Saturday, April 21, 2007

Oxford Vs. Cambridge Rowing

Who whoulda thunk that the first place I'd hear about this new technological advance would be from across the pond?

The article is from about 4 years ago, so I probably should have heard about this long before now. Better late than never though, so I'm still going to talk about it.

Apparently, Oxford, despite their rowers being all smaller than Cambridge's, won an extremely close race, and then attributed their success to OmegaWave. OmegaWave being a "high-tech diagnostic tool that monitors an individual's cardiac, energy, central nervous, and hormonal systems" (Black, 2003). I won't go into great detail, I'll let ya'll read the aticle youselves, but the primary appeal of OmegaWave definitely seemes to be that it takes a lot of the guesswork out of how hard coaches can push their athletes. That is, until the software falters, and someone gets hurt. Personally, I think this product is still a great idea; had my high school used it, I may have been saved from a 3-night stay in the hospital my senior year.

The other cool product is the DartTrainer, which is a much simpler software that runs on any laptop hooked up to a digital camera. All it does is digitally record an athlete's movements, so the coach can then go back and watch it in slo-mo instant replay to see what's going wrong. Pretty cool.

The big issue I see with both of these products is that it may increase the gap between the haves and have-nots. Cost is clearly not an issue here, UF can buy whatever it wants; but at a smaller school like West Florida or Campbell (in North Carolina), the budget may not allow for an expense like this. With that said, they're both pure genius.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Can Anyone Say Overkill?

For the second consecutive year, if you cell phone service provider is Sprint, you have the option of watching NFL Network's draft coverage from your mobile phone. Read all about it here:

I, for one, think this was completely necessary. I mean how could we be expected to live with the coverage on multiple TV stations, streaming media onto, expanded wire service from the Sports Network (here:, 2 straight days of more than 12 hours of coverage on Sirius satellite radio, and who knows what else? Heaven forbid you should have to leave your home and not see every pick live. Sprint seems to think that its customers will go into withdrawals if they don't get to hear that the arizona cardinals took wide receiver Hoss McHoss from South Alabama A&M with their 5th round pick. Not just the name though; they need to know that he's got good hands, runs a 4.6 40, scored highly on the Wonderlic, and may have been a slight reach at this point. And you know what, Sprint is right; people are going to be watching the draft on their cell phones all over the country. Amazing.

One last thing, I THOROUGHLY enjoy how one of the places Sprint mentions you may unfortunately having to be rather than on your couch is the park; a place that we immediately associate with nature, the outdoors, running and getting exercise, etc.... Doesn't the picture of a family enjoying a nice day at the park; the kids throwing a football around, the mom going for a jog, the grandma opening up an enormous vat of delicious potato salad; and then you see some guy staring at his cell phone and cursing because he's a Packers fan and he wanted his team to get McHoss the receiver in the 6th just crack you up?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Media Equation

Alright, so our assigned reading this week was absurdly interesting. I'm not going to be able to watch anything on TV anymore or go through any online tutorial without thinking about this article. Since ya'll obviously already read the thing, I'm not going to take the time to summarize it for you, that would be pointless. However, I will share with you how it applies to my work in a collegiate athletic association, mainly the ticket office (even though CJ thinks my work is going to be irrelevant in a few years anyways).

What immediately struck me about people relating to media as if it were human, was how I'm sure people respond to the voice recording from one of my bosses, Mark Gajda, on G.A.T.O.R.S, our automated ticket ordering system over the phone. He records that thing for every major sporting event that requires its help (i.e. if we didn't have it our employees would be swamped with phone calls) such as football and basketball season tickets, the florida-georgia game, the NCAA tourney, and bowl games. He records a response for every option that the caller may select and then he goes on about his day. Clearly, he's not on the line when these people are calling, yet since it's a human voice, I have no doubts that subconciously these people think they're actually talking to someone. I know I've talked to a voice recording before, normally out of anger, but I have honestly gotten upset at it when its told me that something didn't work.

