Tag Archives: Sport

Push yourself …

What promises a healthier body, a sunnier outlook, and the perfect opportunity to catch up? Running! And it’s one of the best butt-kicking, calorie-blasting workouts around. Still not convinced? Then read on…

Laziness

One of the most interesting races of 2017 was the Berlin marathon. Motivation, strength of mind and exhaustion were only a few comments I picked up at the start line. Thousands of runners were trying to make it through the cold weather to the finish line.

Exhausted, with my feet burning, I got up from my couch after watching TV for 3 hours. I picked up popcorn from my sweater and switched off the documentary about the marathon on TV. I really needed to do something about my laziness.

Do your homework

Running a half marathon not only takes a lot of physical preparation but also mental endurance and if you’ve never taken on the challenge before, not knowing exactly what to expect can be rather depressing. The first weeks were sheer torment. I gasped for air after ten minutes of running and felt just awful. Overchallenged and glum, I was ready to give up. A few days later, while I was walking through my hometown, I found a note on the ground that read “Do your homework“. I guess a student had dropped it. That day, I literally found my motivation on the ground. I started to run almost every single day and the running improved incredibly fast. Even cold weather didn’t stop me. In some kind of way I got addicted to running, more than to watching TV. Who would have thought?

The grand finale

The final race day was incredibly nerve-wracking. I hadn’t slept a lot the night before and was up way too early. At the location, I picked up my race materials, including start number and t-shirt and went towards the start area. Lined up there, looking around at all these athletic, good-looking runners, I thought I would never be able to make it. I heard the gun and started to run. I can’t really say anything about the race itself because it felt like I was in my own world. People were supporting us, yelling and waving on the side of the road. The feeling was just amazing. The finish line came faster than I thought and it was okay. Actually, it was more than okay because I had sprinted the last two kilometers.

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The whys and wherefores

Answering the question of ”Why so much pain?”: it’s the feeling of running that sets our souls on fire. If we push on, running harder, further away from the world and the structures of our lives, we begin to feel connected to ourselves. We begin to get a tingling sense of who, or what, we really are. Besides the mental health issue, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a thoroughly trained, muscular body?!

Text & Picture: Linda Decker

Time flies when you’re in the air

Shortly after my seventeenth birthday my father and I decided to approach one item on our bucket list we’d both wanted to tick off for a long time; learn how to fly. So we booked a paragliding course. The basic class we participated in, took about four days and aimed to teach every student to fly by themselves. The requirements were pretty simple: we should be able to run in a straight line and – of course – not be afraid of heights. And the equipment was provided by the flight school.

Learning to fly

Our course began with a bit of theory and school introductory course videos on the mechanics, equipment and paragliding techniques.  We learned how to understand local weather forecast accurately and how to decide when to fly and when to stay at home. For our first practical exercise, we moved to the training hills to practice inflating and controlling our wings on the ground, learning to take off, land, and steering skills. All these exercises were simple but also very exhausting, as they consisted of running, stopping and running again for nearly an hour.IMG-20161228-WA0000

On the third day, it was time for our first training flight. We launched from the side of a hill at a height of nearly 200 meters, we had to run downhill until the chute would open and lift us up in the air. In the meantime, the teacher gave us instructions from the ground through a walkie talkie. One of these training flights lasted around a minute and a half but it felt much shorter. Time just flies when you’re in the air!

In order to be prepared for the final flight on day four, we had to start at least 15 times from the practice launch site. What didn’t sound like too much of an effort at first definitely became the hardest challenge on the entire course, one reason being that the full equipment weighed around 15 kg and we had to carry it 200 meters uphill on a small path, which the instructor fondly called the “channel of sweat”.

Reward for the hard work

On the last day, we were ready for the first flight completely on our own. We started from the top of a 900-metre mountain. For a change, we didn’t have to carry our chutes to the top because there was a special lift installed. We flew for nearly ten minutes, enough time to relax and enjoy the beautiful landscapes from above. Everybody reached the landing zone safely and the course ended there and then.

Altogether it was a memorable weekend and if you haven’t put paragliding on your own bucket list yet, make sure to note it down immediately.

Author & Picture: Philipp Soballa

Jackaroo / Jillaroo Down Under

jillDuring my backpacking time in Australia, I decided to do some real Aussie stuff and get an insight into the jackaroo/jillaroo lifestyle. A jackaroo/jillaroo is somebody who lives and works on a sheep or cattle station – and well, there are about 70 million sheep in Australia, but only about 23.6 million people! Online, I found this horse breeding and sheep station farm near Bingara, in the northeast of New South Wales, called “Garrawilla”. After I had contacted John and his girlfriend and helping hand Natusha, I booked my train and bus tickets, packed all my stuff, and was definitely ready to go on an adventure!

