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In no way do I condone the actions of Elizabeth Lambert, the University of New Mexico soccer player who was caught on video being violent toward BYU players during a Mountain West Conference tournament game.


Lambert nearly yanked a woman’s ponytail right out of her scalp, punched one girl in the back, another one in the head and did some over-the-top tackling in one game. She was obviously playing on tilt and should’ve been red-carded numerous times or removed from the game by her coach. Television cameras started watching her every move because she was that out of control. It was horrible.


But her Internet fame—videos of her acts had more than a million views on YouTube—came with jokes about women’s sports and the intensity that the BYU and New Mexico players were showing. That’s where I really shake my head.’s Graham Hays said it best--women's sports aren't catfights. They're competitive. And it’s about time mainstream America accepts the fact that our female athletes aren’t worried about breaking a nail.


I was surprised by some people’s reaction, but perhaps my perspective is unique. My wife played Division I soccer, and I went to all of her games for four straight years. Big-time women's college soccer is a rough sport. Players are athletic, big, fast—and most of all, physical.


My wife was one of the smaller players out there, and she had to compensate by being tougher. She gruesomely broke her elbow in high school and still has problems with it, but kept playing. In college, she got a black eye in practice and a concussion during a game. She had trouble walking between many of her matches because of ankle and shin injuries caused by players kicking the daylights out of her while battling for the ball. I went to visit her at her apartment one day and she had an air cast on her right foot—and she played a full game two days later.


Funny thing is, my wife was relatively injury-free compared to some of her college teammates. One of them badly broke her leg in a game, another one tore up her ankle. Pretty much all of them spent their college days in a training room getting ice baths. Offseason knee surgeries were common.


After watching the Lambert video, I concluded that a red card should have been issued in four of the incidents. I then showed the video to my wife. She shrugged her shoulders at a couple of the tackles, acknowledged that the ponytail yank and the face punch should’ve been a red card, then deadpanned “they’re making too big a deal out of it.”


Probably so. While I view Lambert’s actions a little more negatively than my wife does, we agreed on this—if this was a men’s soccer game between BYU and New Mexico, the actions of one out-of-control defender playing rough with opponents wouldn’t have generated one million views on YouTube. It probably wouldn't have cracked 100,000.


Why do you think that is?


Maybe someday, we’ll figure out that female athletes are deeply invested in their sport, and they want to win just as bad as the boys do. Maybe someday, we’ll realize that competitiveness brings out physical play, and physical play can light a short fuse and unfortunate incidents will occur in the heat of battle--just like the boys.


And just maybe, we’ll get to a point where we're OK with the girls playing hard—and it won't be worthy of one million views on YouTube.



7,930 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: ncaa, soccer, women, college

Sporting goods manufacturers may be hazardous to your health.


That's the word coming out of Montana as a jury found aluminum bat manufacturer Hillerich & Bradsby(maker of Louisville Slugger) liable for the 2003 death of prep baseball pitcher Brandon Patch. (Local paper's coverage of the ruling)


The crux of the prosecution's argument in civil court was that Hillerich & Bradsby failed to provide adequate warning as to the dangers of their aluminum bats. Though I'm saddened to hear of the tragedy that has befallen the Patch family, I'm not entirely sure what "adequate warning" means.


A label on the bat? A signed waiver accompanying each Louisville Slugger? A safety coordinator at each youth baseball game in the country explaining what "can happen" when a ball pings off a bat?


I'd be curious to see what you folks think. I believe this ruling could have long-lasting consequences to youth sports in this country.

8,029 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: baseball

Los Angeles Times reporter Melissa Rohlin did a great job with an in-depth piece on cheerleading, particularly at the high school level, and just how dangerous and unsupervised the stunts are.


The father of one cheerleader who was seriously injured in a stunt told Rohlin, "I didn't know that they were throwing her up in the air. That's for professionals. Why would the school allow that?"


It's an interesting question, and the statistics that the Los Angeles Times throws out there are startling. The most amazing evidence was done by Fox Sports, which scientifically examined a common cheer stunt--the basket toss--where a cheerleader is thrown in the air and caught by three of her teammates.


