Sacrifices and Success

posted by the hanging out team - Monday, March 04, 2013

To become a top level sportsman today takes more than dedication and talent. Most people can see the glamorous lifestyle of playing for Barcelona or running in the 100m final of the Olympics. But what most people don’t see is the decades of sacrifices top-level sportsmen and women had to make to achieve their dreams. For most young people playing for their boyhood favourite club is a distant dream, for a lucky small minority of us the chance is actually within touching grasp, but what are these sacrifices the likes of Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo or Muhammad Ali had to make? Was it worth it?

Barcelona winger and four times Balloon D’or champion Lionel Messi is regarded as one of the best players in world football. He once said “I made a lot of sacrifices by leaving Argentina, leaving my family to start a new life. But everything I did, I did for football, to achieve my dream. That's why I didn't go out partying, or do a lot of other things.”

We here at Hanging Out Project believe it’s so crucial to take notice of what people have sacrificed to make their dreams come true. It’s an inspiration to us all and a reminder that in this world if you want to achieve something, passion, devotion, perseverance are the fundamental elements for success, everything else comes down to talent. It would be easily mistakable to think that top level sportsmen and women only give up their time and energy levels to perform on the world’s highest level. Some people gave up so much more than that. In some cases people had to sacrifice their principles to become global stars. So, in the history of sport who has sacrificed the most?

For me, there can only be one stand out candidate, In 1967 he refused induction into the US army for religious reasons and as a consequence was stripped of his Heavyweight title, not only was he stripped of everything he had worked towards but also his freedom. Sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for standing up for something he believed in, fined more than $10,000 and exiled from the one of the few things he got pleasure from in this world. Of course I’m talking about the very instrumental three-time Heavyweight champion of the world Muhammad Ali the Great!

Bust portrait of Muhammad Ali, World Journal Tribune photo by Ira Rosenberg
Muhammad Ali, World Journal Tribune photo copyright© by Ira Rosenberg 1967

In an era defined by endless war we should recognise a day that wasn’t celebrated on Capitol Hill or in the White House. On June 20th 1967, Ali was convicted in Houston for draft evasion of the Vietnam War with a harsh sentence of 5 years. Ali saw the war in Vietnam as an exercise in genocide and said at the time “ Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?"

Eventually justice did prevail and the Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction in 1971. Three years after that he was back in the ring and boxing George Foreman for the Heavyweight title. He successfully used his “rope-a-dope” strategy to defeat Foreman in one of the most tactical boxing matches the world has even seen. Ali allowed Foreman to get him against the ropes and swing away until he got tired. Then, like Panther he pounced and the fight was over in a matter of moments.

The Hanging Out Project would like to give praise to Ali, take a moment to consider the risk and sacrifice this individual had to endure….yes it was worth it.

Joe Parkinson
Hanging Out writer

Take the Plunge!

posted by the hanging out team - Thursday, January 17, 2013
For the final in our January health trinity we have another Olympic favourite- Swimming!

Throughout both the Olympics and Paralympics one of the most popular events worldwide was swimming. Especially watching Jacqueline Freney of Australia tear through the water and win eight Paralympic gold medals, or Katie Ledecky to come through so young and grab the Olympic gold for the 800m. Their dedication to their sport made them stand out as human beings who had pushed themselves to excellence. You don’t have to be an Olympian to achieve excellence or go beyond the expected through swimming. Look at David Walliams charity swimming extraordinary, who swam a monstrous 140 miles, the length of the Thames for Sport Relief. Against the cold, the current and the who-knows-what flowing in the water of the Thames, David battled through and raised £2,501,240.

But, it’s January, it’s cold and it’s starting to snow. Exercise maybe something you’ve been beating to the back of your mind with a stick. Jogging is difficult to commit to at this time of year, as is cycling, I get it, they’re both outside. Swimming isn’t! Unless you’re going to try pulling a Walliams, in which case I would strongly advise you reconsider. You would probably die. No, I’m talking about going down to your local swimming baths and doing a few lengths. Remember how fun it was in primary school when you used to go every week with your class? Remember how proud you were getting your Tony the Tiger badges, 5m, 20m, 50m and 200m if you were really hardcore. Whether this nostalgia is before or after your time, everyone has fond memories of either easing themselves in a toe at a time of cannon balling into a swimming pool. Relive it.

Someone who didn’t mind getting their feet wet, and facing the cold, last December were the brave swimmers who raised money for Crisis, swimming a series of races in Brockwell Park Lido. Comedian Jo Brand hosted the event that featured a mass 50 m race and a 1 Km marathon in the outdoor pool, with spectators cheering the contestants on and donating huge sums to the charity coffers, all in aid of Crisis at Christmas, providing homes and care to the London homeless this Christmas.

Brockwell Park,(Brixton Beach) is one of London few remaining Lido’s. These open air pools provided exciting places to visit during the English Summer, before the advent of Package. A visit to the Lido was one of the few ways a resident of inner London could laze by the pool trying to get a Californian tan or even have a swim in the outdoors. I think I’ll be waiting until the summer until I test the water at Brockwell Park however!

Swimming is great for you, mentally and physically. It can reduce the risk of diabetes, lower cholesterol and lessen the severity of asthma symptoms. Like all the other forms of exercise mentioned before it’s great for your mental well being, releasing endorphins to improve your mood and increasing blood flow to the brain causing increased performance.

Swimming will tone and strengthen your muscles like no other form of exercise. It engages your whole body, muscles that you wouldn’t even think about. Water is several times denser than air so every movement is met with more resistance, pushing your body harder. For similar reasons it improves flexibility with its wide range of movements, from wide arm circles to hips working when kicking.

And it improves your hearts health as well. Since the heart is a muscle too, the intensified pumping during aerobic exercise, if done regularly, will improve how strong it is.

So there you have it, the omega to our new year’s health trinity.

Get on your bike, jog on or take the plunge!

By Natasha Dujon

Photography copyright of Tuareg Productions Ltd.

On Your Bike!

posted by the hanging out team - Friday, January 04, 2013
‘Tis the season to be sorely disappointed with oneself!

The Christmas cheer fades as does the delusion that all is well with your body after all it has consumed. Yes, as we thunder through those Christmas calories. This is the traditional time of year to be overly consumed with how much we have eaten and how little we have exercised. It doesn’t have to be a drag though. Exercise is great when you find the one thing that you enjoy. For some people it’s jogging, for some Zumba but for Sir Bradley Marc Wiggins, hands down cycling is the way forward.

Bradley Wiggins cycling to Olympic Gold.  Photo courtesy of jans canon

Having being the first British winner of the Tour De France in 2012 (that’s in over 100 years); Sir Bradley has gone on to do win Sports Personality of the Year! Sir Bradley also has seven Olympic medals under his belt, four of which are Gold.

Sir Bradley Wiggins is an all rounder when it comes to everything coming top in fashion as well as sport. He stepped into the lime light as somewhat of a Mod Fashion icon with his suave double breasted velvet suit with Mod staple fringed loafers at the Sports Personality Awards 2012. No wonder here at Hanging Out we have a soft spot for him, we love a Mod. Vintage Fashion Icon, Cycling champ and musician? Sir Bradley is also pretty deft with a guitar as he played covers of "That’s Entertainment" by The Jam and "Wonderwall" by Oasis after the ceremony; both bands having connections with the Mod Scenes and its Britpop Revival.

We feel inspired by the eclectic knight’s achievements and are dusting off our bikes to get fit in 2013! Cycling is one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise that works on so many levels. As it is a low impact form of exercise it’s not as hard on your joints as running but still burns some serious calories. It is a great way to tone up your legs and cycling off road or uphill is a good upper body workout too.

Photo courtesy of Damien Walker

More and more people in London are cycling every year. With the Boris Bikes making cycling accessible to everyone, so there’s no excuse people! It’s better for you and better for the environment. Regular exercise like cycling can also help to reduce stress and increase happiness. In order to feel the full benefits of cycling, cycle for at least 150 minutes a week and partner with that all important New Year’s eating healthily instead of eating less!

We all came out of 2012 inspired by the Olympics, wanting to push our bodies and minds further than ever. What better way to start the New Year than bringing that surge forward and getting sporty in 2013? Get on a bike instead of sobbing over a bowl of shredded carrots and get healthy the fun way.

If it’s good enough for Wiggins, it’s good enough for Hanging out!

Happy New Year!

by Natasha Dujon


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