Stay Awhile

I look forward to hearing about your wild and crazy or dull and boring sports stories. We'll also fill this up with some criticism as well. How can we have a blog and there not be any criticism. This should be fun!

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It’s not just a sport, but a way of life

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to abruptly stop in the middle of traffic for someone other than a pedestrian out here in the Valley.  I’m not knocking your hustle or your talent, but please since you have wheels, you have to obey the rules of the road.

After seeing so many bike riders and skaters out here, I had to find out where the inspiration to skate comes from and where they all congregate.

I observed from afar for a while to get a sense of the individuals, environment and atmosphere.  I definitely didn’t see what I expected.  There were kids and teenagers galore.  Hardly anyone was wearing PPE, personal protective equipment.  Excuse the military jargon.  I come from an organization, the US Army, who’s extremely precautious and safe.  We have to do composite risk management to walk across the street.  We have to wear Kevlar helmets in the Armored Military Hummers.  Therefore, it baffled me to see so little people not wearing any protective gear.  The only ones wearing the gear were the very small kids, 5-7 year olds, who were there with parents.

After observing getting a feel for the scene, I moved closer to blend in with the crowd, as not to stick out too much.

I chatted with a few kids, but I was very intrigued by one in particular.  He seemed to be skating in his own world listening to music and completely zoned out from the rest of the park.

I watched a him do a few tricks.  Not what kind of tricks he was doing and how long he’d been skating and why he skates, I decided to talk to him about it.  He didn’t wear any protective equipment either.

“I never think about getting hurt,” he said.  “If you think about it too much, you will get hurt.”

He’s 19 years old from Arizona, but just recently moved back here from Omaha, NE.

Being in Omaha, he developed a love and appreciation for skating.

“One of my friends introduced it to me, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” he said.

Many people spend all day at the gym, playing video games and maybe even at the mall, but his haven is the skate park.

“Sometimes I skate from 7 am – 1o pm or 8 pm -2 am or 3 am,” he said.  “It’s what I do.  All I do.  Go to sleep, wake up, skate,” he said.

Skating out here in Phoenix is like pick up basketball in the south during the summer.  You forget everything around you and skate all day.

“If I’m not with my girlfriend, I’m skating.  I usually bring her with me once in a while,” he said.

Check out a few of the skaters here

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Name an American Hockey Player???

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady…

If you asked the casual sports fan about either of those players, they would know about him in great detail.

Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are two household names in the National Hockey League.  Ovechkin is a Russian who plays for the Washington Capitals and is considered the best player in the NHL.  Crosby’s from Canada, and he’s no slouch either for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The only thing separating the two is Crosby’s Lord Stanley Cup from 2009.

The NBA is probably the most global sport in the world as some of the most notable franchises are mixed with a variety of American and foreign born players.  Also some of the best players in the League are foreign born as well such as Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobli, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker just to name a few.

Of course hockey’s important in the U.S., but there aren’t any recognizable American players that I know.  I’m a huge sports fan, but I’ve only been to two hockey matches in my life, one was recreational league and the other was amatuer to say the least.

I visited the Castle Sports Club to witness my second hockey match ever.  This time, I was seeing it from a totally different perspective.  I didn’t know anyone who played hockey growing up, so I’ve made it a point to learn more about the game and the players.  The athleticism, coordination, instincts and toughness needed to just be an average hockey player is more than I anticipated.  The skills needed to stop on a dime on skates and change direction completely is unheard of in any other sport. Precise passes using a stick is more complicated than I anticipated as well.

I took a few minutes to chat with one of the hockey enthusiast to find out more about the game and where you could go and play here in the area.

I was impressed with what I saw because it was different and engaging.  It was tough to keep up with on camera, but I managed to put together a few steady shots so you could see for yourself.

I’ve totally neglected the game of hockey.  Well, after what I saw last week, hockey just got a new fan.  Check out the video below!

Castle Sports Club

It’s now 2010…get with the program

“Because I am a woman,  I  have to make unusual efforts to succeed.  If I fail, no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes.’  They will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes.’ ” – Clare Boothe Luce 

The military and the world of sports have always been pioneers in the struggle for equality for minorities.  Jackie Robinson broke down barriers as the first African American player in the Major Leagues.  Fritz Pollard and Bobby Martin were the first African American in the NFL.  Henry O. Flipper was the first African American graduate of West Point Academy.

