Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oh No, Not Winslow

Okay, I know Kellen Winslow is an excellent NFL tight end. I also know that he is high maintenance and is injured quite a bit. I guess I just don't understand the choice that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made to take him on. Yeah sure, he's no T.O. Well, at least he isn't like that quite yet. Still., I can't seem to get his rookie season out of my head.

Speaking of hard to swallow moves, the Buccaneers also released Derrick Brooks. I still get that silly song in my head from that commercial he did a few years back. "Who's my favorite player? Mr. Derrick Brooks", sang ever so sarcastically by a group of unenthusiastic children. Another memory that comes to mind is the last game he played in that I was present for up in San Francisco. We were seated at one of the end zones and some 49ers fans from a few rows up started talking trash to him as he stretched. I remember thinking how ridiculous it was to tell him that he was a bad player and that he would certainly make the hall of fame someday. At any rate, seeing him in a uniform other than the Bucs will be difficult. I'm hoping he retires and goes in the booth.

Finally, I will also miss Warrick Dunn, Ike Hilliard, and Joey Galloway from the Bucs roster. Yes, I know Galloway has had a difficult time making catches in many situations and Dunn has been back and forth on the team.

What do you think about recent moves in the NFL?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Inbox and Blogspotting

Ask Lisa: If you go to this blog you can submit a question to Lisa Willis. She is currently touted as the #1 3-point shooter in the WNBA. She lives here in Southern California but plays for the New York Liberty. Don't delay, the questions must be submitted by today and Lisa will post her answers next week.

The End of The World: Golf blogs and sports sites are all devastated that Tiger Woods has been eliminated from competition. Have you heard of Tim Clark? If you hadn't before then you will know his name now as the guy who beat Tiger when he returned from surgery.

The Back Nine: I recently brought you information on the documentary called The Back Nine about a golfer looking to make the Tour after he turned 40. I received an email yesterday that provided details about when you can see the film:

We are pleased to announce that the film has been invited to premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in April. The timing is perfect for us. Screening details will be announce soon. We hope you can join us!

If you’re not in California, we will be screening in theaters throughout the country this summer. Dates and locations coming soon.

Even More Golf: The L.A. Golf Show starts today in Long Beach. I just realized how silly that sounded. I guess you wouldn't get it unless you lived here. At any rate attendees get some 2 for 1 golf coupons and a free subscription to Golf Digest. The first 1,000 also get a sleeve of Bridgestone balls. This will be the first show I am actually not attending in quite a while. I've got too much on my plate today and, well, I'm going golfing tomorrow. If you are in the area these are usually pretty fun and informative. There are other giveaways from the various companies throughout the event. You can check the exhibitor list here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Tried Not To Write About Tiger Woods

Really, I tried not to write a post about Tiger Woods today. I've been diligently watching, reading, and listening to sports in hopes of finding another topic. Alas, Mr. Woods is ubiquitous. In fact, earlier this week they were billing the Accenture event as "The Return of Tiger" instead of the actual title of the event. ESPN said that his silhouette should be the one used in the PGA logo. I just can't get away from Tiger Woods. But wait...a few blips on the sports radar emerge in the shadows...

Spring training has started in baseball and there was a mere mention of Alex Rodriquez hitting a home run at the practice facility in Dunedin, Florida. Apparently he was booed.

Another story pops hoops! It is almost March Madness and the games are getting good. I watched a very nice highlight reel of some sick dunks and buzzer beaters.

However...the other stories were short lived...Tiger was back. Fine. I'll write about Tiger Woods. He is definitely the most recognizable name in golf all over the world and deservedly so. I am wondering seems like the time off has only made him more popular. That is pretty remarkable when you think about it. Seriously, has almost unimaginable super-star status. Is he bigger than any sports figure in history?

Have you been watching Tiger's return? Will you watch any of it?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - February 25, 2009

Thanks to Katharine in the U.K. for today's first two gems:

First British Women: Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke are celebrating becoming the first British women to win gold at the Bobsleigh World Championships. The last Brits to take gold in bobsleigh were Anthony Nash and Robin Dixon back in 1965. The video today is not of the Brits but another women's team (Bobteam Kamphuis) in 2008.

More Confident British Women
: Captain Charlotte Edwards and her team are confident that they will make the final for the Women's Cricket World Cup. The favorites are the Australian team but England is fit and ready for them. This will be the 4th World Cup for Edwards who is the current ICC Women's Player of the Year. She proclaims that a Cup victory would surpass any individual honor. After the previous losses it is easy to fathom why she is keeping focused on the victory. The eight-team tournament will be staged from March 7-22.

WPS: The WPS unveiled their new uniforms by Puma. Puma is definitely one of my favorite clothiers and it is nice to see them in women's soccer! The jerseys have some very appealing color combos. My local team, the Los Angeles Sol, are hosting a free public event on March 8th. Watch out for this team as three time FIFA Player of the Year, Marta Vieira da Silva, leads a very talented squad.

Today in Sports History

1951 - Babe Didrikson-Zaharias wins Orlando 2 Ball Golf Tournament

Happy Birthday to Brian Urlacher and Jeff Fisher

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

To Press Release or Not...What Do You Think?

