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    Sports

    The Best Sports Songs

     

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    The best sports songs fire everyone up, from athletes to fans.

    The music gets the blood flowing, enhancing the atmosphere by getting the crowd ready to cheer and the players excited to compete.

    Some songs have been around for more than a century, while some have existed for just a few years.

    Some are classic, some are appropriated to fit a tradition (i.e. “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park) and some should never be heard anywhere at anytime (i.e. “Who Let the Dogs Out” and “YMCA”).

    Here are ten of the best sports songs ever.

    10. “Enter Sandman,” Metallica. If it’s good enough for Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees’ All-Star relief pitcher who enters each game to this music, it should be good enough for everyone.

    9. “Thunderstruck,” AC/DC. Really, any song by AC/DC would do from “Hell’s Bells” to “Back in Black.” Personally, “Thunderstruck” strikes a chord because the American League champion Detroit Tigers began the game with this song.

    8. “We Will Rock You,” Queen. Like AC/DC, Queen has a number of songs that are great for sports, including “We Are the Champions.” But “We Will Rock You” works from Little League to the major leagues, from football to hockey, and it can be chanted on its own without any accompaniment.

    7. “Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky),” Bill Conti. Sure, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” still resonates at arenas across the country. But “Gonna Fly Now” is the ultimate underdog song, one that makes fans believe victory is always possible.

    6. “Centerfield,” John Fogerty. This song gave hope to Little League outfielders everywhere, transforming a position where lesser athletes were stuck into a cool place to play. Now, “Centerfield” just makes you want to play ball.

    5. “Jump Around,” House of Pain. Fans and players start jumping when House of Pain’s hit blares from the speakers. It gets the crowd amped to cheer and athletes pumped to play. The ultimate kickoff song, though “Welcome to the Jungle” is a good runner-up.

    4. “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye),” Steam. The gloating song. Although not one that exemplifies good sportsmanship, “Na Na Hey Hey” seals a victory with an exclamation point.

    3. “Shout,” The Isley Brothers. Fans can sing along, and they don’t even need to know the words. Perfect for everything from the NHL to the NFL to MLB and from the minors to the majors.

    2. “The Victors.” Some will argue that there are better college fight songs, such as “On Wisconsin.” Some will say they can’t stand Michigan. But the “Victors” symbolizes college football, stirring passions that are true throughout the nation. For Michigan haters, sing it to mock the Wolverines every time they lose. That gives it a satisfying kick.

    1. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” An oldie but goodie. Maybe it doesn’t amp players up, but it invokes family, community, teamwork and tradition, traits that transcend baseball and sports.

    Links

     

  • Sports

    Top 5 Sports Podcasts

    Podcasting is a popular and convenient way to broadcast information. Thousands of podcasts (which can be downloaded from a variety of sources, including iTunes) are geared towards sports fans. A select few of these blend sports information, sports personalities, and comedy for an entertaining podcast for your listening pleasure.

    The Dan Patrick Show

    Dan Patrick was an ESPN fixture for years, as host of SportsCenter. (Perhaps you remember “The Big Show”, the title designated to SportsCenter episodes co-hosted by Patrick and Keith Olbermann). In 2020, Patrick left ESPN for greener pastures. His independent show, The Dan Patrick Show, is a daily radio show that is available for download in 3 episodes a day (each 1 hour of the 3 hour terrestrial radio broadcast). Patrick is a big name in sports broadcasting, and that attracts big names in the sports world. You’ll frequently hear sports news makers being interviewed. While Patrick is chummy with his guests, he doesn’t pull many punches. He almost always asks the questions people want answers to. A special bonus is the chemistry of the production staff at the show. They’re frequently on-air and blend well with the style of the show.

    ESPN: Pardon the Interruption

    Simply an audio-only podcast of the popular ESPN mid-day TV show featuring Washington, D.C. area sports reporters Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. Everything you love about PTI on TV can be found on their daily podcast (minus the scrolling sidebar).

    ESPN: The B.S. Report

    Bill Simmons’ column on has become one of the most popular columns for sports fans nationwide. His podcast emulates his column by combining Simmons’ encyclopedic pop culture knowledge, love for Boston-area sports, and reference to his personal friendships. Bill’s friends typically make for great podcast guests and act as a sounding board for his candor about modern sports. Due to Bill’s connections at ESPN, he has some great guests – from both inside and outside the sports universe.

    Into the Night with Tony Bruno

    Tony Bruno has been around the sports radio scene for years, most famously on the Sporting News Radio network. Tony has a unique, entertaining personality. He’s not afraid to voice his opinions, either. Like Patrick’s show, Into the Night is the podcasted version of Tony’s daily terrestrial radio show. Warning: Can be hysterically funny at times!

