Monthly Archives: August 2010

Armstrong’s Good Covering up the Bad?

Lance Armstrong has made a real name for himself. Oh, sure he won seven—yes SEVEN—tour de France races in his life. But there is more to his story that most are familiar with: his fight against cancer. And that fight, along with the setting up of his foundation and famous yellow “Livestrong wristband” , have made him a very respected person. Of course, he has also been accused of using performance enhancing drugs during his career. So why are sponsors sticking with him when they wouldn’t stick with other athletes like Tiger Woods and Barry Bonds? Here is a bit on that very question:
“For many athletes, the seriousness of the allegations and the ominous presence of Novitzky, who also worked on the case that eventually led to last week’s indictment of former baseball player Roger Clemens, would signal a change in fortune. When San Francisco Giants slugger Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s career home run record in 2007 while under suspicion of doping, he was vilified in the news media, booed by fans and deserted by sponsors.
So far, Armstrong — who declined requests from USA TODAY to be interviewed — seems bulletproof, marketing and media experts say.
Even though Armstrong is a star in a sport that most Americans don’t follow closely, his recovery from cancer and long string of success have allowed him to carve out a sizable niche in the nation’s psyche, says David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California Sports Business Institute.
“Globally, his stature relative to his sport is far greater than just about any other athlete in recent memory,” Carter says. “It is more difficult to name an athlete in any sport that has so consistently outshined the competition on and off the course — with the exception of Tiger Woods, and many hope the allegations don’t turn Armstrong into the Woods of cycling” (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/cycling/2010-08-22-lance-armstrong-doping-floyd-landis-jeff-novitzky_N.htm).
What do you think—should the good Armstrong has done make up for doping (that is, of course, if he actually did use the drugs)?

Christian Perspective on “Livestrong”

Most Americans—and many across the globe for that matter—are well aware of the yellow “Livestrong wristband” created by Lance Armstrong and his foundation to help stop cancer. The catchphrase has caught on and inspired, literally, millions of people. A Christian writer has now offered a new perspective on that catchphrase that might inspire some people of her faith:
“Quotes can be motivational, and they mustn’t all have a chapter and verse behind them. But we should always analyze them in light of Scripture. As long as they don’t contradict, then I say tweet away!
But oftentimes it depends on the context. Consider this one. Millions associate Lance Armstrong with the yellow wristband “Live Strong”. What could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing, except the Christian must remember in whose strength we are to live.
When I pulled out of the driveway the other day, I noticed that my daughter had added a bumper sticker to the back of her car. When I read it, I caught my breath. Everyone knows the saying is “Live Strong,” but she had posted just the opposite! What in the world was she thinking?
Well, she was thinking biblically thanks to the minister at a camp where she served as a counselor this summer. Thanks to “Runks” his mantra was now on her bumper: “Live Weak” (http://www.everydaychristian.com/blogs/post/8186/).
I’m not sure if this new Christian axiom has made it to wristbands yet, but you might just see it in the near future.

Livestrong Advances Fight Against Cancer

At a worldwide conference in China, members from across the globe met to discuss cancer treatment. The president of the Livestrong Foundation, started famously by cyclist Lance Armstrong and his yellow “Livestrong wristband” , stated that funding still isn’t where it needs to be stop cancer. Here is some of the report:
“LIVESTRONG advanced the fight against cancer at the World Cancer Congress, which was organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and attended by 3,000 participants from 92 countries, in Shenzhen, China, August 18-21. LIVESTRONG served as a co-sponsor of the Congress along with the American Cancer Society, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
At a special press conference, “Pain-Free Cancer – It’s Every Patient’s Right,” LIVESTRONG president and CEO Doug Ulman said, “Cancer patients around the world are being subjected to unnecessary levels of pain and that is a moral and ethical failure. By establishing internationally recognized standards for pain management and palliative care, we can balance the medical, legal, bioethical and human rights of cancer patients. We call for collaboration with policymakers that is critical to reducing the suffering caused by cancer.”
During the press conference, Ulman made a $100,000 commitment towards LIVESTRONG’s work leading up to the U.N. General Assembly special session on noncommunicable diseases in September 2011. Noncommunicable diseases account for 60 percent of the world’s deaths, yet according to the Center for Global Development they receive less than 1 percent of the public and private funding for health” (http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/LIVESTRONG-Advances-Cancer-Patients-Rights-at-World-Cancer-Congress-1310439.htm).
Sounds like a productive conference. I am still in awe about the power of those wristbands. They sure have spread and raised a lot of money.