Since I never seem to never run out of press releases from all over sports I have been toying with a new idea. In addition to my regular post for a day I was thinking about putting whole press releases as stand alone posts as I receive them. This would not replace the "Tales From The Inbox" section as I get many other messages that will take that up. The only danger is that I don't write the releases and the content could be incorrect or have another issue. I had this happen on another site. Basically, one company disputed another's claim in a release and wanted to call everyone involved unprofessional if they didn't immediately change the wording.

Here is one such release I received. Again, I did not write this nor do I make any claim that it is accurate. For questions about the content please contact Sweet Spot Golf:

For Immediate Release

Sweet Spot Golf partners with Women's National Golf School

Golf club manufacturer and nationally recognized women’s golf academy join forces to bring a new direction in golf - bringing FUN to the game as part of the solution.

Los Angeles, Calif. (February 23, 2009) – Custom golf club design and manufacturing start-up Sweet Spot Golf announced at this weekend’s EWGA’s Annual Conference a partnership with one of the largest and most well-respected teaching academies in the US, National Golf Schools. Sweet Spot Golf’s high performance, custom crafted clubs are superior in quality and fashion forward clubs are a unique offering in the golf industry and women golfers are taking notice. National Golf Schools is launching their Women's National Golf School making the partnership with Sweet Spot a perfect match for the two companies to join forces and promote golf products and instruction to women, one of the sports fast growing segments.

“We feel strongly that women golfers have not been given the attention they deserve and our intention in partnering with an academy owned and operated by Northern Florida’s PGA Teacher of the year Pat Livingston’s, is to finally give this consumer more of what they want; the game of golf on their own terms and if that means doing things differently to make the game more fun, so be it” said Brian Allman President of Sweet Spot Golf.

Our line of women’s products not only performs as well as any other in the marketplace but they also bring a sense of style and design that allows the golfer to feel like the game has come to them and not the other way around. When looking for a partner with a similar philosophy, Pat came to mind immediately.

The National Golf School philosophy is to take each person and use what they have to their greatest advantage. “You will never hear a ‘one method fits all’ mentality from our staff of Professionals,” said owner and award winning PGA instructor Pat Livingston. “Learning is best done in a fun, respectful environment and that describes our school perfectly. Combined now with Sweet Spot Golf’s products assist students in bringing out the best in their game. They feel more in control, not just physically, but also because their equipment better reflects their personal style. We are going to have a lot of fun working with Sweet Spot and because of that our students are going to benefit, they’ll have move fun too, which is what it’s all about!”

Mr. Livingston further commented, “Sweet Spot Golf has designed and engineered a unique, well crafted and evenly weighted putter. It’s built with quality and their unique Precision Positioning System allows us to better teach golfers to find their target line and sink putts with style.” Sweet Spot’s new Black and Pink clubs are available in Putters, a 13-degree Driver as well as a Hybrid in three different loft degrees (19, 22, and 25). The women’s line is expected to have a variety of colors available by the summer of 2009.

Additionally, Sweet Spot Golf’s Pink line is a proud sponsor of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. “Women who have seen and tried the stylish Pink clubs have embraced them with enthusiasm because they know that playing with these products means more than just owning a quality golf club” says Sweet Spot Partner and club designer Chuck Parise, “They say ‘I support finding a cure for Breast Cancer.’ It is the Power of Pink!”

Sweet Spot Golf launched the sale of the Pink line of clubs on their website and is currently looking for retail outlets to sell their products. Additionally, they will now be available for purchase at the Womens National Golf School.

About Sweet Spot Golf LLC
Sweet Spot Golf is a golf club manufacturer located in Southern California. Their commitment to building performance based golf clubs while adding a unique sense of design and color will be their standard mark in the industry. Current plans include the release of their men’s line of clubs as well as a custom Sports Branded line of Putters. Additional Information at

About National Golf Schools/Women's National Golf Schools (WNGS)

National Golf Schools is the “#1 Resort Golf School in the World” with 90 locations nationwide and international locations in Aruba, Puerto Rico, St. Andrews, Scotland and Ireland. In partnership with Women's National Golf Schools (WNGS) an effort has been made to offer women only golf schools at locations with women friendly amenities at the finest resorts in the world. Outstanding female PGA & LPGA teaching professionals will provide the highest quality instruction specifically for women. Sweet Spot Golf has set their sites on producing the finest womens golf clubs in the business. Sweet Spot is working with Women's National Golf School (WNGS) to bring these quality products along with the best women LPGA and PGA instructors to the perfect woman friendly resort golf school. Additional information available at these web-sites: &

What do you think about including press releases as stand alone posts in addition to the usual content?

Monday, February 23, 2009

5 Questions For Anniversary Week

Today marks a year that I have been writing this blog every day. Previously, I wrote sports on a few other sites and in print (and still do a bit). One day I decided that I would just write my own page and not have to worry about making someone else's editing or content guidelines. I've had a great time writing about whatever I felt like. Again, I'm not trying to do anything in particular. Also, if you noticed, I took off all of the AdSense text links quite some time ago. A few have been frustrated with me from time to time since I don't adhere to only one particular content theme. That was the point.

At any rate, I started doing "5 Questions" on other sites and then brought it here every Monday. Today, I wanted to alert you to some of the earlier interviews that you may have missed that I think you will enjoy.