Fox concluded that the impact of a fall from a basket toss (basically, if the teammates don't catch her) is 2,000 pounds. In comparison, the force that an NFL linebacker crunches an opponent is 1,800 pounds.


So what do you think? Is there reason to be seriously concerned about the sport of cheerleading? Should there be a rule limiting how high in the air cheerleaders can be thrown, if at all?


I know at my college alma mater, they used to do amazing, complicated stunts about 10 years ago. Cheerleaders weighing about 95 pounds would get flung in the air by big bulky guys, do about three backflips and fall safely into the arms of 2-3 teammates. They stopped in recent years, basically going no higher than standing on the outstretched arms of their male teammates. It's not quite as cool looking, but you also don't tense up when they're on their way down.


Is that how it should be? Or should we chalk up these injuries (some very serious) to being part of the sport?

7,701 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cheerleading, injuries

My friend Jenny was a highly-touted softball catcher in the Big-10. She had a quick bat, high fastpitch IQ (she started for the varsity team as a freshman) and one of the strongest throwing arms in southern California.

Today--her back riddled with herniated discs due to numerous home plate collisions--she spends her mornings lying in bed, waiting for the Vicodin and Percocet to take effect before she attempts the exceedingly difficult task of standing up.

She's 25 years old.

I was reminded of her story when I read this fascinating article (free registration may be required) in the New York Times. The article recounts the challenges facing some NCAA athletes after the games have stopped and mounting medical bills and permanent physical disabilities start to set in.

Though the the NCAA began mandating four years ago that college athletes need to have health insurance before competing, the article clearly demonstrates that the level of insurance coverage varies widely from school to school.

"While some colleges accept considerable responsibility for medical claims, many others assume almost none."

"Many students, whether athletes or not, have medical insurance through their parents. But these plans often exclude varsity sports injuries, limit out-of-state treatment or do not cover much of the bill."

"Some colleges buy secondary policies to fill the gaps, although even these plans have holes. And only players hurt badly enough to require extensive care can turn to the N.C.A.A. for coverage. Its catastrophic insurance carries a $75,000 deductible, which will increase to $90,000 next year."

Do you think NCAA schools should be responsible for the long-term medical care of all its players who are injured while playing sports at the collegiate level?

Or would such a staggering financial commitment destroy college sports altogether?

8,561 Views 9 Comments Permalink

A new twist to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was announced recently: A Charity 5K that will take place two days before the big game in St. Louis.


Here is a press release with a little more information on the run, including some former baseball greats participating in the festivities (courtesy of Major League Baseball):








Hall of Famer Lou Brock will be the official starter with Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers and former Cardinal Vince Coleman handing out medals and congratulating fans as they cross the finish line of the first-ever All-Star Charity 5K & Fun Run presented by Sports Authority and Nike, which will take place on Sunday, July 12. This event is part of the 2009 MLB All-Star Summer program dedicated to charitable initiatives and giving back to the community. All race related net proceeds will be donated equally to three charities supporting cancer research and education--the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.


Hall of Famer Lou Brock is recognized as one of the most talented and gifted baserunners in Major League history. Brock, who had 938 career stolen bases, ranks second all-time in stolen bases and each year, the National League’s leader in stolen bases is presented with the Lou Brock Award. Rollie Fingers helped lead the way in defining the role of the modern day closer. Over his 17-year Major League career with the Oakland Athletics, the San Diego Padres and the Milwaukee Brewers, Fingers was selected to seven All-Star Games and appeared in 16 World Series games, fashioning a 1.35 ERA and collecting six saves in the Fall Classic. Vince Coleman was a two-time National League All-Star while a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Known for his speed on the basepaths, Coleman set numerous stolen base records. In his N.L. Rookie of the Year Award-winning season in 1985, Coleman stole 110 bases, setting a single-season stolen base record for a rookie.


