Sports

The Human Factor of the NFL Slide

A lot has been said and written about the declining viewership of the NFL. I even wrote about an aspect of it last year. While scrolling my Twitter timeline the other night, I came across this exchange:

It’s a really good point on one of the probable reasons the NFL is encountering a headwind unlike any other its had to weather before. The league has depended on and perpetuated facelessness and systematic replaceability for (most of) its players for decades. (An aside: the “most of” is a discussion unto itself.)

But now athletes, or anyone really, don’t have to go through traditional channels to have their perspective disseminated to the masses. There’s never been more access to the players, and many players are taking advantage of the opportunity to interact with fans despite the potential drawbacks from trolling and the like. As a result, there is more connection to the individuals who play the games than the league has ever seen.

The Information Age has also brought about more public knowledge about the risks associated with football. We always knew that football wasn’t the safest activity, but we now have unprecedented data into just how destructive it can be. The more is known about the players as people, the harder it becomes for fans to reconcile watching what these athletes do for entertainment alongside the knowledge of what it’s doing to them long-term.

However, not all the reasoning from fans reassessing their NFL support is altruistic of course. As evidenced by the pushback to player protests and demonstrations, there is a significant faction of the NFL fandom (like in general society) that doesn’t want to see the players on the same level of human as themselves. The ones saying their football watching is being impacted by the protesters are essentially saying that players asserting their humanness is making them recoil from the NFL.

Even in this instance, while opposite on the compassion spectrum from being uncomfortable because (consciously or unconsciously) you don’t like the toll the game takes on the players, the wane in enthusiasm towards viewing is directly connected to humanity.

The actions the NFL will take in efforts to stop its slide may not be clear yet, but one thing is clear: the playbook has to change and riding the fence is less of an option each day. Whatever moves it makes, the league will end up ostracizing a group of people. The question is: which side of the social issues swirling around it is the league willing to stake it’s existence on to stand? How much individual humanity is it as an entity willing to give its players?

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Travel

Seeing the Southwest

Featured Image: White Sands National Monument (New Mexico)

I’ve been doing some daydreaming about places I want to travel soon, and two states that seem to catch people off guard when I bring them up are Arizona and New Mexico.

I’ve always had an affinity for the desert southwest, maybe because I was born there. However, my family moved away before I was old enough to remember it and I’ve always wanted to visit. The visuals from afar are beautiful. The Grand Canyon. The red rocks of Sedona. White Sands in New Mexico. The scenic byways of New Mexico. I want to see it firsthand.

Also, being a girl who grew up in the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I have a soft spot for astrology and space. In these two states, there are places renowned for their sky-gazing sights. One is the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. Plus, New Mexico has an extensive history and connection with the space program.

In addition, I’ve had a respectful — and more than passing — curiosity about the Native American cultures of the Navajo and Apache tribes since I was younger. I wouldn’t mind doing one of tours of Navajo Nation or visiting the communities of the other tribes that make the southwestern United States their home.

The car girl buried within me would like to see the passageway that helped the car industry explode too: the historic Route 66.

So yeah, I hope a trip the southwest isn’t too far in the future for me. The biggest question may be will I have enough time for all the things I could do there?

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Music

Good Mood Music: Got It Good

Usually it’s the singer that initially draws me towards a piece of music. However, in the case of “Got It Good” it was the producer.

During one of my periods of exploration, I came across the Haitian-born Canadian DJ by the name of Kaytranada and got hooked on the stylings of his mixes.

“Got It Good” is a cut from his debut studio album 99.9% that came out in 2016. It contains a sample from “Olho de Vidro” performed by Jaime E. Nair, and features the vocals of Craig David, whose music I’ve also enjoyed over the years.

Music

Good Mood Music: You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else

“…’Cause if you ain’t loving me
I wanna know who in the world you lovin’
Tell me if you don’t want me around…”

Fed up. Those two words sum up the Jones Girls 1979 release “You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else.” The Jones Girls were a group of 3 sisters from Detroit, who got their start in the music business singing backup for acts like Aretha Franklin, Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, and more.