Cancer Bracelets Under Fire in School Districts

Apparently spreading like wildfire is a new pink “rubber wristband” promoting cancer awareness and raising money for research. Okay, this isn’t anything new. But, as you may have seen from one of my earlier reports this week, the wristbands are touting the catchphrase “I Love Boobies” on them. This has caused students, parents, and administrators to get involved in a discussion that puts sexual harassment and cancer victims at odds with each other:
“They’re part fashion accessory and part political statement, little plastic bracelets that come in a rainbow of colors and proclaim support for a variety of worthy causes.
But when Fresno-area students started wearing cancer-support bracelets that read “I Love Boobies,” school officials drew the line. Or tried to, at least.
Among districts banning the bracelets is the Clovis, Calif. school district. District officials realize that the $4 bracelets are part of a fundraising and awareness program about breast cancer promoted by mainstream groups like the American Cancer Society, spokeswoman Kelly Avants said.
But the district, which still allows students to wear “Live Strong” and “Just Say No To Drugs” bracelets, has a dress code that prohibits “any jewelry that contains any sexually suggestive language or pictures,” she said.
Fresno Unified officials reacted similarly — at first. They confiscated about 30 bracelets last week before administrators met to discuss why students were wearing them, spokeswoman Susan Bedi said” (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/08/27/99757/cancer-bracelets-creating-controversy.html).
What do you think? Should students have the right to wear these wristbands or are they inappropriate for school settings?

SillyBandz Bans Crazy or Legit?

This is beginning to be old news now, but what is amazing is the sheer number of reports across the country that schools are actually banning certain kinds of “rubber wristband” from being worn. Are the bans useful or are they just creating a bigger stir? Here is the lasts report that I am seeing out of the Boston, MA area:
“As Boston-area students stocked up on pencils, paper and notebooks, they were reminded to leave their Silly Bandz at home, myFOXboston.com reported late Tuesday.
Several Massachusetts elementary schools in Carver and Halifax banned the newest craze in pre-teen wristwear after a panel of parents and teachers deemed them distracting.
Silly Bandz are colorful rubber bracelets that come in a myriad of shapes, ranging from animals to automobiles to popular characters. It is not uncommon to see them cover almost half of a child’s arm, and at $2 a pack, even the thriftiest elementary schooler can buy into the trend.
“My 11 year old loves them. She’s obsessed,” said dad Robert Rooney. “She trades them, finds the best ones she can, then she’ll trade two or three of the best ones for one great one that just came out” (http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/education/schools-ban-silly-bandz-2010825).
I wonder if, once school starts, if the debate will die down or gather more heat for the fire.

More Debate over Celebrity-Spawned Wristband Success

If you are an athlete and were told that a simple “rubber wristband” would improve your performance, would you believe it? What if celebrities across the world began wearing it, even if sports scientists denied its abilities? Do celebrities have that much power? It appears so. The PowerBand wristband has caught fire among athletes as more and more Hollywood and sports stars sport a wristband that ostensibly makes them better at what they do:
“It is today’s must-have accessory for the sporting elite and Hollywood A-listers – but Welsh sports scientists are sceptical about the powers of a piece of wristwear that is catching on among the celebrity classes. Daniel Fisher reports on the rising popularity of the Power Balance band
YOU may have noticed the small plastic band adorning the wrists of some of the world’s most glamorous people. While in the past, the rich and famous might have worn a Rolex watch or diamond earrings, they have now taken to sporting the Power Balance band.
It has been around the wrists of stars including Kate Middleton, Leonardo DiCaprio, P Diddy, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham” (http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/08/25/power-of-suggestion-as-celebs-jump-on-the-band-wagon-91466-27129839/).
What do you think? Is this all a bunch of fluff, or is it for real?

