History of the US Women’s Volleyball Team – A Strong Favorite to Win the Olympics 2012!

1955 In Mexico City, the U.S. national squad beats the Brazilian team 3-2 (15-7, 7-15, 13-15, 16-14 and 15-9) to win its first medal (silver) in the Inaugural Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Second Pan American Games (a performance it repeats in 1959 and 1963). This medal is the first medal of any kind for the States in volleyball in an international championship.

1956 The United States of America, birthplace of volleyball, participates for the first time in the Women’s World Championships at Paris, France, along with athletes from 16 other countries (Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, North Korea, Poland, Romania, USSR, West Germany, and the host nation).

1959 The American team finishes second in women’s volleyball at the III Pan American Games in Chicago, IL (in what may be the first women’s international volleyball tournament on U.S. soil), falling to Brazil in the finals 3-1 (15-7, 15-10, 9-15, 15-11).

1960 The national squad participates at the FIVB World Championships at Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), coming in sixth among 10 countries.

1962 America declines to compete in the World Championships in the Russian capital of Moscow in October.

1963 The IV Pan American Games (which is held every four years since 1951) are held in Brazil and serve as an Olympian qualifier for women’s volleyball. On Brazilian soil, the U.S. squad wins its third Pan American silver medal after losing to Brazil (3-1:12-15, 15-12, 15-4, 15-11) in the finals.

1964 Volleyball is admitted as an Olympian sport for the first time in the 18th Olympiad in Japan and the U.S. is one of the competitors, after Brazil announced their decision to cancel its participation as winner of the Pan American Games in 1963 (a Pre-Olympic tournament for athletes from Latin America and North America).

1964 Twelve athletes are selected for the first U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball squad. They are: Linda Murphy, Jane Ward, Jean Gaertner, Lou Galloway, Verneda Thomas, Barbara Harweth, Patti Lucas-Bright, Gail O’ Rourke, Nancy Owen, Mary Jo Peppler, Mary Margaret Perry, and Sharon Peterson.

1964 The States becomes the first country from the Americas (from Alaska to Argentina) to compete in the First Olympic Tournament, finishing in fifth place, behind Japan, USSR, Poland, and Romania.

1967 After not competing in 1962, the U.S. squad is runner-up to Japan in the 5th World Championships at Tokyo.

1967 The underdog United States volleyball team makes international headlines when they win the international tournament at the Winnipeg Pan American Games ( the country’s first Pan American gold medal in women’s volleyball and first major international title) by defeating five opponents– Canada (3-0: 15-6,15-5, 15-2), Peru (3-0:15-12, 15-8, 15-6), Mexico (3-0:15-7,15-4, 15-5), Cuba (3-0:15-8,15-8,15-10) and the defending champion Brazil (3-0:15-8,15-10,15-12). The winner gets a berth in next year’s Olympics in the metropolis of Mexico City.

1968 The Unites States sends players to the United Mexican States to compete in the Games of the 19th Olympiad. The North American country qualified for the Olympiad in the Pan American Games a year earlier.

1969 The U.S. volleyball team takes the bronze in the Inaugural Norceca (North and Central American and Caribbean regional volleyball championship) Tournament in the Mexican capital.

1970 Under the leadership of Mary Jo Peppler, the national side competes in their second consecutive FIVB World Championship in the Balkan republic of Bulgaria, placing 11th. On Bulgarian soil, Miss Pepper — a member of the first U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball squad at Tokyo’64 and 1967 Pan American Games women’s volleyball gold medalist– makes history as she is regarded as one of the top players on the planet (the first American to do so).

1971 The USA team refuses to participate in the Second Norceca Championship on Cuba.

1971 Surprisingly, the USA squad fails to qualify for the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics by finishing sixth in the VI Pan American Games at Cali ( a city in southwest Colombia, South America), after their victory over Haiti 3-0 (15-7, 15-1, 15-7).

1973 In the regional championship in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, the U.S. beats hosts (defending champion) 3-2 (15-10, 3-15, 2-15, 16-14, 15-11) to win the bronze medal, clinching America’s first appearance in the World Cup.

1973 Young-up-and-coming player Flora «Flo» Jean Hyman makes her major debut at the World University Games in the USSR/Soviet Union. Without a doubt, she will be the most famous female player in U.S volleyball history.

1973 The United States is one of 12 countries to compete in the Inaugural World Cup competition in the South American republic of Uruguay, one of the most prestigious women’s volleyball tournaments alongside the FIVB World Championship, the Grand Prix, and the Summer Games.

1973 South Korean-born Park Moo, who later was coach of the 1976 Canadian Olympic side, works with a new U.S. team.

1974 The American team -made up of six notable athletes: Paula Ditner, Leslie Knudsen, Debra Landreta, Susan Woodstra, Roxane Elías & Debbie Green– finishes 12th at the FIVB World Championship at Guadalajara (Mexico).

1974-1975 15-year-old Debbie Green becomes the youngest player in U.S history.

1975 Los Angeles (CA) hosts the IV Norceca Tournament. After defeating Mexico (3-2) and Canada (3-0), the host country finishes second in the regional championship, winning the right to compete at the 1976 Pre-Olympic Tournament in Heidelberg, West Germany.

1975 The U.S. women’s volleyball team fails to qualify for the medal round in the Seventh Pan American Games, despite defeating Mexico (the host country) 3-2 (6-15, 7-15, 15-12, 16-14, 15-11) in the first round.

1975-1984 Arie Selinger is named Head Coach of the USA Women’s Squad. Mr. Selinger has been praised by sportswriters and experts for his work with giant players, becoming an international pioneer in the sport of volleyball.

1976 After two difficult games against Bulgaria and East Germany and three victories over Switzerland, Poland, and the host Germans, the American squad, under Selinger as a head coach, fails to qualify for the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games by finishing in fourth place in the Pre-Olympic Tournament at Heidelberg (Federal Republic of Germany).

1976 The Peruvian side, led by its main athlete Mercedes «Meche» Gonzalez (who later played in the state of Arizona), makes a trip to U.S. to play friendly games against the American team of Arie Selinger.

1977 In the V Norceca World Cup Qualifying in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), the U.S side — spearheaded by the top-class volleyball player Flo Hyman — takes the silver medal after losing to arch-rival Cuba 3-1 (15-2, 15-13, 8-15, 15-13).

1977 The U.S. is invited to participate in the Second World Cup in Japan.

1977 At the FIVB Volleyball World Cup in Japan’s capital city of Tokyo, America defeats Soviet Union 3-1 for the first time in U.S. volleyball history. A year ago, the USSR picked up a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Sumer Games.

1978 Before grabbing fifth place in the Women’s World Championships on Soviet soil, America beats China 3-0 (15-13, 15-11, 15-10).

1978 Selinger’s team shocks the world with a convincing victory over Peru 3-0 in the Global Championships at Moscow, USSR. In the event, America makes history again when its athlete Flora Hyman becomes one of the world’s top female players (alongside Yuri Yokohama from Japan and Cuba’s Mercedes Perez). The last American female to win this honor was Mary Jo Peppler in the early 1970s. Miss Hyman has played more than 300 women’s volleyball matches since her official debut in 1973.

1979 The Peruvian team travels to the United States to play some matches.

1979 Despite being one of the favorites at the Pan American Games in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the States is not able to win a medal after losing to Brazil 3-2 (15-8, 7-15, 15-11,7-15 and 15-11) in the bronze-medal match.

1979 At the VI Norceca Cup on the island of Cuba, the USA squad places second, winning the right to represent Norceca in the 22nd Olympiad (a feat it repeats in 1987). An American team has not participated in the Olympian event since 1964.

1980 For the first time since 1967, the United States defeats Cuba 3-0.

1980 Due to the American boycott of the Summer Games in the USSR ( in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan), the U.S. women’s Olympic team, made up of the best American athletes available, loses a chance to become an Olympic champion at Moscow (the capital of Soviet Russia), after impressive victories over Cuba (world champion and winner of the Pan American Games in 1979) and the People’s Republic of China during the last 10 months.

1981 In a historic volleyball match, the national team wins the regional championship title over the world’s number one squad, Cuba, 3-1 at Mexico City (they had spent nearly 12 years losing in the Norceca tournaments), a feat it repeats in 1983.

