Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beach Tennis Strikes Again

Today's guest post is another submission by Zach Smart. Zach Smart is an award-winning writer whose work has been featured in a number of sources--The New Haven Register, The Rivertowns Enterprise, Hoopsaddict.com, and Big East Basketball Report--to name a few. Mr. Smart is a New York native and currently operates ZSmart's Sports Blog This is is second offering on the sport of beach tennis

Beach Tennis USA is the world's newest sand sport.

In no way, however, will it cloak in club-like secrecy. People are starting to catch the fever as the game is spreading like wildfire.

New teams have splashed the shoreline, with many mastering the sand-to-gravel metamorphosis.

In both the men's and women's pro division, however, the top-tier teams are ziplock-tight and evenly matched.

In the men's division, two teams are going out guns-a-blazin' to knock off the reigning national champion Team Italy.

In the women's pro division, where the stakes are now jacked up, Nicole Melch and three-time national champion Nadia Johnson (a Long Island native) have proved there's a new sheriff in town.

The first time teammates have eaten up the national slate in Jaws-sized bites, with all signs pointed towards a Melch-Johnson conquest. The tandem's impenetrable desire and unflappable, fiery focus has produced a winning formula.

Still, memories of last year's national championship are all but swept underneath the rug.

Johnson has never been a player who harps on wins and losses (there's also not much to hark back on in the loss column).

Still, reminding Johnson of Laura and Lisa Maloney's national title under the lights in Long Beach, N.Y., has been akin to tossing a match into a fuel-drenched bucket.

She's burning to re-write the script this summer.

The Maloney's--who've carried an unblemished record on the Beach Tennis USA circuit since 2007--have become the hunted in the women's pro division.

This could be an epic year, with a major challenge cooking on the Johnson's front burner.

Will Johnson and new partner Melch be able to neutralize the sisters who've apparently forgotten how to lose lately?

I'm not for certain, but what I do know is this:

Last season's championship was action-packed, appearing on the Tennis Channel and the Sports New York (SNY) network.

Consider the intriguing subplots to this year's event, and the action could set the beach ablaze on Labor Day Weekend.

On the men's side of the house, expect a bevy of fresh faces come September.

"We're really interested in seeing what this sport is all about," said Tom Curran, a tennis instructor who starred at Quinnipiac University.

"I think it definitely attracts a beach crowd, people that want more excitement and athletic activity under the sun. On the other side of the coin, a lot of tennis players are likely going to gear up for the challenge."

Monday, June 29, 2009

5 Questions With Real Women Golf

Today's guest is the mastermind behind the fun golf blog Real Women Golf. She's the self-proclaimed "former competitive figure skater turned golf-obsessed mom" that brings fresh, fun posts about John Daly, Blair O'Neal, and white belts.

1. Please talk about your competitive figure skating career. How long were you involved and do you still skate at all?

I started skating when I was 3. Another kid was on the pond near our house in NY and crying because he didn't want to skate. I was crying because I wanted to skate. So our parents did a switcheroo with the skates. That's how it all started.

I skated about 14 years--before school, after school, and I spent my summers away from home training in Rockford, Ill.

I don't skate right now. I've thought about it. I'm afraid I'd try a double jump and hurt myself and not be able to golf.

2. What other sports have you participated in other than skating and golf? Are there sports that you are particularly fond of following (besides golf)?

That's a funny question. No one outside of skating ever saw me as athletic. I was just a skinny kid that skated. I played soccer for a bit. I used to make the boys on the outdoor rinks in MN let me play hockey with them otherwise I wouldn't give them space on the ice to play. I could out-skate most of them in my figure skates.

I was always the last one picked for sports teams in school. I used to joke that, I skated, so I had no useful athletic skills. Honestly there wasn't any time to do any other sports. I did pick up roller blading after college. I've always enjoyed hiking and love a good bike ride with the kids. Unfortunately, I run and throw a ball like a girl.

As far as watching other sports. Besides golf, we watch the craziest sports at our house. My husband is a fan of futball and Australian Rules Football. I still enjoy watching skating, but if I had to pick a national skating championship or a golfing major, I'd choose golf. I like college football and we are big Columbus Crew fans. I love almost any sport live.

3. When did you start "Real Women Golf" and what was your inspiration? What, if any, other sources do you write for?

I started Real Women Golf last August. I hate to say this, but it was actually my husband's idea. Since I was a professional writer before my kids were born, he suggested I start a blog about something I like. Golf was the obvious choice.

Originally it was just meant as a creative outlet and a place to collect my stories for a possible book someday. I hoped women golfers might enjoy it, but I never thought it would develop the following it did--especially with male readers. It's been fun to watch it grow.

I am a freelance writer so I am always juggling a few projects. I have written for online magazines and other Websites. I also write promotional/marketing materials for some clients along with a video or two.

4. How did you get started playing golf? How often do you play now and do you have a handicap? What motivated you to start playing golf?

That is such a LONG story. My husband bought me a set of clubs after we got engaged (over 15 years ago). He played in college so he wanted me to learn.

We traveled a lot before our kids were born. So he would pick these wonderfully exotic locations that just happened to have golf courses. My clubs have clocked some serious miles. I whacked at the ball, and enjoyed the scenery and beverage carts, but I never fell in love with the game.

Then when we moved from Washington, D.C. , to Columbus, OH we had a wonderful indoor training facility a minute down the road. One bleak March day I took the clubs out of the attic, heading to the indoor range and decided I wanted to learn how to hit a golf ball in the air.