Participants will run and walk on a baseball-themed course featuring appearances by MLB legends and mascots. All finishers will receive a commemorative All-Star medal and t-shirt. The course will begin at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals and host of the 2009 MLB All-Star Game, and will finish at America’s Center, home of Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest. The 5K portion of the event, which will be an officially timed event, will begin at 7:30 a.m. CT with the family-friendly 1.1 mile Fun Run starting at 8:00 a.m. CT. Sign up by July 2 and receive a discounted price of $30 (adult) and $25 (children 12 and under) for the 5K and $20 (adult) and $15 (children 12 and under) for the Fun Run. Space is limited so participants are encouraged to sign up early. Registration and event information is available at Information is also available at all nine St. Louis area Sports Authority locations.


The All-Star Charity 5K and Fun Run presented by Sports Authority and Nike will be joining an All-Star Summer event line-up that focuses on giving back to the community including the MLB All-Star Charity Concert benefiting Stand Up to Cancer; People “All-Stars Among Us,” a national campaign with PEOPLE Magazine that will recognize individuals who have served their communities in extraordinary ways; and in-stadium events highlighted by Gatorade All-Star Workout Day in which nearly $5 million will be donated to local and national charities through MLB Charities and Cardinals Care. The charity and community service initiatives, which will be themed “Going Beyond,” will be the most extensive in Major League Baseball All-Star history and will complement the celebration of history and traditions of Baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals.

7,322 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, baseball

The NCAA has approved "sand'' volleyball

for varsity  competition at the college ranks beginning in 2010-11. Read the whole story here.

It will take some time for hte NCAA to figure out things know...rules. And it will be called "sand volleyball" because apparently "beach volley" will alienate landlocked schools.

Do you think it will succeed as an NCAA sport? How do you think this will affect the tenous balance of title ix scholarships?


7,300 Views 3 Comments Permalink

News out of San Diego, Calif., where basketball star

Jeremy Tyler

is going pro and skipping his senior year--of high school.


The details of this decision are rehashedand fairly criticizedin this article over at SportsPower . Basically, Tyler feels that high school basketballand college basketball for that matteris below him and he needs to get started right away. He will go to Europe and start playing against seasoned pros much older and more experienced than him, with plans to come back for the NBA when he's eligible.


Remember the good old days, when leaving college after your junior year caused a gasp? We can thank

Kevin Garnett

for opening the floodgates for skipping college altogether. He went straight to the NBA in 1995.

Kobe Bryant


Jermaine O'Neal

followed the next year, and their success stories have encouraged copycatters all over the country like

Korleone Young


Leon Smith


Ousmane Cisse

(what, never heard of them?) who turned down free college educations because they wouldn't let their immense talent bring the dream to them. They instead had to hurry to it.

The NBA responded by passing a rule requiring a year out of high school before being eligible for the draft, but that was circumvented by

Brandon Jennings

, who finished high school and went straight to Europe for a season. He's expected to be a lottery pick in June's NBA Draft now that he's eligible.


Now, this: Skipping a year of high school. It's really crazy, and it makes you wonder how low the bar will fall. We already know about eighth-graders being offered scholarships . Sixth graders are ranked by recruiting services. My 5-year old niece, who has never played basketball but appears to be on her way to being tall, might get chased down by

Sonny Vacarro

soon. I'll keep you posted.


With so much cash at stake between shoe deals, salaries and other sources of income, kids just can't wait to cash in on their talent. But I don't see one single positive in skipping one of the most memorable years of your life to get pushed around by men 4,000 miles away from home. As the SportsPower article mentions, Tyler has a lot of maturing to domostly mentalbefore he's ready for the NBA. Europe could be an awful experiment for him, seven-figure paydays or not.


It's true what the Notorious B.I.G. said--mo money, mo problems. You just hate to see kids find out the hard way.

7,211 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, recruiting

Anybody got any advice on buying sports equipment that doesn't require a second mortgage? Right now I'm looking for a metal baseball batbut my girlfriend is running a race next month and wants to look into a home gymso any general tips on buying sports eqiupment (used or new) would be greatly appreciated.