1981: The U.S. women’s World Cup team makes more history: For the first time in American volleyball history, the nation defeats Japan (host -country) 3-2 (15-10, 11-15, 15-13, 12-15, 15-9 ) at the FIVB World Cup. This win would have been extremely hard to imagine in the 1960s and 1970s. On October 11, 1964 America lost, 3-0 (15-1, 15-5, 15-2) to Japan at the Summer Olympics.

1981 The women’s volleyball squad of Peru makes a visit to Colorado Springs (USA’s main Olympic center) and to other cities to play important matches against the American squad of Mr. Selinger.

1981 During the III World Cup on Japanese soil, the United States national team beats South Koreans by 3-0 15-8, 15-12, 15-6; its first-ever win over South Korea.

1981 In Japan, the star of the U.S. women’s volleyball team is the African-American Flo Hyman, one of the most charismatic players in the history of sport. A 9-year member of the U.S. women’s national team beginning 1973, she paves the way for future champions in the United States of America.

1982 The United States beats China by 3-1 in the first round before falling 3-0 to Peru in the semi-finals of World Championship in the Peruvian capital of Lima. Nonetheless, Selinger’s team continues to make volleyball history as the first North American squad to capture a world medal (bronze), following a win over Japan, who dominated women’s volleyball for a decade.

1982 For the first time in US volleyball history, Miss Rita Crockett and her fellow American Flo Hyman are named to the All-Tournament Team in Peru, beating out teammate Debbie Green, Mercedes «Mamita» Perez of Cuba and the Peruvian-born Raquel «Chunga» Chumpitaz for the award.

1983 Giant Rose Mary Magers (who stands 1,90m tall) makes her first appearance on the U.S. national team.

1983 South Korean-born American player Debbie Green (1,63m-tall) is replaced by the less-experienced Carolyn Becker (1,84m-tall) as an official setter. By the mid-1970s, Miss Green was the first Asian-American player to make the U.S. volleyball senior national team. Despite her short stature, she was one of the top setters in American volleyball history.

1983 The captain Flo Hyman and her fellow Americans are on a tour of Cuba to play seven matches (six wins and one losses), becoming one of the first American amateur teams to visit Castro’s island since the late 1950s. Seventy years ago, the United States had introduced the game of volleyball to the island of Cuba.

1983 The Soviet-trained Cuban athletes, led by their world-class players Mireya Luis Hernandez and Josefina Capote, make a travel to the United States to play eight matches (USA won all matches).

1983 The VIII Norceca Championship is held in Indianapolis (IN) with the home country beating Cuba 3-0 (15-4, 15-9, 15-13) in the finals. They, with its new young star Rose Magers, become the first U.S. team to win back-to-back Norceca titles.

1983 At the Varna Cup in Bulgaria (one of the most notable international events on Earth), America — the world’s top-ranked squad- places first, following wins over the People’s Republic of China (3-0) and the Soviet Union (3-0), respectively.

1983 In the most glorious international match in volleyball history, Cuba beats the U.S. 3-2 (17-15, 15-7, 11-15, 9-15, 15-10) for the IX Pan American Games gold medal in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas; the nation’s first Pan American medal in 16 years. A marathon game where the global star Flo Hyman is overshadowed by the 16-year-old Cuban volleyball prodigy Mireya Luis Hernandez (who stands 1,76m tall, but with a jump of 3,39 meters over the net), a key-player during the match. Days ago, the U.S. had defeated Cuba 3-1 (16-14, 16-14, 11-15, 16-14) in the first round; it was the first defeat for a Cuban women’s volleyball squad in the Pan American Games since 1971. The North American nation also had wins over five other squads: Canada (3-0), Venezuela (3-0), Brazil (3-1), Argentina (3-0), and Peru (3-0).

1983 Despite being defeated by Cuba at the IX Pan American Games in August, the USA team becomes the top ranked volleyball team in the world and big favorite to win the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Games.

1984 The U.S. squad is preparing for the 1984 Los Angeles Games! The team embarks on a worldwide tour to play several international games– Far East, Eastern Europe, and South America.

1984 As a host nation, the North American team competes in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games.

1984 Arie Selinger leads the U.S. women’s squad to a silver medal at the 1984 L.A. Summer Olympics. The Los Angeles Games represented the culmination of Selinger’s 10-year project to remake the American side (first women’s volleyball squad in U.S. history to win an Olympian medal). In California, the United States is the only country to have both its squads (men and women) advance to the finals.

1984 California-born athlete Flo Hyman and nine teammates, among them Debbie Green, Rita Crockett, and Susan Woodstra, retire from international competition upon winning a silver at the Los Angeles Games. Miss Hyman was the most outstanding female player in U.S. volleyball history. In her outstanding career, she was nicknamed «the Black giraffe» for her tall (1,96m/6 ft 5 in) at a time when had not giant players in the world of volleyball. In those years, Hyman and her fellow Americans won a bronze in the global tournament by defeating long-time champion Japan in a historic volleyball match. Previously, they had earned a spot in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. By 1981, the national team was undefeated in five games at the Tokyo World Cup, beating Japan 3-2 for the first time. In the latter half of the 1980s and 1990s, Hyman was an inspiration to many world-class players such as Rose Magers, Gabriela «Gaby» Perez del Solar Cuculiza of Peru and Cuba’s Olympic champions Regla Torres and Magaly Carvajal.

1985 With an almost entirely different roster, the United States finishes last in the South Korea Cup (an unofficial championship) in Seoul, after losing its three games (Japan, Canada, and the Republic of Korea).

1985 The national team wins the Taurus Cup at Hungary, an international event with five teams (America, Japan, Italy, France, and the host Hungarians).

1985 The States, under a new national coach, fails to qualify for the 1985 World Cup (in Far East) for the first time by finishing second in the Continental tournament at Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic).

1985 The global star Rose Magers, who won her country’s first Olympian women’s volleyball gold medal at L.A in 1984, earns a spot on the World All-Star Team (alongside Ute Oldenburg of East Germany, Cecilia Tait of Peru, Japan’s Kumi Nakada, Heloisa Roese from Brazil, and other top players from the Soviet Union, Cuba, Italy and Asia), making her the first American female to earn that honor.

1986 The U.S. squad qualifies for their sixth straight FIVB World Championship (not World Cup) in the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia, placing 10th.

1986 Japanese-based player Flo Hyman, who was one of the U.S. women’s top players between 1973 and 1984, passes away in Tokyo. After the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she became one of the first American players to play outside of the United States and one of the first to sign a professional volleyball contract in Far East at a time when many players could not compete as professionals in the Olympics.

1986 The United States Olympic Committee sends volleyball players to the First Goodwill Games on Russian soil.

1987-2004 The Flo Hyman Memorial Award, named after the former Olympian player, is given annually by the Women’s Sports Foundation to the sportswoman who by her example has done much to stimulate Olympic ideals and women’s interest in sports. Among the winners are Martina Navratilova (tennis), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track & field), Nancy Lopez (golf), Lynette Woodard (basketball), Evelyn Ashford (athletics), Chris Evert (tennis), and Mary Lou Retton (gymnastics).

1987 Despite missing key players, the national team earns a Pan American bronze medal on home soil, behind Cuba and Peru and well ahead of Brazil (silver at the South American Cup) and Canada.

1987 In the 10th regional championship on Cuba’s capital, the North American nation is runner-up, clinching America’s fourth appearance in the Summer Olympics.

1989 At the Norceca World Cup Qualifying on Puerto Rico, the U.S women’s national volleyball team places third, losing a semi-final match to Canada.

1989 The first U.S. Under-17 team competes internationally in the FIVB Girls’ Youth Volleyball World Championship in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba.

1990 The underdog United States volleyball squad wins the bronze medal in the FIVB Women’s World Championships in the People’s Republic of China -the squad’s best World Tournament showing since the early 1980s– following a victory over the favorite, Cuba (led by its East German-trained coach Antonio Perdomo). It is one of the most extraordinary results in the history of the World Championship.

1991 At the 12nd Norceca Championship, the USA team places second, after losing to Cuba.

1991 Sportswoman Caren Marie Alexius Kemner leads the U.S women’s World Cup team to a fourth place finish in the Japan World Tournament by defeating Peru 3-2, earning a berth in the 1992 Summer Games in the Spaniard city of Barcelona.

