Archive for the ‘Sports and Fitness’ Category

Jammed into something new

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016


When graphic designer Cory Gerard created an experimental iPhone game called “Jump Fuzzy Jump,” he never dreamed the trial venture would drag him into the world of competitive jump rope. And that’s because he’d never heard of competitive jump rope.  It’s not surprising – the sport is not exactly plastered all over TV screens and sports magazines.Kate Dolan supports Jump Rope Jam

But now he’s on a mission to change all that. Together with jumping expert Brandon Harrison, Gerard has started Jump Rope Jam, a media presence designed to raise public awareness of the sport of jump rope. Jump Rope Jam includes a website and regular podcasts with guest speakers, plus a blog, Instagram feed (@JumpRopeJam,) Facebook page and more.

How did someone who’d never heard of competitive jump rope suddenly find himself devoting substantial time and energy to help the sport gain recognition? (more…)

The Dubious History of Jump Rope

Monday, November 16th, 2015

I thought I would combine my favorite subject—history—with the subject of my latest book—jump rope—and write a blog about the history of jump rope. However, I should warn you that I could make up just about anything in this blog and you’d be hard pressed to prove me wrong. It turns out there’s little real evidence about the history of skipping rope.K.D. Hays discusses the history of jump rope
The Jump Rope Institute speculates that the sport began in Egypt where skilled athletes jumped over vines.

The International Rope Skipping Federation says that jump rope originated in ancient China where ropemakers played at game called Hundred Rope Jumping as part of their New Year’s celebrations. (The Traditional Chinese Game League confirms this – more or less. They say jumping rope was called “jumping 100 threads” because a rope circling through the air looked like it had been split into 100 separate ropes. But most of their discussion of the “tradition” involves a Chinese Jump Rope which is a large elastic loop that is nothing like a “western” jump rope.)
The National Double Dutch League suggests that the style of jumping known as Double Dutch, where long ropes are turned toward each other while one person jumps in the middle, originates with ancient Phoenician rope makers. (more…)

Competitive what?

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

During November and December, to celebrate the release of Roped In,  I will be on a “Virtual Book Tour” and posting a series of blogs about jump rope.  Tour stops are listed on my webpage hereRoped In is a Karen Maxwell mystery (which means a detective novel  with humor rather than horror) that delves into the world of competitive jump rope.

Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until about ten years ago when my daughter Meg saw a jump rope team perform during halftime at a college basketball game. She was so excited by their skills and tricks that as soon as she got home, she immediately pulled out a jump rope and tried to jump while bouncing on a ball in the living room. I insisted that she learn how to jump rope without the ball first (and outside rather than in a room full of her grandmother’s antique furniture).  Meg Weidman jumps with her favorite prop

That was the start of our journey into the sport. (more…)

Finding the right balance — literally

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Getting in shape can be a lot of work, but there is one aspect of fitness you can work on easily, quickly and without breaking a sweat. It’s your balance.Kate Dolan writes about the importance of balance

Even the most ardent exercise junkies usually neglect to incorporate balance elements into their workouts. But balance, like muscle strength, is something you “use or lose.” Most of us lose a certain amount of our ability maintain balance as part of the aging process. It’s important to counteract that loss by regularly working on balancing skills. (more…)

Football = Wizard’s Chess

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Before I started paying much attention to football, I thought it was a brainless game played by brainless people to entertain brainless fans. But I’ve learned a little in the last few years, and I’m starting to see that it is a game of wits played by men who may appear witless simply because they’re so big (and the rest of us are so insecure that we need to feel superior). But really those big guys on the field are processing information faster than a computer. The strategy played out on every down is equivalent to the plan on a field of battle.Kate Dolan now thinks football is like chess

Where I once viewed a football game as little more than a bunch of big guys knocking the sense out of each other, the moves and counter moves and strategy now remind me of chess more than anything else. Well, chess with consequences. Like in the Wizard’s Chess of the Harry Potter world, if your player is in the wrong place at the wrong time, he gets destroyed rather spectacularly. (more…)

It Takes a Foul-Mouthed Village

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Last night, Baltimore fans showed how to end the stalemate over the NFL referee strike. Until now, the NFL has had little incentive to negotiate with the referees because there’s no financial detriment–even though they complain, the fans are still paying to watch the games. But I think that fan complaints may be enough, if they choose the right words.