Shirlett Hendry, girls basketball coach at Dorsey High

Shayne and Shannon McIntyre, On Surfari hosts

Patricia Hannigan, the Golf Girl

Shelly Mascaro, archer

Estelle Robinson, dog agility trainer

Thank you to all that come here and read my babbling every day. I really do appreciate your comments, email, and suggestions.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Sports Wrap - February 22, 2009

Golf: Today is the final day of the Northern Trust Open. I actually went yesterday and had a blast! It was the first golf-related event that I had been to in quite some time that I was not working as press. It was very nice to sit back and enjoy the event without worrying about missing a shot or interview. Learnings of the day include that Phil Mickelson can really swing a club at an amazing speed and Rocco Mediate truly is a nice guy. If you get a chance to go to a PGA Tour event this year I would highly recommend it.

NFL: The NFL Combine continues today. Quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers work out today.

NBA: The Lakers are on STILL ON FIRE and remain the best in the NBA. Minnesota hosts the team tonight.

Today in Sports History

1980 - USA beats USSR in Olympic hockey 4-3 en route to a gold medal

1997 - Annika Sorenstam wins LPGA Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Celebrity Apprentice and Celebrity Fitness

Lately the inbox has been filling with celebrity news that ties in to sports. I'm really not much of a stargazer and don't usually include "celebirty" news in my posts. In fact, I am one of the only one of my colleagues that has seen exactly none of the movies that are up for an Academy Award this year. See? Los Angeles natives are not a bunch of shallow, affected, celebrity chasers! We're sports lovers too! At any rate, I couldn't resist sharing these gems with you that I was alerted to:

Celebrity Apprentice: This edition of The Apprentice has your usual B,C, and D-list "reality" stars mixed in with sports figures. I was quite surprised to see LPGA golf pro Natalie Gulbis in the cast. Perhaps her involvement will bring more attention to the LPGA? Also included are figure skating champ Scott Hamilton, NFL great Herschel Walker, the ubiquitous Dennis Rodman, and a colorful cast of comedians, musicians, and others. The celebs each play the game for a charity of their choice. You can find more videos like the one of Natalie above by clicking here.

Celebrity Fitness: Fitness Magazine has a new list out that gives you celebrity workout plans. Abby Wambach, star forward of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team is included as is a piece about what it takes to be an Olympian from a skeleton slider, cyclist, and gymnast. Below is a video from Fitness Magazine to get you started that works your abs and obliques.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tiger Woods Returns To Golf

Personally, I haven't been bored with golf without Tiger. I've actually learned more about players like Ian Poulter, Camilo Villegas, and Rocco Mediate to name a few. There are plenty of interesting characters in golf and many very good players. However, to the rest of the world, the return of Tiger Woods is a magical event.

The word around town about the Northern Trust Open is that attendance and ticket sales are down this year since there is no Tiger playing. I'm sure that he deserves some credit but I believe all forms of sales are down all over the country for nearly everything you can think of. Many are not spending on golf-related commerce due to other factors in the current economic climate. However, Tiger's return will certainly spark a new interest and maybe even increase spending for some. Certainly ticket sales for his first event will dry up quickly. The Accenture Match Play Championship where he makes his return next week is touted as a thrill for the broadcasters. A "boon" is predicted for NBC Sports as they will make their season debut covering the PGA Tour. I wonder how much coverage the rest of the field will get?

Don't get me wrong - I do believe Tiger Woods is amazing and totally deserves his number one status. He worked at it his entire life and pulls off some truly remarkable feats. All I am saying is that there is more to golf than Tiger Woods. Sure, he's great to watch and even emulate. Heck, one of my golf instructors flipped a video around for me to watch Tiger swing left-handed to illustrate swing mechanics (since I'm a lefty). I'm not trying to take anything away from Tiger at all. What I am suggesting is that if you are interested in golf you might take a look around and see what else is out there.

Are you excited about the return of Tiger Woods?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blogspotting - February 19, 2009

Tired of the ordinary? I found some extraordinary stories around the web today. It just reminds me that there are a lot of passionate writers, athletes, and fans out there in the world of sports! Every time I think that I've found all of the blogs about a particular region or sport - another pops up. Today's linking has some of the new finds - many that have been around for quite some time.

Read about this cool 73-year-old "Mother of Judo".

Check out this Sports Girl's coverage of pro lacrosse.

Did LeBron really say that he would be in the Slam Dunk Contest next year?

Here is a fitness story that should motivate you to get to your workout!

This is the perfect time of year for a snowboard clip contest.

The Chicks lament a Deuce that has been cut loose.

Want to be in the next edition of Blogspotting? Send me your story link and I'll check it out!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - February 18, 2009

NBA: Shaquille O'Neal's introduction at the NBA All-Star Game over the weekend was certainly wild. One source noted that he was dancing like no one was watching. The West handed it to the East in a 146-119 trouncing. Kobe and Shaq even raised the trophy together.

Here We Go: The NFL Combine is coming and so are the mock drafts. Soon, we will be unable to watch the NFL Network due to the nonstop shoulda, coulda, woulda talk of the upcoming draft.

MLB: With all of the other hubbub going on around baseball most fans don't realize that Spring Training has started. Pitchers and catchers have already reported for many teams. Also, many teams are without people that should have been signed already but we won't get in to that again quite yet...

Twitter Replaces "Big Brother": Lance Armstrong has urged the users of Twitter to help recover his stolen bicycle. I've seen specialty online forums and message boards help people with bad online transactions before and it was only a matter of time before something like this would come about. It is truly amazing how connected the world is...

