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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: sports, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 277
1. Who Gets To Write What?

I tuned into ESPN the other night, clicking away at my laptop as I waited for the Stanford-North Carolina women’s basketball game to begin. The end of the Louisville-Maryland contest was on. There was about a minute left, and Louisville was losing by 10 points, which pretty much guaranteed Maryland the win. But wait. A Louisville player, number 23, floated in a terrific three-point shot with 30 seconds left. Then the same player hit another three-pointer with 18 seconds left. And yet another with five seconds left. Maryland had made two foul shots during the Louisville run, and the score was now 76-73. But it was Louisville’s ball. One more three-pointer would send the game into overtime.

I’m a sucker for an athlete who performs well under pressure, so I put down my laptop and stared at the screen. The announcers were full of praise for the Louisville player, a senior named Shoni Schimmel. I have rarely seen anyone with a smoother, more poetic stroke. When Maryland took a timeout before the game's last play, I went back to my computer and Googled her.

I admit I don’t follow college basketball as much as I should. If I did, I would have known that Shoni, and her sister Jude, who also plays for the University of Louisville, are a genuine phenomenon. Their games attract thousands of people who drive from all over the U.S. and Canada to see them. The sisters are Native Americans who grew up on the Umatilla reservation in Pendleton, Oregon. Their success has galvanized Native fans and even attracted a filmmaker, who made a documentary about them titled Off the Rez.

As I read about the Schimmel sisters, I thought, “This is a great story. I should write it.” You probably know that I’ve made a career bringing the true tales of athletes and other bold and brilliant women to the mainstream. As first Shoni and then Jude graduate from college and enter the WNBA, their journeys should have the makings of a great book.

But then I wondered, “Should I write it?” In recent months, there has been a lot of discussion about the underrepresentation of people of color in children’s books. The postings on multicultural literature on the listserv of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, were coming fast and furious the entire month of February. A few weeks later, Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers wrote companion essays in the Sunday Review section of The New York Times under the title, “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?”

One of the strands on the CCBC listserv focused on who actually writes books with characters or subjects of color, and as a corollary, who shouldwrite those books. A number of posters were pretty adamant that they thought books were more authentic—and by extension more acceptable—when they were written by members of the groups they portrayed. By that logic, a book about the Schimmel sisters would be best by a Native person. But why should authors be limited by their backgrounds? I’ve written more than a dozen books, including three biographies, and I’ve never written one with a main character who shares my Jewish heritage. For me, part of the joy of writing nonfiction is getting to explore new worlds while developing the context to tell the story.

That’s what I was thinking as I read many of the CCBC posts. And now I’m finally putting it into words. People expressed a valid concern about getting a more diverse pool of authors (and editors) producing children’s books, but I don’t feel that any authors should be dissuaded from tackling any topics that ignite their passions. Every voice is valid and every perspective is worth considering as we inspire kids' curiosity about and understanding of the world around them.
------------
For the record, Louisville didn’t win the game, despite an inspired play that put the ball in Schimmel’s hands for one more three-point attempt. She shot, and the ball hit the rim and ricocheted away as time ran out. It was Shoni’s last college game, but hopefully the prelude to an exciting professional career. Perhaps someone will write a book about Shoni and her sister one day. Perhaps it will be me.

0 Comments on Who Gets To Write What? as of 4/4/2014 3:11:00 AM
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2. Lola’s Fandango, by Anna Witte | Book Review

This is a charming book in so many ways, and definitely fun for a family to enjoy together. It will appeal to readers ages 5 to 8, who like stories about Spanish culture, stories about sisters, and surprising revelations about parents.

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3. Lebron shows what it is really like to wear a superhero mask

images.jpg
I don’t even watch basketball, but while passing TVs of late I noticed some guy playing basketball who seemed to be wearing a sinister mask that made him look like Doctor Doom’s henchman. Turns out it’s Lebron James, who broke his nose a few weeks ago and has been wearing a protective device since then. It does kind of look like a Green Lantern type thing, but it doesn’t look very comfortable.

Despite his discomfort, Lebron was able to score 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats the other night. (For non sports fans, that is quite a few points.)

Lebron is not unaware of the comics connection with his mask, telling the AP that he was going to “wear a mask like Bane, or some other comic book character. I’ve been talking to Marvel Comics for the last couple of days, and DC Comics, to try to come up with one of the greatest masks of all time.”

lebron-james-black-mask-2.jpg

I don’t know how long he’ll have to wear the mask, but time may be running out, so Greg Land jumped right on it and tweeted his design:


If Lebron, one of the most popular athletes in the world, DOES show up i a superhero themed mask, I think it will be the ultimate “Milk Council” moment for comics. I’ve long said we don’t need a Milk Council any more, but there it is.

What comics artist would you like to see design the mask for Lebron? Personally, I’d go with Eichiiro Oda or Renee French…something like that.

7 Comments on Lebron shows what it is really like to wear a superhero mask, last added: 3/6/2014
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4. On My Kindle

alchemy

The summer of 1984 was a golden time in America. From California, where gymnast Mary Lou Retton was winning Olympic gold, to Cape Cod, where explorer Barry Clifford was discovering pirate gold, the nation seemed obsessed with the precious metal. But for 15-year old Al, that obsession hits a little too close to home when he finds a code-filled notebook belonging to his missing father that may contain the ancient formula for turning lead to gold. Convinced that his father’s sudden disappearance is connected to his secret experiments in alchemy, Al sets out to find the truth. He enlists the help of Cammie, a beautiful girl staying for the summer while her marine biologist father tracks a wayward manatee, and together they begin unraveling the mystery. But the closer they get to an answer, the closer they grow to each other, and as the end of summer draws nearer, Al wonders if they can break the code without breaking his heart.

bone field

In this sequel to Belle of the Glades, the holiday season brings mystery and adventure for Belle and her Indian friend, Summer. At the Bone Field, they find clues of a Bigfoot, but Belle’s uncle dismisses the signs. Belle and Summer set out to befriend the mysterious stranger with food gifts, but he has reason to stay hidden. Is he a real Bigfoot? How does Belle solve the mystery?

games

Eleanor Parkhurst is determined to get in the way of Nathaniel Naverly seducing her sweet cousin Rose. Nate has a history of treating girls badly and Ellie suspects his intentions are far from honorable. Getting Nate to switch his attention to her seemed like a good plan, but Ellie didn’t foresee that she might have to protect her own heart from his schemes as well. The game is proving a challenge. Midnight meetings, fighting or kissing, it’s all part of the fun of flirting. Set in an English boarding school, Ellie and her American new best friend, Flora, discover that boys are more complicated than classes, and you have to play the game well or you might just get played!

guinevere
She is a mere child of twelve. But in these medieval days, this is the age when childish things must be put away and greater responsibilities accepted–all in preparation for a betrothal of marriage.

