Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Alzheimer's Patients: Pat Bowlen of The Denver Broncos and Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers

It is pretty surprising that owners of professional sports teams have made issues such as Native American rights and Alzheimer's disease such hot button issues.

But, maybe it shouldn't feel so surprising considering the history of sport and its omnipotent presence in everyday life.

Sports consistently brings political and social issues to the forefront of the world and American life.  It feel like this is what sports does and has been accomplishing since Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics or Jack Johnson as heavyweight champion in 1908.
Alzheimer's disease is getting more press from the sports world due to the latest soap opera of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise team. And, now there is more news regarding Alzheimer's as the owner of the Denver Broncos, Pat Bowlen, has announced his retirement due to the disease and will step down as chairman of the board.
As the most commonly known form of dementia, Alzheimer's debilitates a person's ability to be themselves. Mostly, the disease confuses a person.  People with Alzheimer's have problems with memory and language.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

WNBA All-Star MVP Shoni Schimmel Replaces Washington Redskins Chatter

Finally, there is something else to talk about regarding Native Americans in sports, other than the NFL Washington, D.C. football nickname.

Shoni Schimmel of the Atlanta Dream, surprised the WNBA sports world, by standing out most among all the All-Stars of Saturday's WNBA All-Star game.  She was named MVP in what was probably the greatest game in WNBA history.

It was the first WNBA all-star game to go to overtime, but it was more than just a close game.  This game saw the some of the most popular lady athletes in the world, playing for the East and West, push each other hard from the get-go through every whistle until the buzzer sounded on every quarter.  Each team wanted to win badly.

In some respects, it was a who's who for women's basketball of all-time.  And, the one who walked away with the trophy for Most Valuable Player was a player raised on a Reservation in the state of Oregon.

Shoni Schimmel wouldn't have been the pick to be the difference maker in this game just as Patty Mills wouldn't have been thought of as the catalyst for an NBA championship.

Patty Mills is the first Aboriginal player to play in the NBA Finals-for the San Antonio Spurs this year (the second Aboriginal player to ever play in the NBA).

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love: It's a Black/White Issue

Make no mistake about it; There's no grey matter.

Whatever the pundits are saying, they only seem to be talking around the issue.  The proposed trade involving Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love has made for interesting opinions.  Mostly, there is just a side to choose for fans of the NBA.

Fans can side with keeping rookie Andrew Wiggins and seeing whether he will truly blossom into his role alongside LeBron as he learns the NBA ropes to superstardom or determine the roadtrip is better served with Kevin Love, a three-time proven All-Star-who is both a leading league scorer and rebounder.

For many, the proposed trade is a toss-up.  There are many factors to consider and it is impossible to predict which scenario of the two will turn out to be the better one.

On one hand, Love has many winning attributes that would compliment LeBron's game.  Love has a soft touch from the outside.  He has drive, determination and will in his game as a player who fights tooth and nail for what he achieves.  He's unselfish and laid back as a persona on and off the floor.

Wiggins, though, brings athleticism to the Nth degree with flash and unbelievable potential.  He could end up being the best player in the League five years from now.  His personality is reserved and not uptight (like a Russell Westbrook).  He's willing to learn and do the hard work.

It's kind of like Larry Bird for Doctor J.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

NFL Re-alignment Could Look Like This...

Is it necessary to have 70,000 seat stadiums?  Can 50-55,000 do the trick? 

It's common knowledge that people aren't always in the mood to rush out to the stadium fighting traffic, paying parking and high ticket prices. 

Televisions are bigger than ever.  80-inch is becoming the new norm.  High-def has been the norm. 

People's houses are their castles.

Don't bust on Jacksonville, Buffalo and Cincinnati just yet.

Bigger is not always better for stadiums.  Baseball proves this every year with the paucity of spectators at meaningless games late in the season. 

Demand always outshines supply when it comes to making an event worthy. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Will an MLS Goalkeeper Ever Duplicate the 'Scorpion' Kick?

The legendary Columbian goalkeeper, Rene Higuita, perfected the 'Scorpion Kick.'

As the ball approached the goal in the air, Higuita would get his body ready and perfectly time his action to flex his torso and bring his legs back together in the air to boot the ball out away from the goal.

While he is in the air, the entire play resembles how a scorpion looks, thus, the nickname.

Higuita was the Columbian National Team goalkeeper for several years in the late 80's and 90's and made appearances in the 1990 World Cup. He would have been in the 1994 World Cup, but he got involved with the druglord Pablo Escobar and made bad decisions. His wrongdoing led to time spent in prison. This time coincided with the '94 WC.

