While taking a leisurely, easy bike ride along the relatively flat Forbidden Drive, my daughter and I were amazed to see a young man atop a unicycle on the opposite shore of the Wissahickon Creek, tooling up and down a hilly, narrow trail. High-schooler Peter Hildebrandt took up mountain unicycling after a knee injury ended his running career. With his high end, fat-tired, disc-brake equipped mountain unicycle, he meets regularly in the Wissahickon with other unicyle friends and enthusiasts and is preparing to compete in the 2013 North American Unicycling Convention and Championship to be held in Butler, Pennsylvania this coming July. Watch video here.
A couple guys in wetsuits were out in the surf kitesurfing on a late afternoon off the Seaside Park beach. The surf was rough and just the day before two swimmers had drowned in the vicinity. I spoke with one as he was packing up his kite for the day.
15 knots of wind or more make for good surfing he said, so it was nice out there. They will go out in winds up to 40 knots. When the winds are stronger they use smaller sized kites. The key to staying afloat is keeping the kite powered up all the time in the power zone, an area of the sky, usually downwind, that has a lot of well, power in it. You have to be able to maneuver the kite in two directions because you need to bring yourself back in. The kite gets inflated with air so if it lands in the water, it doesn’t sink. They use surfboards, sometimes, but today were using “twin tips” which can go in either direction. That way you can go right back out after coming in without having to make a turn.
The sportsmen showed great skill tacking back and forth and jumping waves. Sometimes they’d approach a wave at an angle that would launch them in the air for several seconds, sailing aloft at what appeared to be 10 to 20 feet above the surface before coming back down. Seaside Park, Island Beach, New Jersey. Watch video and interview here
So I’ll have her hitting uppercuts over here. I’ll have her do a little bit on here. This is for slipping. Hand and eye coordination. Slip, slip, roll, counterpunch, OK? I’ll have her on the speed bag. [Hits the speed bag] I’ll have her hit the heavy bag. That was the uppercut bag. That’s where uppercuts and hooks go. Of course you start off with your jab. A jab is your range finder. On here is your straight punches. You can jab right handed, left hook and you don’t really throw uppercuts here but you can throw body shots. Sit on your punches as you go. And the focus mitts. She’ll have a pair of gloves on and I’ll be here. After I’ve already worked with her and showed her how to punch correctly. How to shift her weight. She has proper balance and weight distribution. And then I would just hold the punch mitts and she would punch I’d counter with some wild hooks and she’ll just roll, come back and counterpunch me.
Joey DeMalavez, Owner/Trainer, Manayunk, Philadelphia.
David Chandler custom makes wooden bats for major league baseball players like Phillies Shane Victorino from his shop in Norristown. A furniture maker, Chandler started RX Sport when he realized that he had the skill to make quality maple wood bats that wouldn't shatter and injure players and fans as some soft or silver maple bats had been doing. Watch video here.
Transcript of interview follows
I am the only child or Roscoe and Virginia Pauline Warner… HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHYSICAL THERAPY? Football injury in high school. Then I went to Shepherd University played four years as starting center at Shepherd. So if I messed up, everybody knew it and the play was toast. ARE YOU STILL ACTIVE ATHLETICALLY OR SPORTS-WISE? Keystone Senior Games. I did ten events. Shot-put, discus, hammer throw, foul shooting, badminton, tennis, swimming…. March first I will be seven decades. But I was getting all ready last summer and I just didn’t feel right. And in February my intestines blew. And so I went from playing tennis to emergency surgery. Eight days of induced coma. During the coma (I’m sure it was sometime there) I went, ‘God, are you sure you got the right guy?’ And he didn’t answer. And then he came back in and He says, ‘George, I will take you home some day but I got some things for you to do.’ ‘God, please tell me it’s a long list.’ During that time I felt no fear, anxiety and it’s true. I think they did shift work between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit- you know, around the clock. And the surgeons told my wife, ‘There’s no way he’s going to survive this’ because I had pneumonia, peritonitis …and it wasn’t to be my time. So since that time I teach a class once a week- balance, flexibility, isometrics, tai chi and shenanigans. And I do it for free. CAN YOU SHOW US A SHENANIGAN? Do you want my wife to really do me in? [To his wife] Young lady, do you know what a shenanigan is? George Warner of Hershey, PA spending New Year’s in Carlisle, PA.
Morgan DeVries of Marlton, New Jersey and her dog, Guiness. Guiness usually runs as a partner in the races, but not this hot July day, where he is waiting patiently for Mom, Shelly, who was competing in the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project sponsored "Run for the Hill of It" on July 30, 2011 on Forbidden Drive, Wissahickon Valley. Watch video here.
Kelvin Green hopes to play professional basketball in Israel, where the Jewish sabbath coincides with the sabbath he observes as a practicing Seventh-Day Adventist. Watch video interview taken outside House of Produce in Mount Airy, Philadelphia.
After being tied with the talented and determined Panthers one game to one, on Friday evening, July 15, 2011, the Mount Airy Stars under coaches Andy, Kevin, Paul and Jerry, took the third game in their series to clinch the championship in Roxborough's 21st Ward baseball league play. This team is the pony minor team in the seniors division. The Stars overcame disabling injuries to some of its players in reaching the win. Coach Andy credits the win with lucky unwashed socks he's secretly been keeping in a trophy cabinet at home only taking out for championship games. Watch video clip of award ceremony here.
Competing in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, the Philly Roller Girls jammed their way around the track before an enthusiastic multi-generational crowd at the 23rd Street Armory Saturday Night.
Philly's Independence Dolls took on and over the Wilmington, North Carolina Cape Fear Roller Girls. In the second match, two Philly teams faced off: The Heavy Metal Hookers and the Broad Street Butchers, attired, respectively,with tiger striped shorts and blood-red stained butcher aprons.
Vanessa Jackson, a bartender, aka "Euro Thrasher" of the Hookers doubles as co-head of public relations. Five years ago, a girl working at the bar behind hers invited Jackson to a game; it "blew her mind" - she knew she had to do derby and now "Thrasher" cannot imagine life without it.
"Mercedes Bends" of West Philly and Germany, a student teacher of the German language, was selling roller derby paraphanalia at the event because her teams, the Britches and nationally 4th ranked travel team Bells weren't on the bill. "Bends" progressed into the sport through a combination roller skate dancing, soccer and karate! Skater "Gingervitis" introduced her to roller derby and in 2009 she earned best team Jammer and MVP awards. Her profile quote is "German engineering meets American crash standards."
Misty was out for a run on Highland Avenue with her owner, Julie Byrne, who was about to rush off to the Flyers - Islanders ice hockey game. An American friend introduced the Britishwoman to ice hockey some time ago and she's now a Flyers "monster." Despite sporting a bright orange Mike Richards jersey, Byrnes is a Danny Briere fan. The Flyers won in overtime 4 to 3. Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.