Football (soccer) brings out the passion in fans like no other sport. That’s why it’s called “The Beautiful Game”. However, very few stadiums around the world can match the atmosphere and history these iconic stadiums create. If you consider yourself a football fanatic, it’s REQUIRED that you visit these stadiums before you head to the great stadium in the sky.
Anfield – Liverpool
There’s no other club in the Premier League that can match the passion Liverpool fans have for their club. In recent years, the atmosphere created at the stadium has diminished sharply, but come derby day there’s nothing more chilling to the other side and fans than 40,000+ spectators singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. If the Signal Iduna Park can be renowned for its Yellow Wall, let Anfield be remembered for its European nights and Bill Shankly days.
Estadio Maracana – Flamengo
On July 16, 1950, over 170,000 fans packed into the Mecca of Football. It was Brazil vs Uruguay for the World Cup trophy. The Brazilians were going into the match as heavy favorites and all they needed to do was not lose to win their first World Cup ever and do it on home soil.
90 minutes later, what was once a loud and boisterous crowd was silenced as Uruguay ran home with the trophy, 2-1 winners on the day in a game etched into the minds of Brazilians to this day as a national tragedy, forever known as the “Maracanazo”.
It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed since that shocking day in June of 1986 when one of the brightest young basketball stars of the day was suddenly went from a sports icon to a national symbol for the drug epidemic that seemed to be plaguing the country at the time.
During his college basketball career as a member of the Maryland Terrapins, Len Bias was known as one of the most athletic and talented players in the game and was expected to be an impact player for the Boston Celtics, who chose him with the second pick in the 1986 NBA draft.
Instead, his shocking death on June 19, 1986 became the impact moment for America’s war on drugs and led to harsher laws that negatively impacted the lives of many low-level drug users, a disproportionate number of whom were young black men, who were suddenly faced with mandatory prison sentences.
Even though the Internet was still nearly a decade away, in the days following the death of Len Bias information, much of it proving to be inaccurate, was coming out fast and furious from a national media that was surprisingly captivated by the story.
Even today, it is not typical for a sports event other than the Super Bowl, Olympics or some other large event or a major tragedy to cross into the general national consciousness. However, because of the shocking and abrupt nature of Bias’ death and the fact that drugs were involved at a time when the national “war on drugs” campaign was at its apex, the death took on a larger than normal stature. Read the rest of this entry →
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Mr. Hockey earned NHL All-Star honors in five decades.
Before there was the “Great One” (Wayne Gretzky), the king of the hockey world was “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe. During a 32-year career that spanned parts of five decades, Howe, who passed away Friday at age 88, was a dominating performer and skilled performer who was able to compete at a high level even past the age of 50.
Howe joined the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL as an 18-year old rookie in 1946. During his 25 seasons in Detroit he led the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup titles while winning six scoring titles and six Hart Memorial Trophies as the league MVP.
During the 1968-69 season, at the age of 40, Howe scored a career-high 103 points (the NHL expanded from a 70 game to 76 game season in 1967-68). He was named an All-Star in 22 of his 25 seasons with the Red Wings.
After retiring in 1971, Howe returned to the spot in 1973 as a member of the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. There he played with his sons Mark and Marty and soon proved that he was still among the best hockey players in the world. He was named league MVP in 1974 (an award renamed the next year as the Gordie Howe Award). He also led the Aeros to two WHA championships.
He moved to the New England Whalers in 1977 and after the WHA folded the renamed Hartford Whalers joined the NHL in 1979. Howe, at the age of 51, played in all 80 games of the 1979-80 season while helping the Whalers make the playoffs.
In a fitting tribute, Howe was named to the All-Star team with the game being played at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Howe completed his career having been selected to NHL All-Star teams in five decades. Also appearing in that game was 19-year-old Wayne Gretzky.
Below are links to some of the great highlights of Howe’s career available on YouTube.
You love sports. You want to visit as many games this year as humanly possible. And, who knows travel better than those sportswriters who have to go from stadium to arena? Here’s what experts can tell you about their travels.
Never Check Your Bag
You’ be surprised by how much you can get into a carry-on. Most people don’t even think about how little they need for their trip. Of course, you have to follow the rules on carrying liquids onto the plane.
You can bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes with you in your carry-on bag or through the checkpoint area. This bag can’t be filled to the brim, of course. You are limited to containers no larger than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. You must place each bottle in the small bag and separate them from your carry-on baggage. It must be done in a way that facilitates the screening process. If you have liquid in containers larger than the limit, don’t bring them. It’s rare you’d need any such items anyway.
And, it’ll save you time when you get off the plane since you won’t have to go to the baggage claim area. With some airlines still charging for checked bags, you can save yourself money, too. Read the rest of this entry →
In 2012 Spain became the first team to repeat as Euro Champions. They will be looking for three in a row in 2016.
Europe’s top football (soccer) players are heading to France for the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championships. Held every four years since 1960, the 51 game tournament provides European bragging rights for the next four years making every game competitive and hard fought.
The month-long tournament will be played at 10 venues across the country. Play begins on June 10th and the championship game will be played at the 81,000 seat Saint-Denis Stadium near Paris on July 10th.
When the tournament began in 1960, there were eight spots in the field. It was expanded to 16 in 1996 and the 2016 tournament sees another expansion to 24 teams.
In 2012, Spain became the first team to win back-to-back titles and if they can make it three in a row they would pass Germany for the most titles in tournament history with four. As the top team in Group D, Spain will compete with the Czech Republic, Croatia and Turkey for two guaranteed spots in the knockout round. Spain is currently ranked 5th in the World Football Elo rankings.
According to Titanbet.co.uk, the hosts from France are the tournament favorites, with Germany close behind and Spain third. The longest odds belong to Albania and Northern Ireland. Both of those teams are making their first-ever appearance in the tournament, as are Iceland, Slovakia and Wales.
Germany is making their record 12th appearance in the tournament and will be looking to claim the championship for the first time in 20 years. As the defending World Cup Champions, Germany was number one in the Elo rankings before being recently overtaken by Argentina, who of course is not competing in this tournament. Read the rest of this entry →
Though he had previously won an Olympic gold medal, Muhammad Ali burst on the scene with a stunning defeat of Sonny Liston and was the most recognized boxer in the world for generations.
Though boxing legend Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74, images of his amazing career and life will live on forever in video and photos. Below are links to some YouTube videos featuring some of the greatest moments from his legendary career.
While Ali had many great “sound bites” and television moments, his time on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and most especially with Howard Cosell probably propelled him to superstardom as much as any other activities from within his career.