1992 Caren Kemner becomes one of the world’s top female players at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, helping the U.S. volleyball team win a bronze medal (the nation’s first Olympian medal in eight years) by beating Brazil 3-0 (15-8, 15-6, 15-13).

1994: The North American players make a travel to Sao Paulo (Brazil) to compete in the Global Championship.

1995 100 years after being invented by W.G. Morgan in Holyoke (MA), volleyball is the second-largest participation sport on U.S. soil.

1995 America becomes one of the two best squads in the Western Hemisphere upon winning the silver medal at the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata (Argentina).

1995 The United States, led by its international star Tara Cross-Battle, defeats Brazil 3-2 (15-9, 15-10, 4-15, 5-15, 15-12) to capture the Third Volleyball World Grand Prix. This team becomes the first female team in U.S. history to win a major international championship. It is called the biggest upset ever in volleyball international.

1996 The Olympic Volleyball Tournament returns to the United States (Atlanta, GA) after a 12-year absence.

1999 In the regional championship, America’s team places second, qualifying for the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.

2000 Hawaii-born player Robyn Mokihana Ah Mow leads the U.S. squad to a fourth place finish in the Games of the 27th Olympiad in Sydney (New South Wales, Australia), after finishing seventh at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games.

2001 America defeats China to become winner of the Volleyball World Grand Prix played in Macau, a former Portuguese dependency in Far East.

2001 The U.S. women wins back the Norceca championship by defeating defending champion Cuba 3-1 in the first place match.

2002 U.S. player Tayyiba Haneef-Park (6ft 7 in) is one of the most outstanding athletes in the FIVB Women’s World Championships on German soil, helping the U.S. squad win a silver medal.

2003 The North American country captures the Norceca Tournament for the second time in a row, beating 3-0 Cuba in the final and repeating its feat from 1981,1983, and 2001.

2003 Chinese-born Lang «Jenny» Ping, a member of the gold-medal winning Olympic volleyball team in 1984, becomes the first female in U.S. volleyball history to be named head of coach of the women’s national team.

2003 The Pan American Cup in Saltillo (Mexico) is won by the American side of Toshi Yoshida, who debuted as an assistant coach of the national squad in the early 1980s.

2003 The American women are the surprise squad of the World Grand Prix, winning the third place (behind the People’s Republic of China and Russia).

2004 The U.S. squad qualifies for the Summer Games for the seventh consecutive time.

2004 For the second consecutive time, the U.S. wins the bronze medal at the Volleyball World Grand Prix.

2007 At the Norceca Championship at Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada), the North American country comes in second behind Cuba’s team (first).

2008 Lang Ping (one of the top female players in the latter half of the 20th century) leads the 2008 United States Olympic team, composed in great part of professionals, to a second place finish in the Beijing Summer Games (the highest Olympic finish) after losing to arch-rival Brazil 3-1 in the gold medal match. In the People’s Republic of China, the States and Brazil are the only countries to have both their teams (women & men) advance to the finals.

2009 Hugh McCutcheon is named head coach of the U.S. women’s national team (WNT), replacing Lang Ping. By 2008, he coached the U.S national men’s team to Olympic gold medal at Beijing.

2009 McCutcheon’s team finishes fourth in the VIII Pan American Tournament played in Miami, FL.

2010 At the First Young Summer Games at Singapore City, the U.S. Under-20 National Team places second behind Belgium (gold) and ahead of Peru (bronze).

2010 The United States team, led by its top-class player Foluke Akinradewo (who plays in Japan’s professional league) beats Brazil 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 28-30, 25-17, 13-15) to win its third World Grand Prix.

2011 Under the leadership of Nancy Metcalf, who plays professionally in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, the national team wins the Norceca Championship in Caguas (Puerto Rico) with victories over the Dominican Republic (3-0), Cuba (3-0), Mexico (3-0), Canada (3-0), and the island-nation of Trinidad Tobago (3-0).

2011 The United States U-20 squad celebrates their bronze medal in the Junior World Championships in Lima (Peru).

2011 New Zealand-born Hugh McCutcheon leads the U.S. women’s World Cup team (made up of 11 professional players) to a second place finish in the FIVB Tokyo World Cup, gaining a berth in the 2012 Summer Games in the United Kingdom.

2011 The Unites States Olympic Committee sends an unofficial female squad to the Pan American Games at Guadalajara (Mexico), winning a bronze medal.

2011 The national team, led by its Italian-based player Destinee Hooker, successfully defends its World Grand Prix title, becoming the first North American squad to win back-to-back championships and capturing the attention of many experts and sportswriters around the globe. They, on the other hand, have become the fourth American team to take home a world title.

2012 The American women’s volleyball squad is one of the favorites to capture the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Games in the British Isles, upon their international wins between 2010 and 2012. They are professional athletes abroad, especially in the oil-rich country of Azerbaijan.

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On Being a Fan – Why I Love West Bromwich Albion

I don’t really remember when I first became aware of football as a kid. It was just always there. Every scrap of wasteland was a pitch, every battered can a ball. WBA, Wolves and Villa graffiti was daubed on every pub car park wall and slashed into most of the red leather bus seats of the Midland Red fleet. In the Black Country, the heavily industrialised core of the West Midlands, football is totally tribal.

West Bromwich Albion were formed in 1880, one of the founder clubs of the first ever Football League, starting as the West Bromwich Strollers in 1878 formed by a dedicated group of manufacturing workers at the Salter Spring Works in West Bromwich. The club roots are therefore firmly knotted into the industrial heritage of the area and in its early years, workers from nearby heavy industry would flood through the turnstiles of the Hawthorns, their heavy industrial protective clothing giving rise to «the Baggies» tag which has been long used to refer to the club as well as the fans.

For me, football dominated childhood Saturdays during the season and talk was always of Albion. Legendary names like Jeff Astle and Ronnie Allen were as familiar as any other in the streets where I grew up. Our road was an ‘Albion road’ and all the scarves were navy and white. On home game Saturdays, garage doors would rise in unison and Ford Cortinas and Escorts would be reversed in formation before the mass driving over to West Bromwich to the ground we Albion fans now call «The Shrine.» Even to this day, 30 odd years later, the sight of those Hawthorns’ floodlights still send a shiver down my spine, sending me hurtling back to the days when the team ran out to the old reggae tune ‘The Liquidator’ by the Harry J Allstars and Bryan Robson wore the Captain’s no 7 shirt.

West Brom in the veins. That’s how it always been. The emotional attachment you feel to your local football club especially when its been handed down the family line is hard to explain to non-fans, but you can never walk away and my God at times you want to run. Supporting «The Baggies» is not for the lily-livered. You have to be stoical, very stoical.

Albion are as big a part of my family as any of us. Dad and Grandad were big Albion fans and this was passed to me and my brother like the family name via striped DNA. At games today, I often think about Dad, back in the 50s, sat on the railway sleepers that were wedged into the bank that is now the Birmingham «Brummie» Road End watching his beloved Throstles after leaving his bike down «someone’s entry» close to the ground. And then there’s my much beloved Grandad, Daniel Nock, long gone, who stood opposite where I sit now, in flat cap and rainmac, cigar in hand at the Hawthorns of the 60s when Albion flew high, winning the League Cup in ’66 and the FA Cup in ’68. The ground gives me the strangest feeling of being ‘at home’ it sounds corny but its true. For me, there is something very special about that place and I know that essential feeling won’t fade.

When I was growing up, football was everything and everywhere. Saturday afternoons were spent at my Nan and Grandad’s in Blackheath. Nan and I would listen to the match on the radio, waiting for Dad, Grandad, my brother and champion onion growing twin neighbours Ernie and Ivan, to return from the match. If we won, and in the late 70s this was more often than not, Grandad would come charging through the back door armed with chips and tales of my childhood hero Cyrille Regis and total Albion legend Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown. These were the days when I was told I was too young to go and Dad forbid it absolutely. I therefore had to rely on my brother’s tales of his experiences of the Smethwick End stand. Stories which I held in awe, tales of the crush of the terraces and the sporadic violence that by then was rising in the English game, of bricks and coins being thrown across thinly segregated fans.

