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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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U.S. having trouble finding its sport

Scripps Howard News Service

Curiosity prompts an inquiry into beach volleyball, it being one of the few native games where we might still be the best. How, I wondered, is the good old US of A doing at volleyball?

Alas, I must report that, like baseball, like basketball, we are stiffs, slugs, also-rans. We no longer rule a game we invented. We are only No. 5 in volleyball. Hey, we are No. 5 in soccer. I said soccer.

Just to review. Baseball, our national pastime, belongs to Japan.

Basketball. Our game. Belongs to Argentina. The MVP is Canadian. The next MVP will be German. The best player might be Chinese.

Ice hockey. Their game but played here. Belongs to Sweden. Or Finland. Only they know the difference.

And Lance Armstrong has quit sticking it to the French for us. The next big bike guy from those who know is from Kazakhstan, or one of those Stans. Maybe his name is Stan. After Lance, it does not matter.

The America's Cup, named after us, an ocean boat race prize we did not even know we had until we lost it, well, the America's Cup belongs to Switzerland. Switzerland.

There is not even an ocean in Switzerland.

We are, speaking strictly of sports, the third world. Or the fifth.

The Williams sisters seem to have other things to do than play tennis, Andre Agassi might be finally finished and _ here's Switzerland again _ Roger Federer is taking dead aim at Pete Sampras' record.

We do still have, of course, Tiger Woods. And we will spring a Ben Curtis and a Todd Hamilton every so often at the British Open. But the Ryder Cup is parked in a pub somewhere, full of Guinness or pink gin, probably.

Piled up like this, it can be a bit discouraging. Take baseball. Sure, we have the best player, Alex Rodriguez, one generation removed, but there was Cuba and Japan playing for the world title, or a world title anyhow, the only world title up for grabs.

The Cubans boasted that they did it for love and the Japanese _ OK, mostly Ichiro _ complained that we spit too much and our dugouts are dirty.

But is there great indignity to all of this indignity? Nope. Here's how we see it. That's the way baseball should be played. Long ball, schmong ball. What did that get us but Barry Bonds and all his baggage?

Let's start hitting behind the runner again and appreciating the tense drama of a 2-1 ballgame. Even beaten, what we are saying is we deserve it.

And basketball. Do we really think that Mike Krzyzewski or Jerry Colangelo is going get us back where we belong, in front of the Italians?

Athens is still too fresh a wound to believe that. Dream Team? Not unless you count sleepwalking. Kobe Bryant to the rescue. And Shane Battier. And as I said, the best players are Canadian, German and Chinese.

Ice hockey. Sure, I guess, strictly speaking the greatest trophy in the game, Lord Stanley's Cup, is in Tampa, Fla., getting to rest there an extra year.

But the most recent international dust-up had us whining about having to make our own airline reservations, while Teemu Selanne was losing teeth and Peter Forsberg was playing on one leg.

I don't know how the world can have such a low opinion of us when we are always helping them up to top of the awards podium.

It can't be this bad, can it? Scanning the unofficial list of international competitions the conclusion is, to reprise Jimmy Buffett, worse than I had feared.

Of the 40 or so world records in track and field, male Americans hold four, two by Michael Johnson, and none set in this century.

The last significant international team game we won would be, what? The 2000 Olympic basketball gold medal. Barely. Our women softballers are so good that the Olympics won't let them play anymore. Even when we win, we lose.

The Boston Marathon is the property of Kenyans and Ethiopians, the Indianapolis 500 was won by an Englishman and the Kentucky Derby favorite could be a horse owned by a Dubai sheik.

This is, I suppose, what we get for playing games beyond our borders. Or playing games with people who care more about our games than we do. So thank goodness we still have football, or American football as it is known everywhere but America.

The lesson is here. Let no one challenge the Grey Cup winner to meet the Super Bowl winner just for the money. And may the NFL's Europe gimmick remain just some sort of minor league training camp.

We are this close to having things measured metrically and the next great quarterback eating crepes instead of beef.

I'm not kidding.

(Contact Bernie Lincicome of the Rocky Mountain News at
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Old-time events help shape all-time greats
Before they became among the best their sports had ever seen, Pete Sampras and Tiger Woods were Southern California teenagers performing in old, venerable tournaments.

By Steve Pratt, Times Staff Writer
March 30, 2006

Before they became among the best their sports had ever seen, Pete Sampras and Tiger Woods were Southern California teenagers performing in old, venerable tournaments that had been around since the turn of the 20th century.

Before the first Rose Bowl was played in Pasadena in 1902, tennis was played in Ojai. Before the first Santa Anita Handicap was run in 1935, golf was played at country clubs all around Los Angeles. And before the CIF State track meet started in 1915, Carpinteria played host to hosted its first track meet. Three of the oldest events in Southern California - the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championships, and the Russell Cup Track Meet - remain vibrant and thriving competitions after all these years.

Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament

First tournament: 1896

In 2000, Ojai Valley Tennis Club officials were scrambling to find names of players who had competed in Ojai and gone on to win a singles or doubles championship in a Grand Slam tournament. The names of those players would be displayed on a Wall of Fame at the entrance to Libbey Park, site of the original Ojai tournament started in 1896 by William Thacher.

Most knew the stories of Bill Tilden sleeping under the Ojai oak trees, of Jack Kramer snacking on cookies and orange juice after losing all his money in an all-night poker game, of a pig-tailed Tracy Austin winning the women's open division at 14, three months before becoming one of the youngest players to compete at Wimbledon.

