Aug 18 2016

What The Hell Is Up With That Robbery?

If you’ve been following the Rio Olympics at all, you likely have heard about Ryan Lochte and his teammates being robbed at gunpoint.

Taser Gun

(Note: the photo above is a taser. It was in the DaddyTips image library. It has nothing to do with the story. But it is a gun, albeit not a deadly one.)

Unless it never happened. Which is not what we’re saying AT ALL. This is just reporting what others have reported and adding some musings about the “Dad is my Spokesperson” thing.

According to the AP, two of Lochte’s teammates were pulled from a plane and had their passports seized. That seems odd to me. Here’s some details:

USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were released by local authorities after being pulled from a flight at the Rio de Janeiro airport, with the understanding that discussions would continue amid uncertainty over what truly took place during a late outing the night Olympic swimming wrapped up at the Rio Games.
Fellow teammate Jimmy Feigen also plans to talk to officials, Sandusky said, as he navigates a judge’s order that keeps him in Brazil. The order similarly called for Lochte’s passport to be seized, but the star swimmer had already returned to the United States before authorities could enforce the decision.
A lawyer for Conger and Bentz said Thursday that they won’t be allowed to leave Brazil until they provide testimony to investigators. The swimmers didn’t speak to reporters as they left the airport, shuttled away by a black car waiting outside. They departed for an unspecified location in Brazil and had yet to testify, said attorney Sergio Viegas. (emphasis added)

Kinda bizarre, right? Is it possible that they made the whole thing up? Apparently accounts of the details of the event have changed, which is less surprising when you read that Lochte and his teammates were, according to published reports, inebriated. What is very strange to me is that the athletes aren’t being allowed to leave the country. That feels punitive.

Here’s what Lochte’s father Steve had to say (this is why I’m writing about the whole thing on DaddyTips):

Lochte’s father told The Associated Press by phone from his Florida home that his son called him Tuesday after arriving in the United States. The 32-year-old swimmer was going to pick up his car and buy a new wallet to replace the one that he said was stolen.
“I’m just happy he’s safe,” Steve Lochte said. “It was an unfortunate experience for him and the other three. I don’t know what all the controversy is. They were basically taken out of the taxi and robbed. The main thing is he’s very lucky that he’s safe and that all they got was his cash and wallet.”

So Ryan Lochte was allowed to leave Rio.

A brief word about the whole “Dad as Spokesperson” phenomenon.

This is something that I continue to be fascinated by. Why does a 32-year-old need his father to speak on his behalf? Athletes in particular seem to have their Dads talk for them, especially in situations like, say, the NFL draft. We saw that in Jerry Maguire; the father of someone Jerry is trying to represent is clearly running his kid’s life. In that case it makes a bit more sense. The kid is young, impressionable, possibly not that great with money. That was the case in Jerry Maguire. It’s probably a little less true today. But Dad as head of the Athlete Brain Trust? OK. I can work with that.

It’s “Dad as Spokesperson” that I get stuck on. It happens more often in sports than anywhere else, but it also occurs in entertainment. At a certain point, I would think that one wouldn’t want want to have one’s parents speaking for you. (I apologize for that sentence.) It just feels weird to me. I love my kids but I want them to be able to speak for themselves, especially at the age of 32.

This should in no way be construed as a dig at any athlete, nor should it be seen as shedding any doubt on the story that U.S. Olympic athletes were robbed in Rio. The story is bizarre and doesn’t seem to be getting covered the way I would like, which is to say that this seems like a straightforward series of events — guys get robbed at gunpoint, police investigate, they get to move on. People not being allowed to leave the country? That’s odd. Bottom line: we’re just reporting what other outlets have reported, outlets with actual reporters doing journalism. If you want to read more about the whole mess, there are links below.

Three American Olympic swimmers planned to meet with Brazilian law enforcement Thursday to discuss a reported robbery targeting 12-time medalist Ryan Lochte and his teammates, a U.S. Olympic Committee official said.

Source: Ryan Lochte’s swim teammates to meet with authorities on robbery – Chicago Tribune


Apr 26 2016

12-Year-Old Girl Runs Half-Marathon by Mistake

Watch this video about a 12-year-old girl who ran a half-marathon by accident and feel like a marshmallow. Well, that’s how it made me feel.

marathon mistake

Also proud of the kid. 13.1 miles is impressive enough, but to run that far when you had only trained to run 5 miles is… well, dang. Watch here:

If the embedded video above doesn’t work, click the link below.

Source: 12-Year-Old Girl Runs Half-Marathon by Mistake (NBCNewYork.com)


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Feb 06 2016

Cam Newton Named His Kid Chosen

With the Super Bowl coming up tomorrow, a little story about how Cam Newton named his kid Chosen. You know, to avoid the pressure of being named Cam Jr.

PLUMBBOB/NEWTON - September 16, 1957 - NEVADA ...

PLUMBBOB/NEWTON – September 16, 1957 – NEVADA TEST SITE — The fireball of the 20th full-scale nuclear detonation of Operation Plumbbob lights Yucca Flat. Code-named NEWTON, the device was suspended by a balloon at an altitude of 1,500 feet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above photo came up because it happens to contain the word “Newton”, but it also is what happened to my head when I read this story. Don’t get me wrong. Cam can name his kid whatever he likes. However… “Chosen”? I assume he’s joking, at least a little bit, when he says it’s about avoiding pressure.

