Rash Guards for Women Are a Good Sun Protection Choice

Have you any idea how harmful it is to be in the sun for a long time? Are you aware the reason why it truly is damaging? The Ultra violet (UV) solar rays from the sunlight could potentially cause extensive risks to people exposed to them for a long time. There are actually three distinct kinds of solar-generated rays. These are referred to as UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA and UVB will be the pair which will produce effects like sunburns, Melanoma and other skin conditions.

You can find sun protective swimwear that individuals can use to shield themselves from the sun’s rays. In this post we intend to inform you of what type of Uv ray protective swimwear is most beneficial to put on. Right now there are an array of Ultraviolet clothing running from Uva and uvb sun hats like wide brim sunhats to sun protective shirts and rashguards. Sun hats for women are a fun way for keeping yourself protected in the sunlight. They are likely the ideal sun protection clothing there exists. The reason is, the UV hats are made to shield your head, neck & shoulders and do a fantastic job of blocking sunlight uva and uvb rays from ones facial area.

You can find sun protective clothing for all family. You’ll find sun shirts and rashguards that are fitted with Ultra violet protection. This clothing is generally 98% Uva protected. There is likewise Uv ray protective swimsuits. These swimsuits are also around 98% Ultraviolet protected plus have got a UPF standing of 50 or higher. One can find sizes for children to adults. They are available in   swim  shorts,  swim  shirts, bathing suits and infant  swim  wear rompers. Let me share with you some other pieces of sun protecting clothing, for instance kid’s sun apparel.

There are several junior outfits which are ideal for summer weather which include a drawstring at the waist. Most of these  swim  trunks are UPF rated excellent, making them great sun protective clothing for ones children. An additional item of Ultra-violet clothing readily available on the internet is the child camping top likewise having a high UPF rating. Both of these are light-weight and comfortable for your youngsters. Plus, for us gals, there are shirts, pants and outdoor jackets which are UV designed. One specific shirt I enjoy wearing is the Patagonia women’s sun shelter top which features really high UPF safety and can easily be worn at the seaside or at my son’s ball game. There’s sun protecting clothing for everybody.

When you purchase outside clothing for your infants and little ones, just how can you see if it is UVA & UVB protected?. It is easy to look at the labels for the clothes (it usually requires a special certification). Additionally go to a respected UVA & UVB protection internet site to learn exactly what the differences in scores suggest. It is very important that you and your family use sun protection clothing anytime that you’ll be subjected to sunlight for periods of daylight. This type of clothing features wonderful patterns, is comfortable yet first and foremost can shield you from Ultra violet rays.

Training Tips For Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Every performer needs a great fitness/ health routine for MMA, I think most people know that mixed martial arts is a hard sport to train in and you have to be massively physically fit not forgetting mentally fit to become a professional fighter in the cage. Well because of this fact you will need to work on areas of your fitness to help you, firstly I would recommend that you would start a power and explosive strength training routine, this could be weight training with 8- 12 reps using compound exercises, plyometrics training exercises like explosive start throws, squat throws or depth Jumps or even power lifting for 1 rep max strength/ static strength.

But also do not forget the really good eating plan you will need – healthy wholegrain carb’s, lean protein and unsaturated fats, this could be like a meal of a chicken beast, sweet potato, side salad and small amount of olive oil to taste.

Lastly you need to up your game on stamina/ aerobics – skipping is great and it works on foot work, swimming is good and also shadow boxing will help increase your stamina and skills too.

OK then moving on to the stand up martial arts section. So you have worked out you need to be fit and eat well now we need to be able to fight on our feet. There is many different style of stand up martial arts that you can choose from like Kickboxing which is mainly body & head kicks and punches using many different types of kicks, boxing which only uses punching but is most effective at punches though, Thai boxing which is low, body and head kicks which are mainly round or front kick, punches, knee strike and elbows too. also you should bear in mind that their or other stand up martial arts like Karate, Kung Fu, wing chun, Ju jitsu which uses a lot of different types of techniques like kicks, punches, elbows and knee strikes (In some schools) but the more traditional martial arts styles do take longer to learn become they are designed to be a way of life other than just learning to fight. I want recommend doing a traditional art and a fighting art too like Karate and Thai Boxing.

Lastly we have wrestling and grappling styles which works mostly on the ground for attacks and defences. You have a large range of styles to choose from as well as an example you have Greco Roman wrestling, Catch wrestling, and freestyle too then the more grappling based arts are Judo, Brazilian Ju Jitsu, Aikido and Sambo training too. I would recommend training in one wrestling style and also a grappling/ submission style also, may be catch wrestling and also BJJ.