The media equation will also seriously apply to the ticket office when computers eventually replace me. With the amount of people who do not feel comfortable in front of a computer, the program should be designed to have one of those helpful dogs, or paper clips, or whatever. Sure, it's an inanimate object on a computer screen, but like the article said, people still respond to it. There could also be a tutorial about how to go through the entire process with my bosses' voice narrating it, or even better, a camera recording of him talking to you and telling you what to do. And if we really want to get high-tech, build a key-stroke and mouse-tracking element into the program so when you do, or are about to do or click, something wrong, Mark would warn you. OK, I'm rambling now, but there are almost too many possibilities to wrap my mind around. That's all I've got for now.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

If This Ever Gets Really Popular.....

.....I may have the world's easiest job or the world's most difficult job search. Check out one of the NUMEROUS websites I found trying to sell their online ticketing system:

At the University Athletic Association at the University of Florida, currently, we mail out all season and single game tickets to those who order them. This, after we've ordered the paper tickets themselves from our ticket printer in Arkansas. The process of filling the ticket orders, checking the ticket orders, checking the ticket orders again, checking the ticket orders a third time, and then mailing the ticket orders out is even longer and more tedious than this sentence. I couldn't even begin to estimate the number of man hours (correction, human hours, sorry Sam) that go into this process. A service like Blackbaud would simplify it to an amazing degree.

Luckily, this change is not yet feasible, too many season ticket holders are old and don't give a crap about computers. So, for the moment my job is safe. Here's to hoping it doesn't truly catch on until I'm an athletic director somewhere.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Applying For Jobs Online.....

.......takes a lot of the possibilities for creativity out of the process. Here's a job I'm looking into applying for.....

I have to submit the application, cover letter, and resume online through the university's human resources department? Now where's the fun in that? About a year ago, writer darren rovell came and spoke here. He talked about a variety of subjects that I have since forgotten (he was NOT a gifted public speaker), but the one that's stuck with me is how he applied for his job with the worldwide leader (that's code for ESPN). He said he sent them his resume in a slightly oversized box. "Anything to stand out" (Rovell, 2005) he said, and apparently it worked.

With everything being done online, there's barely an opportunity to put your own personal stamp on the application. You may be perfect for a position and you personality may show that (this is especially true in sports because so much of your job is dealing with the public). But if all the organization has is your resume and cover letter, where you can only be so creative, and someone's experience is slightly more impressive than yours, you may never even get the chance to interview for it.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Blogging = Weight Loss?

While searching through the SportDiscus internet database, I came across a very interesting article: (Note: you will most likely have to remote logon to the UF Libraries site to view this).

It's about a woman who lost 100 pounds and credits blogging for helping her keep her focus and not cheat or give up. Not just that, but apparently other "thinly-challenged" individuals heard about said blog and were inspired to diet as well. Apparently these Diet Weblogs have become somewhat common as an alternative to medical advice or diet organizations. I, intrigued, searched for them and found this: (Note: you can click on archives to see a lot more discussion topics).

What really interested me about this blog was that unlike the woman who lost 100 lbs. and did all the blogging herself, this one was like a discussion board. It was almost like an online support group for big eaters. Imagine if they started doing these for gamblers or alcoholics. The possibilities are endless.

One more thing, I know this doesn't particularly tie to sports, but dieting ties to fitness, and fitness ties to athletics, so it counts.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Sports & Leadership

A friend of mine recently brought up this interesting, relatively new sports-related camp: The Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy. You can check it out here:

It got me thinking about leadership in sports. We constantly hear about players as leaders, coaches as leaders, and even administrators as leaders. How often have you heard phrases like "he's such a vocal leader" or "she leads by example" to describe a team's quarterback or star point guard. We're completely led to believe that a team without one clear-cut, natural-born leader is doomed to failure (the 2005-06 and 06-07 Gator basketball team notwithstanding). However, we rarely hear of TEACHING these leadership skills, and I don't know why. It could be because everyone has their own unique way of leading that's tailored to their strengths, so it's impossible to teach someone to lead YOUR way. Or, it could be because we believe that the ability to lead is something you're born with, and that it can't be learned. Either way, even if the camp is a fraud, I think it's an interesting and smart idea and I'm not sure why I haven't heard about more camps like it.