Kickers Are Weird

I was a sports broadcaster for 35 years, mostly covering the National Football League. I learned a lot of things in that time, but one thing stands out, and I’m going to share it with you now:

Kickers are weird

Go back and read it again, several times.

I put it in big type for a reason. It’s true! And you have to understand it. Kickers are very, very weird people.

Whole generations of NFL fans have grown up not knowing what a «straight-on» kicker looks like. Well, a straight-on kicker didn’t angle into the ball like today’s soccer-style kickers. He ran straight at the ball and kicked it straight toward the goalpost, wearing a shoe with a special hard, square toe in it. I know this is a foreign concept for some of you younger people, but bear with an old man for a moment.

The NFL record for field goal distance is still held by a straight-on kicker who actually had a deformed foot and had to wear a specially fitted shoe: Tom Dempsey of the New Orleans Saints for sixty-three yards (since tied by Denver’s Jason Elam, for you stat freaks).

Another old-time NFL kicker, Ben Agajanian, also had a deformed foot and a special shoe. After his playing days, Ben became a respected teacher of the kicking arts. One of his pupils once asked Ben, «How can I get a kicking shoe like yours?»

«Well,» Ben said, «first you get a lawnmower…»

In the mid-1960s, the Gogolak brothers, Pete and Charley, came into the NFL, the first soccer-style kickers. And unlike the hulking, straight-on guys, they were smaller. And foreign. And they didn’t know much about football, American style. Stories abound of their running off the field after a successful kick shouting, «I keek touchdown!»

The last of the straight-ons, the Redskins’ Mark Moseley, retired in 1986. It’s been soccer style since then.

And kickers are weird in more than just the angle they take to the ball. They do strange things with their shoes. I was interviewing the Cowboys’ Chris Boniol back in the nineties, and he let it slip that he broke in his kicking shoes by soaking them in near-scalding water, while his foot was inside them. This, he said, made the leather conform to the shape of his foot. But that wasn’t the really weird part.

The really weird part is that Boniol wore a size nine street shoe. On the field, he wore a size seven!

«Wait a minute,» I said. «You take a size nine street shoe but you wear a size seven kicking shoe? How do you get your foot in there?»

«You just kind of wedge it in.»

«Doesn’t it hurt? Don’t your toes get all cramped?»

«Doesn’t matter,» Boniol said. He wanted it to feel like his shoe was just another part of his foot-one skin, so to speak. And since he was a co-holder of the record for most field goals in one game (seven-since broken), who was I to argue?

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The Importance of Volleyball Practice Drills

Champion volleyball players do not become as good as they are in an instant. It takes years of training hard to become good enough to compete at the professional level. Champions are winners because they have mastered the fundamentals,not because they dream up awesome plays. For this reason all coaches, players, officials, and students of the game need to give that 110% that’s needed to achieve the ultimate goal of success.

Volleyball practice drills include getting to the volleyball positions to receive the ball, the motions of a serve (this is mostly for overhand serving, but it can help teach it too). Practicing fundamentals should be progressive and can be progressed much further into details than the basics of setting or passing. At the top level, the skill drills look a whole lot different compared to junior level.

Some players may benefit from increasing their lean mass but even they should focus on converting much of their strength into soccer-specific power. One player stands at different spots and tries to «Swish» the Volleyball using a overhand set. Volleyball practice drills are easier if you have a partner throwing balls up at you from below the net. All exercises are geared specifically for a volleyball player, designed to make your athlete stronger, faster and jump higher without adding a lot of bulk to your athlete. You really need to make sure that you continue to get stronger, faster and jump higher!

Please notice it is never too late to learn proper fundamentals, which are the key becoming a successful volleyball player.Volleyball beginning Drills are a great way to improve every aspect of a player’s game. If you are training to reach the professional level or simply play in a recreational league, drills will help improve your game and improve your overall fitness.

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How Do I Find the Best Laptop For a Kid?

Buying laptops or computers for kids is much different than buying for yourself. Knowing what to look for and what they need is key.