From there I took a women's beginning clinic and continued with lessons. That was a little over three years ago. Now I play on our course's competitive team.

I play or practice almost everyday. I can't help myself. My kids play too, so we have some great family time on the course. I love how my kids talk to me on the course. They are away from all electronic devices and it makes for some great conversations. I also have a great group of golfing gal pals. They are the best.

My handicap is currently a 12.7--the lowest so far. I desperately want to be a single-digit.

I think my desire to be a better player comes from my competitive figure skating background. I just didn't know I still had it in me, until I started golfing.

My motivation to learn to golf stemmed from my adjustment from living in a big city to a small one. I think I was trying to find some peace and quiet and something separate from the inevitable gossip of a small town. I find golf very therapeutic. In a nutshell, I found peace on the golf course.

5. Who were your role models as a child and today? Would you consider yourself a role model? Why or why not?

My role models as a kid were all skaters: Dorothy Hamill and Scott Hamilton were favorites because I loved their artistry. Scott is a such a survivor too. He's a role model well beyond figure skating.

Today my role models are different. My mom and I have always had a great relationship so I look up to her. As far as golf goes, I really admired Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, and Stacy Lewis. I also have a huge respect for the FUTURES players and the determination they show every day. Greg Norman was the first golfer I ever followed, so he is definitely on the list. Watching him made me appreciate the game long before I ever played it.

Me a role model? Yikes! That's a tough one. I would say I am a good poster child for women's golf. I am always trying to encourage women to get on the course and have some fun. It's so intimidating at first, and it doesn't have to be. While I love my competitive golf I am a strong believer in making golf fun. Many women are curious how I started golfing and want to know how to learn. I'm always trying to get new gals to join me on the course.

I know my daughter thinks it's cool that mom competes. If I can teach her to be strong and go after her dreams, I will consider that a huge accomplishment.

Here is Heather's video application for the coolest job in the world as a caretaker near the Great Barrier Reef:

You can follow Heather on Twitter @realwomengolf.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Sports Wrap - June 28, 2009

: A boatload of interleague play happened today. The Dodgers stunk it up but they're still in good shape overall. Manny will be coming back soon and it will be interesting to see the impact. It doesn't really seem like folks around here are too upset about his alleged PED use. Honestly, it seems like someone is getting caught every week. It's a shame that this is what baseball is about these days.

Golf: Kenny Perry finished the Travelers Championship with a record winning score. The win puts Perry ahead in the FedEx Cup standings. There has been a different player atop the points race each week in the last three weeks. Definitely shaping up to be an interesting season!

Yes, I'm 12
: Not that this has anything to do with sports but I saw the new Transformers movie yesterday and really enjoyed it. I thought it was great because they only broke up the scenes where they were transforming, flying through the air, and blowing stuff up with a tiny bit of dialogue. Works for me!

Today In Sports History

1958 - Brazil becomes soccer's World Cup champion in Sweden

1975 - Lee Trevino is struck by lightning at Western Open

Saturday, June 27, 2009

WNBA Fast Break To Reading

Fast Break to Reading is an initiative created by Pitney Bowes and the WNBA to promote child literacy. The goal of the program is to have children log a collective one million reading minutes by the end of the summer.

Ten WNBA teams will help reach the million minute goal in 2009: the Atlanta Dream, the Chicago Sky, the Connecticut Sun, the Detroit Shock, the Indiana Fever, the Los Angeles Sparks, the New York Liberty, the Phoenix Mercury, the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics.

These teams have partnered with the following organizations to extend Fast Break to Reading’s benefits to their participating students: Afterschool All-Stars (Atlanta), Chicago Public Libraries, Connecticut Library Consortium, Detroit Public Library, Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis, City Scholars (Los Angeles), Power to Learn (New York), Save the Family (Phoenix), Boys and Girls Club of King County (Seattle), Arlington County Libraries (Washington D.C.)

Each team will host their partnering organization at two WNBA regular season games this summer. The students will be invited to attend the games, sit in a special section of the arena and receive on-court recognition as “reading champions.”

The WNBA teams will also participate in two Reading Time Outs with each partnering organization. At Reading Time Outs, students listen along as a team player or Legend reads one of their favorite books and emphasizes the importance of reading. Pitney Bowes employees will volunteer at each Reading Time Out and bring their own children along to join in on the fun.

For more details visit the WNBA Fast Break To Reading website.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Wild World On Friday

Today feels like a "Wild World of Wednesday" post. It has been a bizzaro week for sure.

Have You Heard This One: Brett Favre is not retiring. You don't say. Reports claim that he will be a Viking. I have lost any real emotional connection to the Brett Favre story these days. I prefer to remember Brett the Green Bay Packer.

What The Shaq:
It's true, Shaq is going to Cleveland. The question now becomes - will LeBron stay? I keep hearing rumors about how he likes the weather in Orlando.

Did I Read That Right?: The US beat Spain in an important soccer match. Spain was ranked number one. Really? Wow.

I can't believe I missed Babe's birthday today. Thanks Doret! Read this link.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh Sister Where Art Thou?

Today's guest post was graciously submitted by Zach Smart and gives us a look at the sport of beach tennis. Zach Smart is an award-winning writer whose work has been featured in a number of sources--The New Haven Register, The Rivertowns Enterprise, Hoopsaddict.com, and Big East Basketball Report--to name a few. Mr. Smart is a New York native and currently operates ZSmart Sports Blog

Before a raucous San Diego crowd that's witnessed their dominance, Lisa and Laura Maloney were struggling.

