Month: January 2009

Anyone For Tennis ……….?


 

 

 

Well  the  Australian  Open   is  now   reaching  its  climax and  we’re  now  aware  as  to  who  the  finalists  are  in  the respective   singles’ tournament  finals.  On the  women’s  side  we  have   world  number   2   Serena  Williams  of the  United  States.  Opposing here  will  be  Russia’s  Dinara Safina.  Safina  is  the  younger  sister  of   former  US Open men’s champion  Marat  Safin. 

 

 

Nadal  stretches  for  a return  forehand against Fernando Verdasco  in their  semi-final match  .........Nadal  would prevail  in an  epic  five match   thriller  ...............
Nadal stretches for a return shot in his semi-final match against Fernando Verdasco . Nadal would prevail in an epic five set thriller ................

 

Nadal stretches for  a forehand  return  against   Fernando Verdasco  in their  semi-final  match.  Nadal  would  prevail  in an  epic   five  set  thriller . picture appears courtesy  of  ap/ Matt O’Rourke ……………..

 

 

 

 

 

For  Williams  she  will  be  seeking  to  win  her  ninth  singles’  Grand  Slam  title,  putting  her  in   esteemed  company.  There’ve  been  only  six other  women  in  the  Open  era  to  have  won  more than  six Grand Slam Open singles’  titles. Chris  Evert  ,Steffie  Graf,  Martina Navratilova  ,  Margaret  Court, Monica Seles  and  Billie  Jean-King.   Distinguished  and   esteemed  company  indeed.     And  it  will  be  widely    speculated   upon  whether  or  not  she   has  met  her   match   in  the   young   prodigious   Russian  player.   She’s  obviously   favored  to  win  the  title.   But  it’d  be   foolish  to  believe  that  Serena  Williams   will  have things  all  to  herself  once  the  game  begins.

 

 

Federer  returns  a backhand  passing  shot  in his  semi-final  match  against  Andy  Roddick ................
Federer returns a passing backhand shot in his semi-final match against Andy Roddick .................

 

 

Federer  returns  a  backhand  passing  shot  in his  semi-final  match  against  Andy  Roddick.   picture  appears  courtesy  of   afp/  Paul  Taylor  …………..

 

 

 

 

 

On  the  men’s side  we’ll  have   the  top   two  male   players  in  the world  who   between  have   accounted  for  18  Grand  Slam  singles’ titles  in  their  short but  most definitely   astonishing  careers.    World   number  1  Rafael  Nadal  of  Spain  and    the  man   many  believe  to  be  the   greatest  player  of   the  modern  era  Roger  Federer   of  Switzerland   who  has  won  13 Grand Slam singles’  tournaments.   Nadal ,  himself   has  accounted   for   4  French  Open  titles but  also has amongst  his  tally  a  Wimbledon  title win.    Which   many   have   described  as  perhaps  the  greatest  ever  singles   tournament  triumph  ever  to  take  place  on the  hallowed center  court at  Wimbledon.    That  was where  many  of  the  purists  believe that  Nadal  came  of  age   as an  allround  player.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