But no one remembered anything about the game's all-time winningest player, Pete Sampras, playing Ojai. Sampras did play at Ojai and was one of 79 honored during that year's 100th tournament celebration. Sampras won 14 Grand Slam titles during his career, but played Ojai only as a junior.

The last weekend in April, more than 1,600 players in 37 divisions will make the trek to the small town 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles to play in the nation's oldest tournament held at one location.

"The intimate setting, the 500 volunteers. The whole community comes out for tennis in Ojai," said tournament official Sam Eaton.

"That's what makes Ojai so great. We've been doing the same thing for 106 years. Everybody knows that things don't change at Ojai."

Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championships

First tournament: 1900

There's a constant reminder hanging on the wall at the Hacienda Golf Club pro shop of the July day in 1994 when an 18-year-old Tiger Woods broke the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship record for low score in a round.

Andy Thuney, the head professional at Hacienda, sees Woods' signed scorecard every day he works.

"It's right there on the wall," said Thuney, who watched Woods shoot a 62 to shatter the course record by four strokes and break the tournament record by two.

"There was a small gallery watching him," Thuney said. "He hit some incredible shots.

"He was a phenom then just like he's a phenom now."

That was the only time the Cypress native - who has won 10 major championships as a professional - would play the tournament the SCGA bills as the "nation's second oldest, continuously contested amateur golf championship."

Begun in 1900, a year after a similar tournament in Utah, the SCGA Amateur has named a champion each year for the last 106 years.

"It's just a great tournament with a lot of history," said Bob Thomas, senior director of communications for the SCGA.

"We've had some top players who have won it, but even others who haven't, including guys like Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, Scott Simpson and Mark O'Meara who all have won major championships as professionals."

Carpinteria's Russell Cup Track Meet

First meet: 1914

Van Latham has not been able to find an older high school track meet in California than Carpinteria High's Russell Cup. The Russell Cup predates the California CIF State meet by one year. "We'll claim it as the oldest until we're proven wrong," said Latham, the longtime Carpinteria track and field coach and Russell Cup meet director.

In 1913, Carpinteria Principal Francis Figg-Hoblyn was looking for something more for his students besides the standard foot races held at the end of each school year. He invited five schools to compete in a track meet and the next year a cup was donated by local athletic enthusiast Howland Shaw Russell (marking 1914 officially as the first year of the meet). It was decided then that a silver cup donated by Russell would be given to the school that won the track meet three times.

Before World War I, the Russell Cup attracted the best track and field programs around with large, powerhouse schools such as Long Beach Wilson, Compton and Glendale competing. After World War II, the meet contracted and in recent years has served as a small-school meet. Six future Olympians have competed in the Russell Cup, including Mike Larrabee of Ventura High, a two-time gold-medal winning sprinter from the 1964 Tokyo Games, and Dave Laut of Oxnard Santa Clara, a shotput bronze medalist in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Allyson Felix, a silver medalist in the 200 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics, starred in the Russell Cup while attending L.A. Baptist.

The Russell Cup was an all-male event until 1960. This year's April 15 meet will showcase the top small school talent from around the state.

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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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The Mark Of A Winner

What separates winning organisations from the others. Noel Tichy has spent 25 years studying both winners and losers from the inside out for an answer.

Not surprising, he found that winning organisations share certain financial attributes. Several companies have been setting new records for financial performance, enriching shareholders, building communities, and providing greater opportunities for employees.

Men and women who personally and methodically nurture the development of other leaders at all levels of the organisation lead these companies.

Even if you, as a leader, are smart enough to anticipate and prepare for massive economic and social shifts, you cannot respond to the ground-level demands of the moment without the energy, commitment, and ability of people throughout the organisation.

Effective leaders recognise that the ultimate test of leadership is sustained success, which demands the constant cultivation of future leaders.

This has important implications for the work you do every day. For one thing, all the money your organisation invests in leadership development means little without an equal investment of your own time and effort.

Yet the benefits of investing your time will accrue to you as well as to your organisation. If long-term success requires more leaders at more levels than your competitors, then teaching, coaching, and cultivating others become a strategic imperative for senior executives.

Three keys for learning

The ability to develop leaders: According to Tichy, this requires three things namely, a teachable point of view, a story for your organisation, and a well-defined methodology for teaching and coaching.

Teachable point of view.

To succeed as a leader you must be able to articulate a defining position for your organisation. You must be able to talk clearly and convincingly about who you are, why you exist, and how you operate.

This means you need to have ideas on products, services, distribution channels, customers, and growth. These ideas need to be supported by a value system that the leader articulates, exemplifies, and enforces.

But you also need something Tichy calls e-cubed: emotional energy and edge. Winning leaders seem to naturally generate positive emotional energy in others.

They also have the edge to face reality and make tough yes-or-no decisions.

That is your unique burden not to call in consultants or convene a task force, but at crucial moments, when forced to act quickly, to make the difficult choices only you can make.

It often makes you the most unpopular person in the organisation, that is why those who need to be liked are seldom effective leaders, at least not during the times of crisis.

But leadership is the ability to see things as they really are and to mobilise an appropriate response.

You can only make those decisions and engender that response if you have clear ideas and values.

All three components of leadership good ideas, appropriate values, positive energy and edge are part of the package you present to those you hope to develop.

