Life Is Shert
I N THE '90S, MANY TRADITIONAL
sports have given way to a series
of nontraditional, adventurous
pursuits. Rock climbing, white-
water canoeing and bungee jumping
have all found their way into popu-
lar culture. But in this brave new
world of equality and inclusiveness,
the sedentary still have little sport-
ing to do.
This needs to be corrected.
Low-impact sports have long been
neglected as legitimate athletic
pursuits. What is a low-impact
sport? If you can win a match
without mussing your hair or
spilling your beer, you're probably
playing a low-impact sport. We've
listed a few below and rated them
on three scales: ease, coolness and
ability to hold onto the beverage of
Long the province of doughy
guys, bowling is now going cut-
ting-edge. The new trend is rock
'n' bowl: live music and the hurl-
ing of heavy objects. Bowling
requires only moderate levels of
strength and coordination. The
minimum required is the ability
to roll a 12-pound ball between
two ditches. We'll let the pros on
ABC's Wide World of Sports
worry about actually knocking
down the pins.
Bowling alleys typically offer
soft drinks and domestic beers.
Although it's somewhat challeng-
ing to hold onto your drink while
actually rolling the ball, the
majority of time spent sitting
offers no such obstacles. Despite
all these advantages, bowling is
still typically looked upon as the
sport of middle-aged Kiwanians
with beer bellies.
Spillage Resistance: 8
P o o 1
had a mys-
Newman all come to mind. Pool
requires a certain combination of
hand-eye coordination and intricate
trigonometry to be played success-
fully. And not unlike bowling, it's
hard to actually hold onto your bev-
erage while making a shot. But
when your opponent or partner is
shooting, you can enjoy your drink
- often culled from the wide selec-
tion of foreign and domestic choices
many pool bars offer. The best part
of pool is the seedy tradition of the
hustler. And if you want to draw
comparisons of yourself with New-
man, The Hustler poses much less
trouble than Slapshot.
Spillage Resistance: 9
thought of at
all, is rarely
thought of as
a sport. It
ness of bowl-
ing or the
throwing stuff at a wall. You don't
spill your beer when you throw, and
even after you've emptied the cup,
it's still pretty hard to miss the target.
Spillage Resistance: 10
The sedentary have many
other sports to choose from -
horseshoes, lawn darts and, for
the active burnout, Frisbee golf
and Hacky Sack. As a society, we
must move beyond the narrow
vision that holds athletes must be
athletic. The acceptance of low-
impact sports is the first step.
James Plummer, U.of Virginia
OUR ALARM DIDN'T GO OFF,
you couldn't pry your
homework loose from your
dog and your grandmother died...
Two-hundred plus years of
American higher learning have
yielded many less-than-stellar rea-
sons for going AWOL on test day.
And professors have heard them all.
Here are some of their favorites:
"I had a student say, 'Do you
remember when my grandparent
died, and I had to go to her funeral?
Well, she really died this time, and I
really have to go to the funeral."' -
David MacDonald, professor of his-
tory, Illinois State U.
"I had a fellow who said a bird in a
tree 'went' on his head. He said he had
to go clean it off, got his clothes wet
and just couldn't make it to class." -
David Royse, assistant professor of
music education, Kansas State U.
"A young man called and said he
was stuck in Fort Worth - 120 miles
away - and his car wasn't running.
Our caller ID showed he was calling
from a dorm room on campus." -
Emily LaBeff, professor of sociology,
Midwestern State U., Texas
"A student said she was sprayed
by a skunk. She had to stay home
and take five baths and call the
doctor, and it took all day before
she felt presentable." - John
Zelezny, professor of mass commu-
nication and journalism, California
State U., Fresno
"One girl said her best friend
had gotten pregnant. The friend's
family was having a shotgun wed-
ding, and she had to leave school
immediately to be the maid of
honor." - Marshall Duke, profes-
sor of psychology, Emory U., Ga.
"A student called and said, 'My
roommate fell out of the top bunk,
and I had to take her to the emer-
gency room."' - Mary Gill, profes-
sor of speech communication,
Buena Vista U., Iowa
"A young woman said her
grandmother was near death, and
she had to go see her [in Seattle]. I
said, 'That's fine. Take care of your
family problems first.' Well, we're
about 300 miles east of Seattle.
During the final period, I had some
meetings in Las Vegas, so my
[teaching assistant] gave the final.
As I was boarding the plane, I
looked up and there she was. I said,
'How's your grandmother?' She
said, 'I couldn't get a direct flight
to Seattle. I have to go through Las
Vegas.' And we both just roared.
She wasn't going to see her grand-
mother. She was going to Las
Vegas to gamble. I let her take a
makeup exam, though. It was
kinda funny." - John Crane, asso-
ciate professor of biology and zool-
ogy, Washington State U.
"A student missed my final and
called in a terror. She had a shrine
in her dorm, and she'd had a fire,
and this obscure shrine burned.
The loss had so unnerved her and
deprived her of a source of
strength that she couldn't take the
final, she said." - Stephen Chap-
man, professor of agronomy,
Clemson U., S.C.
Ashley Estes, Auburn U., Ala.
Illustration by Shin Kao, U. of
November 1995 - 15