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It's Just a Flesh Wound: CyberSports. (Link-Up@Home)

Magazine article Information Today

It's Just a Flesh Wound: CyberSports. (Link-Up@Home)

Article excerpt

At the Word Factory (Fun and Games Division) where I toil on an almost daily basis, women's gymnastics isn't one of the Olympic sports that stirs up a lot of passion. Basketball? Even a Dream Team beating every team in the men's Olympic basketball field is exciting. Skeleton? Maniacs sliding. downhill at 400 miles an hour, their noses an inch off the ice, is a thrill. Heck, even in modern pentathlon they get to shoot at things.

But gymnastics? A bunch of pixies bounding around and defying gravity? Nope, nope, nope.

My paper ran a story recently about a local Olympic hopeful who took a nasty spill on the uneven parallel bars, breaking her jaw and nose and losing three teeth in the process. This happened on a Friday. She was back in the gym, training as hard as ever, 4 days later. Four days!

Let's see Michael Jordan do that. Or Barry Bonds. Or Brett Hull (well, maybe hockey players would). By golly, we're talking about middle linebacker toughness in tights here.

This story serves as an introduction to our latest topic: an online competition to name the biggest moment in U.S. gymnastics history. This was spurred on, no doubt, by the presence of the world championships on our shores this year. (Mark your calendars for Aug. 16-24 at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif.) The ballot can be accessed through the USA Gymnastics site ( as well as through, the official site for the world championships.

The field for the contest--which includes moments even the one-eyebrow crowd can remember, like Mary Lou Retton winning the first U.S. all-around gold medal at the '84 Olympics and the '96 U.S. Olympic women's team taking the gold--was narrowed to the 10 biggest events in the history of U.S. gymnastics in June and then to five in July. The moment will be revealed in August.

Just to motivate you to--in the South Texas tradition--vote early and often, the sponsor of the contest is offering a little bribe. Selected respondents will win a watch from Longines ("Official Watch of World Gymnastics," though we never saw a gymnast actually wear one in competition, third-base-coach style).

There isn't any such motivation to vote for the Major League Baseball all-stars, after all. MLB isn't giving away anything.

Go punch those hanging electronic chads at the above-mentioned sites.

In the Eye of the Beholder

Like many of us who came of age in America's Lost Decade (if you had worn lime-green polyester shirts and platform shoes, you would like to lose the '70s too), we grew up thinking that the only art coming out of sporting events was the blotchy, vertigo-producing, Technicolor-challenging work of Leroy Nieman. …

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