Living stories

The basic cognitive form in which people organise their thinking is the narrative story. Individuals, families, organisations, communities, and nations all have tales that help them make sense of themselves and the world.

There are three kinds of stories that leaders can tell. There is the “who I am story” in which leaders describe themselves.

There is the “who are we story”, in which you articulate for your constituents what their identity is. But the most important leadership tale is the “where we are going” story.

“I Have a Dream” speech that Martin Luther King delivered mobilised energy around powerful images of social equality of black and white children holding hands in a transformed world.

Winning business leaders use the power of storytelling as effectively as most gifted public leaders. Dramatic storytelling is the way people learn from, and connect with, one another.

Teaching methodology

To be a great leader you have to be a great learner. Most effective teachers and leaders will tell you that they grow as much as those they teach and lead.

The process of teaching can be quite simple; it starts with having a conscious system for interacting with people.

You must be methodical but not mechanical in your approach to teaching. To make a difference, you must have the self-confidence to be vulnerable to others; you need to share your mistakes and doubts as well as your accomplishments.

Learning to teach

Articulating your ideas and values, developing a teachable point of view, and developing stories that bring your views to life are all learnable skills.

The current conventional wisdom in leadership development programmes is to develop a set of competencies for what good leadership is and then figure out a way to develop people around those competencies.

At the end of the day the competencies that get developed in these programmes look similar having integrity, building trust, demonstrating competence, knowing how to overcome resistance, etc.

What is missing is the leaders themselves teaching colleagues, not leaving the teaching to others or talking about somebody else’s values.

People want their leader to look them in the eyes and say: ‘Here is where our company is going and here is what we need from leaders in order to get there’.

Practise what you teach

The military has understood this for years. Soldiers will follow a general even to their peril because such leaders have credibility.

The credibility comes from living their personal ideas and values and bringing to life the story of where the group was heading.

Religious institutions have been clear on this approach to pastoral training. Medical educators know that you cannot put a professor in the operating room to demonstrate surgical technique.

You need someone who has hands-on expertise, credibility, and a teachable point of view about how to develop other capabilities.

Making training pay

Most leadership training springs from the question, “Are leaders born or made?” and is designed to prove that the latter is the correct answer.

It is an age-old, and essentially pointless, debate.

It is like asking whether athletes are made or born. The answer is obviously both.

With coaching, commitment, hard work, perhaps any group of people could improve their ability to play tennis, golf, or football.

There are not many, however, who are going to be Pete Sampras, Tiger Woods, or Michael Essien.

It is the same with leadership.

Any organisation that takes the time to get more leadership out of people is going to be far ahead of its competitors.

Are all managers candidates for the top job? Of course not. But they can be a lot better than they are now.

We can all sharpen our ideas and better articulate our values and improve our capacity for making yes-no decisions.

So it is worth the effort to develop everybody.

Losing organisations make the mistake of handicapping their field of potential leaders and investing their training and development resources only in those they think will go the farthest.

Inevitably, they pass over a lot of talent. Winning organisations look at broad leadership skills, not just success with particular projects.

Most important, they continue to invest in the development of everyone else, including those they do not expect to rise to the top.

Leaders who invest themselves personally in the process of developing future leaders are also building the most precious of organisational assets.

The long-term success of leaders cannot be measured by whether they win today or tomorrow.

The measure of their success will be whether or not their company is still winning a decade from now, when a new generation of leaders has taken over.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-11-2006, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Posted on Tue, Apr. 11, 2006

Slow surface will give Russian hosts edge over Roddick, Blake

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

You can bet the last wristband in your tennis bag that the Russians are going to host their semifinal Davis Cup competition with the United States indoors on red clay, and it wouldn't be surprising if they brought it back to the site of one of their greatest embarrassments.

It was in December 1995, in the final at Olympic Stadium in Moscow, that Pete Sampras, cramping at the end of his first-day singles win over Andrei Chesnokov, came back to win the doubles with Todd Martin and thrash Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the deciding match on Day 3.

On clay.

This was Sampras' finest performance on his worst surface, better than in reaching the semifinals of the French in 1996, and wouldn't the Russians enjoy diluting the memory of that blown opportunity with a victory that would send them into another final.

Dean Goldfine, filling in as captain of the U.S. team while Patrick McEnroe remains in New York with his wife, who is due to deliver this week, correctly pointed out after the triumph over Chile that clay is not the Russians' best surface.

But when you pick a surface for a Davis Cup tie, you're not just looking for what's best for your players but what hinders your opposition.

And while Marat Safin (assuming he's fully fit again by the semifinals in September) has won both his Grand Slams on hardcourt, he's also an accomplished clay courter who (a) trained as a junior in Spain, (b) has reached the semis at the French and © has a 98-55 career record on dirt.

Combine him with Nikolay Davydenko, whose rise to the top 10 in 2005 was built largely on clay. Last year: Semis at Barcelona, semis at Hamburg, title at St. Poelten and semis at the French Open, where he lost a five-setter to Mariano Puerta, who has since been suspended after testing positive for prohibited drugs.

The Russian will have a clear singles edge on red clay over Andy Roddick and James Blake.



Any question now about Mardy Fish's decision to play hardcourt Challengers in the United States instead of qualifying on red clay in Europe? Fully recovered from wrist surgery, he won at Tallahassee over the weekend and got a 49-spot bump in the rankings to No. 212. At the very least, that puts him into the qualifying of the French Open. The ranking cut-off is April 23, so he's not going to reach No. 110, which is about what he would need to get straight in. . . .