Today in Sports History

1951 - Three City College of NY basketball players admit to accepting bribes

1978 - 1st Ironman Triathlon (swim, bike ride, marathon) is held in Kona, Hawaii

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tales From The Inbox And Around The Internet – February 17, 2009

Fundraiser: The Southern California Breakers are holding a fundraiser for the upcoming season. All you need to do is visit the website here, download a flyer for either Wednesday, February 25 or Wednesday, April 1 and then head over to the Souplantation in Tustin, CA between 5:00-8:00pm on those dates. Make sure you hand in the flyer and follow the instructions so that the Breakers will receive 15% of sales generated from these dates/times.

For Sale: Chicks Who Rip is a clothing company that started in Kauai and is now up for sale or licensing. According to one source, the company once had six stores on Kauai and Oahu. The line is geared toward women’s sports and surfing as the name implies. Unfortunately, a major injury has caused the company to downsize and now the owner is looking for the right person/persons to take over. Click here for the contact information to find out more.

Change is Good: In case you were wondering what happened to Bringing Hockey Back and sometime guest poster Casey – he has packed up and moved. The blog is now called Back To The Point but has all of the same hockey info you were accustomed to. In addition, there are more writers on board and more teams covered. If you’re interested in being a contributor for the new site just hop over and drop them a line. They are looking for more people to write about hockey teams. So far, they have Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Stars, Capitals and Bruins covered.

Monday, February 16, 2009

5 Questions About The Riviera Country Club And The LA Open

Driving around the UCLA/Brentwood/Pacific Palisades/Malibu area this weekend you could tell the tournament at the Riviera Country Club was coming up. The Northern Trust Open, or "L.A. Open" as we call it around here, has events that start today. Maybe. The weather is actually not cooperating very much at all. We are actually having a good storm in Southern California today. A reader that would like to remain enigmatic asked if I would address the following five questions about the Open and Riviera:

1. Is Tiger Woods in the tournament?

Tiger will not be one of the golfers in this tournament as he is still recovering from knee surgery. Interestingly enough, Tiger has never won this event.

2. Who is the reigning champ of the Open?

Phil Mickelson won in 2008 and graces the banners on every light post around the area. When he won last year everyone thought it was a sign that he would have a great year. He ended up not doing so well and went from the number two position in the rankings to his current place at fifth. I must say, as a lefty it is nice to see someone plastered all over the Westside that has a golf swing that goes in the correct direction!

3. Can I play at the Riviera Country Club?

As the "Country Club" part of the name suggests, the Riviera is private. One can only play golf or tennis there if hosted by a member or if you are a member yourself. The nice thing about the Northern Trust Open is that anyone can get tickets for as little as $20 and see this course and the PGA Tour players.

4. How long has the Riviera been around?

The Club was established in 1926 and has been open for play since 1927. There is quite a bit of rich history that is interesting to read including where the nickname Hogan's Alley came from.

5. Has the Open always been played at the Riviera?

Indeed it has. The event has seen historic milestones, such as Babe Didrickson-Zaharias becoming the first woman playing in a PGA men's event. 1962 saw Jack Nicklaus get his first professional paycheck ($33.33) and 1992 was when Tiger Woods played in his first PGA event as an amateur at age 16.

5 Questions every Monday has evolved from being only interviews to general questions about a sport or sporting event. If you have five burning questions about one such topic please send me an email. You can click the "View my complete profile link" and then the "Email" link to do so.

Thank you to everyone who has written so far. There are more interviews and questions scheduled for the future - keep those suggestions coming!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Sports Wrap - February 15, 2009

Are you tired of the same old thing in sports? Try these on for size today:

The What? "The 15th Annual Weiner National Dachshund Races will be held on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 3 p.m. Dozens of dachshunds will scramble in pursuit of fame and imaginative lures as hundreds of spectators cheer them on. Some of the dogs will have trained for minutes with a team of two handlers each who encourage, cajole and plead with the willful little dogs to focus on the high-stakes race instead of interesting sights, sounds and smells along the route." The event is in Huntington Beach and you can find out more here.

How About A Run? I found nine marathons that are happening today from Jacksonville Beach, FL to Columbus, OH. The Sarasota Grouper Marathon looks awesome. One day, I will train for and complete a marathon. If only I could find a way to retire at an early age...

The ASP Grade-3 Billabong Pro Junior Coffs Harbour event is in Australia today. Here in Southern California the waves are flat at best and it is quite chilly. I was in Malibu yesterday and watched a few diehards brave the cold for what looked like ankle-high crud to me.

Today in Sports History

1959 - Louise Suggs wins LPGA St Petersburg Golf Tournament

1978 - Leon Spinks beats Muhammad Ali in 15 for heavyweight boxing title

1990 - Major League Baseball owners lock out players

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How To Watch Sports On Valentine's Day

Well...a good place to start is to have someone in your life that is a sports fan. I am one of the lucky ones that have that luxury! Woohoo! There are some compelling reasons to skip the expensive, over-produced hype and enjoy sports with the one you love:

1. It is NBA All-Star Weekend! Now really, they must have realized that they planned this on Valentine's Day weekend. Was it to give the lonely or single folks something to do? I vote it was to give us sports nuts something to enjoy together as opposed to watching some sappy romantic comedy that will only cause us to want our 90 minutes back.