The duels  between  the  two   have  already   reached  legendary  status .  And it has  become  the  sort  of   rivalry  that   the  fans  of the   sport   now  adore.   Not  since  the  days  of   Sampras , Agassi  have  we  seen  such  an  intense  rivalry,   that  has  been  played  and  where   sportsmanship  has  been  displayed   at such   a  high  level.    There is  a  mutual   respect  between  the players  as  to  each  other’s   abilities.   And  if  nothing  else  even  to   the  passing   sport’s   fan   whenever  these two players  meet  even those   unacquainted   with  the   game  do  sit  up  and   take  notice.    This  men’s singles’  finals  may  well  suit   Nadal   as  he’s   playing  with such  intensity  and  abandonment.   Many  of the  opponents   that  he’s   faced  in  the  tournament  haven’t   really   posed a  threat  to  him.   However it’s   believed  that  Federer  will  be  able to  change all  that.  He’s not  injured   coming    into  the  Australian  Open  tournament  and  has  been  playing  some of the  best  tennis  of  since  his   epic   Wimbledon  win  2008.  This  win  to  my  mind   was  the  greatest  Grand  Slam singles’   tournament  finals ever  to  take  place .  Such   was  the  essence  of  the  athleticism  shown  and  the  very  fact  that   both  gave  it  their  without  any  respite.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And  whilst we  might  lament  the  state  of  tennis  overall.   As  it’s   not really   viewed  upon  as  a  top   tier  sport.  It  has  to  be  said  that  at the  major  Grand  Slam  tournaments   everything  else   takes  a     back  seat  as  the   fans   come   out  in  droves.  The   four  tournaments   that  make    up   the  Grand  Slam   calendar  year  are   the   Australian  ,  French   ,  Wimbledon  and   the  US  Open.   The  latter  considered to be   the  national  championship  of   the   United  States.   But  the  most  prestigious  of  the    quartet has  to be   Wimbledon.  Merely   because  of  its  grandeur  and   the  prevailing   history   behind  it  all.   It’s locale  for  the  championship  merely   conjures   up  the  essence  of  what  the  game   has  been  about.   The  All  England  Tennis  Club  in  southwest  London.  Strawberries , cream  ,  jeroboams  of   champagne.   And  the  ladies  in  their  summer  dresses  and  beautifully   custom  made  hats.  The  men  on  the  other  hand  are   just as  formally  suited.   But  as  we  all  know   there  has   been  somewhat  a   nuance  in  change  as  the  game  has  become  more socially  accepted   in  various   demographics  and   ethnicities  in terms  of  the   fan  base.

 

 

 

 

A triumphant  Serena Williams  raises her  hands  aloft  having  won the Women's  Singles Finals against  Dinara  Safina   6-0, 6-3 .
A triumphant Serena Williams raises her arms aloft having won the Women's Singles Finals over Dinara Safina in a 6-0, 6-3 rout for her tenth Grand Slam singles title............................

 

 

 A triumphant  Serena  Williams  raises  her  arms  aloft  having  won  the  Women’s   Singles  Finals  over  Dina  Safina  6-0, 6-3 in  a  rout  for her   tenth  Grand Slam  singles   title.   picture appeears  courtesy  of  ap/  Roger Thornton …………….

 

 

 

 

The  game  itself   has   seen  many  changes  over  the  years.    And   as  a  sport  it   may  well  be   the  only  one where  the  men  and  women  share  an  equal   footing  when  it  comes  to  prize money.   The   same   can’t  be  said   when  it  comes  to  other  sports   where    the  male and  female competitors   share  basically  the  same  recreational  environment.   Try  as  one  can   that   day   will  never  come   !  If  it  can’t  even  happen   in  the  work  place   then  there’s   nothing  to  believe that  it’ll  happen   within the  realms  of  sports.  Other   than  in the   game  of   tennis.

 

 

 

A  forerlorn  Safina   wipes  her  brow  having  just lost  in the  Women's Singles  Finals   to  Serena  Williams  ...............
A forelorn Safina wipes her brow having just lost the Women's Singles Finals to Serena Williams 6-0,6-3 in a rout.

 

 

A forelorn  Safina  wipes  her brow having  just  lost  the  Women’s  Singles  Finals  to  Serena  Williams  in straight sets .  picture  appears  courtesy  of  afp/ Roger  McIntyre ………………………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

So  as  the  women’s  finals  will  take  place  this  Saturday  in  Melbourne   between  Safina and  Williams.   Let’s   just  see  what  it’ll  take   for  either  to  prove  themselves a  worthy  champion.   The   same  can  be   said   for  the  men’s  finals  , which   takes   place  on  Sunday.    It  has  the   makings  of   being  another   epic  match up   between  the   two  best  players  in  the  game   today.     So  take  your  pick  ?  Williams  or  Safina  ?   Federer  or   Nadal   ?  In  both  cases  the   events  themselves  will  be   well  worth  watching  !

