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Sports Then and Now


The Ultimate Guide To Preparing Your Son For His First Rugby Game

Posted on May 08, 2015 by John Harris
Rugby is growing in youth popularity.

Rugby is growing in youth popularity.

If you have a son who has shown an interest in playing the English game of rugby instead of American football, you should try to encourage them in any way you can. It’s hard enough to get kids interested in playing sports these days, and so it’s vital that you support them. However, there are a number of things you want to do before they play their first game. We’ve created a checklist you can use to ensure you have all the bases covered. So long as you can tick everything off our list, your son should be more than ready to head out on the field.

Make sure they know the rules
Growing up in the US means that your children probably haven’t had maximum exposure to the game of rugby. However, there is a professional league in this country, and so you should spend some time watching games with them. Doing so will help to guarantee they understand the rules properly. The night before they are due to play their first game, you should spend an hour or so going through everything with them to ensure there is no confusion.

Buy the best equipment
Rugby is considered one of the best sports to keep you fit and healthy. However, your son is going to need the right equipment if you want him to stay safe. Rugby players should always wear a cup, and it’s wise to put some headgear on too. You will find some really high-quality sweatbands available online that could help them to feel a little more comfortable on the field. The last thing you want is for them to miss an important catch because they are blinded by the sweat dripping from their forehead. They need the right tools for the job if you want them to enjoy the sport and build a passion for playing. Read the rest of this entry →

2015 NFL Division Predictions and Latest News Affecting Your Favorite Teams

Posted on May 05, 2015 by Ashley Andrews
After rumors to the contrary, looks like Philip Rivers will be back with the Chargers in 2015.

After rumors to the contrary, looks like Philip Rivers will be back with the Chargers in 2015.

What does the 2015 NFL season have in store for fans, players, and the league alike? From top draft picks to team standings, predictions are already flying ahead of the upcoming preseason. From the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East all the way to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West, here is a look at what some are saying will be the best season of football yet.

NFC East
In the NFC East division, analysts believe that the Dallas Cowboys stand the strongest chance and give them the lead. Part of the reason for this prediction is the relatively easy schedule during the 2015 season. Add the fact that the Cowboys have a super star in Dez Bryant and the Cowboys seem to be strong contenders for the NFC East title.

NFC North
The Green Bay Packers are predicted to have the strongest year in the North. Despite the fact the team will face the Seattle Seahawks at home and Arizona and San Diego are favored during the 2015 matchup, ESPN analysts seem optimistic. Green Bay’s final season ranking? Survey says; 11-5.

NFC South
In the NFC South, it appears to be a duel between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. Each team is given an overall 2015 season win/loss prediction of 10-5. With the return of ten out of 11 of the defensive starters and nine out of ten starters showing up strong for the offense, the Panthers show a promising season ahead. New Orleans, on the other hand has the second-easiest schedule at home in 2015 which could prove favorable for them.
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Creating a Home Cinema for Sports Viewing this Summer

Posted on April 28, 2015 by John Harris
There is nothing better than a family enjoying the big game together in comfort.

There is nothing better than a family enjoying the big game together in comfort.

If you are a sports fan then you need a great place to enjoy your sports viewing this summer. Although a basement or even some garages can provide a great hangout space, a small space can also be made very comfortable for you and your fellow sports fans. Here are some tips to create the perfect sports viewing den:

Seating
Regardless of the size of your space, seating contributes the most to your comfort. Small spaces may do well with several large chairs and a small sofa. Large chairs and even small sofas can be purchased that can convert into sleeping areas so your den can be more multifunctional. Classic sofa designs for your sports den could also include a sectional sofa that makes the most use of your space. For a fun twist, get seating that matches the colors of your favorite sports team.

Television
The size of television that you need is a matter of personal preference and space. A smaller room might not be suitable for the larger 60-inch televisions that are available. Small sports dens might do well with a 36 to 42-inch television. To save space you may want to mount your television on the wall. If you want greater versatility for viewing, you can mount your TV on an extending arm. Make sure to buy a high quality television – bigger and cheaper usually means poorer picture quality and a television that does not last as long. Read the rest of this entry →

Meditations on the Dangers of Modern Football From a Former Pro

Posted on April 24, 2015 by Thane Ritchie
Thane Ritchie was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears during two years as part of the NFL.

Thane Ritchie was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears during two years as part of the NFL.

American football faces a crisis today, even as the NFL remains more popular than ever. With the ever-increasing evidence and incidence of long-term brain damage from contact sports, the future of American football may not resemble its current form. When I think about the game, I am reminded of the Lao-Tzu quote, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”. Indeed, wise words that ought to be heeded by those who can change the NFL’s present course.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
When I played tight end for the Steelers and Bears in 1989 and 1990, respectively, the average weight for my position fell somewhere around 235 pounds. In the 1950s you would be hard-pressed to find a lineman that weighed that much. Today’s NFL players continue to get larger and larger. Modern offensive linemen average 310 pounds – a nearly 40-pound increase over average O-line weights in the 1980s. What’s more, they aren’t just heavier than they used to be; they’re faster now, too. When the whistle blows, today’s football player might endure g-forces over 15 times stronger than that of an F-16 fighter jet roll.