For young Lady Guinevere, on the advent of her thirteenth Birth Day, the whole idea is quite unbearable. After all, what could be better than spending her youth playing with her best friend Cedwyn, roaming the grounds around the castle looking for mythical creatures or hunting rabbits?

However, the wizard Merlyn–her teacher and friend–knows that destiny has a way of catching up with a person. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that will lead Guinevere to her destiny whether she is ready for it or not.

down under

When a reluctant grandson in Oregon is pressured into writing to his grandma in Australia, wonderful things happen. Both have a need for love and reassurance as they deal with their everyday problems. Back and forth the letters go: Josh shares his daily problems, and Grandma Rose shares past memories that astonish her grandson and his friend Kelly.

The Xbox gathers dust, as the two friends find themselves bike riding and bird watching – and actually reading. Googling the weird and wonderful Aussie critters that come to Rose’s garden becomes a fun hobby. Soon, Andy and Gradma Rose shrink the Pacific Ocean into a puddle they can easily ford.

** Glossary of Australian and words included.

billy

Young Billy loves the game of baseball. He can’t wait to play and hang around with his team mates. But Billy’s team mates don’t take to him right away and Billy struggles hitting.


2 Comments on On My Kindle, last added: 2/28/2014
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5. Did Russia really spend ‘$50 billion’ on the Sochi Olympics?

By Michael Alexeev and Shlomo Weber


Much of the world watched the Winter Olympics in Sochi. While most people are primarily interested in the athletic achievements, the fact that the Games are taking place in Russia has also brought the Russian political system, economy, human rights, etc., into focus, inadvertently highlighting the interaction of the still pervasive Soviet legacy and the momentous changes since the collapse of the USSR.

Presumably the intended message of the Games is, as the Economist put it

, “Russia is back.” The question, however, is back to what? Is it back simply in terms of playing a major role on the international stage or also back to the Soviet ways of doing things such as creating Potemkin villages and making wasteful investments that foster corruption?

One of the major themes in the media coverage on the eve of the Games was the cost of construction. The commonly cited number of approximately $50 billion would make the Sochi Olympics the most expensive Games ever. According to the Washington Post, this number has appeared in almost 2000 news accounts last year, yet it almost certainly misrepresents the true cost of the Games. It is based on a year-old statement by Dmitry Kozak, a deputy prime minister in charge of preparation for the Games, and it includes both the state budget expenditures of about $23 billion and private investments by Olympic sponsors, although some of these sponsors appear to have been pressured by the government to invest.

Moreover, on closer inspection, some of the “private” investments have been actually made by state-owned or state-controlled corporations such as the Russian Railways and Gazprom. Much of the funds have been spent on improving general infrastructure and it is unclear what part of this investment would have been made in the absence of the Games. The Russian government argues that the investments in infrastructure and at least some of the Olympic facilities have turned Sochi into a much more attractive resort for Russian vacationers and would replace foreign resort destinations for the Russian middle class. At the same time, the number provided by Kozak a year ago probably underestimates the actual expenditures as such large projects typically exceed their projected costs.

Sochi Olympic Park

Like most large investment projects in Russia, the Olympics probably involved a substantial amount of corruption and fraud which are in part responsible for the high price tag. A report co-authored by the former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, a long-time critic of President Vladimir Putin, claimed that “between $25bn and $30bn have been stolen” from the funds invested in the Olympics. While Russian officials strongly deny the presence of widespread fraud in the Olympic construction projects, Nemtsov’s numbers are roughly in line with the estimates from a survey conducted by Mark J. Levin and Georgy A. Satarov, which found that bribe revenue in Russia amounted to about 50% of GDP in 2005. Of course, “bribe revenue” could involve some double counting because lower level officials may share bribes with their higher-ups, but at the same time construction projects represent notoriously fertile soil for corruption.

Whatever one thinks of the reliability of the investment or, for that matter, corruption numbers cited above, it is clear that public and private investments engendered by the Games have been substantial. Let’s put the $50 billion number into perspective: this sum represents about 2.5% of the Russian 2013 GDP. While rating agency Fitch says that this amount is too small to produce a significant impact on the state budget, this percentage is close to one half of approximately 5.5% of GDP of the United States post-2008 recession stimulus under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

This investment could help increase the size of the service sector, particularly tourism, in the Russian economy that continues to be highly dependent on oil and gas rents. While the diversification effect on the economy is likely to be relatively small, the impact on Krasnodar region that includes Sochi and the rest of the Russian Black Sea shoreline, as well as most of the Azov Sea shoreline, could be substantial. The new hotels could accommodate a three-fold increase in the number of tourists visiting the Sochi region. Perhaps the investment in residential housing and infrastructure could even facilitate, at least on the margin, relocation of some of the Russian population from the Northern parts of the country — a relocation that is needed but has not been proceeding at sufficiently fast pace.

Initially, the prospect of the Games hinted at a macroeconomic stimulus for Russia. Indeed, the Krasnodar region has been growing at roughly twice the rate of the rest of the economy since the Games were awarded to Russia in 2007. But the stimulating effect on the overall economy is hard to discern. Russia’s economic growth slowed down considerably in 2013, as was predicted by Revold Entov and Oleg Lugovoy, and in the last half of the year, the growth stalled almost completely, despite some recovery in much of the world. Moreover, the seasonally adjusted January index of manufacturing activity in Russia released on February 17 dropped to 48.0 — the lowest level since the 2009 crisis and almost a full point lower than an already weak level of December 2013.

As with most large projects, the effects of the Olympic Games on the Russian economy appear to be ambiguous and demonstrate both the new-found economic prowess of the country and the old ills of corruption and inefficiencies of the state involvement in the economy. Perhaps the best thing to do is to leave the more detailed analysis of these issues to some future date and for now simply enjoy the recent memories of Olympic competition and pageantry.