In the late 1970s, West Brom were quite the golden team and this was a great time to be a fan, a welcome distraction for many from the pains of a severe economic depression that was hitting the Black Country hard, with the old steel and manufacturing industries that had propped up our communities for a century or more, beginning to falter and break down. Football took on an even stronger role for local people needing a focus and an escape.

In 1979, WBA finished third in the Old Division 1 and qualified for European football. This was the flair team still feted by fans today and only in the last two seasons have we seen (with some joy) an Albion side rise to anywhere near their level. Albion then fielded three black players in the same team, something that was then totally unknown in English football – Cyrille Regis, Brendon Batson and the wonderfully gifted, sadly late, Laurie Cunningham. These incredibly talented footballers became known to fans as ‘The Three Degrees’ and acted as pioneers of black players in football, inspiring a generation.

Cyrille was and still is a tower of a man and is still hugely loved and admired by Albion fans. A superbly strong, powerful player, he was to become for many the true benchmark of everything a centre forward should be. Brave, big, fast and the scorer of some absolute thumping belters from distance and beyond. He didn’t get knocked down very often. In late 2011, I was lucky enough to meet Cyrille while he was collecting for charity outside the Hawthorns before a home game. It was wonderful to tell him he was my Albion hero and I nervously but proudly showed him the back of my shirt as proof, emblazoned as it was with ‘Regis 9″. He seemed very surprised to see a fan with his name emblazoned on a recent home shirt and was as gracious as I’d always imagined him to be. It was a great moment for that WBA loving kid that’s still very much me.

Players like Regis, Batson and Cunningham had to face down hideous racism just to do what they did best, week in, week out. There is a much viewed video of West Brom’s famous 1978, 5-3 victory over Man Utd at Old Trafford on You Tube. In the footage, you can clearly hear Laurie Cunningham in particular, being booed repeatedly by the Man Utd fans. It is undoubtedly due to the colour of his skin and unusually for the times is even mentioned by commentator Gerald Sinstadt who makes reference to the «repeated booing of the black players’. The skill shown by Cunningham as he cuts through the United’s midfield is breathtaking. He simply carries on regardless and is described by Sinstadt as «booed but unperturbed», showing what a truly skilful and wonderful football player he was. All three of these players responded to racism in this way and let their football make their response to the ignorance and the mindless chants. To me and hordes of other fans, ‘the Three Degrees’ made our club that bit more special and we took them to our hearts.

In terms of the Albion story, the years that followed on from the success of the late 1970s were mixed and difficult for Baggies fans. My first ever league game was West Brom v Liverpool in February 1981. We won that game 2-0 against the then league champions with a Bryan Robson miraculous back heeled goal. I guess as a kid, I thought this was always how it was going to be. It didn’t work out quite like that. I had to wait thirty more years to sit and watch my club do something truly special, when I was lucky enough to watch Albion beat Arsenal at the Emirates in a Premier League game in September 2010. But it was worth the wait. It was a joy to hear Albion fans on the phone to their loved ones after the game shouting «I feel like we’ve won the Cup!»… other young fans in their 20s proudly proclaimed on Facebook «This is the best day of my life!» It seems ridiculous but I know what they mean. That day in 1981 in the old Rainbow Stand with my Dad with his packet soup packed tartan flask and mini pork pies was one of mine and I’ll never forget it.

In 1992, I persuaded my Dad to come with me to go and see the Albion together for the first time in years. By then they we were languishing in what was the old Division 3. The Hawthorns was tatty and attendance was poor. We were playing Leyton Orient and the performance was lack lustre to say the least. I remember feeling gutted to see the club on its knees after what we had been and I know it was even harder on my Dad who’d see the joyous days of Jeff Astle. But, I was still heartened by the singing of the Brummie Rd and Smethwick End stands and the fact that the hardcore of supporters had stuck with the club. At half time, I went and touched the grass of the Hawthorns pitch, no one seemed to care that I jumped the barrier. It wasn’t the wonderful flair football I’d watched Albion play as a kid but at least we’d scraped a draw. There were many ups and downs to follow – too many to catalogue here – as Albion were to be crowned the classic ‘yo yo’ club – with successive promotions and relegations stressing the hell out of Albion fans for season upon season.

I met one of Albion’s promotion winning bosses, Roberto di Matteo, at Wembley in August 2010. Albion had seen promotion back to the Premier League under Di Matteo during the 2009-2010 Championship season. My friend approached Di Matteo and brought him over to have a photograph with me ‘for my Dad’ as she told him. I remember greeting him mumbling something about being a West Brom fan, probably with the kind of face a Chilean miner might look at his rescuer. God knows what he thought but he obliged with good humoured grace, guess I was remembering that cold, dark day in November 1992 and being ever so grateful for what he and others like Ardilles and Megson and Roy Hodgson after him had brought back to our club.

In 2010, my annual WBA membership renewal came through with a promo leaflet from the club emblazoned with a picture of the Hawthorns and Jeff Astle and had the words, «You were born a Baggie and you’ve been part of the team ever since» written across it. At first I thought it was a bit cheesy then I was surprised that it brought half a tear to the eye, because it’s true enough. It is about belonging and this is what the local football clubs we love do for us.

The club I was ‘born’ into has sometimes been the bain of my life but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Blue and white striped veins, or «Albion ‘til I die», that’s just the way it is.

I hope to God the days of 1992 are banished for ever, but if they came back I know I’ll still love the club and always will. But I’d moan and we do like a good moan when we get going. That’s why we’ll keep singing Psalm 23 whatever the score – you never know when you are going to need some help to get to those green pastures and quiet waters. To this day, I’ll never tire of hearing thousands sing ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ in Black Country accents. It can be no coincidence that this is Albion’s football ‘hymn’ and you’ll hear it sung by fans at every match. If ever there was a hymn for the need for faith when you are facing the dark nights of the soul then this is it and my God there’s been a lot of those for us Albion fans. 3-0 up at half time, think you’re safe? Think again. Its what we call «typical bloody Albion» but try and make us stay away – we can’t. We are Albion.

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How To Stop Eating Sugar

Sugar is one of the most addictive foods we can put into our bodies. Sugar is the ingredient that I believe kept my animal brain caught in a repetitive cycle of binge eating.

Sugar addiction goes beyond candy and cakes… it’s the simple, refined carbohydrates that cause an insulin spike in our blood sugar. This also triggers parts of our brains which can become addicted, just like someone becomes addicted to heroin.

I’ve gotten many emails from readers asking questions about how to deal with their addiction to sugar, which is usually the triggering food for a binge. There are common themes in the questions, and I can relate to many people who are disgusted with their failed attempts to break the habit.

The most common reasons people try to stop eating sugar are usually due to poor health, feeling obsessed and «crazy» around it or trying to lose weight. Many people share that they can’t seem to break away from bread, pasta, sweets or alcohol. The most frustrating part, I think, is that most of us realize that junk food and processed foods aren’t good for us. But even though we know that, trying to break a habit of eating it regularly can be very challenging.

Before I pin-pointed sugar as the culprit for my addictive behaviors to binge eating, I would go most of the day eating very little (to make up for a binge the night before), and using sugar substitutes in my coffee or drinking diet soda to stave off hunger. By evening, I would be starving… and naturally craving foods with instant energy, like carbs and sweets. By this point, my animal brain was feeling deprived and looking for energy. My ability to consciously choose healthy food options was severely negated because my brain would be in survival mode.

Because I’d binged the night before, it made it very easy to again turn to binging because I had started creating a habit. Once a habit forms, your brain has begun creating neural pathways that make repeating the habitual behavior much easier the next time.

It wasn’t until I reached very low points in my habits, hating myself and my inability to stop binge eating, that I started seriously studying what was going on with my behavior. That’s when I discovered how addictive sugar can be, and realized I was battling a hormonal shift in my brain each time I ate sugar. Not only had I created a behavioral habit, but I was dealing with an addicted brain.

There’s no easy way to quit a habit when you have an addiction. To cure yourself from a habit and addiction to sugar, you have to stop eating it. In order to do that, it really helps to know what to expect from your brain as it breaks an addiction. When you know what to expect, you can deal with challenges as they come up.

The things I found most useful were understanding how the brain works and studying the psychology of habits. Then I began to apply what I’d learned and was able to break through my binge eating habit.

