Sport

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 2, Health and Efficiency

I said yesterday I didn’t set up the fitness elements of the Apple Watch right from the get go. Two reasons for this, I was short of time as I said and also I’m hardly “Mr Five-a-Day” healthy. I like to keep myself active, but I also like a full english breakfast from time to time. But its a feature and I thought it might be fun to actually see what gets my heart racing.

Like the set up of the watch in general the Activity monitor is easy to set up. Tell your watch how tall you are (short!), how heavy you are and how active you are (not very) and you are good to go. The watch then displays 3 worms. Red for Calories burned (actively) Green for exercise and blue for how long and how often you have stood up. The more you do the more achievements you unlock.

It did occur to me that wheelchair users may want to use this to track exercise and calories burned. To be told to stand up every hour would be a trifle annoying. Thankfully you can turn this off in the settings. Not that I have.

The daily goals are attainable and the watch will display words of encouragement to get you moving even a little more. Which has to be a good thing.

So thats the Health, what of the efficiency. Well I’ve decided not to charge the watch tonight and see how it does. It’s on 51% now so I’m not holding my breath.

IMG_3372

This woman is wearing an Apple Watch on her right wrist.

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Bases Loaded: MLB.tv Across the Pond

Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two outs and the count is 3 and 2. It’s all down to this, if the ball is despatched into crowd, via the inky black night sky. The game is won. Miss, and the glory is theirs.

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there... well maybe

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there… well maybe

My first brush with baseball came with the launch of Channel 5 in the mid 90’s. Late night, after the low rent porn movies, I would sit and watch. I chose a team, based on name only; The Royals of Kansas City. The Royals also being the name of Reading FC.

Both sets of Royals during this period were less than good.. Also I can’t recall Channel 5 showing a single one of the KC Royals games. Now however, thanks to the glory of my Apple TV I can enjoy, every single strike out or homer of the MLB season regardless of whether I can stay up to see the games or not. My allegiances have changed somewhat. The draw of the Yankees and the influence of a friend who is far too wonderful for her own good, means that I now follow the boys from the Bronx.

MLB.tv is included on all Apple TV’s second gen onwards (and 39 other devices). It is a subscription service in the UK it costs £89 per year. I didn’t sign up for the whole year, because I wasn’t sure I’d get into it or if most of the games would be at stupid o clock so I signed up via MLB.com which lets you use Paypal to pay monthly. From there you sign into your account via Apple TV and you are good to go.

The MLB.tv subscription includes access to the great MLB At Bat App for mobile devices, which allows you to follow more action than you’ll ever have time for, wherever you are. You can enquire about that hitter whilst on the shitter if you so desire. You have stats, video and audio feeds.

Baseball itself for the uneducated English gent; Forget comparisons to Rounders, yes this is where the game originates but to compare it now is like comparing an iPad to a Newton. Think Cricket, think T20. If you stripped some of the English away from that and replaced it with some American English terms you’ll be halfway there. (My favourite term from last nights game was “Nowhere man’s land.” So no mans land then!) The game itself is not typical of American sport, there are long periods of action, at a low level (like cricket) but then it can change in a split second and be over quicker than an excited virgin. This is an American showcase but without the usual need to score a point every other second.

Yankee2WM

Thanks for the images.. you know who you are 😉

The Premier League take note. This is how sport should be delivered, all the games (for UK viewers, blackouts are in effect in North America) whenever you want. No adverts (yes really!) I want to be able to watch my team play, be it at the ground or via Apple TV in my pants. If you like Baseball or even have a passing interest. Well worth a look.

(WMB4X) Tea for Two (am)

It’s the Ashes (again) in Australia. So heres to weeks of disrupted sleep whilst I watch eleven of my compatriots retain (hopefully) professional sports smallest trophy. The first test match is in Brisbane and play starts (for day two) at midnight UK time tonight.

The Ashes

For me it’s actually quite nice. Nicer than when the test matches are on in England. Nowhere to go, no-one who’s gonna call. The wind and rain going on outside whilst I can at least see the sunshine in full HD. I only wish I didn’t have to go to work the next day. Cricket is a sport that many people don’t understand the appeal of, I get that. The naming conventions for the field placings don’t help. Leg slips and Silly Mid-offs are too much for some. Again maybe that is part of the appeal for me.