I was warmly welcomed at the bus stop by John with “Hello, my little German!” and after we had had dinner together with Nat and Jorjah, a jillaroo-to-come, we drove to his farm, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The next day, after a good long sleep, I finally saw where I would be living for the next few weeks. Surrounded by large fields, hills, and about 400 horses scattered everywhere, Garrawilla began to make me feel tiny, really just like the “little German” I was/am?, apparently – it was just so huge! After our typical porridge and coffee breakfast on the terrace at about 8am, John and I usually started work (which didn’t feel like work at all) by driving the horses to the yards with his ute (a four-wheel drive pickup), his not-always-working motorcycle or quad. You know, it takes quite a lot of courage to stand cramped together in between 30 horses, only holding a stick to guide them to different places (I think my heartbeat was about 200 the first few times!).

JohnsUteBy telling me all his stories about his family and friends, his various jobs on the farm and all the bloody Germans he’d met, John taught me many useful, important things about how to treat horses properly. He always illustrated his wisdom with real-life examples: often myself. I can tell you, getting dirt smeared in the face or being poked in the bottom with a pencil is not the nicest way to start your day! For the next few weeks, we would make young horses used to wearing a halter, teach them to lead and give and also get them to have a saddle on for the first time. Breaking in horses was one of the main tasks on the farm. Apart from that, we did some fencing (a pretty hard job, really), drove in and sheared sheep, fed all his working dogs and rode the horses, of course!

John also offers tourist rides in town along the Gwydir River, but we also did a lot of horse riding on the farm itself. Not only to check on the horses in the fields and hills, but also to drive them in or teach them to be ridden. But the greatest feeling was cantering across the Gwydir River, water splashing everywhere and the wind blowing in my hair.

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Then, at some point, I didn’t feel touristy or foreign anymore, but I had found a place that felt like a second home. My inner cowgirl had found her own level. On Garrawilla, you get that once-in-a-lifetime experience with great people and amazing things to learn, and, as John told me when we went on our first ride: “As long as you don’t break your neck, you’re gonna be fine!”

If you want to collect memories like these yourself, visit their Facebook page: Jackaroo Jillaroo Down Under.

Author & Pictures: Rebecca Pichler

Wings for Life

Participants seen during the Wings for Life World Run in Izmir, Turkey on May 8, 2016.
Participants seen during the Wings for Life World Run in Izmir, Turkey on May 8, 2016.

Some people think walking is a waste of time, but others dream about being able to walk or just move their legs, for example, those affected by spinal cord injuries. This condition takes away what most of us take for granted, the ability to walk. Sadly, those affected are incapacitated for the rest of their lives because there’s no treatment available. One research foundation, called Wings for Life, aims to find a cure for such injuries and has a unique way to gather support. It organizes a running event where everybody can participate anywhere.

Finding a cure

The founders of Wings for Life are the two Austrians Heinz Kinigadner, a motocross racer, and Dietrich Mateschitz, a businessman who co-founded the Red Bull Drink company. They were personally moved by the injury of Kinigadner´s son, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. Soon, they had to realize that not enough resources were being invested in finding a cure, so they started the non-profit organization.

factsHelping out

Wings for life organizes an annual charity run that takes place simultaneously worldwide. All the money raised goes towards research efforts for finding a cure to help the injured to walk again. This year the world run will take place on May 7th and costs €43. You can start training for the race now and be fit on time.

Run until you are caught

This isn’t your typical race with a set distance. Half an hour after the race starts, a so-called catcher car starts its pursuit, though very slowly at first. As long as the car doesn´t catch up with you, you´re still in the race. Since everybody has their own fitness level, the catcher car will gradually increase its speed after one hour until it catches up with everyone – except for one man and one woman, the world champions.

Race anywhere

The nearest official location to join the race is Munich. However, you can participate anywhere as a selfie runner by simply downloading an application to your smartphone that simulates the car catching up with you based on your GPS-tracked running distance. As a selfie runner, there’s no participation fee, but you’re encouraged to donate to the cause. Even if you decide you´re not ready to run yourself, you can still enjoy the race via a livestream from all official runs worldwide. So take this opportunity to enjoy the gift of health, and having strong legs that can take you anywhere you want, even closer to your dreams, and run for those who can´t.

For more information, check out: https://www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/de/de/

Author: Annelise López de Schwarzer
Pictures: Redbull Content Pool

What a feast!