Michael Alexeev and Shlomo Weber are the co-editors of The Oxford Handbook of the Russian Economy. Michael Alexeev is a Professor of Economics at Indiana University in Bloomington. Shlomo Weber is the Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Trustee Professor of Economics at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and PINE Foundation Professor of Economics at the New Economic School of Moscow.

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Image credit: “Sochi Olympic Park Architecture” by Alex1983. Public domain via pixabay.

The post Did Russia really spend ‘$50 billion’ on the Sochi Olympics? appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Did Russia really spend ‘$50 billion’ on the Sochi Olympics? as of 2/27/2014 8:53:00 PM
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6. Review: REAL by Katy Evans

Real

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A fallen boxer.

A woman with a broken dream.

A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.

I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.

 

If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

Review:

I received a review copy of REAL, and I thought I’d read it because the hero is a former boxer turned underground fighter.  There aren’t a lot of romances that I am aware of featuring fighters, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace from the usual billionaires or cowboys I am forever reading about (because I can’t resist the cowboys, especially if they are sexy billionaire cowboys with really nice horses).  Though Remy is a rough underground fighter, he is a very wealthy one, which made me wonder why he would put his pretty face in jeopardy, but whatever.

Brooke is a down on her luck rehab therapist.  She just finished school, has bills to pay, and she hasn’t found the job of her dreams yet. When her BFF Mel drags her to a fight, she is consumed with thoughts of Remy after sharing a soulful, scorching stare.  Her insides clench (more on that later), her interest is beyond piqued, and sexy Remy is wedged in her brain.  When he offers her a job, instead of the wild one night stand she’s expecting, she reluctantly accepts.  How is she going to massage those wicked muscles, and keep their relationship professional?  When her younger sister gets into deep, deep doodoo, staying out of Remy’s bed is the last thing on her mind.

I have mixed feelings about REAL.  On one hand, it is an engaging, totally in your face read.  On the other, the prose, while immediate and intense and oh so honest, occasionally Drove. Me. NUTS.  Brooke’s insides clench.  About a billion times.  There is also a lot of licking, biting, gripping, and squeezing.  So much that I was tempted to go back to the beginning and count how many times these words appeared throughout the pages.  Brooke’s relentless pursuit of a physical relationship with Remy consisted of her stomach and other organs clenching, squeezing, and dripping a distracting number of times, and it got so repetitive after a while.   While her obsession with Remy was telegraphed loud and clear and left no doubt how she felt, I was soon wishing for more verbs to describe her body’s reaction to him.

I’m not sure that I liked Brooke, or that she’s the girl for the noble, damaged Remy.  She spent most of her life training for the Olympics, but an injury sidelined her.  Permanently.  During those years that she was training  to be the best, she lived a very sheltered life.  She worked hard, studied hard, and competed hard, all the while staying out of trouble.  She didn’t need the distraction.  Now that her dreams left her cruelly disappointed, she wants to start making up for lost time.  Remy is gorgeous, and sweet, and there is a chemistry between them that threatens to combust every time they see each other.  When Brooke decides that she’s going to act on her attraction, she is bewildered.  Remy refuses to sleep with her, and their make-out sessions go nowhere. Frustrated and resentful, she doesn’t know whether he’s the problem – or if she is.  Despite his assurances that he wants her to get to know him better first, she is so angry with him she doesn’t know how to react.  I was willing to cut her some slack because she hadn’t previously known anyone like Remy, or felt as twisted and confused as he made her feel.  When her younger sister is sprinkled into the mix, Brooke makes some really bad decisions, and Remy is the one to pay the price every time. 

Remy is a character that I haven’t read about before, and I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything.  I wasn’t happy with message delivered here, though.  He refused for his condition, so he is always skating on a fine line between keeping control over himself and his actions and completely losing his sh$t.  He’s afraid of getting involved with Brooke, fearful that she will leave him when he loses himself.  That aspect of their relationship was fascinating.  How do you give your heart to a guy whose self-control is tenuous at best, and who forgets everything that he does during these episodes?  His condition ensures that he can’t really have a HEA, because Brooke can’t cure him.  It’s not realistic or possible, and that made the last half of the book even more compelling.

The final fight scene – Oh. My. God.  So intense.  It really made the book for me because is was brutal and gritty and showed what Remy was all about.  He is iron-willed and stubborn, and it’s impossible for him to back down from a challenge.

I enjoyed REAL, even though it didn’t completely work for me.  It felt genuine  and fresh, though some narrative quirks left me cringing and distracted. I am curious to see how Brooke and Remy’s relationship progresses, because I think they have a rocky road ahead of them.

Grade:   B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher

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7. Soccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker

soccer-dreams-book-coverSoccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker is the perfect blend of entertainment and education.

Todo moves from Kenya, Africa to Seattle, Washington where his soccer skills catch the eye of Coach Dan who invites him to join his team. With tons of spirit, Todo helps Coach Dan build a winning team that works together.

I don’t know how the Lil’ Princess discovered soccer, but she did. She continues to work hard to develop her skills, spending a week at a British soccer camp visiting our area over the summer, and practicing at home whenever she can. It’s been a good season for her so far. This is why I requested to review Soccer Dreams. It ended up being a great source of inspiration for her.

This book blends the fictional story of Todo moving from Africa to America and getting a chance to play on a soccer team with profiles of the current MLS Seattle Sounders FC, in addition to strategy and teamwork tips. It’s a wonderful book. Numerous color photographs are included, along with black and white drawings for the fictional portion of the story. Some Sounders share their favorite warm-ups, the coach talks about developing players’ strengths, and the goalkeeper shares what goalies think about and offers his advice.

I’m sure Soccer Dreams will hold a special place in the Lil’ Princess’ bookshelf.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

Hardcover: 48 pages
Ages 7 to 12
Publisher: Creating One, LLC; 1st edition (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615432360
ISBN-13: 978-0615432366
Available in digital format

I received a copy of this book from the author’s publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I was not compensated for in any way.


0 Comments on Soccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker as of 10/3/2013 11:08:00 AM
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8. Interview with Jami Davenport, Author of Backfield in Motion

Please welcome Jami Davenport to the virtual offices this morning!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jami Davenport] Best-selling Contemp. sports romance author, charter 12thWoman, Animal Lover, Native Washingtonian living good life–rain or shine. GoHawks

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Backfield in Motion?