Could Marcelo Rios be mapping a comeback to the ATP tour at age 30? He's come out of retirement to win back-to-back senior events in Europe, and he's dominating Pat Cash and Thomas Muster, the best two players on that swing. Even better, he seems to have lost that moody, annoying personality. . . . .

It's going to be a long way back for Albert Costa, who decided against retiring after the 2005 season, and who has now lost seven straight (including three Challenger matches). He was beaten in the opening round at Valencia on Monday by the unknown but rapidly rising Boris Pashanski of Serbia/Montenegro. Nevertheless, Costa is likely to get a wild card into the French Open after winning the tournament in 2002. . . .

Mark the name Pashanski. He won five Challengers and reached the final of four others in 2005, moving from No. 255 at the start of the season to No. 58 this week. He's probably the only professional tennis player living on the island of Malta. . . .

The final numbers on electronic line calling at the Nasdaq: 32 for 84 (38 percent) for the men and 21 for 77 (27.2 percent) for the women. And, no, I don't have an explanation for the difference. . . .

It was a very disappointing first Davis Cup tie in Glasgow over the weekend. The Lawn Tennis Association wanted the time in Scotland because Britain's new hope, 18-year-old Andy Murray, is a Scot. But he sprained his ankle at the Nasdaq and could play only doubles, and lost.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-11-2006, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Posted on Tue, Apr. 11, 2006

Quiet opener for Marlins


What South Florida sports fans are talking about
Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog

The Marlins, with only 5,000 season-ticket holders, are facing a home-opening crowd of fewer than 30,000 today -- slightly more, if you count the vultures dressed as San Antonio politicians.

The attendance-shy franchise might be getting desperate for marketing ideas. Cannot confirm the Marlins are planning an ad campaign aimed at fans with the rallying cry, ``Lead the majors in elbow room!''

Also wondering about the appropriateness of the first scheduled promotional give-away: First 10,000 Fans Get Two Free Passes to The Alamo.

Not much is expected of the team with both the lowest payroll and youngest roster by far, including 11 rookies. To give you an idea of the team's youth, most Marlins players will be dropped off at Opening Day today by their moms.

• In other baseball news, because of the Yankees' 2-4 record, George Steinbrenner has decided to buy the 2006 season and start it over.

• After a late-season tease, the Panthers again were eliminated from NHL playoff contention. Or did that go without saying?

Brett Favre called a news conference to announce he was putting off his decision whether to retire. Favre is undecided on his next news conference, but might change his mind.

• UM's spring football game is Saturday. In what might be a positive sign for coach Larry Coker, the Hurricanes are a heavy favorite.

• Dolphins Stadium has dropped the ''s'' from its name and will now be known as Dolphins Tadium. The club also revealed a new corporate logo featuring a more sleek dolphin, albeit one without discernable eyes. The blind dolphin may or may not be intended to reflect the Wannstedt era.

• Saw this page 1A Herald headline Monday -- Leftist leading Round 1 of vote in Peru -- and I'm thinking, ``Man, that Phil Mickelson really is popular.''

• I thought all of that Masters chatter about the lengthening of Augusta was much ado about nothing. That's before I noticed the 18th green was in South Carolina.

• Sports Illustrated this fall will begin publishing a Chinese edition, increasing by a potential 1 billion the number of readers who don't like Rick Reilly.

Pete Sampras has come out of retirement and will play occasional exhibitions after deciding the sport needed less personality.

Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova have criticized Serena Williams' lack of devotion to tennis. Based on what I've seen of Serena lately, perhaps Jenny Craig should add her voice.

• The South Florida media defeated Gulfstream jockeys in a charity softball game. The losing team played small ball.

• State Rep. Ralph Arza (Republican-Hialeah) has proposed legislation requiring St. Thomas and Chaminade-Madonna to renew their high school football rivalry, the strongest indication yet that every important issue has been resolved and therefore we don't need politicians.

President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in Cincinnati. Security was exceptionally tight after Secret Service received a report that Vice President Cheney might be in the area.

• Retired-for-now Roger Clemens has revealed he applied Icy Hot balm to his private parts before pitching to make him agitated. To mind comes the phrase ``too much information.''

• One of the steroids Barry Bonds is accused of taking is used as a woman's fertility drug. You know in that spring training skit when he dressed up as Paula Abdul? That was no costume.

• Baseball has launched an official investigation into Bonds, according to MLB's Office of Face-Saving Yet Ultimately Pointless Probes.

• Meantime, Bonds has not acknowledged his steroid use on his new ESPN show. Despite that, they're calling it a reality series.

Joe Dumars has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, which experts say is proof the Hall admits way too many people.

• Former Brazilian soccer stars Romario, 40, and Zinho, 38, are set to debut this weekend for Miami FC. Suggested team marketing slogan: ``Party Like It's 1994.''

Mike Tyson has been refused a residency permit by the city of Luodian, China, the latest indication that Chinese are smarter than Americans.

• NFL teams voted to curtail touchdown celebrations by penalizing the use of props. Somewhere, Chad Johnson is on the phone, canceling delivery of those rented circus elephants.

• Ex-49ers coach Red Hickey has died at 89. Hickey was known for inventing the shotgun formation and for being teased a lot growing up.

