Former French national goalie Fabien Barthez is quitting the Nantes soccer team, saying he fears for his safety from angry fans.
Barthez, a World Cup and European Championship winner with France, has made costly errors in recent matches -- and was booed and jeered by some Nantes fans on Saturday. Several fans surrounded Barthez's car as he left the stadium, kicked the vehicle, and tried to pull him out.
Not long ago, high school sporting officials in the state of Washington were considering tough new rules for spectators, including a ban on booing. Those who support the ban say that too often, spectators are cruel. While I believe booing can be unsportsmanlike, physical threats such as those that Barthez encountered go beyond the realm of sports.
Wouldn���t it be nice if we could control the weather so that the sporting events or special plans we look forward to were never rained out? According to Beijing���s meteorological bureau, we can.
Beijing���s bureau plans to manipulate the weather to guarantee a dry opening ceremony at next year's Olympic Games. The bureau claims they can force rain in the days leading up to the Olympics, through a process known as cloud-seeding, to ensure clear skies and naturally cleaner air.
That sounds great ��� almost too good to be true. I would have appreciated cloud-seeding today as my plans to play golf with my dad, who is visiting from out of town, got rained out. On a more serious note, this concept could change the future of sports from both the athletes��� and fans��� perspectives. I hope it works out for Beijing so the Opening Ceremonies are more pleasant and they continue to improve with their air quality concerns.
Institute for International Sport* Founder and Executive Director Dan Doyle, along with Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, announced the Institute���s World Peace Summit will take place in 2011.
According to their web site, The Institute's World Youth Peace Summit will bring together thousands of graduates of past Scholar-Athlete Games, as well as representatives from United Nations member-states, for five days of in-depth discussion on the challenges of achieving lasting world peace. Participants will be asked to design practical solutions to the obstacles impeding world peace, including religious differences, the challenges of technology, and poverty.
Doyle founded the Institute in 1986 with the vision that athletics could foster friendship and goodwill across the world. The Institute established the World Scholar-Athlete Games, which were held in 2006 at the University of Rhode Island where delegates from 157 countries were represented.
Doyle and the Institute have already brought so many people and cultures together, and the Peace Summit, which will be held in conjunction with the organization���s 25th anniversary, will certainly make a significant impact in continuing to do so.
All right folks, it���s the end of the road for the metal-versus-wood bat debate in New York City. According to The Associated Press, metal bats will be banned in high school baseball starting in September after the City Council on Monday overrode a mayoral veto of the bill, 41-4. This decision subscribes to the theory that metal bats produce harder and faster hits, risking serious injury to young players due to less reaction time.
Opponents cite an American Legion Baseball study from 2005 that found no substantial scientific proof to support the argument that wooden bats are safer than metal bats.
I know this is stirring up a lot of discussion in baseball across the country. I can���t make myself believe that a baseball reacts the same off a wooden bat as it does off of a metal one. Perhaps a different study would produce varying results. But even if it didn���t ��� what���s the harm in changing over to wood bats all the way up? It is how the game was originally played. It has a pure quality about it. If it does happen to be safer for youth athletes, it���s a win-win situation.
Do you think the issue should be left up to those who run the youth leagues or that the New York City government made the right move?
With fewer than 500 days to go until the 2008 Games in Beijing, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has expressed satisfaction with the city's plans to improve air quality and provide an efficient transport system.
Beijing transport authorities plan to replace more than 2,500 air-choking buses with new-generation, clean, alternative buses before next year's Olympic Games. Additionally, transport authorities will add another 160 electric-powered trolleybuses to the new, green fleet.
China���s plan of attack also includes planting 13 million hectares of Jatropha trees by 2010, from which 6 million tons of biodiesel can be extracted every year as a source of clean energy, according to the State Forestry Administration.
In terms of architecture, outside layer engineering, environmentally friendly material, energy and water resources, Beijing���s National Aquatics Center, or the "Water Cube," is potentially the most sustainable Olympic venue.
Just because you���re rivals on the field doesn���t mean you have to be at odds off the field as well. The Alabama-Huntsville and North Alabamasoftball teams are a perfect example of this.
