Why are we so surprised athletes “cheat”?

Why are we so surprised athletes “cheat” when we have sent a clear message that we only care about winning?

Around the world and especially in the US we really only want to talk to #1.  We want our athletes to run faster, ride harder, hit the ball  farther, and be able to recover from an unnatural amount of pain. Then, oh gasp, we get on our moral horse when he or she took something to enhance their performance?  How hypocritical are we?  We are not celebrating the guy who tries the hardest and trains the longest hours.  Good sportsmanship awards were last given out in high school.  Lance, Barry, Marion, and the list goes on and on, but we don’t take any responsibility in the situation.  Why is that?  Is it OK just so long as you don’t get caught?

Believe me I have sat at many a round table with friends who are professional athletes and the opinions vary.  Some feel it’s cheating, while others understand that especially in some sports if you even want to have a shot you better play that game.  You could be clean, the most talented with a divine work ethic, but dead last.  It is a slippery slope once you start peeling that complex onion.

Which brings me to the circumstances that motivated me to write this.  The Chinese Badminton team that just got kicked out of the Olympics.   Before I rolled into the next story I put myself, as an athlete, in their badminton shoes.  They are one of, if not the strongest teams, in the tournament.  For whatever reason the tournament is organized that if you win, you very well may end up in a more difficult bracket, putting you in a more competitive next match.  Most of the times if you are highly seeded and win you have an easier path until you get to the quarters, semis and finals.  That’s how it typically works.  So here the team is at the Olympics and part of their job is to figure out strategies to win.  Who to serve too, which player to attack at which time, etc.  Well, during the course of strategizing they realized it would actually be better to lose to put them in a better position to win later.

So easy to say “they did not perform with the Olympic spirit” blah blah blah, but if you worked at something for years with the idea of not only trying your very best, but WINNING, what would you do?  So no, not very Olympian of them, but smart.

In the end we need to point the fingers at ourselves in all of this and take responsibility for the demand. Those athletes are only trying to fulfill the tall order that we and our media put on them.  A champion is not defined as a well rounded great person who leads the team, and does their best.  NO, a champion is a WINNER until we turn on them.  By no means do I NOT feel that the athletes should take responsibility as well, but it is important to understand what they are dealing with.

If winning really is the most important things to us then we should just make everything legal and know that the disadvantage will come to the athlete that has better resources and may get a bigger edge.  If we feel that we don’t want our Champions taking anything then we have to be satisfied with less home runs and slower times in the 100.

Written by Gabby Reece

Maybe we are ready

It’s no secret that our country is not in the best of shape.  We can look at our waist lines and children’s reading scores and know this.  I am not going to rant about diabetes, the pharmaceutical business, medical insurance, NO PE for kids in school, our educational system, the food industry or TV.   Not going to.  I just re watched the movie “Waiting for Superman” which if you have not had the chance to view it’s more than worth your time.  If you have already seen the film, then you know that you walk away from it feeling bewildered about the system, and hopeful about the individuals who are making change one child at a time.

Normally my posts are about “how to get excited about exercise”  “10 great ways to improve your diet” you know meaningful and incredibly original things I come up with.  After all it’s a revelation for everyone that eating less calories, consuming foods that are real, and exercise is a good thing.  Gasp, never heard that one before.

Alright I don’t wear snarky well anyway.  My point is for quite some time we have been going into a nose dive as a culture and country.  While I was driving in my car today I had a zinger of a thought.  Since the way it’s been going  (big businesses’ pouring out crap, cheap food that makes us sick, over worked and over stressed schedules,  families not having a real chance at getting their children a solid education) we are now in the NOSE DIVE.  It may not be quite the same as a plane where it takes minutes.  This NOSE DIVE has been taking decades.  However, I think the ground is becoming visible.  That’s great!  Know why?  I have all the faith in the world that our instincts are still somewhat in tact.  That our innate protector is not all the way beaten out of us.  I believe that our desire, our drive to SURVIVE is stronger than our urge to keep eating drive thru ,drinking pops loaded with sugar, and the need to get a good deal at all costs.

Small companies are seizing the opportunities of providing alternative products and services.  These groups will begging to take market shares from some of the big boys.  We as natural beings will have to make some real decisions in the near by future.  Do we just zone out, pop a few pills, eat a few fries to feel better, and sit on the computer or couch to let life go by.  Or will we decide we have had enough and we want to be a part of the change that is needed?  I think we can do it.  Granted there will always be GREED and the easy way, but we can certainly improve their location in our ideology.

What we want to do on our site is just be an alternative voice and place of support for people who are making change or want to go at it a little better.  Since I am talking about movies then watch I AM, and receive the premise that we are all connected.  Your success is good for me.  My prayer is that we band together, help ourselves,  help our families, and community.

Best, Gabby

Time to Party and Move this Fourth of July

Something about the Fourth of July just makes me feel like I should eat a hot dog and savior the sweet Summer time air.  A day when you know there will be fun, sun, BBQ, fireworks and the action will go long into the evening, especially since night fall doesn’t even arrive until 9.  It’s about being bare foot and playing.  Not many official holidays have such mandates as eating eat watermelon, playing with fire, and getting into any type of water.