Perhaps all the chatter of the the San Diego Smash tournament being gift-wrapped for the sisters began to ooze through their heads.

Remember, more athletes have been hampered by the hype and hyperbole than by the hurricanes.

But Laura and Lisa were not the same players who rolled to a convincing national championship victory in Long Beach, N.Y.

They weren't the same team who showed their meddle throughout California last year.

They certainly weren't the same team that's been elevating their play to a new zip code this year.

Having lost control of their no.1 seed, the Maloneys were pushed back to no.3 after dropping a pair of early matches.

The frustration seemed to avalanche and for a moment, it seemed that Nadia Johnston and Nicole Melch--who are leading this year's tour in point standings--would have some breathing room.

Not so fast.

The Maloneys, the top-ranked tandem on the Beach Tennis USA landscape, showed their resolve.

Their shortcomings and miscommunication was quickly buried under the burning-hot sand.

The sisters ran the table over the ensuing string of games.

They weren't giving teams a slow, painful death either. They were punching opponents in the mouth from the start, delivering quick executions that catapulted them into the top of the bracket.

Back in familiar title game territory, the Maloneys proved the world once again belonged to them.

The well-sculpted Maloneys obliterated Lee Whitewell and Joslyn Burkett, emerging with an 8-3 victory.

Another match, another championship, another trophy as the homegrown talents continue to wallop the competition this year.

As much as they've made their presence known in Cali, a new challenge awaits in New York.

This national championship has more juice than Florida right now. To read more about the national tour and road to the championship, please visit the Beach Tennis USA website

Nadia Johnson, a three-time national championship and current Long Island native, has been taking the world by wildfire with new partner Nicole Melch.

Watching the newly-minted squad dismantle teams is akin to watching two professionals matchup against team two blindfolded and handcuffed rookies.

I see the future...

A down-to-the-wire battle between Johnson-Melch and the Maloneys, before a jam-packed crowd televised live via the Tennis Channel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wild World of Wednedsay - June 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary Title IX: Yesterday marked the 37th anniversary of Title IX. The day was marked by a roundtable discussion at the White House and much buzz in the blogosphere. Don't know what this legislation is? You should. Click the links and read.

Surfcams: I've told you about the Surfer Shot community before. They recently added more surf cams to their site. Now you can check these out: Pipeline - Sunset - Satellite Beach - Huntington Pier - Huntington Beach, South. Nice!

Beat Gasoline: Nike GameChangers has a new campaign called Beat Gasoline. Here are the details:

This is an initiative of Nike and Youth Noise to get the word out that we can all use the power of sport to Beat Gasoline. Or smog. Or CO2. Or whatever. At Beatgasoline.com you can download free stuff, watch exclusive Nike content and upload videos or pictures showing how you would beat gasoline. You can also view other submissions and vote on the weekly Global Giving Card winners. Which, if you submit a video or picture, could be you. Other grand prizes include some killer stuff from Nike 6.0.

Today In Sport History

1992 - Commissioner Fay Vincent permanently bans Steve Howe from baseball

1995 - Stanley Cup: New Jersey Devils sweep Detroit Red Wings in 4 games

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tales From The Twitterscape - June 23, 2009

Yes, it took me a while but some of you (and you know who you are) drug me kicking and screaming into Twitter. I have yet to update my status with something like "I just had blueberry pancakes" and will continue to use that discretion! In fact, there are a few golf pros I'm thinking of taking off my list because that is the only sort of thing I ever see from them. Who cares?

What I find more interesting is the companies that interact with their consumers. Many OEMs and after-market retailers are on Twitter and have people dedicated to talking to the consumers every day. Great idea. I know that most people in my office have several windows of the internet open as they work, usually with one tab being Facebook and another being Twitter.

One cool company I recently found is in the Midwest and called Fun Outfitters. They have trivia contests on Twitter quite often and a YouTube channel with videos describing the products that they carry. The company carries snowmobiling, wakeboarding, and water skiing gear and other accessories. They've got a sense of humor too as evident from the video today that was lifted from their channel.

Another fun company to follow is Ogio. They also have contests rather frequently. They just gave away a golf bag yesterday. I'm a huge fan of their golf bags and use one now but didn't win a new one. Darn.

Who do you like to follow on Twitter?

Monday, June 22, 2009

5 Questions For Feedback

I have several interviews and ideas brewing so I thought I'd take a moment to solicit some feedback again. It isn't too hard and you can do so by comment, email, tweet, or any other method that you see fit. I'm always interested in what readers have to say and would appreciate honest feedback.

1. What is your favorite part of this blog? Is is a specific day, feature, or style?

2. What is you least favorite piece here? What could you do without?

3. What sports would you like to see more of?

4. What sports would you like to see less of?

5. Do you find the focus on several different sports a good thing or would you rather see a more focused approach?

Seriously, please answer honestly. You can tell me that you think the writing here stinks and you just stop in every day to see what video I have added if that is the case. Either way, I appreciate your time very much!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Sports Wrap - June 21, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away: I have an idea - why don't the powers that be keep such an important event in a place where there isn't torrential downpours in the summer? The US Open should pan out to be rather interesting any way you slice it. On one hand those with the most favorable tee times (with respect to weather) could turn in a surprising win. On the other, the favorites could pull out a storybook ending. ESPN has everything online.