The two teams recently shared a bus on a road trip to Florida for weekend doubleheaders. The coaches discovered that both of their programs were headed in the same direction at the same time and decided to save their institutions some money.
I think this was a heads-up move by the coaches regarding fiscal responsibility, and for showing their players that it���s okay to communicate, be reasonable, and even share seats with your rivals.
During my four years of college softball, we did our fair share of fund-raising and dollar-stretching. I wouldn���t have minded sharing a bus with our cross-town conference rivals to save our program time and money ��� we only used half of the charter bus anyway and most of us were sleeping at any given moment. I believe the biggest issue we would have encountered is agreeing on what movie to watch.
I���m trying to envision what it would be like if the Yankees and Red Sox were in a similar situation���
I respect officials in any sport ��� referees, umpires, judges ��� for doing their job day in and day out in the face of increasingly demanding and disrespectful fans. This happens on any level of play; I umpire slow-pitch co-ed recreational softball in the summer and am blown away by the lack of respect. The complaints and hostility even come from coaches who should be helping to create a fair and positive competition.
Basketball referees, especially, have been getting a lot of heat lately with the whirlwind intensity of March Madness. I���m usually quick to defend officials, but just a few days ago there was an incident that was controversial. Tim Duncan got tossed from a game for laughing on the bench. For Laughing. On the bench.
Last month I blogged about an article by John Feinstein in the Washington Post that suggested officials should be made available for post-game interviews. His argument centered on the fact that officials don���t have to defend their bad calls, and because they are paid professionals they should have to walk up to microphone just as the other paid professionals do.
While, overall, I don���t believe referees having to defend their calls is a good idea, I would be very interested to hear what the referee in this case has to say for himself. Do you think officials should be subject to a post-game press conference?
"Ladies and gentlemen at this time I am very proud to announce that the United States' applicant city for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games is Chicago." -- U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth
I'm still basking in the excitement from hearing those words come through a live feed from Washington, D.C. That statement capped a yearlong search for an American candidate for 2016 in which Chicago edged out two-time host Los Angeles.
I had an opportunity to attend the bid announcement gathering with the Chicago 2016 organization on Saturday afternoon. I've been a huge fan of the Olympics my entire life; emulating Olympians by attempting gymnastics in my living room and putting everything on hold for the rare and fleeting moments that the Games take place. Chicago's Olympic bid being moved to the international stage means a lot to me and I would love a chance for this city to host one of the greatest international sporting event in the world.
Lately I've been getting the impression that the general public isn't as interested in the Olympics as much as it used to be. Television ratings for the 18-49 demographic seem to reflect my suspicion. Through 13 nights during the Torino Olympics, ratings for the 18-49 demographic were only 6.3, compared to the 12.4 overall rating for primetime network coverage.
Has your interest in the Olympics dropped? Do you think this trend is caused by the increased popularity of professional sports or because of doping scandals, etc.?
Jackie Robinson* once said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.���� Yesterday, more than 200 Major League Baseball players wore the jersey number 42 yesterday to honor Robinson breaking the color barrier 60 years ago. That's quite an impact, I'����d say.
That impact intensified for a few decades, culminating when MLB's African-American population crested at 27 percent in 1975, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. By 2006, according to the University of Central Florida, only 8.4 percent of big leaguers were black.
After leaving baseball after the 1956 season, Robinson applied himself to other endeavors such as business, politics and the civil rights movement. And while I believe Jackie Robinson would be proud of the progress baseball and society have made regarding equality since he entered the big leagues 60 years ago, I think he would agree that there is still a lot of change that still needs to take place.
Why do you think there has been such a decline of African-Americans in baseball in the past two decades?
On Saturday, The University of Southern California (USC) will hold its 27th Annual Swim With Mike swim-a-thon. A fundraiser for USC������s Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund, 22 disabled athletes will be awarded scholarships, including 10 enrolled at USC.
After All-American USC swimmer Mike Nyeholt was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 1981, the school held a fundraiser to purchase a specially equipped van for him. What was meant as a one-time event has blossomed into an annual fundraiser that has raised over $6 million dollars in scholarship money for physically challenged athletes. In 2003, the fund -- which is the only one of its kind -- began awarding scholarships to students attending universities other than USC.
