• Sports

    Streaming Sports Online for Free

    To be an American and have the fever for the rest of the world’s favorite sport can be a little agonizing. Even more agonizing when you don’t have any extra money set aside for cable or a dish. However I do pay a paltry fee for some DSL and decided to take a look for some type of website that would stream me the games from around the world. Preferably something legal.

    At first it looked like a bunch of sites that would stream your footage for a fee, and I’m too cheap to be bothered. First of all, it’s a stream on the internet and chances are it will never look good enough for me to justify paying money for. Secondly, the sites just looked like scam central. Many of them used similar wording and phrases, and when you see different websites promising the same thing with the same words it’s a good time to lock the credit card up.

    But then it came to me a few pages in on a Google search – . This site streams nearly every sports league imaginable. Major League Baseball, NBA, NCAA Basketball and Football, MLS and that’s just the American stuff. When the Euro Cup was on the ABC played us a game from the semi’s and a game from the finals, but with I was able to watch all of them with commentary. Cricket World Cup? Check. J-League Soccer? Check.

    What’s more the browser has “real time” stats that come up as the game progresses and depending on your connection speed you can have other games playing simultaneously in smaller windows that you can peak in on. My computer was Sports Center. And if you missed the game they archive it for for a couple of days. The over all experience is better than the Olympics streamed through NBC’s website and no where near as taxing on my system. With the only caveat being video quality, which improves with connection speed. So if you are paying for those upper tier Mb/s then you shouldn’t have a problem. You get what you pay for, in other words.

    Which brings me to crazy part: I’ve been paying for this service the whole time. Chances are, you have been, too. You see, ESPN 360 is available only to people who’s Internet Service Providers pay for the service. After a quick test, ESPN 360 told me that AT&T; has paid for the service and I get to benefit. My question is, how come AT&T; never told me? There’s no harm I suppose, but it’s pretty peculiar that AT&T; opted into this plan that would benefit their customers and not tell them about it. I could speculate that the reasoning being that they want you to pay for ESPN in their Advanced TV package, but the Phillies are playing the Dodgers in a little bit and I’d rather than enjoy that than care about AT&T;’s marketing follies.

     

  • Sports

    Dreamer – Another Sports Movie Inspired by a True Story

    How many sports movies were inspired by a true story? “Remember the Titans” was about an African American football coach who coached high school football in a newly integrated and previously white school. Who could forget “Hoosiers” about a small town high school basketball team that wins a state championship? Are you ready for another sports movie based on a true story? Like some of the others mentioned, “Dreamer” is worth watching and is newly out on DVD.

    In the movie racehorse trainer Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) loses his job after one of the horses he had trained, Soñador, breaks her leg during a race. Never mind that Ben had told the owner the horse needed rest. Ben, who demanded his full payment immediately for himself and the men who helped him train horses, was denied the chance by the owner. Instead the owner said he would give a partial payment and mail the rest. Ben took a lesser amount plus the horse-to keep the animal from being put to sleep.

    Ben refuses to put the horse to sleep, and his daughter (Dakota Fanning) falls in love with the animal. Unemployed and penniless, Ben has a plan to treat Soñador and when her leg heals breed her to be able to sell the animal’s colt. All during the time there is bad blood between Ben and his father (Kris Kristofferson).

    On the other hand, Cale, Ben’s daughter has dreams of the horse getting better and of racing her. Could that be only a child’s fantasy?

    The plan to use the horse for breeding falls through. One day the horse, with a healed leg and with Cale on top, breaks free and starts running loose. After Ben chases the horse down and Cale jumps to her father, the other men who had helped Ben train horses noticed the animal was running pretty fast after recovering from a broken leg.

    Then the training starts to get Soñador back into racing. No more of the plot will be revealed-to not spoil it for anyone who might want to watch it.

    It will be mentioned, however, that this is a good movie for a family to watch together. One can learn a lesson from Ben about fathers spending time with their daughters.