So there you have it lots of tips of what to do to compile a great MMA training routine, but please remember try new styles all the time and integrate what works and throw away what is useless, being open minded it king!

Summer Time Moving is a Great Idea

When you have to move for work or other reasons, it can be hard on the entire family. Summer is the best time to move though because it is the time of year when everyone can be outdoors. That will allow you to time to bond in the new location as you all get more comfortable with it.

Since the children will be out of school it offers a great opportunity to meet other families around. Becoming part of the social activities around will help you all to adjust in less time. Adults need other adults around and children need to make friends with kids their own age. Otherwise they can feel isolated and that isn’t a good feeling. The sooner they feel accepted in their new environment the happier they will be.

You can also meet other people through community projects, going to the   swimming  pool, taking the kids to the park, and enrolling them in recreational activities. The goal is to find families that have similar interests that you can share. From there great relationships can continue to develop on various levels.

By getting yourself squared away at your new job, you can focus on the kids before school starts for them. It can be difficult going to a new school so help them to eagerly prepare for it. Take them shopping for new clothing and supplies so that they are ready to go well in advance. Try to take them on a tour of the school as well.

If they have made friends over the summer then will feel less intimidated about going to the new school. You may be able to work it out for them to walk to school with their friend on the first day. Then they will have someone to show them around and even to introduce them to other people.

Your items are less likely to be damaged when you move during the summer months too. If you have lots of wooden items or delicate items then they can be damaged due to the sudden changes in the weather from indoors to outdoors and then back from the cold into the warm again.

During the summer there is a more consistent temperature out there and so you are less likely to have to deal with such issues. Plus, you aren’t carrying boxes in on the icy sidewalks. Imagine your new home all tracked up by mud and water that people helping you are bringing in. Those aren’t the best memories of your new home that you would like to remember.

While you can’t always control the time of year when you will move, try to do it in the summer if you are able to. This seems to be less stressful for the entire family than moving during the holidays and during a school year that is already in progress. The down side to moving in the summer though is that is the peak time for it. Rental trucks and moving companies will charge higher rates.

If you are able to move on your own or with the help of family and friends then do so. However, even if you do have to pay a bit for moving in the summer can be less stressful overall. The entire ordeal can take a toll on the family so you will want to do what you can in order to make it as smooth as possible. With this process you only have one issue to deal with at a time. You give your family time to adjust to the home, to get to know people, and to prepare for school.

7 Steps to Building a Farm Pond

Just like everything else in life, building a farm pond takes, first getting the idea, planning, preparation, location the actual digging. After all the hard work we add our own personalities to the pond with needed equipment and accessories. Then finally nature will take over, but we can help with adding plants and fish.

Step 1

The Idea:

When did building a farm pond become the idea? For some people it is just that they need water for the cattle. Others may have had a swimming pool and just are tired of taking care of it. Building a farm pond you can still swim, but also raise fish for food, fish for pets like a huge aquarium. Bring nature back to the property. And many more wonderful things

Step 2

Planning:

Once the thought has come and you have decided to act upon that thought: You will need to check to see if you need a permit. Most important you should check with the neighbors. They may have concerns, like little children. And if you need a permit or meeting is required from the local government or state there will be a larger circle of neighbors involved. It is better to come from you than a letter in the mail.

Step 3

Finding the perfect spot:

Building a farm pond will require a natural water source in order to fill and maintain the water level. This can be from under ground springs, small seeps, rain run off, or bypassing from a small stream. Is the spot located for your viewing pleasure and privacy, or displayed for everyone to see. A Lot depends on your use f the pond

Step 4

Preparation:

Finding the best spot is great but not knowing if the ground will hold water in that location is some thing that needs to be found out. Do this by digging test holes to determine the subsoil structure in the pond location. Other preparations will include what type of farm pond is being built. There are two basic ways and a combination of, Dug, Dam or a little of both.

Step 5

Do it:

Determine if building a farm pond is some thing you can do or want to do. Make the call to a couple excavating companies to get quotes and ideas from them. If you have the heavy equipment necessary to build the pond, still call and get some ideas or ask if they could walk you through the process.

Operating heavy equipment and building your own pond can be rewarding time, but the lack of experience and pond building know how will slow down the progress and if done improperly could lead to a failed pond.

Step 6

Accessories and needed equipment:

Accessories, equipment, wiring and piping should be budgeted in at the beginning planning stage. The ponds best friend and the plants and fish are oxygen. Will the pond be near an electrical source to run pumps for waterfalls or fountains? The pond may be secluded enough that a windmill or solar power equipment may be necessary. Decks, docks, boat or kayak for entertainment should also be thought of.

