The Importance and Benefits of Sports

sports1From the days of us going to school, to our college years. One thing that has remained constant is the concept of playing sports. Although some people play sports just for the sake of it, there are many college and even school students that are pursuing their careers in the wonderful world of sports. Now you should know that the field of sports is huge, from basketball, all the way to boxing; a lot of things are can actually be considered sport. Yes, the wrestling we watch on our television is also a form of sports. Basically, this wonderful gift to humanity has a lot of different forms.

With that said, questions about the benefits and importance of sports have been rise quite some time in the history, especially when a person indulges in sports more than other academic activities. While one should learn to keep a firm balance between both sports and one’s education, the fact that sports have some really good benefits can’t be denied. Today, we are going to take a look at some of the finest benefits that are provided by sports.

It is Healthy for Body and Mind
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of playing sports is the fact that it provides an amazing amount of way to actually get a better mind and body. People who engage in sports frequently have bodies that can endure a lot more than people who don’t. They have increased stamina, and a properly managed weight. In addition to that, playing sports frequently can actually clear your mind, and make it think faster by enhancing your reflexes; something that is necessary in sports.

You Learn About Teamwork
Another great advantage of playing sports frequently is that it teaches you to respect and practice teamwork whenever necessary. Although, you should keep in mind that individual sports like boxing don’t require teamwork, but other sports like cricket, football, basketball, and several other sports that are played with a team instead of playing individually require an immense amount of teamwork. All of this is taught by sports, and it can actually be really handy in life outside sports where teamwork is a necessity.

Helps Increase Self-Esteem
Having self-esteem issues is a very common thing, a lot of misconception goes that self-esteem issue is something that is only present in teenagers or children. However, that’s not entirely true, every single person has self-esteem issues, or had it at one point in their life. Sports is a really great way of dealing with them, considering how sports require one to set and achieve goals every now and then; there is nothing better than the feeling of finally achieving a goal that you have set. Not only does this give player an opportunity to go even higher, but even boost their self-esteem by a great measure, and assures them that if they achieved something that was difficult, they can achieve something that will be even more difficult the next time around.

Sports Related Illnesses You Should Know About

Humanity has been rewarded by the wonderful thing called sports, it is something that is going on for centuries and continuously evolving. From the extremely popular sports like cricket, to the more entertaining and controversial sports like wrestling and boxing; sports have become an integral and vital part of our lives. But did you ever wonder about the illnesses that are related to these sports? Obviously, something so extreme to the body should have illnesses related to it.

Sports related illnesses are very common, as a matter of fact, they have been attached to the sports ever since it became a worldwide thing. The reason is simple, several sports put the athlete through some rough conditioning, and during the process of this conditioning, illnesses can usually creep in. While many athletes don’t pay attention to them, it’s better if you actually care about these illnesses so you can prevent yourself from falling for one.

Today, we are going to take a look at some of the sports related illnesses you should know about, and although these illnesses can occur outside of sports too, sports happen to be largely responsible for them.

Dehydration
Dehydration is basically the lack of water in our body, and you might be wondering why such a common thing is related to sports. The answer is simple, the practicing part of any sports can be a crucial stage, especially if you are doing it out in the sunlight. Nothing will make you crave water more than the heat, and in such situation, dehydrating while practicing or even taking part in sports is very common. You should keep in mind that although dehydration is very common, a sever type can cause a fatality, so it is advised to keep yourself fully dehydrated while you are taking part in a sports to prevent from any complications.

There are a couple of ways to deal with dehydration; though it is suggested that athletes should always carry water or drinks like Gatorade with them in order to prevent dehydration.

Heat Stroke
Another highly common illness that comes with sports is heat stroke; heat strokes usually occur when body’s mechanism that regulates the temperature evenly across the entire body stops working. The end result is either a high fever or a sudden collapse. Although heat stroke is a very common illness in sports, you should also keep in mind that it can be fatal if the body isn’t properly cooled down. As a matter of fact, there have been several deaths in different type of sports like football and rugby because of the heat strokes.

Dealing with heat stroke isn’t all that difficult, there are some precautions that one should keep in mind. Precautions like applying ice packs on the entire body and specially areas like armpits, thighs, and neck. In addition to that, staying in a cooler environment can also help, but make sure that the body temperature regulates before cooling it down because it can make the muscles stiff.

