Archive for the ‘Misc. Sports’ Category

February 19th, 2010

My Debut on The TV News

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve joined The TV News as their sports television correspondent. I made my debut this morning. Please be kind.

February 17th, 2010

Eric McErlain Joins The TV News as Sports Television Reporter

September 9th, 2009

Let the Women Ski Jump

Yesterday I wrote about the debate over allowing checking in women’s international ice hockey, and today I’m taking a look at another area where gender and sports intersect — Olympic Ski Jumping.  From the dawn of the sport, ski jumping , one of the six original sports in the Winter Games, has been a guys-only endeavor, but now a group of female jumpers want in on the action.  As far as I’m concerned, they make a very convincing case:

While they failed to get the sport added in time for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, the fight continues, as FIS, the international skiing federation, has petitioned the IOC for inclusion in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.  Meanwhile, a legal fight over a spot in Vancouver has made its way through the courts in Canada, details of which you can get through this interview at Pajamas Media.

As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know what the problem is.  Any argument that ski jumping is too dangerous for women doesn’t wash for me, and, truth be told, there’s considerable evidence that what the IOC is really afraid of is that the women might start outjumping the men.  That’s an odd position, because after all, I always thought the point about competition was, well, competition.

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the pointer.

September 8th, 2009

The Oddest MMA Knockout You’ll Ever See

I’m not much of a fan of MMA.  While I’ll watch if I trip over it, I don’t exactly carve time out of my schedule to catch a match, even if it’s a headliner.  Then again, that doesn’t mean I can’t pass along this clip of the oddest MMA knockout you’ll ever see:

Thanks to Mark Cuban for passing it along.

UPDATE: Thanks to my old buddy Dave Smith for passing this one along.

September 7th, 2009

Memories of Milford Jai-alai

I got a good belly laugh out of Sunday night’s episode of Mad Men.  If you haven’t already seen it, there was a plot line where one of the account teams at Sterling Cooper was positively giddy over the prospect of draining the pockets of a potential client and trust fund baby who was determined to see Jai-alai become the next great American sport.

So, you’re not famiiar with one of the more famous exports from Spain’s Basque region?  No worries, as you can get all the basics from this clip that appeared on the Discovery Channel back in 1990:

For me, any mention of Jai-alai is a serious blast from the past.  In the U.S., the sport was at its height in the 1970s and 1980s, which is when I became familiar with it through television advertisements for a fronton — that’s the name for the arena where the sport is played — in Connecticut called Milford Jai-alai.

About all I can remember of the spot was a goofy proto-disco syth soundtrack cut with shots of plenty of action and gambling.  I seem to remember asking my Dad once if we could go, but he wasn’t prepared to schlep all the way out to Connecticut faced with the real prospect that his son might get bored within five minutes of arrival.

In any case, after not thinking about the sport for a couple of decades, I was curious as to what might have happened to Milford Jai-alai.  Alas, Milford Jai-alai is no more.  From what I could gather, the fronton closed down at the end of 2001, and was demolished six years later to make way for a Lowes.  Just about all that’s left of the place is this photo set on Flickr.  To get a better idea of what it was like to visit, this 2000 feature from the Yale Herald is a good place to start.

As for the game, this feature from the New York Times seems to indicate that the sport has fallen on hard times, with one observer commenting that the game will probably be extinct within the decade.  Even, which you would think some hobbyist would have grabbed out of love of the game, redirects to the Web site for Connecticut OTB.

September 3rd, 2009

Cheerleading: The Bloodsport of the 21st Century

Bring It On Poster C10120538

At least that’s the conclusion I came to after reading this story in today’s edition of the Washington Examiner:

[N]ow three Montgomery County cheerleading gyms are locked in an ugly legal battle that involves accusations of poaching cheerleaders, stealing funds, setting up false Web sites and starting a whisper campaign that a rival coach is a pedophile.


