Worth Dying For

first_imgThe recent death of champion freestyle skier Sarah Burke was nothing short of a tragedy. The world lost a young athlete with limitless potential. Sarah was as comfortable in the X-Games superpipe as she was on the red carpet, and she recently succeeded in getting the sport of free skiing into the Olympics. She was an icon, and her family, her sport, and her nation are still mourning her. That accident brings something to the forefront that we as athletes sometimes try to push out of our consciousness… the sports that we love can sometimes take our lives.The most disturbing part of Burke’s death is the circumstances. She was performing a routine trick in a non-competition setting, and was wearing proper safety equipment. She died as a result of a severed neck artery that led to cardiac arrest, and doctors said that better protective gear would not have changed the outcome. When events like this occur, they force us to explore the relationship with risk in our own lives, and ask the question: Is it worth dying for?This is a never-ending consideration that adventure sports athletes have grappled with. Climbers want to climb larger mountains, skiers want to ski more difficult lines, and kayakers want to push the envelope of runnable whitewater. These adventurous desires exist inside all of us, and those who possess a larger than normal helping are the ones who are out there pushing their sports to new levels. Climbing Everest, surfing the most massive waves that the planet can produce, or flying a wingsuit is inspiring to the rest of the world, and lifts the hearts of the entire human race to imagine the possibilities.But where do you draw the line? The inevitable reality of this flirt with the limits is that a few of us may actually find them. Passing away as a result of chasing what you love is something that is embroiled in controversy. You will probably hear as many opinions on this subject as the number of people you ask about it. But fatalities in the outdoors occur for a number of reasons, and are not always the result of negligence or bad decisions.Sometimes, things just go wrong. One saddening example of this was when professional kayaker Pat Keller lost his best friend on a remote river in British Columbia, Canada. The two were paddling together, and a freak surge sent the young man back upstream into a dangerous rapid after the two had walked around it.  Pat was helpless to assist, eventually falling into the river himself from his rescue efforts. He did everything that he could, and then made the walk out of that river all alone to find help.Nearly ten years later, Pat describes his bittersweet relationship with paddling:“As I get older, I have to constantly balance those risks with the consequences that I know are there. And oftentimes these days I find myself being more conservative.”This was an example of a misfortune that could not necessarily have been avoided. The other side of the coin is that the youth seem to have different proclivities with regards to risk today than in the past. Don’t get me wrong: every generation seems to have those opinions about the previous generation, but there are major societal forces at work today that influence the judgment and aspirations of the impressionable youth. Massive corporations are shifting their marketing budgets to enable willing athletes to push their sports to new heights through death-defying stunts. Extreme sports are edging their way into the mainstream via reality TV shows such as Nitro Circus, and people are now turning their attention from other traditional New Year’s Eve pastimes to watching hugely publicized motorcycle, snowmobile, and car stunts. It definitely seems as though “invincible” public figures are glorified, and although these stunts are extensively planned by professionals, the average teenager watching TV may not understand this. It would certainly be difficult to turn down: fame and riches in exchange for pushing your sport to its limits.Growing up as a whitewater kayaker, things weren’t always like that. As a kid, I was taught a solemn respect for nature and to never push it too far or too fast. Through the course of my life, I have definitely been told that what I do is foolish. I usually let that kind of thing slide, but it cuts a bit deeper when I hear it from family. I do not consider myself to have a death wish at all, and I look forward to a full life in which my contributions to the sport of kayaking are only the beginning of what I have to offer the world.I do not resent those who say these things to me, because I know that their feelings ultimately stem from fear. It seems as though Americans today fear a great number of things, but the recurring theme is the unfamiliar. Whether it is disease, terrorism or heights, we fear that which we do not understand, and subsequently judge those who don’t fear the same things. That is a dangerous state of mind, and flies in the face of the adventurous spirit that founded our country in the first place. What ever happened to the “go out and skin your knee” mentality that used to exist? Is it possible to have