[Jami Davenport] Backfield in Motion is a bridge story. I had planned for Book 4 in my Seattle Lumberjacks series to be about the backup quarterback, who has tons of baggage. That book needs to span the 2nd half of the football season, which meant I’d have a big gap between the end of the last season (where Book 3 ended) to the middle of the next season. Since I’d always planned to write Bruiser’s book, I decided to go for it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jami Davenport] Usually I know the beginning and the end before I ever start, along with at least one character’s major flaw. I didn’t know anything about this book. I wrote three chapters not knowing who these characters were. Without realizing it, I flipped the beauty and the beast theme I used in Down by Contact. In BIM, the heroine is the "beast" and the hero is the beauty.

I’m always looking for something different, and I was reading about how difficult it is to keep a football field in perfect condition with players on it all the time. It’s really an exact science. So I decided to write about a heroine who wanted a career in grounds management. Also, theirs a mystery component in which the heroine’s brother has been missing for 3 years. I’m obsessed with true crime TV shows so I decided I might as well put that obsession to good use.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Mac?

[Jami Davenport] Down to earth

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Bruce had a theme song, what would it be?

[Jami Davenport] I’m Too Sexy

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Mac is never without.

[Jami Davenport] A green thumb

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Bruce’s bathroom.

[Jami Davenport] Old Spice, anything pink, and a woman’s toothbrush (at least at the beginning of the story)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Mac’s greatest regret?

[Jami Davenport] Not being with her brother on the day he disappeared.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Jami Davenport] Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson, and Sandra Brown

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jami Davenport] Inspirational pictures of hot jocks, my iPad or laptop, and a glass of wine (or two or three)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Jami Davenport] That’s a tough one because I’m hard to please, and I rarely read a book anymore that is truly one I can’t put down. The last book I can recall staying up all night to read was Wait for You by J. Lynn, if you read it, I’m sure you’d know why I feel that way.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Jami Davenport] Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series in the 2nd grade. I was and still am horse crazy. I gobbled up those books and went in search of similar ones. I’ve always felt that my love of horses made me a reader. If we’re talking about romance novels, though, it’d have to be The Promise by Danielle Steele, followed by Mirror Image by Sandra Brown.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Jami Davenport] I used to show horses, which pretty much absorbed any other free time I had. I also work full-time in the IT field. Now that I don’t show horses, my husband and I love to take local trips on weekends. We also maintain a 3 acre mini-farm by ourselves. And—surprise, surprise—we are AVID spots fans, especially football.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jami Davenport] Tons of ways, Twitter, Facebook (I have three FB pages), email, my website, Google+, and Pinterest. All the links are on my website.  http://www.jamidavenport.com/index.htm

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link

Coming Soon!

About the book

Bruce "Bruiser" Mackey’s story (running back)

All you’ll ever be is a pretty face…

Star running back Bruce “Bruiser” Mackey has heard those words his entire life, especially after his twin brother’s tragic accident. He might use his surfer-boy good looks to land lucrative endorsements for his secret charity, but he hates books being judged by their covers. Which is why it’s wrong that his friend MacKenzie Hernandez is intent on giving herself a makeover.

Sure, Mac and her father have been reeling financially since her brother disappeared three years ago, and Lumberjacks management gives an annual scholarship that might get her life back on track, but he can’t imagine anyone smarter, sexier, or more beautiful than Mac already is. He can’t keep his hands off her—and the more they spend time together, the less he wants to. She’s perfect as is. One way or another, he’ll make sure the team’s tomboy greenskeeper gets a full ride. And between the two of them, they can learn to accept what’s behind them and look downfield to a future full of win.

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9. Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1), by Simone Elkeles

Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Interest: Romance, Simone Elkeles
Categories: Contemporary, Sports, Romance, Stand-Alone, Family Issues
Goodreads Amazon / Simone Elkeles's Website
Read in September 2013

Summary:

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
My Thoughts:

Simone has done it again! This woman can really make you fall for her characters! There are so many things I loved about this book, I'll just list them for you:

1. A strong female MC. Ashtyn is such a good and independent (American) football player that her teammates choose her over her boyfriend to be the team's captain. When she first meets Derek, she brandishes a pitchfork at him to protect herself. She can take care of herself and she lets everyone know it.

2. The bad boy with a soft heart. Admit it. You love them. I love them. We all do. Derek has the Elkeles stamp all over him: hard exterior, but really loving heart. I just wanted to hug him all the time.

3. A really cool set of secondary characters. I mean, how great are Ashtyn's boy friends? Her relationship with them is amazing. She's one of them, but she can be a girly girl, too. And I just LOVED them whenever they stepped up to protect her. Those are real friends.

4. A greatly built story that has actual meaning, as opposed to just being there for the sake of giving the characters an environment to meet and fall in love. Derek has lost his mother, his father is overseas with the Navy and his stepmother is a 25-year-old girl with a little son and a baby on the way. Ashtyn's mum is MIA, her father barely gives her the time of day (but for ACTUAL reasons, not just to be out of her way!) and her sister's coming back home after seven years of having no contact with her. These are the conditions in which Derek and Ashtyn meet, and they shape up their story in a beautiful, beautiful way.

5. Sports in a Contemporary book! I don't understand squat about American football, I just think about it like I would rugby, but Simone really made me like the sport! I usually avoid Contemps with sports, but since this was an Elkeles book, there was just no way I was going to miss reading it.

Yes, your heart will twinge a little in pain, but trust me, it'll live. This is just a really lovely book meant to be read when you want to feel a little bit of loving.

Pre-order the book now through the links listed above.
Happy reading,
Ella

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10. New Books for Review

seesawClavis sent me a group of books to review, which you’ll be seeing soon. Here’s a list of what arrived this week:

 

The Seesaw and Good-bye, Fish by Judith Koppens,

Circus 123 by one of my favorites, Guido van Genechten,crypto

A Big Book of Face Painting by Charlotte Verrecas,

Kevin’s Big Book of Emotions by another favorite, Liesbet Slegers.

 

I also purchased a copy of The Crypto-Capers in The Peacock Diaries by Renee Hand. I’ve been following this series since the beginning, so I sure don’t want to miss out on any of them.

Overdue is my review of Soccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker, but it’s coming soon. I promise.

