Tuesday, September 30, 2008

5 Of My Favorite Golf Websites

In case you didn’t notice, I really love to golf. I’m getting better and hope to pass the plateau of socially acceptable to really dangerous in the next year. I’m one of the fortunate ones in that I am more relaxed on the course than on the range. Off the tee, I can hit very well and stay in the fairway. Woohoo! My record drive is over 200 yards and I’ve done that more than once in the desert. No, I am not trying to brag – I’m the first one to tell you that I need help on my short game and my putting especially leaves a lot to be desired. Anyhoo…these are my favorite places to visit that have to deal with golf:

LPGA.com: I like to keep up on what is up in the world of women’s golf. Golf is one of the only sports that women athletes can make a respectable living at and I’m very interested in supporting it. Although I don’t always agree with their administration, I like to read about the players.

LorenaOchoa.com: She’s 5’6” and can hit the driver over 250 yards consistently. Being that I am 4 inches taller, my goal is to at least match her awesome ability in this respect (next would be to get my entire game in that direction). Besides that, I like her attitude and focus. She is definitely my favorite along with…

AnnikaSorenstam.com: Annika is nothing but a class act. She never talks a bunch of trash or acts like she’s far superior to anyone. Her calm demeanor makes some believe she’s a wet blanket. I think she’s just a focused professional. I aspire to have just half of the game she’s got and I’d be stoked!

GolfWRX.com: Call me biased if you want but I really enjoy the forums. I’ve made some new golf colleagues around the world and found a camaraderie that cannot be matched. There is definitely a community feel here, and it isn’t all a boys’ club. I’ve had a blast writing for them in the Bag Chatter section and learn more about the game every day. I can honestly say that being a part of the community has increased my dedication to the game.

Southern California Golf Guide: This site has literally hundreds of courses listed and reminds me that it will be some time before I can run out of local places to play. I highly recommend checking it out if you come to the area. Feel free to drop me a line if you need an opinion on a certain area.

What is your favorite golf website?

Monday, September 29, 2008

5 Questions With Goon Squad Sarah

Speaking of women who really love sports - today's guest is Goon Squad Sarah. I'll let her give you the intro:

I was born in Ohio but I grew up in Tampa. Now I live in the DC Metro Area with my husband and four year old b/g twins. I went to High School in Tampa and I attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

I write for Sarah and the Goon Squad, BlogHer, Draft Day Suit, MamaPop, DC Metro Moms Blog, Loser Moms, and Sarah reviews Stuff Here.

1. What got you started blogging and how did you get involved in sports blogging? Which are your favorite topics to write about?

I started blogging when I my twins were a year old. I needed an outlet to speak in complete sentences. Being a stay at home mom was driving me crazy. I had a couple of friends that were bloggers and I decided to give it a try. I honestly never thought I would write a second post. That was over three years ago and I rarely miss a day now.

I started out as a Mommyblogger. I was writing about my day to day life. When football season rolled around I started talking about the Bucs. I have been a huge Buccaneers fan for years now and it was just natural for the subject to come up.

In 2006 I went to my first BlogHer conference. BlogHer.com was still fairly new and I approached Lisa Stone and suggested that the website needed someone covering women blogging about sports. They ended up hiring me for the job. I have been writing for them for over two years now and I am shocked at how much I have learned about sports along the way. I still like writing about football the best.

2. What sports have you played competitively or otherwise in your lifetime? What, if any, do you continue to play and which are your favorite sports to participate in?

Believe it or not (and if you knew me you would believe it) I am not much of an athlete myself. I played your standard tee-ball, softball, and soccer in elementary school but honestly that is about it. I thought about taking soccer back up in high school until I realized how much running was involved. I hate running. I played a year or two of intramural soccer in college, but even then I wasn't really a big fan of putting myself in harms way for the good of the team. I wasn't a very good goalie.

3. What are your favorite sports and teams to follow? Do you get to many games or are you more of a television spectator? How long have you followed these teams/sports?

My favorite sports team in the whole world is The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I was a raging Orlando Magic fan in the '90s but my love for them is fading. Of course I am a UCF fan, and since my husband is a USF alumni I root for the Bulls too (unless they are playing UCF). I follow the Tampa Bay Lightning and The Washington Capitals, which is a conflict of interest since they are in the same division. I am really trying to find a Washington or Baltimore franchise to love since I live here and can usually get tickets to the games but I am finding that my sports heart is still in Tampa.

I usually get to at least one or two Redskins games a year and one Ravens game. This summer I caught my first Nationals game and I went to my first Orioles game a few weeks ago. My friend Nancy has season tickets to the Capitals and she hooks me up for a couple of games each season and I try to go to at least one Wizards game, even though I have sort of lost my love for the NBA. Of course I try to catch a Bucs game anytime I am back home and they are playing at Raymond James. Honestly, I would go to almost any sporting event I could get tickets to. I love going to games. That being said, I'll watch any football, basketball or hockey game on tv. Watching a baseball game on television bores me to tears.

How long following stats:

Bucs ('84)
Magic ('92)
UCF ('91)
USF ('02)
Lightning ('97)

4. I know you recently went on an interesting road trip that had to do with your blogging career - give me the synopsis on what that was about and what was the most rewarding part of the experience.

In July I took a road trip with four other Mommy Bloggers from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. We stared at my house and ended up at BlogHer.

DC Metro Moms Blog is part of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog umbrella. One of our founders, Jill Asher, got together with Six Apart and Chevy who sponsored four of us blogging our was across the country. GM provided us with a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid (which totally kicked ass, and I'm not just saying that because they let me borrow their car) and I woke up at 4:00 am one morning and picked up my friend Devra. We drove to Chicago and picked up Meagan Francis and then we stopped in Omaha, Denver (where we got Aviva), Salt Lake City, and Reno. We stopped by Jill's house in Palo Alto and the five of us showed up at BlogHer. It was amazing and fun and exhausting. We had blogger meet-ups and television interviews all along the way.

I had been to California before, but I'd never been through the Rocky Mountains. They blew me away.

You can still read all about it here

5. What advice would you give to someone that wanted to start a blog? Any different advice for a sports-related blog? What are your favorite types of blogs to read.

I think that everyone should have a blog. It is the most cathartic thing you can do. It's better than primal screaming. (I would imagine anyway, I've never actually done that.)

My advice? Make sure it is fun for you.

My advice to increase traffic? 1) Have a blogroll, 2) Link to other bloggers if you get an idea from them, 3) Comment on other blogs and do so intelligently - or at least be amusing.

My advice for a sports blog? Update in a timely fashion. I can't say I've been doing this on my own sports blog, but that leads me to other advice - don't bite off more than you can chew. *blushes*

My favorite blogs to read are funny sports blogs. I love Kissing Suzy Kolber and The Big Lead. I am also a big fan of parenting blogs. That is what got me started in the first place. All of my favorite blogs have a sense of humor. I prefer posts that aren't too long (I have a very short attention span) and that can make me laugh.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Sports Wrap - September 28, 2008

Alright, I am doing the post with the right post for the right day this time!

NFL: There is so much to talk about here. I made some really wild picks this week as I did for week three. It served me well and I only missed two last week. I'll definitely be watching the Bucs vs. Packers game. Aaron Rodgers has been really impressive but the Bucs behind Griese are nothing to discount. Oh, and don't forget their signature D! Hopefully Monte has taken his meds. Go Bucs!