Highlighting this weekend will be a relay competition featuring football coach Pete Carroll and comedian and USC alum Will Ferrell. An inner-tube relay between the USC football team and the USC song girls will follow.
Active.com was unable to confirm whether or not Ferrell will attempt to upstage the cannonball he did as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman with a Triple Lindy, made famous by Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School. One can only hope������
The NCAA crowned the Men���s Basketball National Champion just a week and a half ago. For some reason, it seems like that final game took place much longer ago ��� maybe it���s because I quickly invested myself in baseball season now that it has finally arrived. But before the season gets into full swing, I want to take a moment to congratulate Florida on repeating and highlight perhaps the greatest single-elimination tournaments of all time. That���s right, my friends, it���s ���One Shining Moment��� where you can see the best of three weeks and 64 games worth (including the play-in game) of college basketball:
It has become somewhat of an anthem for college basketball and I look forward to this montage every year as March Madness concludes. The One Shining Moment post-tournament montage was first implemented following the 1987 NCAA championship game, in which Indiana defeated Syracuse. Today it���s still going strong and is definitely worth a look!
Little League Baseball and Softball will be teaming up with several college softball programs throughout the U. S. this season to provide local Little League softball teams a special experience ��� Little League Softball Days.
On Little League Softball Day, Little Leaguers, their parents and local league volunteers may attend the hosting institution���s regular-season game free of charge, or in some cases at a discounted rate. The players will come dressed in their Little League uniform jerseys, and following the games will be permitted onto the field to meet the collegiate players and coaches.
This is such a great initiative. I would have loved a chance to meet college softball players after one of their games when I was young as I looked up to the older softball players a great deal. Now, more than 364,000 Little League Softball players are welcome to take part in this unique experience that will benefit all of those involved. For as excited as the youngsters will be to meet the college ballplayers, hopefully the student-athletes will be reminded of why they fell in love with and play the game of softball.
Six years ago, 12-year-old Morgan Pressel was the youngest to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. Last week she showed the ladies how to get it done when she became the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history at 18 years of age.
At the other end of the spectrum, this past weekend 102-year-old Elsie McLean showed the entire world of sports how to get it done when she became the oldest golfer ever to make a hole-in-one on a regulation course. McLean, who used at driver on the 100-yard par-3 fourth hole at Bidwell Park in California, broke the record set by 101-year-old Harold Stilson in 2001.
What a beautiful and crazy sport golf is -- a 12-year-old can qualify to play with the pros and a 102-year-old can make the best shot of her life and achieve something many golfers never do. I tip my hat to the both of them and will get to work on correcting my slice so that, even if I don't have a good chance at acing a hole, I might at least hit the fairway.
In his first year as Kansas State University���s basketball coach, Bob Huggins led his team to a 23-12 record and the school's best Big 12 record in 11 years. That will also prove to be his last year coaching at K-State. Huggins has chosen to turn his back on a school that, based on his track record, took a pretty big chance on him. Huggins even admitted that leaving wasn't the right thing to do.
I empathize with the incoming freshman class of athletes who will put their collegiate careers in the hands of a coach they've never met and an entirely different program than they signed up for in the first place. This happened to me the summer before my freshman year of college. I received a devastating phone call a few weeks before moving into college from the coach that recruited me to say she was taking a position elsewhere. She was the person I knew the best in the place that would be my home for four years and the leader of what would soon be my second family. Luckily, everything ended up working out.
There are athletes like Cobi Jones and Kevin Garnett, who have each stuck with their respective teams for 12 seasons, through trying times and probably bigger money offers from other organizations. Likewise, there are coaches in college sports who have stuck with the same school out of pride and the desire to build a tradition, to leave a legacy in a program that they built from the ground up.
Is it just me, or is this becoming increasingly hard to come by these days? I can't help but feel like coaches and players alike are making moves based on immediate and usually monetary gratification instead of doing the right thing. Since free agency began in the early 1970s, team compositions change quickly as players will move teams often, even to teams that have no viable chance at a successful season, if the money is right. Is this behavior, from players and coaches, in mainstream sports encouraging similar team-hopping in youth and college sports?