2. College Hoops! There are more college basketball games today than you can shake a stick at!

3. Hockey Galore! There are nine NHL games going on today.

4. Snow! If you're here in California then you know we just got more snow and it just so happens to be mostly clear today. What a perfect time to hit the slopes on a board or skis!

5. Soccer! There's one little Premier League game today with Portsmouth vs. Manchester City. In addition, there are a boatload of Serie A, Scottish, and other European games today.

Need I go on? Just because today is Valentine's Day it doesn't mean you have to give up on sports! I'll probably go have a hike myself with the hubby and my big, silly dog.

What are you doing today?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tales From The Inbox - February 13, 2009

Thanks Katie: I had heard and written about the Nike GameChangers campaign before but Katie in NC was kind enough to alert me to today's video. Priceless. Athletic Women Blog also ran this earlier in the week.

The Back Nine: Did you ever wish you were a professional golfer? Jon Fitzgerald decided that he would chase that dream at age 40. He's even making a documentary about the journey. You can be a part of the film by making a donation. How much involvement depends on the donation.

NBA: The NBA All-Star Weekend starts today. I received a tidbit about the Slam Dunk Contest (my favorite event of the weekend) earlier this week:

Due to injury, J.R. Smith of the Denver Nuggets will be replacing Rudy Gay (left hip flexor strain) in the event this Saturday night. Fans can text in their votes or vote here to help choose this year's Sprite Slam Dunk Champion. For more info, see the official Sprite Slam Dunk page here. Watch NBA All-Star Saturday Night Feb. 14 On TNT To Decide Who Will Be The 2009 Sprite Slam Dunk Champion!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Mercy Rule

Tuesday's guest post got me thinking about the "mercy rule" in sports. The Little League World Series has one that goes into effect if a team is up by 10 runs after 4 innings. I noticed similar rules in high school baseball in different parts of the country. No one seemed to give the rule much resistance when I saw it and accept it as part of the game. Players, fans, and coaches alike all seem quite content about the rule.

In Central Texas, there is a debate about this rule in high school basketball. One team has lost every game by an average of 51 points and had recent scores of 107-11 and 113-3. No doubt the infamous 100-0 game adds fuel to this debate.

Back in 2007, another article debated the rule citing a 50-3 softball score. This writer pointed out that mercy rules prevent long, boring games.

But isn't there more to this besides long and boring?

How would you feel if you were on the losing team? I know I would be highly motivated to never let it happen again. Not everyone will think like that. I'm definitely not for candy-coating sports where there are no losers, but don't you think there comes a point where enough is enough? When does the learning experience of a pulverizing, humiliating loss become absurd overkill?

In the world of MMA and boxing the match is called if one of the fighters is knocked out or badly hurt - and rightfully so. If this wasn't called then a person could be permanently disabled or killed. This is not exactly the same as the lopsided score although some may argue a mental slaughter causes as much damage.

Do mental beatings deserve a mercy rule?

What sports should have a mercy rule? What should the limits be?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - February 11, 2009

Here We Go Again
: With much less fanfare so far, Brett Favre has retired again. I'm guessing the tearful press conference won't be happening this time around. Who knows, maybe he'll break out some more tears? I also bet the Jets are sorry that they didn't hold on to Chad Pennington. Not everyone believes that he will actually hang it up. The poll on the front page of ESPN asks a simple yes or no if you think he has played his last game.

And Again: Have we not heard enough about the whole baseball and steroids thing? Alex Rodriguez lied about the use of banned substances. Miguel Tejeda also lied about his knowledge of what a teammate used. The thing that I found the most interesting about these stories is that Congress is not interested in bringing A Rod in to testify. They said they have better things to do like running the country. Imagine that.

Today in Sports History

1984 - Wayne Gretzky sets NHL short handed season scoring record at 11

1990 - James "Buster" Douglas KOs Mike Tyson to win heavyweight boxing crown

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Should All High School Team Members Get Playing Time?

Today's question is posed and discussed by Lindsay from the site That Mutt. She's contributed here before with an introduction to rugby and has let me babble on her site about my silly bloodhound and cats. The recent high school basketball game that ended up with a score of 100-0 inspired her to share her experiences as a player for today's guest post.

I played basketball in ninth grade, and I scored two points that season.

I knew I was terrible at basketball. But even at age 14, I was bothered by the fact that my coach never invested any time in helping me or the other players who were not stars. I was a hard worker, willing to learn and athletic. I showed up to practice just like everyone else, but my coach spent his time teaching new drills to the best players while the rest of us shot free throws.

I got maybe 10 minutes of playing time that season, always for seconds at a time within the last minute of the game when our team was way ahead. We won most games by 20 or 30 points, but our best players rarely got a rest. The most memorable game was when a few of our starters got sick. Instead of letting the bench players step up, our coach brought down several ninth-grade varsity players to play in our C-squad game. Our team won by 40 points.

When a high school girls' basketball coach in Texas was fired recently after his team won by 100 points, the story made national news, sparking a debate about how big is too big for a winning margin. That Texas game is one instance, but games like that happen every week in high school sports.

The coach of the Dallas-area Covenant School basketball team apparently began playing his bench players in the first quarter of the shutout that resulted in his firing, according to the Dallas Morning News. After three minutes, the score was already 25-0.

When you only have eight players total on your team, I would hope everyone gets playing time! But should that be the case in all instances?