 

 

 

 

 

As  an  added  postnote  Williams  would  go  on to  win her  tenth  Grand  Slam  singles’ title.  Along  with  that   she  regained  the  number  one  ranking   atop  of   the  WTA.  The  result  was  a  straight  sets win  6-0,  6-3  rout   in   58 excruciating  minutes  for   the  young  Russian, Dinara   Safina.

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Look Ma’ I’m At The Top Of The World ……………….


 

In  the  world  of  men’s college  basketball it’s  so  hard  to  maintain  that  resolve  and  to  go  unbeaten. But each   year  as  such  the  expectations  are  there   but  in  reality  it  is  very  hard  to  go  unbeaten  throughout the  season.  It  is  such  a  rarity  that  it hasn’t  happened  within the  men’s   game   in  quite  a  while. 

 

Cheick  Diakete of  Virginia  Tech reacts  to making  a play  in the game  against   Wake  Forest ...............
Cheick Diakete (34) of Virginia Tech reacts to a play against Wake Forest in which the Hokies would go on to win 78-71 . In doing so they dethroned the number one ranked Deamon Decons' tam..................

 

 

Chieck Daikete (34) reacts after making  a play against  Virginia  Tech  in the  Hokies’  78-71 defeat  of  Wake Forest.  picture  appears courtesy of Chuck  Burton……

 

 

 

 

Last night  we   saw  Virginia  Tech  take  on  and  beat   Wake  Forest  the  nation’s lone  unbeaten  team  succumb  to   the  Hokies  78-71.  Finally  after   all  the discussion  out  there  amongst  the  fans  as  well as the  pundits  on  television   we  had  our  answer.   There  isn’t a  team  nor  was  there one  good  enough  to  go   unbeaten  throughout  the regular  season.  And  but   for the  proselytizing  and   prognosticating   one   doubts  that  we’ll  see  one  for the  foreseeable  future.

 

 

 

 

Jeff Teague  ,top  and  teammate Al Farouq-Aminu  try  to  deprive  Hank Johnson  of   Virginia  Tech  of   the  ball  during  the  game  .................
Jeff Teague, top and teammate Al Farouq-Aminu of Wake Forest try to deprive the Hokies' Hank Johnson of the ball during the game .............

 

 

Jeff  Teague, top and  teammate  Al Farouq-Aminu  try  to  deprive   Virginia  Tech’s  Hank Johnson  of the  ball  during  the  game.  picture appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  Chuck  Burton …………..

 

 

 

 

In  the  college   game  it’s   extremely   difficult  to  go   the  whole   season  unbeaten and  then  maintain that   frame  of  mind   into  the  NCAA  tournament. Where   a  loss  in  effect   casts   you   into  the  annals  of  history   as  an   also   ran.  The  game  itself   between  the  two   teams   was  filled  with   exciting  play and  a  great   deal of  exuberance  by  both  sets  of  players  on the  court.  The  star  of the  game   for  the  Hokies  was guard , Malcolm Delaney   who   scored   21 pts,  dished  out  3 assists ,  had  8  rebounds  and  was  an  allround  presence   on  both  ends  of the  court.   So  much   so  that  the  Deamon  Deacons   didn’t   know  how to  handle  the  player.    That  being  said   the   Deacons   were   no  slouches   themselves  when  it  came  to  having   an  offensive  presence  which  came  in the  guise  of  Jeff  Teague .  He’d  go  on to  score  23 points  for   the  team  in the  loss. 

 

 

 

Daikete  tries  to  elude  James  Johnson(23)  of   Wake  Forest in the  game  played  at Lawrence  Joel  Coliseum in  Winston Salem, NC.,  ...................
Daikete of Virginia Tech tries to elude James Johnson of Wake Forest in the game played at Lawrence Coliseum , Winston Salem , North Carolina ................

 

 

 

Daikete tries  to  elude James  Johnson(23) of  Wake Forest  during  the  game  played at Lawrence  Coliseum in Winston Salem  , North Carolina.  picture  appears courtesy  of  ap/photo/Chuck  Burton……

 

 

(more…)

Gears ……..The NASCAR Fans Love The Turns ………………..