Step 7

Adding life:

Nature will provide life over time. This is your time to help get things started faster. Adding plants for color, shade and oxygen by adding lilies and depending on your location if they will be tropical or Hardy’s. Adding game fish for fishing and Koi for their vibrant colors, your enjoyment and they help to keep the pond clean. But be careful they like to eat the plants. Frog’s will come naturally within the first year. Other wildlife will find the pond too including bird’s ducks and geese.

This goes to show there are steps in building a farm pond. Skipping any of them could create major damage, hassles, or a pond that is not very enjoyable. For more in depth details take a look a my farm pond.com or the resource box below.

Choose How to Play Great Tennis

From birth to the age of eight to ten, children live in a state of deductive awareness. They lack the ability to respond to circumstances like we as adults do. Their responses will be based on what they have learned from the environment they are surrounded by.

When it comes to tennis – particularly if you are a tennis playing family – it is important to realise and accept that the behaviour of your child on the tennis court is largely due to what they have learned…from YOU!

For a young player to “Be their best” rather than focusing on “Being the best” can make a significant difference in their emotional upbringing.

A child who focuses is on becoming ‘their’ best develops high self-esteem and greater emotional mastery. A child left to focus on results alone, slowly becomes a product of their results. Tennis can serve (pardon the pun) many great life lessons. Because in tennis, you cannot control 100% of the game. There are certain things that we totally control, semi-control and have zero control over.

Focusing solely on results means you are focusing on something that you influence but do not have total control over. You only influence how another person plays. Time spent dwelling on things outside of your control can cause feelings of diminished self-esteem, helplessness and eventually lead to feelings of unworthiness.

Champions focus heavily on the things they can control (80%). The remainder is spent on the things that they can semi-control (20%) and the things outside of their control receive very little attention. Here is an example from another sport to illustrate how these same principles of success apply regardless of the sport.

Swimmer Ian Thorpe rarely talks about world rankings or gold medals. He only ever talks about fulfilling his unique potential as an athlete and as a person. He knows that there are factors outside of his control when it comes to the outcome of an event. Tennis matches are no different. There will be days when the other player is just too good. Learning to accept this and learn from it is the key to success.

Finding Active Adult Communities in the US Has Today Become Easier Than Ever Before

The good news is, you can carry on leading an active lifestyle even after retirement. In order to do this you will need to turn to Active Adult Communities, which offer wonderful residence options too. And luckily, when you want to select such a community, there are hundreds of them in the US today from which you can make a choice. In fact, there are several real estate companies that are interested in such projects for retirees. You could take a look at a few of these upcoming projects and also those that are already there.

However, as you can see, with the recognition of senior living needs in the country, competition is rising too. Today, it is not mandatory that you have to move to sunny Florida if you are retired and want to enjoy a good life. These communities have sprouted up all over the US. So if you so desire, you could decide to remain closer to your friends and family.

If you are someone who is a keen follower of the game of golf, you could decide to select an active adult community that is close to a golf course. But even if you do not play, you will surely have a great time here because of the undulating meadows and the greenery. There are other adult community options where the lifestyle is a bit different, some are even on the waterfront. Of course, if you are staying at one of these places, you could get engaged with fishing, boating or   swimming .

In most cases, those who are older than 55 years, reside in much too big of a home. When kids grow up, they almost always move away. Because of this, if you are an active adult, you might be interested to stay in an active adult community, rather than at the big property. You are almost sure to be in the company of people who are a lot like you and you could end up being happier.

As mentioned before, these Active Adult Communities can be found today all across the US – so are you keen to find one? However, before you can make up your mind about the adult community, you need to consider the following issues

1. The location – There are communities located at all kinds of places. So make a decision about your location preference. There are many options here – close to the sea, a hill resort, warmer climate, a suburban location or close to a mall, and there are those whose priority is to stay close to family and friends.

2. It is essential to also select the active adult community type – those who love golf may want to stay at a golf community.

3. Do remember that all communities do not offer all amenities, so it is a good idea to check before you decide on one, to confirm that it really offers the ones you like.

4. You need to decide whether you want to stay in the same state or whether you want to move into a new one.

5. The budget – Highest limit and lowest limit.

Once you have decided on the above mentioned issues, you need to concern yourself about searching for your active adult community. If you are not so keen about putting your roots in the same old state where you were born, you can search across the country. So, conduct a search for these Active Adult Communities so that you can make a final decision.

Face-to-Face Communication – Old Fashioned? Not!

It’s unbelievable how dependent we’ve become as a society on electronic communication devices! E-mail, text messaging, PDA’s, cell phones, video conferencing, blackberries, blueberries, rasberries, and more…have taken the place of good old fashioned, face-to-face communication leading to many interpersonal difficulties and miscommunications in today’s workplace.