Looking back to my basketball days, I absolutely believe all high school athletes should get playing time when they participate in a sport, especially when it's a ninth-grade or junior varsity team. Those years are about developing skills and learning what it means to work together. Let the best players have more time, but give every willing kid a chance, even if it's three minutes per half.

What if the school's policy is everyone who trys out will make at least the junior varsity team? Some teams could end up with 60 or more players. Wouldn't it be fair to give them each a few minutes on the court?

Some high schools provide extra playing time by allowing a scrimmage during halftime, where bench players play for 10 minutes or so. Although it's demeaning if it's the same players every time, it's also a good chance for skill development and experience in front of a crowd.

It's hard for high school and middle school coaches to make these decisions. Many of them are volunteers showing up every day just so kids can get out there and have fun. It's hard to satisfy the kids, the parents and the administration.

If I were a coach I would lay out my expectations right away at the first practice. I'd send a sheet home to the parents explaining that every kid will get playing time under certain conditions. Then I'd list those conditions, things like showing up to practice on time, showing good sportsmanship and representing the team positively at all times.

Besides basketball, I participated in softball, rugby and swimming. All the many coaches I had for these other sports gave every kid playing time. Sure, softball is a little different because everyone goes through the batting order, and rugby involves 30 people on the field at once, not 10. But when I played for good coaches who cared about everyone, it benefited the whole team. The more experienced players helped the newbies. The captains taught drills. Scrimmages involved everyone. Different people started every game so egos didn't escalate. Players learned different positions so we could all fill in anywhere. We did things together as a team outside of practices and games. We learned that if our team was going to be successful, we all had to be successful.

Winning involves more than five players scoring a bunch of points.

How do you think playing time should be handled? If you are a high school coach, how do you handle playing time?

Monday, February 9, 2009

5 Questions About Golf

Today its back to the "new" 5 questions format that answers what I get asked every so often by friends and colleagues (the interview format will be back again). Now, I am in no way a golf expert but I do spend a lot of time writing about, playing, watching, and covering golf. When I was growing up there was not much golf around me. I think my father and grandfather played a few times but not seriously. About four years ago is when I started and I'm socially acceptable and can make par more times than not lately. Lately, I've had a few friends ask me about the terminology and a few other things about the game.

1. What is the PGA?

PGA stands for Professional Golfers' Association. From the PGA website:

"Founded in 1916, The PGA of America is the largest working sports organization in the world, comprised of more than 28,000 dedicated men and women promoting the game of golf to everyone, everywhere."

2. What are the basics of golf etiquette?

The USGA (United States Golf Association) website explains that there are four basics:

What are the basics of golf etiquette?

Within the USGA Rules of Golf, there are core golf etiquettes that are engrained into the very essence of golf:

"a. Safety: Be aware of the players in your group, others on the course and yourself. Never take any action that could endanger anyone.

b. Consideration of other players:
* Show consideration of your actions by not disrupting anyone through excessive movement, talking and unnecessary noise.
* On the putting green, be sure not to stand in nor cast a shadow through the line of someone’s putt.

c. Pace of Play: Be sure to maintain a good pace of play.

d. Course Conditions: Do everything you can to leave the course they way you found it.
* Bunkers – be sure to rake your footprints while leaving a bunker. Feel free to rake those that others left behind as well!
* Divots – Taking a divot is not bad, but leaving it un-repaired is bad.
* Ball marks – make the effort to repair any marks made on the putting surface."

3. What does par and all of the scoring terms like birdie and bogey mean?

If you're stuck on terms use the USGA glossary:

Par = The score an accomplished player is expected to make on a hole, either a three, four or five.

Double Eagle = A score of three-under-par on a hole.

Eagle = A score of two-under-par on a hole.

Birdie = A score of one-under par on a hole.

Bogey = A score of one-over par on a hole.

Double Bogey = A score of two-over-par on a hole.

Also, you'll sometimes hear the term "albatross". This is three under par so if the hole had a par five someone got it in two strokes. Also, a hole-in-one is sometimes referred to as an "ace".

4. Who is number one in women's golf?

The 2008 LPGA Money List puts Lorena Ochoa at the top. A golfer's standing in the LPGA and PGA Money Lists goes by how much money they have earned that year in tournaments.

5. Is Tiger Woods still the number one golfer for the men?

He is still ranked the number one golfer in the world by points but is not on the 2009 PGA Money List yet. As many people know, he has yet to play this year and so will not rank on that list until he does play.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Sports Wrap - February 8, 2009

Pro Bowl: The (maybe) last Pro Bowl to be played in Hawaii is today. The league will move the event to Miami next year, the same location that the Super Bowl will be played. There has been no announcement as to where the 2011 game will be hosted. The NFL is attempting to make the game more relevant. Many consider the event to be a joke.

Golf: The Buick Invitational is finishing up today. I've watched Camilo Villegas miss at least 3 putts where he was really robbed. Seriously, the ball traveled right around the lip. Ouch. We all have our days.

NHL: Four games are on today. I'm happy to bring you the news that Bringing Hockey Back is back as well. Check out the blog for hockey news with a Penguins slant.

Listen: Don' forget that Women's Football Talk is on at 3:00pm PST and SportsGeeks is on at 5:00pm PST tonight. Click the links and you are there.