Somewhere along  the  way  either  they  forgot about  what is  pertinent  to the  fans.  Strangely enough  it’s now  lost on  the  fans  themselves.  On the one hand we’ve   teams merging   and  on the other  you’ve  got  corporate  sponsors   running  for  the  hills  much  as  if  they’ve  been  chased over  the  edge  because of  their  irresponsibility in  being  fiduciary  stewards  of their  shareholders  equity.

 

 

 

So  has  been  the woes  of  NASCAR  and  the  teams  within  what’s  said  to  the  nation’s  most  popular  participation  sport.  We  knew  that  in these   dire economic  times changes  would   be  coming  fast.  And  they  have  in  the  most  unusual  of   ways. The  sport’s  hierarchy  has  seen  fit  to   restrict   testing   and   preparations with   regard  to races.   That  being  said   with  the  sport’s   most  popular  even  just   around  the  corner  in the  guise  of  the Daytona  500  just  around  the  corner.  It  has  to be  said   that this  upcoming  season will  be  one  of  surprises  and  a  whole  lot  more. 

  

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr  gets  up  close and  personal with the  fans in the garage whilst  at Daytona prior to the  500  in  '08 ...............

 

 

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr gets up close  and personal  with the fans  whilst in the  garage  at  Daytona prior to the  Daytona 500.  The race  is the  most prestigious  on  the  NASCAR  calendar. picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/Tom Kressey  ……………………….

 

 

 

Last  year  history  was  made  as  Jimmie  Johnson  swept  to  victory   in  winning  his  third  consecutive  NASCAR  title. And  whilst  Johnson  has  his  own  legion  of  fans,  he’s  also  got a  legion   of   naysayers  who   question  the   ability  of  the  driver as  well  as his  demeanor.  I  doubt  the  driver   himself  is  overly  concerned  with  what  the  fans  think  at  the  end of  the  day.  In  annals of   history  within  the  sport  he’ll be  judged  a  winner.   And when  it’s  all  said  and   done  who  are   we   to  really   judge  the  guy ?  I know  that the  vast  majority  of   fans   have  their  allegiances  to  certain   drivers  from  Tony  Stewart   to  Jeff  Gordon, Kyle Busch,  Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr  and  others. Say what  you will  NASCAR  as  a  sport   with  its   fans  are   just  as  fickle  as  any  other.

 

 

Ryan Newman  leads  the  Daytona   500.  Newman would go  on to win the  race  in 2008.
Ryan Newman in the lead at the Daytona 500 where he would go on to win the race in 2008. ..................

 

Ryan Newman leads  the  Daytona  500 and  in the  race he  would go  on  to  win in 2008.  picture  appears courtesy  of getty  images/ Raymond  Shaw……….

 

 

Much has  been  made  that  the  sport  is  facing  not  so  much  an  uncertainty   but  the  dire  economic  times  that  it  faces.  The  thinking must be  what  sort  of  changes  will be  at  hand  by  NASCAR’s hierarchy as  a whole  ?   Mike  Helton and  Brian  France have  acknowledged  the  situation that   the  sport  is   facing.  But  I  also  believe  that  France  is looking  at  the  situation  through  rose  colored  glasses.  He’s  of  the opinion  that  the  sport  can  possibly  survive  without  one of  the  Big  Three domestic manufacturers.   Either he   really  believes  that  or   that  was   just  a  mere   sound  byte   for  the  press  to  get a  hold  of  to  have  something  to  write  about.

 

 

 

Jeff Gordon's Lowes' Du Pont Chervolet (24) is taken  in for some work whilst  at  Daytona Int'l Speedway ,  Daytona , Fl..................
Jeff Gordon's Lowes' Du Pont Chevrolet is taken in for some work by his pit crew prior to the Daytona 500 ..................