Everyone celebrating Christmas knows the struggle. You do one thing on the days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve: eating. No matter if it’s traditional stuff like roast, gravy and dumplings or more fancy dinners; it’s all about food.

scaleLittle helpers

Magazines, fitness tutorials and gyms seem to know exactly how everyone should lose the few extra kilograms after the Christmas holidays. But looking at those advertisements and instructions, it seems more like a torture. So, I thought of some fun ways to get your flat belly back without any kind of dieting or forcing yourself to a fitness marathon.

Sledging and aqua fit

Unfortunately, the most important thing for my first idea was missing until the beginning of January. I can hardly remember a white Christmas. In the last few years, there wasn’t even a single snowflake during the Christmas holidays and without snow there is no chance to go sledging. We’re lucky, because we’ve got some snow now, so you could go out, get your old sledge out of the cellar or the attic, run up the next hill or mountain and enjoy coming down. It’s as much fun for adults as for children and walking back up will shed the extra pounds you gained from too many biscuits.

You may have seen following sport once in an indoor swimming pool, but I guess you were too ashamed to participate. Personally, I had also been embarrassed to do aqua sports for years until a friend of mine – under the age of 30 – dragged me along to a lesson in my local swimming pool. Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun and it turned out to be very effective: I woke up the next day with sore muscles. The coach chose cool music and the movements got more and more difficult. So, next time you’re in a public swimming pool and they offer aqua courses, give it a try – you won’t regret it.

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Icy conditions

I discovered this new way of losing weight after Boxing Day. My nephews and I were stuffed with delicious food cooked by my mother and we were longing for fresh air and a bit of exercise. We took our table tennis bats and went out to the public table for a game. It had been rainy and chilly the whole day and the table was icy in some places, but we didn’t mind and started our first round. Whenever the ball hit the icy spots it glided uncontrollably in an unexpected direction. This made our match more fun. Don’t be afraid of an icy ping-pong table – if the ground is solid you’ll have an arduous game.

You can discover many more funny ways of losing weight. This was just my small contribution and if you’re too lazy to start right away, there’s plenty of time left to lose the extra kilograms by the summer holidays.

Author & Pictures: Marlene Hupfer

Confessions of a secret mermaid

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Mermaiding? What’s that?”

This is the answer Julia gets when she tells someone mermaiding is her hobby. “Mermaiding” is the practice of swimming with a mermaid tail costume; as I didn’t know anything about the sport, I decided to find out what it was all about.

A really new idea?

The idea of mermaiding actually dates back over 100 years ago: in 1911 the Australian professional swimmer and actress Anette Kellerman was the first actress to wear a swimmable mermaid costume in her first movie, called The Mermaid. Later, she acted many times as a real-life mermaid, designing her own costumes and sometimes tailoring them by herself. Since then, mermaiding has become popular in the US and all over the world. The must-see attraction for all mermaid fans is the Weeky Wachee Springs, Florida, which hosts mermaid shows in natural springs. The audience stays behind big, underwater windows to see the stunning show in the crystalline water on the floor of the sea. In 1984, with the movie Splash which tells the story of a man who falls in love with a woman who is secretly a mermaid, the sport earned its place in pop culture.

A sport´s discipline?

Nowadays, mermaiding is not only practised in swimming pools, but also in the open sea. Often it’s not only considered a sport but also as an environmental activity which helps to protect sea animals. In order to find out what mermaiding is really about, I interviewed Julia, who does this sport regularly and who set up her own website recently.

You do mermaiding as a sport. Can you explain how it works?

Mermaiding is basically swimming with flippers. You swim with a „monoflipper“ on your feet and a kind of tube made of cloth or wetsuit material to cover your legs up to your belly, just like a mermaid. It´s quite similar to dolphin swimming. You have to learn the technique…but that´s not too difficult.

Where did you get the idea from? And how long have you been doing it?

It’s always been my dream to swim like Ariel. I discovered the website “Magictail,” where you can buy the mermaid tails. Last year for Christmas I bought one in my favourite colour and since then I’ve been practicing in a pool in Brandenburg. Of course, you should ask for permission to swim with the costume 🙂

If someone were to say to you „But that´s for kids; it´s not a real sport“, how would you respond?

I’d say that it’s an official sport! In many cities, there are even mermaid swimming schools.

What are the things you like most about mermaiding?

I like realizing my dream and the freedom you feel while doing it. And you get a lot of attention: because it’s not common, kids in the pool often shout, “Mum, look, there’s a mermaid!”

