Finding an Identity on the Comeback Trail: Skiing During the Winter Olympics

Finding an Identity on the Comeback Trail: Skiing During the Winter Olympics

On April 12, 2013, in a game against the rival Golden State Warriors, the L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant scored 47 points. Two nights later, trainers abruptly bundled him off to the ER with a snapped Achilles tendon, an injury that had ended many a career. Professional athletes who play dangerous games depend in part on a personal fable, the sense of a measure of invincibility. Recovering from surgery, Bryant confessed to anger and some bewilderment. “How the hell can this happen?” he tweeted. He was wondering about what he would do—who would he be without basketball?

Did Lance Armstrong Betray our Trust?

Did Lance Armstrong Betray our Trust?

Not long ago in this blog I recounted a story about my star-struck meeting with seven time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, a hero whose image has since much tarnished.

The Strong-est Story Ever Told

The Strong-est Story Ever Told

In his recent interview in the American Journal of Play—“The Why, How, and What of a Museum of Play”—George Rollie Adams, President and CEO, describes the evolution of The Strong as the first collections based institution devoted to the study of play. Trained as teacher and historian and with the skill of an author, Adams…

Plinking, Performing, and the Paradox of Play

Plinking, Performing, and the Paradox of Play

A vacant piano in an empty room sends me a powerful invitation. It’s like someone has left an Aston Martin DB9 Volante with the keys in the ignition and a sign on the dashboard that says, “take me for a spin.” If I come across an unlocked Baby Grand in a hotel lobby, I find…

Run for Boston

Run for Boston

In New York, Washington, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Seattle and in many other U.S. cities and cities around the world people have gathered for “Run for Boston” events to offer tribute and support to victims of bombings at this year’s Boston Marathon.

Pop Goes the Achilles

Pop Goes the Achilles

After Lakers’ shooting-guard Kobe Bryant’s left Achilles tendon gave way catastrophically last Friday in a game against the Golden State Warriors, he tweeted from his hospital bed a plaintive question: “how the hell did this happen?” Bryant had dribbled hard to his left, a move he’d performed a million times. But this one time, and…

Tired of the Same Old Treadmill at Work? Try a Treadmill?

Tired of the Same Old Treadmill at Work? Try a Treadmill?

You might remember a famous scene from Charlie Chaplin’s movie Modern Times (1937) that features Chaplin’s character, The Little Tramp, at his impossible assembly line job. Two wrenches in hand, he tightens nuts on the parts that fly by, hour after hour. Conscientious to a fault, and falling behind during a sneeze—the line stopped for…

April Fools! Remember the Barbie Liberation Organization!

April Fools! Remember the Barbie Liberation Organization!

For this April Fool’s Day, let’s recall a truly elaborate prank. In 1993, a madcap group of California conceptual artists calling themselves the Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO) seized an opportunity for comic mayhem about gender stereotyping in a revealing bit of cultural parody that they called “culture jamming.” When a version of talking Barbie that…

Wrestling Rubbed Out? Now They’ve Done It!

Wrestling Rubbed Out? Now They’ve Done It!

The recent galling decision to drop wrestling from the Olympics has me steamed, but it has me musing about the virtues of the hand-to-hand contest, too. Wrestling and the Olympics go way back—back to the beginning, in fact. The amphora pictured here depicts a wrestling match between Peleus, the Greek hero and father to Achilles,…

A New Stadium and a New Museum Can Co-Anchor the Toronto-Buffalo-Rochester Mega-Region

A New Stadium and a New Museum Can Co-Anchor the Toronto-Buffalo-Rochester Mega-Region

For almost a quarter century, I’ve divided my time between Rochester and Buffalo. This gave me the opportunity to observe the contrasts of two cities so close together yet so different culturally. If Rochester is the East Coast of the Midwest as some have joked, then Buffalo surely must be the West Coast of the…