• Parting thought: Marlins president David Samson recently spent $5,000 at a Make-a-Wish auction for a package that included dinner for 40. That means every season-ticket holder eats for free!

Catch Greg Cote's Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-14-2006, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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April 13, 2006

Athletes vs. students

So I’ve decided that there’s nothing really exciting going on in the sports world right now, at least nothing that anyone is getting excited over. As I went through the past couple of weeks in sports, I found some highlights here and there, such as the return of tennis great Pete Sampras or the Cinderella run of Boston College being cut short in the last leg of the Frozen Four. Also, there is the return of the basketball magician Shawn Kemp.

Quite honestly, however, the only thing of any real significance fueling controversy in the sports world right now is the Duke lacrosse team scandal.

After a highly successful season in which they fell to Johns Hopkins in the Division I lacrosse championship, members of the Duke lacrosse team have been accused of sexually assaulting and beating an exotic dancer at a party on March 13 thrown by the some of the lacrosse team members. Since the allegations, there hasn’t been any definitive evidence against the lacrosse team, and on Monday it was announced that no DNA matches have been found linking the players to the crime. Regardless, the team has had their season cancelled, their head coach resign and their integrity decimated.

Yet, given all of this unproven depravity, there is a larger issue at hand that indirectly ties to collegiate athletics. I know that the Duke scandal hasn’t been proven, but let’s just hypothetically say that something of the sort was proven to have happened.

The matter applies not only to the Duke lacrosse team, nor any of its other teams, nor even Duke specifically. We’re talking about NCAA athletes that attend schools on full scholarships. Now before I go on, don’t even try to take this out of context and assume that I’m saying this of all athletes or of all athletes on full scholarships. Rather, let’s take this current example as an opportunity to reflect on the dynamics of the collegiate athletic system.

Some students go to school and use their athletic prowess to pay their way through. I don’t find anything blatantly immoral about this. There’s nothing wrong about using your talents and the system to your advantage. But then there are others that go to school to play sports and nothing more. In some of these situations, there’s an apparent lack of responsibility among players because there are no set expectations placed upon the athletes, besides going to practice and playing in games. Even then, there shouldn’t be a problem, so long as the athletes don’t go around making stupid decisions that hurt the reputation of the school.

While we would like to think that this lack of expectations wouldn’t be overly abused, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that stuff like this probably happens more than we think it does. We just rarely ever hear about it. The extent of irresponsibility only grows out of control when scholarship athletes aren’t consistently held accountable for their actions. Whether they think about it or not, these athletes in their actions on and off the field are representatives of their schools.

What I think sometimes ends up happening is that sports teams, especially those higher-tier D-I teams, become separated from their respective schools, sort of like how professional sports teams aren’t necessarily tied to their cities. These teams somehow become separated from their institutions, until a scandal occurs which puts things in perspective.

Which brings me to my point: Are these D-I schools really academic institutions or rather are they collections of athletes at what happen to be schools? It’s true that athletics are an integral part of a school, especially when you want to create a tightly knit student body. In that sense, sports are effective and somewhat necessary for colleges. However, is it really necessary to award athletic scholarships? More importantly, at these schools are students identified as athletes or scholar athletes? There’s a huge distinction.

Mark is a first-year. You can reach him at
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-17-2006, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Sports: Features


Wanted: a U.S. men's tennis star

by Javian Le

Contributing Writer

April 17, 2006

For the past three decades, Americans have been a dominant force in men’s professional tennis. Rivalries between players such as Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe made the sport fun to watch, and the dominance of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in the 90s made the U.S. a tennis powerhouse. Now with Sampras long retired and Agassi suffering from injuries, however, there aren’t any American men making a real mark on the ATP tour.

Andy Roddick has had a poor start to the 2006 season, compiling a mediocre 16-6 record, failing to win any titles and reaching the semifinals in only one tournament. In fact, he hasn’t made an impressive mark since winning the U.S. Open three years ago. He has made it to the finals of Wimbledon for the past two years, but was easily defeated both times by the world No. 1-ranked Roger Federer. For the next month, Roddick will have to deal with the red clay surfaces in several overseas tournaments. With the world’s fastest server neutralized by the slow surface, there isn’t much to expect from him until the tour moves on to the fresh cut grass of Wimbledon.

Former Harvard Crimson star James Blake has had a much more successful year, but still needs to prove he can play on other surfaces besides hard courts. Not to take anything away from Blake — he is playing like a top three player and has proved it by already winning two titles — but in order to dominate the sport, he has to play well during the clay court season and do better on grass. At this past week’s Davis Cup Quarterfinal against Chile, played on the lawns of Mission Hills in California, Blake dropped two straight matches against relatively unknown players. Even if he does dramatically improve — which he has shown he can do — it is unlikely he would stay at the top. At the current age of 26, he will soon reach his peak.

With that said, there aren’t any other American ATP players out there that could make an impact and rival the likes of Federer or Rafael Nadal. The U.S. will no doubt suffer several years of unsuccessful progress in professional tennis, but there are still many talented juniors who will one day take over the sport. Who has what it takes to become the next champion?

The Favorite:

Donald Young

Age: 16

Highest ITF Junior Ranking: 1

There has been hype for quite some time that this Atlanta native would make an impact for American tennis. He became the world’s No. 1 junior at the age of 15 last year after winning the junior Australian Open, and was the youngest person to ever do so. Since he’s so young, he can only get better, right? Well, after receiving numerous wildcards into ATP events over the past two years, he is still 0-9 in professional play.