Dr. Burgher on the casino, the Penguins, and the future of Pittsburgh

My initial reaction to the news that Majestic Star Casino, and not Isle of Capri, had received the casino license was predictable – I was annoyed. I had hoped that IoC would win the casino, build the arena, and we would all live happily ever after. The decision in PITG’s favor reeked with the stench of political patronage and back scratching. Three issues jumped out at me immediately:

· PITG owner Dan Barden allied himself with incoming state House speaker Bill DeWeese nearly a year ago; Deweese was Barden’s guest for Super Bowl XL. Once the Harrah’s/Forest City plan (which had connections with Governor Rendell) lost favor because of Harrah’s impending buyout, the Barden-DeWeese connection became the strongest direct political alliance of the three proposed Pittsburgh casinos.

· Following the announcement, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato did some of his own politicking. Onorato “said the choice of a North Side location shows the need for the Port Authority’s North Shore Connector. Under the plan, which has drawn some criticism, the light rail line would be extended under the Allegheny River to the North Side.” To say that the North Shore Connector has faced “some criticism” is a huge understatement. The project, which is yet to commence, has been plagued by public disapproval and an ever-increasing cost estimate that is already north of $400 million.

· The third noticeably fishy political component to PITG’s win might be the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The state wanted one of the casinos to be awarded to a minority-owned business. Mr. Barden had the only minority-controlled casino proposal. (I am not trying to turn this into a race argument, but from my experience with the federal government, I can confidently say that promises to support minority-owned and women-owned businesses are taken very seriously. The federal government has hundreds of pages of guidelines describing when federal employees and federal institutions are required to purchase from minority-owned businesses.)

Upon further review, I realized that my initial reaction, as well as the reaction of many other IoC supporters, might have been hasty. Certainly my qualms about the political nature of the licensing process were well founded, however I would be delusional to think that IoC or Harrah’s could have won the license without significant political pull. In fact, one of IoC’s primary failings may have been a lack of a strong political backer who could have bent some ears in Harrisburg. IoC relied on Mario Lemeiux’s star power and a large show of public support; there was not a strong voice in Harrisburg lobbying for IoC on a daily basis the way that DeWeese could shill for Majestic Star.

I also reconsidered how the Pittsburgh media had portrayed the competitors for the casino license. Both newspapers generally touted IoC as some sort of perfect hybrid between serving the state needs (we’ll get to those in a moment) and helping the Pens. Majestic Star received the least publicity, and was often mentioned in passing as the third horse in IoC and Harrah’s two horse race. The implication of such slanted coverage is obvious: the average person does not know as much about the Majestic Star plan as IoC. To go a step further, we were also not involved in any of the Gaming Control Board hearings. We do not know the nitty-gritty of each proposed casino; presumably the Gaming Control Board knows and analyzed the pros and cons of each proposal. Most people following this story – myself included – have followed this basic story line: IoC equals new arena.

My point is this – after several hours of pondering the casino decision, I realized that I know less than I thought I did. Much of the details of the casino proposals were hidden behind stories about the Pens, the new arena, public protests in the Hill District, etc. Therefore, any opinion I have about PITG receiving the casino license is biased and at least partially uninformed. I cannot, in good conscience, weigh in with a definite ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on the issue right now. But since so many are angry about the snub to IoC, I would like to play devil’s advocate and throw out a few thoughts in favor of Majestic Star:

· First and foremost, Majestic Star’s location is the best equipped to handle the extra traffic. It sits directly off of 279, has easy access to the south hills and west end via the West End Bridge (which is being renovated soon), is close to route 65, and will soon have a subway station nearby. Harrah’s Station Square site was the least able to handle excess traffic (Carson St. is bounded by the river and Mt. Washington – it can’t get any wider). IoC’s site in the Hill District also sits near a train station and the Veterans Bridge, but traffic around the site would probably interfere with downtown traffic on surface streets.

· Majestic Star’s riverfront location mirrors the two sites chosen in Philadelphia, and continues the trend of reclaiming Pittsburgh’s waterfronts. Perhaps the Gaming Commission was aiming for a unifying theme among these casinos.

· Majestic Star also adds to the growth of the North Shore as an entertainment destination. Think of it this way: you increase the number of people shopping, eating, etc., downtown by having more people live there, not by opening stand-alone venues. With the casino on the North Shore, that area becomes a destination for ‘special’ entertainment — sporting events, gambling, and the proposed amphitheater – in the same way that the South Side is a destination for bar hopping.