The legal fight started whenXtreme Acro and Cheer sued one of its former coaches, Nicolas Sweeney, for breach of contract. Xtreme’s owner, Judi Eicher, said Sweeney was the "face" of the gym who stole money and poached the gym’s cheerleaders for a new facility he was starting on his own, called Fearless Allstars, while on the clock.

"He just ripped her off," said Sarah Hall, Eicher’s attorney. "He tried to walk out the door with her business."

I guess this is the point where I let all of you know that the NCAA has been sponsoring competitive cheer as an intercollegiate sport for a while now.  No doubt the first recruiting scandal is just around the corner.  Thanks to Radley Balko for the link.

June 20th, 2008

Crosby’s 6th Best Athlete in the World?

…at least that’s what the Wall Street Journal thinks.

In a recent article the WSJ attempted to compare 75 top male athletes around the world and see who is the best athlete. For the criteria;

We gave the performance stats and achievement records of 79 male athletes to a panel of 5 judges, and asked them to rank the competitors based on six criteria: speed; vision and reflex; stamina and recovery; coordination and flexibility; power, strength and size; and success and competitiveness. The final category examined success

June 14th, 2008

Ovechkin Fashion Line Debuts

Lost in the media frenzy of Alex Ovechkin’s trophy sweep yesterday is that he also helped launch the Ovechkin Designer Streetwear Collection with Reebok-CCM Hockey and designer Robert Edwards.

(Although I’m sure they could have picked a better song for it)

Said Edwards;

“Ovechkin’s distinctive style of play and dynamic personality really inspired me in designing this collection.”

The line was supposed to be available only in Russia, but Canadian sports company Pro Hockey Life has cut a deal to sell it in Canada. Word is it may be available in Washington sometime in the near future.

Oh yeah, and according to Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, Ovie is back on the market, as he is no longer seeing his Russian girlfriend Katya. In fact, when asked about his summer plans, he added that there will be “lots of girls.”

Four major trophies, league MVP, and now fashion muse. We might be looking at the world’s new most eligible bachelor…again.

April 1st, 2008

Skateboarding: Convoy’s Battle Of The Pyramid


Convoy Skateboards hosted the “Battle of the Pryamid,” a trick competition this weekend in Arlington, VA.

Convoy says they are dedicated to portraying the best possible image for skateboarding. The company is about giving back to an industry that gave so much to the founders as they grew up. It is not about having the best “skate team” and not about blowing other companies out of the water, but its main mission is to promote fundamental skateboarding and create the best products with the following qualities; fresh and new designs, a positive attitude, and overall quality and performance, but most of all, promote having fun while doing the thing you love; skateboarding!

After spending a couple of hours at the event I would have to say they have succeeded. The event had a great vibe. The judges, crowd, and other skateboarders cheered on the competitors. I am looking forward to the next event.

Here are the results from Saturday:

1st Place – Brandon Bonner (Pop-shuvit tail grab to flat, stale-fish 180 to flat, cannonball)
2nd Place – John Franco (Kickflip backside 5-0 to shuvit out)
3rd Place – Eric Johnson (Krazy flippy flips!)

1st Place – Graham Marsh
2nd Place – Gregg Russell
3rd Place – Mathew Amgrogi

1st Place – Coco
2nd Place – Yves Pailma
3rd Place – Carson Brom & Matt Magnolia (2-way Tie!)


You can check out more of the photos from the competition by visiting our our Flickr gallery.

Off Wing Opinion's Convoy Skateboard's Battle Of The Pyramid photoset Off Wing Opinion’s Convoy Skateboard’s Battle Of The Pyramid photoset

February 15th, 2008

It’s Just Like A Man To Miss An Anniversary

With all the writing I do over at AOL and The Sporting News, I know it must seem like I’m not here all that often anymore, which I guess is my excuse for failing to note earlier this week that Off Wing turned six years old.