    ESPN Fantasy Focus Podcast Series

    Not so much a single podcast as a group of podcasts aimed towards fantasy sports lovers. Fantasy experts like Matthew Berry and Eric Karabell guide fantasy players to make the best moves for their teams, no matter the season. No matter the sport (basketball, football, hockey, and baseball), ESPN updates this podcast series regularly to provide listeners valuable up-to-date information.

    DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION:
    The Contributor has no connection to nor was paid by the brand or product described in this content.

     

  • Sports

    Parents and Sports Can Be a Deadly Combination, but Not If You Know How to Behave

    As a youth soccer player for fourteen years, I have had many experiences with parents as fans, not just my own parents, and some have been pleasant, others as far from pleasant as can be. Kids love having their parents watch them play sports, but if the parent does anything embarrassing, kids will think twice about wanting their parents watching.

    I am glad my parents acted the way they did while I played. They cheered me on, yelled advice out to me, and told me when I needed to improve on the way I played. My mom would yell out, “Go Pappy!”. They never embarrassed me while I played. Parents should not care if you win or lose, as long as you enjoy playing. If the kid loses, parents should support them by saying, “You played well, it just wasn’t your game. Don’t get down, keep your head up and look forward to the next game. Forget about today.” This is the way a parent at their child’s sports events should be – encouraging, helpful, and supportive.

    On the other hand, I have witnessed parents who behave on the other side of the fan spectrum. These parents constantly yell at their kids to play better and criticizing every move. A lot of the times the referees and coaches have to tell these parents to calm down and back off, unless they want to be removed from the field or banned from watching other games. These parents are an annoyance to officials, the players, and the other parents alike. Many parents do not realize that they act poorly at their kids’ games, and when someone tells them of their behavior, it is met with denial and disbelief, even if the child is the one informing them.

    Parents please do not embarrass your kids during their games. You are at the games to support and encourage your young players and make sure they enjoy playing the sport of their choice. It is not your job to tell them how to play, or to live vicariously through them. Coaches will tell them how to play the game. This does not mean become a coach, but do your job, and not the coach’s job. Once again, parents be supportive, encourage them with warm words and cheering, make playing fun for both of you but more importantly for your child, and remember, sports equal fun.

     

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  • Sports

    Beware of Sports Service Claims

    With football season quickly approaching, sports fans can expect to see a number of sports services and sports betting touts begin to appear out of the woodwork with the usual outrageous claims of excellence. A sports service is simply a person or organization that promises to pick the winners of the games for you in exchange for a fee, which can range from a modest amount to hundreds of dollars per game.

    The sports service industry is not regulated in any form, meaning the touts are free to make any claims they wish, and those who fall for those claims have no recourse. Many sports services will make claims of 65 to 75 percent winners, which is not only unrealistic, it’s an insult to those who do put effort into handicapping the games.

    Professional sports bettors, meaning those of us who live in Nevada for betting purposes, would be quite happy with a winning percentage of 55 to 57 percent each and every season. A bettor can make a nice living producing those results on a consistent basis, which is far easier said than done. If too many bettors were able to produce those types of results; the sportsbooks would quickly be closing shop.

    Billy Walters and his legendary “Computer Group” beat the sportsbooks out of millions of dollars in the 1980s with winning percentages that ranged between 57 and 59 percent and they are regarded as the most successful sports bettors of all-time. Point spreads were considered much softer in those days than they are today, as everybody has access to computer programs that are more powerful than anything Walters and his group used.

    Professional sports bettor Steve Fezzik, the only man to win the prestigious SuperContest handicapping contest in back-to-back years, states if a sports bettor was able to hit 60 percent winners over an extended period of time, they would be a very wealthy person within several years. A sports bettor beginning with a bankroll of $1,000 and wagering 10 percent of it on one game per day, would turn that $1,000 into $1 billion in just five-and-a-half years with a 1,200-800 record.

    The next time you talk to a sports tout that promises you a winning percentage of 65 percent or higher, ask them if they are a billionaire, or even a millionaire for that matter. If they are not, you’ll know to quickly run in the other direction.

     

  • Sports

    10 Songs that Make You Think of Sports

    Music enhances almost any form of entertainment, and sports are no exception. Many times, music helps to shape how we think of our favorite sport. It can also allow us to feel more emotion when watching these events on television.

    Nathaniel Harrison, Marketing Manager for the United States Tennis Association’s Middle States Section (USTA Middle States) in Valley Forge, Pa., often finds himself making connections between his favorite sports and athletes, and the songs that represent them.