The Contenders:

Sam Querrey

Age: 18

Highest ITF Junior Ranking: 10

Querrey has had an impressive start to the 2006 season. The California native, who is headed to the University of Southern California this fall, fought his way through the qualifying rounds at the Pacific Life Open and Nasdaq 100 into the main draw. Querrey made it past his first-round opponent at the Pacific Life Open and faced Blake in the second round. Although Querrey lost, he was the only player to take a set from Blake throughout the tournament until Blake fell in the finals. Querrey’s tall frame and booming serve will make him a threat in years to come.

Jamie Hunt

Age: 17

Highest ITF Junior Ranking: 29

Hunt is one of the hardest working players on the junior tour, and it looks like his efforts have paid off. Hunt will be playing for the University of Georgia in the fall, which currently holds the No. 1 ranking in the FILA collegiate Division I tennis rankings. He has consistently made it to the finals and semifinals of ITF tournaments, but has never clinched a title.

Although none of these players have had the same success on the junior tour as Federer, Roddick or Agassi, there is still a chance they will blossom once playing in the big league. Two-time grand slam champion Lleyton Hewitt wasn’t a great junior player, and Blake wasn’t the best on the college circuit, yet both emerged to become two of the best players on tour to date.

Only time will tell if these three young Americans have what it takes to climb to the top of the tennis world.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-21-2006, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Broncos can't cut a break
By Darren Lockyer
April 20, 2006

TENNIS great Pete Sampras, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, used to say that, while you could never win a grand slam in the first week, you could certainly lose them.

It is a sentiment we have been reminded of at the Broncos lately because, while all of the talk in the pre-season was about addressing our end-of-season collapses, we know we can't just expect things to improve.

If our fadeouts have taught us anything, it is that you can't just flick a switch and be in form and, with the representative season nearly upon us, I think the next two weeks are extremely important for us.

It is hard to believe we are already a quarter of the way through the NRL season and, if you had offered me fourth place on the ladder after six rounds before the season started, I think I would have taken it.

If you'd made the same offer after we were hammered by the Cowboys in round one, I would have jumped at it.

As usual, though, a look at the numbers only tells half the story. There are plenty of things to be happy about, but there are also some concerns.

To begin with our pre-season "torture" with new performance director Dean Benton has paid significant dividends. As a group we are faster and fitter than ever, which has helped our game enormously.

After a shoddy start, our defence has been outstanding. Our missed tackle count is way down on last year's average and only the Cowboys have let in fewer points.

This is mainly due to our improved fitness and some hard work with new tackling coach Peter Ryan.

Our forwards have also been a tower of strength, with the two old warhorses Petero Civoniceva and Shane Webcke leading the way.

They have had great support from young Roosters recruit Ben Hannant and a rejuvenated Dane Carlaw, who will unfortunately miss at least a month of football after injuring his knee last Friday night.

It's a real shame for Dane because he was just starting to find some good form after a couple of tough years. He hadn't won a players' player award for three seasons, but took home two in two weeks before he went down.

Injuries are an issue at every club, so I don't want to be seen as a whinger, but we just can't catch a break.

Last year we had a horror run and this season we have lost our two leading hookers for the season, after Michael Ennis injured a knee and Barry Berrigan retired because of a chronic neck problem.

Brent Tate (ankle), Neville Costigan (knee) and Steve Michaels (ankle) have sustained long-term injuries, not to mention guys such as Brad Thorn, Tonie Carroll and Justin Hodges, who have missed games here and there.

However, with our No.1 halfback Brett Seymour still trying to find his feet after off-season shoulder surgery, it's losing our hookers which has really hurt.

Everyone knows how important it is to keep those key positions - fullback, halfback, five-eighth and hooker - as settled as possible and we haven't had a great deal of continuity there at all.

It has led to some patchy performances with the ball and it is an area we are hoping to get right when we host Penrith and Canberra in the next fortnight. It is great to be able to "win ugly" as they say, but we need to start sharpening some of our combinations.

Getting Tate back this week or next will be a big boost, because it will allow us get Shaun Berrigan into the hooking rotation, where I think he could become a real asset. He is a very similar player to Roosters ace Craig Wing, who has been a revelation since switching to hooker.

Berro and Casey McGuire complement each other perfectly.

There is also plenty to like about the form of Hodges, who is in the sort of touch that could easily see him pulling on a green and gold jumper next month.

For him, like the rest of us, the next fortnight will be very important.

It would be nice to go into the representative season showing at least glimpses of the form it will take to get us to Telstra Stadium in October.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-22-2006, 10:26 PM
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nice one indeed angiel
thanks for the articles

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by almouchie
nice one indeed angiel
thanks for the articles

Thank you my dear, and how are you doing, see Nadal win.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 08:58 AM
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I was extremely pleased for Nadal
he beat Fed truely & well
he has his number
I had to catch the live score on the net
as I dont have any channels broadcasting tennis
live streams didnt work

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by almouchie
I was extremely pleased for Nadal
he beat Fed truely & well
he has his number
I had to catch the live score on the net
as I dont have any channels broadcasting tennis
live streams didnt work

Yes he certainly do, hope he keeps it up. how do you watch like the slams????
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Apr. 23, 2006. 01:00 AM


Cover: Again, nothing, nothing, nothing on the freshly hatched littlest Scientologist, but at least there's something on the biggest loser, Nick, who is still crying his eyes out over Jessica. Sissy. But back to the non-existing horrid details on Tom's "baby:" Did you know the anagram of Suri Cruise Holmes is "I miss recluse hour?" Co-incidence?