Wow. When I abandoned my old bare bones HTML site, I never guessed where this adventure would lead. Thanks to the readers who have stuck with us all the way through all sorts of changes, and thanks to the folks who have joined us along the way — Ellen, Allen, Kate and Joe.

January 28th, 2008

Quote Of The Day

From long-time reader Wayne Brown of Tuskegee, Alabama:

“When the X-Games closed last night, did they extinguish the giant MP3 player?”

An interesting thought.

November 18th, 2007

Sunday’s Sports Thoughts

Some random thoughts from today’s sports events.

* I don’t think I’ve ever been checking football scores online and saw that a team missed a field goal, only to find out later they made it and won in overtime. But that’s what Cleveland did today. While watching another game on tv, the commentators noted that a field goal was not reviewable. But Dawson’s kick was clearly over, so what if they had called it no good?

* Terrell Owens and Randy Moss are the two best receivers in the game. TO puts up 4 TDs in the Cowboys win this afternoon; Moss snags 4 in the first half for the Pats tonight. It’s amazing to see what these guys can do in the right atmosphere. Said Moss after the press conference; “I’m a Patriot, what more can you ask for?” That kind of selflessness never would have been seen in Minnesota or Oakland.

* The ‘Skins said they wanted to bottle up TO. They must have been doing something wrong, allowing TO to grab 4 TDs. The turning point of the game was the challenged and reversed interception by Washington that led to a 51 yard pass interference call, and then a Dallas touchdown to Owens. It was a tough loss, and the Skins will have to nearly win out to make the playoffs. But with Campbell getting better every week, and strong play by the rest of the team, it’s a possibility.

* Bill Belichick could care less what anyone thinks of him. Twice he went for it on 4th and 1 with a huge lead – both converted, and twice he was booed by the Buffalo crowd. And in an era of handpicked coaches gear, Bill continues to wear the ratty sweatshirt and windpants, which have only made him more of a cult icon in New England.

* The Celtics became the last team in the NBA to lose after dropping a heartbreaker to Orlando, 104-102. I want to see them when they play the Wizards, just so I can see the new Big 3 for myself.

* The fantasy of a complete sports sweep by Boston teams was dashed today when the Houston Dynamo defeated the Revolution for the second time in as many years in the MLS Cup. It’s the Revs 3rd straight Cup loss. The commentators even wondered aloud if the Sox curse has been transferred to soccer. I personally am going with owner Bob Kraft’s pink tie. It’s evil, and must be done away with, at least for Revs matches.

* Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund was suspended 4 games for slashing Mikko Koivu and cracking the bone in his leg. Retaliation in the heat of the moment isn’t anything new, but swinging hard enough that you crack someone’s bone beneath their shinpad is beyond me.

* You’ve got to feel a little bad for Jeff Gordon, who had a stellar season, but still lost the NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship to Jimmie Johnson.

* Finally, congratulations to Bills TE Kevin Everett, who was released from his Houston hospital, and is still undergoing rehab. He recorded a speech for his teammates and fans that was shown on the video board before the Bills-Patriots game.

November 10th, 2007

Arkansas Bends Under Pressure Of Photo Policy

Drop by OffWing Photo to get the latest news on Arkansas Activities Association’s (AAA) rule that they own the copyright to all media (photo, video, audio) taken at state championships and to charge fees ranging from $35-$50 for press credentials to events. This policy as written would also apply to parents and fans taking pictures in the stands.The AAA is the sponsoring organization of championship games for public and private schools in Arkansas.

Check out the latest photos from OffWing photographers by visiting our Photoshelter gallery.

Also stop by our new sister website OffWing Photo where we focus on photography, especially sports photography.

November 8th, 2007

When Is Your Picture Not Yours

Well, if you live in Arkansas and take a picture of your son in this weekend’s state championship game, then none of your pictures will be yours by Monday. For that matter none of the video or audio you took will be yours either.