At first glance, the 'Scorpion Kick' looks like a novelty shot. And, it was. But, over the years, Higuita honed the art of the kick to reach such a high level, that he would use it in game situations in which the kick would act as a real save.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Video: 80's Movie Describes Soccer's Awe

There may never be a more touching description of Soccer's power to affect the masses.  In the 1985 movie, Vision Quest, the late actor J.C. Quinn, playing Elmo, a blue-collar guy with friendly advice, gets the honor of handling some beautiful writing.

Vision Quest is a movie about a high-school wrestler, Louden Swain, who pursues a match with the state's best wrestler.  In it, Quinn tells Mathew Modine's character, Louden Swain, about one of PelĂ©'s fantastic goals.

The movie develops many characters while telling a story of persistence and eccentricity.  Elmo's descriptions of the goal and how the crowd reacted are a reminder of why Soccer is referenced so often as the world's 'beautiful game.'

This part of the movie is Louden's wake-up call for that night's wrestling match against state champion, Brian Shute.

Louden was moping around, feeling sorry for himself after losing his girlfriend, when he stops by to visit with his co-worker, Elmo.  They know each other from a big hotel, where Louden works part-time doing room service and Elmo is full-time as a cook.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Would Promotion/Relegation Work for the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB?

Is promotion/relegation more than an American professional soccer issue? Could promotion/relegation be an economic boost to all the popular American professional sports, the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB?

My feeling is yes it can.  But, will it be instituted anytime soon for any of them?  No, probably not.

But, it is an interesting question to ask, if it indeed would make owners of American professional sports teams more money in the long run.

If a system is built to support all owners of teams from the minor leagues on up to the top league (numerical divisions typically are used for soccer), each sport could have a better foundation to grow and thrive.

The promotion/relegation system has many capitalistic and evolutionary characteristics that are similar to the U.S. way of life.

Geographically and economically speaking, if metro areas increase or decrease by population, teams could end up promoting or relegating depending on how the economy is for that metro area.  For example, the Clevelands and Detroits of the world will have a tougher time and the Omahas and Boises of the world will be trying to move up.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NFL Considered Proposal for Competing Pro Soccer League

Seattle Seahawks/Sounders Stadium
According to emails and interviews, can confirm the National Football League (NFL) received a proposal in 2007 to start a pro Soccer league to compete against Major League Soccer (MLS) for the months of March through August/September.  It appears though, the proposed new Soccer league, never made it to the desk of the commissioner, Roger Goodell.

Sources reveal the proposal was rejected by the Communications/PR Director at that time and he had not consulted with Goodell.  At the time, his statement read that their focus was expanding their football base and expanding internationally; Soccer was not in their plans. 

New details have emerged about the proposal and what was being considered.

Matt Hill, a former Public Relations executive with the NFL, was the person who received the proposal.  He has said that there was a lot of positive discussion about the possibility of having a pro Soccer league play in the dormant NFL stadiums during the off-season, but the idea got killed off pretty quickly.

Monday, April 21, 2014

10 Rules Changes to Enhance MLS

Amendments are meant to assist the shortcomings that have followed the game under FIFA's watch.

FIFA has been slow to evolve.  This is not anything new and just about anyone would agree.

American sports fans have high demands for their sports and they insist on common sense and the best possible drama in every match.

Ten (10) Proposed Rule Amendments/Changes for Professional Soccer:

I. Each 45-Minute Half counts down to 0 seconds:
a. Games may result in a tie.
b. Games played in overtime are decided by first goal scored (Golden Goal).
c. Overtime is considered 15-minutes of continuous play after the end of regulation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Would Usain Bolt Ever Wear Braids?

Originally Posted October 2013

I'm watching a batter versus pitcher matchup last night in the MLB NL Wildcard game, Johnny Cueto of the Reds pitching to Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, and I decided to write today's article, asking, 'Would Usain Bolt Ever Wear Braids?'.

Of course, I'm talking about the hairstyle that is all the rage and has been for a while.  Braids are way past being a fad.  They've been popular with high-school athletes, college athletes and the pros for many years.

I've wanted to write the article for a long time because I think it is an interesting topic, but I kind of always thought it wasn't for a non-wearing braids person to write.

Braids are obviously a very personal and cultural expression and one which I like quite a bit.  But, I've always been inquisitive as to why athletes would want to add so much unnecessary weight to tug from their head, if they are expected to be so quick and agile to the 1/100th of a second.

The hair is so long, it even blocks the name on the back of their jersey sometimes.  Aren't they losing a possible endorsement here or there?