Father and son quarterbacks are certainly a thing — the Mannings being the easiest example. Peyton Manning will be playing in Super Bowl 50 against Cam Newton. Peyton and his wife Ashley have a son (part of a set of twins), so I guess it’s possible that kid could become a quarterback and Cam’s son could become a quarterback, and then they could play against each other in Super Bowl 75 or something. If so, you heard it speculated about here first.

In the interest of equal time, here’s a story about Peyton Manning doing something nice for a player on the practice squad who helped him with his rehab.

Go good game! Yay both teams!

Cam Newton Rocks Father-and-Son Dab Emoji Shirt Before Game vs. Seahawks

Cam Newton recently became a father, and revealed that his son’s name is Chosen. Why that name? In part, because Newton didn’t want his kid to have to live with the pressure of being named Cam Newton Jr.

Source: Cam Newton Didn’t Want To Put A Lot Of Pressure On His Kid, So He Named Him Chosen (Deadspin)


Jan 27 2016

Article by Brett Singer in Clark Magazine

Why hello there! I, the one and only Brett Singer, wrote a story for Clark Magazine, published by Clark University (‘natch).

The topic? Youth sports, specifically baseball, because that’s what I played as a kid and later coached my own child’s team. There were some big differences between then and now, which is what I talk about. The article is posted below.

Brett Singer Clark Magazine

You can also read the full issue online here. (Look for Clark Magazine, Fall 2015.)

The article I wrote was a full-page sidebar to a story written by Jeremy Shulkin about the reality show “Friday Night Tykes“, produced by Matt Maranz. And special thanks to James Keogh of Clark Magazine for the opportunity. (I like to give everyone credit.)

You can read more of my writing at brettsinger.org, see a nifty portfolio at Contently, or follow me on Twitter, which you should be doing anyway because I’m hilarious and extremely insightful. Also humble.

Bonus: here’s a wicked old photo of Clark University, back when it was called Clark College. Gotta love Wikipedia.

English: Clark College (now Clark University),...

English: Clark College (now Clark University), Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. This photograph published circa 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Jan 04 2016

Tom Coughlin Steps Down As Giants Head Coach

Tom Coughlin has announced that he will step down as head coach of the New York football Giants. In part, he said this was the right decision for his family.

Tom Coughlin
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Coach Coughlin, with Eli Manning as quarterback, led the Giants to two Super Bowl wins, both over the Patriots, the first one ruining New England’s perfect season. You know, the one with the David Tyree helmet catch:

It would’ve been nice to see Tom go out on a higher note, but things don’t always work out that way. I think most Giants’ fans would agree that he had a good run. I know I do. I wish him well and hope he gets plenty of time to enjoy his grandchildren.

Tom Coughlin released a statement Monday, and will step down as head coach of the Giants

Source: Statement from Tom Coughlin  (Giants.com)


Nov 30 2015

DeAngelo Williams Little Girl on Twitter

It didn’t quite work out the way they planned it, but this picture of Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back DeAngelo Williams little girl on Twitter is adorable.


Aug 19 2015

Mixed Feelings About James Harrison And Participation Trophies (UPDATED)

NFL player James Harrison does not believe in participation trophies. Even if they’re for his own kids.

James Harrison and coach Keith Butler can be s...

James Harrison and coach Keith Butler can be see in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Via ProFootballTalk:

Anyone who’s ever watched Steelers linebacker James Harrison play football knows that he’s an intense competitor who wants to win at all costs. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Harrison is passing along that intense competitiveness to his sons.

That’s a good, but imperfect, description of what Harrison did. Here’s the post from Harrison’s Instagram:

In general I agree with the notion that we have gone too far in the direction of “attaboy” awards for children and for adults. So while at first I might be inclined to join the chorus of “yay! Go James Harrison!”, in this specific case I think returning the trophies puts Harrison’s kids in an uncomfortable situation socially. Granted, their father is a professional football player, and a well-known one at that. (He’s not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but most NFL fans know who James Harrison is.) That makes it easier. And I would never presume to tell someone that they should go against their personal family values, even if that person isn’t someone who can throw me across a room with his pinkie. (That doesn’t mean I think people can beat their kids, or do other harm to their children in the name their individual “family values”.)

However. In this specific case, everyone gets a trophy. I admit those trophies look a lot bigger than the crappy ones that we got “just for playing” when I was young. But youth sports often have a participation trophy, or certificate of completion, or something along those lines. This analogy isn’t perfect, but if a player is injured, he still gets paid, right? The backup quarterback of a Super Bowl winning team still gets a ring, even if he never played a single down. (I know the analogy isn’t perfect. If you have a better one, let me know and I’ll post it.)

Maybe you’re a good player on a crappy team. In my case, I was a crappy player on a great team, at least my first year in youth baseball. The team was so good we won the championship. I didn’t do much to contribute, but I got a HUGE trophy. Should I have given it back because I didn’t do enough to earn it?

This is in no way a commentary on James Harrison’s parenting skills. (And not only because he could hurt me if he wanted to.) I don’t know what kind of father Mr. Harrison is, and I’m glad to see that he is, at minimum, an involved one. But while I agree that “sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better” I’m not sure it follows that participation trophies are given out because kids “cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u [sic] up and keep you happy.” That certainly wasn’t the case when I played, nor was it the case when my own children played.

The truth is, part of life IS about showing up. Maybe the answer lies somewhere in between. Kids who never missed a game or a practice without a legitimate medical reason get a trophy, while kids who only bothered to show up every other game get bupkis. That won’t happen, but it would be a happy medium.

UPDATE: Albert Burneko wrote a piece on this topic for Deadspin that is less restrained than mine. (H/T Whit Honea.)

Source: James Harrison won’t let his sons accept participation trophies (ProFootballTalk)