The Chargers vs. Raiders game is always a tough one to watch...on one hand, my Raiders won the title in my hometown. On the other, their ownership is questionable at best and the team has stunk for years. The Chargers have a real shot a greatness in spite of the 0-2 start (where they were ROBBED, by the way). I'm picking the Chargers for this one.

The Niners are an easy pick for me, with no disrespect to my friends in NoLa. I hope O'Sullivan continues to light it up and Gore racks up the points!

Golf: The Tour Championship finishes today. Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, and Anthony Kim are all putting on a great show.

WNBA: The Finals are upon us. Los Angeles vs. San Antonio and New York vs. Detroit happen today. I've not paid enough attention but am pulling for the Sparks, of course.

Today in Sports History

1976 - Muhammad Ali beats Ken Norton in 15 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title

Happy Birthday to: Glen Ivy (NFL), Cathy Caverzasio (Tennis), Matthew Elliot (Cricket), Marcus Spears (NFL), Janet Evans (Swimming), David Weightman (Rowing)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blogspotting - Women And Football

To follow up on yesterday's preposterous revelation that no matter what we believe - women don't understand football - we shall check out some examples to the contrary:

Oh, first, I'm guessing that the author of the offending mass email never heard of the IWFL and the Southern California Breakers. Fall to them means that they are looking ahead at what next season will bring.

In case you really aren't up to speed on football, Lady D has a dictionary and basics of the game.

Girls Dig Sports previews an NFL game every week.

By the way, the crew at Women's Football Talk live and breathe the game.

Goon Squad Sarah has plenty to say on the topic as well. You'll find her blogging on Draft Day Suit and BlogHer as well. She's even got a Fantasy Football team or seven.

And really, that is all of the steam I am going to put into that engine. We shall let the whole "Beat Your Boyfriend In Fantasy Football" thing die the death it deserves. By the way, my sarcastic note back to them didn't quite work - they asked me what league I was playing in so that I could get a free upgrade. I'm not sure why they would offer that to me, being that I've already told the world I was playing on Yahoo! and I can't see what they would try to gain. Perhaps Yahoo! Sports should look for a new agency...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tales From The Inbox - Preposterous Edition

I got an email a few days ago and hadn’t really gave it much energy until I saw that Fat Louie at Women’s Sports Blog got the same one. The title was an unfortunate “Beat Your Boyfriend At Fantasy Football”. After I saw that WSB got it I made an assumption about what happened. Perhaps some marketing exec thought it would be a good idea to target all of the sports blogs written by women. Surely, even though they write a sports blog, they still care more about fashion and need some help. This is what the email said:

For most women, fall is a reminder of autumn leaves, putting away the white shoes, dusting off your boots and pulling out your sweaters. But for sports fanatics, it’s time for football mania!

Are you tired of listening to your boyfriend, brother or dad talk endlessly about fantasy football with no idea what they’re talking about? Then check out Yahoo’s Fantasy Football tips- step by step instructions on how to play fantasy football and even beat them at their favorite sport. Our Fantasy Football tips include:

• A fantasy football primer
• Team selection process
• How to track your players and team
• Fantasy football resources to keep you up-to-speed

Let Yahoo! Sports provide you with the necessary tools to play with the boys and talk some smack. Please let me know if you’re interested in using our Yahoo! Fantasy Football tips and I’d be happy to provide more information. Registration closes on October 17th, so register soon. Now, round up your girlfriends, have some fun and kick some butt!

So, let’s take this bit by bit and…first of all, aside from the boldly assuming subject, if you have read my blog you see in plain sight that I am in Los Angeles. I am not sure when we have autumn leaves in this part of the country nor are we big on when to wear white shoes or boots. In fact, I wear a lot of the same shoes year ‘round. Yeah, that is beside the point. The entire paragraph reeks of the notion that I must be concerned with what I am going to be wearing come fall above all else.

Next, my boyfriend, brother, and dad talk endlessly about Fantasy Football. Firstly, I don’t have a boyfriend but a husband. Secondly, this assumes that all men know football and this is the favorite sport of all men. In addition, it assumes that I don’t like or understand it.

Do I need to go on? Not really. I think you all get the point. The email was allegedly generated by a PR agency purportedly decorated with awards and honors. I had some fun with my response and pointed out how ironic that they would target someone who has written about Fantasy Football more than once. In addition, I asked if they knew what region of the country they sent the email to.

Of course, I haven’t heard back. I know I’m stinking up the place in one of my Fantasy Football leagues, but this is ridiculous. I guess I should start a fashion and entertainment blog
Thank you for bringing this back to the spotlight and making me rethink it, WSB.

How many other women who write sports blogs received this email?

By the way...
did anyone notice that Wild World of Wednesday was on Thursday this week?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wild World of Wednesday - September 25, 2008

NFL: So Matt Millen is gone from the Lions. That can’t be near as embarrassing as when he tried to rap when he was with the Raiders (see video above). Of course, Howie Long is pretty bad as well.

Besides that, the entire NFL is pretty darn wild! Who would have predicted that the Dolphins would beat the pants off of the Patriots at home? The Colts are also stinking up the place in their brand spankin’ new stadium.

MLB: So the Dodgers have the magic number of one. One game and they clinch the West. What they do with it afterward is likely not what we all wish for them but we can always hope.

Today in Sports History

1926 - The NHL grants franchises to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings

1941 - The Brooklyn Dodgers win their first pennant in 21 years

Happy Birthday to: Bob McAdoo, Scottie Pippen, Matt Hasselbeck, and Rocco Baldelli

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stop Giving Me The Stink Eye

Open Letter To “You Know Who You Are At The Driving Range”:

Dear Fellow Golfer,

When I am waiting to use the stall that you are now occupying at the range I am doing just that - waiting. I am not scrutinizing your swing, evaluating your bag, or commenting on your apparel. In addition, I am not concerned with your handicap, income, or how far you can hit your driver.

While I am waiting for you to hit those last ten balls I am getting “in the zone”. I am stretching out and making sure I am loosened up. My lesson book might come out of the bag and I’ll read through my recent session notes. In addition, a game plan for what shots and parts of my swing I will be working on is going through my head.

I understand that golf is pretentious by nature to some. May I please remind you that golf is now a more ubiquitous sport with people from all walks of life enjoying the game? Golf manufacturers, companies, and facilities are starting to feel the pinch of a slower economy and need all of the participants they can get. Not everyone is a golf snob either.

Granted, I have not been playing since I was a child. I am a newer participant to the game as I spent my life playing other sports since golf was not accessible to me. I’ve come a long way in the few years I’ve played and am a socially acceptable golfer. In fact, I’m quite good at staying in the fairway off the tee.

Do me a favor - work on your game and mind your own business. Please stop giving me dirty looks. I’m not your enemy. I promise to keep focused on my game and continue to be agnostic about your performance. I’ll even stop writing rants about you.

Thank you.

Excuse me, I just had to vent. Do you ever get the cold shoulder at the course or other golf-related event for no reason?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ryder Cup Fashion

I’m still amazed at how much emphasis is put on fashion in the sport of golf. I feel like I’ve written as much about what to wear in golf as the sport itself. Seriously, at times more people get upset about what someone is wearing at the course than what they are doing on the course.

The Ryder Cup competition between the US and Europe certainly brought out the fashion talk. I liked the shirts the Euro Team wore with the stripes on the back. I also liked the diamond shirts of the US Team. In addition, I found Team USA’s vested look to be quite classic. All were pretty much normal golf apparel to me. It was interesting to hear people talk about how "outrageous" or even "hideous" some of the looks were. I don’t know if I’m just missing something being in progressive Southern California or what. Let me know if you figure it out.