Test matches last five days (and you thought baseball was a long game) but during that time the upper hand in the game can change several times. A marathon rather than a sprint but with tactical elements a plenty, and especially in the case of the Ashes a great deal of human emotion and passion.

Stuart Broad England fast bowler, has been made a panto villain in the Aussie press for “refusing to walk”. Which basically means, he was out in a previous match, but the umpire didn’t give it so he stayed put. A bit like a footballer doing a bad foul then staying on the pitch because the Ref didn’t give him a red card. There have been front pages encouraging all Aussies to blank Broad wherever he goes. Broad fought back in the best way possible by taking 5 of the 8 Australian wickets to fall yesterday.

When you are up watching this kind of theatre. It is important you stay refreshed, and whilst I did succumb to a wee shot of Jack, by 2am I was ready for bed. Which brings me to the title of this ramble. There is nothing, no drink on earth, I would rather have by my side in the early hours than tea. It warms the mind and soul. So if you like me are watching the cricket or maybe some other more fitting event to your personal preference. Askew the coffee, say good-bye to gin. Go and make a brew. You won’t regret it.


Go and visit the Resident Weeble. He might show you his googly.

Legacy Boobs

Looking back at 2012 (I know early March 2013 is a strange time to do it) Great Britain had lots to be proud of. Particulary in the sporting arena with the Olympics and Paralympics being a huge global success as the spotlight shined on many athletes.

None moreso than the British. They were used to promote London 2012 pre games and most excelled during it giving the country a record breaking hawl of medals and several occaisions to remember. We even managed to break new boundaries by winning gold outside of our traditional “strong events” step forward womens Flyweight boxer Nicola Adams.

Adams, a true role model for kids. An advert for what you can achieve with a little natrual talent and a lot of hard work and dedication. She is also well spoken (none of your footballers “y’know” every other word) attractive and if reports are to be believed very down to earth and easy to work with. If you wanted someone to promote boxing related accessories or fashion, there’s your number 1 candidate. Even though I don’t agree with celebrities and sports stars cashing in. This is the pinnicle of Adams career, time to earn some well deserved money to reward her effort and sacrifices.

Lonsdale the clothing company. Have mixed boxing equipment and fashion since 1960 when it was founded. Boxing and martial arts, kitted out by Lonsdale London. It was accuired by Sports/Fashion retailler Sports Direct in 2002 and has continued links with boxing and sort out new opportunities by providing the football kit of Blackburn Rovers amongst others. Given that 2012 was such magnificent sporting year for Team GB. Who is on their promotional placards in Sports Direct shop windows. Which role model to young girls everywhere?

Amy Childs from TOWIE

SportsDirect

She has a yellow belt in judo and huge fake tits, so yes in modern britain this and this alone qualifies her to be a sporting spokesperson. However the average viewer of TOWIE probably doesn’t know anything about the Olympics “Mo Farrah.. he was in 9/11 werent ‘e”

This is not a dig at Amy Childs, this dumb as a box of rocks barbie doll, does have a quite likeable quality on the odd times I happen to have seen her on TV. She is just taking the money some excutive at Sports Direct is offering her. He probably wants a go on her tits and has mother issues. He has done his job and can continue happily masturbating over Ms Childs publicity pics.

I feel sorry for the female youth of today. We have a media that continually robs them of genuine role models and instead presents Amy Childs, Katie Price and Kim Kardasian as an alternative A silcon enhanced barbie generation, that sets the “legacy” goals of London 2012 back to the dark ages.

Teaching the Kids to “Play” the Game

It’s not often I find myself agreeing with Robbie Savage (ex Wales, Blackburn, Derby etc Footballer, now BBC Pundit and Presenter of the BBC 5 Live 606 Show) Robbie as a player and a pundit delights in being controversial. He was a player you hated if he played against you, but loved if he wore your colours. A character in a sea of blandness, a Simon Cowell on X-Factor, a twat who is compulsive viewing rather like a Panto Villain.