those same experiences via the Internet or video games? One interesting paradox lies in the fact that automobile accidents are a huge cause of death in the U.S., and most of us aren’t filled with dread when we put the key in the ignition every day.I will admit that I’ve had a few brushes with death during my 15 years of paddling whitewater. One instance in particular could easily have gone the other way. I was paddling the Chattooga River one Christmas Eve, and I managed to pin myself in a slot on one of the rapids of the dangerous Five Falls section of the river. My boat sank deeper and deeper as the force of the current wedged it into an underwater crack, and to my surprise I realized that I could not get out of the boat. The current was pinning me down, and my legs were trapped.The situation went from a fun, carefree day with friends to a struggle for my life in a matter of seconds, and as I flailed underneath the infinitely powerful waters of the river, I suddenly felt very guilty. How could I put my family through this on Christmas Eve? After my own death became a dire possibility and that thought flashed through my brain, I fought like I’ve never fought before. I very easily came to the realization that I wanted oxygen badly enough that nothing else mattered, and I somehow kicked off my shoes inside the boat, and made every effort to bend my legs sideways to slide out of the boat. In my mind, breaking my legs at the kneecaps was completely acceptable. They bent in a way that they never had before, and I tumbled out of my boat after over a minute of struggling. I couldn’t walk for a week, but I survived.That experience was a reminder of something that I already knew: the decisions that we make out there can have very real consequences. It also reinforced my determination not to die on the river. I have lived my life in a somewhat non-traditional way… doing my last year of high school by correspondence to travel, taking a year off between high school and university, and making the outdoors and discovery of nature a high priority in my life. If I were to pass away doing what I love, the people who criticized me in the past would say, “it was only a matter of time,” and would take my death as a validation of their own ignorant assumptions. I’ve always wanted to prove that the rat race is not for everyone, and that I can live my life the way that I love without compromise. That may take different forms as I grow older, but I hope that I can feel as though I’m doing that forever.So how do we reconcile ourselves with this (sometimes unavoidable) risk that comes with our sports? The first step in my opinion is to acknowledge that it is present, and to think very seriously about how much risk we are comfortable with accepting in our lives. This will help to guide every decision in the future, and will be different for every person.Once this is done, it’s important to become as educated as possible on the many ways to minimize that risk. No matter what your sport, it is important to carry with you the appropriate safety gear and know how to use it. Think avalanche beacons, pin kits, and medical provisions. The aim should always be to turn yourself into the biggest possible asset to your group, and as I write this I can think of a few ways that I will improve my own portfolio of skills this year.It’s also important to learn any lessons possible from past accidents or tragedies in your field. It is never productive to point fingers after an event like this, but knowledge can often be drawn from these events, and carried with us for use in case of a future crisis.Finally, when it comes down to the moment, we should affirm that the decision to go is for the right reasons. Taking a calculated risk should not be for the cameras, to impress anyone, uphold a reputation, or because it will create a legacy. Do it because it feels right, and because you are 100% sure that you can follow through successfully. Make decisions for yourself, and follow your gut.This dialogue brings up a final and pivotal question that seems to be at the heart of this fine balance: On a subconscious level, is this risk and the stark reality of our own mortality part of what draws us to these sports?Perhaps making life and death decisions and proceeding with confidence is in fact an infinitely purifying and rewarding process. Believing in your own abilities with the ultimate price on the line is something that few people have actually experienced, and that self-confidence can transfer to and carry value in any aspect of life, from business to relationships. There is a part of us that still needs to live the primal life. It is our way of facing the tiger and reacting swiftly and confidently.Our sports can be dangerous at times, but with humility and a safety-minded approach, they can provide a lifetime of joy.“The sensations one feels in these activities is comparable to falling in love,” says Keller. “You never know when your heart may break, but until that point, it’s all love.”For some amazing music from the likes of Great American Taxi and Paul Thorn check out this month’s Trail Mix!last_img read more