 


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11. Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Who: Football

Big Book of Who - Football
Publisher: Sports Illustrated Kids
Genre: Sports / Football
ISBN: 978-1-61893-040-8
Pages: 128
Price: $17.95

Sports Illustrated Kids Magazine
Buy it at Amazon

Who has rushed for the most career touchdowns in Super Bowl history? Who was the running back known as “Sweetness”? Who has the most career sacks? Don’t know the answers? Well, Sports Illustrated Kids does! In Big Book of Who: Football you’ll find out who these players are, as well as a whole lot more fun football facts.

Under the headings Champions, Personalities, Record Breakers, Super Scorers and Yardage Kings, a wealth of statistics and player information is provided. Colorful and full of photos of these greats in NFL history, this book is a must-have item for the serious football fan – even adults. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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12. When Jackie and Hank Met by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

When Jackie and Hank MetI don’t care much for baseball but I’m a sucker for a good story. The odd thing is, baseball seems to be quite a breeding ground for tantalizing tales. I’ve been bamboozled into reading far more than my share of baseball novels because they developed into darn good stories.

When Jackie Met Hank is just such an example. I have to admit that, thanks to the current film, 42, I did have a passing interest when I saw a book about Jackie Robinson. And, it wasn’t too painful to read a picture book about baseball players. I’m glad I dropped my guard. Reading When Jackie Met Hank was time well spent.

Cathy Goldberg Fishman has told her story from a very interesting perspective by stating in the opening sentence that “Jack Roosevelt Robinson and Henry Benjamin Greenberg were born eight years and 1,000 miles apart.” She then proceeds to tell how at various stages of growing up they came –unbeknownst to the other—a little closer and a little closer.

As boys, both men had an aptitude for sports but their lives were more intertwined that they realized. Jackie Robinson was the first Negro player in the major leagues, a role that won him as much reproach as fame. There’s no doubt that Jackie’s rookie year was hard, very hard. What is however, not as well remembered today, is the story of Hank Greenberg, one of the first Jewish professional baseball stars. His road to becoming “Hammerin’ Hank” was almost as rocky as Robinson’s. They knew each other’s pain. Both men were class acts on the field and off. Ms. Fishman tells how Jackie Robinson said as much about Hank Greenberg when he told a New York Times reporter, “Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg.” Jackie Robinson and Hank Green berg were two men, different yet alike in many ways, brought together by sports but held together in friendship and respect by an even greater game, the game of life, a game at which both of them excelled. Posted by: Eileen


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13. Baseball Bonanza

Baseball is in the air! April is the start of the Major League Baseball season. Drive by any local park, and you'll find Little League practices in full swing. If you're planning to display or feature baseball books in your library or classroom this spring, we have some recommendations for you (with links to our reviews). You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! by Jonah Winter, illustrated by

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14. Betsy's Day at the Game: A Review and Giveaway

Peanuts, Cracker Jack, cotton candy, and hot dogs! Those are my fondest memories of the ball park, and they certainly top my daughters' lists as well. But one equally hallowed tradition of baseball had been fading from the American scene, so I'm glad to see a picture book that's bringing it back.

Betsy's Day at the Game, written by Greg Bancroft and illustrated by Katherine Blackmore, describes a young girl's visit to the ballpark with her grandfather. The book captures all there is to love about baseball, and that's because author Greg Bancroft seems to be a baseball fan first and foremost. His words and Katherine Blackmore's images capture the sights, sounds, smells, and (my favorite part) tastes of the ballpark. Via their narrative, we spend a day vicarioulsy at the park. Simple enough, right?

As the story progresses and the game begins, however, we realize that much more is taking place. Betsy and Grandpa are teaching us, step by step and in plain English, how to keep score. For the those who are as clueless as me, keeping score in baseball goes way beyond tallying runs!

Codes and symbols are entered onto a scorecard, effectively chronicling every offensive and defensive play of the game. From what friends have told me, baseball fans can read a score book and see the entire game played out in their heads in the same way that musicians can read sheet music and actually "hear the song."

So while I started out as a true scoring novice, by book's end I had a pretty good idea of the whole process. And trust me, if I can figure it out, anyone can! Betsy's Day at the Game would definitely score a home run with any young baseball fan. Using the handy scorecards supplied in the back of the book, fans could easily follow along with and score their favorite team at the park or on TV.

You can enter to win a free copy of this book for your fave fan or yourself by simply emailing me at keithschoch at gmail dot com (standard email format) with PLAY BALL! in the subject line. Contest closes at 11:59 PM EST Friday, April 19, 2013.

Want more chances to win? Visit the blog at Scarletta Press to discover more sites featuring book reviews and giveaways.

Some Recommended Baseball Resources:
  • Aspiring writers will want to check out Greg Bancroft's 10 Things I Didn't Know Until I Published My First Book. If you're planning on breaking into the book biz, you should read this article! 
  • See more of Katherine Blackmore's illustrations at her site.
  • Check out a tutorial on scoring if you want more examples, plus the formulas to figure out all the stats you would ever need. The actual scorecard isn't as nice as the one in the back of Betsy's Day at the Game, however.
  • The Baseball for Kids site features lots of extras for young fans of baseball.
  • Taking your child to the park for the first time? Definitely have a Plan B! We know how attention spans can dwindle as kids become hot, tired, cranky, over-sugared, and all of the above. TeachMama has a fabulous set of suggestions for surviving your outing using Kid-Friendly Learning During Baseball Games. 
  • Check out some earlier posts on this site including Going Extra Innings with Baseball Picture Books (books and lots of sites for kids about baseball), A League of Their Own: Women in Baseball, and Girls Got Game (incredible female athletes). Let Them Play, discussed in an earlier post on Black History, is another baseball story from history that kids find incredibly intriguing.
  • With 42, the Jackie Robinson movie, releasing in theaters this weekend, younger readers might interested in learning more about this courageous hero in baseball history. For readers in grades 2-5, I highly recommend Jackie Robinson: American Hero, written by the star's own daughter, Sharon Robinson. This transitional book features not only the perfect blend of images and text, but also the perfect blend of backstory and biography. Sharon Robinson provides young readers with just enough historical context to understand and appreciate what made Jackie Robinson's accomplishments incredible not only for his time, but for all of time. If you're a teacher hoping to engage your reluctant readers with chapter books, this one is a winner!