Freeway Series: The Dodgers and Angels end their series today. Yesterday the Weaver brothers started against each other and the older came out the victor. I wish we could have a series to decide whether the Angels get to keep "Los Angeles" in their name. They really should try to make their own name. I'll stop whining about that for now...

Today In Sports History

1988 - 42nd NBA Championship - the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons, 4 games to 3

1997 - Women's National Basketball Association begins with the New York Liberty besting the Los Angeles Sparks.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Golf In Full Swing

What are you doing today? Golf seems to be permeating the sports scene at the moment (or it could just be me).

Women's Golf Month:
There is still time to get in on the events surrounding Women's Golf Month. Free clinics, events, lessons, networking, and much more happen the entire month of June. Go to the link om the first sentence and find a course that is sponsoring events near you. I've got another event today and then a challenge next Saturday. I'm quite excited about it and really want to do well. I'll be working on my short game quite a bit this week.

Duramed Championship: The Duramed Futures Tour finishes up the Duramed Championship this weekend. Duramed is the LPGA's developmental tour. Information is a bit hard to come by on the website for the event and I had a hard time finding standings. When I did see a link to something that happened in the event it basically took me in circles. Maybe someone can help me with that? The best way to keep up with the event is on Twitter.

US Open:
The weather at Bethpage Black has been quite challenging for the grounds crew to keep up with. You can watch the event online from ESPN. Phil Mickelson is the pro that journalists are hoping will win so they can get a "Disney musical" story as one put it. Tiger has to make something like a 66 today to even make even par. It doesn't seem very likely with the course conditions.

Friday, June 19, 2009

IWFL All-Stars

Recently the IWFL released their All Star picks and it was no surprise that running back Vanessa Santillan was chosen from the Southern California Breakers. Vanessa had an amazing season and was nearly unstoppable. The complete list of Breakers that made the list is as follows:


All named to the All Star team are invited to attend and participate in the ProBowl on July 26th in Round Rock, TX. The complete list for the league can be found here on the IWFL website.

Congratulations to the Breakers and every other player in the league that was chosen. These are remarkable athletes that have worked very hard to attain their elite status.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tales From The Inbox - June 18, 2009

Fighter Girls: Debi Purcell's website fightergirls.com has some cool new gear. Check out the new Thai shorts and hoodies.

Win At All Costs:
Another blogger brought an interesting story to my attention. A college softball game became the subject of controversy when one coach called for the rules to be followed. On top of that, the umpire allowed the rule to be applied incorrectly. Take a look here and tell me what you think.

SweatyBetty Fliptops: SweatyBetty, the UK sports clothing company, is hosting an interesting contest for UK residents. If you know the winning answer I am curious:

"The SweatyBetty sports and leisure fashion brand are known for collaboration with the cult brand Fitflops. For those who are not yet aware, Fitflops are a new, innovative and fashionable footwear sandal which will tone legs and bum whilst on the move and are available at SweatyBetty in a range of colour, designs, and sizes. SweatyBetty currently has an offer to win a magnificent weekend break, all expenses paid for a limited time. Every pair of Black and White Walkstar III sandals features a street plan of a major city on its sole. If guessed correctly, a weekend trip is up for grabs. Just answer the simple question, which city's street map is featured on the bottom of the black and white Walkstar III sandal by Fitflop? If answered correctly the lucky winner could be jet setting off on a luxury break to that city, with flights, accommodation and £500 spending money all included. The competition is open to all United Kingdom residents."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - Lakers Parade Edition

What can I say today except for LAKERS ARE THE CHAMPS!!!!! Although there are plenty of other events happening in sports today I just wanted to bring you video of some of the previous Lakers Championship parades/celebrations to enjoy. So enjoy! I do want to thank all of the generous donors in the city as well for stepping up to help bring us the celebration today. Thank you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

5 Questions With A Rookie

Yes, "5 Questions" is usually on a Monday but I couldn't help but move it a day after the Lakers won the title! Woo! At any rate - back to reality now...

Today's guest is one of the amazing women that plays for the Southern California Breakers. Monique Boone joined the team this and made quite an impact. I'll let her introduce herself and answer five questions:

I come from a small family (one sister and parents) and resided most of my life in Newark, Delaware. After college, I moved with my girlfriend (now wife) to pursue my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. At the beginning of the season, I had graduated with my Masters and was counseling elementary students in Garden Grove Unified School District. I received exciting news that I would be starting the PsyD Doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Argosy University, Orange County. On the football field, I play a variety of positions (tight end, defensive end, linebacker, fullback, and offensive line). My number is #39 and my nickname is Beast (with the origin still being debated).

1. What sports did you play (if any) as a child growing up? Was your family big into sports or is this something you came to later?

As a child, I was excited about sports. I mainly played soccer, basketball, and the sport I became most passionate about, lacrosse. My dad was the athlete in the family. He received sports scholarships in college and played football for Hampton University. Although my dad had those accomplishments, it was an open invitation to become involved in sports. I am really happy for that kind of structure.

2. How did you get started playing football? Is this a sport you have always wanted to play? Are there any other sports you are active in today?

