Category Archives: Sport & Health

How Playing Sports benefits both Your Body and Brain Science, Technology & Curiosity | Sport & Health 15 JUL 2016

I participated in lots of sports as a child during my school years, including cricket, tennis, baseball, chess, hockey, cycling, karate, and badminton, and it is one of my biggest secret hopes that both my girls get involved in, and more importantly, enjoy playing sport too.

field hockey girl juggling ball during game

Taking part in sport is of course fantastic when it comes to the obvious health benefits, but it is the other hidden side of playing team sports which is just as important – things like learning to work with and rely on others, the sense of satisfaction that teamwork can bring, the friendships that naturally arise, etc.

TED-Ed recently published a short lesson on this very topic by Leah Lagos and Jaspal Ricky Singh, with a slick video animated by Kozmonot Animation Studio and narrated by Susan Zimmerman.

(Playing a team sport is by far one of the biggest things that I miss in my current stage of life, just by the way!)

Related Link: TED-Ed | YouTube

USA Sport Stadium Funding Sport & Health 21 JUL 2015

Naturally, sports stadiums in the United States are big. Very big. And very expensive too, partly because they keep seeming to try and one-up each other when it comes to newness and features.

miami marlins baseball stadium united states of america usa

Of course, everyone knows that there is very big money in American sports, one just has to look at the salaries earned by top NFL football players, NBA basketball players and MBA baseball players to see that. But what is surprising however is a lot of their mega stadiums aren’t actually self-funded – instead, the trend is very much to get the hosting cities to pay for everything!

John Oliver’s research team over at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took a look and came up with some very surprising (and infuriating) information on the topic:

Obviously here in South Africa we have our own stadium problems thanks to the 2010 FIFA World Cup (which was, admittedly, AWESOME!), but that said, it is rather nice having such a beautiful stadium like Cape Town Stadium around.

I just wish it hadn’t cost quite as much, and somehow become a little more self-sufficient and a little less reliant on my tax money!

Related Link: Youtube

FIFA Corruption, Sepp Blatter finally Resigns, and of course, South Africa looks Dirty Cartoons | Sport & Health 04 JUN 2015

Each and every year before a FIFA World Cup event, we get reminded by media outlets about the various scandals and controversies surrounding world soccer’s overseeing body FIFA.

Last year was certainly no different, with John Oliver and his research team over at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver having a proper go:

Now of course scandal for FIFA is back again, with the surprise move of the USA arresting a dozen of the highest ranking FIFA officials in Switzerland on corruption charges – instantly opening up a massive can of worms and headaches for the football organisation.

(Particularly funny, because as noted, it’s taken the country with seemingly the least amount of interest in soccer to actually do something about this group that holds itself above countries’ laws!)

Needless to say, comedian John Oliver and his team immediately weighed in on the story:

The reality of all of this is of course that it seems long overdue, but at least it has forced the hand of Sepp Blatter and he has stepped down (at last).

Though of course, this could just be an attempt to jump ship before it completely sinks…

Sadly though, South Africa has now been drawn into the thick of it, and no matter how sports minister Fikile Mbalula and his team try to spin it, it is looking pretty much like we paid bribes in order to get the World Cup in 2010.

Sigh, can this beautiful country of ours not get a break or two sometime?

Of course, FIFA and the World Cup has been an inspiration for Zapiro on more than just a few occasions before, but this particular scandal seems to have brought out the best from one of South Africa’s most recognised political cartoonists:

My favourite editorial cartoon coming out of this debacle however has to be the one drawn up by the Dr. Jack and Curtis team for EWN (Eyewitness News):

top fifa officials arrested cartoon ewn eyewitness news cartoon by dr jack and curtis

Hilarious!

