Monday, July 16, 2012

New York City’s Lia Neal Pulls Herself To Next Plateau

  True, yesterday influences tomorrow. So today’s New York Times profile of Olympic freestyler Lia Neal and her family is more than just a feel-good promotional story leading up to the 2012 London Summer Olympics. By WILLIAM C. RHODEN, The Times tale begins with her father Rome Neal and how he could finally vocalize from the stage, while doing his one-man show honoring Thelonious Monk, that his daughter had indeed made the Olympics. Quote: “My daughter’s name is Lia Neal and she just made it to become an Olympic swimmer, and she’ll be swimming in the Olympics in 2012 in London, England, the 4×100 relay.” Because, “In the beginning, my wife was saying, ‘Keep it down, keep it down, we don’t want to jinx this thing. Don’t be talking so much about it to people.’ Now I can talk because the whole world is talking.”
  But despite our slow to mature society, the second African-American female to make the American Olympic Swim Team is no different from all the Olympians who’ll ever live because as significant an achievement in African-American progress as Ms. Neal’s feat symbolizes, what’s lost sight of is what’s always taught in swimming and understandably a little overlooked here. The race is against yourself, as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte can no doubt attest how everyone is producing their peak performances now, and what Lia has done is what hasn’t been done in generations by anyone training full-time in a New York City pool.
  Because swimming was always a backwater event compared to America’s major subsidized sports, and California dominated for decades until Florida broke through by swimming full-time on the heels of the success of Winter Haven’s Rowdy Gaines. As had other local swimmers come before Maryland’s Olympics phenomenon. But what’s really noticed less than it should be, other than Lia’s Chinese heritage from her mother, Siu, is that Misters Michael Phelps and Daytona Beach, Florida’s Ryan Lochte owe their present economic successes to Title IX’s achievement that raised women’s sports profile and as a consequence men’s swimming. While our exclusionary society still uncomfortably embraces its’ past exclusivity that the sport of swimming can still also symbolize through its’ own economics as an elite country club sport as the Times and Huffington Post point to in chronicling Lia Neal’s leg up in the sport, bought with her parents’ time and a grant, described in more detail by the magazine USA Swimming, and provided by her local team, Asphalt Green.
  Go Lia! The only question that matters is how fast can you go?

7/16/2012
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Nov. 10 - Dec. 27, 2017
New York City's Lia Neal Pulls Herself To Next Plateau
7/16/2012 concluded:   Because swimming was always a backwater event compared to America’s major subsidized sports, and California dominated for decades until Florida broke through by swimming full-time on the heels of the success of Winter Haven’s Rowdy Gaines. As had other local swimmers come before Maryland’s Olympics phenomenon. But what’s really noticed less than it should be, other than Lia’s Chinese heritage from her mother, Siu, is that Misters Michael Phelps and Daytona Beach, Florida’s Ryan Lochte owe their present economic successes to Title IX’s achievement that raised women’s sports profile and as a consequence men’s swimming. While our exclusionary society still uncomfortably embraces its’ past exclusivity that the sport of swimming can still also symbolize through its’ own economics as an elite country club sport as the Times and Huffington Post point to in chronicling Lia Neal’s leg up in the sport, bought with her parents’ time and a grant, described in more detail by the magazine USA Swimming, and provided by her local team, Asphalt Green.
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What I'd Ask Lia Neal
  1. I haven't. Have you swam in the East River or Hudson? 
  Even if I had lifted weights, I'd still have been less than half as fast as Lia Neal. I'm exaggerating to an extent, but not about perceptions. People, in general,  referencing the American Public, as it's so often characterized, are thought of as having a winner's mentality. Why second and third are made special on Olympic Platforms. 
  So publicly, concerning swimming, as with so many things. People are awed out of proportion, and recognition, by the Mark Spitz/Michael Phelps effect. Where quantity overshadows quality's accomplishments. They're all flying in the water at unbelievable rates.
  I had no sprint and couldn't hold up my end of our 400 free relay. I wanted it, but not enough. The great Swim Coach Tom Boniol, who trained my improvement, told me I'd never make that next level of good. And thinking while lifting weights just wasn't happening for me. 
  Eventually after committing to becoming a novelist, my facility for swimming distance went into carrying loads on a bike through long days for years. There was a lot to think about. It's true, if said, that swimming builds a person in special, self-reliant independent ways. A strength and command that translates through all the environments. 
SHS Swimming and Diving 2017 Girls AND Boys 
Seminole Athletic Conference Champions 
  Uh oh. I saw Michael Phelps on Argentina television in Buenos Aires. Showing photos of his extended arms holding all the medals as well. It really was a brilliant career. Even he had to say, answering a question, that he's curious to see what the next stage of his life entails. I'm paraphrasing. And of course he didn't choose the biographical photos, but,
  How about seeing how old you were when you could no longer win an Olympic medal? ...
  Now. To begin with ... . Mr. Phelps' appearance felt entirely out-of-the-blue. Just a traveling-through sports-promotional-tour. Just in, from out, I, in the kitchen, saw him standing between two Argentine celebrities. So, even before being asked the, specific, cheer Messi question, Mr. Phelps had already called the game of football, "soccer." Like it's unquestioningly acceptable for Americans' insistence American Football's name football be a cultural cornerstone. Malarkey. It's the world's game of football. 
  Words, in a sense, are all our imaginations have to work with. Mr. Phelps enjoyed repeating the word too much for my comfort. Speculating, it's more than just different cultures different language.  
  Soccer comes from the English word association. From when in the game's earliest days, association was the name for  an organized team sport. All in all, for one thing, though, touching the ball with your hands means American Football isn't football. 
  Argentina's transportation is commendable for not gouging it's customers/citizens. And like America, they lost comprehensive train transit from mobile throne worship. There's even more motorcycles than bikes in the big city. Status-ly propelled toward by a vague awareness we're all participating in a success, when speeding congestion creates the "mistakes" we scapegoat as "accidents."
  High top sneakers saved my ankle. I was astounded. Passing a sidewalk florist stand, a crevice swallowed, while the cliff held and ankle dropped in. Astounded, by how far, it was shock, the ankle hadn't quite reached damaged. Its' retrieval due to High-Tops that I'd given up for a long time, because of the freer mobile feeling. As they say, I was lucky. 
  But depending on luck's usually the mistake. The interior train system was sacrificed on the gamble the future's all about cars. Logical. Nice driving into your house. Check. 
  Still. We're supposed to have been smarter than less people pocketing the change?

I objected to the eventual four lane-ing of Orange Avenue, that was a vast stretch of noble oaks grown from an era following this photo. The train track remains a noble tourist trap near the lake. Guess that's something ... as they say.
   ...
  Morality's too hypocritical for reality's pace. Yet here we all are -
  What's stopping superficial culture's expansion?
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1 comment:

  1. ---------------------------------------------------------
    Ms. Neal, you are most welcome start an interview through
    the Post a Comment
    Do you at least think about swimming in the East River?

    ReplyDelete

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