    One can be inspired by the value of never giving up on your dreams, after watching how Soñador succeeds after a broken leg. The movie was inspired by Mariah’s Storm, a horse that also had a broken leg and then came back to race again after the life threatening injury. Ben used Mariah’s Storm as an inspiration in the movie. In real life, Mariah’s Storm came back to win several races and raced in the famous Breeder’s Cup.

    Also inspiring was how Ben fought for his wife, Lily (Elizabeth Shue) and Cale to provide for his family. Ten-year-old Cale then takes over as trainer and she had to act as strongly as an advocate for her horse as any grownup. She also asks Ben for help.

    Other family values are demonstrated -one example was when Ben and his father work out their differences. Mom told Ben she would work seven days a week for her husband to spend more time with Cale. Ben once said he would have put the horse to sleep if Cale had not been there, and she overheard him. He later apologized for wronging her, telling her he made mistakes. He tells his wife she is smart and beautiful.

    All of the actors in the movie did a convincing job. Russell told Entertainment Weekly that Fanning is the best actress he will ever work with. Russell has worked with Oscar winner Meryl Streep.

    There were a few mild profanities in the movie, with he – – and d – – being used a very few times.

    There is no real violence in the movie, but a scene is shown of Soñador breaking her leg in a race. Very young children could be frightened when the horse breaks free with Cale on her back.

    The movie is rated PG. 

     

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  • Sports

    Busy Lives of Children in Sports

    Children’s sports is a very common thing and always has been. I believe a lot of parents become too serious about the whole deal but most enjoy just watching their children out there trying and having fun.

    So many years ago when my son, Eddie started sports he seemed too tiny to play soccer, flag football or little league. He wanted to try everything so I allowed him. Rule number one was never quit once you join. Rule number two was you always go to practice and the games. You are part of a team and must follow through. I never had any trouble with that. He always looked forward to his sports.

    Soccer was my favorite. You’d have all the kids running from different directions after the one soccer ball. The traveling pack would move together back and forth with the ball popping up in the air every now and then. It was so cute to watch. They all tried so hard just to get to the ball. I don’t think they had any idea what to really do with it.

    The kids would be so into it they’d smack into each other, go down and jump back up after that soccer ball. One time my son and another child smacked head on. There was my son running with a nose bleed trying to get to that ball. They had to stop the game to take him out.

    Other mothers would ask “Aren’t you going to go down?” I said “Nope, he’s ok.” As soon as they could get his nose to stop bleeding he was back in the game.

    Then with the little league one of my favorites was the gum. Before each game all the kids would each buy one of those long sticks of gum and they’d all be chewing as they played.

    Here comes my son up to bat with one side of his face puffing out as far as it could. I looked as I tried to figure out why his face looked like that. He was trying to chew but couldn’t even close his mouth. He must have stuck that whole pack of gum into his mouth. I was so embarrassed at the time but now I laugh. That vision will always be in my mind. He was told after to not chew it all at once.

    Now the grandsons are into the sports. Collin tried soccer a couple years ago but really didn’t get into it. He’d stand there and look around as everyone else went after the ball. One game I was able to see I called him over and gave him a pep talk. I told him how badly I wanted to see him kick that ball. He went in, kicked it a couple times and almost scored. My daughter, his mother started screaming and cheering. I told her she acted like it was the first time he ever kicked the ball. She responded with “It was.”

    Then there is Lucas his younger brother. His first year he was always after the ball. He would knock his own team mates out of the way to get the ball. These guys go from one extreme to the other. He would stand there before the kick looking at the other team and giving them hand signals of losing. His parents told him about that one. He is a very confident player.

    I also have a 10 year old grand-daughter. All legs but great at soccer. She is going through that clumsy phase as i did at her age but she is great in the field.

    My one grandson J.R. was into tackle football at five years old. Those kids wore the whole outfit and helmet plus he was the shortest on the team. I swear all the other kids stood a head taller than him. My favorite picture of him is one where he is covered with mud. I don’t know if they ran him over or used him as the ball but he looked like a roughed over little football player. So adorable but of course, I could never say that to him. I know he put his all into each game.