Marvellous: And speaking of Jess, the feud between her and Lindsay Lohan is reaching a cataclysmic zenith of tension as they battle for the role of Lucy in the remake of Dallas.

Great: My eyes! Ryan Seacrest was one very ugly child.

Swell: The horror continues. Heather Locklear and David Spade are still dating.

Wonderful: Everybody's happy, even the fat guy from Lost and Colin Farrell. Oh, and Pete Sampras, but who in the world cares about him? What, do they think we are? Some sort of crazy tennis freaks?
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-25-2006, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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The Motley Fool

Retire Rich and Famous

By Anand Chokkavelu (TMFBomb)
April 25, 2006

At one point in history, you've probably read a statistic that goes something like this: "If you invest $10,000 today and assume a 10% return, in 50 years you'll be a gajillionaire!"

OK, so you'd actually only be a millionaire, but you get the point.

Fuzzy math
So what's stopping you? Well, as I see it, two things:

1. You don't have that much money to invest because you need it for other things -- paying off credit card debt, student loans, cars, mortgages, child care, or cigarette boats.

2. You didn't start investing at age 15 to let your investment compound those 50 years, so you think it's now too late.

Don't fret

You may have heard that "it's never too early to plan for retirement." (I think that's the tagline of a TV commercial.) I'd argue that it's never too late to plan for retirement, as long as you devise a smart game plan and execute it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average American lives to be nearly 80 years old. So if you're 40, 50, 60, or even 70, you still have plenty of time to grow your nest egg for your golden years -- even if you're already in them.

To get started on the path toward retirement, take a cue from the world of tennis -- yes, tennis.

The Punisher's plan
I've followed Andre Agassi's career since he was a long-haired, image-is-everything, spitting-at-the-umpire teenager. I watched in awe as he shocked crowds with his unmatched returns and groundstrokes, only to fall just shy of greatness.

Calm down, all you Agassi fans. I know Agassi won a slew of tournaments, and he was even No. 1 in the world for a brief time. But compared with Pete Sampras' spectacular career, Agassi gave you a gnawing feeling that he'd squandered his chances like so many people squander their financial chances in the invincibility of their youth.

In his late 20s, he fell all the way to No. 141 in the world rankings. Ouch.

Don't call it a comeback
And then came the game plan. Agassi didn't worry about all the opportunities he'd squandered in the past. He rededicated himself to the sport. And then the old man went out and won five of his eight career Grand Slam titles.

He's not done yet, and neither are you.

Yes, this does have to do with retirement
If you feel like the door to retirement planning has closed on you, take a page from Agassi and rededicate yourself. It's not too late, but you must start now.

First, track all your expenses for a few months to see what fat you can cut out of your budget. The more money you can stash away, the better.

If your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan has a company match, sign up. Immediately. With a 401(k), the money never lines your pocket, so you won't even miss it. And if your company matches a percentage of your contributions, you're essentially getting free cash for your retirement nest egg.

For non-401(k) funds, map out your time horizon and risk level. If retirement is near, play it safe with a mix of stocks and bonds -- emphasis on bonds. Take advantage of the income of dividend-paying stocks. And make sure you have emergency cash in an easy-to-access, high-yielding savings account. (ING Direct's current yield on a savings account is a category-crushing 4.0%.)

Back to where we started
Of course, if you have more time and more tolerance for risk, take a look at the stock market. The market's historical average rate of return -- 10% -- will let your money compound (remember to reinvest dividends), even if you don't have 50 years until you hug your co-workers and move the camper to Florida.

How do you get 10%? A good place to start is index funds, which cost you little and put the entire market to work in your portfolio. Vanguard Total Stock Market (FUND: VTSMX) and Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index (FUND: FSTMX) both hold more than 3,500 stocks and ding you just 0.19% and 0.17%, respectively. Exchange-traded fund SPDRs (AMEX: SPY) cost just 0.11% while tracking the S&P 500 (plus brokerage fees).

If you want to be more aggressive, you can look to individual stocks to round out the picture. One historical outperformer is General Electric (NYSE: GE), which has paid a dividend every year for more than a century and has increased its payout in each of the past 30 years. During the past two decades, GE has had 15.1% compound annual growth.

American Financial Realty [U](NYSE: AFR[/U]), a real estate investment trust with a 9.4% yield, is a stock I hold in my portfolio, and Fool dividend guru Mathew Emmert recently suggested that it's a stock for your golden years.

Take control of the retirement game
Does anything from this list strike your fancy?

1. Strategies for asset allocation (stocks vs. bonds vs. real estate and so on).

2. Inflation-related techniques.

3. Specific stock, fund, and bond recommendations.

4. Tax strategies.

If you answered yes (and I'm not sure anyone could answer no), I encourage you to check out the Fool's comprehensive retirement service, Rule Your Retirement. Editor Robert Brokamp takes you step by step through a Brad Gilbert-style lesson on how to control your own retirement destiny. A free 30-day trial to the service gives you full privileges -- the current issue, all back issues, retirement how-to guides and calculators, and the world-class members-only discussion boards.