  

Jeff Gordon’s Lowes’  Du Pont Chevrolet  is taken  in for  some work  by  his  pit crew prior  to  the   Daytona  500 at  the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fl.   picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  Phil  Matthews …………………………

 

  

And  whilst  the  upcoming  season  will  be  one   filled  with  a  great   deal  of  suspense.  It  has  to  be  said  that  if  something  so  acute  should  happen  as to  either  Ford,  Chrysler  or  GM  deciding  to  leave  the  sport   permanently.  It  may  not  set  the  death  knell  for  the  sport as  we  know  it.  But it’d  most  certainly   change  the   whole   competitive  nature and  balance  of  the  sport  as a   whole.  Much  has  been  made  of  the  financial  bailout  that  has  been  afforded  to the  three.  It has  to  be  said  that  the  Federal  government  will  be  looking   for  the  manufacturers  to spend  this  money  being  given  prudently.  And  if  the  auto  manufacturers  are to  avail  themselves of this  money  and  at  the  same time  remain  in the  good  graces  of  the  government.  Then  they’d  better  not  follow  suit   as  to  the  maneuvers  made  by the  financial  industry.  Who it  can  be  said  have   completely  blindsided  the  government  and  the  public  alike  with  the  aid  of  Treasury  Secretary  Hank  Paulson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And  if  as such   this  season  is  to  be  one  of  fulfilled  ambitions  then  it  is  hoped  that   the  sport’s   top  drivers  are   able  to  perform  at  their  best.   The  seismic  shifts  across  the  sport  at  present  haven’t  gone  unnoticed  by  the  fans.  Teams  are  merging  and   drivers  are  either deftly  moving  from  one  team  to  another. Or  merely  being  fired or  bought  out  of  their  contracts.  Merely   because of  financial  constraints   that teams  are  now  placed  under.  Corporate  sponsors   also  want  more  bang  for  their  buck.  And many  may  no  longer  feel  that  the  sport  is  still  able  to  afford  them  that.  Advertising  and  budgetary   restraints   have  gone  a  long  way  in  explaining  the  tumult  being   caused   across  the  sport.  So  much  so  that  in  many  respect  that  once  the  season  starts   there  may  well  be  one   or  two   teams  that  may  choose   not  to run  a  full  season   within  the Sprint  Cup  season.

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Newman shows  some  attitude with the customary  doughnut  wheel  spin having  just won the  Daytona 500 in  2008................
Ryan Newman shows some attitude having just won the Daytona 500 with the customary doughnut spin ...............

 

 

Ryan Newman shows some attitude  having  just  won the Daytona 500 with  the  customary  doughnut  spin.  picture  appears  courtesy of   ap/photo/  Byron  Presscott …………………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

And  as  much  as  we may  lament  the  woes  of  the  sport   we  ought  to  be  thankful that  there’s  still  a  season ahead  to   begin and  to  speak  of.  If  nothing  else  the  stark  choices   that  could’ve  been  made  by  NASCAR   would  have   been  crippling  to  the  sport itself.  And   it  would   surely  have  left  many   of  the  sport’s   most  devoted   fans  disillusioned.  Many  I  believe   already  are  as  they’ve    voiced   their   disapproval  as  to  many  of  the  changes  that have   been  placed  within  their   midst.   The  last  thing  the   sport  really  needs  at  this  juncture   is  a  fan base  that  no  longer   appreciates  the   sport   for  what  it  represents   and  its  history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davidson They’re Who We’d Like To See ………………….


 

 

 

 

The college basketball season  has  began  and there are a  great  many  things to  look  forward to.  I   for  one  am  looking  to  see if  Stephen  Curry can  carry on   where he left off  last  season.  Though  it can  be  said  that  Davidson  may not be  looked   upon  as  a  powerhouse   within  the  college  basketball  world.   They   did  in  fact   give  a  number  of   teams   a  scare   last  season   in  the NCAA  tournament.
 
 
 

 

Stephen Curry  of Davidson  tries  to  evade the  defensive presence of   Duke's Greg Paulus  .................
Stephen Curry of Davidson tries to evade the defensive presence of Duke's Greg Paulus ...............