You may be thinking…Why improve my interpersonal skills when most businesses do 99% of communication by telephone, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, e-mail, and on rare occasions, snail mail. A popular way of thinking today…but, is it really the correct way? “Face-to-face communication remains the most powerful human interaction,” says Kathleen Begley, Ed.D., author of Face-to-Face Communication, Making Human Connections in a Technology-Driven World. “As wonderful as electronic devices are, they can never fully replace the intimacy and immediacy of people conversing in the same room and it has worked for millions of years.”

In business, we talk about “B2B” (business to business) and “B2C” (business to consumer) methods. I try to buck the trend (in a positive way!) to stress the importance of face-to-face communication. You’ll hear me talk a lot about the “P2P” (people-to-people) connections and how important it is to get beyond technology and talk face-to-face with friends, family, colleagues, customers, vendors, and the like. You may think that’s a bit old-fashioned, but in my opinion, there is no substitution for the human, up-close and personal contact. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the terrific technology tools we have today and I use it regularly, but it’s not always my first or best choice.

Several decades ago, John Naisbitt, in his mega 1960’s best-seller, Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, brought a new concept to the forefront called “high tech, high touch.” His idea was that “as human beings became capable of anonymous electronic communication, they would concurrently need more close-up personal interaction.” Seems to me that he was right on target!

We live in a society when flocking to the local coffee shop or diner for coffee chats with business associates or friends is a testimony to our need for human togetherness, especially when most coffee lovers can make a latte or cappuccino right in their homes. Think about the fortunes coffee establishments are making on our need for face-to-face communication! The people-to-people connections…

We hear of the many children (and adults) who spend countless hours alone playing video games. However, The Game Manufacturing Association reported in 2003 that family board game sales (like Monopoly and Scrabble) are booming and growing at 20% per year. Cranium has recently come out with a whole new line of board games for our “little people” (ages 3+). The people-to-people connections start at an early age – if you haven’t heard it, ask me to tell you my “Papa Zitto” story!

Even when disaster strikes and the news media bring these events into our homes and workplaces via TV, radio and the Internet, we seek out opportunities to share grief. I personally waited in line for almost three hours with hundreds of others to visit Ground Zero in New York when it opened to the public in December 2001. Many people also left makeshift shrines nearby to honor the victims of that tragedy. The people-to-people connections…

We lead hectic, multi-tasking lives both at home and in the workplace these days and we find the need for balance even more critical than in days gone by. We understand that technology can be impersonal, but it’s quick! We know we need to make time for more people-to-people connections but, the reality of the hectic pace doesn’t leave us much time for this more intimate form of communication. You may be thinking, isn’t it much faster to make a quick phone call, send a brief e-mail, or hook up via video-conferencing to have a meeting of the minds? Yes and no. It’s a communications paradox…faster is not always better.

So the better question may be, how can we make the best of both worlds – technology and face-to-face, people-to-people connections?

Just as fashions are redesigned and come back with a variation on a style from days-gone- by, I believe it is time for redesigning and revitalizing face-to-face (P2P) communication skills.

We need to get the balance right! People-to-people (P2P) communication skills remain one of the primary success factors in business, even in this age of technology. There are many situations – often those involving conflict, hurt feelings, high priority, or a large sum of money – that demand business people take the time and trouble to get in the same room to share information. Video-conferencing has become a good simulation and cost-effective method when individuals are in remote locations, but there is still no substitute for good, old-fashioned, face-to-face communication.

Don’t take my word for it…Let’s take a look at what some of the experts are saying.

Tom Peters, internationally known business guru, says without reservation that you should constantly attend to your face-to-face communication. Not to do so, will lead to career disaster. “We believe in high tech, high touch,” Peters writes. “No question, technology is the Great Enabler. But, paradoxically, now the human bit is more, not less, important than ever before.”

Sheila Hodge, author of Global Smarts: The Art of Communicating and Deal Making Anywhere in the World, says “The modern office is full of gadgets – computers and the Internet, uplinks and downlinks, videoconferencing, and online databases. Many people think they should let the fancy technology handle the messy task of interfacing with people.”

Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, in her book Reading People, talks about how young, technically oriented employees tend to communicate mostly in computer chat rooms. “If you want to become a better communicator, you must make a conscious effort to engage other people (in person),” she writes. “Even the most entrenched Internet junkie can learn the true meaning of ‘chat’ if the desire is there, but you have to get off the couch and make it happen.”

Gary McClain and Deborah Romaine in their book, The Everything Managing People Book, put it this way…”Consistent, daily face-to-face communication promotes more than just good feelings; it also promotes effective and collaborative teamwork.”