“You Gonna Make…” was featured on the sisters’ self-titled debut album. Although the song only peaked at #38 on the Top 40 chart, it did make it to the top 5 on the R&B chart. The song has been covered and sampled countless times over the years. The catchiness of the percussion and synth used in the underlying track no doubt play a part in its ability to endure within different time periods and genres of music. Despite the subject matter, it’s a pretty upbeat tune.

You may also know of another song from The Jones Girls debut album: “Who Can I Run To.” That song was the B-side of the single release for “You Gonna Make…” and was covered by the group Xscape in 1995. The Xscape version reached #1 on the R&B charts, along with being a top 10 pop hit.

Gymnastics

Results for the Caribbean Gymnasts Who Competed at Montreal Worlds

Like at the Rio Olympics, Manrique Larduet (Cuba) achieved the best results of the Caribbean gymnasts at the Montreal Worlds. He led the men’s all-around after the qualification rounds, but ended up 5th in the final after too many bounces and steps on landings. He also fell just short of the podium in his individual event finals with results of 7th on floor and 4th on parallel bars.

Manrique’s teammate Randy Leru had medal potential in the high bar final, but unfortunately sat his dismount after an otherwise fantastic routine. He finished the final in 7th. But not getting a medal in Montreal didn’t seem to dampen either of their spirits any…

Audrys Nin Reyes of the Dominican Republic was also expected to contend for a final, specifically the vault final. However, he was a casualty of the injury-laden third subdivision and withdrew after missing his first vault. He opted against doing his second which was scheduled to be a new vault he submitted to the FIG to be named after him, if successfully completed.

Continue reading “Results for the Caribbean Gymnasts Who Competed at Montreal Worlds”

Gymnastics

2017 Montreal Worlds Qualification Notebook

Which gym deity, or deities, did we not provide proper offerings to before Worlds? I’m not sure of the last time I was so emotionally effected by the qualification rounds.

DAY 1

The first day will be remembered for an almost apocalyptic third subdivision that saw Japan’s Kohei Uchimura‘s all around win streak come to an end via injury (later found to be a partial tear of the anterior ligament in his ankle).

It was one of at least 7 significant injuries within that sub alone, including the scariest moment when Andrei Groza of Romania had to be stretchered off the podium after a high bar fall. Thankfully, it appeared to be a precautionary move as he was released from the hospital with no injuries after a night of observation. And you can see what happened to Ruben Lopez of Spain following his high bar mishap…

But good things happened too, like… Continue reading “2017 Montreal Worlds Qualification Notebook”

Gymnastics

16 Caribbean Gymnasts Scheduled to Compete at Montreal Worlds

Updated Below 

16 Caribbean gymnasts are expected to compete at the 2017 World Championships to be held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada per the nominative registration list. (Note: nominative registrations can change.)

Team Jamaica makes up half of the gymnasts from the island nations (3 women and 5 men). One quarter of the gymnasts competed in last year’s Rio Olympics: Manrique Larduet, Randy Leru, Marcia Vidiaux, and Toni-Ann Williams.

One of the biggest storylines of Worlds will be to see how Manrique fares in his first major competition since Rio, where he was severely hampered by an ankle injury sustained shortly before the meet. Speaking of comebacks from injury, Worlds is also scheduled to be the first meet for Toni-Ann since she tore her Achilles during the NCAA season.

However, the biggest story of the group might be the return of Yesenia Ferrera.

Yesenia is back following a couple years filled with injury and a reported impasse with the Cuban gymnastics federation. The disagreement between the two parties left her exempt from competition even after healing from her knee injury. Prior to her apparent suspension from the team, Yesenia was the lead female gymnast for the squad.

The most notable absence is Yamilet Peña of the Dominican Republic, whose university studies reportedly conflict with the time period of Worlds.

The World Championships begin on October 2 and conclude on October 8.

FULL CARIBBEAN GYMNAST ROSTER

Cuba:
Yesenia Ferrera
Manrique Larduet
Randy Leru
Marcia Vidiaux

Dominican Republic:
Audrys Nin Reyes

Jamaica:
Reiss Beckford
Caleb Faulk
Stephen Lewis
Mackenzie Robinson
Nicholas Tai
Daniel Williams
Maya Williams
Toni-Ann Williams

Puerto Rico:
Bianca Leon
Paula Mejias

Trinidad and Tobago:
Joseph Fox