A Strange Mixture Today …

Yesterday, I wrote about the investigation into the sexual harassment issues alleged to have happened in the front office of the Washington Football Team about a decade ago.  By total coincidence, the headline on the lead story in the Washington Post sports section today reads:

  • “Ex-cheerleaders, team settle lewd videos case”

As is always the case, no details of the settlement were available.  That means – theoretically – that it is equally probable that the women dropped the suit because they knew they would lose in court OR that the details of events that took place back then were sufficiently skeezy that the team did not want them publicized regardless of the outcome of the case.  Of course, it could also be an admixture of those two possibilities as well.  You make the call here.

In addition, the team has decided not to have any cheerleaders at least for the moment; the team has decided to:

“… temporarily pause offseason activity of game  day programs including cheerleading and music.”

The team also demonstrated that it has not lost its grip on management-speak with the following pronouncement:

“The time is right to reimagine out entire game day experience, to reinvent it in such a way that reflects our modern identity and aligns with what today’s fan seeks.”

So, in the spirit of “reimagination” and solely with the intent of  suggesting what this fan seeks in terms of a “game day experience”, let me make two suggestions to the new leadership in the Washington Front office:

  1. Upgrade the food selections.  The status is that food at the stadium is better than “sushi at the 7-Eleven” but not a whole lot better.  I am not suggesting the team reincarnate Julia Child to oversee the food offerings, but there is a mile and a half of improvement potential here.
  2. Cut the parking fees back.  Fans should not have to tap into their personal lines of credit just to pay to park their car on game day.

About two years ago, I mentioned that there was a push to include break dancing as a demonstration sport in the 2024 Paris Olympics.  Well, that is indeed going to happen.  As with all sports involved in the Olympics, the IOC relies on international organizations to codify and regulate the sport itself.  Break dancing falls under the umbrella entity known as the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) which also intends to have ballroom dancing, salsa dancing and Lord know what other dances entered into the sports world and accepted around the world.

Based on a recent report in the Washington Post a “breaking competition” involves a “series of dance battles”:

“The dancers don’t know the music ahead of time and have to improvise on the spot.  Judges score them based on personality, technique, variety, creativity, performance and musicality.”

In other words, it is ice dancing without the ice.

The IOC is interested in attracting a young audience to maintain the allure of the Olympic Games as a television property.  Break dancing is something that “skews young” demographically; so, the acceptance of break dancing as a demonstration sport is not a huge surprise.  The fact that it will take place in the Paris Olympics is not a shock either; break dancing is very popular in France where it is evolving into a team sport and has caught the fancy of product managers in the “energy drink sector”.

Here is my guess as to my reaction to the competition in 2024:

  • I will check out break dancing because it is new and different.
  • After about 2 or 3 routines where I have been unable to discern any elemental differences in “personality” or “musicality” and I have concluded that the lines between “technique” and “performance” are opaque to me, I will move on and do something else.

Since I seem to be referring to things in the Washington Post this morning, let me point you to a column today by Sally Jenkins.  I was unaware that the NFL and a team of medical experts were working toward gathering and analyzing data about controlling the spread of COVID-19 and that all that data has been shared with the Center for Disease Control.  Moreover, the data show that the NFL managed to achieve an extremely low positivity rate over the last season – – and there are lessons to be learned.

Based on testing of about 7500 players and staff with over 950,000 tests administered, the NFL’s positivity rate for coronavirus was 0.08%; that compares to the US population at large with a positivity rate of 7%.  The difference there is a factor of 100; that is not an accident.

From the outset of the pandemic, medical folks have hailed the need for and the value of “testing and tracing”.  In addition to the 950,000 tests, the NFL also deployed contact tracing and used proximity trackers to highlight potential contacts that may not have been recalled and relayed to the tracers.

This column is worth reading because it shows what can be achieved in terms of limiting the spread of COVID-19 when a concerted and organized effort is in place to do that.  There are kudos that need to go out to the league, the league’s medical folks and the players’ union.  There is information for everyone to learn about the efficacy of various procedures to limit COVID-19 spread here.  Almost everything Sally Jenkins writes is worth reading; this one is definitely worth the time.

Finally, here is a comment from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times from a while ago regarding the addition of some “modern sports” to the Olympics:

“Skateboarding has been added to the medal events for this year’s Olympics, and break dancing will likewise be in the lineup at the 2024 Paris Games.

“Somehow not passing IOC muster: a motion to change the Olympic motto to ‘Sicker, Hipper, Gnarlier.’”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “A Strange Mixture Today …”

  1. My long standing position is that any activity that requires music is not a sport. Break dancing is truly amazing and I respect the athletic ability of the participants. But judging the events is so subjective that it loses my respect as a sport.

    1. Doug:

      Imagine if the trend expands and in 2028 we have a new demonstration sport added by the US as one of its cultural elements- – the Bunny Hop.

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