    When watching children’s sports I don’t know what’s funnier. Watching the children or the parents. I find my daughter quite entertaining. She was never into sports but watching her boys she is always on the end of the bench.

    The is so much involved in children’s sports. Fun and family involvement is a big part of it. Just remember not to take them too seriously and you all can have fun.

     

  • Sports

    Top Sports Bars in Atlanta

     

    With the Super Bowl season rapidly approaching, Atlanta revelers will soon be seeking out popular watering holes to celebrate (or drown their sorrows). Atlanta is home to literally hundreds of sports bars which cater to any number of crowds. But there are a few sports bars which stand out as special for one reason or another.


    DUGAN’s
    PONCE DE LEON AVENUE/ ATLANTA 

    Don’t be afraid to get a little rowdy in this particular watering hole. Dugan’s café and sports bar located on Ponce De Leon Avenue in Atlanta is the prime location for a bit of friendly carousing. This bar is fairly no-frills, and caters to a predominantly urban crowd. There is a very large bar situated toward the front of the bar, with several television screens tuned to various sports channels. The bar is nothing fancy. But drinks poured by the bevy of bartenders are sure to pack a punch.

    Scattered throughout the café, are several simple wooden tables and chairs. The general dining area is capable of seating dozens of patrons. On any given weekend, virtually every seat is filled. The wait staff can at times be a bit lackadaisical. But the atmosphere is always so filled with bustling activity, that it more than makes up for any lack of extra “hospitality.” As for fare, expect your typical menu of hot wings, and chicken fingers, along with a small selection of burgers and sandwiches. The food is always hot and tasty, and goes great with the massive amount of alcoholic beverage options.

    Covered outdoor seating is available for those who like to street gaze and people watch. As a matter of fact, the outdoor patio is actually almost as large as the indoor dining area. Atlanta’s rambunctious partiers are known to stop in for a pre-bash drink or snack-as there are several nightclubs and evening venues nearby. While Dugan’s “no frills” atmosphere may not appeal to some, it is this very air that attracts those looking for an extremely casual way to entertain themselves.


    ESPN ZONE
    PEACHTREE ROAD / BUCKHEAD- ATLANTA 

    Perhaps the ultimate extreme of down home “no frills” fun is at Atlanta’s ESPN Zone. Located smack in the middle of Buckhead’s party district, ESPN Zone is practically considered the amusement park of sports bars. With at least (7) U.S. locations, this sports bar is branded for its plethora of activities, and exceedingly comfortable accommodations. Getting into ESPN Zone during particularly popular game seasons can be a bit of a challenge, especially for larger groups of people. Groups of ten or more would do well to make advance reservations for MVP seating. The main room of the venue features a huge wide screen for viewing close-up plays. This room, in addition to providing an attractive bar, also possesses an enviable area with stadium seating in front of the wide screen. Again, this area fills up quickly, and on most occasions, reservations must be made.

    In addition to being the ultimate location for viewing games, Atlanta’s ESPN Zone is known for catering to large groups of people. And while most people tend to visit this venue during the early and late evenings, ESPN Zone is actually a great place to have lunch during typical business hours. Their lunch menu features standard items like sandwiches or salads for lower prices than their evening menu. ESPN Zone also sponsors an MVP club for those who enjoy the venue on a more consistent basis. The MVP club benefits include priority seating, a game card for use in the Sports Arena, a trial offer of ESPN magazine, and much more. While most sports bars are named so because of their proclivity to showing sports year round, ESPN Zone is definitely for die hard sports fans.


    THE BUCKET SHOP CAFÉ
    LENOX ROAD/ BUCKHEAD – ATLANTA 

    A happy medium between the lackadaisical sports fan, and the die-hard sports fan lies in a comfortable sports bar/ café named The Bucket Shop. Located directly across from Atlanta’s trendy Lenox Mall, this easy going restaurant is also fairly easy to miss. Many people traveling up and down Lenox Road often pass the sports bar, even though its outdoor seating area is facing the busy street. This is because the actual entrance is situated on the interior of the office building in which it is housed. You must turn into the parking deck, off of Lenox Road, and drive up to the 4th floor of the parking deck in order to enter the restaurant.