The PGA site has a write up about Ryder Cup fashion as does CNNSI’s Golf.com. The CNN main also ran a piece about the Ryder Cup runway. You can even get some Ryder Cup fashion of your own on eBay, albeit for quite a bit of money.

Whatever your stance on the fashion of the Ryder Cup, you likely have an opinion about how “fashionable” Boo Weekley’s club-riding antics were (see video). It was pretty funny any way you slice it.

What was your favorite Ryder Cup fashion?

Monday, September 22, 2008

5 Questions With Lady D Sports

Today's guest is a Memphis, TN native that went to college in Jackson, MS, at a small liberal arts school (Millsaps College). Currently working on her PhD in psychology, Deranda Lester is also the mind behind LadyDSports. "Lady D watches ESPN so you don't have to" is just one of the messages that greets you when you go on the website. She turned off SportsCenter a moment to answer my 5 questions:

1. What inspired you to start the LadyDSports site? What do you hope to accomplish with the site? How long have you been online and what are your goals for the future of the site?

LadyDSports has been up and running since July of 2007. I have been a sports fan my whole life, but when I started dating my now husband my sports fandom really grew. Many of our conversations revolve around the sports world, and I love it. The whole idea for the website began as I started to notice that guys were always impressed with my ability to discuss football at a deeper level than most girls. I thought, “Imagine how great it would have been to have known this stuff as a freshman in college.” So that’s what I’d like to accomplish with this site. I want to provide a venue for women to read sports articles from the female perspective. We try to write articles for women who are wanting to learn more about sports (the football glossary and the girls guide to football) and women who already know and love sports (featured players articles and games of the week). We also have a forum for women to discuss sports. The forum had some activity last year, but we’d like to popularize that more in the future.

2. What sports have you played in your lifetime - competitive of otherwise? Do you play any now? What are your favorite sports to participate in?

The only sport that I ever enjoyed playing was soccer. I played soccer into college, but no longer play now. I’d like to join a coed league that’s started in our community, but I’ll have to wait because I’m expecting a little girl at the end of this month.

3. What are your favorite sports to follow as a fan? Tell me which are your favorite teams in those sports and how long you have followed them.

Football is by far my favorite sport to follow. I love the Tennessee Titans! My husband is a big New Orleans Saints fan, and I pull for them too. My husband also went to Ole Miss, so we hit the Grove as much as we can. I also pull for the UT Volunteers because my family all loves that team in orange and that’s what I grew up cheering for.

4. What are your favorite sports to cover as a writer? Are there any that you purposely ignore? Are there any you wish you had more time for?

Obviously, my favorite sport to cover as a writer is football. There are no sports that I purposely ignore, but there are many that I hardly cover because I just don’t have time. In the future I’d like to develop more of a baseball and basketball section (although we do have some articles on these sports).

5. What is the most rewarding thing about running the Lady D site? The most frustrating?

The most rewarding thing about running LadyDSports is watching it grow. I also never tire of hearing people say “I saw that on LadyD”. My husband is the technical brain behind the scenes, and the more he learns the better the site looks. The most frustrating thing about running a website is finding the time to incorporate all of our ideas. It’s also hard to get word out about the site so that it can grow in popularity and reach more female sports fans.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Sports Wrap - September 21, 2008

Other than the NFL today (not that there is any problem with the NFL whatsoever) you can watch:

Golf: The final day of the Ryder Cup is today. Can the American team win the Cup for the first time in recent memory? Will Europe keep the Cup instead? For Europe to keep the Cup they need 14 points. For the Americans to keep it, they need 14.5. The fashion around the event has nearly more buzz than the event itself does. Golf never ceases to amaze me with this. No other sport focuses so much on what the participants are wearing. Think about it – who else cares so much about the attire (besides tennis)?

Baseball: Now that the Rays have clinched a playoff berth for the first time in team history they can breathe a bit. Congratulations! Woohoo! At any rate, today is the last game that will be played in the current Yankees Stadium. Next year the team will relocate to the new stadium. I can’t say that I’m sentimental about this since New York is almost as far away as you can get from Los Angeles...sorry, just not affected by it here...New Yorkers don’t care when we have major sports milestones here. Seriously, this morning on ESPN there was more time spent talking about this last game of the non-playoff making Yankees than the Rays and Cubs who clinched yesterday. There are other teams in baseball...

Today in Sports History

- USA Basketball announces the "Dream Team" for the 1992 Olympics.

1970 — The first regular season Monday Night Football game was aired on ABC. The Cleveland Browns defeated the New York Jets 31-21 as 85,703 fans pack into Cleveland's Municipal Stadium.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tales From The Inbox - September 20, 2008

Southern California Breakers and womens football: I just found out that most of the lineup (including former interviewees) that we’ve all come to know and admire will be back next year! I can’t wait until the season starts.

Speaking of women’s football, Coach Anthony Bartley has moved to the next level and become owner of a new team in the NWFA. The California Lynx will be holding tryouts starting on October 4th. Check the link on the team name for details.

On Surfari: Those great original songs you hear in the background of the On Surfari television show are composed by Chad Farren. Chad is having a CD release party today and if you are in the San Diego area just hop over to Winston’s for this event. Chad says:

The new CD features music from the Internationally distributed Surf/Travel show, On Surfari. I have been writing music for the show for over 4 years now and after many requests, I have decided to release some of my favorite songs on a CD.

The show airs domestically on Fuel TV and internationally on National Geographic.

The release of the On Surfari Sessions Vol 1 is packed with music from the first season of On Surfari that takes the listener on a journey through the back streets of Visag, India, to the tropical shores of Panama, the Island culture of Mauritius and the urban sprawl of New York.

XSL: Check out the launch of the Xtreme Soccer League that kicks of December 1 and continues into March. Watch out, Jim Rome, soccer is taking over the States in many forms!

Friday, September 19, 2008

What Year Is This?

I really can’t believe we have not come further. When will talented women and girls be able to play at the level they are meant to? Why can’t a girl be a kicker on a high school team? Come on everyone, let’s break these silly barriers and let those who can and want to play on a certain team do so. Another athlete was kicked off of a team because of gender. Not performance, mind you, gender.

I first heard of Kacy Stuart from Meagan at …Because I Played Sports. Her story has also been featured on ESPN and around the blogosphere. This young lady can easily kick 50 yards. Why ban her? She can play. She has for years. Her family supports her. She is dedicated. She wants to be a kicker.

Megan’s post included a way that all of us could get involved:

Take five minutes and write a letter. Support a girl who breaks gender barriers through athletics. It’s the only way to create change in a world that sometimes resists.

Here is where you can write Hank St. Denis (board member who can facilitate Kacy's participation):

Hank St. Dennis
905 Ferncroft Court
Roswell, Ga. 30075

It is also stated that Hank St. Denis will get the message if you use this contact form.

Stop the silliness – let girls play with the teams they are capable of playing on without artificial restrictions. This is happening too many times. Jamie Nared is facing the same issue in basketball. Fortunately, one young lady does get to play where she fits - Gabby Sanchez. This athlete plays baseball with the guys and does so well.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top 5 Sports Songs

Who says these are the top five? I do. I’m sure you have your own favorite songs that have to do with sports in one way or another. If you don’t like my picks don’t worry about it – you don’t have to. Pick your own. These all have a certain meaning for me. In no particular order:

* Houston Oilers Fight Song: Yes, I realize that this does not make sense on the surface. When I was a kid watching football on Sundays with the family we would somehow hear this song quite a bit. I’m not sure why being in Los Angeles and all. At any rate, it cracked us up and we would sing along and act silly. This song is a favorite because it brings back some fun childhood memories.