8,916 Views 0 Comments Permalink

There are few states that can match passion for a sport like Indiana has for basketball. ESPN is currently hosting a debate regarding which state is the best basketball state—they are down to the final four and Indiana is still in the running. Growing up in the Midwest, Indiana is the first state that comes to my mind when I think of passionate basketball fans and players. 


Our friends over at took some time out from delivering quality high school basketball coverage on their site to answer a few questions for us about basketball in their state and what being a Hoosier is all about.  


1. Which of these players do you think will be the 2009 Indiana Mr. Basketball and why? Patrick Bade - Franklin Central, DJ Byrd - North Montgomery, Derek Elston – Tipton, Jordan Hulls - Bloomington South, Colt Ryan – Batesville, Stephan Van Treese - Lawrence North, Scott Wood – Marion


We would love to see each of these guys get Mr. Basketball, although we both know that isn't realistic. They all have worked their tails off these last four years, and we would hate to single any one kid out.


Some of our favorites, respectively, include Jordan Hulls from Bloomington High School South, Colt Ryan from Batesville High School and Stephan Van Treese from Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Hulls is the best player on his team on arguable the best team in the state, which is now ranked 4th nationally according to USA Today. He is headed to IU next year and can shoot the rock- something like 50% from deep.


Colt Ryan is a true leader and knows how to carry his team, if you haven't been keeping up with his season this year. Colt is headed to Evansville University next year and I can only imagine him fitting seamlessly into their program.


Stephan Van Treese, the kid has been under the radar since we can remember. He played varsity with teammates Greg Oden and Mike Conley.


There are numerous other D1 players on his Lawrence North team, so you can imagine why his numbers are blowing anyone out of the water. This kid is the real deal—both Louisville fans and Rick Patino realize it.


2. If you had to pick one Indiana high school basketball team that impresses you the most—which would you choose and why?


Bloomington South, hands down. We have been following them for the last few years pretty hard. Their atmosphere is true Indiana High School Basketball hysteria, their student section is prime and did I mention they are ranked 4th in the country? Hulls, Davis, Fromm and new comer Spencer Turner have been a blast to watch, this year especially. These guys are lethal. Let's see if they can manage to grab the title this year.


3. What piece of advice would you give athletes who are going through the recruiting process?


Don't let it get to you, no matter how many letters are in the mailbox. Keep a level head and go out and do your thing everyday. Work hard to play hard. Your hard work will pay off, believe! Parent's, don't push your kids too hard. Now-a-days a lot of kids are getting burnt out so early because of year around practice and crazy parents. Push them, encouragingly, reward for the good things they do and make it fun for them.


I once knew a kid who would shoot free throws outside right after school, in the dead of winter, as a fifth grader, until he would make 50 in a row. Then he'd come inside and log his hours on a calendar then head to Greene County, Indiana to watch players like A.J. Graves and Brody Boyd.


He still logs his hours to this day, even as he practices at Butler University, where he plays now. Yea, all Pistol Pete style...but if basketball is truly in your heart, I'm sure you understand exactly what we're saying.


4. A member of our community points out that implementing class basketball might be responsible for detracting from “Hoosier Hysteria”. As someone who shares a passion for Indiana high school basketball and is immersed in the scene, I’d love to get your thoughts on the matter. He says:


For about 30 years, starting out as child, I had the privilege of attending the HS boys basketball Final Four. 15,000 at Hinkle, 17,000 at Market Square and even 30,000 at the dome. That was before "class basketball." This year, I attended the class finals at the downtown field house. There were no more 6,000 fans there for any one of the four games. Has class basketball damaged the passion of Indiana high school basketball?


Well, I'm not sure you really need to have 15K screaming fans to make Indiana High School Basketball have that Indiana HS Basketball feel, know what we're saying? We've been in gyms that only hold 2K people and are packed, standing room only, dripping in sweat, cheering, and it's been a BLAST!


We will have to admit though, that because of class basketball, conference championships, respectively, seem meaningless. It seems, since single class basketball was before my time, that for smaller schools, the state championships were the sectional championships, and if you were lucky enough to win those- good for you!


