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Cinderella, 2018 MLB and Maybe More

The Final Four is set for NCAA basketball. My original bracket had Villanova and Michigan in it. It also had Michigan State and Cincinatti in it. How Many had Loyola-Chicago aka Cinderella in it? Probably millions-in heaven. Nothing would make me smile more than to see Loyola take the cake. I grow weary of the “Big Boys” always winning it. I did have MSU over Michigan in the final. The Wolverines were playing great basketball after a so-so first half of the season. I still have them winning it over Villanova in bracket number 5 lol. What a great BB season where anyone can win because of the lack of dominant teams this year. Their may be a new NCAA rule adopted for next year: no divine fans or mascots. I’m sure having a fan such as Sister Jean will be deemed unfair and will be banned from courtside attendance next year-especially if they win it all. It is the NCAA after all. The organization with 3000 pages of rules and only 100 are viable. Loyola may be under investigation  by the NCAA or probation because something HAS to be wrong if they win it. My prayers, as if you need any more, are with you Loyola.

Major League baseball begins today!!! No, it’s not April yet. The earliest start ever? At least in quite awhile. Being a Cubbies fan, I hope they can repeat their 2016 performance. Many spring training followers say this is the best team they have seen. Many say it is a better team than last year. Go Cubbies!

 

Just A Quick Update-Packers etal

Just a quick update on upcoming events. It’s NFL free agency. I’m hoping the Packers do something special. On defense. Jimmy Graham is a welcome addition. I wanted him when heleft the Saints. Goodbye Jordy-we love you! But the Pack’s defense needs help. As if the Vikings needed another quarterback for their dilemma. Case Keenum […]

Football Vs Soccer – How They Are Related, and How They Are Not

Two of the most beloved sports Football and Soccer have much in common. Lately, many are wondering why there is such an international pull for soccer while football remains an American sport. This articles intent is to bring out some of the similarities and differences between soccer and football based on: history, team size, and fan size.

History: Football vs. Soccer

Football is actually a relative from soccer. Though the date is unsure of when the sport was first known to be played, there were many professional teams starting to spring up in the late 1800s. It was not that much different from its closer cousin rugby, but was showing some far different plays from soccer already.

Here is an interesting fact. Soccer or “football” as is as known in most European and South American Countries is actually the founder of both rugby and football. The major disconnections occurred when the rules for soccer changed to a “no hands” rule. At this point rugby was born. Later as rugby split into two different kinds of play: traditional rugby which allows drop kick goals and more footwork, and American football which has kickoffs and field goals (reminiscent of its soccer days) tackling and hand offs (similar to rugby) and forward passing, options, and other additions.

Soccer on the other hand has a long history, according to the Munich Ethnological Museum there is a Chinese text dated around 50 B.C. talking about “soccer” games in china. Though it is unsure how similar these games were to what we know as soccer today.

Team Size: Football vs. Soccer

There is a tremendous size difference between football and soccer. In football you not only have players that make up a team, but you have specific teams within your team. There are three major teams that consist of a football team: The offense, the defense, and special teams. Each one has a specific objective. The offense with a quarterback, receivers, and guards’ objective are to score touchdowns, while the defensive team’s job is to stop the opposing team from scoring by tackling the quarterback, runners, or blocking passes. Special teams deal with punts, field goals, and kickoffs. All in all there are anywhere from 30 – 60 players that combine to make a football team.

Soccer is a continuous sport. Meaning unlike football where you have set plays and an offensive and defensive team, in soccer the ball is always going. That being the case there are still offensive and defensive parts to the play of soccer. One can tell whether a team is on the offensive or defensive by where the ball is on the field. If the ball is on your side of the field then you are on defensive, if it is on your opponent’s side then you are on the offensive.

Fan Size: Football vs. Soccer

Determining which sport has a greater or more loyal fan base is difficult. Here in the United States American football by far has the larger fan base. However, outside of the United States (and perhaps Canada) you do not hear much about football, only soccer. Entire cities have been known to shut down for the world cup, and yet the most watched event was last year’s super bowl. One thing is a fact. Both soccer and football have loyal fans that are not going anywhere.

Conclusion

Soccer or Football? Well when it comes right down to it, you are choosing between two very popular sports that will continue to gain momentum in the years to come.