In the spring of 2008 I was looking at the newsfeed on Facebook from my friends on the East Coast and I noticed that a few of them were trying out for women's football. I could not believe it. Women playing football? Since it was already the spring I felt that it was too late and I did not give it too much thought. Sometime in October I remembered women's football and started doing some Google research. The first team I found was actually the Los Angeles Amazons. I went to their December tryouts and was truly considering playing for them. During the tryout, one of the players was mentioning other teams in the area and the Southern California Breakers name came up in conversation. My ears perked. I was a girl from Orange County and if they are closer then that would make it a lot easier for me to get to practices, meetings, games, etc.... anyways, after the tryout I Googled again and found the Breakers. I contacted Enrique (the team’s Chief Operating Officer), went to my first preseason practice, and really the rest is history. I felt I made the best decision and I do not believe I would be as happy as I am right now anywhere else. In high school during the football games, my friends and I would joke about putting a helmet on and throwing me in but of course I could not do that because I was in marching band. I have always loved the sport of football but I had no idea I could actually play. I’m not active in any others sports at the moment.

3. What have been the biggest challenges for you as a football player? What are the biggest rewards?

A few of my challenges have been confidence and facing personality traits. With confidence, I had only watched football and here I was trying to learn formations, route numbers, feet placement, how to block, how to tackle and run through tackles, catching a football, etc... There was so much information that the coaches and the veterans were trying to cram. I stated several times throughout preseason that football was the most complicated sport I had ever played. It was through the long practices and study material provided by the coaches and just sheer commitment of thinking about football that were factors and the building blocks toward having confidence. With my personality traits, it definitely differs from the way that I play. Honestly I am really shy, and it is difficult for me to put myself out there. With the Breakers team, where there are so many big personalities, you have to bring your personality so this opportunity gave me a chance to work on my shyness. I feel the biggest reward I received from this experience is family. In psychology, there are two phrases: "family of origin" and "family of choice". Currently, my family of origin lives in St.Louis, MO and the only family in California is my wife. Before football, I did not have a family to call my own. The Breakers came along and welcomed me into their family. It sounds pretty sappy, but the Breakers showed that loyalty and friendship could be found in Orange County. I am not sure if I ever will be able to repay the Breakers for everything they have done for me and becoming my family of choice.

4. Who have been your biggest role models in sports and otherwise? Do you consider yourself a role model? Why or why not?

This is tough. I would say all women athletes were my role models. This is a large group but every time a woman steps out to play a sport, she is covering new territory that was never stepped on before. I definitely consider myself a role model especially now playing football. Football was a sport traditionally held for men. Granted, it is still seen that way but the NFL just started having camps for girls. In the new NFL commercial they show girls playing football. With every person that I discuss about football is another person being enlightened and educated about women and sports.

5. What advice would you give to young people that are interested in playing a sport like football?

I would tell young people that football equals commitment. As I look back over the season, there was a considerable amount of time given to conditioning, playing, and learning the game of football. This sport gives little room for people that only want to run at 50%. It has to be 100% every time for the safety of your teammates and yourself.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How Can I Not Post This? Lakers Rule!

Finally, another crown in Los Angeles! Now we just need the Dodgers to win the World Series this year and we can really freak out.

To Orlando - you had a great season. I was pulling for you all the way to the finals. You'll be a force to reckon with next year for sure. Top that with the rumors that LeBron James may look to join your squad next year. You would be nearly unstoppable!

The Lakers are the champs! Woohoo! I said Lakers in 6 and I'm happy to be wrong. One of my buddies said they'd do it in 5. I really thought Orlando was tougher than that. I did not count on the Lakers actually showing up and not getting lazy. They meant it, you could see it in Kobe's eyes!

By the way - the song atop this post is my ringtone right now. I know, I am such a dork! I'll also incorporate one of my vintage Lakers tees into my outfit today. Super dork! What can I say!?

P.S. 5 Questions will be back tomorrow for a special Tuesday edition. I just had to celebrate today.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Sports Wrap - June 14, 2009

Go Lakers! Tonight is game five in Orlando. Nobody is taking it for granted that the Lakers are going to win it all. Orlando is too tough to assume that they can be easily cast aside. The Lakers seem very focused and a sense of urgency is in the air.

Leave it to the local news to start up: talks of a victory parade controversy are already permeating the headlines. If the Lakers do actually win the title a parade should take place downtown a few days after. However, the economy is in the toilet and the city really doesn't have the money to do this. I have an idea to solve this - since we, the fans, buy merchandise and tickets to support the team why don't they foot the bill to thank us for supporting them year after year? I believe the Lakers are in a better financial place right now than the city is. I mean seriously, why couldn't they throw us a party? A million bucks is a drop in the bucket for them.

Oh, and you too ESPN. Now that you're filming downtown right next to the Staples Center why not think of it as an advertising expense? Why not host the parade yourselves? It could be the "Lakers Victory Parade sponsored by ESPN". Heck, all of the new businesses that cropped up around Staples (and some old ones) could even pitch in. Why not?

Today In Sports History

1987 - 41st NBA Championship: Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 4 games to 2.

Happy birthday to Pat Summitt

Saturday, June 13, 2009

National Get Outdoors Day

Today is the second annual National Get Outdoors Day.

Participants from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry are again teaming up to host the second annual National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun at sites across the nation. On Saturday, June 13, these diverse partners will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the day are reaching currently underserved populations and first-time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors.

There are 62 locations around the country. Near Los Angeles is the Castaic Lake Recreation Area and the Big Bear Discovery Center. I've been water skiing many times at Castaic but only been to Big Bear for the snow in the past. Both are pretty awesome places.