Bobby Plump (the man who hit the most famous shot in the history of Hoosier Hysteria. It was the shot that gave little Milan High its miracle state title in 1954 over powerhouse Muncie Central and spawned a Cinderella story told a million times over, most notably in the movie "Hoosiers.") said, "Since they went to class basketball, Milan has been to the semi-state twice, and nobody knows it," Plump said. "That gives you the idea that people don't care. The sectional winners in the old days will be remembered a long time after the four state champions are remembered…When you can play, you want to play against the big boys. You might get your brains beat out, but it won't be the last time that happens in life."


5. On a related note, I was following ESPN Rise’s Great State Debate on which state has the most passionate basketball fans. They nominated New York, Illinois and several other states as belonging in the bracket that fans would ultimately vote on. But they selected Indiana as on the bubble for even being included in this discussion and made the fans vote it in over a couple other bubble states. I couldn’t believe Indiana didn’t make the initial cut. The fan support from the Hoosier state ended up being overwhelming and Indiana made it in the group of states to be considered as the best. Could you talk a little bit about what it’s like coaching basketball in one of the most passionate, storied states in the country and what it means to you?


High school basketball is something that will always be instilled in Indiana culture; it's a way of life here. If anyone has, or maybe even hasn't, traveled up to New Castle, Indiana and seen the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame, I'm sure you are familiar with they saying, ""In 49 states, it's just basketball … This is Indiana."


The movie, "Hoosiers," seems to really hold true as to how basketball is here. It still seems kind of funny when I'm out in Florida or somewhere and see the movie on the Blockbuster shelf. Yes, it still brings a big goofy, involuntary, smile to my face...I mean, how could it not.


6. has Bloomington South ranked the best in the state. Do you think they have what it takes to continue the momentum through the post-season and win a state title?


Bloomington South seems SOLID. After their win against Detroit Country Day, it's hard telling what all the Panthers are capable of. We would love to see them finally grab a title, but you can never be too sure. If everyone stays health, keeps on the same track they are on now...they should have little trouble.


Check out for in-depth, up-to-date high school basketball coverage.

7,041 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, trish-oberhaus

March 2009 Snapshotz Winner

Posted by Trish18 Mar 2, 2009
7,190 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: snapshotz, trish-oberhaus

Recruits cannot legally accept money to be lured toward a school. So universities looking for an edge take donor money, pour it into facilities and other whistles, and invite recruits to come enjoy their playground for 4-5 years. And you know what? It works.


It's one way of promising incoming players that they will be spoiled, even if it's not in direct compensation outside of a scholarship. More and more, recruits visit campuses and factor in how nice the facilities are as one of the reasons for committing. The beauty of their environment plays more of a role than you might think, especially at the higher levels.


Here's one example on the baseball front. In this article in the LSU student newspaper, Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco explains that a nice stadium on campus is huge for recruiting. Interestingly enough, having nice stadiums throughout the SEC makes a difference, too. "When a kid is choosing to go play baseball, is he gonna go to Billings, Montana, and play in an old, beat-up minor league park, or is he gonna go to the Southeastern Conference where it is not just Ole Miss or LSU, but there are 12 nice stadiums?" Bianco told the paper.


Strange. Your heated rival could help you land the recruits needed to beat them.


There's also the other side of the coin. I played baseball at a big-city junior college several years ago. My high school field was in much better shape than the juco digs. Our "clubhouse" in college was a little storage closet next to the dugout, and it was broken into about six times in the year I was there (one good shoulder into the door would snap the lock in half). Our "locker room" was the men's room of the community recreation center at the other side of the parking lot (it had two showers!)


Needless to say, facilities had little to do with my decision. But if a coach could offer me a clubhouse like this one at the University of Kansas, which opened this year? Yeah, it would probably be icing on the cake. I would stop sending my highlight video out and ask the coach where I need to sign.


You want to think that student-athletes choose a school because of academic opportunities, playing time and player-coach relationships. In a lot of cases, they do.


But this is one way big schools can throw their money around and create an edge. They call it the "arms race" in college athletics, and whether it's backed by good intentions or not, recruits are loving it.


After all, if you can't be compensated as an amateur, you might as well be pampered.