 

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15. Available Now: THE SECRET LIVES OF SPORTS FANS by Eric Simons

What happens in your brain when you watch sports? Why do so many people return to something that so often leaves them heartbroken, angry, and even violent? The Secret Lives of Sports Fans by Eric Simons, out this month from Overlook, turns to neuroscience, psychology, endocrinology, evolutionary biology — and one sensitive man in an Oakland Raiders gorilla suit — in a search for the roots of a

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16. batter up!

and so today baseball season officially begins! yay! 

i "heart" baseball :)

(PERSONALIZED) PRINTS CAN BE FOUND HERE:

so, i say on this first official day of baseball...BATTER UP!!!

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17. Women in Professional Baseball: “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”

Since it’s Women’s History Month and baseball season is right around the corner (!), we asked our favorite sports expert, author Crystal Hubbard, whether she thought women should be allowed to play professional baseball. Here’s what she had to say:

Toni StonePitcher Jackie Mitchell signed a contract to play for the Chattanooga Lookouts, a Southern Association minor league team, in 1931. This deal differed from most because Mitchell wasn’t like the other boys. She wasn’t a boy at all. She was a woman, one of the very few to play professional baseball on all-male teams. Although Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an April 2, 1931 exhibition game against the New York Yankees soon after signing with the Lookouts, baseball commissioner Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis canceled Mitchell’s contract, claiming that baseball was too strenuous for women. Commissioner Ford Frick, on June 21, 1952, officially banned women from professional baseball.

Marcenia “Toni Stone” Lyle, Ila Borders, and most recently, Eri Yoshida of Japan, are among the very few truly accomplished female baseball players who found spots on the rosters of professional male teams. In 1993, Carey Schueler—the daughter of then White Sox general manager Ron Schueler—was drafted by the White Sox, becoming at 18 years old the first woman ever drafted by a Major League team.While banning women from almost any other field would lead to a lawsuit, the No Girls Allowed code of Major League Baseball remains.

Schueler, a left-handed pitcher, never took the field for a game.

While banning women from almost any other field would lead to a lawsuit, the No Girls Allowed code of Major League Baseball remains. Is it because women are too delicate for the physical challenges of MLB, or because they don’t have the physical ability or talent? Some women, perhaps. But not all, as evidenced by Mitchell, Lyle, Borders, Yoshida, and a fresh generation of skilled female Little Leaguers.

The same physical limitations used to justify banning women from professional baseball can also be applied to most male players—they aren’t strong enough, they aren’t fast enough, they aren’t good enough. Some female athletes are strong enough. And fast enough and good enough. Yet they still don’t have the same opportunities their male contemporaries enjoy. Male athletes who play baseball well have the chance to earn scholarships to college and perhaps even play professionally. Female athletes deserve the same.

Marcenia Toni Stone Lyle

No capable athlete should be banned from the Major Leagues because of her gender. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. It’s long past time we redefined that saying.

Crystal Hubbard is a sports buff and full-time writer. Her books include Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream, Game, Set, Match, Champion Arthur Ashe, and The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby.


Filed under: guest blogger, Holidays Tagged: baseball, biography, Marcenia Lyle, Sports, toni stone, women's history, women's history month

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18. RIPTIDE

RIPTIDE, by Lindsey Scheibe (Flux, May 2013)(ages 12+).  It's the summer before senior year.  Best friends and fellow surfers Ford and Grace are at different crossroads:  Ford wants to move their relationship to the next level while padding his resume with an internship at Grace's father's law firm.  Grace wants to somehow break free from the Ivy League track her parents have placed her on.

But that means she'll have to pay for college on her own.  So she enters a major surfing competition, one being judged by the coach of the UCSD surfing team, in hopes of winning and landing a scholarship.

And that means, she doesn't have time for Ford.  At least not in that way...

RIPTIDE offers an engaging narrative told in alternating voices -- a thoroughly entertaining read about an epic summer of change.

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19. Shocker! NFL SuperPro may be appearing in the NFL RUSH ZONE comics

After our mentioning how much the world needs the return of NFL Superpro just the other day, a well-sourced rumor claims that NFL Superpro may make an appearance in Action Lab's new NFL RUSH ZONE comics.

5 Comments on Shocker! NFL SuperPro may be appearing in the NFL RUSH ZONE comics, last added: 2/6/2013
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20. Weekly Shonen Jump–January 28th Edition

This issue clocks in at 171 pages.

First up is Toriko Chapter 219- I guess there is nothing as intimidating as group of pissed off chefs.  As the Gourmet Corp launches a fearsome attack during the cooking competition, Toriko and his buddies counter with some powerful, yet ultimately useless attacks.  Oh, my!  Komatsu is in trouble!  I don’t think all the cooking skills in the world are going to help him save himself from the freaks attacking him.  It’s a good thing the other chefs seem more competent at defending themselves.  Plus they will probably get pissed if their carefully prepared dishes are ruined.  This series is still not one of my favorites, but at least there were lots of speed lines and attacks to keep me somewhat entertained.

One Piece – chapter 696 – Lots of eating and celebrating their escape from the island.  The rescued kids are going to go with the Navy, and Luffy has big plans! He’s going to crush all four emperors! Hopefully this wraps up all involvement of Caesar, because I thought he was obnoxious and I’m not going to miss him much.

Naruto – Chapter 617 – Naruto hands out chakra like it’s candy.  The ninjas get ready for an all out attack.  Naruto’s shoulder is dislocated!  But wait! Now it’s not!  Can Naruto’s buddies keep Neji’s death from being a tragic waste?  Maybe we’ll find out next issue!  Nah, probably not, but maybe the fighting will start again?

Nisekoi - Chapter 59 – Christmas chapter! Chitoge’s mom is coming home for the holiday!  She’s a terror, too.  Everyone is terrified of her, despite her less than imposing appearance.  When her secretary collapses, she quickly lassoes Raku in to handle the job until Christmas Eve.  Poor guy!  She wants to see what he’s made of, and I think his work experience with her won’t be pleasant.  I am curious to see just how bad Chitoge’s mom can be!  If he can stick it out, she’ll reward him with a stay for two in a penthouse suite at a deluxe hotel.  Can he make it that long?

One-Punch Man – Chapter 2 – Another short chapter, giving more background on Saitama.  He became One-Punch Man after taking on a crab dude, and then trained like a fiend, losing his hair (as well as his good looks) in the process.  I am a bit disappointed with the length of the chapters so far, and the lack of a story.  Maybe we’ll get a story next issue?