“One of the most critical areas of communication to get right in business is the one-on-one situations – especially offering advice, constructive feedback, and annual performance appraisals,” says Chris Roebuck in Effective Communication.

One of my favorite quotes stated very simply by Margaret Wheatley, Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope for the Future, says “I can believe we can change the world if we start talking to one another again.”

Sounds like we’re on to something here…So, what can you do? Start out by taking an honest look at your communication methods and your attitude about technology vs. (P2P) face-to-face interaction. Are you e-mailing more and meeting less for financial reasons? Are you avoiding human contact mostly because of a lack of interpersonal skills? If the latter is true, you need to take action before it’s too late.

The next time you are tempted to send an e-mail, text message or make a phone call for other than routine purposes, stop! Get back to basics. Go out of your comfort zone and, instead, send the e-mail, text message or make the call to set up a face-to-face, in person meeting with the person behind the technology! Why? Because it works!

Make the people-to-people connections… You and your business will be glad you did!

A Positive Workplace Means Business! TM

Family Reunion

Family reunions are a growing trend.

Gone are the days when families live close to one another, carrying out the family tradition, looking after the business, the farm or other ventures. Family gatherings are held on special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries.

We live in a highly mobile society. Families can be spread out all over the globe, literally. Technology has made communication so much easier between families. But nothing can replace the personal contact that comes with a family reunion. That once a year get together leaves precious memories for all to cherish.

But, there is more to a family reunion than just getting together. It is important to plan to the minute detail to ensure a successful get together. It is a great help to communicate these details to those who are expected to attend.

FAMILY REUNION PLANNING:

It can be simple, it can be complicated. It is your choice.

WHO IS ATTENDING

It is a family reunion- but which family? Parents, grandparents, siblings and their children, grandchildren, in-laws, cousins- the list can go on. Some of us have extended families that can include very close friends, no blood relation but still considered family. It is important that attendees try to be compatible, congenial and pleasant. No one wants an atmosphere suffused with tension. It is neither the time nor the place to carry excess emotional baggage. Anyone who can not feel comfortable in such gatherings should give this event careful consideration. Families are genetically linked, but at times, that’s the only common thread. Family reunions give families a chance to feel out one another, and be accepting, accommodating and understanding. There is no room for nit picking and pettiness. Discover what makes your ‘coz Tippy tick! Be sure to circulate around and get to know everyone.

DATE and PLACE

Set a date ahead of time, so everyone who wants to attend can make plans accordingly. Choose a location that is accessible, acceptable and comfortable.

ACCOMMODATION

For those who have to travel a distance, book accommodation ahead of time especially during peak tourist season.

BUDGET

Unless money is no problem, everyone who wants to attend the reunion can budget for this event to include travel, accommodation, food and fuel and allow extra mad money. Don’t forget an emergency fund- just in case.

ACTIVITIES

How do you plan to spend the time with the rest of the family? Some of them you may not have seen in ages. Children especially need to be kept entertained. If possible, leave technology behind. If the reunion is to be at a place surrounded by Nature, like a park or a lake, this is a great time to introduce the little ones to Mother Nature. Take this opportunity for everyone to bond. Fill the time with quality, real quality. Play together,   swim  together, have fun together. Bring your own gear like fishing rod and bait, life jackets, and other paraphernalia.

For adults, it is not the time for binge drinking. Excessive alcohol intake can be disastrous. No one wants to attend to a drunken relative. It is not fair to the rest of the group, neither is it a good example for the younger ones. Some activities can be spontaneous- guided by the elements that surround you. What do you do if you are rained out?

What games are appropriate for the occasion? Bring your board games and other toys. Unless you are in an isolated area, be courteous to the neighbors. Keep the noise like music down.

FOOD PREPARATION, MENU PLANNING:

Is it a one-meal get together? Is it a full day or a few days? Do you plan a dine out, a take out, a cookout or catered? If you are renting a place, check out the cooking facilities. You may consider bringing a barbecue grill. Anyone with specific food requirements, like vegetarians, diabetics et al must come prepared. Communicate to all the food allergies of anyone in the group.

Should everyone decide to make a dish- make sure there is a variety, communicate so there is no duplication. What food would your young ones prefer? What is your budget for the food?

KEEPSAKES/ MEMENTOS/ DECORATIONS

What keepsakes are good and for whom? How much are you willing to spend? A family reunion is not about splurging. It is about sharing precious moments.

THEME

Do you have a theme in mind to make the event memorable? Theme T-shirts are popular. In our family, we had flags nailed on the balcony to represent the different nationalities that have become part of our family through marriage.