College Football Sparks Interest, Debate, and Rubber Wristbands

In Nebraska, Texas right now is not a popular state. College football has all the rivals talking up their big team and, well, targeting their despised opponents. On the minds of most Nebraska Cornhusker fans and players is a one-second play that made the Cornhuskers go from champs to chumps. That one second is motivation to beat Texas, the team that took away their big dream. So, they have a reminder on their wrists, in the form of a “rubber wristband” :
“That’s because of the way the game ended last December. The nausea induced by that defeat spurred defensive back Will Richards to make red rubber wristbands for his teammates that simply say, “.01,” for the single second that marked the difference between a championship and a bitter defeat.
“You could literally taste it,” Crick said. “That second that all our guys were running on the field, you were at an all-time high. You go from extreme happiness down to about as low as you can get.”
Even Osborne, the state stoic, might have had a perceptible mood swing over that outcome. But that memorable game was mere prelude for guiding a school and an entire state through the momentous offseason to come.
“Nobody has a calming effect the way he does,” Davison said. “Nobody has his ability to bring people together from every different demographic for the same cause.”
The cause is a strange one for Tom Osborne’s Nebraska: creating change, then embracing it” (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/preview10/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=5492199).
Will that wristband be motivation enough? Only time will tell…

Cancer Wristbands Confiscated in High Schools

What do you think it would take for a principle to actually prohibit the wearing of a pink “silicone wristband” in support of cancer research? Perhaps if the wristband said “I love Boobies” on it. This is apparently the newest phrase on some wristbands that, supposedly, are in support of cancer research. Here is the story coming out of California:
“The message on the colorful rubber wristbands are attention grabbing and controversial.
Hoover High Freshman Danny Fischer says his was confiscated by the school principal. His Dad, Scott asked the principal for an explanation.
“He said they were degrading to women, and a lot of the women thought they were degrading to them.”
But the wristbands are part of a nationwide campaign against breast cancer, and Danny says he had a good reason for wearing one. “Because my grandma died from it.”
About 30 wristbands were confiscated. Those we spoke with on campus, like student Ke’Wands Briggs thought it wasn’t right.
“My thinking is we should be able to wear them because it’s about cancer and we’re helping people that have cancer.”
There’s no doubt the word can generate snickers, or offense. Kirk Psenner sells the wrist bands, and “I Love Boobies” T-Shirts at his shop in River Park” (http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=7621625).
What do you think? Are these offensive? Should school officials have the right to ban them?

Celebrities Part of Wristband Hype

If you haven’t heard of them yet, you probably will see them soon after reading this article. “Silicone wristband” that supposedly help your balance are the new craze among athletes and other celebrities. Here is what is coming out of Daily News and Analysis:
” Soccer star David Beckham has been spotted sporting a cheap rubber wristband because it enhances the body’s positive frequencies and block out negative ones from devices such as mobile telephones and radios.
The 35-year-old seen wearing the Power Balance bracelet while in Hollywood with wife Victoria, 36, and TV chef Gordon Ramsay. The band, which costs about £30, is meant to “optimise natural energy” and is popular with sports stars, reports thesun.co.uk
Sports stars including Beckham, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal and Formula 1 racer Rubens ¬Barrichello have been wearing the bracelets at work and play.
Even Hollywood stars Robert De Niro, Gerard Butler, Demi Moore and Kate Middleton have taken to wearing ‘mystical’ black silicone wrist bands, which they believe will boost their performance” (http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report_why-does-david-beckham-wear-cheap-rubber-wristband_1427198).
Hype, superstition, or fact? Whatever it is, it is selling.

Cancer Takes on New Life in Showtime Dramas

I don’t watch television much, but for those of you who do, I thought this may be of interest. In a new Showtime series, one of the characters has cancer but confronts it with a new approach. In an article by Sarah Rufca, she notes that the character avoids the traditional “rubber wristband” approach to cancer and goes for something different:
“My opinion of Laura Linney is the same as Cameron’s opinion of Meryl Streep in Modern Family: Laura Linney is always the right choice. She could play Batman and it would be the right choice. She’s perfection.
So it makes sense that she makes her series television debut on Showtime, which is becoming (along with TNT) the home of interesting roles for women, with Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara and Weeds in the lineup.
Linney stars in a dramedy about that most hilarious of subjects — cancer — in Showtime’s new series The Big C, premiering Monday night at 9:30.
Diagnosed with stage four melanoma, Linney, as tightly-wound suburban Minnesota teacher Cathy Jamison, decides that rather than follow the expected route of chemotherapy and rubber bracelets, she’s going to make the most of the time she has. The series is rather a rebuke to the relentlessly upbeat cancer culture, down to the title, which evokes not only the life-changing enormity of the diagnosis but the weird cultural avoidance of the term, like it’s Voldemort” (http://culturemap.com/newsdetail/08-16-10-why-showtime-funny-bitches-are-so-much-better-than-carrie-bradshaw/).