Fast Break - June 2007

Divine Intervention; 'Wii' Are Sore

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June 2007
Fast News
Divine Intervention Thou shalt not discriminate. Thus was the commandment handed down by a May federal court to a Kansas school district, which in May settled with a Christian sports group after it had denied the organization privileges commonly afforded to other student groups.

In 2005, a suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., against the Pleasanton School District for refusing to allow the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to use school facilities for free, use school vehicles, appear in the yearbook or raise money on school grounds because of its religious affiliation.

An injunction ordering the school district not to discriminate against the club had been in place since January, despite the district's argument that the club could not be a school-sanctioned student group because it wasn't curriculum-based.

"To give credit to the school district, they thought they were following the law," Joel L. Oster, attorney for the students, told the Associated Press in June. "After we won the injunction, they said, 'If that's what the law is, then that's what the law is.' "

While noting that disputes like this between schools and his organization are uncommon, a Fellowship of Christian Athletes spokesman seemed to feel the outcome was preordained. "This was a pretty rare case, so it did surprise me," said spokesman Tom Rogeberg. "But we also knew how it would come out."

'Wii' Are Sore Since its November 2006 launch, the motion-controlled video game system Nintendo Wii has been a commercial and critical success. The best-selling new console this year, with sales outpacing those of Sony's PlayStation 3, the Wii also has been credited by the International Sports Sciences Association with helping deconditioned individuals get off the couch and exercise (albeit in front of their TV screens).

But as strange as it may sound, the innovative game - which allows players to swing a virtual bat or tennis racket by simply waving an interactive handheld controller - is now being charged with contributing to real-life sports injuries. In his recently published letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, a Spanish doctor diagnosed acute "Wiiitis," a condition he claimed to have suffered after a long session of Wii Sports tennis left him with a sore elbow.

Dr. Julio Bonis of the Research Group in Biomedical Informatics in Barcelona complained in the journal's June issue that, unlike actual tennis or other sports, using a Wii encourages extended play because participation doesn't require strength or endurance. "If a player gets too engrossed, he may 'play tennis' for many hours," wrote Bonis, a family physician. "With the growing use of this new video game system, the risk of the Wiiitis variant may be higher than that of Nintendinitis," a term referring to pain brought on by constant button-pressing on a traditional Nintendo controller.

Bonis said he fully recovered from his bout of Wiiitis after taking a few Ibuprofen and spending some time away from his video game system.

In the Field
Company News
  • Stantec announced that it has acquired the Boston-based planning firm Geller DeVellis Inc., including its athletic planning division, Geller Sport.
  • Synthetic turf manufacturer FieldTurf will install its 2000th field this summer at Springfield College in Massachusetts.
  • Spalding's "The Science of Basketball" curriculum program has provided classroom handouts and posters to more than 11,000 science teachers across the country.
  • Nike, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association's "Step Up to Health" initiative, kicked off the NikeSummerShoes program in New Orleans with a free pair of shoes for every middle and high school student in the city.
  • All proceeds from the sale of limited-edition mini red balls at adidas stores will support Right To Play's efforts to bring the positive impact of sport and play to disadvantaged children.

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It's Show Time
"Sports: The Big Picture" Each week, when Sports Illustrated's 21 million readers open up their issue, many turn to the last page of the magazine where they'll find Rick Reilly's popular "Life of Reilly" column. Reilly, in his 23rd year as senior writer with the magazine, will headline the Athletic Business/NAYS keynote session Friday, Nov. 30.

Reilly, who has been voted National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times, most recently in 2006, will share his favorite sports stories, as well as his thoughts on sportsmanship, youth sports and the human side of sports.

His new book, Hate Mail from Cheerleaders and Other Adventures from the Life of Reilly includes 100 of his favorite columns from the past six years. His 2003 book, Who's Your Caddy?: Looping for the Great, Near Great and Reprobates of Golf, in which he caddies for everyone from Jack Nicklaus to Donald Trump to a $50,000-a-hole gambler, reached third on The New York Times bestseller list.

Probably too curious for his own good, he has flown upside down at 600 miles per hour in an F-14, jumped from 14,000 feet with the U.S. Army Parachute Team, driven a stock car 142 miles per hour, competed against 107 women for a spot in the WNBA, bicycled with Lance Armstrong, faced fastballs from Nolan Ryan and played 108 holes of golf in one day.

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Fast Job
Florida Gulf Coast University is seeking an assistant director of campus recreation to plan, implement and supervise some of the department's recreation programs, including aquatics, fitness, and waterfront and outdoor pursuits.
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