MEDICATIONS / FIRST AID KIT

Always be prepared, especially if there are children, elderly and sick ones.

PICTURES – LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

Most important are those pictures- they say it all. Bring your camera, make sure you carry enough batteries or chargers.

With proper planning, a family reunion can be a most memorable event.

Retro Gaming Discussion – Super Mario Bros 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 is the third installment of the Super Mario Bros. series. I have decided not to do the second installment due to its unpopularity and for the fact that Super Mario Bros. 3 is the TRUE sequel to Super Mario Bros. SMB3 is one of the best selling games of all time, narrowly coming short of its true predecessor, SMB. But despite that, it is a huge ugprade of its predecessor. The game was released in 1990 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as the NES.

Super Mario Bros. 3, like Super Mario Bros., is a side scrolling adventure game featuring Mario and Luigi, the Super Mario Bros. All three powerups from the original game are back, along with new ones. Most notably the Super Leaf, which turns Mario or Luigi into Raccoon Mario or Raccoon Luigi, also granting them the ability to fly. Other powerups include the Hammer Suit (throw hammers), Tanooki Suit (similar to the Super Leaf, also with the ability to turn into a statue and have near invulnerability), and Frog Suit (better   swimming  abilities).

The enemies in this game are vastly updated as well. The Goombas return, along with the turtles (which you can now carry around their shells), the hard shelled beetles (also carry around their shells), the octopi, the baby sharks (along with an adult shark, which can eat Mario and Luigi), among others you may recognize. Bowser returns, but this time he has brought along seven of his children, called Koopalings: Larry, Morton Jr., Wendy, Iggy, Roy, Lemmy, and Ludwig Von Koopa. These seven children are the final bosses of the first seven worlds, with Bowser himself guarding the eighth world.

Speaking of the worlds, they all have themes to them just like the first game. But even more detail has been put in them this time. The worlds are as follows, in this order: Grass Land (themed to just plain grass), Desert Land (themed to a desert, complete with quicksand and dust devils), Water Land (themed to water, where the stages are partially or completely underwater), Giant Land (where everything is huge), Sky Land (themed to the sky), Ice Land (themed to ice, where everything is frozen and slippery), Pipe Land (themed to pipes, the most common method of transportation for Mario and Luigi), and Dark Land (themed to fire, lava, and darkness, and contains Bowser’s lair).

The music and sound effects, while not as commonly sampled like SMB was, still are classics today. In fact, I remember I use to hum the music in the underground stages (stage 1-5 for example) for its rap beat like sound. Great stuff there.

Nintendo made a masterpiece with this game, believe me. Even though I have completed it time and time again, I still come back and play this each and every time I have my NES out. I love this game for the childhood memories it has brought me and the laughs it has given me.

Drowning in Jealousy – A Swimmer’s Nightmare

Sport is generally accepted as being a vehicle that teaches children valuable life skills, inspires, motivates, maximizes their potential, and keeps them healthy. Yes, it does do all those things most of the time.

Haywood Hale Brown once said: “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” I’m sure this is true in all sports, but as I’m mainly a “swimming mummy” I’ll use swimming as an example of just how revealing it can be and why parents must take a larger role in shaping their own children’s attitudes. And some of it possibly starts with them.

For ease of writing, I’ll use a fictional character – let’s call her Lexie. Lexie is a junior swimmer who is in the top in her age group and in her state. She is her club champ. She is known as the one to beat. She never returns from a meet without a load of mostly gold and silver medals.

She isn’t big headed about it. In fact, due to the “ugly side” she experiences, she actually plays her success down and neither she nor her mother talk about her swimming or wins. (And they don’t have to – everyone else does!) She is very level headed and doesn’t get excited about gold medals, unless they come with a new Personal Best time because then she feels she deserved the medal and didn’t just get it because she won the race.

She is well known in swimming circles and in her home town for her swimming achievements. She deserves her accolades because she trains hard and has big dreams. She isn’t very good at land sports though, but people forget this when she wins at swimming and begrudge her for it.

She is, however, also good at her school work and always receives high grades. She is also very popular at school. In addition to being modest (because her parents taught her to be gracious in all things), she has a caring “motherly” nature, always looking out for fellow students and friends. She even spends her pocket money donating to organizations like Greenpeace to save the whales and also to other charities.

But she doesn’t talk about her achievements to her friends or even her teacher at school – they have to find out from the grapevine. And no matter how modest and low key she plays it, there are still those she has to mix with who see her successes and achievements as cause for punishing her.

The types of “punishment” are the extreme effects of jealousy such as spitefulness, lying, bullying, cheating, poor sportsmanship, selfishness, teasing, aggressiveness, and gossip, etc.

