• Sports

    Best Sports Movies for the Whole Family

    Whatever you are looking for, I hope that you find it here. I have put together an organized list of my favorite sports films, for adults and teens, children, and those who are looking for a religious aspect as well. Having that said, my list may be a bit longer than the others that have been written. To start off with, I’ll give you my teens and adults list.

    Adults and Teens:

    Remember the Titans – I picked this, because in my opinion, this film is a classic. I don’t know a person alive who has not seen and liked this film. It’s set in a time where schools were just begining to integrate and the town did not like it. The football team too, became integrated and during their training camp, the team had to learn how to set aside differences and work together. It took their commitment to one another that wins over the rest of the town. Great film.

    Rudy – This is a sweet film. A small town boy who didn’t have the best grades, and didn’t have much money has a big dream of being on the football team at Notre Dame. Everyone looks down on him and tries to convince him to give up his dream, but Rudy keeps pushing at it and eventually achieves his goal.

    Brian’s Song – This is a pro football film about two Bears teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers who are fierce competitors. The two start out on the wrong foot, but when Sayers gets injured, the Piccolo decides it’s his duty to make sure Sayers heals so that Piccolo can say that he won fair and square. What started out as a selfish agenda eventually leads to a close friendship that holds strong to the very end. You’ll have to watch this to see how it all plays out. Touching film.

    Glory Road – A film about a small town college basketball coach who integrates his Texas Western team. They go up against the leading team, the Iniversity of Kentucky. An all white team, and the best of the best. Of course they’re cocky, and the rest of the world is rooting for this all white team. Texas Western recieves a whole lot of threats to drop out and let UK win, but they don’t give up and together, they eventually come out on top.

    The Rookie – This is a baseball film about a high school coach who desperately wanted his team to win. The Owls were the worst players in the area and everyone knew it. The coach tried to motivate them, but instead, the kids had a proposition for him. They said, “Coach, how can you tell us to go for our dream, when you turned your back on yours? Let’s make a deal. If we win the district championship, you have to try out for a major-league organization.” The coach took the deal, and from there, you’ll just have to watch to see how it all turns out. Great film.

    Radio – A not so well known film, but it’s a good one. This story is about a young boy who is mentally handicapped. The coach of a high school football team takes a notice and a liking for this boy, and involves him in the team and gets him active in school and in the town. The town really didn’t like this. They liked the way it had always been…this boy out of school, away from the community. All this coach was doing was stirring up trouble. The team didn’t like it either. Eventually, the town gets in an uproar, and it’s up to this coach to show the town the true meaning of love and community. It’s not about how smart or althletic you are, but what’s in your heart. This young boy turns the town to gold and earns a lasting place in the heart of all.

    Spiritual:

    Field of Dreams – “If you build it, he will come.” These are the words Ray Kinsella hears in his corn field late one night. He ignored the voice and goes about his work, but the voice persists. In the distance he sees an image of a baseball field. Is it a sign that he should build this baseball field in the middle of his corn field? He begins this project and everyone thinks he’s crazy for it. The plot of the story revolves around the ghosts of the 1919 Chicago White Sox scandal appearing in the field Ray Kinsella created. Particularly, the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson. This is a classic film. It was actually created the year I was born. As many years ago as that was, it’s still a good film.

    Facing the Giants – I love this movie. It’s arguably the best religious based sports movie ever made. I personally own this movie. The plot is about a high school football coach, Grant Taylor, who is just miserable with his life. Everything that could go wrong, has pretty much started to. His wife desperately wants a baby, but can’t have one. Members of the community are talking behind his back about firing him due to his six year losing streak. The washing machine and many other appliances in the house are breaking, Grant’s truck is dying…and the list just goes on. When he had nothing left to turn to, Grant pulled out his bible and he studied it. He took periods of alone time for prayer, and really began to grow and believe. That’s when he knew it was time to make a change in his team as well. He took his team aside for an emergency meeting and pep talk about faith. He gets a lot of resistance at first, but things improve immensely. This is a must see movie for those looking for a Christian take on sports.

    Angels in the Outfield & Angels in the Endzone – Angels show up in the California Angels’ outfield. Only a young boy named Roger can see these angels. Roger is a foster child who lives with his best friend J.P. He’s happy there, but he wants desperately to be with his father. His father sarcastically tells Roger that they could be together only if the Angels win in the pennant, which was not likely to happen, seeing as the Angels were in last place. Roger asks God that night if he would help the Angels win. That’s when Roger starts seeing real Angels, come to assist in making that happen. Roger and J.P. win a photo with Mr. Knox, the Angels’ manager, and Roger tells Knox what he saw. Knox begins to think Roger is a good luck charm for the team, and begins placing Roger and J.P. in special seats for the game. You’ll have to watch the movie for the rest of the story.