A couple years ago, NPR compared two of the hardest-hitting players from vastly different eras of pro football. When the 190-pound defensive lineman Red Badgro hit you at full speed in 1930, the New York Giant took you down with approximately 970 pounds of force. Today, 335-pound Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who also runs the 40-yard-dash in less than five seconds, can deliver 1,700 pounds of force at top speed. So what does this mean? If spread evenly across the body, it’s the difference between a very hard hit and an extremely hard hit. The differences become profound, however, when you examine how that force can be concentrated today. Today’s “bigger, faster, stronger” athletes play on a football field that is increasingly more vicious and more dangerous.

Paved With Good Intentions
Anyone familiar with football of the ‘30s can picture the padded leather helmets that make yesterday’s heroes of the gridiron look at best, foolish, and at worst, like they must have a death wish. But not only were the physics of the hits back then “softer” than they are now, the head was never, ever, used as a weapon. If nothing else, the lack of protection to the head and face led to greater care and awareness of these vital body parts. Shoulder and arm tackles were the standard way to bring a man down.

In pursuit of advanced protection, the plastic football helmet debuted in the 1940s and underwent substantial development over the subsequent decades. By the 1980s, polycarbonate alloy became plastic de rigeur for helmets from Pop Warner to the pros. Keeping pace with the enhanced safety of these space-age head protectors, bold, innovative techniques for their use were introduced to the sport. Unfortunately, these tactics trended toward offensive, rather than defensive, strategies. Read the rest of this entry →

What’s Next for the Winners & Losers of The 2015 Grand National?

Posted on April 20, 2015 by Andre Smith

2015-GrandNational-1After another fiercely battled rush to the winning post, and mercifully with no horses being harmed in the making of the epic Aintree race, the 2015 Grand National once more bought a host of surprises from its field of talented runners and racers. The race itself was won by the Irish-bred, British-trained Many Clouds, owned by Trevor Hemmings and trained by National Hunt racing trainer Oliver Sherwood.

Many Clouds himself has been enjoying plenty of attention since his win at the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National earlier this month. The winning racehorse who clinched the victory ahead of Saint Are, Monbeg Dude, Alvarado and race favorite Shutthefrontdoor was paraded through the streets of Lambourn the day after the big race to a huge turnout of supporters. The win marked Irish jockey Leighton Aspell’s second Grand National title who has now clinched back-to-back triumphs at both the 2014 and 2015 National’s.

Even though Many Clouds was feeling the heat after the race and needed some time out to cool down and relax again, the thoroughbred was fine and thankfully came through the race unharmed, as did all the horses that competed in the tough and often brutal race held at Aintree in Liverpool. Read the rest of this entry →

How to Start Cycling in Competitive Events

Posted on April 20, 2015 by John Harris
Competitive cycling

There are many levels of competitive cycling.

The cycling world might have been rocked by revelations about Lance Armstrong, but it’s still going strong. Cycling is one of the best sports to get involved with, whether it’s at an amateur or more professional level. Once you start cycling in different events, you won’t be able to stop it becoming your whole life. If you already feel yourself turning into one of those people who always talks about cycling, you probably want to get started and enter a few competitions and events. But if you don’t know where to start, it’s not too hard to begin.

Get the Gear

You won’t get very far without a bike. There’s no need to rush out and buy all the latest equipment right away, from a bike that costs thousands of dollars to a lycra bodysuit. But you need to start somewhere, even if it’s just with a secondhand bicycle. First, decide what sort of riding you want to do. A city bike like these beautiful Shinola bicycles will get you around an urban environment if you want to start cycling to work. A road bike or hybrid is good for longer distances while you’ll need a mountain bike for challenging terrain. You’ll also need some appropriate shoes and clothes and a water bottle as a minimum to get you started.

Join a Cycling Group

If you want to meet other cycling enthusiasts and train with them, find a local cycling group. You’ll find like-minded people who meet up to ride together, talk about cycling and maybe even go on trips. You might find that they enter events together too, in case you’re a bit nervous to attend your first one on your own. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Horton Smith: First Masters Champion
      April 3, 2015 | 8:58 am
      Horton Smith

      Horton Smith

      In 1934, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month became the first winner of what is now considered among the most prestigious of all golf tournament championships.

      Horton Smith made his professional golf debut in 1926, in 1929 he won eight tournaments and in 1930 finished third in the U.S. Open and tied for fourth at the British Open. However, he entered the first-ever Masters (then known as the Augusta National Invitational) in 1934 without having previously won any of the tournaments that would eventually be considered the “majors”.

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