Mia Hamm

April 24, 2008

Mia Hamm has been the face for U.S. women’s soccer for a very long time. Hamm’s prestigious soccer career began while playing at the University of North Carolina. It was even said that some of her teammates called her “Jordan” because his airness had also been a star athlete at UNC. Hamm then moved on to help the U.S. National team win the World Cup in 1991 and 1999, and third place finishes in 1995 and 2003.

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Like many other female athletes before her, Hamm encouraged girls to get out there and play sports. She wanted to girls to know they could be great athletes as well and to know that they might even be able to compete with the guys.

 

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Bille Jean King

April 23, 2008

There may not be another female athlete out there that fought more against sexism than the great Billie Jean King. King, who will always be remembered for her fight against sexism, was also one of the best female tennis players ever. During her career that spanned 5 decades, King nabbed 12 Grand Slam titles, which included 6 Wimbledon titles. King was also a double splayer as she an impressive 16 Grand Slam doubles titles and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.

Billie Jean King

One match the legendary King will always be remembered for is her match against former Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs. Riggs, who is a man, was 55 years old at the time of the match, but King’s victory over Riggs was considered a huge milestone in King’s fight against sexism. In a world where sexism is still seen, especially in Sports, it’s a shame that we don’t see more female athletes that are outspoken against this today.

It’s Miller Time

April 22, 2008

When most hear the last name Miller and the word basketball in the same sentence, they quickly think about long time Indiana Pacers sharpshooter Reggie Miller. However, some would argue that he might not have been the best basketball player in his family.

Cheryl Miller
Reggie’s sister Cheryl Miller may be one of the greatest women’s basketball players to set foot on this great planet Earth. Miller was a dominant force during her college career at USC. So dominant was Miller, she was named the Naismith College Player of the Year three times. You want to know how good Miller really was? Well, I’m glad you asked because after her time at USC, she was drafted into the USBL, which if you didn’t know is a men’s league. That means that some thought she was good enough to run with the boys.

Cheryl and Reggie Miller

Now that would be a sight to see. Cheryl and Reggie squaring off to see who is the better Miller

Jackie Joyner Kersee

April 17, 2008

There is no way that you could start to talk about greatest female athletes without starting with Jackie Joyner Kersee. In fact, Kersee may be the ulitmate female athlete as she was a track superstar that specialized in the heptathlon. For those of you that do not know what the heptathlon is, it is a competition that includes seven events. The seven events are 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter, long jump, javelin, and 800 meter race. This event is so demanding because one needs speed for the  short races, endurance for the long race, the abilitiy to jump for the high and long jump, and strength to shot put and throw a javelin. Not an easy task at all. However, Kersee made it look effortless on her way to gold medals in the event during the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

In a sport whose integrity has suffered dearly because of athletes taking performance enhancing drugs, Kersee had always maintained that she has stayed drug free and should serve as an inspiration to female athletes around the globe.

A special dedication

April 16, 2008

After last week’s blog on the three-sport athlete, I received a comment from a classmate that I had used “he” to describe all three-sport athletes. In reality, this athlete can be a “she” as well and I apologize for not making that distinction in my blog. There are many high school girls that particpate in three sports while they are in school.

In fact, my sister is one of them as she plays soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and golf, yes golf in the spring. My sister, who hadn’t kicked a soccer ball from the age of 6 to 16 joined the soccer team during her junior year and this past year as a senior was one of the team’s best defenders. She has always been one of the top players in her conference for basketball as she has been recruited by Division III Fairleigh Dickinson of Florham Park. The last two years she has picked up the game of golf and has improved a ton over that time. My point being that if anyone should have recognized the abiltiies of girls as three-sport athletes it should have been me as I could have looked right at my family for proof.

Title IX has opened the door for many girls who may never had a chance to compete in sports in high school and at the collegiate level. So, in a special dedication, my blog this week and the next will chronicle some of the top women athletes the world has seen.

Extinction? Maybe?

April 10, 2008

To change up the normal routine and explore a new territory, I am going to focus on youth and high school athletes. Today I was at my internship at the North Haven Citizen and as normal I was helping with the layout of the Sports section. With the spring sports getting underway last week, the newspaper began doing its previews and had its first batch of scores for the spring teams. As I looked at some of the names in the box scores, I noticed that a number of students were on teams that had just finished up their winter seasons. All of this got me to thinking about the rare, high school “three-sport athlete.”