First, it’s helpful to answer these questions:

  • What programs do they need? Will they be using this for school? They’ll need a word processing program, like Microsoft Word or Microsoft Works Word Processor. Microsoft Works usually comes with Windows by default; Microsoft Word comes with the purchase of the Microsoft Office suite. The suite includes Power Point and Excel, also programs kids may use with school. For a Mac, there’s often a default word processing program, but the full deal can be purchased with Microsoft Office for Macs.

  • Do they need internet? Some schools do offer filtered access to the Internet, and others may simply have wireless available. Laptops with wireless capabilities can be disabled so kids can’t get online. Most laptops on the market today come with wireless features and ethernet ports for hooking up to the internet.

  • How durable is it? Kids are more likely to lose or break laptops. Shuffling around from school to homeopens many opportunities for dropping or losing them.You may choose not to buy a laptop for kids that is highly expensive and brand new, and instead opt for a decent used one that will support necessary educational programs. Many vendors offer refurbished laptops with good warranties. If you do go for a more expensive new model, consider home insurance that might cover loss due to theft. Having a protective laptop case can also be a good plan.

With these things in mind, you can walk into a store selling computers and have an idea of what to look for. You can also check online with retailer websites and view refurbished models to get some pricing.

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The Beatles Home City

John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Stuart Sutcliffe were all members of the BEATLES and they all came from Liverpool. The city is a seaport in North West England; tough grimy and somewhat depressing in the fifties and sixties, today it is currently emerging as a new vibrant tourist location. Much of this new tourist activity is due to the Beatles.

Liverpool is a city that is full of Beatles locations. There are several museums dedicated to the Fab Four, in the city. Original Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe died in Hamburg just before they made national fame in the UK. One of Stuart's homes is now a hotel and there are three more Beatles related hotels in the city: The Brian Epstein Guest House, The Hard Days Night Hotel and The Eleanor Rigby Hotel, which has a statue of Eleanor on a bench nearby, many people sit next to her for a photo opportunity.

The childhood homes of the Beatles are still standing, almost; as Ringo's first house is in a street of boarded up houses that are pending upgrading or demolition. Beatles tourists can visit Paul McCartney's home and also the home of John Lennon's Aunty 'Mimi' where John was brought up: 1945 – 1963.

The very first location that the Beatles played at was not the Cavern Club but a coffee bar: The Casbah Coffee Club, its still there. The Beatles even decorated the place and it still has Beatles art on its walls: John's painted walls and you can appreciate their Beatly insects theme as a huge spiders web is painted at the back of the stage area.

There are lots of places in the city that have strong connections with the Beatles and inevitably lots of tours to take you there, from exclusive taxis, walking tours and a Magical Mystery Tour bus and some of the best are just walking about and bumping into locals who if the right age (no pensioners) they may tell you their stories of screaming at the Cavern.

The Cavern club has been re-built in the original Mathew Street where the Beatles appeared 282 times. The cavern was the fourth location that the Beatles played at after the Casbah they played at the Jacaranda and The Blue Angel clubs in the city, both locations were owned by their first manager, Alan Williams.

Two songs about places in Liverpool were written by Lennon & McCartney: 'Penny Lane' and 'Strawberry Fields For Ever'. 'In My Life': places I remember '- is John's nostalgic song about his Liverpool home and Ringo did two:' Snookeroo '&' Liverpool 8 '.

John called his home city 'LIDDYPOOL' in poems he wrote: 'A Spaniard In The Works' and 'In His Own Write'.

Liverpool is a great place to visit for any Beatles fan and also there is much more about the city that visitors are bound to love when they get there!

More can be found at CityLeaves Liverpool for information when planning a trip to The Beatles Home town.

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Premier League Match Time: Blackpool Vs Everton

It’s Premier League match time as Blackpool host Everton on Saturday afternoon. Blackpool are coming off a home win against West Brom in match week ten, their first, in their debut season in the Premier League.

Their critics might carp at Blackpool’s apparent struggle to put away a win against nine-man Albion on the day, but West Brom were playing to a defensive plan with two banks of four men each. But at the end of the day the Seasiders banked three full points and they won’t be complaining any time soon about that.