Quitting sugar meant also giving up my devotion to artificial sweeteners. I had to do this for two reasons: one, to adjust my taste buds so that I wouldn’t crave sweetness, and two, to restore the proper gut flora in my belly to begin to metabolize food normally again.

As I broke my addiction to sugar, I replaced sugary foods in my diet with healthy fats. I found that eating healthy fats, proteins and an abundance of vegetables curbed my cravings. For this period, I stayed away from carbohydrates (refined or whole grain) and fruits.

Once I had broken my addiction (it took about 2 1/2 months of focused effort), I had replaced my diet with all whole foods and began incorporating fruit and whole grains. The fruit tasted yummy and sweet at this point, and I would be satisfied having fruit or a bowl of oatmeal at the end of the day when I normally would have craved sweets or sugar-free candies.

Now, I notice that if I start to pine for sweets, it appears to be after I’ve gone several days without whole grains or unrefined carbs. I feel comfortable with having some whole grain toast, oatmeal or something similar… and the temptation goes away. For me, eating whole grains work better to curb the sugar craving than eating fruit, because fruit metabolizes quickly and raises blood sugar faster.

Here’s some key tips for how to start breaking your habit and stop eating sugar:

1. Don’t replace sugar with artificial sweeteners.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, a 2013 study in the journal Diabetes Care found that artificial sweeteners can actually alter the way the body metabolizes sugar. A 2008 animal study found that rats given artificial sweeteners ate more calories throughout the day and as a result, gained weight. The researchers found that the ingestion of artificial sweeteners essentially caused confusion between the gut and the brain. The authors of the study stated that, «sweet foods provide a ‘salient orosensory stimulus’ that strongly predicts someone is about to take in a lot of calories. Ingestive and digestive reflexes gear up for that intake but when false sweetness isn’t followed by lots of calories, the system gets confused. Thus, people may eat more or expend less energy than they otherwise would.»

Replacing sugar with sugar-free foods or sweeteners is like swapping out cigarettes for cigars. It does nothing to alter your taste preferences and cravings for sugar. And it appears that it can even trigger you to eat more, and change the bacteria in your gut… causing your body to actually metabolize more calories from the food you put into your body.

2. Try adding milk and exercise.

Sugar gives you a «feel good» response, and that’s part of what you become addicted to. So the key is to add in other ways to get that response instead of sugar.

What if you could boost one of your most efficient acting «feel good» effects through other things, like milk or exercise?

One study for example, showed that consumption of whey protein (a major protein found in milk) increased serotonin (a feel-good hormone first isolated at the Cleveland Clinic that is associated with mood elevation). Other studies have found an association between exercise and serotonin increase as well.

3. Try healthy fats and get away from «fat free» processed foods.

Healthy fats, like those from olive oil, avocados, coconuts, nuts and seeds, not only provide nutrients for your body, but they make you feel satiated. Though it seemed counter-intuitive to me at the time, I increased my fat intake when I first started working on breaking my habit. I used half-and-half in my coffee, started putting avocados and nuts in my salads, enjoyed cream cheese and ate whole eggs instead of egg whites. I was surprised (and grateful) to find that this really helped curb my sweet cravings.

Fat free varieties of foods are generally injected with a heap of chemicals and added sweeteners to make them taste decent even though they are fat free. This is similar to eating sugar-free stuff; it’s filler food that doesn’t help anything. It either triggers you to eat more («hey, it’s fat free, why not?») or leaves you wanting something more fulfilling.

4. Don’t get too hungry.

This was another hard one for me, because I was so used to depriving myself all day long in order to balance out the effect of my binge eating. So I had trained myself to completely ignore my hunger cues. By the time I would sit down to eat, I would be starving… and, obviously, binging was the natural result.

Eating small amounts of food throughout the day keeps your blood sugar on even keel. This keeps your body from craving simple carbohydrates in order to get quick energy. It also prevents you from feeling like you want to eat the kitchen sink when you finally allow yourself to eat. It can go a long way towards helping you break a binge habit or sugar addiction.

5. Get rest.

Stress is a huge activator for triggering a craving for sweets. Why? Because the sweets give that «feel good» response that provides a temporary respite. It’s also «comfort food» that your animal brain naturally wants when it feels threatened with stress.

How do you cure stress? Obviously, life sometimes has circumstances where you can’t avoid stress. But there are ways you can care for yourself during these times to help. Plus, at the rapid pace many people have today in their lives, we’re generally always under a certain level of stress.

Getting quality sleep and taking a day or two off once a week isn’t a luxury… it’s a necessity. If you’re sleep deprived or burned out, you’re not going to make quality choices. Your animal brain will kick in to help you survive… and we know how much the animal brain likes quick energy from simply carbs and comfort foods.

Add an hour to your sleep however you can – go to bed 15 minutes earlier, then 30, then 45, then an hour. Turn off your screens an hour before you want to go to bed. Arrange a 20-minute power nap in the afternoon. Go to a park and chill out when the weather’s nice, even if it’s only for a half hour.

6. Try gum and tea.

Gum and tea keep your mouth occupied when you’re feeling nibbly. Tea comes in hundreds of varieties and flavors-as does gum. Popping in a stick or having a cup of tea can get you over an afternoon slump or after a meal when you’re craving something sweet.

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Overcoming Overeating: Managing That Voice In Your Head

"Darn, I forgot to call her back. That's two days in a row! She's going to be pissed. Maybe I should try her now. No, it's too late right now. I'll do it tomorrow."

"Shoot, I can't remember his name. Here he come. What is his name? Dave? … Don? He told me yesterday. Why can't ever remember this stuff? Ugh, this is going to be awkward. "

"God, I just want some chocolate right now. Maybe I should go out and get some before the store closes. But once I start I won't stop. No, I'm not going to do that again tonight. up eating way more than I want to … I really want some chocolate. OK, I'll get some tonight and tomorrow I'll eat really well all day, no sweets. "

"I just ate 2 large chocolate bars in one sitting. What is wrong with me ?! I feel so ugly and fat and disgusting and useless."

In case you haven't noticed already, you have a voice inside your head that never stops. It goes on and on. No matter what the situation, it has something to say. Have you ever wondered how it decides what to say and when to say it? Have you ever wondered if what it's saying is important? Or if its even true?

And if right now you are hearing, "I don't know what you're talking about. I don't have a voice in my head." … THAT'S the voice I'm referring to. Notice that this voice takes both sides of a conversation. It doesn't care which side it takes, it just keeps on talking. It rationalizes, it makes decisions and justifies, it rambles.

When you're tired and trying to fall asleep, it's the dialogue that's running around saying,
"Wait! I forgot to send that email! I can't go to sleep yet. I remembered that earlier this evening but I didn't send it. If I don't get up and write it now … oh, geez .It really late. I mean, honestly, what's the difference if I send it now or first thing in the morning? It's silly to turn on the light, get up and type that out right now. I need to get to sleep, I have a lot of things to do tomorrow. It's so hard to fall asleep right now. "

If you spend time observing this mental chatter, you'll quickly notice it never shuts up . If you watch it closely, you'll notice that it's just trying to find a comfortable place to settle. It will change sides in an instant if that seems like it's more comfortable. If it realizes it's wrong, it will adjust it's perspective and take on the opposite side and keep on talking. Once you start noticing the mental chatter, if you keep at it, you'll begin to notice repeating patterns around certain things. These are the thoughts or chatter that come up again and again. The mental conversations or debates that you have with yourself that you've been having for as long as you can remember.

An interesting thing to discern when you find these repeating conversations is what feelings you have as the dialogue is rambling away.

If you're thinking, "I'm such a pig, I just eat so much food all the time no matter what I do," this creates a feeling. You may not have noticed or made the distinction between the thought (what I'd call an "invisible script") and the feeling created by it. For me, making the distinction between my thoughts and feelings initially took some practice. I had them collapsed as the same thing, all part of the endless dialogue from the voice in my head.

It occurred to me like the voice was reality, talking about what was true.

Then I began to watch the voice and realize how fickle it was. I noticed that this voice would often rationalize things and change sides, depending on what was comfortable. I realized that it was actually silly to believe what it was saying was true , since it would flip around so quickly.