If there isn't an event near you why not get out anyways? Go hiking, surfing, or just take a leisurely walk on a trail. I'll be golfing this morning and then hiking this afternoon and tomorrow. You won't catch me indoors on a weekend day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Zsa Zsa Workout

During the course of my day I get so busy that I almost lose my mind (at least it feels that way). A colleague of mine shares this craziness and we often shout "serenity now" or other choice words through the course of a day. One way we keep our sanity, if you want to call it that, is by sending each other silly links to fun blogs or YouTube videos. She was talking about the Zsa Zsa Workout the other day and then proceeded to find the lovely gem that you see atop the page today. Priceless.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sporting Life As A Muslim

Katharine sent me an interesting Rugby story about the first Muslim rugby international player for England.

It's not something he set out to do, but Ikram Butt has become a trailblazer for young British Asians in sport.

Born and bred in Yorkshire, he became a professional rugby league player with his hometown, Leeds, while he was still a teenager, before becoming England's first Muslim rugby international in 1995 when he played against Wales in Cardiff.

He's published a book called Tries and Prejudice about his experiences.

His book is as much a social commentary on a Muslim family growing up in the north of England during the 1970s and '80s, as it is a sporting biography

Raised in Headingley, a stone's thrown from the famous rugby ground, Ikram is about as Yorkshire as you can get. The second youngest of six children, he was brought up on a street amid the kind of multi-cultural nirvana that we rarely see today, never mind 30 years ago.

"We had an Afro-Caribbean family living opposite and they're still good friends of ours. There was an Irish family at the top of the street and an Italian family across the road. Then there were four Indian brothers who ran a mini- market which was the focal point for the street. Growing up in that environment was a wonderful experience, everyone was very friendly and there always seemed to be a street party going on."

But when Ikram and his brothers stepped outside this comfort zone, it was a different story. "When we went to some places in the city we were subjected to prejudice and racism, which was a shock to begin with. When you live in such a close-knit community like we did, you aren't used to this kind of thing."

See the original article here and another about Ikram here. It looks like the book can be found in the UK but I have not found a source for the US.

Thanks Katharine!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wild World Of Wednesday - June 10, 2009

Ok, You Can Have This One: I predicted the Lakers in six and I will stick to it. I am still laughing at the Twittersphere comments that the Lakers were paying off the refs. If that was the case they would have won. From this angle it looked like Kobe lost a bit of his fire. One could argue that he let Orlando win. Also...please do me a favor...and this goes for EVERY team's fans that play ANY Los Angeles team. PLEASE THINK UP A NEW CHANT OTHER THAN "BEAT L.A."!!!! Show some originality - that is old, tired, and sounds like a rudimentary chant that a 2nd grader would say. Seriously. Yes, I feel much better now that I got that off of my chest.

Tweet Of The Week: I cracked up when @wnba threw this one out there: On Saturday, Snoop Dogg vowed, “I’m going to be the Jack Nicholson of the L.A. Sparks." They included a link to this pic. Go Snoop!

At Least The Dodgers Won Last Night: Manny Ramirez has finally talked to the press since the whole suspension thing. A lot of comments are really harsh on the Yahoo! story but to be expected. The general mood I see around here is of indifference. Oh, and I don't wanna hear anything outa you, SF fans...how soon you forget Barry Bonds!

Today In Sports History

- 59th French Open Women's Tennis: Arantxa Sanchez Vicario beats Steffi Graf. Graf was heavily favored and Vicario was also the first Spaniard to win a Grand Slam title

1990 - 60th French Open Men's Tennis: Andres Gomez beats Andre Agassi

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In A Mood

I was looking back and laughing a bit at some of my posts that were written when I was feeling a bit feisty. I think they are pretty funny and the comments are certainly interesting on a few. Of course, I will never rant on like today's video about actually hating sports but I found it funny that this guy felt he needed to make a weekly show professing his hate of sports. All I have to say is that there is a thin line between love and hate. As for my rants - you be the judge:

I was tired of hearing about my hometown not being a "sports town". Read my rant and tell me what you think. Don't hate us.

This one sure got a reaction and even ranked up there on Digg after it was written. This was Brett Favre's first retirement. (Special note: please stay home Brett. Take up golf or something.)

One of my other favorites is when I wax poetic about the problem with sports in Los Angeles. The original image had to be replaced so some of the comments may not make sense.

Another of my personal favorites is this silly tirade. I just had to do it.

What is your favorite thing to rant about?

Monday, June 8, 2009

5 Questions Basketball & Basketball Re-Runs

I'm all fired up after the Lakers OT win last night at home to take Game 2 of the Finals. This has motivated me to bring back some basketball posts that I am quite fond of:

Early last year I interviewed Shirlett Hendry, coach of the girls basketball squad at Dorsey High School here in Los Angeles. I attended Dorsey in my sophomore year. Click on her name to read her say quite a bit without using a lot of words.

One day I am hoping to do an interview with a member of the Los Angeles Breakers. I've had a guest post that told us about the team but they've so far not returned my email about an interview. Stay tuned.

Another guest post about basketball came from Linday, writer of That Mutt. She pondered whether all high school athletes should get equal playing time. As a former high school b-baller herself, she was inspired to write this post after a game that made the news because of a 100-0 score.

Former hoops player and blogger extraordinaire Megan Hueter took time out of her busy day to be a guest for five questions. She's one of the founders of the Women Talk Sports site.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Breakers Wrap - June 7, 2009 *Twitter Version*

Okay, so I covered last night's game on Twitter as it happened for the most part. It was an exceptional game and a heartbreaking loss for the Breakers. A few missed opportunities and it would have been theirs for the winning. Here is my Twitter feed that you have to read backward to follow the events as they unfolded. Someone suggested I give this a try as the post recap. Read from the bottom and tell me what you think!

