Saturday, April 30, 2011

Honesty in Naming

If things were named honestly, that would be an improvement, yes? Take the West Side Highway, New York City’s major north-south roadway that lurches alongside the Hudson River. That should be renamed “Expect Delays.”

“Yeah, hi honey, I’m coming home, currently on Expect Delays, but I might be a little late because I, uh, am expecting a delay.”

Or perhaps my Jeep Wrangler should be renamed ‘Lucky to Make it to 100,000 Miles.’ My car is currently at about 80,000 miles and I can foresee trouble ahead.

Politicians could go by a number of names, but I want to keep this column suitable for family viewing, so most of them I’ll have to keep to myself. One appropriate one would be ‘At the Beck and Call of Lobbyists.’

“Hey Joe, did you hear what old Beck and Call did today? He passed that bill that everyone was up in arms about, y’know, the one that turns Medicaid into a voucher system and takes money away from grandma.”

What about renaming sports more honestly? Women’s beach volleyball would be named ‘It’s Really About the Skin’. Golf would be called ‘Is This Really a Sport?’ NASCAR would be named ‘BURP – Oh, Excuse Me.’

Squash would be named ‘Best Individual Sport Bar None.’

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Play and Pay

The world is an unfair place, and one place where the disparity between fairness and reality is painfully evident is in the paychecks of top athletes. 

"ESPN The Magazine" recently published a list of the best-paid athletes in a group of 30 sports, one of which is squash. Some of the findings you may know already. For instance, New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez gets $32 million. NBA star Kobe Bryant gets $24.8 million. Nick Matthew of squash fame made $166,926 in prize winnings in 2010. That doesn't include endorsements, which will up his income significantly, but it also doesn't include endorsements for Messrs. Rodriquez and Bryant, either. Matthew deserves significantly more, without a doubt.

Other entries are more surprising. The men's billiards champ made $118,494; the head bowler made $152,670; the top bull rider made a healthy $1,594,527, which will help pay for his extensive orthopedic bills; the top fisherman reeled in $915,500; the winningest poker player made $9,443,519; Lindsey Vonn skied her way to $509,542; and Rafael Nadal, everyone's favorite tennis-player-who-would-also-make-a-fantastic-squash-player, made $10,171,998 in prize money.
And then there's Joey Chestnut, at left, the top professional at Major League Eating, who gorged himself to $218,500, all earned one hot dog at a time. And then promptly regurgitated the whole disgusting mess out of view of the stage. Is eating really a sport?! Really?   


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Schumacher Toots Own Horn

My nemesis Schumacher recently stopped thrashing me in squash long enough to toot his own horn.

Hard to see, I realize, but there he is, brandishing an inflatable saxophone while frantically dancing about a room. 
And why was this happening? Because Nemesis Schumacher was celebrating his son Jonah's bar mitzvah, a big occasion for a kid, and also for a kid's dad, who has to pay for an event that's as much of a production as a wedding. Jonah displayed the insouciance of a Schumacher by not flubbing any of his lines, which is saying a lot because it's easy to get nervous in front of a hundred-plus people staring at you. Jonah is a great kid, and he's got a little brother and sister who emulate him.
If anybody needs assistance from the best podiatrist in New York City,
Dr. Schumacher is available. And willing. Trust me. He's helped me, he can help you. 

No, not Jonah, he's not a doctor yet. I'm talking the big Schumacher.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Excuse Me, But Does This Sport Make My Ass Look Big?

How many times have you introduced an athletic friend to squash and had them running enthusiastically all over the court, only to have them call you later that day or the next and say, “Man, my ass hurts!” Or maybe you yourself have been away from the game, either from injury, overwork or temporary disinterest, only to return and be reminded of the singular importance of the butt in the game of squash.

‘Squash butt’ is a real pain in the ass for those afflicted, but the discomfort will fade away. The only real cure is to go out there and play more and build up those butt muscles.

So what are the muscles in the butt? Mostly, they are the gluteus muscles, of which there are three: minimus (provides hip stability and raising and rotating the leg), medius (allows for raising the leg upwards or to the side, as well as hip abduction), and maximus (the largest, outermost of the muscles, which allows leg rotation and raising the thigh upwards and to the side).  In squash, when you explosively accelerate, quickly decelerate, or kick your leg off to the side to cut off a passing shot you are employing your ‘glutes.’ Do that a thousand times in a match and voila, squash butt. Or not, depending upon how fit your glutes are.

My feeling is that regular squash players don’t need to exercise their glutes specifically because if they are playing regularly, that is exercise enough. You will by definition have well-exercised glutes. If you don’t play regularly, or are trying to get back into squash shape following injury, the best gluteus exercise I know is squats. And lots of ‘em. You can try double and single-leg squats or plyometric squats where you jump from a squat position, among several variations. But squat you must. 

Some people may wonder if all that glute action will give them a big butt. The answer is no. You will not have a flabby butt. You will not have a gelatinous butt. You will have a butt that is defined, shapely and muscular. No buts about it….