 

Stephen  Curry of  Davidson  tries to  evade the  defensive  presence of  Duke’s  Greg  Paulus  in  game played in Durham , NC.  The Blue Devils  would  go  on to win  the  game 79-67.  picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Sara Davis …………………….

 

 

 

 

 

And as  much  as  we  all  value  the  underdog  when  it  comes  to  a  game  of   combative nature.  The  chances  are   that  we’ll   tend  to overlook the  likes   of   a  team  like  Davidson.  Much  has been  made of  the  prowess  of  the  likes of  Tyler Hansborough  of the  North Carolina  Tar Heels  and   the  Kentucky Wildcats’  Jodie Meeks.  It  has   Curry  more than  anyone   else that   I  for  one  have  looked   forward to seeing   this  season.   All  three   players  are   exceptionally  gifted and   talented   in  their  own   way.  But it  has  been  Curry   who  has  got my   juices   flowing  every  time   he  sets   foot  on  court.

 

 

 

Andrew Lovedale  of  Davidson and  Duke's  Jon Scheyer  tussle  over a  loose  ball   during  the  game  ...................
Davidson's Andrew Lovedale and Duke's Jon Scheyer tussle over a loose ball during the game in the second quarter .................

 

 

Davidson’s  Andrew  Lovedale  and  Duke’s Jon  Scheyer  tussle over  a  loose  ball  during the  game  in the  second quarter . picture appears courtesy   of  ap/photo/ Sara  D Davis ……………..

 

 

 

 

lot has   been   said   of  his  prowess  as a  scorer   but   also  of  late  he’s  shown  that  he  can  lead  by  example.  Albeit   that   we  don’t  often  get to  see  the  Davidson  Wildcats’ games being   nationally  televised.  He can score  with  the  best of  them   and  thought  it’s  often  pointed   out that  he   has  a tendency  to be  somewhat  hesitant   defensively.  He  more  than  makes  up  for  this   with  his   prowess  on  the   offensive  side  of the  ball.  And one  can  well  understand  the  reason  why  we’re  unlikely  to  see  the  team  on  a  regular  basis  on  the  networks  when  it come  to the  televising of the  game.  The  Southern  Conference  isn’t  built   around   blockbuster  names   that we  all  can  recognize  at  will.  The likes of  Furman , Chattanooga ,  Elon, Citadel and Appalachian State   don’t exactly  leap  out at  you  immediately. But then  again  we’re  merely  talking  about  what  some  might  deem  the  also  rans  within  the  college  basketball  world.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

And  with  this  team  getting  off  to  a  nice  stat  to their  season . It’s hoped  that  they can  make  it  all  the way  to  the  NCCA tournament  without   much    fuss.  It’s  always  welcoming  to  see  a team that’s  deemed  a  minnow   set  about   taking   on and  then  taking  down  one  of the  Goliaths  of  the  college  game.   Every  year  come   tournament  time   that’s   certainly  what   a  number  of  fans   are looking  forward  to. Should it  come to the  fact  that  we’re  liable to  see   one  of the  titans  get  knocked   down  a  peg or  two  then  so  be it.  It  makes   the  tournament   all the  more   exciting   for us  all. 

 

 

 

Curry reacts after  his  foul in the  second  quarter  of  the  game played in Cameron Indoor Arena , Durham , NC,. ...........
Curry reacts to his foul in the second quarter of the game played in Cameron Indoor Arena, Durham North Carolina..................

 

Curry  reacts to  his  foul in the  second  quarter  of  the  game played  in Cameron Indoor Arena  in  Durham, NC,. picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Sara  D Davis ………………

 

 

 

 

 