That's around the time I also realized that there were two parts here : there was me, listening to the voice, and then there was the voice. I sometimes refer to the voice as the "animal brain". It can also be called the "ego". Whatever you want to refer to it as, it's the part that chatters … and then there's you that notices this part chattering.

Once I was identifying this voice and it's patterns, what became fascinating was seeing how the voice created feelings.

At one point I journaled about this, writing down my thoughts in one column and my feelings in another.

I was noticing how powerful my thoughts — that voice in my head — were in creating the way I felt. And since the voice in my head is so fickle, when I'm not aware of it, my feelings resulting from the voice are at its mercy.

If the voice is being particularly nasty due to being triggered by something, I feel worse and worse. If I'm not aware, then when the voice says harsh things, I believe those things to be true. The voice may say something nasty about me, my behavior or my appearance, or it may say something gossipy and mean about someone else. Either way, my feelings are affected.

It becomes a snowball effect: something triggers the voice (or my "animal brain" or my ego), the voice starts saying harsh things, I feel bad, the voice keeps going, I feel worse, and that affects my behaviors, actions and words.

A great example of this is if I look in the mirror and the voice says something nasty about my appearance, then I feel ugly, shameful, weak, etc. How likely is it that I'm then going to go nourish myself with the best, most delightful food that I can find and eat only the amount that feels comfortable?

Not likely.

More likely is that I'll beat myself up, restrict my eating all day because I deserve to starve, then cave in and eat a whole bunch in rebellion. This is a very likely outcome if I'm not aware of this voice and not noticing how it affects me.

So what's there to do with this voice? If you try to ignore it or tell it to shut up, it's only going to become louder and more insistent.

The best way to liberate yourself from this incessant chatter is to zoom out and watch it . Become an observer of it. Notice it as a mechanism that has the ability to appear like it's speaking the truth and sounds like someone is in your head talking to you. Don't think about it, just notice it.

No matter what that voice says, nice things or nasty things, it's all the same kind of chatter. It doesn't matter if it's saying superficial things or spiritual things. It's still just a voice in your head. If you are observing it saying things, it's not actually you — you are the one that's hearing it. You're the observer.

When you begin to realize you're not this voice, you're just the one that hears it, you're making an extraordinary leap of growth.

The more you watch it objectively, the more you'll start to see that the voice is meaningless. No matter what the voice is saying, life will continue to unfold as it always has. The voice may hate it or may love it, but life goes on.

So, if this voice is so meaningless, then why does it exist? The answer to this lies in understanding why it says what it says when it says it.

This is when your skills of becoming an observer of the voice come into play. When you can observe the voice, you can start to become interested in why it's saying what it's saying. It might be because there's a buildup of energy inside of you about something that needs to get out. The voice often gets more active when there's a buildup of anxiety, fear, challenge, or desire. The voice also runs even when there's nothing in particular bothering you. It mostly acts as a narrator of your world. It says things like,

"Look at that. The flowers really look good in front of that house."

"Oh, there goes a basset hound. I love those kind of dogs."

"Geez, look at that dress she's wearing. It's not exactly the color I would have chosen, but it looks pretty good on her."

This narration is a way of helping you to feel secure. You're noticing the world around you, so you must be a part of that world. If you're noticing the world around you, then you are having a direct experience with it. The voice is validating your existence.

So this voice goes about validating your existence, then mixing that in your mind with all your other thoughts based on your past, your impressions, your perspectives, etc. As this soup of thought mixes together, you then internally interpret your world. (So ​​what you end up experiencing is actually your personal understanding of the world according to you. It's not the unfiltered, raw experience of what's actually out there. But that's another conversation for another time.)

The voice exists to help you survive in the world based on how it's interpreting things. It will adjust however it needs to in order to feel comfortable and validated.

The more you can notice the voice, the more you can use it as an indicator.

If you notice that it's getting nasty or loud or obsessive, you can become curious. If you notice that you're feeling low, watch what's coming from the voice that's creating the feeling. So rather than reacting automatically and reaching for more food because you're feeling low, or bored, or lonely … you can listen to the voice. You can give it space to run it's course.

Watch the voice urge you to eat more, or chastise you for losing control or whatever it wants to do. Acknowledge it as mental chatter. Then look for why it's saying what it's saying. Appreciate it for trying to express something that's going on for you, and then let it go if it's not serving you. It might get louder. It might try harder to convince you. Keep appreciating it for doing its job by indicating something that it wants expressed, and keep letting it go.

The more you practice this, the easier it will be to be to identify as the observer and not the voice. It's the doorway to having the power to create anything and everything you want in your life.

If you learn how to listen to the voice and use it effectively, this same voice that has caused worry, anxiety and neurosis can become the launching pad for getting you where you truly want to go.

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How to Plan Your Relocation to New York

New York City redefines one’s life and turns it around by 180 degrees. At times it might look like a concrete and steel wilderness, and at times the same city offers your Central Park- which feels like a free-pass one has earned surviving in this tough city. New York can be merciful and tough on you- but I guess one would agree, it changes you as a person for the better. Relocating to NYC can turn out to be one of the best chapters in life. With thousands of communities, ethnicities, races, all genders, faiths and their numerous languages- New York City shelters you like no other city does. One of the biggest financial capitals of the world, it is the most populous city in America. Proud of its status of being a ‘Global Power City’- New York majorly influences global trends pertaining to Fashion, Finance, Art, Literature, Education, Commerce, Technology, Entertainment and much more. New York has one of the largest harbours in the world and it is divided into 5 Boroughs, namely: Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. We have come up with the perfect relocation guide for you. Let’s take a look: –

Accommodation and Neighbourhoods:-

Though there are numerous upscale and decent neighbourhoods in New York City, there are some localities which are all-encompassing and cater to everything that one would need in terms of ease of access to transport options, quality schools and healthcare centres, utility and departmental stores, general safety of the neighbourhood etc. Some of the best neighbourhoods, which score high on these parameters are Manhattan, Chelsea, Midtown East and Gramercy.

Midtown East is one of the most upscale and chic localities of NYC with iconic city landmarks like Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Broadway. You can find incredible one, two, three bedroom and Studio apartments in Midtown East here.

Manhattan: Known to be one of the economically high-end neighbourhoods of NYC, Manhattan is pure ‘city-living’. Towering skyscrapers, gourmet restaurants, popular attractions like Central Park, New York State Library etc. Accommodation in Manhattan can range from one, two bedrooms to Studio apartments for a single person. Value-for-money, a range of exclusive amenities, minutes away from the tube station- these apartments will be the most practical choice for you in Manhattan.

Chelsea is the neighbourhood to be in if you like a more vibrant, artsy and lively neighbourhood that feels closer to home. From exquisite art galleries to the best of fashion and amazing restaurants- Chelsea has ‘unadulterated life’ to offer to you. Mostly red or brown sandstone or brick buildings amidst new age contemporary architecture- Chelsea has the best Service Apartments that will make you instantly feel at home. With fully-furnished apartments, stocked kitchens, best of furnishings in bedrooms- we strive to make you feel like you never left ‘home’.

Gramercy: This neighbourhood bestows ‘exclusivity’ like none other. From private parks for residents, high-scale living spaces, greenery all around, luxurious apartments- Gramercy will provide you everything you need, so you won’t have to move out of the neighbourhood for literally anything. Luxury apparel outlets, bookstores, libraries, good schools- Gramercy defines good living standards. Check out amazing serviced apartments in Gramercy that shall grant you with worry-free living with prompt maintenance, state-of-the-art amenities, modern furnishings and unparalleled ease of access to Public transport.

Education:-

In terms of Education, New York City has some of the best elementary and high schools and also institutes for advanced learning. The New York Education system is actually the largest in the whole of America with more than 1600 elementary and high schools. It also has several specialised high schools for gifted students. The city also has 120 Institutes for Higher Education and some of the most renowned institutions which receive the highest number of students from across the world are Columbia University, Barnard College, New York University and The Juilliard School.

Healthcare:-

In terms of Public Health Care, New York City has the largest municipal Healthcare system in the world. It includes 11 Acute or Intensive care hospitals, 5 Nursing homes,6 major Diagnostic and Treatment centres, and more 70 community-based health care centres for the working class and the economically unprivileged sections of the society. The most reputed hospital under this municipality is Bellevue Hospital where one can go for specialised and general diagnosis and subsequent treatment and emergencies as well.