· Majestic Star’s proposal included more slot machines than IoC. It is important to keep in mind the primary goal of the slots law – property tax reduction. More slots machines mean more potential revenue, and therefore a greater tax reduction. Somewhere along the line, the Pens and IoC tried to hijack the slots law for their own benefit. Surely this angered some of the politicos in Harrisburg, especially those who might have to go back to their constituents in Scranton or Hazelton and explain why the casinos are helping to fund an arena in Pittsburgh, which was not one of the goals of the original law.

The primary fallout from the casino decision is the possibility that the Pens will leave Pittsburgh for Kansas City or Ontario. (Though I don’t see how adding a third sports team to KC, which is smaller than Pittsburgh, can work in the long term.) I have mixed feelings about losing the Pens. On one hand, I am an insane optimist, and I will not give up on the city or state to put together a realistic ‘Plan B’ until the moving trucks are loaded. The NHL seems to want the Pens to stay in Pittsburgh as part of an overall effort to promote an image of stability. We also know that Mario will not move the team on his own, and will need to find a buyer before any moving plans are made. That means that there is a time frame available for negotiating a new arena deal, and some of the groundwork is already in place. Given this evidence, I refuse to believe that IoC’s loss definitely means that the Pens will be moving.

On the other hand, I am reevaluating my opinion on sports teams (and I am presenting this opinion because the number of ‘the sky is falling’ blog entries need to be balanced by something). Like Humvees and Vuitton bags, professional sports teams are status symbols. In particular, pro sports are important status symbols in the old-guard cities of the northeast. And like most status symbols, pro sports teams add less to a city than their image implies. Consider New York: tourists go to Manhattan to see the sights and shop, not to Jersey to see the Giants.

The status of sports teams seems to be fading in some of America’s ‘new economy’ cities. Seattle is losing the Sonics this year, with nary a protest. Raleigh, NC and Portland, OR, considered two of the finest up-and-coming cities in America, have two pro sports teams combined. In fact, Portland passed at the chance of acquiring the Expos recently. The idea that pro sports teams are somehow correlated with a high quality of life is disintegrating as crumbling, older cities maintain their traditions and leagues remain reluctant to expand into too many new markets.

Losing the Pens would be a blow to the city’s image both internally and abroad. But would it change life for most Pittsburghers? Could you imagine if PPG decided to close shop because the Pens left town? That would never happen. The thought would never enter anyone’s mind.

Keeping the idea of pro sports as a status symbol in mind, I think that we need to focus our attention in more constructive directions.

PITG will be building a casino in Pittsburgh. If an arena deal can be reached, that will be wonderful. But it is imperative that steps are taken to maintain public safety near the casino, and that the tax money collected from the casinos is properly redistributed throughout the state (and not lost into the pockets of bureaucrats). The casino sits on the riverfront, and should be held accountable as a good steward of the environment. It would look silly to have the casino polluting the water and air across the river from the new crop of Green buildings, including the convention center and PNC’s new building.

The city of Pittsburgh made two major announcements last week: the city will buy back the tax liens on over 10,000 blighted properties, and the city schools will offer college tuition help to any students who attend K-12. The first item could help to revitalize neighborhoods and reduce crime. The second is downright progressive; it’s the kind of thing that you read about happening in California, not Pittsburgh.

At the end of the day, a host of issues – crime prevention, job creation, Pittsburgh Public’s college promise, and many others – will trump the Pens when it comes to improving the quality of life in Pittsburgh (or any city, for that matter). Losing a sports team is no fun, but to treat it as the end of the world is a narrow and uninformed view. Ten years from now, Pittsburgh will be judged on how well it handled the casino addition and many other issues, but not on the fate of the Penguins.

Will I actually root for the Kansas City Penguins?

Most times when fans and sportswriters complain that money is ruining sports, it’s bullshit. Yes, the almighty dollar’s the reason teams sign guys just to sell tickets, why Barry Bonds is back with a big contract, why the Bucs can’t buy a championship, why the BCS exists to begin with. But it’s also the reason we can watch our teams when we’re away from home, hell, why we can watch them at all.

But when it comes to a team moving–a situation that causes actual heartbreak to fans–it actually is a shame. Money RUINS sports for the fans of a team that’s moved, as it might for our Pittsburgh Penguins. Just about everything that can be said about how horrible the loss of the license by Isle of Capri has been said, so I won’t add anything to it: I’m not a money expert, I’m not a city planner, and I don’t know much about anything but screaming my head off for a team.