* Car Wash by Rose Royce: Again, stay with me here. If you’ve ever been to Chavez Ravine you completely understand this one. The first 20 seconds or so are a staple at the stadium. I can’t help but clap along like one of Pavlov’s dogs when I hear the intro no matter where I am. In addition, the movie this is from is an absolute classic. Rent it if you haven’t seen it.

* Dodgers Baseball Boogie: Do I really need to explain this?

* Yo Ho! Yo Ho! A Pirate’s Life For Me: There is almost nothing more fun than being at Raymond James Stadium when this is blaring through the speakers. Fire them cannons!

* Silver and Black Attack: Howie Long trying to rap is absolutely priceless!

Some honorable mentions: The Chicago Bears Super Bowl Shuffle, Crazy Train by Ozzy (this means kickoff at Raymond James, and yes, they were the first to use it), and you’ve gotta love Hank Williams Jr. and the old Monday Night Football song. Oh yeah, I’m such a dork that the FOX NFL Theme Music gets me excited as well. On that note, you’ve got to love the Wide World of Sports intro as well. Watch the video at the top of this post for a truly retro gem.

What is your favorite sports-related song?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wild World of Wednesday - September 17, 2008

Okay, I’m going to be brief today...

Fantasy Football, NFL, and NCAA: Yes, I’m going to complain about Fantasy Football yet again. Carson Palmer is stinking up the place so bad that it’s absolutely killing me! What the heck is going on? How on Earth is John Kitna getting more points? Is this Bizarro season? While I’m complaining – what is up with that call that cost the Chargers the game? I mean, seriously...

I can laugh about the USC game though…bwah ha ha...the Pac 10 is finally getting the respect it deserves...

Speaking of tragic losses, I found this very funny site that lets you send e-cards to your friends with messages such as “I love when your QB completes so many passes to my team”.

MLB: The Dodgers are still ahead. My father and I agreed that this is nothing to be excited about yet. The Rays are exciting though – still a game ahead of the Red Sox and TEN ahead of the Yankees!

Premier League
: It is really too early in the standings to make many judgments. Chelsea and Liverpool are at the top for now.

Today in Sports History

1947 - Jackie Robinson is named Rookie of Year by The Sporting News

1961 – The Minnesota Vikings play their first NFL game and beat the Chicago Bears 37-13

1967 – The New Orleans Saints play in their first NFL game and lose to the Los Angeles Rams 27-13

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tales From The Inbox - September 16, 2008

Women in Sports: I got an email about a really awesome campaign that Nike is doing overseas. The print material is all outside of the US, but the online can be seen all over the world:

NikeWomen launches animated ‘Here I Am’ films

As part of its Pan-European ‘Here I am’ campaign, in which Nike strives to inspire a new generation of women to experience the impact of sports on life, Nike is launching a series of animated films featuring five young female European athletes. Each film shows the unique athlete’s journey towards mental strength gained through sports. As of today, the animated films will be viewable online at nikewomen.com.

In the five animated films, Nike shares the stories of five of its iconic athletes, including Maria Sharapova and the UK’s Nicola Sanders. The films celebrate Swiss triathlete Nicola Spirig who thrives in apocalyptic weather conditions, Italian triple jumper Simona La Mantia who found her strength in what she thought was her greatest weakness, 400M sprinter from the UK Nicola Sanders whose animated body parts show us the age-old struggle between mind and body, French Judoka Delphine Delsalle who defeats a multitude of disapproving opponents yet retains her femininity, and famous Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova whose critics have unwittingly fueled her success.

“Despite the vastly different look and feel of the films, they all close with the athlete literally forming the “I”, in ‘Here I Am’, the tagline and ultimate expression of the campaign” says Mark Bernath from Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, who along with Eric Quennoy, served as Creative Director on the campaign.

The animated films are part of Nike’s latest edition of the women’s ‘Here I am’ campaign that is launching this month. From a gallery-worthy coffee table book to traditional print ads and posters, to animated films, online banners and even a collection of athlete stories on the NikeWomen website, the newest edition of the ‘Here I Am’ campaign aims to inspire young European women in more compelling ways than ever before. The campaign, developed by Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, which first broke last spring, centers around the idea that girls who have sport in their lives also have greater self-confidence.

Nike believes more girls and women should realize the importance of sports, and the positive impact sports can have on their lives. “Girls who play sports are stronger in body and mind, and female athletes are a perfect example of that” Stephanie Ankrah Marketing Manager for NikeWomen in the UK, points out. “With our ‘Here I am’ campaign, we want to celebrate female athletes. Celebrate their confidence, their passion and their willpower to reach their goals and live their dream.”

“This project is special because it gives us the rare opportunity to prove what we preach - that without a doubt, participation in sport increases self-confidence” says Betsy Decker, Associate Creative Director/copywriter at W+K Amsterdam. “Their stories, like the young women themselves, are as charming as they are impressive and inspiring. By telling the personal stories of these young athletes, we hope to show girls of all ages and fitness levels how sport strengthens self-belief.”

In February 2008, an independent online consumer survey that was conducted by TNS amongst more than 10,000 young women between 16 and 30 years old from nine European countries confirmed that playing sport on a regular basis helps them to feel healthier, more confident, and more successful in life.

You can see all five of the videos on a special YouTube channel set up for the campaign.

IWFL: Well, sort of. The California Quake are holding a fundraiser on Sunday, October 5th from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. It’s the Co-Ed Flag Football 16-Team Tournament. The event will be held at Downey High School and you can either sign up a 12 person team or be a free agent and they’ll assign you a team. The cost is only $20 per person but if you pre-register a 12 person team you can save $40. Check out the flyer here or the Quake website for details and registration.

Monday, September 15, 2008

5 Questions With That Mutt

Well, That Mutt is really a dog named Ace so he doesn't really talk. His person is actually today's guest. Lindsay Stordahl maintains the blog That Mutt, which covers all topics related to dogs from training, behavior, and adoption to personal stories about her mutt Ace. She owns the business Run That Mutt, a dog running service that promotes healthy dogs through exercise.

1. What sports have you played competitively through your life? What do you continue to be active in today? What are your sports-related and/or fitness goals in the future?

I played softball in middle school and was the kid always stuck in the outfield. I also played basketball for a few years and scored maybe four points total. In high school I finally found the sports I am good at, swimming and rugby. I swam on the varsity swim team in eighth grade and started playing rugby a year later. I picked up running to get in better shape for rugby, but now that I don't have a rugby team to play on, running has become my sport (at least for now). I have fitness goals all the time, like running a marathon, breaking a PR and completing an adventure race.

2. How important do you believe fitness and exercise to be for dogs? How do you incorporate quality time with your mutt that is active for both of you?

Exercise is just as important for dogs as it is for us. Unfortunately most people think their dog gets enough exercise by walking around the yard. A yard is just a big kennel to a dog. They need a workout to stay healthy and fit just like we do. I have a gym membership, but I spend more time running or biking outside so my dog can tag along. I mix up our routine and route because I get bored easily if we do the same thing all the time. Running with my dog is supposed to be fun, not something I dread.

3. How do you think people with dogs can keep life active and fresh for their mutts? What are the challenges to keeping your dog fit? How can people combat laziness to keep their dogs active? How important is activity?