That is what the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) is claiming. The AAA is the sponsoring organization of championship games for public and private schools in the state of Arkansas. This isn’t just happening in Arkansas, similar organizations are making the same claim in Illinois.

For more info check out OffWing Photo where we started tracking this issue several days ago. This issue affects traditional press, online press, spectators, friends, and the families of the participants in state championships…..oh BTW it might be unconstitutional.

Check out the latest photos from OffWing photographers by visiting our Photoshelter gallery.

Also stop by our new sister website OffWing Photo where we focus on photography, especially sports photography.

November 2nd, 2007

Cheerleading’s a Dangerous Sport

Anyone who says cheerleading isn’t a real sport needs to see the video of Seattle cheerleader Cali Kaltschmidt being run down by her own high school football team.

Cali ran to the banner to fix something at the last minute, and before she could go back to the side of the banner, the football players broke through running, knocking her down. It looks pretty bad on the video, especially with the back to back to back quick replay of it, which just makes you feel bad watching it. But she was ok, and the homecoming queen even saved her tiara from getting trampled.

October 23rd, 2007

One In Five Sports Fans Won’t Jinx Their Team

Over the past few days I’ve been noticing that the AP has been conducting some polling, something that’s resulted in some interesting stories — like this one on how one out of every five sports fans is superstitious.

The survey showed no real difference by gender, race or education in whether people try finding a way to help their team win. But those who do tend to be younger and make more money than those willing to risk letting the athletes determine a game’s outcome. They also are more likely to be single.

Because, you know, that whole refusing the change your underwear thing is more or less socially unacceptable if you’re in a serious relationship.

October 23rd, 2007

Understatement Of The Day

From the AP wire:

PARIS – The head of cycling’s governing body warns that the sport risks becoming a “travesty” and “fraud” unless it unites to fight doping.

I’ve got bad news: You’re too late.

August 8th, 2007

The National Lampoon Sports Blog

The oldie but goodie gets into a new business.

July 6th, 2007

The Decline And Fall Of The Sports Nickname

Over at Newsweek, Devin Gordon is lamenting the lost art of the sports nickname:

I don

July 3rd, 2007

Stephen Murray Fund

Unfortunately the Dew Tour event in Baltimore on June 20-23rd was not without tragedy. On Friday night while competing in the BMX dirt event, which takes place on the same course as the FMX pictures I posted earlier, Stephen Murray’s dreams of competing in the Dew Tour ended as he fell while doing a double back flip on his BMX bike. Murray was rushed to a local hospital and underwent surgery on Saturday but the injuries he sustained to his spinal cord and vertebrae are career ending.

Unlike many of the professional sports in this country, BMX does not have an organization that provides funds to riders who are injured, even though, like other professional athletes, these riders are often the financial providers for their families.

I was really touched to learn that the BMX community has stepped up and created a fund for Stephen Murray to help with his medical bills. For the full story click here: BMX’ers Start Murray Fund

July 2nd, 2007

When It Comes To Chris Benoit …

… I got nothing. Which is why I’m happy to suggest the following pieces from Colby Cosh and Greg Wyshynski. And don’t forget a post from Joe Dumas from a couple of days back.

June 26th, 2007

100 Memorable Sports Moments

As chosen by the members of Armchair GM.

May 28th, 2007

St. Peter-Marian Boys Tennis Makes Districts

That headline might not mean anything to anyone reading this, but for me it means a lot.

As a senior co-captain on the SPM tennis team I helped lead us to the Central Mass. District D2 Championship. I had been on the team since 7th grade, and it was an amazing way to end my senior year. With not much depth and myself and another talented senior leaving, we weren’t sure what would become of the team this season.

After returning from our freshman years at college, my buddy Matt and I went back to check in on the team, and were surprised to see an even better team than last year, thanks to the improvement of returning players and the addition of another talented doubles player. But they had a tough regular season, and needed a couple clutch wins over tough opponents to finish out the season. Well that they did, and they have made the districts, enabling them to defend last year’s title. And on top of that, the first doubles team has advanced to the semi-finals of the Central Mass. individuals tournament by defeating our archrivals, St. John’s.