    Once inside, you’ll be greeted with a “Cheers”-like (NBC TV sitcom) atmosphere, with a large wooden bar centrally located in the restaurant . Surrounding the bar are several television screens showing any number of sporting events. The bar is lined with a couple of booths, and a few high tables and chairs. Towards the rear of the bar is a separate dining area for “spillover” patrons who prefer a more intimate and comfortable dining environment.

    The fare at The Bucket Shop is pretty standard. There are several American style dinner options, along with a long list of appetizers, sandwiches, and salads. The food is satisfying but not particularly exotic in any way. The main attraction to one of Atlanta’s most hidden sports bars, is in its tremendously comfortable vibe. The wait staff is very accommodating and attentive without being overly annoying. It’s a great place to simply have a drink. And because it’s centrally located in Buckhead’s buzzing business district, many business persons patronize the restaurant during lunch hours as well as on the weekends.

    Whether you seek a high energy sporting environment, or a laid back presentation of sports, Atlanta has a venue for every discerning patron. Dining options are widely varied. But the characteristic groupings of people over pitchers of beer seems to be a standard fixture in every single venue that Atlanta has to offer. 

     

  • Sports

    Gender and Sports

    Over the past thirty years, female participation in sports has risen dramatically. Although dominant sport forms are still male dominated, the gap is closing and women are now taking on the same roles as men in sports. Women are starting to break apart from the stereotypes that sports for them are mainly a means by which to stay or become thin and beautiful and are now focusing more on gaining physical strength and endurance in order to progress in their sport. They are slowly breaking away from the ideas of what “” are imposed by men and are now revolutionizing the world of sport so that women’s sports have the same role as “men’s sports.” However, obstacles stand in the way of this transformation just like with any other revolution. There are people both males and females who do not want things to change because they are content with the current status quo, and as a result are hindering the steps taken forward in this reformation.

    The principal issue in progressing female involvement in sports is altering the meaning of what most dominant sports are. The majority of dominant sports in the United States express “masculine” traits such as aggression and violence. Although females are more than capable of expressing these traits, it is more commonly accepted, almost desired, by society for them to be expressed by males. Why is this? That is up for opinion. However, a popular belief is that aggression and violence have been considered more male traits throughout all of history, and to change that is going to take some time. Moreover, males are typically brought up to express these behaviors more than women do. Therefore, there are fewer women willing to express these traits, thus keeping the majority of the “masculinity” for men to express, and therefore allowing it to remain associated with them. Another option women have to change the “masculine” viewpoints in sports is to eliminate masculine connotations altogether. However, to change the dominant sport forms from “masculine” to “less masculine” is not something that can just be done. They are the dominant sports forms because that is what the majority of society enjoys. Therefore changing them will have to be done willingly by society and not forced upon it in order for the change to be successfully accepted which will also take time and a lot of persuasion.

    Another major dilemma that female sports are facing when it comes to being more highly recognized is their representation and level of authority in sports. Men are filling the majority of the administrating, official, and coaching positions, which give women less of a voice. This is a major issue since with the majority of the power being held by the people who are content with the current status quo, how is the status quo supposed to change? The answer to this seems easy at first, give women roles that are more significant. That is not as easily done as said, because the people handing out the roles are typically also people who are content with the current status quo, and if they are not, then more women would be brought into positions of power and we would not have this problem. This issue will be hard to get around, seeing how men typically have more connections in sports allowing them to obtain those positions more easily than women. Obviously as women slowly obtain these positions, they will be able to put more women in charge and thus over time, make their voices heard. However, until then, they will have to rely on other methods by which to gain equality.