Today in Sports History

- 5' 7" Spud Webb of Atlanta Hawks wins NBA Slam Dunk Competition

- Nancy Lopez wins the LPGA Sarasota Golf Classic

Saturday, February 7, 2009

General Observations and Complaints

The last two weeks has been nuts for me! First, I was in Orlando at the PGA Merchandise Show and then in Tampa during Super Bowl weekend. While I was in Florida I ran into Golf Girl and BJ. I was pretty excited to actually see people in person that I had only known online. I got back in to Los Angeles on Monday night and immediately had a big project that I had to finish. Today I finally get to take a breather!

I've been keeping up as well as possible and falling asleep/waking up to SportsCenter so I'm not totally out of the loop. I thought I'd take today to make some observations, point you to some info, and complain about Manny Ramirez again.

Golf: If you haven't been to the Golf WRX website and are a golf fanatic then you are missing out. It has to be the largest online community for golfers around the world. I was in Orlando covering the PGA Show for them along with five other Golf WRXers. All of our pictures are in the threads here. I contributed some of the equipment, 95% of the fashion and accessories, and all of the Ian Poulter fashion show.

WNBA: Lisa Leslie has decided to retire from the WNBA. Lisa has been the face of women's basketball for the last decade in the eyes of many. We'll miss you, Lisa! Will there be an actual ceremony to pass the torch to Candace Parker? That would rock!

Lip Service: The Dodgers are allegedly actively pursuing Manny Ramirez. Yeah, and I'm a Boston Red Sox fan. Seriously, is this the way to keep the issue in the news so the McCourts can label themselves heroes when they resign him? Guess what, greedy folks? Angelinos are losing jobs in record numbers. Attendance just may suffer this year. Let me guess, you're still going to raise parking rates another $5 and claim poverty otherwise so that you can raise ticket prices. Yes, I'm bitter...

Thanks For Nothing
: Thank you, Mr. Beckham. I just want you to know how much I appreciate that my local news has been filled with your family's every move for the last year and a half and you are now tossing us aside. Los Angeles was more than patient and good to you and your wife. Now, you insist on going back on your commitment and heading back to Europe. Pardon us for being a giant metropolitan area where there is more to do than just watch soccer. We have other sports, entertainment, outdoor activities year round, and millions of residents. Did you not get enough attention? Aww, poor baby.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Michael Phelps and the New Controversy

Michael Phelps is the latest casualty in the athletes vs. drugs saga. Many of you have heard by now that a picture of the Olympic medalist surfaced that showed him smoking a "water pipe". The resulting punishment? Phelps received a three month suspension from swimming. There are many ways to look at this incident:

1. Intolerance - marijuana is illegal and therefore he is wrong. He should know better.

2. He's not the only one - how could he be the only athlete that has used the drug?

3. The bright side - he didn't try to make up some story that he was smoking a legal substance or just fooling around for the camera.

4. Lucky - he was only given a three month suspension.

5. Apathy - it's nobody's business what he does in the off-season.

What do you think? Did he get off easy? Is the punishment fair? Is this minor?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In Case You Missed It Blogspotting

I missed it - yesterday was the 23rd annual celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. A few of my blogger favorites, however, did not...

The Athletic Women Blog featured a piece written by WNBA President Donna Orender.

Because I Played Sports also posted the piece with some video and commentary. In addition, there is a follow-up on the site today.

Along those same lines, Pretty Tough ran a piece today about black women in sports being recognized for Black History Month. (I promise we will have lunch soon, Jane. We have to!)

Finally, I couldn't possibly mention women in sports without noting the recent accomplishment of Serena Williams. Her win at the Australian Open puts her in the position of being the woman that has accumulated the most prize money of any female athlete in history.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wild World of Wednesday - February 2, 2008

Don't Quit Your Day Job: Even though USA Today reported that the Steelers wouldn't have a parade if they won the Super Bowl a parade happened. One of the players decided to do his best Little John imitation and sing a song. The problem was that nobody else could hear the beat that was going on inside his head. You can't blame him for being overly excited though - you would be too!

Tiger Watch: Everyone's favorite golfer is reportedly practicing with all of his clubs and ready to get back to work. SportsCenter went so far as to say that many would rather watch Tiger on the driving range than other players in an actual event. Okay...

Manny, Manny, Manny
: The Dodgers lowballed Manny Ramirez once more. The morning news here in Los Angeles went so far as to say that the McCourts are trying and we can't get mad at them. Really? I am disappointed to know that one of my favorite sports figures is selling out. Seriously, it's obvious that someone was "talked to" and asked not to say any more bad things about the ownership. What a bunch of doo doo!

Today in Sports History

1990 - St Petersburg Pelicans beat the West Palm Beach Tropics by 12-4 to win 1st Senior Professional Baseball Association Championship

Happy Birtdhay to Lawrence Taylor and Carly Patterson

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm Almost Too Tired To Be Blogspotting

What a week! First, I was in Orlando for the PGA Merchandise Show and then in Tampa for Super Bowl weekend. I got back last night at about 9:00 pm Los Angeles time, grabbed some real food, and then came home to crash. Now, I sit here in a daze trying to get things going. I wonder if this post will make sense if I come back and read it tonight?

Check out the Saints making a Super Bowl appearance and this funny opener about the big game.

There is more to life other than the NFL. Check it out here.

Here is another interesting read about women in sports in Iran.

Don't forget about the Candace Parker campaign with adidas.