Related Link: Times Live | EWN | Zapiro | YouTube

Cheerleaders in Rugby? Seems a bit Unfair and Unnecessary? Sport & Health 04 APR 2015

Recently I was at Newlands to catch a live DHL Stormers game, and as always the rugby action on show was fantastic. Yes, my home team lost against a superior New Zealand foe on the day, but the rugby was played hard and made for a worthwhile spectacle to behold.

super rugby stormers versus chiefs kobus van wyk running with the ball - newlands march 2015

As per usual, all of this Newlands rugby action was accompanied by the DHL Dancers, the cheerleader girls that have accompanied the rugby team for so many years now – and once again, I found myself questioning the role that they actually provide (other than being a source for some cringe-worthy comments, not to mention the occasional little-too-long stares).

super rugby dhl stormers cheerleader girls in red hotpants at newlands rugby stadium 2

Seriously.

I get that they are a titillating sight, something to look at during the breaks in play, but the whole thing seems well… a bit sexist and not something that should really have any place in today’s modern, more equal society.

If rugby was exclusively watched by men and Newlands was a bit of a men’s club, then I guess it makes sense, but the reality is that if you attend Newlands for a game then the crowd demographics are easily split 50/50 in terms of women and men – after all, most men travel to the stadium with their wives in tow (or vice versa).

Also, a high percentage of attendees happen to be children as well, so again, the half-naked dancing girls intended to titillate adult men doesn’t seem to quite match the stadium audience.

Super Rugby - Stormers v Reds, 25 May 2013

I think the only way you could kind of validate the idea of cheerleaders at a rugby game would be to make it more representative of the crowd in the stadium – and that means including male dancers and perhaps even throw in some kids into the mix.

While we’re at it, to keep it all fair, maybe only allow muscular guys with an aversion to shirts in the group?

super rugby dhl stormers cheerleader girls in red hotpants at newlands rugby stadium 3

I don’t know.

Cheerleaders. How is this possibly still a thing in 2015?

Food Myth Falsehoods Sport & Health 14 MAR 2015

The thing about statements is that if they get repeated often enough, then they become facts. Fact. (See what I just did there?)

Don’t believe me? Well I don’t know about you, but I grew up believing that eating carrots is great for the eyes (despite the fact I’ve worn glasses and contact lenses pretty much since I was a teenager), not to mention the fact that you should never swallow bubblegum because it will stay in your stomach pretty much forever.

Oh, and don’t forget that it is a bad idea to give kids too much sugar unless you ARE looking for a loud, hyperactive time!

Right.

woman with seductive eyes blowing a bubblegum bubble

Well here are a couple of food myth falsehoods that seem to have stuck around for quite some time, despite the fact that by now most of them have well and truly been properly debunked:

Gum stays in your stomach for seven years

Generally, gum is made up of four general components, and our bodies can easily break down three of these. The gum’s flavorings, sweeteners and softeners are all no match for human digestion. It’s the gum base that sticks around. Gum base is made mostly of synthetic chemicals, and these chemicals give gum its chewy property. It’s designed to resist the digestive properties of the saliva in your mouth. But once it’s swallowed, even the gum base is subjected to the same treatment as regular food, and after it’s recognized as useless by your digestive system, it goes the same route as any waste product. (Read More)

Eating cheese before bed will give you nightmares

Not one I’m particularly familiar with, but to be safe the British Cheese Board has tested the theory and found no relation to eating cheese before bed and an increase in nightmares. One down. (Read More)

Sugar makes children hyperactive

In 1994, a double blind research study found that eating sugary foods did not affect the behaviour or cognitive skills of the children involved. Another study found parents were more likely to say their child was hyperactive even if the sugar they had been given was a placebo. (Read More)

Your steak leaks blood when you cut it

Almost all the blood in your meat is removed during the slaughter, leaving in fact very little behind. The red liquid you find on your plate is actually just a lot of water mixed with a protein called myoglobin. (Read More)

Carbohydrates make you gain weight

Research shows that not all carbohydrates negatively affect your weight. Of course, limiting highly processed carbohydrates is always a wise idea but cutting out good carbohydrates can backfire and make you gain weight instead of lose it. It can also cause health problems that range from being annoying to being life threatening. (Read More)