The list goes on and on about all the barriers broken in those two arenas.  However, one thing remains constant, women are being downgraded as second class citizens in the sports arena as if it was created solely for the male species.

Jenn Sterger and Ines Sainz have hijacked the NFL and exposed it for being the Ice Age operation we thought we left behind.

While Ines Sainz was being ridiculed for her style of dress, we continued to march on praising the Good Ole Boy Network. Of course there’s a certain amount of responsibility that comes along with a female sports reporter in an all-male operation. Still, the reality remains that no matter what a person wears, it doesn’t give you the right to violate them in any way.

Jenn Sterger didn’t work as a journalist. She was an employee for the New York Jets. In this fallout, she again is the scapegoat for issues we fail to address. While Brett Favre is still being praised as God’s gift to football, Sterger is being criticized, berated and ignored.

Let’s be honest, we all know there’s a double standard in the NFL. Brett Favre is a poster boy and there’s no way Dictator Goddell suspends him.

Immediately after Sainz’s story surfaced, Jets owner Woody Johnson released statement and ordered his players to sensitivity training.

Is there a coincidence that both of these incidents involve the Jets organization?

Don’t get me wrong we’ve come along way, but there are still mountains to climb.  Coach Amy at Mesa Prep is a great example of the progress.  She’s coaching a boys football team.  Of course she was greeted with skepticism, but after winning the players over, the parents fell in line.

I love sports just as much as anybody else, but who says that women aren’t supposed to be apart the equation.

Keep your hands to yourself…

I experienced my first live NFL football game last Sunday and it was more than I bargained for. My brothers and close friend visited me to celebrate a birthday. Our tickets had been purchased in advanced, and I was left in charge of making sure I knew where the stadium was. I hadn’t done my homework, so we all were filled with anticipation hoping the stadium would be enclosed as to avoid the record temps here in Arizona. As we pulled up to stadium, we kissed our lucky stars as we realized that indeed the stadium is enclosed.

We all know how bizarre and strange Raiders fan can be. I have no problem with that because it’s all a part of the game. I literally experienced every feeling one person could throughout a sixty minute game, but the worse feeling and emotion of all had nothing to do with the game of football.

There’s a been a long debate about alcohol being served sporting events. Quite a few incidents have occurred to lead you to believe that it most definitely should be outlawed. The most prominent one would be the “Malice in the Palace.”

Not all negative incidents that occurred at sporting can be attributed to drinking, but you can make an argument for it. As I watched the game, I was happy to see a little friendly banter between a Raiders fan and a few Cardinals fan. The Raiders fan seemed to be outnumbered in our section, but he was by far the most enthusiastic. He very well could’ve had enough enthusiasm and excitement for the entire Raider Nation.

The game was a seesaw back and forth. You could never really get a feel for who would pull it off, but from my vantage, as time began to draw nigh, Cardinals fans were beginning to get a little uptight as the Raiders had taken the lead and the Cardinals were driving downfield. I can’t really recall the events that led to the score, I just know the Cardinals took a 1-point lead late in the fourth quarter.

While the intensity of the game on the field was heating up, the intensity on near my row was heating up as well. At this point in the game, the Raiders fan was too engrossed in the action on the field to worry about what was going in the stands. Throughout the game, there were at least three different couples taking jabs at the Raiders fan. For some unknown reason, one of the males of couple left the game. The female who was left alone had engaged with a couple sitting behind her. Not sure what the exchanged was, but it had to have been pretty rough. The female turned to watch the game when one of the guys whispered something to her.

Again, not sure what was said, but she immediately turned around and slapped the guy. After the guy taunted her several times asking for another slap, she slapped twice more. I guess he drew the line at three because just as she put her hand down after the third slap, the guy, with closed fist, punched the young lady in the face. It literally took everything in me to remain calm and glued to my seat.

It took a few seconds for everyone around the situation to process what just happened. As the young lady realized what had just happened she swiftly walked to the security complaining about the events that just transpired. Cowardly, the guy looked to find an exit, but luckily he was located and escorted back to security.