Monday, February 2, 2009

5 Questions With Megan Hueter (...Because I Played Sports)

Today's guest is a Megan Hueter that writes the blog ...Because I Played Sports. I'm a big fan of the blog and recommend that you give it a look if you haven't already. Megan took time out of her busy schedule to answer my five questions:

1. When did you first become involved in playing sports? What sports have you played through your life, organized or otherwise? What do you continue to play, if anything, today?

I first started playing sports at a very young age (too young to remember). I have a brother who is a year older, so I guess I just started playing when he did. I remember playing town leagues for tee ball, basketball, soccer and softball. I also swam for a bunch of years in the summers. My parents were really good at making sure my brother, sister and I were physically active almost all year round.

I played grade school basketball at St Rose in Haddon Heights, NJ. I went to two different high schools - first, Camden Catholic in Cherry Hill, NJ, then Haddon Heights HIgh School in Haddon Heights, NJ. I played both varsity basketball and softball during that time. My true love was basketball, though. I played AAU basketball from eighth grade all the way through high school (had a lot of fun times). Then, I went on to The College of New Jersey, and played all four years there, and was the captain my senior year.

Of course I continue to play basketball today in rec leagues around Washington, DC. I've made some really great friends doing that. I play in a women's league (which was hard to find) and a coed team. I also play flag football in the fall. I love playing rec sports. Coed is a new experience for me, and I love it.

2. What was the main motivation behind your blog? How did you come to choose the particular genre within the world of sports? What do you hope to accomplish?

I started my blog when I started working in digital public affairs. I wanted to learn about the blogosphere by actually being a part of it. I wanted to tailor my discussions around something that I love - sports. Choosing a genre in sports is hard (it's so complex). But I believe that women's sports don't get enough attention or credit, especially from some of the male sports blogs. Also, female sports is often confused with a cultural stereotype of masculinity. So I wanted to enter the sphere, make some friends, and start to promote change by promoting female athletes who excel. My hope is that by providing consistent, credible information online, and by forming a community of bloggers who support women in sports, we can start a movement to increase the voice for women and change perceptions of what it means to be a female athlete.

3. You come up with some of the most amazing stories - where do you find most of your material? Do you cover what you are most interested in or do you add in other areas of women's sports that maybe aren't your favorite sports/events to cover?

I have many friends offline who support women in sports. By getting the word out to them that I'm writing, they often forward interesting stories to me. I try to write about them wherever possible. Title IX interests me, too, because I believe that the "female athlete" stories that influence the perspective of advocacy surrounding Title IX are missing. More women need to start talking about it in order to protect it. My goal is to add more guest bloggers that will promote alternative sports and sports that I don't usually cover. Also, by forming relationships with other sports bloggers, I hope to promote their content on a regular basis by linking to it and adding commentary.

4. Who do you consider to be your role models? In your opinion, what makes a good role model? On that same note, would you consider yourself a role model? Why or why not?

I'd consider Billie Jean King a role model. As a female athlete, she created a movement, which led to the founding of the Women's Sports Foundation, and many important advocacy efforts which have protected girls' right to participate in sport.

I see myself as a role model when I coach. (I coach an AAU team of 14 year old girls). Coaching is the most rewarding experience ever. I can tell when they're looking up to me, and being in that type of position is awesome. My hope is that I continue to grow professionally, colleagues may see me as a role model. As that starts to happen, I hope to teach younger employees as much of what I know so that they can continue what I've already been doing. It's kind-of like "passing the torch" - and it's so important for society.

5. If you were asked to inspire young people to become involved in sports, what would you say? What do you believe is the best way to inspire young people?

The best way to empower other people is to give them the tools they need to become successful. You can't push. As long as you provide young people the opportunity to play sports (or do something else they may love), you're doing your job. That's why Title IX is so important (it gives girls opportunities).

Then, if young people want to work hard at something, you should do everything you can to make that happen by teaching them and working with them. You should show them role models. If a young girl likes women's basketball, you should follow the WNBA. Take her to games (if you can afford it). Allow her to aspire to something. If she likes to dance, take her to a ballet, show her what she could become, with hard work.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Sports Wrap - February 1, 2009

The first month of 2009 has passed and Super Sunday is upon us. Believe it or not there are other sports happenings today. The NBA, NCAA Hoops, and NHL are all moving on in spite of the NFL event. Check the list here if you don't believe me. Golf is happening today as well. I'm all golfed out for the moment after hanging at the PGA Merchandise show this week and glad to be in Tampa. Woohoo!

As for the Steelers vs. Cardinals - it will either be a slaughter or a surprise. The Super Bowl is terribly unpredictable at best. If you don't believe me simply refer to last year. The New England Patriots fans bravely assumed that their team playing the actual game was a mere formality and the title was theirs for the taking. I recall the last Super Bowl set in Tampa back in 2001. The new York Giants were playing the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens decided to be introduced as a team and were booed as the entered the stadium. Everyone just knew the Giants were going to walk away with the trophy. We all know how that turned out.

Whatever you do today, be safe. If you are here in the Tampa Bay area like I am please be careful. There are a lot of people that learned to drive from all over the world so it can be interesting. Be patient. The streets here were not meant to carry so many.

Today in Sports History

- David Stern becomes the NBA commissioner

1992 - Barry Bonds signs baseball's highest single year contract at the time to the tune of $4.7 million