Transport:-

New York also has one of the best and extensive Transport systems in the world with multiple modes of Public Transport. Some of the major modes of Public Transport are: New York City Subway- which is the world’s largest rapid transit system, City Buses which is the largest in North America, Staten Island Ferry which also boasts of being the busiest ferry system in the world, and the Yellow Taxicabs in which more than 12000 cars are functioning in the city.

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Chelsea Tower Hotel Apartments – Excellent Dubai Accommodation

Our flight landed on Dubai International Airport, and after collecting our luggage we headed straight to get a taxi which is available just as you step out of the airport. Surprisingly, we reached Chelsea Tower Hotel Apartments in just about 15 minutes. Enroute, got out of the taxi to see the majestic Burj Khalifa Tower with all its grandeur; towering above us.

Check- in process was fairly simple and quick. Diana the receptionist was understanding enough to get over with the process as fast as possible seeing how exhausted we were after the long flight. It was quite a busy time, I suppose, because the lobby was filled with people and that made it look so vibrant. There were 5 lifts so one never had to wait longer than a minute.

Fast forward to the room on the 41st floor, gigantic and beautiful with huge windows and a balcony that overlooked the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai skyline on one side and the Arabian Gulf on the other. I think we were already in love with Chelsea Towers apart-hotel by that time. Comfortable beds, spacious rooms, free Wi-fi and a kitchen with all necessary equipment were a few of the other amenities provided by the hotel.

We would go to the gym each morning and sometimes we’d also take a swim in the pool alternating with the Jacuzzi at times. The poolside staff and the spa masseuses were always extremely polite and helpful. Sometimes we took morning breakfast at the Chelsea Garden Restaurant & Café (they served amazing coffee by the way) and sometimes we went outside to the many popular eateries just around the corner such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks. There were other bistros and joints like Nando’s, Chilis, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut also very close to the hotel.

Talking about travelling around, we never had to worry because the Financial Centre Metro Station 1 was right across the road and incase of short distances, taxis were a life saver and always readily available. My friends and I were stoked about the fact that the hotel was just 10 minutes from the Dubai Mall and so we visited the mall every other day of our trip.

The Chelsea tower hotel which was in the centre of the city and right on Sheikh Zayed Road made Dubai’s major shopping destinations, tourist destinations, beaches, leisure parks and theme parks easily accessible. This was one of the main advantages for us, being tourists.

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Web Design Companies – How To Choose The Right One For Your Business

Your website is your company’s calling card on the internet so you need to have one you’re proud of and does the job it’s meant to, and offer pleasant viewing for your browsers which can only be achieved with quality web development. That means getting a professional web development company to develop your site and create web based solutions for your business. But before approaching a web design company, you should clarify your requirements. Here’s how you do it.

Firstly, you must establish your goals. What’s the purpose of your web site? Are you selling products, displaying your portfolio, announcing your services? What do you want your visitors to do? Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes. What do they expect to find at your website?

Next you have to set your budget. Having these figures in hand at the beginning can help in your negotiation with the web design companies. But don’t reveal your budget. Always get quotes based on your needs first. The first thing you would probably do if you live in Liverpool is, go to Google and search for web design companies in Liverpool. Take the advantage of the global reach of the internet and search for web design agencies in UK. Also take into considerations if you have any technical staff you employ, would you need to do the maintenance of the sites yourself? If you do not have the staff, then web based solutions could be the right option for your web development, which are offered by many web design agencies in the UK, how would you find these companies? Just do a quick search in Google for web design agencies UK and it should bring up a long list of web design agencies in the UK. But then it is down to you to single out the right company for your web development needs. However, you could do a more specific search for certain areas like web design companies in Manchester, which would be more local so you can go to see your web development company when you may need to. Web design companies in London would tend to be more expensive compared to the rest of the country

Establishing your goals in this way allows you to clearly explain your requirements to the web design agency that you choose. In fact, these are the same types of questions that web development companies ask at the start of any project. Having the answers readily at hand means you have a better chance of getting the site that you want. Plus, the information you gather from these questions can help in choosing the right web development company.

Finally we come to the all-important step of choosing a web design company. Remember that building a website involves the separate skills of design and development. You need a company with expertise in both web design and web development. And if the firm has business skills, then better still, as you will find if you search for web design companies in Birmingham, they have a lot of al round skills in web development and offering web based solutions.

In fact the ideal web design and web development firm should also offer SEO consulting and marketing advice. Searching for web design companies Leeds would give you less choice of web development and SEO, however, if you searched for web design companies Manchester or web design companies London, you would find more companies with mixtures of different skill sets to make your web design and web development project successful, also the firm should be knowledgeable about the fast-changing world of ecommerce and be able to offer solutions such as database integration, content management, and shopping carts, for example. A firm that has this all round knowledge will be able to come up with ideas and advice that lead to total development solutions. So how do you find your dream design firm?

The first thing to do is to make a shortlist of website design and web development companies and check their online portfolios. See if their designs look like they’d work for your concept. Is the layout clean and easy to navigate? Is the image of the company presented well and is the website’s purpose immediately clear? Be wary of designs that are heavy with flash animations, or feature graphics but little text. This suggests the design firm values form over function which is ineffective if you’re trying to sell something. Check if the company has offered web based solutions in the past, ask if you can speak to any of their client who have had web based solutions and web development done from them. Remember, you want to find one firm that can handle both the design and development aspects of website creation. Finally, you should ask for customer references. Then, get in touch with existing clients and ask about their experience with the web design company.

It’s not easy to find the right website design company for your needs. But if you follow the above guidelines, you’ll be able to find the right web design agencies UK for your business. You can find web design companies in all of the UK’s major cities such as Manchester, London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds.

Las Camisetas de fútbol de adidas se encuentran entre las preferidas de muchos equipos. Descubre por qué visitando nuestra colección en la web. by Andy Lomax

The Greatest Life Insurance Salesman in the World

I grew up in a small town on the Ohio River called East Liverpool. It is located in Ohio at the junction of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. When I was growing up it had a population of about 22,000. Today the population has dropped to just over 13,000. However, some very unique and notable people have come from my town. I want to tell you about one of them who learned the meaning of providing value for his clients so well that he went on to become the greatest life insurance salesman ever.

His name was Ben Feldman (1912 – 1993) and over his 50 year career selling insurance for one company, his sales volume exceeded $1.8 billion, with over a third of it coming after he turned 65. And, he did it by selling out of his office in East Liverpool and not some major financial capital city like New York.

Ben Feldman came from the sleepy little town of Salineville, Ohio, where he started his business career selling chicken and eggs for $ 5 a week. As an aspiring businessperson, he wanted to enter the insurance field but was unable to pass the basic Equitable Life Insurance Company’s aptitude test.

In typical Feldman fashion, he sold himself to Equitable, and began collecting premiums on meager nickel and dime policies. In 1942, he joined New York Life, and opened a small office in the Little Building, on the Diamond, in downtown East Liverpool. It was from this location that he began a relentless quest to achieve membership in the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table. He made it in 1946.

Little did anyone suspect that he would far surpass the million dollar mark, however, in 1955, he sold $10 million in coverage. He then began selling one million a month, then a million a week, and in 1971 wrote contracts for over $65 million. He then gunned for $10 million a month and in 1983, with the help of his two sons, Marvin and Richard, he sold $148 million of insurance.

Feldman was an innovator, who made it easy for his clients to understand the complexities of the Federal Estate tax law, which desecrated the fortunes of a large number of wealthy individuals in the period that followed World War II. Long before computer graphics, he created clever hand-drawn charts, illustrating the need for life insurance to protect an individual’s assets from the government. He would book himself on airplane flights, next to a potential client, where upon he would open his brief case, stuffed with $100, $500 and $1,000 bills, along with his charts and graphs. The idea was to entice his neighbor to notice the money and remark, «Is that real money?» «Yes,» Ben would reply, «but I’m not afraid to carry it, because it’s insured.» With such an opening, a sales presentation was a lay-up.