How does the training work? Is it really exhausting?

I do it by myself, because it’s difficult to find people who want to join. You have to focus on the technique (like a wave movement), and fitness: Freediving, holding your breath… is more difficult than it sounds! In order to move, you need a lot of energy!

Would you say that it’s a girls’ sport, or do men also participate?

Haha, good question! I would say men can also do it. I was swimming with my boyfriend half a year ago, me as a mermaid and he was just swimming “normally.” Then one day he wanted to try it himself, and one week later he bought his own mermaid tail.

I’ve heard that it’s really popular in the US, and also that the salary for professional mermaids is high. Is it similar in Germany?

Yes, there are more swimming schools and also professional models that do mermaiding. For example, Mermaidkat is quite a famous mermaid model. She also sells her own costumes. In Germany, it hasn’t become quite so popular yet; I don’t even know if there are any models.

What qualifications do you need to do mermaiding? And what kind of equipment do you need?

Well, first: You have to know how to swim and dive, as you spend more time underwater than swimming. Secondly, you need suitable equipment. The best things to have are a „monoflipper“ and the leg tube, which you can buy at different online shops or make yourself; there are a lot of tutorials about it on YouTube.

What’s the most difficult thing about the sport?

Being able to hold your breath for a long time. Also moving with the tail is really exhausting.

But it´s a lot of fun!

Author: Franziska Wühr
Picture: private

Why ice hockey should be much more popular in Germany

icehockey 1I wasn’t too thrilled when my dad told me that we would watch the ice hockey finals of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Back then, I was eleven years old and all about soccer, American football, and basketball. Ice hockey was the game my brother used to play on our local ponds, not something to watch on TV and get excited about. Then, the game started, and I was hooked. Canada won against the USA, and the game was everything I came to love about ice hockey: fast-paced, rough, and electrifying. After that, though, there wasn’t much hockey on TV anymore. Only the DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga) playoffs and that was pretty much it. And then the day came on which pay TV finally began to broadcast the NHL (National Hockey League), and my love affair with hockey continued and quickly blossomed into a lifelong marriage to this wonderful sport. But soon I wondered: why is ice hockey not much more popular in Germany?

Hockey is such an easy sport to follow and the rules are really not hard to learn. There’s also little difference between the basic rules of the NHL and the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation). The biggest differences are the size of the rink and the overtime procedures. The other differences are so detailed that really only die-hard fans need to know them. The best and most fun way to learn the rules of both the NHL and the IIHF is, of course, by watching hockey games. So you should really start watching games right now, if you want to learn something really interesting for a change 😉

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The only thing I ever had trouble with watching both, DEL and NHL games, were the German words used for basically the same thing. For illegal plays like slashing, Germans say Stockschlag. The result of such plays is not a penalty but simply a Zeitstrafe. At the same time, Germans say penalty shooting when they actually mean shootout (three shots that determine the winner when the game is still tied after overtime), and in English, a penalty shot is something different altogether. So confusing! Yet the weirdest expression is bully. This is the German word for face-off, the dropping of the puck to continue a game. I guess I might be the only one who is bothered by this, though.

Overall, it’s really such a great sport and even though the German national team hasn’t been doing too well in international tournaments and didn’t qualify for the last Olympic Games, things sure look up when you consider the numerous Germans now playing in the NHL, e. g. Tom Kühnhackl, Leon Draisaitl, Tobias Rieder, or Dennis Seidenberg.

Additionally, ice hockey has given me the best memory of my life as a sports fan when my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009 in a nerve-wracking game seven against the Detroit Red Wings, which reminded me yet again why I love this sport so much. So it’s really kind of sad that I can count the hockey fans that I’ve met in Germany on one hand, although everyone I’ve talked to seems to like at least some sports – hell I’ve even met some German baseballs fans. I thought once I’m studying in Augsburg, this is all going to change – they have the Panthers after all. But that wasn’t the case either since the only hockey fans that I’ve encountered were standing in front of the train station getting ready to leave for an away game. Go figure!

In my opinion, ice hockey is also still sorely overlooked by the media, even though it’s gotten better over the last couple of years and the DEL is now shown on free-TV. So if you’re into sports, just do me a favor: go and see a game if you haven’t yet, even if it’s just on TV and see if you like it (I’m sure you will!). Alternatively, start by watching a movie about hockey, e.g. Mircale. It’s about the surprise victory of the US national team in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid. It’s one of my favorites! And maybe then, ice hockey will charm you just as much as it charmed me 14 years ago.

Author & Pictures: Alisa Lechky