Hartford, the last US city to lose an NHL franchise, has folks who say that the loss of the Whalers may have hurt the city rather than helped it. In a Tribune-Review story published Wednesday, H. Scott Phelps, president of the Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Center, actually thanked the team’s owner for fleeing, saying despair about the Whalers’ move awoke everyone in the state. The story indicates that since the 1998 departure of the Whale, the crime-ridden Connecticut capital has had more than $2 billion in improvements.

But the story (which, now that I’m looking at it, is pretty excellent) also shows us the voice of Whalers’ fans, who feel they lost a part of themselves when they lost the team. Reading about them reminded me of another Hartford story:

There’s a group of Whalers fans in Hartford—a small, sad group, the type that’s characterized in sports features stories as meeting in quiet bowling alleys and garbage like that makes them look entirely pathetic—who lament the loss of their team to this day, who relive longtime memories of their team, commemorating anniversaries and Ron Francis’ birthday. What they don’t do is follow the Carolina Hurricanes.

Which leads me to what I’m wondering: If the Penguins leave (for Kansas City or Ontario or wherever), will I follow them? Will I follow hockey at all?

The easy answer, is, of course, no. The Pens will have abandoned my hometown, a slap in the face to the city, its fans. With “Pittsburgh” off the marquee, I won’t have any connection to the team at all.

Or will I? Have I developed enough of a basis of fandom of Sidney Crosby, Marc Andre-Fleury, Maxine Talbot and others (I leave off Malkin and Staal here because they’re relatively new, so the answer’s no) to make them transcend just being fans of them because they play for Pittsburgh? Or have I become fans enough of them that I will have a fondness for them should they stay with the same team, win as the same team?

As I started to ruminate on these things, I realized that I wasn’t just thinking about what makes me a Pengiuns fan, but what makes us fans of our hometown teams to begin with.

If the Pens had moved in Mario’s heyday—when I still lived in Pittsburgh—I would have been justified in still following and pulling for the team; Lemieux was part of every Pittsburgher’s life, as was Francis, the Samuelssons, Kevin Stevens, even the Barasshole. That team brought to championships to town, and Lemiuex was a legitimate immortal in our town.

Still, I wouldn’t have followed them. Living in Pittsburgh at that time, I would have gotten swept up in a mob rule about the Penguins’ departure, in the mass burnings of jerseys, in the “us against them” of all of it. I would have shunned a legit legend, would have taken the whole thing as an insult, and I wouldn’t have been alone.

And I wouldn’t have been fair.

If the Penguins move, it won’t be because of Crosby, Malkin, Staal, or any of the team’s talent. Relocating a team is an owner’s call, and I don’t root for team owners (Mark Cuban and, usually Lemieux, excepted). I root for TEAMS, for players. And those players would be trying to score goals and notch wins no matter where the team lands, not jockeying for more luxury boxes or the like. As much as I hate to admit it, the dynamic trio of young Pens talent probably has little connection to the city at all.

Which brings me back to my original question: Am I close enough to these players to keep following them?

Yes, the mob rule will happen should the Pens move, but I don’t live in Pittsburgh anymore. I’m a Pittsburgh fan in a general sense because the teams bring honor and glory (well, sometimes: I’m looking at you, Pirates) and publicity to a city that’s rebuilding, a city that I love. Whether or not it would help the economic development of the city, a team’s departure IS a big PR slap: You don’t look at a city that loses a team and think, “yeah, they’re on top of the world.” Moreover, it could cause a downturn in feelings about Pittsburgh within the city limits, adding to the hordes of young Pittsburghers who flee each year already. Basically, a team’s departure would go against everything that makes rooting for a team from Pittsburgh civically worthwhile to me.

But on a deeper level, I’m fans of the teams because I’ve come to love the players they employ, whether or not it gibes with my value system: If Joey Porter pulled his shit in any other city, I’d rail about how I hate the guy pretty much constantly. But because he’s a Steeler, a guy I have watched grow and develop, I have an affinity for him that supercedes how obnoxious he is week to week. Even if he left the team because they didn’t want him anymore, I’d wish him well.

And when a guy’s as un-obnoxious as Crosby, I’m hard-pressed to believe I’d start hating the guy because of a decision the owner, not the player, made. The fact that he’d still coexist with a team that I’ve learned to love watching him play with (however sparingly) only adds to the potential affinity I’d have for a Kansas City Crosby. I can’t honestly tell myself that I’d actively root against and hate this team if it weren’t in Pittsburgh.

Doesn’t mean I’d root FOR them, either, though.