You need to drink eight glasses of water a day

In general, to remain healthy we need to take in enough water to replace the amount we lose daily through excretion, perspiration, and other bodily functions, but that amount can vary widely from person to person, based upon a variety of factors such as age, physical condition, activity level, and climate. The “8 glasses of water per day” is a rule of thumb, not an absolute minimum, and not all of our water intake need come in the form of drinking water. (Read More)

Eating carrots will give you night vision

In World War II, Britain’s air ministry spread the word that a diet of carrots helped pilots see Nazi bombers attacking at night. That was a lie intended to cover the real matter of what was underpinning the Royal Air Force’s successes: Airborne Interception Radar, also known as AI. The secret new system pinpointed some enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.

Though the promise of night vision is not true, carrots do contain a healthy dose of vitamin A, which is what your body uses to synthesise the pigment in your eyes that operates in low light conditions. This means that if you have a vitamin A deficiency, seeing in darker conditions may be more difficult. Eating carrots will rectify this but only to the point of an average person’s vision. (Read More)

White chocolate is chocolate

To be classified as chocolate a product has to contain cocoa solids or cocoa liquor. White “chocolate”, on the other hand, contains cocoa butter instead. (Read More)

Crusts will give you curly hair

This one I’ve never even hear of mind you. Anyway, whether you have curly or straight hair depends entirely on your genes. Food is not going to chang e your genetic makeup. This myth might have originated 300 years ago in Europe, when curly hair was seen as a symbol of health and prosperity. (Read More)

black woman biting into a carrot

Because remember, knowing is half the battle! :)

Now Zlatan Ibrahimovic is just Showing Off! Sport & Health 15 NOV 2012

Ouch, seriously don’t want to be a national English football supporter right now. Sweden delivered a big right hook to the English in last night’s international, and chief destroyer of the English defense turned out to be the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored all four of Sweden’s goals on the night!

The best moment of the night? Without a doubt Ibrahimovic’s jaw-dropping fourth goal to seal the win.

Even England captain Steven Gerrard described Ibrahimovic’s stunning fourth goal in Stockholm on Wednesday night as “the best I’ve ever seen.”

And I kind of have to agree. Check it out:

That takes skill (and a hell of a lot of luck).

Tennis: An Incredibly Cheeky Shot Sport & Health 25 OCT 2012

I’m not particularly big on tennis in that I’m not really familiar with the current crop of players gracing the ATP tour, outside of course, the big four in terms of men’s tennis, and then poor old Kevin Anderson who keeps getting saddled with the South African label despite the fact he doesn’t really spend time out this way any more – and it’s been that way for years now.

What this then means is that I can’t really tell you all that much about Grigor Dimitrov (playing in the red), except for that he pulled off this sensational and uber cheeky winning shot against Viktor Troicki at an ATP 2012 tournament held in Basel, Switzerland.

Seriously, seriously cheeky. (But skilled).

Nifty

Sport doesn’t care who you are, Everyone can take part! Sport & Health 30 AUG 2012

Sport doesn’t care where you’re from, if you’re a man or a woman, tall, thin, big or short. Sport doesn’t care how you got here, how much money you make, what you believe in or not. It doesn’t care if you have two legs, one leg or wheels. Sport only cares that you’re here to take part and give your all to win.

This exceptionally good, spine tingling advert comes to us courtesy of Samsung, proud sponsor of the just kicked-off 2012 London Paralympics.

Needless to say, South Africa is looking to once again steal more than just a handful of medals from these games! :)

South Africa’s Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius

Quick Reflexes! Sport & Health 26 JUL 2012

Evan Michael Longoria (born October 7, 1985) is a Major League Baseball third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays. Formerly, Longoria was a star infielder for the Long Beach State University baseball team, the 2005 Cape Cod League MVP, and the 2006 Big West Co-Player of the Year.

And thanks to this display of amazingly quick relexes combined with what must have been a pretty damn sore bare-handed catch of a baseball about to hit a television reporter, he might just become as well known as his namesake Eva Longoria.

Though probably not.

Still, awesome display of reflexes!