7,099 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: baseball, recruiting, student-athletes, ryan-wood

February 2009 Snapshotz Winner

Posted by Trish18 Feb 12, 2009
6,682 Views 1 Comments Permalink

I just got off the phone with Tony Dungy.  I had called my old special teams coach Joe Marciano, who is now the special teams coordinator for the Houston Texans.  I left him a message asking for Tony's cell number so that I could contact him.  Joe called me back and told me that he had just got off the phone with Tony and that Tony was looking for my number.  That is a "Goocher" in my book.


Tony has decided that he is ready to move on to the next chapter in his life.  It was great to hear Tony's voice.  It had been some time since I had spoken with him.  Espn wrote some great articles on Tony.  One in particular was about me and how he handled a slump that I went through in 1997 when my mother was dying of cancer: 


Being an athlete and/or a coach is demanding enough.  However, how we handle both victory and defeat provides the opportunity to demonstrate character.  The NFL is a "machine" and I have seen many people change under its grips.  I have heard coaches tell our team one thing, only to have something else happen.  That was never the case with Tony.  With the amount of money and pressure that is found in the NFL, Tony never allowed it to control him.  His faith in man-kind is strong.  His faith in God is stronger.  This man "Walks the Walk."


I will forever be grateful to Tony not only for how he handled my situation, but how fortunate I am to have him as  a friend and the impact that he has had on my life.

7,008 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: sports, football, nfl, coach, leader, man, god

Here's how important national letters of intent are in the recruiting process: you can't just sign one whenever you want.


The NCAA has specific time periods in place for inking such important agreements. They vary by sport, and there are a lot of sports. So it's easy for recruits to commit to a school but really have no idea when they're supposed to sign their letter of intent to make it official.


Here is a breakdown of when national letters of intent are signed for athletes wanting to earn a scholarship for the 2009-10 school year, according to the NCAA website:


Basketball (early signing period): Nov. 12-19, 2008

Basketball (regular period): April 15-May 20, 2009

Football (mid-year junior college transfers): Dec. 17, 2008-Jan. 15, 2009

Football (regular period): Feb. 4-April 1, 2009

All Other Sports (early period): Nov. 12-19, 2008

All Other Sports (regular period): April 8-Aug. 1, 2009


The coaches of most sports seemed satisfied with the calendar in place, but there are discussions of implementing an early-signing period for high school football recruits. In recent years, football prospects have committed, decommitted, recommitted, decommitted and committed elsewhere, filling all the time they have to make a decision before February.


One Division I coach told me he uses 25 percent of his recruiting budget "babysitting" recruits, or visiting recruits who have already committed to make sure they don't stray.


Nothing is imminent, though, so the dates in place will be a good forecast of years to come.


Visit Active Recruiting to throw your hat in the recruiting ring.

7,241 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: high-school-sports, basketball, softball-fastpitch, football, golf, ncaa, soccer, baseball, volleyball, recruiting

Last year I wrote about my resolution to be a more effective (or simply effective) pitcher in my rec league. While I was confident of my chance at success, I missed the mark for a variety of reasons (injury, time, laziness, a complete lack of physical talent, etc.)

As it turns out I'm not alone. A recent resolution study indicated that 52 percent of participants were optimistic they would reach their goals, yet only 12 percent actually achieved their goals.

According to the study, "An extra 22 percent of men achieved their resolution when they engaged in goal-setting, and women were almost 10 percent more likely to be successful when encouraged to persist in the face of setbacks."

So here's my (second) attempt at creating a lasting team sport resolution through goal-setting:

  • Start lifting weights 2x a week to strengthen arm
  • Read an article a week about pitching mechanics
  • Ice after every time I pitch
  • Do soft-toss 1x a week

Now that I've put myself out there for public humiliation, I'd love to know what everybody else is gonna work on. Whether you're a coach or a player we've all got things to improve on--especially when you're sporting a 65mph fastball.

Good luck everybody!


*For some more help on creating lasting goals check out this cool Active goal-setting article.** </p>
7,421 Views 3 Comments Permalink
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