Bleach – Chapter 524 – Oh MY!  The battle between Unohana and Zaraki rocks!  That is all.

Cross Manage – Chapter 18 – Soccer team manager Chiumi drops by to watch the lacrosse teams’ second game, and she has a crush on Sakurai!  She’s studied up on lacrosse, and she’s all ready to wow him with her knowledge of the game and  the team.  She knows Sakurai has some problems communicating with girls, and she’s going to help him with that, and earn some brownie points at the same time.  This chapter was bogged down with lacrosse rules, and it didn’t hold my attention like previous chapters. 

Kintoki One-shot – Cute color splash page!  Though I enjoyed this one-shot, it’s more a throw away chapter than anything else.  Great art but not much substance.  It did get a few chuckles from me, and that’s saying a lot since I am sick as a dog today.

Oh, they will start running a colorized DBZ starting next issue!  And there will be new series announcements next week, too!

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21. Who turned the lights out at the Super Bowl: Beyoncé or Bane?

When the Super Bowl at the Super Dome was plunged into darkness by a blackout last night, Twitter immediately pointed the finger at two possible suspects—halftime entertainer Beyoncé ,who doubtless needed a million hair dryers to get her 'do just so, and alight those neon Busby Berkeley tributes.

4 Comments on Who turned the lights out at the Super Bowl: Beyoncé or Bane?, last added: 2/5/2013
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22. Why football cannot last

By Anthony Scioli, Ph.D.

“Just look at the gladiators… and consider the blows they endure! Consider how they who have been well-disciplined prefer to accept a blow than ignominiously avoid it! How often it is made clear that they consider nothing other than the satisfaction of their [coach] or the [fans]! Even when they are covered with wounds they send a messenger to their [coach] to inquire his will. If they have given satisfaction to their [coach], they are pleased to fall. What even mediocre gladiator ever groans; ever alters the expression on his face? Which one of them acts shamefully, either standing or falling? And which of them, even when he does succumb, ever contracts his neck when ordered to receive the blow?”

The above passage, with the exception of two minor word substitutions on my part, was written by Cicero 2,000 years ago. My point is that his description of the sacrificial gladiator of the ancient amphitheater can be applied all too easily to the players who currently do battle on the modern gridiron.

I am convinced that football, in its present form, cannot last. I will put aside the physical carnage that piles up every weekend, the torn cartilage, broken bones, blackened, bruised and ripped skin, the shredded muscle fibers; I am not a physician. However, I am a psychologist. From my perspective, I believe that the greatest health crisis precipitated by football involves the brain and the mind, especially for those at the professional level, and particularly for those who are retired, and have suffered one too many concussions. For these former gladiators, there is a great risk of succumbing to severe, life-threatening forms of hopelessness.

The hopelessness that descends upon the retired professional football player should not be a surprise. It is understandable if you begin with some knowledge of what changes occur in a soft and mushy brain that has been repeatedly concussed, or more bluntly, tossed and smashed from side to side within a bony skull-box. Repetitive brain trauma can result in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

CTE has been detected in the brains of ex-football players well as former boxers. In CTE, there are signs of a spreading tau protein that normally serves a stabilizing function but becomes dislodged, primarily from the axons which transmit nerve impulses. The floating Tau form a spreading tangle of tissue that disrupts brain function. Rare diseases can precipitate this pathological cascade but so can repetitive head trauma. CTE has also been found in the aged, and those stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. The most commonly affected areas include the frontal lobes (decision-making, planning, willpower), the temporal lobes (memory and speech), and the parietal area (sensory integration, reading and writing). The most common emotional symptoms in those suffering from CTE include depression, anger, hyper-aggressiveness, irritability, diminished insight and poor judgment.

On 2 May 2012 former football star Junior Seau shot himself in the chest with a .357 magnum. Eighteen months earlier, Seau had driven his SUV off a cliff following an arrest on charges of domestic violence. He claimed that he had fallen asleep. Back then, many in his circle of friends and family hoped and prayed it was the truth. His brain was sent to a team of researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine. Their tests revealed a brain besieged by CTE.

A little more than a year earlier, in February, 2011, Dave Duerson, also a former professional football player, similarly committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. He had texted a message to his family indicating that he was “saving” his brain for research. Three months later BU School of Medicine confirmed “neurodegenerative disease linked to concussions.” In high school, Duerson had been a member of the National Honor Society and played the sousaphone, traveling Europe with the Musical Ambassadors All-American Band. He attended the University of Notre Dame on both football and baseball scholarships. He graduated with honors, receiving a BA in Economics. Duerson played eleven seasons in the NFL.

Whenever interviewed, the researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine are reluctant to affirm a cause and effect link between CTE and suicide. They provide the typical (and not unreasonable) response that multiple causes often underlie human behavior, including suicide. While generally true, a case such as that of Duerson seems to beg the question, what else besides CTE could have led a formerly intelligent, well-organized, responsible, and successful individual to morph into a desperate failure that ends his own life at the age of fifty?

Anthony Scioli is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Keene State College. He is the co-author of Hope in the Age of Anxiety with Henry Biller. Dr. Scioli completed Harvard fellowships in human motivation and behavioral medicine. He co-authored the chapter on emotion for the Encyclopedia of Mental Health and currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Positive Psychology and the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. Read his previous blog articles.

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23. Black History Month: Why Remember Toni Stone?

Everyone knows Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., but there are many other African Americans who have contributed to the rich fabric of our country but whose names have fallen through the cracks of history.

We’ve asked some of our authors who chose to write biographies of these talented leaders why we should remember them. We’ll feature their answers throughout Black History Month.

catchingthemoonToday, Crystal Hubbard shares why she wrote about Toni Stone (a.k.a. Marcenia Lyle) in Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream:

“I wrote about Marcenia Lyle, the first woman to have become a full-time roster member of an all-male professional baseball team, because she is an example of what it truly means to make a dream come true.

“Marcenia Lyle loved baseball, and she played as a child. She wanted to do what so many boys could grow up to do, which was to play ball professionally.

catchingthemoon022

“In the early 1930s, career options were limited for African-American women. Most typically became teachers, nurses, maids and housewives. But Marcenia held on to her dream of playing baseball. Even when it was hard to get people to believe in her, she worked harder to prove that she could be a good baseball player. She made her dream come true, and her drive and determination inspired me to follow my heart, to work hard, and to bring my dreams to life.”


moon

Further reading:

Black History Month: Why Remember Robert Smalls?


