Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ironman 2008, El Editor, Pacman, Movie Reviews

Well the prestigious Ironman World Triathlon Championship for 2008 is now history and it turned out to be one of the most challenging races in recent history. Up to race day the days were relatively cool(high of 82 degrees, low 76 degrees) with overcast days, very little sun, and slight wind. The currents looked reasonably peaceful and the swimming was great. So, what happened on race day. Well the currents stayed peaceful and the three Navy seals that dropped in the water after parachuting from a cargo plane got this event started off with a big bang. These guys actually dropped within a quarter of a mile from the swim start, shedded their chutes in the water, then swam to the start to begin the race. The start was on time and started with a literal bang of a loud cannon, after the Hawaiian natives offered chants for a safe racing day and good weather. Then the sun came out with no clouds, and the winds were blowing worse than a West Texas dust storm and the challenges began. The winds at the Hawi turn around on the bike were as bad as I have seen them in my 14 years of watching or competing in this race. As the athletes turned towards Hawi the head winds reduced the speeds to under 10 mph and it got real nasty. For many their personal bests were reduced to just finishing with a respectable time or just finishing period all in the one piece. The sun remained out in full exposure during the run and it continued to prove to the well trained athletes that Pele still was the master of the Island, so just tighten your heart rate monitor strap, drink plenty of whatever was available, gird up your loins and accept the challenge of being an Ironman. After looking at the results of the professionals and comparing them to years past it was evident the day did take it toll on fast times and personal bests. For example, in 1989 Mark Allen won with a time of 8:09 hours while this year Craig Alexander won with a time of 8:17 hours. So, what does this mean exactly? Beats the hell out of me since back in the 80's the equipment was not near as light and fast as it is now, the nutrition knowledge was still very limited and peanut butter crackers and coke were still considered power food, while now Ironman racing has turned into a very scientific athletic event. My theory is a combination of thoughts concerning over use of the bodies with too many long distance races in a year, too much travel, and this is all stimulated by the desire to make more money. Since the average pay of our professional triathletes is just a tad above the poverty lines I can see their point; however, there will be hell to pay when these bodies are over 40 and the wear and tear sets in. Mark Allen said that after he retired he doubted if his body would ever repair from all of the damage he had done to it with the long hours of training and racing he has put it through. Bottom line, the Ironman, Kona is an awesome event and it was a pleasure to be part of it and to watch over the motorcycle support for the officials and see this event from the vantage point of being with a few feet of the riders throughout the 112 mile bike course. Congratulations to all of our friends who were there, we enjoyed rooting for you.

Recently I noticed that Lubbock has another newspaper that I was not aware of, called the El Editor. The headlines read, "Are Hispanics Being Impacted by the Economic Crisis?" Since 38% of our population in Lubbock is now Hispanic I thought this might be a good question, then on the other hand I ask myself(very quietly) why wouldn't they be affected just like all of our citizens? The funny thing is this newspaper is written in English, not Spanish, which I thought was a tad bit weird, even though I like the idea. Now a days it gets on my nerves that when I call some where USA I get this recording that requires me to push button 1 to get English or I just automatically get Spanish. After reading the article I find that Hispanics are as subject to affects of the economic downturn as anyone else, surprise, surprise!! In going deeper into the article I find that some Hispanics were offered the easy mortgage deals as presented by the Clinton administration so when their interest rates automatically jumped they were adversely affected, even though they signed the contract explaining the details. Of course the tone of the article made it clear that they might not have understood what they were signing. The other point made was that Lubbock has been placed in the 20 cities of the USA that is well insulated from recessionary trends of the rest of the USA. This is not anything new since, due to the nature of our local economy and a conservative banking attitude we have always avoided recessions. Also, there was a short article on Pacman Jones of the Dallas Cowboys. This is the guy that had been arrested 6 times, been involved in 12 acts of violence in the past and was suspended by the NFL for one year. He was brought out of his bad boy cages by Jerry Jones to play for the Dallas Cowboys, given some kind of "be kinder" pill, was a near graduate of a anger management class headed up by OJ, then was allowed to play this season. But, of all things in the past few weeks he digressed, went to a party that served adult beverages and then got into a fight with his body guard that had been hired by Jones to watch after him, and is now suspended again. Now get this folks for screwed up priorities on the part of Mr. Jones. This guy is given a huge wad of money to play football, he is provided a personal body guard( actually a nursemaid) to watch over him and he gets into a fight with him and is then suspended. The sad part is there are many great athletes with solid backgrounds that would love to have this opportunity, but will never have the opportunity because the slots are being given to people who just can't seem to appreciate their opportunities.

Movie Reviews: "The Express", *****, This is one of the few five star movies I have seen this year. It is based on a true story about the life of Syracuse University football running back Ernie Davis(played by Rob Frown), the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Dennis Quaid co-stars as the Head Football Coach of Syracuse. This is a very well done movie from story line, to acting, etc. The sad ending is very well done and is right on with the actual facts. Whether you like football or sports in general you will like this story with some great teaching points of life. Rated PG for mild peril and some thematic elements.

"Nights in Rodanthe", ****, This is a great romantic story about two people played by Diane Lane and Richard Gere who have escaped to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe, N.C. to get away from the stress of some major things going on bad in their lives. They meet unexpectedly and the sparks begin to fly. Enough said, you need to go see this for yourselves. Please be prepared for a surprise ending. Very well done and a movie you will think about for a few days. Rated PG-13 for some sensuality.



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