    “Players in Major League Baseball have their own personally chosen song that plays just before they come up to bat,” informs Harrison during a recent telephone interview. “These songs become a brand for the players and even though you may not be watching the game intently you can tell who is coming up to the plate by their signature song. You may not remember the artist or may not even know the song, but can relate it to the sport and the player.”

    According to Harrison, “Songs are often partnered with a sport, or the outcome of an event, and though that was not the intention of the song’s artist, it can make the sport appeal to a new audience.”

    So what are the ten most powerful songs that automatically make you think of sports? Here is a guide of the biggest, and the best, along with YouTube links so you can listen to them over and over…

    10. Star Spangled Banner – Francis Scott Key

    What could be more American than placing your favorite ball cap over your heart and singing along to our National Anthem? This song not only pumps up many athletes and fans alike before the big game, it also reminds us of the adversity our forefathers faced to found our spirited nation. Many athletes and entertainers have touched us with their renditions of this signature sports anthem. Though you may not always hear it when watching on TV, it is a must-sing before anyone can begin to “Play Ball!”

    9. Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Albert Von Tilzer

    Fathers have been teaching their sons to sing this song for generations. Legendary Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray, who sang it proudly during the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field, famously kicked it up a notch. Since his passing in 1998, many celebrities such as Adam Sandler, Eddie Vedder and Mike Ditka have sung this nostalgic anthem in his place at Wrigley Field. It’s a timeless classic that will be around for as long as baseball exists.

    8. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

    White Stripe’s intense Alternative Rock ballad has become a staple in Sport’s Music history. You may never hear it on the TV or even played on the speakers at the stadium, but you can hear the marching band playing it at almost any college sporting event. Try watching a Penn State football game without hearing it’s addicting, provocative tone which pumps up the home team, as if to tell the visitors: “We’re coming for you.”

    7. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye – Steam

    Steam was a short-lived band that was created for the sole purpose of marketing this song. Though the band did not find much success in the business, the song has gone on to become one of the most used songs in the Sports industry. Marching bands have played it on the field for decades, and you can hear it at virtually any sporting event when someone is taken out of the game, fouls out or strikes out. It was reintroduced into popular culture with the release of Disney’s Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington.

    6. Are You Ready for Some Football? – Hank Williams Jr.

    Perhaps the most rewritten sports song of all time, Williams’ 1984 original “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” has been the theme song of the NFL every Monday Night since 1989. For the majority of the last 20 years, this song has pumped up eager football fans watching from home. Over time, the words have been changed to accommodate the present hosts and different formats, but Hank has always been there for “Monday Night Football” to ask that infamous question.

    5. Heavy Action – Johnny Pearson

    Not many television shows have gotten away with two theme songs, but the intensity of the NFL’s “Monday Night Football” defies the rules with this powerful marching band piece. The drums rule in this song, as the intense beats make this a great tune to dance to.

    4. Chariots of Fire – Vangelis

    Greek composer, Vangelis, composed this beautiful theme for the British 80’s movie about the Olympics and overcoming prejudice. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Original Music Score. Since then, this song has been the go-to anthem for slow motion sports montages, and is still considered to be one of the most beautiful pieces ever written.

    3. Gonna Fly Now – Bill Conti

    As soon as you hear the powerful horn section of this classic theme song from the famous “Rocky” movies, you may feel the urge to run up a mountain and jump up and down when you reach the top. This song is often used in sports montages and parodies, and perfectly expresses the feeling of being “almost there”. Used in every Rocky film, there are several versions of this song in existence.

    2. We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions – Queen

    These songs are absolutely timeless, and you cannot have one without the other. Though Freddy Mercury has been long passed on, most school age children can sing right along when the infamous beats of We Will Rock You begin: “Boom, Boom, Clap!” It fires you up when you are in the stands, because you can hear everyone in the stadium stomping their feet twice, then clapping on queue. When this song is followed by We Are the Champions, it is easy to get teary eyed as a sports fan. Nothing is more American than celebrating victory.

    1. Bugler’s Dream and Olympic Fanfare – John Williams & Boston Pops Orchestra

    Few songs ever composed have been this big. The amazing sounds of this orchestral piece instantly conjure up the image of greatness. Every two years, during the Winter & Summer Olympics, this anthem unites the world, makes us cry, and allows us to feel that if we work hard enough at something, anything is possible. Because of the huge scale of sound this work of art achieves, it is easily the most powerful sports anthem of all time.

