Egon is still away so he has entrusted his column to several a/k/a Random.
Hello again, sports fans! Across the pond, we have the last month of the baseball season and the beginning of the football season, both college and pro, before us in the waning days of summer. The crack of the bat on baseball, and the thunk of the kickoff herald in a change of wardrobe from shorts and tank tops to real trousers and sweaters, but, as it has been, so shall it ever be, somebody smarter than me once wrote.
What's on my mind at this moment are injuries to the players of these games we so avidly follow, whether it be English football, rugby, golf or American sports. I've been e-reading an interesting series on www.space.com about how experiments in microgravity have developed better protective gear, better equipment for athletes, and some advances in diagnostic medical evaluations and treatments for injuries.
For simple examples, titanium shafts in golf clubs and aerodynamically-designed golf balls can add extra yardage and more control over one's stroke, plus the change in tennis racquets over the last 20 years that has also added speed and control are direct developments that can be attributed to the space programme, and further application of its' developments.
In medicine, the line is less clear, but the developments in combining two separate applications has developed a near 3-D image of the human body and the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are important diagnostic tools, not just in sports, but in human health overall.
What spurred this topic on for me was watching the kids in the Little League World Series last month. Youngsters age 11-12 playing baseball from the Far East, Mexico, South America, Africa and several places in Europe holding national, regional and international tournaments and being flown (all expenses paid) to culminate in a tiny Pennsylvania town where the 'best' team from the US faces the 'best' world team in a one-game showdown for a World Championship title.
Watching some of those games on international ESPN networks, I saw many young pitchers throwing sliders and curve balls (pitches that involve twisting the arm in not-so-natural ways) in order to fool the opposing batsmen. There have been many studies that indicate that a child of that age has not reached mature development and unnatural stresses are placed on developing bones, which leads to complications in later life such as loss of motion.
In professional sports, I see more and more players trying to 'play through' an injury and only further damage the muscle, tissue and bone rather than resting and rehabilitation. I suppose it has to to with pride at being one of the best at that sport, and being paid ridiculous amounts of money to provide entertainment for the masses.
This is a topic very much open to discussion. I just can't quite get a handle on the whole thing, but I shall mull on it some more and investigate further as Real Life permits. Please feel free to comment in any way, shape or form, folks. Y'all know how to do that, if you're here.
I haven't heard from Egon in months. Shazz, Greebo and the Post Crew are graciously allowing me the space to muse about things in sport, and I hope I have provided some reality and entertainment into the serious matter of Life, the Universe and Everything for y'all. This is several, a/k/a random, pondering along the shores of the great lake named Erie, wondering if I'm on the south shore or the north coast... over and out.