Archive for February, 2011

You Go Girls!
February 14, 2011

 Friday February 11th.

A day to celebrate. A day for camaraderie, A day to come together and celebrate the achievements and advantages women and the world of sports. Chatham University in Oakland/Shadyside hosted the 16th edition of National Girls & Women in Sports day. Based on a national concept, it’s a day to recognize just how the female athlete has come … and how far she still has to go.

Students from Hopewell High School joining the Chatham Cougar ( photo by John Altdorfer )

For me, its a bit more than an annual event for which I serve as emcee. This was my 10th appearance and having been on the committee to organize this event, along with some tremendously talented people at Chathan, its become a labor of love. When I got involved, we had maybe 50 students from various high school in what was a very small on-campus gym. Friday, we had 35 area high schools and 7 universities represented. A total of 450 students filling the state-of-the-art Athletic & Fitness Center on campus. The day is hilighted by the presentation of the Pat Blayden Spirit of Sport Award, named for the woman who launched fitness programs at Chatham when it was called the Pennsylvania College for Women.

High school students picking up their shirts on their way to the luncheon ( photo by John Altdorfer )

The message of the day: a simple one. Embrace the world of sports as a way to get closer to the women you call contemporaries. These young woman who came from various high schools had competed against the young ladies seated next to them but had not really had the chance to get to know them. This event allowed for that interaction. That show of pride in not only their school but also their gender in the field of athletics.

Posing with award-winner Shayla Scott from Pitt, Dr Taunya Tinsley from Cal and Chatham athletic director David Zinn ( photo by John Altdorfer )

We live in a city of champions. A city where athletic achievement is first and foremost in the minds of many. Yet, we rarely celebrate the many accomplishments of women in sports in our city. From the basketball talents of Swin Cash and Suzie McConnell-Serio, to the golfing legacy of Carole Semple Thompson, to the golfing achievements of  Missie Berteotti. The names may not sound familiar, but their achievements laid the foundation for the young women of today … and that’s Friday event is so important.

Thanks to everyone who joined us in this celebration of sport … and hopefully your child or your high school will join us next year.

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A Not-So-Super Bowl
February 9, 2011

I would have written this Monday, but frankly I needed some sleep if this was going to make any sense.

I won’t bore you breaking down the game. You saw what happened and you can draw your own conclusions. Instead, its what you didn’t see … and what you probably have read … about the host site of  North Texas. No, the weather did not help and frankly it made the whole Super Bowl experience feel more like the winter olympics. But this city was not prepared and that became glaringly obvious during the Super Bowl week.

The event was spread out to the point that it seems Super Bowl Sunday was the only time everyone there for the game was in the same time zone. We stayed with the team in Fort Worth and frankly we could have been in Albuquerque and felt the same distance. It was just too spread out.

Then, there was no plows to speak of and no salt, so the roads looked worse than anything you will see in a rural part of western Pennsylvania. Should I even mention the price of parking? If you could  get within a mile of the stadium, you were looking at $100 to park your car. That was the minimum.

We all know about the seating fiasco inside the stadium. That has been well reported. The shock that I felt when I was letting viewers know what was happening was why did they wait so long to get the temporary seats up. Everything else about this stadium was state-of-the-art. Why not the seating?

One thing I could not complain about: My seats for the Super Bowl. Pretty good, huh?

That brings me to the stadium itself, I will say this: Cowboys Stadium is the most stunning facility in which I have ever watched a sporting event. Its got everything … including that video board which is so large I didn’t even watch the game on the field. Its amazing! However, all the stuff we had to go through to get to that point took some of the luster of the event.

The sad thing for me … and I would think for the players … was that being at the Super Bowl is as much a reward as an honor. Super Bowls used to be played in Miami, Tampa, New Orleans. These are cities where the chance of inclement weather is small. Now, the next two Super Bowls will be in Indianapolis and New Jersey, with the Meadowlands Super Bowl being outside. Is that what we really want?

I just thought the league would have learned its lesson from Detroit. I mean that was a miserable place to hold a championship game. Cold, snow and freezing rain. Even the Steeler players that year had to wonder.

Anyway,I think it will be awhile before Dallas is hosting another Super Bowl … and if they do, I think Pittsburgh should get its shot. After all, we do have snow plows.