The pride and love I feel for my high school alma mater, including the teammates I left behind, is overwhelming. My high school itself wasn’t that great, but there’s something about playing sports that brings people together and instills that pride you might not otherwise have. As soon as I find out when and where my boys will be playing, I will be there to cheer them on and offer advice. With so much pride for my high school, I wonder how many times that feeling will multiply when it comes time for me to graduate from the Catholic University and call that my new alma mater? However it feels, I can’t wait ’til it comes.

May 19th, 2007

Dad’s Picks For The Preakness

My father passes along his picks for the Preakness.

Well I still like Curlin but I am not picking the winner I’m going with a triple box using…

4: Curlin — If he breaks well from the gate he could win.
7: Hard Spun — A race to the wire between Curlin and Hard Spun with Street Sense just missing.
8: Street Sense — I would like to go to Belmont and see a Triple Crown victory, but I doubt it.

As always, picks are provided for entertainment purposes only.

May 17th, 2007

American Cycling Is Dead

That Floyd Landis arbitration hearing I wrote about earlier today imploded in spectacular fashion when Greg LeMond took the stand. I guess I could write more, but instead I’ll just point you to Nathan Fowler of the AOL Fanhouse for the blow by blow.

The bottom line: All of the goodwill generated by LeMond and Lance Armstrong over 10 combined American Tour de France wins has been squandered in the most horrific fashion. Watch the train wreck if you must, knowing that you’ll eventually move on and forget about it all.

May 17th, 2007

Greg LeMond, Witness For The Prosecution

Kinda-sorta-but not really Tour de France champ Floyd Landis has an arbitration hearing scheduled for later today in California. On the witness list for Thursday is former Tour champ Greg LeMond, who apparently will testify on behalf of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

While we don’t know exactly what LeMond will say, I think it’s safe to say the world has a pretty good idea given the track record he’s established with Lance Armstrong. And don’t forget that when Landis appeared to be the victor in Paris last Summer, LeMond praised him for having raced clean.

When it comes to this story, I think Jim Henley has it about right:

I believe that the protocols are rotten and biased against the athlete. But an awful lot has to be fouled up or fraudulent about this particular case for Floyd to be innocent. Meanwhile, I have to admit that the scandal has about killed my interest in professional cycling. Whether Floyd has his title justly removed or the anti-doping regime is revealed to be irredemably corrupt, we

May 5th, 2007

Dad’s Kentucky Derby Picks

My father sends along his Kentucky Derby picks:

1st. You’ll never guess Oh yes you will — Curlin Like in McErlain.

Box Triple
Cowtown Cat

Watch out for Scat Daddy and Street Sense.

Just minutes to post time…

March 21st, 2007

ESPN2 To Air Lacrosse In HD

Read it and believe it.

March 6th, 2007

Alternative Uses for Laptops

While I wouldn’t really advise it, this combines a blogger’s two favorite things – laptops and winter sports.

I think I’ll stick to its intended use.

March 1st, 2007

A Night With The Caps And D.C. United

It’s something of a night of firsts for Off Wing Opinion. Like usual, we’ll have a team at Verizon Center covering the Caps and their home game against the Lightning. Ken Berard will be in the press box and Kate McGovern will be along the glass with her camera.

But along the banks of the Anacostia at RFK Stadium, Ellen Blanchard and I will be taking in the second leg of D.C. United’s CONCACAF Champions’ Cup quarterfinal match against C.D. Olimpia of Honduras. At Ellen’s urging, we applied for full season press credentials and the folks at D.C. United were happy to oblige. As part of our application, we used the guidelines we developed with the Capitals over the NHL offseason to make our case, and the media relations rep with United mentioned them as one of the reasons we were approved.

Expect the regular Caps coverage tonight, with everything from the United match come tomorrow.