Heading into the French Open, the second major of the season, most players prepare diligently for their final hurrah on clay. It remains as probably the least understood and least appreciated of the court surfaces players endure each year.
If the truth be told, players who learn to play on clay and who embrace the surface’s forgiving nature generally become better, more successful all-around players than those who learn the game on grass or hard courts.
The typical clay court player excels in patience by learning how to develop points as well as excellent defensive skills.
For a long time it seemed that some players segregated their careers by either avoiding clay altogether or by playing exclusively on the red dirt. But with the start of the Open Era and the necessity to play on multiple surfaces, some players built successful all-court games using clay court expertise as the foundation.
These male players achieved a top ten ATP ranking, a winning percentage in excess of 70 percent on clay throughout their careers—as well as double digit title wins on clay. Most also won at least one French Open, although not all.
Which team’s goal song will carry them to victory in the 2013 GSC?
The NHL playoffs kick off in a few hours and I really don’t think that there is a better playoff series in sports. There is nothing like playoff hockey. The tempo of the game, the physicality and the effort shown by all of the guys on the ice blows every other sport out of the water.
If you have ever been to a hockey game you know all about the goal horns that go off when a team scores. Personally, I think the horns are awesome but what I like even more are the songs that follow. Every team has their own goal song and every song, if played enough, can start to drive a visiting goalie insane.
Goal songs come in all forms. There are chants, there are up tempo songs, classic songs and songs that straight up make you want to dance. But it’s playoff time, so for 16 other teams their goal scoring days are over (at least for this season). It’s time for me to reveal my playoff bracket based on which songs are the best. I also welcome any of you to leave your comments and let me know who your Goal Song Cup winner would be.
On an incredibly EMOTIONAL night at TD Garden, Bostonians, Americans & Bruins fans sang their hearts out during the national anthem. Whether you were in the building or at home watching on television, you could not help but feel overwhelmed with sorrow, happiness and patriotism.
It was at the 1976 Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. My wife and I were crossing a grass practice field during a break in the action. From a distance, our attention was drawn to a tall, dominant figure striding in our direction.
With each approaching step, the figure took on the glowing countenance of someone special—almost beyond human. Tanned, handsome and muscular, he was clothed only in the thin garments of competition—obviously an elite athlete in peak condition.
As an athlete myself, I had been around a few hard bodies, but I had never seen such a physical specimen as this. He whisked right by us, his long hair and mustache accentuating the aura of a Greek god. We were speechless, mouths agape.
When we caught our breath, the dawning of reality hit us both at once: That was Mac Wilkins!
That simple brush with greatness gave us a focal point for the summer. Wilkins became our hero (and my wife’s not-so-secret crush). Via television and newspapers, we followed his exploits right through his Olympic record and gold medal in the discus at the ’76 Montreal Games.
And though that Olympic masterpiece will no doubt be considered the high point of Wilkins’ incredible 23-year career, it may have been eclipsed (in terms of sheer accomplishment) at a relatively insignificant track meet in the Bay Area of California in early May of that year. Read the rest of this entry →
The NHLPA and NHL have reached a tentative agreement to end the 2012-13 NHL Lockout
Most people are pretty unhappy when they have to be awake at six in the morning, and usually I am right there with them. Today is different though, not because I woke up on the “right” side of the bed this morning, but because the NHLPA and NHL have reached a tentative agreement to end the NHL Lockout.
The news broke early this morning by the media in attendance including TSN analyst and former Bruin Aaron Ward, TSN’s Darren Dreger, and ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun. The story from TSN can be read here.
“We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed to reporters early Sunday morning. “I want to thank Don Fehr. We still have more work to do, but it’s good to be at this point.”
While details are few at this time and are the typical “more to follow” variety; it is known that the new deal is 10 years in length. The tentative deal was finally reached after a marathon session of negotiations which eclipsed nearly 16 hours and led into the early morning of today.
It also appears as if the deal features a salary cap of $64.3 million in the second year which is a common ground for both parties as the owners wanted for the cap to be $60 million. It is this concession that is believed to hold major significance in reaching a deal between both parties.
According to ESPN and TSN analyst Pierre Lebrun, the NHL has both 50 game and 48 games schedules drawn up depending on how long it takes to ratify the new CBA. It is unknown at this time as to how long that process will take. What I can tell you is that the NHL Lockout is all but over. There are still some minor things to be done, but for all intents and purposes, we will be seeing hockey pretty soon.
More information will come out over time and we here at Boston Sports Then & Now will keep you all abreast of it as it is released. For now you can all sit back, relax, and think about your beloved black & gold taking the ice at the TD Garden sometime in the next couple of weeks.
You can follow me on twitter for any and all NHL, Bruins, and hockey related news here: Mattjacob64
In honor of women’s history month, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month a woman who not only was the first woman to successfully swim the English Channel, but swam the channel faster than any person (man or woman) had done to that point in history.
Having proven her swimming ability while winning one gold and two bronze medals during the 1924 Summer Olympics, American Gertrude Ederle swam the challenging English Channel faster than any human previously when she swam from France to England in a time of 14 hours and 39 minutes on August 6, 1926.