I'd start by making a goal to walk your dog for 20 minutes five days a week. Then increase it to 30 minutes, and so on. I always recommend people buy a backpack for their dog so the dog is getting more of a workout even on a short walk. I know it's not easy to make exercise a habit, so starting small and committing to 30 days of exercise is a good way to start. I will never have an overweight pet because my dog's weight is one thing I'm able to control about his health.

4. You've posted about agility training a few times on your blog. How easy is it to get into agility training for dogs? What must someone know in order to be able to enjoy agility? What special considerations do you think there are?

Agility is a great physical and mental workout for a dog. We have agility practice once a week for an hour, and my mutt crashes for the night as soon as we get home. The best thing about agility is almost any healthy dog can participate. If you're considering becoming involved in agility, find a club near you and watch one of their practices. That'll give you a good idea of what it's like. The beginning levels will teach how to run the obstacles safely. Usually the only requirements are the dogs must be a year old so their joints are developed and they should come when called because agility is done off leash. It works well to bribe with treats! But really, dogs of all sizes enjoy agility, and you don't have to compete if you don't want to. My mutt Ace and I just do it for fun.

5. Of course, I have to ask about all of your favorite sports teams - who do you follow, for how long, and what are your favorites?

Since I'm from Minnesota, I follow all the Minnesota teams, even though they are usually not very good (smile). I hope for a day when the Timberwolves get their act together because I love watching basketball. Since moving to North Dakota, I catch a lot of college hockey, mostly the University of North Dakota. Other than that, I am obsessed with the Olympics and can't wait until the 2010 winter games. Plus, I'm always up for watching a soccer or rugby game no matter what teams or what level.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Sports Wrap - September 14, 2008

Here we are in Week 2 of the NFL season...hopefully I can redeem myself in Fantasy Football this week. Other than football, there are many other sporting events going on. In fact, this handy guide tells you what is nationally televised today.

MLB: The Dodgers start Greg Maddux today against the Rockies and hope to stay on top in the NL West. I just can't get too excited yet...

The Rays play the Yankees again while the Red Sox host the Blue Jays. Go Rays, boo Sox.

: Plenty of PGA and LPGA today as usual for this time of year. Check the Golf Channel and my previous link for nationally televised events for the details.

Today in Sports History

1868 - Golf's first recorded hole-in-one accomplished by Old Tom Morris at Prestwick's 8th hole

1990 - Ken Griffey and his son hit back-to-back homers in the first inning of the Seattle Mariners' 7-5 loss to the California Angels. The unprecedented father-and-son homers came off of Kirk McCaskill.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tales From The Inbox - September 13, 2008

Street Soccer: I got a note promoting the XTremBol Street Soccer Tournment:

IT'Z OFFICIAL ... IT'Z HERE. XTremBol Street Soccer tournament will take place on Sept. 28 on the grounds of Prudential Center, Newark, NJ. BIGGER AND BETTER than anything we ever imagined. Thanx to our friends the NJ Ironmen and Prudential Center (the Rock) for coming through. 12 TEAMS; 2 CAGES; 1 CHAMPION. Performances by: El SuperTiguere, REM the Ranger, La Union Del Barrio, Hyphen-One, Daylon Alexander, Armando "Son" Jimenez and Jak Trippa. Newark's own DJ Frankie will be one of the DJs spinning on the 1&2's. Joining him will be DJ Cachimbo, DJ Alex Gomez, DJ Cristian "El Sonerito," DJ No Good & Bebo from the Supreme Team, and DJ Miller.

Golf: Want to play in Las Vegas? Try the grand-reopened Aliante Golf Club. If you fly in and don't want to bring your clubs you only need to show them a boarding pass for a free club rental. This is a premium rental of Callaway or Cleveland with lefty, righty, and women's. They've had this offer going on in the summer and have extended it to the end of the month.

Fantasy Football: Check out Pay The Fan that has extended full-season competition sign ups until September 22. On the 23rd, the weekly sign-ups will start where they charge $39.95 to play. Enter the code 'footballfools' and get $5 off the weekly when it starts. It is definitely an interesting site - you choose your team every week with no limitation. Things like Tom Brady's injury and Peyton Manning playing like dirt last week provide the challenging aspect. It's like a pick 'em using individual players.

WPS: The player allocation results of the US Women's National Team players will be announced on Tuesday, September 16. You can watch the event live by checking here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pace of Play in Golf

I was reading a thread the other day that got me thinking. This board was discussing pace of play on the golf course. There are a few schools of thought on this topic and it can depend a bit on where you are. I happen to live near the slowest course in the entire country, maybe the world. Rancho Park is notorious for 6-8 hour rounds but remains extremely popular.

For those of you who aren’t in the know, a golf round of 18 holes should last about 4-4.5 hours. It is generally frowned upon if you are lollygagging your way around the course or rushing the group in front of you. Some folks get more worked up about it than others. It becomes a test of patience and an example of human nature. For example, I’ve heard horror stories of golfers who were apparently running a race of some sort. A group would be in the middle of the fairway and an impatient group behind them will hit off the tee right into them. Not cool.

Personally, I’m on the golf course to enjoy myself. Being out there is really relaxing for me. All I am concerned with is making par and continuing to improve my game. I’m fine to wait a bit for the group in front of me. It gives me time to reflect and visualize my next shot. Sure, it’s a drag if they are blatantly being slow. I usually chalk this up to their need for attention and feel sympathy for them. A conscientious group will let you play through if they are far behind pace. What is really a drag is an impatient “world record holder” behind me. I’ll let them play though every time. I’m quite nice about both situations also. There really is no reason to get worked up. I mean seriously - you’re playing golf. Would you rather be in the office?

What are your thoughts on pace of play?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blogspotting - One For The Ladies

Today’s blogspotting episode is dedicated to my “fellow” female sports bloggers:

And One gets historic with the Cleveland White Horses

Women’s Sports Blog has Paralympic medal counts and a look at feelings

Girls Dig Sports wants to know what will happen in the AFC East now that Tom Brady is gone

Lady D Sports gives you the reasons to love the SEC

Chicks in the Huddle are upset that Marvelous Marques is out for a few weeks

…Because I Played Sports tells us about young athlete who was kicked off of a football team because she’s a girl

Real Women Golf talks about her experiences with the guys on the course that seem to be hiding or something like that

Pretty Tough covers some Southern Hemisphere snowboarding news

For Girls Who Can’t Do Football is getting more famous by the day

A Futebol Fan has signed off and will be missed

Italian Soccer Serie A has the latest on World Cup Qualifiers

The Golf Girl has another risqué post that involves golf

The Golf Chick shares a touching moment

Sarah talks about the whole LPGA language debacle on BlogHer

Women’s Football Talk keeps up with all leagues of women’s football like no one else can

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wild World of Wednesday - September 10, 2008

You know what’s wild? I’ll tell you – the start of the NFL season. Who would have thought that the Colts would lose to the Bears or that the Panthers would pull a final play out of thin air to beat the Chargers? (Man, I am sooooo sick of seeing Jake Delhomme get lucky.) Peyton Manning played like a red shirt freshman and Drew Brees was phenomenal in Fantasy Football terms. The Dallas defense was unremarkable in spite of the win and LaDainian Tomlinson got off to a slow start. Ah, week one, what a mess! It’s as if the entire NFL is in bizarro world.