# Congrats to the Quake - good game about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Quake win on a 4th and 31 final score 26-20 about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Breakers fg att no good about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Quake fg att no good about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Breakers fg att no good about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Breakers recover Quake fumble about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Breakers fg att blocked - Quake ball about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Breakers get ball 1st in OT about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Going in to OT about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# 17 second left Breakers ball about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Score still tied at 20 and Quake have ball with less than a minute about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# 2:00 Breakers fg att no good about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Q4 Breakers recover Quake fumble 6:03 about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Quake cannot capitalize and punt 1:13 Q3 about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Q3 3:02 Breakers fumble and Quake recover about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Quake TD pat good score tied at 20 about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# TD Breakers #28 and pat good 20-13 now Breakers about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Breakers #22 intercept the ball 11:41 in Q3 about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Everyone is ragging on my Raiders jacket - they won a Super Bowl in my hometown! about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# At the half tie score at 13 about 21 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Quake score with1:24 in half pat good 13-13 now about 21 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# 2:14 in half Breakers #43 long TD run - pat good Breakers 13 Quake 6 about 21 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Quake score with 10:02 in 2nd - pat no good - score 6-6 about 21 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# End of Q1 - Breakers 6 Quake 0 about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Quake get ball again with under 3 min in 1st about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Breakers ball again with just under 5 min in the 1st about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# TD Breakers at 10:01 in 1st - #38 ep no good about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Breakers have the ball first about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Hangin' with Boo and Coach Duncan is here too about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

# Kickoff at 7 for Breakers vs. Quake - will update about 22 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Okay, so with that - do you want me to fill in the notes or is this enough? Comment or send me an email and let me know.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hiking, Golf, and Football!

I played a very cool round of golf yesterday and am off to a putting clinic this morning. Later today I might hit a big demo day and then I'll be at a football game tonight. Tomorrow, I'm off to hike in the hills. Now all I have to do is find time to sleep. But seriously, there is quite a bit to do this weekend all over the country:

Take A Hike: Today is National Trails Day:

"American Hiking Society's signature trail awareness program, National Trails Day® (NTD), inspires the public and trail enthusiasts nationwide to seek out their favorite trails to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail work projects."

Click here for more info.

Women's Golf Month: Being that this is the first weekend of Women's Golf Month there are a lot of things happening all over the country. Click here to find something near you.

Oh and there's a massive demo day for everyone in Anaheim today.

IWFL: Catch a football game today - check here for a game near you. I'll be at the Breakers vs. Quake game tonight and it should be a good one! Yes, I will do my very best to send updates on Twitter.

What are you doing this weekend?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Support Women's Football...Literally

So far this season the WFA's Las Vegas Showgirlz are 4-0. As they make a run for the playoffs the team has set up a fundraiser online. Players and teams in the league must fund most all of the costs of participation and need donations from supporters like you. This is especially true as the post-season approaches. By making a contribution you help the team with travel expenses. Help the Showgirlz make a run for the playoffs. Contributions can be made from $3 up. Click here for details.

Tomorrow is the last home game for the IWFL's Southern California Breakers. Check back here on Sunday for a full recap.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dodgers Have The Best Record In Baseball

Without Manny. Deal with it.

Waking up to the guys on SportsCenter talking up their 37-18 record was very nice. I checked the widget close to the bottom of my page as well. Sure enough, the Dodgers are number one. At least for right now. I'm just going to bask in it and not spoil the moment with a bunch of needless commentary.

The only other thing I will say today is a quick reminder that the NBA Finals start tonight. If you are one to indulge in adult beverages then check out this link for a drinking game for the Finals. Here is a preview of the rules:

Drink Every Time Someone Says:

* “Mamba”
* “Superman”
* “Lamar Odom has to show up tonight”
* “Magicians” instead of “Magic”
* “Dagger”
* “Candy man”
* “Shaq”, “title”, and “Kobe Bryant’s legacy” in the same sentence.

It just gets sillier from there. Enjoy!

P.S. Thanks for catching the typo Tracy! That is what happens when you write too early without adequate coffee!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - June 3, 2009

Last night was "wild" in some parts of Southern California since we had a "surprise" storm. For those of you that aren't familiar - winter and spring is when we get our little bit of rain and coming starting in June we usually have cloudy skies with nary a drop. You may have heard of this as "June gloom". I'm not sure if it rained outside of my house but something caused me to have some really odd dreams last night. I'll bet it has nothing to do with the massive amounts of spam I've been getting in my email either. None of this has to do with sports so I will move on...

HWC Locales: The Homeless World Cup announced that Rio (2010) and Paris (2011) will be the next sites for the annual event. The organization is looking to Asia for 2012 before taking it to Poznan, Poland in 2013:

"Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is confirmed as the host city for the 2010 Homeless World Cup, the world-class, international football tournament energizing people who are homeless to change their own lives. Copacabana Beach will be the official venue uniting nations from all 5 continents as players stand proud and demonstrate to the world the power of football to change lives in September next year.

Rio will hand over to Paris, France in 2011 with a venue adjacent to the Eiffel Tower while Poznan is a surprise announcement as the winner of the 2013 Homeless World Cup. The international organizers are currently exploring the opportunity to host the 2012 Homeless World Cup in Asia."

Read the full story here and follow the HWC on Twitter here.

