Friday, February 18, 2011

Dunk Contest on Sport's Center!

Tomorrow night Sport's Center will show 2011's NBA Sprite Dunk Contest in Los Angeles. The contest is usually shown as the final event to Saturday's closure of the All-Star Weekend. The four players to compete include DeMar DeRozan, Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka and JaVale McGee. New York's Blake Griffin has been deemed a favorite but the crowd will be the judge of that as they are the one's to decide who will walk away with the win through a process called "crowd-voting".

Check out some of the dunk ideas for Griffin sent in by fans and fellow basketball lovers!

The contest is a fun annual event and entertaining for it's viewers. Be sure to tune in to Sport's Center tomorrow night to join in on the action!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gender and Religion Making a Difference in Sport

Have you ever been compelled to do something that interested you but never put fourth the effort because it was out of the norm or other's felt different about it? Among feeling anxious, excited and complete this is how I felt when I decided to join the sport of wrestling. I began in the second grade but didn't completely know what I was getting myself into until 7 years later. All I knew was how much I loved what I was doing and that I continued to grow as an individual. A common question I would be asked was, "Is it weird wrestling other guys?" and I always replied, "I don't see it as a female versus a male but a wrestler versus a wrestler". When I began wrestling I had never seen a female in the sport. With this being said, there wern't any women's teams at the scholastic level. When I did reach the age when I had to decide if I wanted to wrestle on the men's modified team I went for it. I did really well on modified and only really noticed that I was having an insane amount of fun and had a crowd of mom's following me from match to match to cheer me on.

It wasn't until my fresman year that I was told I would be wrestling on the men's varsity team. I was thrilled but much to my surprise I had more against me than I ever thought possible. My father was contacted by the athletic director of my high school and was told that we would have to come into his office for a meeting before I was allowed to be on the team. I knew that Title IX existed so I assumed there wouldn't be any trouble. I was wrong. Title IX did exist but there were ways to make it difficult for me to actually make the team. During the meeting I remember the Athletic Director telling my father that I "would be touched by males in places I may not want to be touched". My father didn't know what to say aside from pointing out the obvious fact that he knew I was a female. I sat quietly and nodded my head for most of the time until he asked me "what are you going to do if you are touched where you wouldn't like to be touched?" I responded with, "I'll pin him". He realized I wasn't going to be scared away from wrestling and proceeded to tell me I had to complete a physical test passing all of the criteria in order to actually be on the team. As he listed all of the catergories including a timed mile and a half, a set number of crunches in a minute, a timed shuttle run, a standing long jump, a timed 50 yard sprint, and a timed chin up I asked him why I had to be tested. His response was because I had to be compared to the boys. When I asked him what boys, I was the only one taking the test on my team, he changed the subject.

I didn't question him because I was willing to do anything to wrestle. I passed this test that became an annual pre-requisite just for me to continue to be on the team. Earning my teammate's respect was the first obstical I had to overcome. I put in the same, if not more, effort as everyone else. Knowing I was at a disadvantage strength wise I knew I had to push myself to prove I could be equal, if not better than the men. It wasn't long until I had that trust and respect from my teammates and coaches.

This respect helped me get through years of being stereotyped. I was stereotyped as gay, manly and unintelligent. None of these ever made sense to me because I knew who I was and those that stereotyped me never got to know me as an indivdual. Friends and teammates that did know me personally would say I was never the person that the stereotype made me out to be. Being stereotyped did have a harmful effect on me because it made me quieter and less eager to make new friends. Teachers as well as students need to be aware of what stereotyping can do to an individual because stereotyping is just a false identification given to an individual you may know nothing about.

That first year on the varsity level opened my eyes to the different kinds of controversy that was involved with opposite sexes facing each other in a sport. I had numerous articles written about my wrestling ability in the newspapers but my gender was always focused upon. I was seperated from my team during weigh-ins and was never allowed to weigh in naked (to be lighter on the scale) like the men. I had one opponent tell his coach he wanted to wrestle me. He had that "I'll put you in your place" attitude. After poking me in the eyes numerous times I pinned him and recieved an apology from him and his teammates after the match. I was often given forefits because some opponents wouldn't want to wrestle a female in fear they would either lose or hurt me. This was frustrating because although it gave me a win, I always felt as though I didn't earn it.

I can only imagine how Cassey Herkelman felt as she was awarded the Iowa State Wrestling Championship title at 112lb partly because of a forefit by Joel Northrup earlier on in the tournament. You ask, his reason for forefiting the possibility of winning a State Championship title that he had dedicated so many hours of training for? Because of his religion. Northrup's father is a minister in the Believers in Grace Fellowship, an independent Pentecostal church in Marion that believes young men and women shouldn't touch in a "familiar way". His father stated in an interview, "It's totally his choice. He's a young man now and he's worked hard to get where he's gotten. It's up to him, and it was his conviction" not to wrestle Herkelman. Among Herkelman was another female in Northrup's bracket and that was Megan Black. Megan mentioned that Northrup had been matched up with her three years prior to this state tournament and forefitted due to his religion. She stated that she respects him for adhering to his beliefs.