Anyhoo…I’m just really grouchy about the whole thing. I stunk in every Fantasy Football league I’m in and I’m equally bad in the pick ‘em games I’m playing. I might as well have picked teams by the color of uniforms or how attractive I though the player were. Argh!

I’m probably doing so badly in NFL predictions because I’ve had golf embedded in my brain. If you haven’t checked out my stuff on Golf WRX, do it now! There’s some great stuff in Bag Chatter and don’t forget to check the forums while you’re there. It’s a definite must-read for avid golfers. The threads cover everything from beginner hints to sneak peaks at new clubs. It really is a great community of enthusiasts.

Speaking of golf, someone asked me who my favorite male golfers were other than Tiger Woods today. Being a lefty I had to answer Phil Mickelson, of course, but I also like Fred Funk. I thought it was really cool when he had his wife caddy. It’s nice to see when people share common interests, eh? Well, at any rate, after I mentioned Fred Funk the person who asked told me a story of him wearing an actual skirt (not a kilt) during a tournament. The attire was his punishment for being out-driven by Annika Sorenstam. You’ve got to love a guy that honors a bet like that. Speaking of golfers with a sense of humor – did you see the one when Greg Norman wore a scary mask when his game went to heck? Watch the video at the top of the post. This all makes me happy to know that even the pros know how to loosen up!

Well, unlike Fantasy Football, my golf game continues to improve. I’ll soon be past the socially acceptable plateau and on to enviable handicap.

Today in Sports History

1928 - Ty Cobb makes last hitting appearance and pops out against Yankees as a pinch hitter in the 9th inning.

1982 - Chris Evert wins her sixth and final US Open Tennis title at West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, NY

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

5 Questions With And One - Part Two

As promised, the continuation of my interview with Carolyn Hastings. If you missed Part One yesterday you can read it here

3. Is basketball the only sport that exists to you? How did your obsession/admiration for the sport evolve? What other sports, if any, do you follow and who are the teams you watch?

Basketball means the world to me. Not only does the NBA care, they put new life into this surgically-induced-menopausal, early-onset-osteoporosis, chronic-pain sufferer. On the eve of the Iraq war, March 18, 2003, wrapped in a blanket on the screamingly loud green and white striped loveseat which looked so nice in the store, watching Jodie Foster in Contact, the phone rang. Not a problem. Phone right there on the coffee table. Do you have a pen, the person on the other line, who will remain nameless and blameless, asked.

Hang on, I said, flinging the blanket aside and jumping off the couch, not realizing the blanket had wrapped itself around my left ankle. Come to think of it, the blanket was green, also. A nice green. And soft. But when I went right and the blanket went left, the ceramic floor all too quickly smashed into my entire left side cleanly breaking my patella in two. In fact, the phone also broke in two as it flew out of my hand, one half screeching to a halt under the kitchen table and the other half bouncing down the stairs into the bedroom of the nameless and blameless one.

So, you are asking yourself. What does this have to do with the NBA? And what is a patella? Unless of course, you are obsessed with the NBA like me and you already know that the patella is your kneecap. Until the moment I fell, basketball was a sport other people played; the reason my husband ran out early on one of our first dates when it was impossible to pry the nameless and blameless one from my leg and the babysitter's mom was gone for the evening so she couldn't leave our house either; the reason I cheered my lungs out when the nameless and blameless one's younger sister dribbled her little ambidextrous way down the sometimes parquet court; a game with no discernible pattern to the rules and where intentionally doing something wrong was part of the game plan and resulted in millions of people watching a single person try to put the ball in the basket from the free throw line, a feat my brother successful performed endlessly in our backyard but apparently when you add a nationwide audience, TV cameras and a recent collision with another enormous man, becomes a near impossible task.

But I digress.

Nine surgeries later, after it was discovered that not only my patella but my condial had broken and the cushioning disc in my left jaw socket ruptured and slid out of place and an amazing facial surgeon from Hudson saved my life, my dignity and restored my bagel-and-goat-cheese-per-day habit, I found myself recovering slowly slowly slowly and in great pain. Having a major pity party on an air mattress in the basement, my husband decided he had the cure. "Watch the playoffs," he said, "and you'll feel better." "Playoffs?" I asked. "What sport are we talking about now?"

"Basketball," I was informed. NBA. Spring 2005. Pistons. Spurs. Oh my. These people fly through the air. They twirl like dervishes. They dribble and sweat and the ball never touches their palms. They turn themselves inside out while flinging the ball at crazy angles and somehow making the shot. They curse. They foul. They care. And they have the best commercials I've ever seen.

Such a love affair. Such a summer of longing. And then, just when I thought I couldn't wait one more minute and just when I thought the game couldn't get any better, October arrives and King James fills the screen. The L-Train, the basketball prodigy, the man whose red and white sneakers look like the wicked witch of the west's socks.

"That's the kid from Akron," my husband says. Akron. Land of Temo's. I should have known the city with the best hand-made chocolate in the country would give birth to the world's greatest basketball player. In fact, Temo's offers tiny foil-wrapped chocolate basketballs. Coincidence?

"That's no kid," I say. James and Drew and Z, oh my. Curly-haired, soon-to-be-gone Andy. Donyell and Ira. Larry and Sasha. Mike Brown and his amazing changing eyeglasses. I witnessed them all. I was at the Q when Pop was evicted, ordered the NBA channel with DVR, and happily discovered TNT Tuesday / Thursday with Charles and Kenny.

But nothing prepared me for the most rewarding moment of all. "Now that's a kid," I said, as LB shouted his famous lines and T-shirt silk screen machines across the US began humming, "Shoot, Boobie, Shoot."

Other sports: Tennis. I will watch Roger Federer any time, anywhere.

4. What sports activities do you/have you participated in? Are you more of a spectator, supporter, or a participator? Any other exciting hobbies?

I have been, at different stages of my life, spectator, supporter, and participator.
As a kid, I played softball. We lived at the top of a court on almost half an acre. For the NJ suburbs, that was a lot of land. My brother taught me to play soccer (he was All-State that year) and football (my husband says he married me partially due to my wicked spiral) and ping pong and pool. Softball, however, was my favorite. As a lefty batter and hitter, I had a distinct advantage. My older sister was a softball nut, too. She coached fast-pitch and created The Maver Method, which she later sold. Last year she was Dennis Kucinich’s national campaign manager when he ran for president. But again, I digress.

Not sure why I never joined any organized sports in school. I remember 7th grade basketball tryouts; fear overcame me and I left the gym before tryouts began, convinced I would never remember the rules, be strong enough or accepted by the other team members. Wicked insecure as a child.

At the moment, I live vicariously through blogging and enjoy every minute of it.

5. What advice do you have for others who want to start a sports blog? Is this something you recommend as a living, hobby, or pastime? Where do you find your most interesting content? What are your favorite blogs to follow?


Blog from your heart and people will respond.

I would reach out to the owner/writer/editor of your favorite sports blog. It has been my experience that bloggers are more than willing to share their stories and mentor the newbies.

I cannot recommend blogging as a living; too few bloggers are compensated. And unless you have a million gazillon readers every day, advertising isn’t going to bring in enough to even pay for groceries. Plus, some readers dislike blog ads so you risk alienating a portion of your readership.

Interesting Content

I find some of the best stories from non-sports-related sites such as SlashDot. Sneaker Freaker is an excellent source for material. So is BallHype.

I regularly prowl Flickr, JPG, The Encyclopedia of Cleveland, The Cleveland Memory Project, Six Apart, 20x200, NothingButNets, Cleveland Leader, CleveScene, CoolCleveland, KarmaLoop, TorsoPants, Beijing Fan and team Web site forums.