If you’re bold enough to raise a woman and hit her, you most definitely have to bold enough to wait on the cops and face the consequences. I’m not condoning her activities by hitting him, but in the event a man should never raise his hand to hit a woman.

I had to take time out to gather myself before writing this post. Check back later this week. Hopefully, we can learn about Over 40 Roller Hockey.

Not what I intended…

According to last week’s post, badminton was my mission for this week, but things didn’t quite materialize the way I expected.  However, I’m completely happy with the direction we ventured into this week.

I enjoyed two of my all time passions this past week.  I thoroughly enjoy working, mentoring and speaking with the youth.  One day, I plan to open a youth center wherever I decide sit down.

This past summer has been very interesting for the world of sports.  We saw the sport soccer turn the corner in this country after the US National Team’s performance in the 2009 CONCACAF and 2010 World Cup.

As I was driving to the park, I attempted to prepare myself for what I might see and what kind of games I’d be covering.  I was quite suprised to see that there were at least four games being played. 

I’d like to think I have pretty basic understanding of the soccer game.  For example, I know the length (100 yds) and width (130 yds) of a regulation soccer.  I know there are at least 11 players per team on the field at a time.  I also know there are two 45-minute halves.  Well, not in this case.  The field was substantially shorter, and they only played two 20-minute halves.  Something else was very strange as well.  For every out of bounds, there was no throw in.  They were only allowed kick the ball back into play.  The oddest difference was I only saw five players per team. 

Of course, this caused series of questions for the nearest person.  Come to find out, this is a modified game of soccer which is called Speed Soccer.  In Speed Soccer, it’s only 5-on-5 which speeds the game up.  Much like 3-on-3 basketball.   

Disappointment set in because I wasn’t really looking to watch kids play because not all kids have the talent or the interest.  And parents sometimes have a tendency to force there kids into things. 

Well, not so much in this case, because these kids were extremely talented.  And there was as much passion in these kids as there is in the adults.  The footwork was just as impressive.  The shots on goal were just as accurate and the goalie defense was just as intense.

As I watched in amazement, I noticed on older kid cheering loudly in Spanish.  I’m not very fluent in Spanish, but I can understand excitement and passion no matter what language.  The older kid just so happened to be cheering on his younger brother who was playing in the Under-9 league. 

His brother had just scored a goal from about 20 yards out.  As I watched the little guy dribble around defenders with ease, I couldn’t believe that this kid was only 9-years old.  The onlookers and supporters from both teams cheered  as they looked in amazement at the talent on the field.  

There was passion and excitement throughout the park very reminiscent of any football, baseball or basketball game.  Maybe even more.

This will not be the last time I visit Perry Park again the very near future.  As a matter, I actually scoped out the kids brother playing around with the soccer ball.  He’s even more talented than the little guy.  He plays tomorrow night @7:20 p.m.  Come out if you can make.

Twenty years Later

As my love for EVERYTHING sports continues to grow, I’m reminded of a time when I first laced ’em up and played in my first match.  For anybody who knows me automatically think the first organized sport I played was football…”NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND”.  At the age of seven, I pretty much lived at the Kiwanis Boys Club in Mobile, AL.  It’s where I first learned the game of soccer.  I can’t remember how successful that season was, however, it was my first and last time to play organized soccer.  As soccer faded from my rearview mirror, football and basketball became life.  Well, moreso football because I played almost every year for over 10 years.

Well, here I am 20 years after the first time I put on cleats, and I’m learning to love the sport all over again.

It different parts of the country soccer holds a different place value.  Being from the great state of Alabama, everyone is pretty much aware how serious we are about our football.  There’s no room for anything else except football.  On the East Coast, basketball is king.  In other parts of the country wrestling and hockey are pretty big.  You get the picture.

I’ve been in Phoenix for six weeks now, and it’s become quite apparent to me that soccer is big here.  At any given time of the day, you can drive or walk by any park in the area and find people playing with a soccer ball or even playing soccer.

I’ve decided that next park I pass where people are engaging in ANY sport, I shall participate.

I’m looking for Rugby and Soccer matches, flag football, outdoor basketball, ultimate frisbee and even frisbee golf.  So if you’re looking for an extra person join in on any pick up games, I’m down.

I’m frantically on the search for a badminton match, so look out badminton maybe my next post.