Football As a Popular Sport

Football, or Soccer, as it is known in many parts of the world is a sport or game that is played between two teams, each containing eleven players. A rectangular field with goal posts at either end into which opposing teams must kick goals into forms the outline of the game. There are a set of rules governing the game, although much has changed in the way the game is played now.

It is easily the world’s most popular sport considering that over 300 million players from over 200 countries around the world are involved in the sport.

The origin or invention of modern-day football throws up interesting and sometimes controversial details. It was largely believed that Britain or England is where the game was first played in the medieval period and it gradually spread throughout Europe. A game involving a ‘party of boys playing a ball’ was first observed in the 19th century in England. However, the Chinese claim that the sport in England is largely drawn from a similar game played in China several centuries earlier. Unlike most other sports of that time, this was played on ‘foot’ and not on horseback, hence the name ‘football’. But there are vast dissimilarities between the two versions.

The rise and popularity of the game cannot be questioned and several hugely prestigious events and tournaments are held throughout the year in various countries. Professional football has seen the rise of several athletes playing the game at the highest levels with huge fan followings for the numerous teams. The English Premier League football season is a highly awaited even and has football lovers thronging stadiums to witness between their favorite teams manned by professional football players from many nations.

‘Soccer’ is the term associated with football in the US and it is claimed to have been coined from the English shortened slang for its formal name, Association Football or ‘assoc’.

Like many other sports and games where vast amounts of money and authority are involved, football has seen its share of infamy and scandals in recent years. The likes of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and superstar Michel Platini have been accused of corruption and are facing suspensions and total bans. Several aspects like code of conduct, loyalty, conflict of interest and accepting gifts and commissions are part of the charges leveled against the highest ranked officials in the game.

Over the years, the dominance of South American players in the game has slowly been replaced by several European players but the game continues to be extremely popular even as a street sport as it does not require much equipment or infrastructure.

A Short History Of Baseball

Baseball is an international sport. It is played between two teams of nine players having nine innings. However it is mostly played in US and Canada. Baseball is similar to other bat and ball sports like cricket. One team is on the field with one player designated pitcher while the remainder fields. The other team rotates a player to bat. It has four bases and the hitter needs to negotiate until a home run is hit.

As the US dominates the game of Baseball, it is not an invention of North America. Its origin goes back to the medieval games from where cricket also developed. Bat and ball games of medieval times is most likely the father of modern baseball. Similar variants were played in the 14th century may have originated collectively earlier in history.

Bat and ball games played in England during the medieval times were dog and cat, rounders, Stoolball and perhaps cricket. Many historians suggest that stoolball was adopted by men in medieval villages which became an ancestor of cricket since by the 1500s. The game of Rounders which is played in Ireland today was also invented by England. It is very much similar to Stoolball and modern baseball.

A game called Town Ball played in US appeared to be brought by Irish and English immigrants. It was similar to Rounders. Town Ball was played in the 1740s and it was known as base, ball or round ball in some parts of the US. The name base ball was long considered to be coined in the US.

The early reference to baseball comes from 1791. The first recorded rules of Baseball came from 1845 when Alexander Cartwright, a New York firefighter.

Passion for baseball at club level and spectators was the cause of formation of several new clubs during the coming years. In 1858, 25 clubs came together and created the National Association of Base Ball Players. The NABPP and its successor the National Association were not very successful in encouraging growth in teams. This led to the formation of National League which continues till today.

The National League originally consisted of 12 teams but declining ticket sales in 1900 forced the league to downsize to 8 teams. This decision was exploited by the minor Western League and they expanded to other cities dropped by National League. The Western League later renamed itself to American League.

There is not too much difference between the two leagues as they both essentially operate the same rules with the exception of designated hitter rule adopted by American League in 1973.

From the birth of baseball, some great players inspired fans and players becoming celebrities from their humble beginnings. The integration of baseball started in 1945. Most of the club owners and major league executives were not in good principles regarding black players chance in the majors. A movement began in the late 1960s to have these players recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ice Hockey Equipment, A Brief History

Ice hockey is a sport that is favored in colder climates during winter and has fans all over the world. It is believed that hockey is tied to prehistoric times, although the word hockey has only been used since the 16th century to describe the game. In 1893, the first of the matches were held at both Yale University and John Hopkins University and in 1903. The first professional team formed was called the Portage Lakers in Michigan.

Since those times, indoor Ice hockey has become a popular sport. With the hard surface of the ice, pucks flying at over 100 miles per hour at times and the rough way that the game is played by teams opposing each other, Ice Hockey can be very hazardous for the people playing it.