Google is my best friend. Googling combinations of “LeBron,” “basketball,” “unique,” “Cleveland,” “Vintage” and random nouns often leads to interesting stories.

Favorite Blogs

There are so many great ones out there. No matter how many I list, someone will inevitably be left out. Since I’ve already talked about several, I’ll list a few I read that I haven’t mentioned yet: The Starting Five, Black Fives, Slam Dunk Central, World Hoops (a promising new blog), Kelly Dwyer’s Ball Don’t Lie column, Ball in Europe, A Stern Warning, I could go on all day. Check out the blogroll on And One for more.

Monday, September 8, 2008

5 Questions With And One - Part One

Carolyn Hastings, writer of And One (hosted by the Plain Dealer on Cleveland.com) is a Cleveland Cavalier devotee who lives and works in Shaker Heights while dreaming of the Q. Her witty musings have been featured here in the past and we will hopefully be fortunate to have more in the future. She stopped thinking about LeBron James long enough to be my guest for five questions. She gave me so much wonderful content that I'll give this to you in two parts so we can all savor the discussion.

1. How did you get involved with sports blogging? What other blogging gigs do/did you have? What do you like most/least about blogging? What other writing do you do?

How I Got Involved With Blogging

I started blogging on a dare. In November of 2007, my oldest daughter (known to And One readers as Game Buddy #1) heard a local radio news story detailing the Plain Dealer’s need for bloggers. She called me immediately and said The Plain Dealer needed me. I’ve always been a writer; in fact, I write proposals for a living. Some minor success over the years publishing essays, poetry and short fiction. Also wrote a young adult novel, which languished with an agent for a year before I decided to try again someday. That was ten years ago.

Never felt like I found my niche, though. And, as happens to a lot of people, life took precedence over my ambitions. Raising a family and working full time came first and, as the years progressed, my physical health started to fail, starting a decade-long search for a diagnosis. Writing began to seem more like a fantasy than a dream.

Which brings us to late fall of last year. I was in a bit of a funk; chronic illness and pain had taken its toll on my body and my loved ones. My husband was struggling with the idea of facing another 19 years of living with someone who suffers from chronic pain. My mother was terminally ill. My beloved Aussie was clearly in the end stage of her wonderful 12-year life. She always knew when I was having a bad pain day; she would lie by my side for hours and let me lean on her for support when I struggled to stand.

So when Game Buddy #1 urged me to apply for a blogging position with the PD, my immediate response was no. How could I possibly meet the expectations of a major paper, when many days my old friend pain knocks on the door and reminds me of limited reserves? Game Buddy urged me to reconsider, saying a new adventure might help me see the world in a different light.

Two weeks later, reading the PD online, I saw a tiny blurb announcing the search for bloggers. Almost missed it. OK, tiny blurb, I heard myself saying, I will call your bluff. The Plain Dealer responded quickly to my e-mail and small writing sample, asking me what subject I wanted to blog about. Things were getting a little too real and scary, so I said “the Cavs,” knowing they would have to turn me down due to lack of sports experience. That, I thought, is the end of that. I can tell GB1 I tried and feel good about myself for taking this scary step. Thank goodness it will end right here.

Imagine my surprise at receiving an e-mail the next day with my URL and Cleveland.com log-in information. And, a beautiful masthead with And One featured prominently. Send us a bio sketch, they said. Ummmm . . . ok. There’s not much bio in my sketch, I thought, little knowing how drastically my life would change once I began.

Other Blogging Gigs

Cavs News - During the NBA season, I write a series of player profiles for Cavs News, alternating between current and former Cavs.

Sports Diva Magazine – I wrote a series of international basketball pieces for Sports Diva, including Iran, China, Norway and India.

NESW Sports – Ethan Jaynes is hilarious; I write for him whenever I get a chance. He loves the unusual; from Mayan Soccetball to Unicycling basketball, Ethan is always open to a good story.

Cavs Court - Cavs Court is on an extended hiatus. I was honored to do a game recap when we played Chicago for the first time after the big Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, et al trade.

Sports Fly – So proud of my friends over at Sports Fly. Their site is doing great. They hope to expand and add a page for writers. I sent them a short piece; hope to see it on their site soon.

Women Like Sports – The woman who runs Women Like Sports gets my vote for the “must read every day” sports blog. Apryl is always willing to help out and has printed a couple of my pieces, even when they are repellant (i.e. Toe Wrestling).

The Daily Beagle – Further adventures of Fairfax Maxwell Peabody Beaglehound III, GB#1’s now 10-month-old Beagle puppy. Hope to update this blog soon; GB#1 hopes to involve Fairfax in pet therapy programs at local children’s hospitals.

This Can Go – Web site for a small editing business run by myself and GB#1. We specialize in university and college communications but are open to editing all sorts of projects.

Café Two Door - My first blog. A great way to get my feet wet; didn’t last long. The name refers to my good friend and neighbor, Shivani, who lives two doors down and is a wonderful cook.

What I Like Most / Least About Blogging

What I like most is easy. My readers. Like the Verizon guy, I take my readers wherever I go. We have been on incredible journeys together; we’ve laughed, we’ve cried; we’ve agonized; we’ve disagreed. The best kind of family.

What I like least is not having enough time. As a non-compensated blogger, I work full time and run an ad editing business to makes ends meet. I would love to blog full time.

2. What do you find to be your most effective traffic builders? Do you spend more time linkbuilding, digging/hyping, or something else? How much time do you spend trying to build your blogs?

As a subdomain of Cleveland.com, data analysis is not easily accessed. Every once in a while, I ask Cleveland.com to send me stats. For a while, I relied on my Who’s Amung Us map but they are having issues with data dropping off and not being recaptured. So, I don’t know how many readers I have; I do know I have readers from places I would not have anticipated such as Kuwait, Iran, Kuala Lumpur, Vietman, etc.

I find just about everything in life interesting and love to mix art, science and the ridiculous with my basketball stories. So far, feedback has been positive.

As for building up the blog, I wrote on that subject for LinkedIn a few months ago:

Number one rule - never go to sleep until you have listed your blog on one new directory and/or left a comment on someone else's blog. This will quickly build an audience, which helps motivate you to write when you're busy.

Make a list (mental or otherwise) of your favorite blogs. This will come in handy on a day when you need an idea or are too busy to write. Takes about 10 minutes to put together a list of links for your readers to enjoy.

Interview your readers. Make a list (mental or otherwise) of questions for a mock interview. Every so often, ask a frequent commenter or another blogger for an "interview." Send questions, sit back, do other stuff, post answers when they arrive. Your readers will feel more involved with your site and it gives you a break.

When you find yourself staring out the window, watching the Godfather for the 19th time or chatting on the phone with nothing to say, remind yourself (out loud is fine) that your fan base awaits. Put down the phone, toss the remote out the daydream window and get to work. We'll all feel better.

Make a list (mental or otherwise) of interesting topics that cross your path. For us sports bloggers, this list is golden in the offseason.

When you read a blog and think "that's what I'm talking about," send the site administrator a note. Let them know you appreciate their work and suggest a link exchange. I have the world's ugliest blogroll (cannot be alphabetized) and am continually surprised how many people are willing to be listed.

When you're feeling productive, write a couple of pieces. Only post one. Save the rest for a busy day.

