Browsing articles in "Sports"
Jun 3, 2012

Right to Play

Johann Olav Koss, perhaps the greatest speed skater of all time, runs an NGO called Right to Play (not to be confused with the 99%’s right to pay).

This weekend, ESPN aired an amazing and inspirational film documenting the birth of Right to Play.  Once upon a time, in the last century, Johann Olav Koss was asked by the IOC to lead a group to Eritrea on behalf of Olympic Aid.

On his trip to Eritrea, Koss saw not only the abject poverty Olympic Aid wanted to address, but he realized the children were not allowed, didn’t know how, to play.  Vowing to comeback after the Olympics in Lillehammer, Koss put out a request for sports equipment and got enough to fill a plane bound for Eritrea.

The day he left, a Norwegian paper ran a headline which pointed out that Koss was headed to a starving population with toys:  What An Idiot the paper said.  Koss worried that he had been wrong, but arrived to an Eritrea overwhelmed that he had treated them like human beings.

Johann Olav Koss

It has long been known that sports bring people together, and that is Koss’ aim.   In Isarel, he trained a team of Israeli and Palestinian boys to play soccer, later bringing them to play in a huge international soccer match.  Leery of one another at first, the boys had learned teamwork and earned a bronze medal.  When they went home, they Koss organized a game between them and their fathers.

With two parents who were doctors, Koss subsequently trained in medical school in Australia, but then left medicine behind to establish the NGO Right to Play.  More than 350 Olympic athletes have joined him in the cause.

(according to its website:  Working in both the humanitarian and development context, Right To Play trains local community leaders as Coaches to deliver our programs in more than 20 countries affected by war, poverty and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.)


May 10, 2012

Do Buy This Book

go to Amazon, or your favorite bookstore, and buy it now!

Frank DeFord’s book Over Time is a great read, especially if you have followed DeFord’s writing in Sports Illustrated over the years.

He is one of the world’s great sportswriters, and proof that you don’t have to play a sport to really write great stuff about it.  He notes that Red Smith said: “If that were true, only dead people would be able to write obituaries.”

Over Time gives a great insider’s view on DeFord’s journey to make sportswriting the best writing there is.  Hana Hou, Frank DeFord.  I hope you will write about sports forever.

Apr 26, 2012

Béisbol es un juego que es muy popular

The World Series is on and I am thinking about baseball.  As a kid I was a super fan of the Baltimore Orioles.  We lived in Towson Maryland and I had ballerina wallpaper…topped by a giant framed poster of the 1960 Baltimore Orioles with greats like Hoyt Wilhelm, Gus Triandos and Brooks Robinson.  I was hoping and praying the Orioles would be in the series this year but, alas, the Royals were too hot to catch.

My Dad and I shared a love of sports.  In 1959 we went to see the Cleveland Indians play the Washington Senators in Daytona Beach at what is now called Jackie Robinson Ballpark (“fun” fact:  this stadium was the first to let Jackie play at in 1946).   I did a little research and it seems that neither the Indians or the Senators played in that park — but I was there and I had proof!

For years I had (duct taped between two pieces of glass) my proof:  an over-sized postcard of the stadium on the back of which 9 year old me had written:  Today we watched the Indians play the Senators.  I was rooting for the Indians but the Senators won 5-4 on Lenny Green’s home run.  P.S. Rocky Colavito is real good looking!!!

In the same piece of glass there was a napkin from our hotel (where the Indians were also staying) signed by:  Mudcat Grant, Jimmy Piersall, Rocky Colavito, Tito Francona among others.  I kept it with me until sometime in the mid-1980s when one of my husband’s friends admired it and I gave it to him.  I have a history of giving away things that are important to me, and I always regret it.

I got the signatures when the Indians arrived back at the hotel (in a school bus no less) by rushing their bus, cocktail napkin in hand, without my glasses (necessary since second grade) because I no doubt thought they would find me more attractive without them.  I asked them where they were having dinner, they told me and I ran back to the hotel where Daddy was laughing from our balcony, yelling “They’re having dinner at the Indian Restaurant!!”

Apr 26, 2012

Do Not Buy This Book

This is one of those times where the halo effect forces people to read something they shouldn’t read, based on the assumption that an author who has written 20+ books about the law could suddenly write about baseball.  The back of the book ballyhoos John Grisham as “America’s favorite storyteller,” having “at long last” taken on “America’s favorite pasttime.”

You can’t just like baseball to write about it.  Unless you are David Halberstam or maybe Doris Goodwin.  We haven’t been waiting for Grisham to write about baseball, and he shouldn’t have.

I am something of a baseball fan, having plastered a Gunther Beer poster of the Baltimore Orioles on my ballerina wallpaper when I was 13 years old.  That team boasted Hoyt Wilhelm, Gus Triandos, Brooks Robinson and Lenny Green (newly arrived from the now-defunct Washington Senators).

I love sports writing — it is rich and emotional:  full of life.  So much more interesting than any other kind of reporting.

That’s John Grisham’s problem.  He is neither America’s favorite storyteller or a sportswriter.  Do not buy, borrow, or otherwise come in contact with this book.


Apr 23, 2012

World Peace Looks Like This

Throw an elbow for peace

Ron Artest changing his name to Metta World Peace was high art.  Especially for those of us who remember Artest charging the Detroit stands in 2004 after Ben Wallace shoved him, starting one of the biggest fights the NBA has ever seen.

He showed his true colors yesterday when he elbowed John Harden, prompting the Chicago Sun Times to say “World Peace goes Ron Artest on James Harden.”    That one will go in the urban dictionary soon.  He may have changed his name to remind himself that “peace starts with me” but unfortunately it is on his back, so he will never see it.

He changed his name to Metta World Peace, but for what?  His jersey says World Peace  because now it is his last name.  Raises the question:   since he is a “star” … has he registered the name?  Does he own it?

If he does, it is just as well.  It does appear that the possibility of “World Peace” has faded into impossibility.  We won’t need to use it anymore.  And it is all the more ironic that one of basketball’s biggest bullies has changed his name in time to represent what “world peace”  really looks like on mother earth today.


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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