 

Back in the day (I use this for lack of a better term) the “three-sport athlete” was a thriving member of society in high schools around the country. This athlete would play America’s three most popular sports: football, basketball, and baseball. Not only would he play these sports, but he would excel in all of them equally. But nowadays, it is rare for kids in middle school to play three or more sports, as coaches and parents want them to have total focus on being good at one.

Personally, I believe this is the wrong way to go as Patrick Welsh, a contributing writer to USAToday.com would agree. Throughout my life, I played soccer and baseball in the fall, basketball and indoor soccer during the winter, and soccer and baseball again in the spring. Today, it was refreshing to see high schoolers that are participating in more than one sport, as I hope more athletes will do the same

And you though movies like The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween were scary… Ha! You haven’t seen scary until you have watched the Memphis Tigers try to lock up a National Championship while shooting free throws. Stephen King couldn’t write a better horror than what took place in San Antonio on Monday night.

Rose missed foul shot

All season long, Memphis had struggled to make free throws as they were second to last in the nation in this category. Head coach John Calipari downplayed his team’s struggles all season, but when it counted the most, the Tigers came up short. Memphis managed to miss four out of its last five free throws and left the door open for Mario Chalmers to bury the game-tying 3 that was the ultimate dagger into the hearts of the Tigers.

So before anyone takes my idea and runs with it, I’m starting the filming of my epic horror film, A Memphis Nightmare!

Sob. Sigh. Sob. Sigh…. It’s over. Finished. Gone. I must wait another year to see her again. Good old March Madness will be walking out of my life around midnight tonight and will not be coming back till (Gulp)… Next March.

I feel your pain. I don\'t want the season to be over either.

Sob. Sigh. Sob. Sigh…. Ok, I need to get a hold of myself here. Before she leaves me for a while, she will be presenting me with one more gift, the National Championship Game. For the last time until November, I will be in hoops heaven while watching a college basketball game. Tonight’s game will feature two of the most athletic teams in Kansas and Memphis. Both teams like to play an up-tempo style of basketball. I like Kansas’s team, but I think John Calipari and his crew will be taking home the hardware tonight. The Tigers will overwhelm the Jayhawks as Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Joey Dorsey will all have big games.

Oh Joe

April 3, 2008

And it begins…I am a very big Yankees fan. This offseason it was tough to watch them cut ties with Joe Torre, but I knew that it was time for our team to head in a different direction. Torre helped us win 4 World Series titles and brought the Yankees back to the forefront of baseball. There is no doubt that he leaves some pretty big shoes to be filled and that Joe Girardi will have some issues with this. But come on, this is expected and after watching 2, yes 2 Yankees games, I’m already fed up with the questioning of everything.

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While watching the game tonight on the good old YES Network, good old Micahel Kay began what I will be dreading all season. After Girardi pulled Mike Mussina in the 6th inning with 2 outs, LaTroy Hawkins got the last out of the inning. As they came back from commercial break, Kay of course had to say, “Well Girardi pulled the right strings on that one.” Come on now. it’s the second game of the season and we are already judging his decisions. Is Kay going to follow him everywhere, even out to eat… “He went with the chicken, but he should have gone with the steak.” Just leave Joe alone and let him do his job!

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The Race for Eighth

April 2, 2008

With most of the teams having less than 10 games left on their NBA schedules, the race for the final playoff spot in each conference is heating up. In the East, the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and New Jersey Nets are jockeying for the chance to be swept by the Boston Celtics. In the West, the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, and Denver Nuggets are battling for the seventh and eighth spots. So, who is going to take the playoff spots? Well, as you can see by many of my NCAA predictions and my prediction that the Rockets would fall off after Yao’s injury, I’m no Jimmy the Greek. But, what the hell, here we go, here is what probably won’t happen.

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East- Atlanta will win that coveted prize to face the Celtics. I am not going on too much of a limb here as the Hawks hold a three game lead over both the Pacers and Nets. The Hawks are a young squad that is led by a veteran point guard in Mike Bibby. I hope I’m not putting the “Kiss of Death” on the Hawks by picking them, but they should have no problems in the East.

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West- And the winners are…. Golden State and Denver. These two teams play some of the most exciting basketball in the NBA. I feel that Golden State will turn up their game as they head down the stretch. In Denver’s case, I feel that AI and ‘Melo will not be denied a chance to play in the postseason. They’ll find a way top make plays and pick up some big wins down the stretch. Sorry Dallas, just like your choke job in last year’s playoffs, you will struggle down the stretch and find ways to lose games.

Now that you have read the wrong predictions, check out the rest of the games for the season, so you can see how wrong I am.