Fourth of July Fitness Ideas
Being the summer time event none of the kids are in school, so why not start the day off by doing something that gets everybody in the right mood?  How about a dip in the pool?  A family bike ride?  Maybe get the kids from the neighborhood and go bounce on someone’s trampoline. A family road trip to the beach. When you start your day off by doing something active and enjoyable it just makes the rest of the afternoon that much better.  I’m not talking about hitting the gym with little Suzie.  I’m describing a scene where as a family you go do something before locking down for Fourth of July festivities.  It’s almost as if you are slipping in exercise as a part of your day and not an activity that is always viewed as separate from fun or our daily lives.  What a concept.  Just head out to the front lawn and throw the football.

Reap the Benefits
Use this opportunity to play with your kids, chat and connect with them, and get you out of your adult. The times we share together are so precious, and summer time is always a season we store in our memory banks for life.  The rituals you start and practice with your children will not only be the ones they recall with great fondness, but one’s they will in turn do with their families.

I find myself talking so much to my kids.  Lots of words and nagging.  I know they appreciate it when Mom zips it and just pops in the pool.  So amazing how they stop quarreling and I get off their backs when we are on the fun train.  Medicine and a cure for all.

Let us not overlook how fortunate we are to have the freedom to experience these things.

Happy Fourth of July, and my best to you and your family.


March of Dimes, imbornto

Q&A with Gabby Reece and Doug Staples, Senior Vice President for Strategic Marketing and Communications March of Dimes

March of Dimes, imbornto

Gabby – Q.  Tell us about the imbornto campaign.

Doug – A.  The imbornto campaign was created by March of Dimes to help people give back. The campaign is based on the idea that every baby is born to do something great, and March of Dimes helped them get there through our research, education, vaccines and other breakthroughs.  imbornto will run from now until Father’s Day – because what every parent really  wants  is a healthy baby – consumers can help by  shopping, dining  or donating wherever they see the March of Dimes imbornto logo.

Gabby – Q.  Why did you decide to develop the campaign now?

Doug – A.  We wanted to give donors a fun and easy way to get involved in supporting our mission.  Sure, we’ve made a lot of progress in helping babies lead healthier lives through breakthroughs like  the polio vaccine, and newborn  screening tests, , but it’s not enough. Over half a million babies are born too soon every year and premature birth is a leading cause of death and disabilities.

Gabby – Q.  March of Dimes has made some incredible breakthroughs in the field of prenatal and newborn health – can you tell us about a few?

Doug – A.  Of course! Let’s start at the beginning – in 1955 when the Salk polio vaccine is declared safe and effective, eventually putting an end to the polio epidemic. Next, you may remember your child getting an Apgar score after giving birth – developed by Dr. Virginia Apgar who worked for many years at the March of Dimes.  Or maybe you took a vitamin during pregnancy, thanks to our national Folic Acid Campaign to raise awareness of the importance of this B vitamin in preventing serious birth defects of the brain and spine.

Gabby – Q.  What do you hope to achieve with the imbornto campaign?

Doug – A.  We hope to raise awareness and funds so we can continue our research, education and services that help more babies be born healthy. We also want to let parents know that if they have a premature baby or a child with a birth defect, the March of Dimes is ready with information and comfort.

Gabby – Q.  What do you see as the number one issue in pregnancy and newborn health today?

Doug – A.  Premature birth is certainly the most concerning issue we are facing today. Premature babies are at increased risk for newborn health complications, such as breathing problems, and even death. Most premature babies require care in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), which has specialized medical staff and equipment that can deal with the multiple problems faced by premature infants.

Premature babies also face an increased risk of lasting disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, learning and behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, lung problems and vision and hearing loss. Two recent studies suggest that premature babies may be at increased risk of symptoms associated with autism (social, behavioral and speech problems). Studies also suggest that babies born very prematurely may be at increased risk of certain adult health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Gabby – Q.  Is there anything specific you’re doing to combat this?

Doug – A. March of Dimes-funded researchers are working to identify the causes of premature birth and develop new ways to prevent it.  We are also raising awareness that if a woman’s pregnancy is healthy, it’s best for her to wait for labor to begin on its own, rather than scheduling an induction or c-section that could result in a premature birth.  Healthy babies are worth the wait.

Gabby – Q.  How can we get involved?

Doug – A. You can support the imbornto campaign this Spring! Shop with our partners, HSN, The Honest Company, Kmart, ProFlowers, Destination Maternity and Famous Footwear and give back to the March of Dimes.
About Douglas A Staples

Doug Staples is Senior Vice President for Strategic Marketing and Communications.  In this position, he is responsible for overall marketing and brand strategy, media relations, creative services, and e-business for the March of Dimes.

Staples joined the March of Dimes in 1987 as a writer and later served as Director of Editorial Services and Director of Creative Services. In 2003, he played a key role in the creation of the national Prematurity Campaign, including development of award-winning public service advertising and creation of the first national Prematurity Awareness Day.  In 2007, he led the rebranding of the March of Dimes, including development of a new logo and positioning.

Prior to joining the March of Dimes, Staples served as Associate Director of Finance for the Committee for Economic Development in New York and as press secretary for the state Republican Party in Hartford, Conn. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

Doug and his wife, Chris, lost a daughter to a premature birth in 1999.  They live in Carmel, N.Y., with their 17-year-old son and two dogs.