After hearing about this I was upset that a forefit led Herkelman to her state championship because if I was in her shoes I would have wanted to earn each one of my wins in a fair match. She did respect Northrup for his decision and continued on to win her State title. Unfortunatly she had no control over the forefit she recieved and I am happy for her and the accomplishments she has made.

Northrup had a commitment that was bigger than wrestling and he stuck to it. I also respect him for his decision on sticking to his religion although I have different beliefs.

I have had a similar situation happen to me during my sophmore year. I was schedualed to wrestle in the Class tournament at 103lb as the first female in NYS Section 3 to do so. The night before the tournament my coach called asking me to hand my spot to the 96lb wrestler because he was having trouble making weight. Usually we would have a fair wrestle off during practice to decide who would take the spot. The 96lb wrestler happened to have the same beliefs as Northrup and was never allowed to wrestle me although we were teammates in the same weight class. I was a year younger and knew I would have two more chances at the Class title which would eventually put me through to sectionals, a life long dream. I gave him my spot not knowing my wrestling career would end at the start of the following year with an acl tear.

I do have respect for other people's religions that they follow and the beliefs that they have but I believe bringing those beliefs into athletics and having one person's beliefs effect another person's outcomes in a sport shouldn't be happening. Religion and sport, to some extent sould be kept seperate. If that can't be done, as in Northrup's case, they should walk away from the competition all together and not wait to hand a free win to an opponent. Many people saw this forefit as a fearful act because of the male-female set up. Although this is true for some male wreslters, it is not for true for Northrup. He has the utmost respects for his female opponents but chooses not to wreslte them due to his religious beliefs which fall under gender differences. He respects their accomplishments in the wrestling world but because his religion over powers his wrestling world he will always choose his religion and beliefs over a wrestling match.

To view more about the Herkelman and Northrup debate view the videos below and find more deatils in the following links:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stereotyping...are YOU aware?

Do you know what it really means to stereotype? Stereotypes are considered beliefs that all members of a group have a fixed set of characteristics while ignoring each member's individuality. Stereotyping can leave a seriously damaging effect on a member or group. Stereotyping an individual or group can lead them to believe they truly are what they have been made out to be. For example, if an individual is classified to a group that is considered unintelligent they may begin to believe they aren't smart and allow themselves to fall into this group because of the stereotype they have been given. Growing up you may have stereotyped without meaning to. You may have classified someone to a specific group simply because of the way they dressed, their race or ethnic background, or simply by a cluster of people they may be interacting with. This is a quick shortcut your brain takes to characterize a member into a specific group without you having to get to know the member as an individual, which in fact they are. Every one is an individual. Put it this way, would you want to be classified to a specific group? This is stereotyping and teachers as well as students need to be aware of it. If teachers and students are aware of the stereotyping effect this is one step toward overcoming at least part of the problems that stereotyping can create.

Should teachers and students be aware of stereotyping.? View the following video and then state your opinion!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cultural Diversity

Sue Young grew up in Japan. She is a senior and a foreign exchange student in High School. She participates in all of the activities that students in her high school participate in and completes the reccomended work. Sue has trouble with speeking English because at home she speeks only Japan. Her parents both speek Japan and follow their usual traditions of eating together as a family, mending their own garden, attending festivals and drinking tea most evenings. Sue also enjoys the annual cherry blossom festivals. Sue came to America because she wanted to experience other cultures. She deos enjoy America and the High School that she attends. She enjoys physical education and doesn't have too difficult of a time understanding the tasks because she has a lot of the sports in the curriculum at home, in Japan. When she is participating in an activity that she doesn't fully understand the teacher usually has to demonstrate more and physically show her what to do. This helps Sue understand what she must do. This is not the same for every class but for other classes she does need extra help outside of the classroom. English is very difficult for her to understand and she is not yet fluent but can understand a few words. She carries around an electronic translator to type in any words that she can not understand. She has an academic tutor at her guardian's house in America to help her with homework outside of the classroom. She also takes a French class and very much enjoys it. She wishes to some day go to France to further expand her knowledge on cultural differences around the globe.

Cultural diversity can't be escaped. Whether you chose to ignore it or pursue it further into your life, it will always be involved with your life in some way. For Sue Young, exploring cultural differences is something she finds very facinating. Allowing your curriculum to explore cultural diversity shows that letting this melting pot of America into your life is a wonderful, beautiful and unique experience. Go ahead, get out there and explore the world!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ballroom Dancing at 13

What were you doing at ages five and six? Probably playing with tonka trucks, barbies or the latest Toy's 'R' Us toy. But Anna and Patryk have been practicing their ballroom dancing skills for 8+ years. Four of which were with each other. They have mastered their art all the way to becoming Junior 1 Dance Champions at age 13. They both have their own favorite dance but no matter the style they are dancing they both enjoy what they do. They never stop having fun and they continue to allow themselves to learn as they go. They set high goals for themselves such as being world champions or to have their own school of dance. Get in the Rhythm with Anna and Partyk!

