Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Más allá del boxeo: Gimnasio de los Grealish

UN RING DE BOXEO QUE ES UN HOGAR Y UNOS INSTRUCTORES QUE SON FAMILIA
 
Familia, boxeo, esfuerzo y lo demás es lujo… Así es la vida para el irlandés Martin Grealish, quien llegó a este país a los 31 años de edad en 1982.
Grealish empezó a boxear a los 15 años de edad cuando se mudó de Irlanda a Inglaterra y la pasión que desarrolló por este deporte ha sido tan grande que lo ha acompañado a todos los sitios que ha ido.
“Mi misión con cada alumno es mantenerlo fuera de problemas. Es muy satisfactorio verlos llegar al gimnasio sin saber nada y después de un par de años ya pueden enfrentarse a cualquiera en el ring… Muchos se han convertido en profesionales también”, dijo Grealish sobre sus estudiantes. En estos momentos hay cuatro profesionales entrenando en su gimnasio, y cinco muchachos y una muchacha que están participando por el Golden Glove (Guante de Oro).
Una de las grandes promesas del gimnasio es el caboverdiano Ricky Pina, quien ocupa el puesto número 3 del ranking en su categoría. En enero del 2013, Pina viajará a Las Vegas, Nevada acompañado por Grealish para disputar una importante pelea. “Entreno todos los días entre 2 y 3 horas para esta competencia. Aquí aprendo mucho”, señaló el joven de 15 años acerca de su preparación para la pelea en Nevada. “Mi meta es representar a mi país en las olimpiadas… quiero ser como Floyd Mayweather”.
Alguien que aprovechó la presencia y experiencia de Grealish, y que no perdió tiempo a la hora de ponerse los guantes de boxeo, fue su hijo Gerry Grealish, quien con apenas 5 años de edad empezó a practicar el deporte. “Esto es algo que heredé de mi padre… siempre veía las peleas de pequeño. Además tengo una madre y hermana que durante mis años como profesional eran mis más fieles fanáticas… las más gritonas de los espectadores siempre eran ellas”, agregó Gerry acerca de su experiencia en el boxeo.
Siempre bajo el mando de su padre Martin, Gerry llegó a ser boxeador campeón de los US Marines Corps., y también se convirtió en profesional, acumulando una marca de 6 victorias y 1 derrota.
Actualmente, Gerry es parte del staff del gimnasio de su padre, en donde no solamente imparte sus conocimientos sobre boxeo con los más jóvenes, sino que también los ayuda a tener buenas notas en el colegio, a conseguir trabajos, y a ser buenas personas. “Los ayudamos en muchos aspectos de la vida. Hay una cantidad de muchachos problemáticos que han sido parte de este gimnasio y se han convertido en hombres maduros e inteligentes dentro y fuera del ring”.
El gimnasio de la familia Grealish también ofrece clases para mujeres, las cuales consisten mayormente en ejercicios para ponerse en forma y tener buena resistencia. “Se ejercita todo el cuerpo. Las clases son divertidas y consisten en diferentes rutinas, e incluso sirven para defensa personal”, apuntó Maureen O’Brien, quien es la actual campeona femenina del Golden Glove en Nueva Inglaterra.
O’Brien ayuda en estas clases para mujeres y admite que una de las situaciones más cómicas de las mismas es cuando se pelea en el ring con una amiga, porque después del enfrentamiento siempre se abrazan y felicitan. “Al fin y al cabo somos una gran una familia”, dijo orgullosamente O’Brien acerca de todos los que frecuentan el gimnasio de los Grealish.
Una de las mayores sorpresas de este acogedor gimnasio es que se escucha mucho más la palabra FAMILIA que la palabra BOXEO, y esto va desde Wilbert Soto, quien es uno de los más nuevos asistiendo a estas instalaciones, hasta Yvonne Grielish, esposa de Martin.
El gimnasio de la familia Grealish está ubicado en la 79 Freeport Street de Dorchester y abren todos los días, incluyendo los días feriados. Con seguridad el Sr. Grealish estará ahí a partir de las 5 pm.
Para mayor información llámelos al (617)740-8407 o visite www.grealishboxing.org
- Y gracias por no fumar!
Imagen de rcmproducciones.com
 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Calero: Imponente, Carismático Y Gran Ser Humano

SE NOS FUE EL GRAN PORTERO DE LA SELECCIÓN COLOMBIA, EL QUE JUGABA CON LA GORRA PUESTA, EL MÁXIMO SÍMBOLO DEL PACHUCA
 
Más rápido que un felino… así fue Miguel Ángel Calero Rodríguez protegiendo de poste a poste su arco. Lamentablemente, así de veloz también fue su estadía en un mundo que lo vio convertirse en uno de los mejores porteros de su época, ganando títulos con la selección de Colombia en la Copa América del 2001, y con los clubes Deportivo Cali, Atlético Medellín y el Pachuca mexicano en una serie de campeonatos.
Sin embargo, la grandeza del guardameta del Valle del Cauca no terminaba ahí. Calero poseía un lado humano que sobrepasaba su talento como portero futbolista y líder de sus equipos.
“El hombre era de esos porteros que tú como niño querías imitar... esos colores extravagantes y la forma en la cual se uniformaba lo distinguían. Él era un portero alegre, distinto… un ganador que nos demostró como levantarnos y amar a la vida. Calero es un superhéroe del cual yo le contare historias a mis hijos y a mis nietos”, señaló Memo Pachanga, arquero del equipo Itagüí de la liga invernal de futsal en Chelsea.
Por su parte, el colombiano Esteban Tula, residente de Revere, lo recordó diciendo que “una vez de niño hasta le pedí que me diera fuerza telepáticamente cuando estaba tapando en una recocha de la cuadra”.
Calero no fue solamente una pieza clave para que el Pachuca se convirtiera en una de las mejores escuadras de la última década de la liga mexicana, sino que también llegó a ser uno de los futbolistas más queridos en el país azteca.
“A los hinchas, tanto a adultos como a niños, nos enseñó a ser triunfadores y ser familia. Él siempre fue una inspiración para ser mejores y para valorar, luchar y esforzarnos por lo que queremos”, apuntó el entrenador salvadoreño de Saugus Jorge Chiquillo.
Después de retirarse de las canchas en Septiembre del 2011, Calero continuó afiliado con los ‘Tuzos’ al asumir el cargo de director técnico de arqueros.
A pesar de que el cuerpo de Calero ya no está en este mundo, su espíritu sigue vivo con el legado que nos deja, el cual será aprovechado por muchos jóvenes que seguían su gran ejemplo. En especial por aquellos que se desempeñan debajo del arco y/o desean ser líderes comunitarios.

Dato interesante: Marcó tres goles en su carrera futbolística (uno desde la media cancha, otro de media volea y otro de cabeza con la gorra puesta).

- Y gracias por no fumar!
El portero colombo-mexicano, Miguel 'El Cóndor' Calero, saludando a
sus fanáticos. Picture from slimcelebrities.com
 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Héctor ‘Macho’ Camacho Fue Todo Un Showman




UN VISTAZO A LOS 50 AÑOS DE VIDA DEL GRAN BOXEADOR PUERTORRIQUEÑO
Nacido en Puerto Rico y criado en Harlem, Nueva York, Héctor ