Risqué Rope Skipping


Sex was in the air at The Seventh Annual Double Dutch Holiday Classic last weekend—but it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

While the packed Apollo Theater crowd was treated to some flashes of acrobatic brilliance—particularly from Japan’s Run D Crew squad, which took first place—skimpy outfits and Janet Jackson–type dance routines ruled the day. The emphasis on suggestive outside-the-ropes choreography turned what is supposed to be a self-esteem builder for young women into a rope-skipping tryout for the Knicks City Dancers.

Still, the competition—for fourth graders on up, in events that tested for speed, coordination, and originality—was as thrilling as always. Run D Crew, which also won in ’96, mixed its horizontal dives and rope-defying somersaults with a nationalistic jingoism that drove the crowd wild, while New York City’s unbelievable Dynamic Diplomats of Double Dutch had a rope handler doing handstands—while twirling the rope.

But too many teams stuck with the same old moves. They could learn a lot from Run D Crew, who brought an infinite number of new ideas to the sport—but managed not to show off their belly rings.

Stadium at Sea

Seeking the perfect gift for that NFL owner who has everything? The answer resides in the December issue of Wallpaper* magazine, the trendy British bible of design. It offers a sports owner’s dream—the blueprint for an 80,000-seat floating stadium.

Its beauty is its mobility. Hate the weather in Green Bay, sail the franchise to Houston. Pissed off with your tax break? Take the team to Hawaii. The plan, designed by New York architects Shih-Fu Peng and Róisín Heneghan, won a recent California architecture competition to design an arena that would attract pro football back to Los Angeles. Heneghan-Peng’s stadium would be built on the hull of a supertanker and would feature helicopter pads and parking facilities—a necessity for offshore tailgating.

While sports owners salivate over the plan, none should be drooling more than George Steinbrenner. How much would he love a new Yankee Stadium in the East River, keeping it in the Bronx and moving it to Manhattan all at the same time?

We may have to wait a while to see the first floating stadium, but when it arrives there’ll be no shortage of teams eligible to call it home. The Dolphins and Seahawks would both fit right in, but there can be only one real nautical contender—what team is going to want to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on their new home turf?

Soccer Injury Report, Cont’d

A sober little story in last week’s New York Times focused on the number of injuries suffered by professional soccer players in En gland. Headlined “Debunking the Myths of Safety in Soccer,” the report cited a study showing that players had a 12 percent risk of injury every time they played—mostly from legal contact. Only a third of all injuries in Britain’s pro leagues result from foul play. The most common injury, according to the story: the simple muscle strain.

Interesting choice of photo, then, by the Times‘s editors, who illustrated the story with a picture of a leaping Eric Cantona, who’s extended leg is about to seriously dent the shoulder of a Liverpool opponent. The former Manchester United and French star was no slouch when it came to kicking the opposition on the pitch, of course. But he was better known for inflicting an injury that the study didn’t take into acount. The errant genius known as “le brat“‘s greatest feat of infamy came during a match in 1995, when he left the field to attack an opposition fan who had been abusing him, dropping the supporter with a flying kung-fu–style kick. Cantona was banned for eight months as a result of that incident—but he didn’t pull a muscle.

Offseason Move

Maybe Red Sox general manager Dan Du quette ought to take a lesson from Katsutoshi Miwata, the former GM for Japan’s Orix BlueWave baseball team. Well, maybe he should just note Katsutoshi’s fate, and pray that he avoids a similar one.

After Katsutoshi failed to sign a local high school hotshot, he did the next honorable thing: he climbed to the eleventh floor of a tall building and jumped to his death. With all the talent that Duquette has failed to sign (or just plain run out of town), there ain’t a building tall enough for him to equal Katsutoshi’s act.

Duquette should also be made aware of the fate of former Mets GM M. Donald Grant, who broke the hearts of New Yorkers in 1977 by trading away Tom Seaver. When the 94-year-old died last week, a Post headline read, “Grant, Who Traded Seaver, Dead.” When his time comes, Duquette’s headline will be much longer.

Contributors: Frank Ruscitti, Matthew Yeomans, Jesus Diaz

Sports Editor: Miles D. Seligman