Blackpool have been the surprise package of the season and with wins against Liverpool and Newcastle before their third win last week, the Tangerines are in the top ten, thereby countering pre-tournament predictions of being relegation favourites.

Among the players who have made it possible is Elliot Grandin, and DJ Campbell’s return to Ian Holloway’s side on deadline day has been another crucial factor.

Blackpool skipper Charlie Adam in midfield has been a revelation. Blackpool owe their promotion to the Premier League to the twenty-four year old, who, with his pace and guile, has been key to Blackpool’s attack strategy this season.

For Everton, David Moyes will welcome the return from injury of Anichebe and Rodwell. Both players turned out for the Everton Reserves team on Wednesday, against the Blackpool Reserves, with Rodwell spending nearly an hour on the pitch, while Anichebe saw 20 minutes of action at the end. Rodwell appears certain to play in the Blackpool game on Saturday

Striker Jermaine Beckford scored in the 5-0 win against the Blackpool Reserves and that is a positive sign for the Toffees, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League encounter against the same rivals, at Bloomfield Road.

Everton are among the teams to have had a relatively quiet start this season but they are beginning to rumble and that’s bad news for other top six aspirants like Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham.

Home advantage will work in Blackpool’s favour especially as Bloomfield Road is not the best of venues, especially for big teams like Everton who are used to certain standards of comfort when they travel.

Almond, Clarke and Baptiste are sidelined with injury on the Blackpool side, while Everton’s injury worries include Anichebe, Barkley, Rodwell, Fellaini, Jagielka and Osman.

In the game against Albion, Blackpool used the following players in their starting eleven: Gilks, Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt,

Crainey, Grandin, Adam, Vaughan, Taylor, Fletcher, Campbell, Varney

The following were the substitutes that played in the game: Kagielka, Keinan, Carney, Philips

Everton named the following players in their starting eleven against Stoke: Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines,

Coleman, Arteta, Heitinga, Pienaar, Cahill, Yakubu

The substitutes who features in the match were: Saha, Bilyaletdinov

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Sir Matt Busby – The Godfather of Manchester United

Sir Matt Busby was the manager at Manchester United from 1945 to 1969, taking the club to both League and Cup honours during his long and distinguished career at Old Trafford.

Sir Matt Busby took over the reins at Manchester United in October 1945, although his contract had been signed the previous February. From the moment the 35-year-old demobilized company sergeant-major arrived at the club things would never be the same again. The former Manchester City and Liverpool player immediately put his mark on the club and he demanded powers over the appointment of personnel and the buying and selling of players. Busby’s socialism no doubt transformed Manchester United into one of the giants of English football and during his first three years in charge the club finished First Division runners-up three times in a row as well as winning the FA Cup in 1948.

In 1958 tragedy struck when a British European Airways Elizabethan plane hit Munich Airport’s perimeter fence during its third attempt at take-off. After winning the Championship in 1952, 1956 and 1957, Busby’s immensly gifted Manchester United side were tragically destroyed. However, the legendary manager continued his search for the Holy grail and he will always be remembered for the European Cup Final in 1968 when Manchester United went on to trash Benfica 4-1. The memorable victory at Wembley Stadium was fully recognised as the long serving manager was most deservedly knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List shortly after.

When Sir Matt died on the 20th of January 1994, a vast amount of dedicated Manchester United supporters turned out to pay their last respects to the Scottish manager. On the 27th of April 1996, Manchester United Football Club unveiled a bronze statue at the Scoreboard End of Old Trafford in honour of the great man who was simply known as Mr. Manchester United. Sir Matt Busby had a second spell as Old Trafford manager during the 1970-71 season and he continued to be involved with the club for several years after his retirement.

«Resting in Interlaken, Germany was one thing and facing Old Trafford another. When I approached the ground and moved over the bridge along which our supporters had squeezed fifty abreast in there tens of thousands to shout for us I could scarcely bear to look. I knew the ghosts of the babes would still be there, and there they are still, and they will always be there as long as those who saw them still cross the bridge, young, gay, red ghosts on the green grass of Old Trafford.»

Sir Matt Busby quote.

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