In last night’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots, disgruntled fans starting chanting a repeated obscenity over and over at such a high volume that it was clearly audible on network TV. So the FCC should fine NBC for violating broadcast rules prohibiting on-air obscenity.

Kate Dolan's dog Shannon was the only quiet Ravens Fan last night

Shannon was probably the only quiet Ravens fan in Baltimore during the Patriots game. She was waiting for buffalo wings.


Why we love the Olympics even if we don’t like sports

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Even though Americans watch a lot of sports on TV, I think most of us watch the Olympics for the drama rather than actual athletics. Parents who groan at the prospect of sitting through their own children’s swim meets will glue their eyes to the television to catch the expression on Ryan Lochte’s face if he beats Michael Phelps in the 200 IM. Television shows us the drama of the competition up close—we see the relief and exultation when athletes succeed and the agony when they fail or, most heartbreaking of all, when they do their best and their best simply isn’t good enough.

a heat of double dutch power in the 2012 Junior Olympics

The Double Dutch Power event at the 2012 Junior Olympics in Houston

Watching the Olympics is especially poignant for me this year because I just had the opportunity to spend four days working on the floor at the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympic Games in Houston, TX. The athletes competing in these games are not as famous as those competing in London– though some of them eventually may be—and I’ll explain that later. (more…)

Which should you want to be?

Friday, October 7th, 2011

I came across a story on Facebook that at first seems to be the antithesis of what the Friday Fitness column is all about. But fitness is  mental as well as physical, and it’s important to find a balance in life. I thought the story made that point really well, so I’m sharing it.


A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

“Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?! ”

Last comment: I’m not putting down thin people, being a thin woman myself, just saying that being large doesn’t equate to being unattractive.


I want to give credit to Delphine Fieberg for posting this and to Farrah Kennedy for sharing it with me.

Here’s why I shared it in a blog about fitness:

Excercise is important. But it is not worth making yourself miserable in the pursuit of being “thin.” As I said in my first Fitness Friday post, I don’t think any woman ever considers herself thin, even if others do. In order words, a thin woman is just as fictional as a mermaid.

We can take action to improve our stamina, coordination, strength and balance, we can eat to obtain adequate nutrition and avoid excess, but we should not obsess over these things.  The goal is to feel better so we can enjoy life, not feel deprived of it.

So it’s okay to be a whale, but try to be the whale swimming with friends in the ocean, not the stuffed one sitting alone in a museum.

Not necessarily evil

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Since we’re back to natural disasters this week, I considered writing about the Flash Flood Swimming Workout. But it would really be more like the Flash Flood Drowning Workout, and frankly there is very little cardiovascular benefit to an exercise where no breathing is involved.

So instead I’ll go back to last Friday when guest blogger Darvis Sims warned us about the dangers of sitting. Now he’s right, too much sitting can be bad for you. But this Friday I’m going to write in defense of a much-maligned activity often linked with sitting – watching TV.Personal Fitness Trainer Kate Dolan says TV might be good for you (more…)

The high cost of sitting

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

After last week’s totally goofy fitness “advice,” this Friday I have a guest post that’s a little more serious. We all knew about the dangers of the natural disasters that hit us last week. Now fitness expert Darvis Simms alerts us to a new danger lurking in our living rooms:

I just got back from an annual weekend Fitness Symposium where I learned many interesting things. However, the most shocking fact was the health care cost of inactivity is approximately $150 billion per year. That is the cost of not moving enough to see any kind of health benefits associated with regular exercise. Sitting Is Hazardous To Your Health! (more…)