Guest bloggers - your friends and family will be thrilled and flattered to have a byline on your site. If there are social networks specific to your blog's overall topic, join every one and engage with the community.

Saying to a friend who wants to go to a movie that you need to write a game recap for your blog and seeing that "you have got to be kidding me" look and involuntary eyeroll can be intimidating. This happens to me a lot. Any time you make a change in your life, people will resist it. They want your relationship to stay the same. Two thoughts on this.

1) Reconcile yourself to seeing less of this particular person

2) Explain to them what blogging means to you and you may be surprised that the next time you ask them to go to the movies, they will decline because they need to post something. The assumption behind this question is the notion of sacrifice in order to blog. How do I put aside the rest of my life to make time for blogging? My experience has been exactly the opposite.

Blogging is the fountain at the center of my life, enriching all areas. I have met people all over the world and right here in Cleveland, including my own neighbors. Friends use the blog to stay connected in their busy times. It is possible to sustain a real life and an interesting, current blog. In fact, it's the only way.

Tune in tomorrow for part two...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Sports Wrap - September 7, 2008

Another Sunday and another exciting day of sports – let’s start with some that may be overlooked for the obvious:

Golf: Today marks the final day of the Omega European Masters, BMW Championship, and the Utah Championship. Golf nerds everywhere will be flipping the channels between the three since they are all televised today.

MLB: The Angels at the White Sox is likely the most exciting matchup. There are only two other games being televised nationally…I wonder why….

WNBA: One game nationally televised today – San Antonio at Connecticut. The Sun have won seven straight and sit atop the East and the Silver Stars are second in the West.

And…of course…everyone’s been waiting for it…

NFL: So I’ve been watching the new Fox pre-game show…Michael Strahan looks quite a bit thinner, Jillian Anderson finally realized that not everyone should bleach their hair, and Jimmy Johnson looks very spry. And they all still annoy me…I don’t know, I get tired of hearing the same thing. Strahan obviously didn’t read my ode to Tampa Bay post yesterday because he went on with the brazen statement that the Giants knew they would go into Tampa and win last year. Whatever. I guess you can be cocky now that you have a ring. They are all picking the Saints today and using the same logic as last year…none other than they feel sorry for the championship-starved Saints and refuse to give the Bucs credit. Oh, and now those wise guys are saying the Bucs are going to be worse than everyone expects this year…what!? Really!? How can they be any worse than you are already saying? They’ll be worse than the worst? Get it straight, guys…you’re sounding like a bunch of kids now…are you jealous of the warm weather or something? Yeah, I know, I’m getting fired up..

I’ll also have my eye on the 49ers vs. Cardinals game this afternoon to see if the Niners can actually have a team again. Of course, I’ll be flipping back to the Chargers game as well. They should take care of the Panthers with no problem. The Panthers always get too much credit for doing nothing. Of course, if they do lose they’ll use the excuse that they don’t have Steve Smith today.

Today in Sports History

1953 - Roy Campanella sets the Major League record for RBIs by a catcher when he smacks a three-run home run in a 6-3 Dodgers win over the Phillies.

1998 - Mark McGwire, who had become the third player in history to reach 60 home runs, hits his record-tying 61st against Cubs pitcher Mike Morgan.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stop Underestimating Tampa Bay

Alright everyone, its time to stop hating Tampa sports teams. I know; I was once in your shoes. I thought the Rays, Lightning, and Bucs weren’t worth a watch. I was wrong. A few weeks ago someone ran a story about this area being in the top ten worst sports towns. What!? Really!? They were even so inaccurate to say that the area has had one team go to the playoffs once and zero championship titles. May I remind you that the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004. In addition, the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2002 and make regular playoff appearances (um, including last year).

Now the Devil Rays are a REAL contender and ESPN can’t stop its love affair with the Red Sox and Yankees. Let’s remember that the Rays have been on top ALL YEAR. They have beat your precious Northeastern teams repeatedly (and lost a few times, I know). Remember, the Sox and Yanks have very expensive rosters and the Rays are still handing it to them.

By the way, Jeff Garcia will be just fine this season as the Buc QB. Did you forget that he is one of the toughest guys in the NFL? He’s not worried about the whole Favre thing – at least not right now. If his job was in jeopardy it is not anymore and he’s ready to get to work. Stop underestimating him and the Buc D while you’re at it. Did you forget that Rhonde Barber still gets everything that comes his way in spite of his “old age”? Go ahead, throw it his way.

Speaking of underestimating in the NFL – give David Garrard more props. The guy had a great year and has a bright future ahead of him. He only threw three picks last year. Vince Young threw like 17 and everyone gushes over him. There’s someone you need to stop giving so much credit to. I hate to do this also, but stop giving so much credit to Reggie Bush. The guy has an average of just over 3 yards per carry. I’d like to give him a pass being from a SoCal school, but I can’t.

Whew, I just had to get all that out. Flame away.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Premier League Blogspotting

The Premier League regular season has begun and I’ve not had a chance to catch much at all. Make that none. I feel like I’m missing a piece of my life! If only I could concentrate on one sport…

Check out the Sports Tsar’s Soccer Stars and the World Fruit Market.

A Futebol Fan posts about a favorite Chelsea player before she goes off on hiatus. (Have fun Monica!)

Check out this (R-rated language) take on Cristiano Ronaldo’s awards and opinions.

Speaking of Ronaldo, check out this petition against a potential scheme to send him to Manchester City. I found this “No To Ronaldo” petition through a Man U fan blog.

Click here for Chelsea’s Champions League Draw and listen to a cool song while you read it.

Read Another Arsenal Blog for one fan’s rant about the team.

Speaking of neglect…I haven’t even touched on the Serie A yet…hop over to Italian Soccer Serie A with Anna Italia since she is not neglecting the league.

Today in Sports History

1960 - Cassius Clay captures an Olympic gold medal for light heavyweight boxing

1994 - San Francisco 49er legend Jerry Rice catches an NFL record 127th touchdown pass

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tales From The Inbox - Newsletter Nips

It must have been newsletter day because I seemed to get a boatload of stuff yesterday!

WPS: The San Francisco area is now slated to have a franchise for the 2009 inaugural season. There are now two franchises on the West Coast with the other being here in Los Angeles. This league will allow fans to see some of their favorite soccer Olympians that lifted the US over Brazil for the gold. Don’t forget, the WPS Top Town Video Challenge is still going on until September 30.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Manny Ramirez was announced as the NL Player of the Month. No kidding. It’s easy to stand out from the crowd when you’re the eagle in a flock of turkeys that is the NL West. Don’t get me wrong, Manny is awesome. I just know he’ll likely leave after this year and Frank McCourt will simply be patting himself on the back for even having him here for a short time. Yeah, I know…bitter, party of one…

Golf: Alright, this one got a chuckle out of me. In Golf We Trust has a copy of the ultrasound for Elin Woods. It looks like Tiger’s next cub will be a chip off the old block. (Did I just say cub? Argh!)

Life Rolls On: LRO needs your help to win a 10,000 donation. Watch the video and click to vote from now until Saturday, September 6. You can return every day and vote for the video. Don’t forget about the upcoming Night By The Ocean event on Sunday, October 12.

Oh yeah, Today in Sports History

I totally spaced out yesterday and did not include the usual history tidbits! Oops! My apologies! I never claimed to be perfect…

1972 - US swimmer Mark Spitz becomes the first athlete to win 7 Olympic gold medals.

1981 – The longest game at Fenway Park is completed in 20 innings. Final score was Mariners 8, Red Sox 7