Much  as  I  like the NBA  it’s the  college  game  that  I  think  in  its  purest  form   that  can  be  just  as exciting  as  anything  served up  in the  professional  game. But there are those  amongst   us  who  may  well  feel   the  opposite.  Teams such  as   Davidson  and  others  within the NCAA  aren’t  spoilt  in   terms  of the  athletes   that  are  on  show.  And  if anything   in  pursuing  their   craft  the  players  are  quite  prepared to  do  things  the  right  way.  That’s  not  say  that  the  talent  on  show  is  as great   as what  we  have  on  view  in the  NBA.  But for   every  Kobe  Bryant ,  LeBron  James  ,  Amare  Stoudemire  and  Tyson Chandler  who  chose to   forego   college.  We  have  the likes  of  Hansborough,  Meeks  and  Curry. Many   of  the  players  mentioned  within the professional  ranks  had  their  shortcomings  when  they   first  started  out.  And in  time  they  overcame  those flaws. But  how  much  better  off  would    they  have  been  had  they  pursued at  least one  or  two   years  within the college  ranks ?  Such  are  the  machinations  of the  game  and  the  pursuit of   financial  security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But  when  it’s  all   said and   done  it is  the  likes of   players  such   as  Meeks,  Curry   and  Hansborough  that  give  us  some of  our   greatest  pleasure when  it comes  to the  college   game.  And  the  likes  of   teams  such  as Davidson   where one  can   only   proceed  to  dream  as   to  what  might’ve  been  had  players  of  the  ilk  mentioned   in  the  professional  ranks   chose  to  grace  us   with  their  presence  within  the  college  game.  If   only  for a  brief  and  passing  moment.

GM For A Day Or Any Period of Time Who’d Want To Be ……?


As much as I like sports there are times  when I’m completely at a loss to explain how and why it is that the executives  act the  way that they do ?  In hiring a GM a franchise looks to have an executive to oversee the behind the closed door operations of  a sports entity. We’ve seen some successful ones from the likes of Scott Pioli of the New England Patriots, Dave Dombrowski of the Detroit Tigers, Ken Williams of the Chicago White Sox and Brian Cashman of  the New York  Yankees.    What these executives have in common are that they’ve  each  had  success  in  their chosen field.

 

 

 

 

Scott Pioli GM of  the New England Patriots  alongside  coach Bill Belicheck..............

 

Scott Pioli GM of the New England Patriots  alongside the team’s coach Bill Belicheck. Pioli and  Belicheck are the architects behind  the team’s success. Though as  of late it’s been widely rumored that Pioli will be leaving  the franchise for pastures green.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Dan Foster …………………..

 

 

In reality however  who’d really  want to be the point man for a franchise ?  Where at  every press conference  you’re the one  who becomes the  voice  and  reason when  the  franchise may well be  in trouble .  Be  it a  player ,  a coach  or  even the owner  themselves.  These are  the guys  who become the face of  the franchise at  these  most sensitive of  times.

 

 

Dave Dombrowski alongside  Detroit Tigers' manager  Jim Leyland .........

Dave Dombrowski the GM of the Detroit Tigers and the team’s coach Jim Leyland. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Todd  Boumann ……………….

 

 

 

Recently however we saw  where  then coach Romeo Crennel  was fired by the  Cleveland Browns. Prior to Crennel’s loss of employment  the  GM in place  Phil  Savage  was let go by the team. Merely done one would  believe  because of the sheer  lack of  success by the team. And when it comes to success  a franchise is judged by  its team first and  then the  coach, manager and lastly the  General Manager.  These men and in some  cases women  are  recently a hot commodity when they’re  at  a premium.

 

 

 

Danny Ainge  GM  of the Boston Celtics  and the team's coach Glen 'Doc' Rivers

Boston Celtics’ GM  and President of Operations congratulates his head coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers after  the team’s triumph in last season’s  NBA Finals. picture appears courtesy of  getty images/Elsa Burke ………..

 

 

A good GM can earn in  excess of  $5m a year  and upwards .  And it’s not unheard in some cases  it can be an astronomical  sum. Suffice to say these  guys aren’t exactly  crying  and asking  where their next meal will be coming from. But to those who  aspire to hold such a  position within a franchise  they’re very  much  the  Chief  Executive Officer and they hold sway over  the owner. PR has to be part of their DNA when dealing  with the press and  public alike.  And  it says a lot as to their  communication skills  when they’re  able to have the press eating  out of  their hands  even  when  the  subject matter  is indeed a sensitive one. 