Safety Gear
Safety gear has been introduced to the game to keep players from sustaining serious injury. Some of the main safety gear that is used by professional and amateur players alike is:
Helmets,
Shoulder pads,
Elbow pads,
Mouth guards,
Gloves,
Padded shorts,
Breezers,
Shin guards,
And, often, neck guards.

Goaltenders also need specialized equipment such as masks and extra padded equipment to keep them safe from flying pucks while defending the goals. All of this safety equipment is a must when playing the game and most of it is considered mandatory.

Ice Hockey Skates
Another bit of equipment that is used for playing ice hockey are ice hockey skates. These are made from a base of leather or nylon boots. Professionals prefer not to use nylon as they are said to make it harder to manoeuver in them. The thick leather or nylon in the boots helps players to protect themselves from being hit in the shins and ankles.

There is also a blade used at the bottom of the skates. This blade helps to make moving on the ice easy. Ice hockey skates are much the same style as figure skates, although ice hockey skates have a rounded blade on them to help avoid injury to other players.

Ice Hockey Sticks
Ice hockey sticks are one of the main tools used in the game and are generally made of wood. The hockey stick is around 200cm long and has a flat extension at the bottom of the stick known as the blade. Blades and sticks can vary in size depending on the player who is using them. Many professional players have their sticks customized to suit them.

The blade is curved in the same direction the ice skater moves, the stick has been designed that way to assist in lifting and keeping the puck off of the playing surface.

Ice Hockey Helmets
The ice hockey helmets need to be measured by the size or circumference of the player’s head just above the eyebrows to ensure a proper fit. An ideal ice hockey helmet will fit comfortably and not shift around the head. There should never be rotation or looseness in a helmet as this may cover the player’s field of vision.

The inside of a helmet is made of a material called Vinyl nitrate. Vinyl nitrate is especially useful for absorbing force or impact from direct hits to the head from pucks, hockey sticks or direct contact with the ice.

Helmets are often fitted with visors. This is mainly to protect a player’s eyes. With younger players and in some leagues, it is mandatory to use a visor while playing. Other mandatory equipment includes special masks, especially for young players or those who play ice hockey at a university. These players are required to use a mask made from metal or thick plastic attached to their helmets to protect their face from injury.

March Madness Arrives

Yahoo! It’s March. Other than the opening day of football, March is my favorite time of year. NASCAR is underway and Kevin Harvick is running the show for now. The Olympics are finally over-we didn’t do so well in my opinion. Thank God the NBA all-star game is over. Now begins the quest for the right to hold the trophy as the #1 college basketball team. I’m saddened that my Baby Badgers won’t be in it for the first time in a blue moon. They did begin to play some excellent b-ball a little too late in the game. They will be back next year. My faves for the championship are Michigan State, Virginia, Duke, and look out for Michigan-they are hot and just won the Big Ten Tournament for the second straight year. It’s always fun to watch the upsets. Making out a dozen brackets in hopes of being that one in a trillion that gets all the games right. The selection committee has a tough go of it this year. There doesn’t seem to be any shoo-ins. Parity has arrived this year. I’ve got my genie fromDirectv set for 5 games at a time. I’m all set. Are you?

March Madness Arrives

Yahoo! It’s March. Other than the opening day of football, March is my favorite time of year. NASCAR is underway and Kevin Harvick is running the show for now. The Olympics are finally over-we didn’t do so well in my opinion. Thank God the NBA all-star game is over. Now begins the quest for the right to hold the trophy as the #1 college basketball team. I’m saddened that my Baby Badgers won’t be in it for the first time in a blue moon. They did begin to play some excellent b-ball a little too late in the game. They will be back next year. My faves for the championship are Michigan State, Virginia, Duke, and look out for Michigan-they are hot and just won the Big Ten Tournament for the second straight year. It’s always fun to watch the upsets. Making out a dozen brackets in hopes of being that one in a trillion that gets all the games right. The selection committee has a tough go of it this year. There doesn’t seem to be any shoo-ins. Parity has arrived this year. I’ve got my genie fromDirectv set for 5 games at a time. I’m all set. Are you?

A Brief Overview Of The Game Of Ice Hockey

The game of ice hockey can get fierce and dangerous because you can get checked across the ice and even get into a fight and the refs allow it. Ice hockey is unlike any other winter sport. You glide across the ice on a pair of ice skates and try to hit a black puck that is heavy into a net.