    One aspect of sport that is helping women gain power in the world of sports is increased media coverage. Although the amount of media coverage is still far less than what it is for men’s sports it has still grown exponentially over the years. This gain in coverage plays a big role in the advancement of female sports because it works as an “advertising” agent for them, allowing more people to get access to them and better understand and appreciate them. However, one of the main fallbacks to this is that the majority of people who watch, listen, or read about sports prefer to do so with men’s sports because they find them more competitive and thus interesting. This hurts female sports audiences and takes away from their ability to get their voices heard. As far as ways to resolve this issue are concerned, in my personal opinion, there is only one and that is to make the sports more interesting than male sports and take away some of their audience. How will females do that while still maintaining their respect? I do not know. Nevertheless, hopefully with evolution female athletes will be as strong, fast, and quick on the professional level as men. As we are already starting to see. The gap between men and women’s athletic abilities is slowly closing, eventually women will begin to obtain some of the world records, and as a result, there media coverage will be equal to men’s.

    All things considered, our society has come a long way in regards to female recognition in sports over the years. Going from almost no acknowledgement to almost the same as men, and with time hopefully, that small gap will close as well. Just about everything that can be done in respects to legislation to help make females more equal in sport has been done, such as Title IX, now it is only a matter of time before society gets fully accustomed to these adjustments and realizes all that female sports has to offer. Nonetheless, until then their will be unfair accusations in regards to females appropriate involvement in sports which cannot be avoided and will be heard over the few voices speaking out attempting to make things as fair as possible, knowing that someday what may seem like futile attempts to gain respect will pay off and the equal acknowledgment will be granted.

     

  • Sports

    Ohio University Drops Four Sports Programs

     

    See the source image

    I really had not given this latest bit of bad press for Ohio University much thought, until I came across an editorial in my local newspaper that went a little deeper into the situation that raised a little bit more of concern on my part for more than a few reasons.

    For starters, I have a son that is a freshman at Ohio University, and he is having a wonderful experience, and my wife and I could not be more proud of him, his accomplishments or everything that the university has been to him at this young point in his college experience. So, it stands to reason that our worry is that at some point this latest incident on or around campus will become a distraction for him. Honestly though, that is not my real concern here as I am so impressed with his focus, but nonetheless it is in the back of my mind as the this story develops.

    Looking past the personal concern, I also found it interesting that the Ohio University sought to detract away from some of the substance to this situation by offering up the reasoning that Ohio U. was the eight university in the Mid-American Conference to cut sports over the last eight years.

    Now, on the surface, the dropping of four sports programs, women’s lacrosse, mens swimming and both mens indoor and outdoor track teams seems to be nothing more than a simple budget cutting reality move that all universities face at one time or another. Quite frankly, this probably wouldn’t even be an issue if Ohio U. had not spent the batter part of the last year or so defending itself against issues involving misconduct of football players, allegations of plagiarism and highly controversial finger pointing issue of computer systems that were somewhat lacking the security measure necessary to protect sensitive information.

    As I said though, the editorial in my local paper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, from February 6th raised some additional bullet points that looked past the convenient and easy excuse the university had offered to explain the cuts. My goal is restate, and then comment on some of these items after having looked into them a bit further.

    Lets start with the faculty criticisms of President Roderick McDavis. Last June, these harsh assessments of president McDavis led to a “no confidence” result, which alarmingly, and without any reason I could find, led to a raise in pay, but no bonus to be achieved. I guess that part was the punishment, otherwise this just doesn’t make any sense at all. I mean, most working environments I know of don’t in essence reward poor performance. Trustee Greg Browning did to his credit publicly state that McDavis needed to work on communication skills. I at some point would like to find detail on this statement and the thought behind it, because the ability of an university president to communicate vision, goals and direction to not only students, but supporters of their institution is vital to its financial well being. Case and point, my wife and I are beginning to be solicited by various fund raising groups already and are a bit leery about contributing to any of them without knowing for certain funds would be managed and allocated properly. This certainly is not a statement against any of the volunteers inside or out of the university who donate their valuable time to raise needed funds, but more of a concern about the overall leadership within the university itself.