All Lexie wants to do is swim, and swim well. She’d like to be so good that she might make it to the Nationals one day and who knows where that might lead her… She has a dream, and it’s not about beating her peers just to make them feel bad about themselves… she’s winning for herself. For her dream. Of course, they don’t see that. They see her winning as a personal affront to them.

I’m sure you’ve known youngsters who appear to be “good at everything”, which usually isn’t quite true, it’s just that the things they do and they are good at, stand out for their level of excellence. Most of them are modest kids who try to deal with the “baggage” that comes with their success.

I’ve rarely met a swimmer who is at the top of their ranking ladder who has a bighead about their achievements but I won’t say they don’t exist. I can think of about 15 great young swimmers who excel and who are down to earth, modest, self-effacing youngsters who do the sport proud.

On the other hand, I can only think of three swimmers in the same age group who are equally as successful but who brag about it and use unprofessional tactics to psyche their rivals out and are really unpleasant for other swimmers to be around.

Fortunately, most top swimmers also have that innate sportsmanlike quality that sparks admiration… Lexie is one of these swimmers.

Lexie, like others on the top of the ladder, deserve their success because they work twice as hard as their team-mates at training. When the other kids are dawdling and not putting in 100% effort, or cheating by not doing all the laps, Lexie is pushing herself and doing exactly as her Coach asks. Lexie never misses a training session either unless she has a good excuse.

The other swimmers and some of their parents wear blinkers. They don’t see the real reasons why Lexie is good at swimming and beats their child. They are looking through jealous-colored glasses and everything they see is influenced by their jealousies.

Some parents and their children will have a hard time accepting your child’s talent and success, and you’ll find it isn’t necessarily the ones whose children are poor swimmers. It’s the ones who feel threatened by your child’s success, and their child might be one who constantly wins bronze medals (but they want your child’s gold!) They don’t see their child’s lack of natural talent or failure to train as the reason for their child’s lack of success. They see YOUR child as the problem. Your child is the problem because your child is constantly beating theirs and getting on the relay team because they’re faster.

Because your child is so good, their jealous child is unhappy, which makes mummy and daddy unhappy, and in their eyes, this is all your fault and your successful child’s fault. They blame you and your “Lexie” because they feel you have taken away the opportunity to win from their own child. If you weren’t there and if Lexie wasn’t there, then maybe their child would have a chance at winning. Then their child would be happy and so would they. And they could feel proud of themselves. But they can’t and it’s all your fault.

Some parents really do take it as an insult if other children are more successful than their own children.

A personal, but true story: I was verbally and physically attacked at the end of a school swimming carnival (in which my daughter had again won everything and came home with the School Champion medal), by a crazy mother whose jealous behaviors and those of her child had been growing over the years and starting to cause serious problems at the school.

This day she accosted me, screaming in my face, pushing me in my chest towards the pool, using four letter words to tell me how sick she was of my daughter always winning and what we could both do with ourselves. Use your imagination – it’s definitely nothing I could repeat here! As she’d done this in front of the entire junior school and teachers, I had plenty of witnesses and I was advised it was time to report this family to the police – which I reluctantly did.

Well, I had no choice. The “history” of this family’s jealous obsession included a great deal of trouble making on the daughter’s part and one day her father even came to the school and in front of the classroom, witnessed by other children, this jealous girl’s father shook his fist in front of my then 9 year old daughter’s face because he was “sick of her”. (I think my daughter had just beaten their daughter in a local talent quest.)

So I am speaking from experience when I say that a successful “Lexie” can bring out the worst in some people, who seem to think that your child’s success means their child is somehow “less than”.

What’s behind this? A whole lot of emotional problems that have nothing to do with the Lexie’s of the world but they have to wear the consequences of it. People with low self-esteem are most likely to react with jealous behaviors. Some of them even have a “if we can’t beat you, we’ll find ways to destroy you” type attitude. They are emotionally immature, and some, as we have seen, are unstable. And these parents are passing on these attributes to their own children.

Of course, they’ll never admit that they are jealous and that it is their immaturity and jealousy that is causing the problems, and they will come up with other excuses for their hateful behavior. They’ll tell you how your Lexie is mean or spoiled or given preferential treatment, etc. None of it is true, but in their mind it is better people think that, than know the truth – that they are immature, insecure adults with a problem.

The thing is there is nothing you or your Lexie can do to stop this, because you aren’t responsible for other people. People who don’t feel good about themselves to begin with are going to feel even worse when your Lexie keeps beating them. They won’t care that your Lexie trains twice as hard and wants to go to Nationals. They’ll only care that your Lexie’s winning makes their daughter look bad and as a result, makes them look bad. Maybe they think it’s a genetic thing. (Maybe it is!)