Filed under: Holidays Tagged: african american women, African/African American Interest, baseball, black history month, discrimination, dreams and aspirations, gender roles, hard work, Sports, toni stone

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24. Black History Month: Why Remember Arthur Ashe?

Everyone knows Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., but there are many other African Americans who have contributed to the rich fabric of our country but whose names have fallen through the cracks of history.

We’ve asked some of our authors who chose to write biographies of these talented leaders why we should remember them. We’ll feature their answers throughout Black History Month.

Today, Crystal Hubbard shares why she wrote about Arthur Ashe in Game, Set, Match, Champion Arthur Ashe:

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 4.31.13 PM

“Arthur Ashe is one of my heroes because he was a great athlete, but he was also a great human being. Tennis propelled him to fame, and he used his stature to bring attention to causes that people might otherwise have ignored. He used sports to help change the world for the better, not to get rich or gain popularity.


Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 4.32.52 PM

“I am most impressed by Mr. Ashe’s efforts to focus the world’s eyes on Apartheid. Through sports, he managed to bring attention to South Africa’s policy of racial segregation, and he was the first major sports figure to do so. Having grown up in segregated Richmond, Virginia, one would think that Mr. Ashe would have confronted Apartheid with anger, but he didn’t. A combination of intellect, tenacity, compassion, and fearlessness fueled his crusade. At the beginning, he was a one-man silent storm, and his approach worked. He drew others to his cause without fire and righteousness, but with reason and hope.

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 4.32.08 PM

“Mr. Ashe is an example of how one person can truly make a difference in the lives of many. He showed me that someone from the humblest of beginnings can make a monumental change in the way we think about people who are different from us, or who need our help.”

Further reading:

Black History Month: Why Remember Robert Smalls?

Black History Month: Why Remember Toni Stone?

Black History Month Book Giveaway


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: African/African American Interest, Arthur Ashe, black history month, discrimination, dreams and aspirations, overcoming obstacles, Sports, Tennis

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25. Five things you might not know about Bobby Moore

By Daniel Parker

“My captain, my leader, my right-hand man. He was the spirit and the heartbeat of the team. A cool, calculating footballer I could trust with my life. He was the supreme professional, the best I ever worked with. Without him England would never have won the World Cup.” –Sir Alf Ramsey

Bobby Moore is an icon. He earned his place in football’s pantheon by captaining England to their only World Cup triumph in 1966 and his rightful place amongst the football greats is immortalised in bronze outside Wembley Stadium. He represented West Ham United over 500 times and was described by Pele as ‘the most accomplished defender [he has] ever played against’.

From the iconic image of Bobby Moore holding the World Cup trophy aloft to the famous embrace between him and Pele during the 1970 World Cup, from his loyalty to West Ham United Football Club to his brave struggle against bowel cancer in his later years, Bobby Moore represents a significant chapter in the history of world football. But what about the man behind the bronze? To mark the twentieth anniversary of his death (February 24), here are five things you might not have known about the man known as Mooro:

(1)      Bobby Moore was a good footballer as a schoolboy but he wasn’t exceptional. In fact, he was a better cricketer than he was a footballer and for a while it seemed he was more likely to make it as a professional cricketer. He represented Tom Hood Grammar School in Leyton at both cricket and football, and played county cricket for the Essex Youth team. It was only after a few years did his football ability begin to shine.

(2)      The England team that arrived in Mexico to defend the World Cup in 1970 were high in confidence. However, Bobby Moore was nowhere to be seen. He wasn’t with the squad as they arrived in Mexico. Instead he was being held in Bogota, Columbia, arrested and facing charges of stealing an emerald-studded gold bracelet valued at over £600. The ordeal Moore went through before joining up with his England team-mates is common knowledge. What is less widely known, however, is that he still faced those charges when he went to Mexico to captain his country at the World Cup. He arguably even played the greatest game he had ever played for England against Brazil in the quarter-finals, despite not knowing whether he would be found innocent or guilty by the Columbian police. He was later found innocent.

(3)      Despite his fabled heroics with England, Moore’s club form never reached the same heights as his performances for the national team. West Ham had three England regulars in their side throughout the 1960s but they never finished higher than eighth in the league. It was suggested by his manager at the time, Ron Greenwood, that Moore concentrated harder on his performances for England than he did for West Ham. Although West Ham did win the FA Cup in 1964 and the European cup winners’ trophy in 1965, their star players, including Bobby Moore, were criticised for being ‘as erratic as dock work’.

(4)      After his playing career Bobby Moore part-owned pubs and clubs across east London. Many of these were successful business ventures, notably Mooro’s, and his status in London’s east end helped these businesses flourish. However, he also was part of the failed sports marketing and promotion company Challenge. After only a few years, in the early 1990s, Challenge went into liquidation, an illustration that leading a nation on the football pitch perhaps came more naturally to Moore than  leading a business.

(5)      Bobby Moore’s last appearance in an FA Cup final wasn’t for his beloved West Ham United but against them. The season after Moore transferred from West Ham to Fulham, he guided Fulham to an FA Cup Final in 1975. Having led West Ham to FA Cup glory in 1964, it is ironic that Moore’s last club game in England in 1975 came against the side that he represented 544 times. West Ham ended up winning in a game that provoked mixed emotions for Moore. Also, not only did Moore play for Fulham, one of Moore’s middle names is Chelsea. It’s unlikely that many Hammers would hold this against him though.

To read more about the life of Bobby Frederick Chelsea Moore, please visit his biography page on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Moore’s life story is also available as an episode in the ODNB’s free biography podcast.

Daniel Parker is Publicity Assistant for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography  is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. In addition to 58,500 life stories, the ODNB offers a free, twice monthly biography podcastwith over 175 life stories now available. You can also sign up for Life of the Day, a topical biography delivered to your inbox, or follow @odnb on Twitter for people in the news. The Oxford DNB is freely available via public libraries across the UK. Libraries offer ‘remote access’ allowing members to log-on to the complete dictionary, for free, from home (or any other computer) twenty-four hours a day.

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Image credit: Bobby Moore statue by John Dobson [Creative Commons License via Wikimedia Commons]. 

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