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Monday, October 17, 2011

A Sporting Weekend

There's a thread that ran through this past weekend: seeing sports from new points of view. First, I added a third Zumba class to "dial up" my weekly exercise. Dancing to Zumba is a sport of a kind, I'll admit I'm stretching the point, but that's OK.

Next in my sports trifecta I saw the excellent movie, "Moneyball," which is less a sports movie than one about change and the pressure to squeeze the last decimal of probability out of sports because the stakes ($) are so high.

On Saturday, at the local TEDxSanAntonio, two of the best speakers were both using sports to arrive at interesting and unusual ends.

Jose Angel Garcia Elizondo is from Tampico, Mexico. He is an executive in a fuel distribution and service station company. The violence that has devastated Mexico has spurred him to fight both crime and a growing obesity problem in Tampico. He and a team of investors started a professional basketball team. The idea was to inspire boys and girls to play basketball and become more fit and healthy and have alternatives to joining the narcotraffic cartels. The Huracanes Tampico team have visited schools and performed for 15,000 kids.

On the same stage earlier in the day, San Antonian Gordan Hartman, former developer and businessman, and son of former friend and co-worker at KSAT TV, Gordon Hartman, spoke of starting a professional soccer team in San Antonio. The team's earnings will help pay for the operating expenses to Morgan's Wonderland, the world's first "ultra accessible family fun park designed with special-needs kids and adults in mind."

The two creative solutions to serious problems were a real revelation. My how times change: A basketball team for a Mexican city, a soccer team for an American city, and it all makes perfect sense when you consider how small the world has become.

But the reasons for creating each sports team are what really make these propositions (and realities) so cool. That's the real measure of how much the world has changed.

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