwise because Lloyd has a natural connection with children.

“That alone improves the kids’ outcomes because they are more receptive to working hard,” she said.

“I think she goes beyond what a typical scientist and researcher would do,” she said. “She calls them her babies, she cares about her babies and she wants them to research the developmental milestones they need to.

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