    References

    Nat Harrison, Marketing Manager USTA Middle States

     

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  • Sports

    Best Sports Video Games

    I am a huge sports fan outside of the gaming world, so when I enter the virtual realm of sports I look for realism. Along with a realistic gameplay, I like to see nicely detailed graphics and no bugs. I can’t stand playing sports games with glitches, it’s unforgiveable. I also like to see the athletes I’m playing with resemble the appearance and game style as their real life counterpart. I know most sports games are monopolized and only created by one developer, but there are some quality games out there and these stand above the rest.

    MLB 09: The Show (PS3) – This is probably the most realistic sports game I’ve ever played. Everything just feels and looks right. It’s similar to other baseball sims you would play, but a lot more polished. If you’re thinking of getting a non-arcade style baseball game then this must be your choice. Sadly for some people it’s only available on PlayStation 3.

    Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (PS3/Xbox 360) – If you’re looking for a virtual golfing experience then Tiger Woods is really your only option. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the improvements from year to year are minimal. Tiger Woods 10 is however the best thus far in this golfing series and you’ll find tons of things to do including online tournaments.

    NHL 09 (PS3/Xbox 360) – This hockey game is far and above any experience I’ve had in this sport. The new control system is near flawless and the action is intense. You can feel every hit and enjoy every hard earned goal. There is absolutely no competition when thinking about which hockey game to purchase as NHL 09 does what others can’t.

    FIFA Soccer 09 (PS3/Xbox 360) – Again lack of competition makes FIFA the best soccer game by default, but just because there’s no competition doesn’t mean it’s not a great game. There are a lot of different modes to delve into with the 09′ version along with many online multiplayer options. This makes this FIFA the best soccer game yet.

    UFC Undisputed (PS3/Xbox 360) – Finally UFC has come and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. The fighting is quite extensive and realistic. The fighters look fantastic and all have their actual fighting styles incorporated into the game. The in cage experience is like none other, but the out of game menus are a hassle. This becomes quite annoying, but definitely shouldn’t be enough to keep you away from this amazing MMA fighting game.

     

  • Sports

    Doping in Sports

    It seems like hardly a day goes by without another sport icon being toppled from his or her pedestal because of allegations of use of performance enhancing drugs, most often anabolic steroids. No sport is immune from the ‘doping’ crisis, from baseball to track and field. In a report earlier this year, 1 in 10 retired NFL players surveyed reported use of anabolic steroids during their playing careers. Use of performance enhancing drugs by high school and college athletes has caused great concern to school and sport officials, and even the U.S. Congress has weighed in on the issue of ‘doping’ in professional sports.

    The flurry of public and media interest in the use of performance enhancing drugs over the past several years can lead to the inaccurate assumption that this is a recent phenomenon. One school of thought is that the American obsession with winning at all costs, and the huge sums of money involved in professional sports is the root cause. A look at the history of drug use to boost performance, however, paints a different picture.

    Given human nature, and the competitiveness of Homo sapiens as a species, it is quite likely that use of drugs to give an edge over competitors is as old as competitive sports.

    One of the earliest documented cases of drugs to enhance performance was in 1807, when England’s Abraham Wood admitted using opium to win an endurance walking competition. The enhanced performance was so popular with fans it became a common practice and was used extensively not only in endurance walking but in long-distance bicycle racing.

    In 1904, Thomas Hicks admitted injecting himself with strychnine in his quest to win the Olympic marathon. There was also widespread use of Benzedrine (an amphetamine) at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. There have never been any accusations that American runner Jesse Owens used performance enhancement drugs, but one has to wonder.

    Anabolic steroids, the current drugs of choice for athletes, were identified and synthesized in the U.S. in the 1930s. Their use by American athletes began in earnest in 1954, after U.S. sports officials learned that ‘doping’ was commonly practiced by athletes from communist countries.

    A backlash against ‘doping’ began when studies showed the harmful effects of such drugs on the bodies of young athletes. Opponents of the use of performance enhancing drugs have strong grounds for their opposition based on the harm that anabolic steroids can have on the still-developing bodies of young people. When they base that opposition on questions of them giving an unfair edge in competition, however, the argument is considerably weaker.

    As long as we are obsessed with the goal of winning over striving, and we continue to develop equipment and procedures to give an athlete an edge and enhance performance to thrill fans, there will be those who see performance enhancement drugs as a quick path to glory. Fans who demand inhuman performance from athlete, and who idolize star performers, come off as hypocritical when they then denounce the athlete whose drug use is exposed.

    There is probably no way to put this genie back into the bottle, but a good start would be to go back to the sports principle embodied in the saying, “it matters not whether you win or lose, just how you play the game.”

    An excellent article on the pros and cons of use of anabolic steroids in sports can be found at:

    The following websites offer details on the effect of performance enhancement drugs on the body,