Men and women play ice hockey along with teens and kids. Even though it is a hard and tough sport you can still play it without getting hurt all the time even though you are bound to get into a fight or get hurt. They have pro ice hockey for both men and women and it gets competitive especially if you are good and you get checked then the whole team might come out on the ice and fight.

Professional ice hockey is basically the most violent sport on the face of the earth. If you get into a fight in hockey they let you keep going until the fight goes to the ground. They even let you take off your gloves and helmets and actually duke it out even though you are on a pair of ice skates you can still take a beating and give a good beating as well.

For each penalty the get placed in the penalty box or something like that. I am not familiar with hockey but my cousin played hockey for about half of his life since he was about 5 till he was about 16. He was on all the travel teams and almost went pro but instead wanting to become a doctor.

So with these penalties and your best teammate in the box the team will have time to do a power play and score and remember that in ice hockey the score doesn’t really reach over 5 points in a game much so if the teams get tied it can end up to be a brawl not a good ending. Especially if the teams are tied then someone checks another player for no reason and that causes them to lose the game. There will always be fights in hockey and there always have been fights in hockey.

The game is usually played in 3 periods each lasting 20 minutes long. If the teams are tied they do go into overtime just like any other game but first one to score wins. There are 2 goalies and they protect the nets in which both teams are trying to score in. the goalies are the most depended on as they protect the goal so if they get disrespected and checked by a forward there is going to be a fight no doubt about it. All you do is sit and wait for the fight to break out then you just watch in aw as it goes on without a ref stepping in and calling the game unless the whole teams get on the ice then it’s a team fight and they will both get fines and stuff for their actions.

Soccer Drills – Teaching Young Soccer Players How to Defend

Soccer is a game about field position and possession and being able to defend effectively is a key element for each of these factors. There are four key elements that I have found to teaching young soccer players to defend effectively. Footwork is a key factor in getting young soccer players to defend effectively. Together with knowing when to commit to a tackle and when to hold position I find these are the two vitals elements to having a strong defence. These factors, I combine with knowing where the danger zones are on the field, and communicating with each other in order to create an impenetrable defence. I do not promote playing boring soccer with lots of players behind the ball, but if you can defend effectively then your team will be able to play the ball further up the field, thus creating more attacking opportunities.

Footwork is a key element in teaching young soccer players to defend effectively. There are two things that I focus on with my young soccer players in relation to their footwork. The first of these is to never get caught with their feet square. They should always defend with one foot in front of the other, and with one shoulder in front of the other. They must also never be caught flat footed. This means that they should always be on their toes in a defensive situation. This allows them to react much more quickly to what the attacking player does in front of them. It is also vital that they do not get caught with both feet off the ground at the same time, as this makes it almost impossible for them to change direction or react quickly.

Players must learn when to commit to a tackle and when to hold their position and wait for an opportunity. Players must only commit to a tackle when the odds are in their favour of winning the ball. This usually means that they are closer to the ball than what the attacker is. Until this happens they should jockey for position and maintain a distance of about 1 meter between themselves and the attacker. This will give them enough reaction time to stay with the attacking player. Players must watch the ball at all times. This will lessen the ability of an attacker to fake them into committing to a tackle at the wrong time. The ball is the critical element, not the feet, hips or shoulders of the attacking players. Teach your defenders to watch the ball at all times. I also encourage players to stay on their feet when defending as much as possible. There is a time and place for a slide tackle, but a player that is off their feet cannot react as quickly as a player who is on their feet.

Teach your players where the danger zones are on the field. Defenders must position themselves on the field to push the attack towards the sidelines and away from the goal mouth. Teach them how to position in front of an attacker to encourage the attacker to move into a less attacking area of the field.

The key to any successful defence is communication. In my junior teams I always find my defence much stronger where I have a strong communicator playing in the sweeper or centre back role. Communication starts at training. Whenever you conduct drills at training ensure that you are not the one doing all the talking. Make sure that there is plenty of talk amongst your players. What they do on the training paddock they will take onto the field.

So the four keys to creating a strong defence are teaching your players correct footwork, making sure they understand when to commit to a challenge, helping them understand the danger areas on the field and how to keep attackers away from them, and making sure they communicate with each other. Your defensive drills should encourage development of these four key areas, in order that you will have a strong defence.