    For Children:

    Space Jam – A film staring Michael Jordan himself, and many of his NBA friends. The Looney Toons of course are the main stars of this show though. A group of aliens come to earth to steal talent from the NBA to beat the Looney Toons in a game of basketball. The aliens grow huge with their new found talent and call themselves the MonStars. The Looney Toons realize that they need help. Who better to ask than the talented Michael Jackson? Michael is out playing golf with some friends. He makes a hole in one, and when he goes to get the ball, a rope comes up from the ground and drags Mike into Looney Toon Land. See the movie for the rest of the story. Rated PG

    The Cutting Edge 1, 2 & 3 – This is more of a pre-teen, teenage film, but you can watch it and decide for yourself if you would let younger children watch it. This is about a young ice skater, Kate, who was pretty much stuck up and no one would stay partnered with her for long. On the other hand, there’s a pro hockey guy who was just told news that after his accident, he could no longer see well enough to play anymore. The two are eventually paired together, and again, Kate tries to run him off and prove that he doesn’t make the cut. Doug on the other hand, isn’t buying it. He’s determined to get on the ice again, no matter what sport it is. In turn, he wins over Kate’s dad, and eventually Kate as well. That is the first film. You have to watch and see how the rest of this film turns out, along with the next two. Personally, the second movie is my favorite. Although I like the first a lot, too. Rated PG

    Cool Runnings – This is a funny film to watch for the whole family. I still enjoy this one. It’s about the first ever Jamacain bobsled team. The start of it has to do with a set of people who don’t make it in the qualifying race for olympic runners. The main character, Derice, is so unpset, but he’s determined to make it to the olympics. He sees a picture of his father with a man that was a bobsleder from America, and finds out that man still lived on the island. He goes to him with a friend of his to see if they can be coached. Eventually, they find others who didn’t make it in the race, and together the odd group make a team whose only goal is getting off the island and proving to the world that they made it. A great film. Watch to see how it all turns out. Rated PG

    The Mighty Ducks 1, 2, & 3 – One of my personal favorites growing up. I still love the Mighty Ducks Series. It’s about an ice hockey team of misfits that come together and win the heart of the town. Their spirit is uplifting, and they work together as a family. The main character Charlie is the heart of the show. He, his grandfather, and the coach. The three of them and the heart of the team is what makes this series great. You’ll love it as much as I do. Watch this series to see what I”m talking about. Rated PG

    The Big Green – This is a film about a kids soccer team. This was a team with a group of kids that really didn’t fit anywhere. Not even with each other. The group of the started out being terrible, not working together, and so forth. There were two members who were the stars of the team, and it started out the they basically took over and the team simply relied on the two of them to lead the group through. The team eventually comes together and works as a whole, but just as things were starting to come together, the star of the team and his mother are forced to leave the country on illegal immigration charges. Will the team be able to get their teammate back, or will they be forced to pull through on their own? Watch this film to find out. Rated PG

    Motocrossed – This is a good motivational film for young girls. It goes to show that sports aren’t just for guys, and disproves the stereotype that girls should just stick to cheerleading. This film is about a girl, Andrea, who’s brother is out to make it in motocross, but he gets hurt. Andrea can ride, and she’s pretty good too. She tries to convince her dad that she can take her brother Andrew’s place, but her dad refuses. Instead, he goes off to find a lost minute replacement rider. In the mean time, Andrea is doing everything she can to help her family and prove she can do it. Her mom eventually goes along with it, and from there, you just have to watch the rest to see how it turns out. Rated G

     

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  • Sports

    Video Game Review: EA Sports NHL for Playstation 2

    If you are like me, you’ve been waiting for hockey to come back for quite some time. Now that they’ve resumed play I couldn’t be happier. However, before that time came I need my hockey fix somehow. What a better way to do it than with EA Sports NHL for Playstation 2. EA Sports has been putting out the best sports video games for a long time, and their hockey line is no different. There have been a lot of other developers trying to imitate their style, but EA always seems to come out on top. NHL offers a number of new features that make it the must have hockey game for the year.

    New is the exciting EA Sports skill stick. The skill stick allows you to take complete control of your skater and stickhandle like a real pro. Take full advantage of the puck as you execute some of the best player’s signature moves and score amazing goals like the All-Stars in the NHL. Save them to your highlight reel so you can go back and check them out and impress your friends.

    Roman’,serif;”>Another new feature for is the EA Sports R.P.M. physics for some of the fastest and most realistic game play ever. The new realistic puck movement dynamics allows the user to stun goalies with shots of the facemask or make a statement with a top shelf goal that knocks the water bottle off the top of the net. Get your defenseman to go down and block the shot and watch as he limps off the ice with a stinger in the ankle. You’ll have a hard time believing that you are playing video game as the players flow seamlessly around the ice and control the puck as if your are watching the real thing live and in person.

    NHL also has a newly introduced momentum skating. Momentum skating gives you the ability feel what its like to be on the ice during game play. Generate momentum for speed bursts, and deke out forwards before blasting by helpless defensemen and going in on goal. The new graphics show your literal ice wake as you speed around like a flash of lightning. The better you get at the momentum skating the harder it is for the other team to stop you, and before you know it you’ll be scoring goals at will.

    Similar to older models, offers the creation zone, which gives you the freedom to design and add your own custom player to a team. New analog facial sculpting gives you the option to make your player’s face as realistic as possible. Soon you’ll be able to see an almost perfect likeness of yourself complete with black eyes, broken noses and stitches.

    The best part of NHL is the inclusion of a playable version of NHL ’94, the original version of hockey from EA Sports. Its graphics are terrible, and it’s slow, but if you ever owned this title, it’ll take you back to the good old days of Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. You’ll be surprised. It’s still fun after 12 years of sitting on the shelf.

    NHL is the best hockey game ever created. EA Sports has outdone itself here and this should be a must have for any video game enthusiast. Get it for yourself or for a friend and there won’t be any disappointment. NHL is rated E10 for mild violence and can be played online with the correct Playstation 2 setup. Get it for around $30 at most video game retailers.

     

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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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