The next time you think it's too late to have a superstar retirement, remember Andre Agassi. (And Andre, if you're reading this, drop me an email ... your subscription's on me.)

Click here to claim your free one-month guest pass to Rule Your Retirement.

Anand Chokkavelu owns a $30 racket and a $2 backhand. He owns shares of American Financial Realty, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy

Last edited by angiel; 04-25-2006 at 09:05 PM.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-26-2006, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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April 26, 2006, 7:56AM
The great debate
After months of deliberation, decision day is near for the Texans. And in making closing arguments, some fans are willing to spend

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Vince Young's provenance, personality and big-game performances have the Texans in a pickle. While they don't seem to think the Houston-born-and-reared quarterback of the national champion Texas Longhorns is the right fit as they attempt to recover from a 2-14 season, there are those in the community who disagree.

Lots of them, apparently.

One man, season ticket-holder Holly Frost, spent thousands of dollars for a full-page ad in last Sunday's Chronicle to beseech the Texans to select Young with the top pick in Saturday's NFL draft. He admonished them for "not taking calculated risks to get much better" and for taking "the easy way out" with Southern California running back Reggie Bush, whom conventional wisdom considers the best offensive prospect in this year's draft.

"I've been looking at players coming out (of college) for 20 years trying to decide which ones are going to make it," said Frost, 61, who founded Texas Memory Systems, a company specializing in computer memory storage, 27 years ago. "As near as I can tell, Vince Young looks like the best player with the biggest potential I've ever seen. From my humble point of view, it's a no-brainer.

"Every time I see Vince or hear him speak, I say to myself, 'Damn, that's a cool dude.' I like what he says and how humbly he carries himself."

In the ad, Frost also asked his fellow fans to contact the Texans through their fan feedback Web site and tell the team they believe the former Madison High School star should start his NFL career in Houston. The Texans say more than
300 Young advocates have responded. A spokesperson said every e-mail or fax has been, or will be, individually answered.

"We respect all our fans' opinions, and we sincerely appreciate that they care enough about the Houston Texans to voice them," said Tony Wyllie, the team's vice president, of communications. "That's why we offer ( We want to know what they're thinking."

Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture and one of the Texans' most prominent corporate sponsors, hasn't written in, but he's not a bit bashful about sharing his thoughts. A former Longhorn who was at the Rose Bowl for the BCS championship game, McIngvale said he doesn't know Frost but noted they're kindred spirits. McIngvale is in the process of buying a two-page ad to run in Thursday's Chronicle.

"My point of view on Vince is real simple," said the man known as "Mattress Mack." "I saw what he did against USC, and for me, it's kind of like the gospel at church last Sunday. When Thomas stuck his hand on Jesus' side, he believed. Well, I believe in Vince."

McIngvale and his wife, Linda, also own Westside Tennis Club and were responsible for bringing the ATP Tour back to Houston six years ago. He compared Young to tennis champion Pete Sampras.

"Vince is the Pete Sampras of football," he said. "He steps up in the big moments. And he's a Houston kid on top of that. How do you pass him up?"

The view from I-45

McIngvale was speaking from his customary post at the front desk of his store on Interstate 45, where a replay of Texas' dramatic win over Bush and the Trojans can be seen repeating on the sea of TVs for sale. Young scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-down keeper in the final moments, having led the Longhorns back from 12 points behind with six minutes to play.

"I'm watching No. 10 right now," McIngvale said. "He just keeps getting better. They all tell me Reggie Bush is so great. USC's got 12 guys going to go play in the pros. Texas has five. Tell me who made his team better. Hello?"

Said Frost, whose son attended UT: "As soon as Vince got the ball in the fourth quarter, you felt, 'We've got it made. Vince has the football.' "

A devotee of the Dallas Cowboys who openly disdained the Oilers before the Texans' first game in 2002, Frost was speaking only as a fan when he bought his ad. He concedes he has renewed his season tickets and that if the Texans don't take Young, "I'll just shake my head and have a bad opinion of them. Sure, I'll still go the games."

Frost is adamant that he wasn't seeking publicity. His company wasn't mentioned in the ad, nor did he use his full last name in the letter.

"I've lived in Texas since the 1950s," he said. "I'm an entrepreneur. I've made some money over the years, and I'm just trying to have a positive impact. The one thing I've learned in business is that you try to hire people who make good decisions. Vince Young looks like he makes good decisions. You read that Vince can't do this or he can't do that, and wait until he sees an NFL linebacker. But you can say that about anybody coming out of college."

When he agreed to buy his tickets for next year, Frost sent the same letter to the Texans about Young that later appeared in the ad. After it garnered no response — "They probably just tossed it away," he said — he contacted the Chronicle and put his money where he mouth was.

"The Texans are saying, 'We'll draft Bush no matter what happens. People can't argue with our decision,' " he said. "Well, yes, you can argue, and I did with my ad."

Better return wanted

McIngvale speaks as both a fan and a corporate sponsor. Asked if the Texans' choosing Bush will impact his future business relationship with the team, he replied: "It darn sure ain't going to help it. I'm a marketing guy. I think Vince would be over the top for them. I don't want to go through another year like last year when I basically threw my money away.

"I'm obligated for a couple more years, and I'm big on fulfilling my commitment. But ongoing I've got to take a look at it because regardless of the football implications, (drafting Young) would at least double the value of my sponsorship overnight."

Told how McIngvale felt, Frost said: "Good for him."
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