 

 

 

Former Browns' GM Phil Savage  seated  alongside  then coach Romeo Crennel ..................

Former Brown’ GM Phil Savage(foreground) and former coach Romeo Crennel at each other’s side during  a press conference. Both men have since been fired by the organization after a lackluster and disappointing NFL season.  picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Tony Dejak …….

 

 

When a sensitive matter  come to light  where it becomes  a staple of the  tabloids  then it’s very  much up to the GM to keep the  press at bay  while  the franchise has to  deal with the problem from within.  For the New  York Giants  this  had to be the  case  when the  Plaxico Burress  episode  came to  light and was  very  much the  press’  raison de etre’.  And as litigious as  society has now  become.  It can only be said  that  it also  helps  if they’ve  also got  a  legal  background behind  them. It may well  be one  of the  most desired  positions  within a sport’s  franchise.  But I  for one  wouldn’t  relish being  the  focus  of  such  unwanted  attention even if  only  briefly.

 

 

 

So for now let’s just see how these  individuals will  suffice  over their  tenure at the  top of the  food  chain. Much  like the  execs at the top of a multi billion dollar  enterprise  these men  are  placed  under  a great deal of pressure  to make  the right  sort of    decisions  that’ll  go a long way  in defining  a franchise and  the  ultimate  direction that it heads in. 

 

 

 

 

 

tophatal  ………………………

It’s Not What I Would’ve Wanted But There You Have It …………..


 The wiles of the NFL are a strange game to me. The game between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos whilst meaning a great deal to  both teams. It had me thinking how are those two teams with such established stars can proceed to play so unevenly throughout much of the regular season?  And while San Diego obliterated the Broncos, ended their Superbowl aspirations that led to the firing of Mike Shanahan.  Wherein the AFC West division as we know it has become to be known has as its content some of perhaps some of the worst teams in all of the NFL.

 

Vincent Jackson(83) congratulates teammate  LaDanian Tomlinson after his touchdown against the Denver Broncos at  Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Ca,.  ...............
LaDanian Tomlinson(21) is congratulated by teammate Vincent Jackson(83) after his TD against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego ,Ca

 

lLaDanian Tomlinson(21) is congratulated by teammate Vincent Jackson(83) after Tomlinson’s touchdown during the game against the Denver Broncos played at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Ca,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Mark Talbot ……………..

 

 

 

 

The Chargers notwithstanding the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders have hardly shown that the division possesses a team of merit based on their play this season.   As winners of the division with an 8-8 record they scraped their way into the playoffs. Albeit that they won their last four games of the season. Now the Chargers will have to face the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the postseason playoffs as wildcard entrants. The Colts as with a record of 12-4 made their way into the postseason upon the resurrection and play of their Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning. 

 

 

 

Marvin Harrison(88) of  the Indianapolis  Colts is greeted by teammates prior to the start of  the game played against the Titans ....................
Marvin Harrison(88)of the Colts is greeted by teammates in the team ritual and introduction prior to the game.

 

Marvin Harrison(88) of the Indianapolis Colts is congratulated by teammates prior to the game against the  Tennessee Titans. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Victor Matthews ……………………….. 

 

 

 

 

The San Diego Chargers by way of their own play this season has been erratic and uneven.  But for the resolute play of quarterback Phillip Rivers one doubts that the team would’ve  got as far as they did. LaDainian Tomlinson their much heralded running back has had a down year and even with regard to injuries. It can be said  that the player’s overall performances have  been somewhat sub par.  The loss of defensive stalwart Shawn Merriman also played a part in the downside to the team’s overall record. Merriman when on the field has been a player who has brought a great deal of forthright resolve to the team’s play as well as on the field leadership.  Other than Rivers who has been vocal as to the on field leadership, the team has been labored its way throughout the season and into the playoffs. Norv Turner if anything has been extremely lucky to be in the  position where he still holds a coaching job in the NFL.  The feeling was that should the Chargers fail to make the postseason he may well have been one of the casualties as to the firings that’ve proceeded to take place since season’s end.

 

 

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