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United States Sanctions FARC Front Operating On Border With Ecuador And Peru

first_img Thursday’s sanctions targeted Olidem Romel Solarte Cerón, the finance chief of Front 48, which operates on Colombia’s border with Peru and Ecuador; leaders of the Jefferson Ostaiza Amay drug-trafficking organization; and FARC arms trafficker Gilma Montenegros Vallejos. A real estate firm in the Ecuadorean capital and two agricultural firms in San José, Costa Rica, operated by the drug traffickers, were also designated. The United States formally designated a financial network of the FARC Colombian guerrilla group’s Front 48 as a drug-trafficking organization, a move that bars any economic activity with the network and permits the seizure of its assets, the Treasury Department announced. This is Treasury’s fourteenth action against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist guerrilla group that was designated as a drug-trafficking organization by the United States in 2003, according to a statement. By Dialogo June 21, 2010 “Today’s designation builds on Treasury’s longstanding campaign against the FARC by exposing their key support networks in Ecuador and Costa Rica,” said the director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, Adam Szubin. Since June 2000, Treasury has designated more than 750 businesses and individuals as associates of 87 drug kingpins around the world, the statement recalled.last_img read more

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Foundation to distribute$9.3 million in grants

first_imgApplications for 2003 IOTA legal assistance for the poor general support and special purpose grants were recently distributed by The Florida Bar Foundation to legal assistance providers in Florida.The amount of funds available for 2003 is $9.3 million.“These grant funds represent a very significant support for the delivery of legal assistance to low-income families,” said Tallahassee’s William H. Davis, chair of the Foundation’s Legal Assistance for the Poor Grant Committee. “The Foundation and the legal profession in Florida, through its participation in the IOTA program and through the provision of pro bono legal services, continues to be a primary supporter of equal access to justice.”Davis said following a couple of years of significant decreases in funds available to provide these grants, the amount available for 2003 will be 4.8 percent lower than 2002.“The Foundation recognizes that support for these vital services, from the Foundation and all other current sources, is substantially insufficient to meet these needs,” Davis said.Currently, 38 programs receive grants under the LAP program. Every county in Florida is served by at least one of these programs. In 2002, the programs provided legal assistance to more than 95,000 persons. Services are provided through staff and pro bono attorneys. The cases handled are determined through local community priorities set by local boards of directors. Predominantly, the cases handled are family, housing, income maintenance, and consumer.The 2003 grant year will mark the 21st time that IOTA funds have been awarded in the legal assistance for the poor category. Florida’s IOTA program, the first in the nation, has awarded more than $154 million in IOTA LAP grants over the program’s 21-year history. November 1, 2002 Regular News Foundation to distribute $9.3 million in grantscenter_img Foundation to distribute$9.3 million in grantslast_img read more

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Roosevelt Man Gets 25 Years for Shooting Cop

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Roosevelt man was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison for shooting a Hempstead village police officer who was chasing him for his suspected role in a street robbery two years ago.Michael Benitez had pleaded guilty at Nassau County court to second-degree attempted murder shortly after opening arguments in his trial in January.Prosecutors said the 23-year-old was being chased by two officers when a third cop, responding to the radio call of the pursuit, spotted Benitez on Cooper Street in December 2011.Benitez fired multiple shots at the officer, striking him in the left arm and back.The officer returned fire, hitting Benitez in the groin, thigh, and arm. The officer then shot the gun out of Benitez’ hand after he refused to drop his gun weapon.The bullet that struck the officer in the back was stopped by his bulletproof vest.last_img read more

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CUs, NAFCU reiterate need for ADA guidance, website standards to SBA, DOJ

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » NAFCU-member credit union representatives and staff joined a roundtable Monday at the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the Justice Department (DOJ) at which the association again called for the department to offer guidance and standards for website accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).Tim Adams, president and CEO of SPCO Credit Union (Houston, Texas) and NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Counsel Kaley Schafer attended the roundtable.In conjunction with in-person attendees, there were more than 100 individuals on the phone from 23 different states, including NAFCU-member credit union President and CEO Lynette Smith of Washington Gas Light Federal Credit Union (Springfield, Va.). Representatives from banks, other credit unions, movie theaters and hotel owners also joined the roundtable.last_img read more

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Want Andy Murray as your private coach? Bid to win