They will always see your Lexie as the problem because if Lexie wasn’t doing so well and getting all the attention that goes with it, then maybe their kid would have stood a chance. And the only way these people know how to make themselves feel better is to make you look worse, or feel worse!

These people won’t just stop at poor behaviors themselves, they’ll start their hate campaign and drag their friends into it, and even attempt to get your own friends on side. They’ll get people to stop talking to you, there’ll be gossip and untruths spread, exclusions… (And you thought it only happened in schools?)

Where does this leave us? Well, if YOU are the parent of a jealous child and you recognize or suspect these behaviors, then clearly you need to do something quick. Not only because it is unsportsmanlike but because obviously your child needs help – and you do want to raise a happy, well balanced, confident child full of high self-esteem, yes?

Nip the problem in the bud now – enlist the help of their coach. Most coaches are not going to be disgusted if you approach them with this problem – they will be impressed that you’ve come forward about it and eager to help.

But what about the Lexies of this world? Where does this leave them? Unfortunately, not only can it be lonely at the top, but being there attracts attention, good and bad and just as the spoiled brat needs to learn some self control and raise their self esteem in healthy ways, your champion needs to develop a tough shell and learn to deal with the ugly side of sport.

Advice for Lexie:

1. Don’t stoop to their level – ever. Be the “better person”. Other people will be watching and notice, which will go in your favor and attract their support. Apart from which, what goes around, comes around and you should keep your slate clean so you attract only the good stuff!

2. As hard as it is, continue to treat those particular jealous individuals the same as you treat others. Do offer your goggles if theirs breaks before a race. Do congratulate them on a race they’ve just swum. When they pull a face at you, smile at them!

3. Retain your dignity. Ignore their barbs. Remember, YOU are a champion – you have to behave like one. They’re not champions and that’s why they don’t and can’t act like one. You don’t see the Olympic elite behaving like spoiled pre-schoolers – if you want to be like them one day, start practicing now.

4. Even though you’re not big-headed now, make sure you remain that way. Stay modest. Your own parents and community might treat you like a celebrity and it can be easy to get caught up in all that hype. Ignore it – it will take your focus away from what is real and important to you… making the Nationals. And if you do become a big-head, you will lose friends and even have your Coach on your back. NOBODY likes a big-head!

5. NEVER play dumb, or start to lose races, just to be “accepted”. You don’t have to do that. A handful of sincere and supportive friends is worth 100 times more than a large group of insincere people who stab you in the back. Real friends would never expect you to do that anyway. Would you want your friend to start acting like a loser just so you could feel good about yourself? You owe it to yourself, your coach, AND your club to keep swimming at a top level. They’ve invested time in you and they expect you to do your best. This also helps others in your squad who may use you as a benchmark and if they’re constantly trying to beat you, they’ll be constantly training hard to catch up.

Having said all this, that doesn’t mean Lexie has no alternative but to put up with bad treatment now or ever. As with any bullies, swimming team mates who are jealous and behave badly need to be exposed and stopped. First, Lexie should confront them herself, in a polite and calm manner to talk about it and find out what their problem is. If they come out with insults, Lexie should ask for real examples to justify their insults.

Example conversation:

Lexie: Why are you being so mean to me? What have I done to you?

Other kid: You’re a stuck up bighead!

Lexie: In what way? How am I being a stuck up bighead?

Other kid: You think you’re all that just because you got 8 gold medals!

Lexie: So, what you’re saying is because I won 8 gold medals that automatically means I’m a stuck up bighead?

Other kid: Yeah, you are.

Lexie: Well, give me an example? What do I do? Because I don’t wear my medals and I don’t talk about them. I finish the race and just sit down again. How is that being a stuck-up bighead? Seems to me you’re doing more talking about me and my medals than I ever have…

Other kid will not have a reply to this and their friends will start looking sheepish. Even if “other kid” continues his vendetta, his friends will have had their eyes opened and will not be quite so inclined to assist him. 10 points to Lexie!

If the behavior continues, Lexie or you, as parent, should tell the coach because it is the Coach’s job to not only know what is happening in their squad but to deal with it. This is not telling tales. Lexie is as entitled as the next person to swim safely without harassment and enjoy her swimming experience.

At the end of the day, Lexie must realize that throughout her swimming career, she is going to face other swimmers and their parents with their jealousy fuelled, unsportsmanlike behaviors. Lexie can turn this negative attention to her advantage by realizing she must be pretty damn good for them to be so obsessed with her!

Besides, when she does make it to the Nationals… or the Olympics… she’ll have the last laugh!