To see a quick interview on Anna and Patryk on "You've Got..." Click Here!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

EKP Certification

Certifications are vital to a future physical educator, the more you have, the more marketable you are. It can make or break wether or not you get a job. This being said, racking up on certifications and staying up to date with them is great for your resume but also puts you in the position to be opened up to more opportunities in general.

On April 29th from 6pm-9pm at SUNY Cortland, students will have the opportunity to be EKP (Educational Karate Program) Certified. This certification allows these future Physical Educators to create a training program based on a curriculum developed by Hindy Ochiai. The program covers the essentials of physical and mental self-defense techniques. It also will teach the attidtudinal practices toward self, others and anti-violence tactics. Educators will teach violence prevention strategies and skills to prevent the abduction of children,

What usually will cost $900 will be offered to SUNY Cortland students at a fraction of the cost, $75. If you already have your EKP certifications, it's not a bad idea to touch up on your skills and re-cert if your certification is expiring.
Hope to see you there!

To read more about Hindy Ochiai or to get more information on EKP Certifications visit:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Integrate Multiculturalism Into Your Curriculum TODAY!

In People for the American Way a survey conducted over 1,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 and asked if they felt "comfortable" or "uneasy" when dealing with people of the opposite racial group. The results left 55% of African American's feeling "uneasy" rather than "comfortable" when having to deal with the other racial group. Multiculturalism education helps students to develop a more positive attitude toward different racial, ethnic, cultural and religious groups so, why not incorporate it into our curriculum as a must have for our students? It's not difficult to add to your curriculum. Take a look at James Banks, he created his own approach to this task. His approach includes four levels.

Level 1: The Contributions Approach
Include the study of ethnic heroes into your curriculum. Also focus on Holidays, discrete cultural elements and go ahead and have a creative "party" to celebrate different cultures such as Cinco de Mayo.

Level 2: The Additive Approach
When those "special" weeks or months come around try to incorporate and recognize that special time by incorporating it into your lessons for the time being. It may not be exactly what is on your agenda looking back at the curriculum you put together at the start of the year but it may be necessary to recognize and teach a little about it. This does not mean that your curriculum should be altered to fit each of these special days, months or weeks but it should have some recognition of these special dates as your curriculum goes along.

Level 3: The Transformation Approach
Allow your students to put themselves in the shoes of others of a different ethnic background. Let them to see through the eyes of someone who has different view concepts, issues, events, and themes.

Level 4: The Social Action Approach
To achieve a more vibrant democracy and multicultural goals take the transformation approach a step further and promote decision making and social action from your students. Have your students contribute to solve related problems and address social and economic needs in the community and abroad.
With James Banks' four approaches to multicultural education teachers like you can have a choice of a variety of ways to add multiculturalism into your curriculum. Remember that this benefits your students as well as the students your students may come across in the far or near future. Being a culturally responsive teacher allows you to bring your skills and insights into the classroom and encourage your students to become more "comfortable" around others of different cultures. Be a teacher, be a leader, and be an inspiration to all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dance like a Pro!

Video games don't always include the couch or your gaming chair anymore. Get up and move with Xbox's Dance Central Kinect!


Don't have an Xbox but you have a Wii? No problem! Try the Wii's new dancing game, Just Dance 2! Want to play with some friends? No problem because this game features up to 8 dancers at once!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

7 DIVERSE Teaching Skills

Creating a climate that honors and celebrates your students diversity is a key to success with a diverse group of students. There are 7 teaching skills to help students feel safe, have their unique needs and interests recognized, and are part of a classroom discourse. Just remember DIVERSE promotes equality and good teaching!

Diverse instructional materials: Be sure that all parts of the world and it's diverse thoughts, views and people are woven into the curriculum.

Inclusive: Provide opportunities for every student to participate in classroom activities and discussions including shy or quiet students.

Variety: Use different styles of teaching to allow for all the different types of learners to be successfull.

Exploration: Encourage your students open up their minds to explore and experience or learn about other cultures and beliefs.

Reaction: All students can learn from their questions when they are given effective feedback. Teachers can make sure they give effective feedback through patience, encouragement and high expectations.

Safety: Any offensive comments and physical or verbal bullying should be stopped immediately because without safety and security, little learning is possible.

Evaluation: Consider a wide variety of evaluation strategies to assess the unique strengths of your individual students.

WRUP (what are you playing)?

The cold weather is no reason to stay indoors and not be active! This weekend I was able to travel to Pennsylvania to spend the weekend at a cottage on Lake Chautauqua. While I was there, a friend of mine and I decided to go outside to build a miniature snowman.

After putting our snowman building skills to the test, we built snow forts to protect ourselves in an epic snowball fight.

Also, while at the cottage we witnessed snowmobiles riding on the frozen lake. We also caught a glimpse of some dedicated ice fishers who spent well over 4 hours fishing on the frozen lake. If these guys can get out there why can't you? Get out and play!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


To watch videos of our exciting journey as we progress from students to teachers check out Physical Education in action on my Youtube Channel!