By TuborgLight (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Last night I listened in to 606, in the bath if you must know. I only tend to listen when Reading win, so I’ve only caught it a few times this season. Robbie said this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p013zscj (Sorry it’s probably UK only)

To summarise for non UK readers (yeah the millions of you!) Robbie said that as a professional a player should foul an opponent deliberately, taking a yellow card in the process to prevent a goal.

If you managed to click the link (well done) you will have also heard several kids coaches phoning up and bemoaning this standpoint. Because it is breaking the rules. Yes I suppose it is, but it’s playing the game. One caller who’s call was not included in it’s entirety went on to compare this viewpoint with the cheating exploits of Lance Armstrong. Mr Armstrong has was not punished immediately with a yellow card, Mr Armstrong pleaded his innocence until the very last, and his actions were entirely in his own interest. Robbie is advocating “taking one for the team.”

We appear to have a warped view of fair play in this country. I have heard many a tale of schools football where one player has scored 10 goals in the first half of a game, only to be taken to one side by the coach and reprimanded for “being unfair” to the other kids. A solid player is valued in the English game rather than a player who is brilliant. Lionel Messi would have been rejected by English coaches because he is small. England would be proud it seems to produce 100 John Terry’s before one skilful player slipped through the net.

Part of professional sport is knowing how far one can bend the rules, to gain an advantage. It’s part of any game, it’s part of the entertainment,, the boxer who wins the mind game before the fight, the cricketers sledging. Diving is cheating, deception of the referee to gain an advantage, bending the rules too far. Fouling (with no intent to injure) to break up play and maybe stop your team conceding is not. It’s high time that we stopped teaching kids how to play the game, and started teaching them how to win, not at any cost, but win, and not stifle skill, talent or desire to triumph.

Getting Physical

After a oh too short weekend vegetating on my sofa. (Oh Netflix how I love thee) I must admit I felt a pang of guilt for the lack of physical activity I was involved in. Don’t get me wrong I am far from a “Health nut” Jim Fixx I will never be but I do like to keep myself moving and raise the heart rate every now and again. I have written before of my physical disability (and here I am writing of it again) it helps my general mobility to be slim and generally fit, aside of course from the can’t walk unaided thing!

So an able bodied person of my mind set would be able to exercise, for free. Go for a jog, get those arms pumping get those knees up as high as your spandex shorts will allow. Shorts so tight that if you are male people can see what religion you are, shorts that in no other circumstances would you be seen dead in. But you are a runner so thats OK.

Jogging with crutches is a no go. I have three speeds, Stop, Go and Go Fast as Possible. There is very little holding back. Within 3 seconds I am a sweaty mess, at this time of year with all the slippery leaves on the ground within 5 seconds I am on the ground, with the aforementioned leaves having joined forces with the aforementioned crutches to create something so slippery that the KY jelly people will be jealous. So that’s jogging gone.

Walking of course is another option, and this is what I usually do. However I can’t go very far. If I do my feet and or my legs hurt for up to the next week. Meaning that for all my good intentions I now have to sit on my butt of the sofa. The leaf problem still exists of course at lower speeds however it is slightly easier to avoid.

Fucking, well it’s free. It’s exercise. I like it! One problem with that, it’s only free if you “love someone very much” Being Billy Single rules this option out too, more is the pity. Yes I could pay for it, however if I was going to do that I may as well join a gym and lower the risk of STD’s or Arrest. Additionally, there is an optimum duration that any physical activity has to take place for. I fear I am going to fall short of that goal.

So, if I had a little money to spend. I could go Swimming. Low impact on my joints, good general work out for all the body. All good. Except I hate it. Firstly I’m not a communal changing kinda guy never been a one for “all hanging out together” then when I’m all speedoed up (don’t worry I wouldn’t inflict that on the world, swim shorts!) there is the question of getting from the changing room to the pool. If I take my crutches I will have a better chance of getting there without falling down in the showers or even worse in that veruca ridden pube filled rinsing thing our local pool has.

