By Rikki Greenberg

I already have my Sunday television schedule all set. The Bears play the Lions at noon, and right after is the US Pole Dancing Federation East Regional Pole Dance Competition 2009. Oh yes ladies and gentleman. After a thrilling mish-mash of shoulder pads and spandex football pants, I will be moving on to metal poles, hair-whips and spandex short shorts.

The USPDF hosted a similar event in March that was extremely successful and it was only a matter of time before they hosted another one. The East Regional Pole Dance Competition 2009 is the preliminary competition leading up to next year’s national competition. The USPDF joined forces with E-Fit Dance/Shergold Studio and Sunday afternoon’s festivities features 12 contestants who will perform in two rounds. The winner of the competition will receive USPDF pro-status and will be eligible  to compete in the USPDF National Championships 2010.

It’s in my nature as a football fan and proud fantasy mama of one to do the research and figure out how these contestants compare to one another. Take a look at the official Pole Dancing Power Rankings.

(1)   Jessalynn Medairy
Consider her the Peyton Manning of Pole Dancing with a resume equally as impressive.

(2)   Karol Helms, NC
This contestant is packing major heat with an arsenal of extremely flexible and extraordinary tricks.
(3)   Gabrielle Valliere from NY
Valliere is a very strong and sensual competitor and let’s not forget her ties to the sports world with past NFL cheerleading experience.


(4)   Katheryn Bouchillion, FL
Bouchillion is a triple threat (mom, pole dancing studio owner, Aerial Performer) and already has a title to her pole dancing persona. If JessaLynn is Peyton Manning, than Bouchillion is Thomas Jones circa 2005-2008.

(5)   Lauren Goldstein, NY
Although Lauren does impress with her advanced pole dancing skill, it’s the risqué nature and overtly sexual moves that could sway the judges in a negative way.
(6)   Takeila Fox
Fox makes pole dancing look graceful in 5 inch white stiletto heels and keeps it classy without exploiting her sexuality. Fox has the potential to be the sleeper pick for this year’s competition.

(7)   Kyra Johannesen, NY
Johannesen has the advantage of experience over some of the participants, but her relaxed style of pole dancing may put the judges to sleep.

Kyra Jo USPDF Entry 09 from Kyra Johannesen on Vimeo.
(8)   Rhonda Chamberlain, VA
Has 4 years of pole dancing experience and one year as a starter (instructor for The Dirty Bunny). Despite having a limited pole dancing background, Chamberlain could come out heels a blazin’  i.e. Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan.

(9)   Eksupar Tongsri, NY
Practicing optometrist by day and competitive pole dancer by night. I thought I was getting crazy when I took a day job as a receptionist and walked the sidelines of a football field at night.

(10)Allison Cox, FL
Self taught pole dancer turned instructor. Judging by her picture, she seems to be at a rookie level, 2 years at the most since she did spend time studying pole dancing tape. Could be a Mark Sanchez or Brady Quinn circa 2008. Your call.

(11)Tara Leigh Moore, VA
Moore may be tiny (4’11, 90 pounds), but don’t let the small stature fool you. Any woman who can do the splits mid air while using just the legs for support is a superstar in my book.

(12)Erica Shergold/Laci Rose, VA
Some confusion over which name Ms. Shergold goes by, but you have to give her credit for incorporating props and classic seductress theme music to her demo routine.

Cub Fans Feeling Bitter Blues

By Rikki Greenberg

There’s always been something mystical and alluring about the Chicago Cubs. Whether it’s the players (Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg), the broadcasters (Harry Caray, Jack Brickhouse) Cubs fans consistently pack the house every baseball season.
One would think that after the huge letdown of last season’s NLDS and the already skeptical start to the 2009 season (Milton Bradley’s suspension and groin injury, Aramis Ramirez’s possible trip to the DL and the team’s mediocre start, enthusiasm for another “Lovable Losers” season would begin to fade, like the blue dye on a really old Cubs t-shirt.

The repetitive disappointments of almost-but-not-quite-there season finishes have truly begun to take their toll on the Cubbie faithful.

“I know that I am [bitter], said Paul Schmidt, sports writer and TSB contributor. “I felt as though the moves they made were classic overreactions to problems they had last season.”
Other Cub fans try to remain true to their optimistic nature, but concerns over habitual negative patterns create a conflicting mix of emotions.

“I feel like as a true fan, you should ALWAYS be optimistic about an upcoming season,” said Danny Jay, a lifelong Cubs fan living in California. “On the other hand though, what is it going to take for them to stop messing it up? Who knows? It’s hard to have faith for over a century.”

Other concerns over player troubles and performances complicate the path to World Series greatness and leave some fans shaking in their Cubbie boots.

“Our bullpen makes me nervous, with Marmol the only one I trust in sticky situations and close games,” said Scott Pinshower, a Cub fan since 1983 who’s well aware of his obsessive Cubbie nature.  Cub fans are definitely a jaded bunch. Who wouldn’t be after the quest to be World Champions is still going on after 101 years of setbacks?! After so many years devoid of happy ending, some Cub fans keep their emotions in check until the Cubbies reach the playoffs.

“I’m interested, but not as interested as I will be if they make the playoffs,” said John Brown, a fan who has been pledging allegiance to the Cubs for 23 years. “Last year hurt so much that now it doesn’t matter until the playoffs.”

For David Kmiecik, TSB Vice President and college hoops expert, the feelings are similar.
“For me, it’s almost gotten to the point where what the Cubs do during the season doesn’t mean a thing,” said Kmiecik. “They need to win a playoff series or even a single freakin’ postseason game before Cub fans might stop any bitterness.”

The fact that Cubs fans are taking a backseat approach to the 2009 season doesn’t come as a surprise. There’s only so much gas you can have in the tank before you hit empty. And the Cubs in October provide this feeling, if you add in a scenario with no gas stations around for miles. The members of Cubbie Nation will likely not start burning rubber again until something good happens in the playoffs, but given past performances, I’m not sure there will be something to go crazy about.