Tomorrow, Major League Soccer���s 2007 season kicks off with a match between D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids. It���s true, David Beckham has brought a lot of attention with him to MLS, but there are other noteworthy developments this season that will also attract new eyes to the league. Not only will every game be televised for the first time in league history, but there will be a tournament featuring four MLS teams and four Mexican clubs that debuts in July with a $1 million prize.
I was saddened to hear that Cobi Jones announced that he will retire at the end of the season. Growing up very involved in the soccer community, and with heightened exposure around the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Cobi quickly became my favorite player. We shared a jersey number and, I liked to think back then, a similar, spunky style of play. He is the only player who has remained with the same MLS team since the league���s debut in 1996, playing 281 games for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Part of me expected him to always be on the field.
Cobi���s involvement with the same team for so many years brings up an interesting point regarding player loyalty. It the rare professional athlete who remains with just one team, especially if doing so means turning down more money elsewhere. Similarly, in youth sports, there is a fine line between staying loyal to your team and putting yourself in a position to reach a future goal -- such as getting an athletic scholarship.
I personally observed what seemed like a lack of loyalty in the sport community growing up. I played on the same competitive fastpitch softball team for eight years. We were like a second family. I was crushed to learn after one of those years that half of our starting lineup was quitting to create a new team more attractive to college scouts.
I understand that you have to lookout for yourself and do what is in your best interest. However, I couldn���t and didn���t want to switch teams and leave my teammates and coaches of so many years���we had our fair share of exposure, too. Is breaking away from a close-knit team worth a bit more college exposure?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines sport as, ���Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.��� I realize cheerleading isn���t as fast-paced as basketball or hard-hitting as football, but I do contend that it falls within the definition of what constitutes a sport.
If more states recognized cheerleading as a high school sport, perhaps they would receive more funding, better-trained coaches, and the resources squads need to become more competitive.
Why does the Game Name entered override display of score?
We've received this question quite a bit lately so I wanted to bring it up to the entire community in case you've come across it too. Some of you like to add a Game Name for your games, instead of leaving it as the default format (Team A vs.Team B). If you have a Game Name entered it will override the display of the score on the Schedule, Calendar and Home Page. If you would like to see the display of the score without clicking the link to the game, you'll want to edit your game and remove the Game Name. You may edit the game within the Games section of the Schedules folder. Click the edit icon located to the right of the game, remove the Game Name and click "Update Game."
In volleyball, it's important for attackers to recognize a block when on the offensive -- doing so improves a hitter's kill percentage by reducing the chances of swinging into the block. Vision training can help hitters of all levels perfect this skill.
What is vision training? It's a progressive drill that uses color cards to widen the attacker's view of the court, so they see both the block in front of them and the defense behind the block. Follow the practice plan that Karen Milborn, Assistant Volleyball Coach at Northwestern University, provides here in succession to improve skills hitters need to make better decisions in the air.
(Photo provided by Getty Images/taken by Andrew Wong)
Joakim Noah*, Al Horford and Corey Brewer, all of whom could have left Florida and been first-round draft choices last spring, put millions of dollars on hold so they might get a chance to play one college basketball game. The three upperclassmen will get what they came back for, a chance to win a second consecutive national championship.
After defeating the Bruins in the national championship game last year, Florida beat them again Saturday night in a 2007 national semifinal, 76-66. The Gators��� victory set up a national championship game against Ohio State that tips off tonight at the Georgia Dome.
Humphrey and Richard are seniors. Noah, Horford and Brewer could soon declare for the NBA draft. This group of Gators will play its last game together tonight.
As difficult as it may be for a college basketball team to repeat, I think Florida just might have what it takes. I thought they have all along. I'll be rooting for them tonight with my allegiance solely stemming from the fact that if they win, I'll win the bracket pool I am in!
Do you think Florida will prevail or that Ohio State will take the national title?
(Photo provided by Getty Images/taken by Andy Lyons)