OK so I’m at the waters edge. Having kept my footing, now what? My sticks don’t float, so they can’t wait at the corner of the pool. If I prop them up at the side, there is a good chance that some of the local scrote will A, Steal them or B, Hide them so that they can laugh at me looking for them. So I’m stuck. I suppose I could take a friend with me, who would then walk with me to the pool. If I did this it is less than dignified, and if my companion is female I’d have to get out of the changing room and through the trough of curly hairs by myself.

In short. Accessibility means slightly more than putting a ramp outside.

(BDYBIS) The Addiction

Ok BDYBIS 16. I was going to write about the Reading vs Tottenham game today, but we lost 3-1 and I don’t feel very much like writing about that. Call me a poor loser if you like, because I am. On the quiet of course I’m British after all. I like for things I like to win. Winning even by association makes you feel good, ask Charlie Sheen.

Part of the reason the Olympics were so good this time around is because people in the UK felt so much more involved with successes of the athletes. That is the attraction of being a sports spectator. You live with the hope of often infrequent highs, you live in anticipation that one day, just one day everything will come right and you will have your day in the sun. People who don’t “get” sport say it is pointless. Just some guys kicking a ball around or unfeasibly flexible girl balancing on a beam. Sport is much more than the activity itself.

By Francesco (cenci88) (Flickr: Gymnastic Artistic2) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sport spectating, the eternal balancing act.

It’s the day. The travelling to the venue, the nervousness over something you have almost no control over. Crowds can influence, hugely. They can encourage and destroy someone maybe even at the same time, the lines are narrow. The criticism that would spur on someone like John McEnroe to prove the critics wrong would destroy someone of a more sensitive disposition. Sport is not played by machines, athletes at their peak will go to great lengths to maintain a neutral emotion, often with great success. Steve Davis in the 80’s springs to mind. The human being is always in there though.

One year following Reading I went to every away game bar 5 or so, not a boast as there are some that go week in week out. This season was not a good one. On our travels my Dad and I saw the team win once. Why did we continue to go? I mean you wouldn’t watch a turkey of a theatre performance more than once would you? Well whilst football has been bashed this year, it is a living breathing theatre. Unscripted you never know what is going to happen. World beaters last week turn into players who look like they have never met, seemingly overnight. So you go to reach the highs again.

It’s addictive.

It’s not just football, any and every spectator sport has twists and turns that even a EastEnders script writer would dismiss as far fetched. So whilst I experience the low tonight the Spurs fans will bask in their deserved glory. Both of us knowing, each feeling is fleeting and to have experienced the lows means we can truly enjoy the high.

(BDYBIS) 60 Million Dollar Season

Last April, something amazing happened. My mighty Reading FC won promotion to the Premier League by beating Nottingham Forest 1-0. A league title followed and we were once again the promised land.

A rainy bus parade Photo courtesy of the Resident Weeble

Time passes. The summer of sport progressed, with a lacklustre Euro 2012, followed by a spectacular Olympic games. So much so that the build up to the Premier League was not what it should have been in terms of excitement. Although as the season kicked off at home to Stoke City our return was complete.

We got a point on the board from that game. 1 point in our quest to gain a guaranteed 60 million pounds next year. You see this year is all about next year. The TV contract for the 2013-2014 season has been decided and the money invested will rise 70%. The bottom side in the Premier League next year will “win” 60 million. Which is more than Manchester City got for winning the title last year.

It is obscene. 60 million for being the worst. Although as a fan it’s got to be good news because even the boards at Rangers and Portsmouth combined couldn’t burn through 60 million pounds that quickly. At Reading currently, we are a well run club, so it should ensure we are competitive for years to come.

So as much as the scenes captured here in the promotion parade are great to relive, I don’t want to see them occur again. Because that will mean we survived, rubbing shoulders with the big boys.

Reading FC Champions Bus Parade from slowlycreepingdeath on Vimeo.

(BDYBIS) Oscar Pissedofforius

On top for the best part of ten years. A lifetime of breaking down barriers, fighting to put right what once went wrong. (Ok so the last one was Quantum Leap) I’m talking about Paralympic poster boy Oscar Pistorius. Last night he lost, and then promptly lost it. You see the Brazilian guy Alan Oliveira who beat him had longer blades. This is the only reason Oscar lost, I mean it’s not like he ran a slower time than he did in the heat or anything (Pistorius set a new world record of 21.30 in a qualifying heat, Olivera’s winning time in the final was 21.45) no definitely the longer blades.