first_imgA dream private coaching session from Andy Murray will become a reality for one tennis fan after top players signed up to an initiative raising funds for professional coaches who are struggling financially during the COVID-19 shutdown.The coronavirus shutdown of tennis has not only prevented players from earning a living since early March but also the vast majority of those who coach them.That prompted Venezuelan Daniel Vallverdu, who has worked with Grand Slam winners like Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin Del Potro, to reach out to other top coaches with a fundraising plan to help out their lesser-known peers. The ATP Tour got on board and last month fans were able to bid for private sessions with celebrated tennis coaches on-site during tournaments in 2021.”Nobody that I had called said no, so that was obviously quite uplifting in a way that everybody wanted to help,” Vallverdu told Reuters from Geneva.”I basically called them and said ‘look let’s start off with our coaches offering some of our time for next year and then I’ll contact the tournaments and ATP to see how we can all work together to try and create some nice experiences as options’.”Top names like Paul Annacone, Boris Becker, Darren Cahill, Brad Gilbert, Goran Ivanisevic, Ivan Lendl, Ivan Ljubicic and Patrick Mouratoglou got involved and more than $90,000 was pledged. The second round of auction, from July 6-27, will feature a private coaching session with Murray at Wimbledon, including two tickets to the 2020 men’s singles final and lunch at the member’s enclosure.”It was really nice to see that everybody was pulling in the same direction and was extremely supportive of it,” said Vallverdu, who was signed up to coach women’s world number three Karolina Pliskova this season.”It’s not normal in our sport to see everybody working together. So hopefully this would be a good platform so we can all in future have a little bit more connection when it comes down to the coaches at events or with the tour itself.”The second round of auction will also offer sessions with Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and Feliciano Lopez as well as coaches like Carlos Moya and Toni Nadal, the uncle and former long-time coach of Rafa Nadal.Fans can also bid for a frame featuring four signed rackets from Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Nadal and Murray with additional details available on ATP’s website http://www.atptour.com.”I am personally very happy to be involved,” said former number one Murray. “So many areas of our sport have been affected throughout the Tour suspension, including coaches. It’s important we help each other where we can.”Vallverdu sits on the ATP coaches committee, which will allocate the funds to the members who need it most. Some proceeds will also be donated to a global COVID-19 relief fund.”This can be great platform to show that coaches can be a lot more involved on and off the court,” said Vallverdu.”The stronger message is that when we all work together, we can really achieve some big things for the sport.” Topics :last_img read more

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Mexico, with over 500,000 coronavirus cases, to help with vaccine

first_imgTopics : Mexico, having hit over half a million official coronavirus cases and 55,000 deaths as the pandemic rages across Latin America, will help produce a vaccine that could be distributed in the region next year, authorities said on Thursday.President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the pandemic is losing force in Mexico, though the death toll of 55,293 stands as the world’s third highest, behind the United States and Brazil.Mexico’s health ministry on Thursday reported 7,371 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total in the country to 505,751. The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.In partnership with the Mexican and Argentine governments, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc said it plans to initially produce 150 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine in early 2021 and eventually make at least 400 million for distribution throughout the region.Lopez Obrador hailed the agreement as “good news” for Mexico and said he expected the country to still be suffering from the pandemic by the time the vaccine goes into production.Supporting Lopez Obrador’s argument that COVID-19 is waning in Mexico, the government’s head of epidemiology, Jose Luis Alomia, said on Wednesday that fewer tests were coming back positive.”It’s congruent with the decrease in overall cases we’ve seen in recent weeks” as some 47% of tests were coming back positive this week, compared to 53% to 54% three to four weeks ago, Alomia said.last_img read more

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Venice Carnival closes as Italy imposes lockdown

first_imgItaly has by far the highest number ofcoronavirus cases in Europe, with 152. Three people have died. Authorities in the Veneto region saidthe event would end later on Sunday, two days earlier than scheduled. About 50,000 people cannot enter orleave several towns in Veneto and Lombardy for the next two weeks withoutspecial permission. Even outside the zone, many businesses and schools havesuspended activities, and sporting events have been cancelled including severaltop-flight football matches. Italy has imposed strict quarantinerestrictions in two northern “hotspot” regions close to Milan and Venice. In neighboring Austria, a train fromVenice was stopped at the Austrian border after it emerged that two passengershad fever symptoms. Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer later confirmedto the BBC that the pair tested negative for coronavirus.center_img A Carnevale di Venezia participant in Italy wears two masks – a carnival mask for the festival and a facemask to avoid catching a new coronavirus. BBC ROME – Italian officials have cut short theVenice Carnival as they try to control what is now the worst outbreak of thecoronavirus in Europe. “All authorities have acted quickly andwith great caution in this case,” said Nehammer in a statement. “The reportingchain worked without delay.” (BBC)last_img read more

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Cricket News Dimuth Karunaratne ton gives Sri Lanka crucial win over New Zealand in Galle Test