    Roman’,serif;”>Another example of the above mentioned perceived “poor communications” skills may have been raised when the sports program cuts decisions came without any opportunity for students to offer thoughts on the situation, and from what the editorial goes on to state, alumni opinion was not heavily sought out either. The one thing I have learned very quickly in my short experience as a college student parent, is that the networking capabilities of those truly involved in any university that their son or daughter attends is quick, efficient and to the point. The advancements in technology has only served to make this an even quicker process. The point is this, unlike high school, as I told my son at orientation, a university doesn’t need to, nor will they focus much attention on those that don’t look to stand on their own two feet first. I agree with this as I believe the first thing college students must learn the continuing education is shared responsibility, not just a taxpayers right. So, under these circumstances if proud alumni and parents and current students are shut out of a process or decision such as the cutting of programs, would it not stand to reason that they might not react to well to the announcement?

    A genuine opportunity was missed here to have all interested parties become “part of the solution, and not be part of the problem.” From the University’s perspective the opportunity was to open honest lines of communication and demonstrate that the opinions of those involved with university thoughts and ideas really do matter. I mean is it so hard to believe that someone besides the leadership of the university may have an idea other that the cutting of programs that would address the departments deficit?

    From alumni, student, parent and supporter’s standpoint, just another reason to buy into, believe in or sadly trust the leadership of the university. The discussions about this will not be happening where they should, in public forums where everyone feels the satisfaction of being heard and respected for their opinions.

    What can be done, well I wish I could say from I have found I have the answer, but there is harsh reality to consider here as well, sometimes budgets face tough decisions, and I honestly can’t say if this was the best solution to this problem. I do know that budget issues are a gradual process so the suggestion that I would make to the leadership at Ohio University would be this. If this particular decision must stand as is, then begin the process of establishing a “board of review” of these types of financial decisions that would include qualified alumni, parents, and even current students that could review all information and offer perhaps an alternative to a painful cut. I have always been a believer that sometimes those closest to a situation need to take that step back, and let a fresh pair of eyes have a look see at a problem just for new perspective if nothing else.

    As I said at the top of this commentary, my wife and I are proud OU parents, but at this point, the pride is solely is with our son and his start on his own, how the university regains our commitment is a different story we will be keeping an eye on.

     

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  • Sports

    TD Bank Sports Center Provides Quite a Unique College Sports Experience

    The TD Bank Sports Center, which is home to the Quinnipiac University Bobcats and is located on the college’s York Hill campus, is a state-of-the-art 185,000 square foot facility that has a lobby located at the center, with a basketball court located at the left and a hockey rink located in the right. In the lobby, you will find the Bobcat Den, which is the concession stand that has a wide selection of food. You have the typical sporting event fare, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders, popcorn, candy, and pretzels, but it is at a reasonable price, with the most expensive item being the chicken tenders, which cost $5.50. *Note: Because it is an on-campus facility, there is no alcohol served.

    Now, the sports team that attracts the largest crowd is the men’s ice hockey team. Usually, when the Bobcats are home on the weekends, either most or all of the seats are filled and the crowd gets loud. Luckily, the fans are respectful. I would especially recommend seeing the men’s ice hockey team play Yale when they are at home. That is when the place really fills up. *Note: Get tickets to that game as soon as they go on sale because it sells out fast, and I mean, fast. Men’s ice hockey tickets are the most costly out of all the sports hosted at the TD Bank Sports Center, but they are at a reasonable price with the most expensive ticket being $16 for premium games (against Yale, Harvard, Cornell).

    Roman’,serif;”>Another perk of attending a game at the TD Bank Sports Center, or the “Bank”, is that the parking is free and there is a LOT of it. Even when you attend a game that is sold out and is packed, you will still find a space. Or if there is no space left, they still have a multi-level parking garage. Plus, getting in and out is pretty easy.

    So, if you live in the area and are looking for something to do, I would recommend catching a game at the TD Bank Sports Center, where you can catch a basketball game in the afternoon and an ice hockey game afterwards. The ticket price of both games would be the equivalent of one balcony seat at an NBA or NHL game, and worth it. It is one of the best facilities in college athletics, if not THE best, and I am glad that I had the fortune of discovering it.

    The TD Bank Sports Center is located on 305 Sherman Ave. in Hamden, Connecticut 06518, and is right off Exit 10 on I-91.

     

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