Olivera has less legs than Pistorius so has to have longer blades. Blades that were deemed legal by the IPC. Maybe just maybe this was a race too far for Oscar. If you look at the summer he’s had competing with Olympic athletes at the able bodied games has to take it out of you emotionally and physically. Then just weeks later to try and run at peak fitness to defend 3 Paralympic titles maybe is biting off more than one man can chew.

I know all about the battle Pistorius had to try to run with the able bodied in the Olympics. It must be a great personal achievement for him to have finally done it last month. But now that Pistorius is an Olympian how is it that he gets to complete in the Paralympics. Surely thats like me using my blue badge to park nearer the start line to a marathon, running in it, only to collect my disability benefit at the finish line. I’m all for personal achievement, but you are either disabled or not otherwise whats to stop Jessica Ennis coming around to my house to play hide the sausage...oops.. I mean competing in the Paralympic 100 meters.

Pistorius has for too long dominated everything he has done, and for every “he’s such a nice guy” I hear about him I think, it’s easy to be nice when you are winning. I think that part of the reason he fought so hard for Olympic inclusion was because he thought he was unbeatable by his fellow Paralympic athletes. “I’m bigger than this” I’m pleased he has been beaten fairly and squarely. It’s good for the sport. It’s even good for Pistorius, a wake up call.

All disabled people have to be driven. We all have to have a little bit of the bastard streak. Otherwise we will never do anything. This is why the disabled divorce and single rates are substantially higher than able bodied folks. Pistorius’ drive has taken him to the top of his sport even higher than that, for a few races last month he was “normal” living the dream. Last nights loss must have burst the bubble.. or cut through it like a longer blade.

By Elvar Pálsson from Iceland. (Oscar Pistorius.) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Paralympics London 2012

Ok so I’m watching the Paralympics Opening ceremony. Channel 4 in the UK with wonderfully annoying adverts. It is however quite a spectacular show maybe without the panache of Danny Boyles olympic equivalent. Cheese laden gay disco anthem “I am What I am” finish hmmm. (nothing against the stunning Beverley Knight)

As quite a sporty spacker myself it is heartening to see the stadium full, to let all the athletes involved get some of the recognition they deserve due to a life time of dedication to their chosen disciplines. I completed at junior level at 2 Stoke Mandeville games, came second in the sprint, I lost twice once in the heat and once in the final to the same guy. Bastard. I did win the Boccia though, so yes I was UK under 11 champion. For those wondering Boccia is a bit like boulle but with soft hairless balls. (A bit like me at the time I seem to recall)

As moving as the vocals of Stephen Hawking are, featuring heavily in the ceremony as they do. It makes me wonder why in 2012 the Paralympic movement is needed at all. Stephen Hawking is undoubtedly more famous because of his disability but he doesn’t work in “disabled science” he works in “science”. The wheelchair has helped with greater exposure but it is his expertise that brought the opportunity.

All of the Paralympicans at London 2012 are athletes excelling in their chosen field like Hawking in his. Why then does their field have to be two weeks behind the able bodied athletes one. It reminds me of school sports days where we used to be able to take part but on a mat far away from the rest of the school. This is that mat but much much larger.

Yes there are logistical reasons why the Olympic games cannot be run at the same time as the Paralympics, with special arrangements needing to be made in accommodation and media, but there are special arrangements that need to be made lets say for Olympians who are muslim, vegetarian or gay. None of these minority groups have their own games. Nor should they. Why are the disabled so different?

London 2012 has set out the objective to inspire a generation. Time will tell if it achieves this. I can’t help but feel they missed a trick here. Superhumans they aren’t. They are athletes and under one olympic flag they should compete.

Good luck to all athletes competing. And I gotta say Go Team GB… oh and watch out for Wheelchair Rugby those fuckers are hardcore!

London 2012 A time for change?