A lover of luxurious automobiles, Feldman would often be seen racing up and down the highways that link Pittsburgh and Youngstown in his Cadillac Eldorado. It was within this 50-mile corridor that he sold the majority of his policies. Often equipped with a CB radio and a car telephone – long before anyone had heard of such a device – he handled rejection like none other.

A favorite Feldman method was to approach the office of a busy executive and ask for an appointment. The response from a frazzled secretary would usually be, «I’m sorry, his time is too valuable.» Ben would ask, «Is it worth $100 a minute?» «At least!» would be the answer, to which the response (accompanied by five brand new one hundred dollar bills,) would be, «Well I’d like to buy five minutes.»

Even when Ben Feldman would go deep sea fishing, he would spend his time developing new sales techniques, memorizing the entire New York Life Insurance rate book. And, he would arm himself with pithy little phrases, designed to overcome the most difficult challenge. To the potential client who said, «I believe in term insurance.» Ben would respond, «Term insurance is temporary, but your problem is permanent.» «I can’t afford the premium,» would invoke, «You are already broke and don’t even know it.»

Following in the footsteps of such a legend was not easy for Marv and Rich Feldman, but they handled the challenge well as Marv became president of the Million Dollar Table in 2001, and Rich excelled in a number of endeavors, including «drag racing,» of all things.

Now you might be thinking to yourself that Ben must have been some kind of superstar, good looking, fast talking, kind of man – but you’d be wrong. Ben was a short, stout, balding and spoke slowly with a distinct lisp. He never finished high school. He was so shy that years later when he was asked to speak at insurance industry meetings, he would only agree to if a screen was erected between him and the audience.

But, he was a legend when it came to making a point to know every business owner in his region. He did his homework first and learned all he could about his potential customers so that by the time he met with them (often on a «cold call») he was ready with the right Value Development Questions. He didn’t always sell right away but he never gave up. I once heard him say that for years he didn’t stop working for the day until he made at least one sale – no matter how late it got.

One of favorite stories about Ben is about a prominent real estate developer. Ben tried for weeks to get in to see the busy man but was always unsuccessful. One day, Ben stopped in cold and handed the developer’s assistant the envelope with five $100 bills and asked her to give it to her boss. He told her «If I don’t have a good idea for him, he can keep the money.» He got in and sold a $14 million policy. Years later when Ben realized the man need additional insurance due to the unprecedented growth of his company; he was once again stymied by the man’s insistence that he was too busy to take a physical. Undaunted, Ben rented a fully equipped mobile hospital van, hired a doctor and sent them to the industrialist. Rumor is that the man ended up with over $50 million in coverage.

In 1992, New York Life marked Ben’s 50th year with the company by proclaiming «Feldman’s February», a national sales competition. Ben took this as a personal challenge. The winner of the contest (at 80 years old) was Ben Feldman.

Ben was famous for his sayings that he used to inspire both clients and himself. My favorite is:

«Doing something costs something.

Doing nothing costs something.

And quite often, doing nothing costs a lot more.»

Ben Feldman died in 1993 at 81. A few years before his death he was asked about the largest policy that he had ever written. «I can’t say. I haven’t written it yet.»

Camisetas de fútbol baratas Tienda online, Comprar Camiseta futbol precio más barato y envío rápido. En nuestra tienda de camisetas de futbol baratas. by Bob Poole

Fascinating Museums In Liverpool

The World Museum Liverpool has a variety of galleries for every interest – whether it be world cultures, insects of all kinds, fish or general natural history such as plants, minerals and rocks. Here you can learn more about the continents through the relics discovered from Africa, North and South America, Asia and Oceania. Ethnological and archaeological discoveries of note are housed in the Weston Discovery Centre, which has interactive exhibitions for all the family. If ethnomusicology is more your thing, get yourself to the Treasure House Theatre, where dance and music are performed and classes are held on global music styles. A café is also available, as well as an innovative fair-trade shop.

Fans of The Beatles cannot possibly miss The Beatles Story. This is an interactive exhibition space at two locations – Albert Dock and Mersey Ferries Terminal – which tells the story of the band from its humble beginnings to international acclaim and legendary status. The subsequent solo careers of the individual band members are also explored in detail in separate exhibits. After all that exploration, catch some refreshment at the themed Starbucks café and get yourself some memorabilia at the Fab4Store!

The Museum of Liverpool has a claim to fame which is all its own – it is unique in that it is dedicating to telling the story of Liverpool. It is also the biggest English museum built in the last 100 years, containing over 6000 exhibits spread over several galleries. It successfully mixes the past and the present, combining contemporary topics with popular culture, history and societal issues. Little Liverpool is a separate gallery for the kids that will ensure they do not feel left out and will also learn something about this great city. The education does not stop when you grab a bite to eat, as you can sample typical English fare in the café downstairs.

The Walker Art Gallery has a huge collection of fine, decorative and contemporary art, ranging from paintings to sculptures spanning more than six centuries. Rembrandt, Turner – they are all here. A unique aspect to the Gallery is Ben Johnson’s Liverpool Cityscape, which shows Liverpool as it has developed and grown over the years. In spring and summer of 2012 the temporary exhibition, ‘A Collector’s Eye: Cranach to Pissarro’ will be on display, while in autumn it will be the turn of ‘Art in Revolution: Liverpool 1911′. For the under 8s, there is a dedicated kids’ gallery titled Big Art for Little Artists, which introduces children to art at a young age and encourages a life long enthusiasm.

Fans of Liverpool Football Club cannot miss a tour of the Anfield Stadium. Day packages are available to make any Liverpool fan feel like a VIP, as they will be greeted at the stadium before a 3 course meal with free beverage is laid on in an executive box. Explore the club’s museum and take a tour of the stadium itself, before a guest from the club’s prestigious history drops by for a chat. All fans will go away with a special gift to remind them of this special occasion.

Las Camisetas de fútbol de adidas se encuentran entre las preferidas de muchos equipos. Descubre por qué visitando nuestra colección en la web. by Christine Brookes

Experimental and Independent Live Music in Manchester, UK

Manchester, UK was dubbed Mad-chester in the 1990’s at the peak of the indie and rave scene that was encapsulated by a particular haircut, baggy trousers and the Hacienda club. Although Manchester is still in touch with that legacy and such haircuts can still be spotted, it actually offers a lot more variety of live music. White boy bands, sometimes with a female lead singer may still be prevalent statistically but there is so much more going on too for the more experimentally minded music listeners and gig- goers looking for creative music and independent music that may be a bit different.

Experimental, independent and creative music can be found in the more elite venues as well as the smaller under the radar spots. High class venues such as Bridgewater Hall and Lowry Theatre host all sorts of contemporary classical and independent pop acts. And it does not always have to cost an arm and a leg. The Bridgwater Hall have free lunchtime concerts in their foyer which still has better acoustics than many venues in the city. And at RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music) you can often find a free concert by students experimenting beyond their more traditional repertoire.

Of course the Apollo has some great bands and artists stopping by on their national tours such as the experimental and popular female solo artist Bjork, and Bristolian trip-hop bands Massive Attack and Portishead. And even at the Opera House Antony and the Johnson’s have played while female solo artist Joanna Newsom delivered a sublime performance at the Palace Theatre. The newly refurbished Band on the Wall provides gigs in Manchester playing host to many more international acts too such as Fela Kuti and Kid Creole and the Coconuts while also being home to a regular monthly night by local Mancunian wonky funk maestro Mr Scruff. With it’s brand new sound system and lush new grand piano, the sound quality feels fresh and new too.

More modest venues include the sadly now closing Green Room which has been a hub of experimental theatre, creative music and spoken word for over 20 years in the city. Apart from that we have Kraak Gallery and the Coffee Pot putting on interesting events, performances and gigs in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. And Fuel Bar and Cafe in Withington often has local talents making independent music as well as touring independent acts. The monthly improvisation night called «The Noise Upstairs» is experimental music in action with an open mic approach to musical improvisational performance by some of those present. Night and Day cafe, more renown for gigs in Manchester, sometimes have a more experimental band or artist passing through too.

Like any large city, there are many gems to be discovered by just exploring and asking people for recommendations when you are in town. I hope some of these suggestions may be of use.

Compra online la Camisetas de fútbol! En JD encontrarás las del FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, la selección de España y equipos internacionales. by Caro Churchill