first_img New Delhi: Dimuth Karunaratne was dropped on 58 and survived a missed stumping opportunity as the Sri Lankan captain slammed his ninth century to help Sri Lanka get their World Test Championship campaign off to a great start with a six-wicket win against New Zealand in the first Test at Galle on Sunday. Karunaratne’s century helped Sri Lanka win a Test against New Zealand for the first time since 2012, having lost seven out of their previous eight meetings against New Zealand.Chasing a tricky 268, Karunaratne enjoyed a record-equalling opening partnership of 161 with Lahiru Thirimanne. The partnership with Thirimanne equalled the record for the highest opening partnership in Tests between the two countries. In 1991, John Wright and Trevor Franklin had also put on 161 for the first wicket in Hamilton.The opening stand was pivotal in Sri Lanka achieving the highest successful run chase in Galle, easily surpassing the previous best of 99. Resuming play on 133 for no loss, Sri Lanka required 135 from the remaining three sessions. New Zealand finally got their breakthrough when Thirimanne was trapped leg before by William Somerville. Given not out by umpire Richard Illingworth, New Zealand overturned the decision on review.  Kusal Mendis soon fell after taking on Somerville, hitting him for a four and a six from the second and fourth balls he faced. But when he attempted to slog sweep Ajaz Patel in the next over he ended up hitting straight to midwicket where Jeet Raval completed the catch. Angelo Mathews joined Karunaratne and the pair put on 44 runs for the third wicket to steady the ship.  Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera after Karunaratne’s dismissal but Dhananjaya de Silva (14) joined Mathews and helped Sri Lanka knock off the remaining runs with two sessions to spare.New Zealand will be aiming to make a comeback by winning the second and final Test at the P Sara Oval in Colombo on August 22 as they look to avoid their first series loss since 2016 when they lost 1-0 at home to South Africa. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Dimuth Karunaratne scored his ninth Test century and 2nd vs New Zealand.New Zealand suffered their first loss to Sri Lanka since 2012.New Zealand has not lost a Test series since 2016.center_img highlightslast_img read more

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Senior’s time to row away

first_imgMatt Donoghue knew he wanted to go to a university where he could be near the water and continue rowing. When he came to the University of Wisconsin four years ago after his senior year at St. Ignatius Prep in Chicago, he knew this was the right place for him.”I love the lake,” Donoghue said. “I love this campus and being on the lake.”Donoghue is in his fourth and final season as a member of the Badger men’s rowing team, and he is hoping to go out with a bang.”We’ve got a strong senior class,” Donoghue said. “When we came in here as freshmen, they had just graduated a strong senior class. So our freshman year the team was really down. But gradually over our four years, we’ve become better and better and are looking to finish strong.”Donoghue along with fellow seniors Andrew Kaufman, Ben Szymanski, Max Vice-Reshel and Scott Wallen were all members of the varsity eight last season. That boat finished fifth at the Eastern Sprints and ninth in the varsity eight at the IRA, which is the national championship of rowing. Overall, the Badgers finished sixth as a team at the IRA.There is no Big Ten conference when it comes to the sport of rowing. The Badgers compete in the EARC, the Eastern Association of Rowing, and the Eastern Sprints is the conference championship regatta.”Andy, Max and Scott were all members of the U-23 national team,” Donoghue said. “So having guys that can compete on an international level like that helps out our team tremendously.”With 12 seniors and 16 juniors all competing for eight spots in the varsity boat, Donoghue feels that this year could be a great year for Wisconsin rowing.”This year it will be much harder to make the top boat,” Donoghue said. “The team as a whole is much better. Everyone is pushing up. For us seniors, we know that this is our last chance to cement our legacy here at Wisconsin.”Donoghue spent much of his summer rowing with fellow teammate Derek Rasmussen. The boats that they raced never finished lower than third at several events, while the two of them won the pairs at nationals and Canadian Henley. With the summer over and the fall almost past, Donoghue and the Badgers have shown that they’ve got a pretty good start on the season. But with winter indoor conditioning yet to come, Donoghue knows everyone will still have to push themselves to have a successful spring season.”That’s the thing about rowing at Wisconsin,” Donoghue said. “We do a lot of indoor conditioning, but the facilities we have are great for the indoor stuff. Rowing has boomed in the Midwest within the last decade, and I would say that Wisconsin is the establishment of rowing in the Midwest.”With rowing a huge sport on both coasts, Donoghue says he is used to the stereotypes of Badger rowing.”The coastal schools are known for rowing, not the UW,” Donoghue said. “When we get the chance to race the teams from the coast we always want to beat them for a lot of reasons; not the least is that there is bit of a ‘state school vs. private’ thing going.Mainly though, we just want to win because that’s why we are in the game.”With the spring season not too far away, Donoghue believes this is the time for the Badgers.”The spring is huge for us,” the senior rower said. “We’ve got some big races before the Easterns and the IRA. This is the last shot for the seniors. If we are going to make a run, this is it. I don’t want to leave anything on the table or have any regrets; we’re all in.”last_img read more

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