Rolling On: Life Rolls On has their next event scheduled on June 28 in Long Branch, NJ. There are other opportunities to volunteer for this organization throughout the summer and the season ends at the awesome waves of Santa Cruz. Check the schedule here. Life Rolls On gets those who have suffered spinal cord injuries back in the water and is supported by generous sponsors and volunteers. You can follow them on Twitter here.

Getting The Shaft
: Hireko Golf is having another online free webinar. This one is called "Basics of Shaft Installation - Understanding The Principals of Tip Trimming Instructions" and happens Thursday, June 4, 2009 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT. You can register here for free. Hireko sells golf clubs online and maintains an informative blog.

Today In Sports History

1958 - Referendum allows Los Angeles to sell Chavez Ravine to the Dodgers

1980 - The NY Mets draft Darryl Strawberry, 18, as their number one pick in the first round.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June Is Women's Golf Month

Go to the Play Golf America website and you'll see that June is Women's Golf Month. What does this mean? Well, at certain locations you can find:

* Free golf lessons and clinics
* Networking receptions
* Golf rules and etiquette seminars
* Fashion shows
* On-course playing opportunities
* On-course golf instruction
* Luncheons

Play Golf America gives also gives this description:

"Now in its fifth year, American Express Women’s Golf Month is a precedent-setting collaboration of the top country, golf organizations aimed at increasing the participation of women in golf. Scheduled to be held at golf facilities nationwide, American Express Women’s Golf Month will offer people 14 years of age and older free golf lessons and golf-related networking and social activities customized by each host facility.

In addition to complimentary golf instruction from PGA and LPGA Professionals, participating host facilities may offer activities such as networking receptions, golf rules and etiquette seminars, club fitting, equipment demonstrations, golf apparel fashion shows, luncheons and contests. Complimentary use of golf clubs will be available at all locations. While golf instruction will be offered free of charge at all locations, other activities such as dining and on-course playing opportunities will be offered for a nominal fee."

I'm always looking for a good tip so I'll be checking out where to get a free lesson in my area for sure. No matter how long you've been playing, I truly believe that you can always use a tune up. Heck, the pros all have swing coaches so why should an average golfer think they don't need one? One location near me is giving free putting and chipping clinics. I sure do need help on my short game so this is the ticket for me.

Check out the search bar on the Play Golf America website for an event near you. I recommend putting your state in and searching that way - when I put in "Los Angeles" it told me there was no events. That is because the events are in Brentwood, El Segundo, Carson, etc.

Monday, June 1, 2009

5 Questions With A Wrestler

First Lady of Fog City Wrestling from manolithtv on Vimeo.

I was recently introduced to Fog City Wrestling, a group that promotes women's wrestling. They turned me on to the video above interviewing one of their wrestlers, Nikki Tsugranes and got me in touch with Nikki so that I could ask a few questions of my own. I'll let her introduce herself:

I'm Nikki Tsugranes aka Nikki the New York Knockout. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and I moved out here (to California) in 2002 to train at Ultimate University wrestling school after I graduated from the NY institute of technology with a degree in Biology. I became a teacher in 2005, and am currently working towards my masters degree in education. And...I'm a firm believer that life is a journey, not a destination.

1. How long have you been involved in wrestling? Are there other sports that you have been a part of through your life?

In October it will be 7 years since I started training. I went to college on a basketball/softball scholarship, but since I started wrestling I've lost my passion for those sports. I also train in boxing, my first fight being at the end of this year.

2. What is your typical training routine? Is there a particular diet and exercise plan that you follow depending on whether you have a match coming up? What is the most difficult part of this routine?

I train in American wrestling around 2-3 days a week and lucha libre 1-2 days per week. I also go through my boxing training 3-4 days a week for at least an hour. Matches pop outta nowhere so you always have to be prepared. The most difficult part of my workout routines is getting there. After work I'm wiped every day but I have to consider my workouts like a second career.

3. What advice would you give to a young person about becoming involved in your sport? How young do you believe someone could become active in your sport?

I say have a back up plan in case of injury or burn-out. Finish college!! Be very open minded. Wrestling is sports entertainment!! It can also lead to stunt work and acting. Also, don't get into this business if you're not a hard worker and you don't know how to make fun of yourself. You totally need to be able to laugh at yourself. I believe there is no age limit as far as how young, but make sure before you get into wrestling you can give it your full attention. Once it gets in your blood, you won't be able to leave it.

4. Do you believe that athletes should be considered role models? Do you consider yourself a role model? Why or why not?

It depends on the athlete. Athletes can be phenomenal leaders or they can be rapists and drug users. I definitely consider myself a role model. I work hard, I don't take the easy way out, and I'm well rounded. I also make it a point to help people in the business along the way just as so many have helped me.

5. Are you able to concentrate on your sport 100% as far as being able to train and compete or must you have a "day job"? How realistic is it that you could make a living solely by wrestling?

I always told myself I'd never let my job get in the way of my dream. It's true to this day, but I do love my job. I'm a 7th grade science teacher in east LA and there is never a dull moment. I feel I can make a living not necessarily by wrestling but through wrestling. I've already shot two pilots for two different TV shows and I have a lot more to come, because of my wrestling ability. Anything is possible and I won't stop until the day it isn't fun anymore.

I'll be keeping tabs on Nikki's career developments and get out the information about boxing, acting, and anything else as I get it. I really appreciate the time she took to answer questions for me with such a busy schedule. Thanks and best of luck Nikki!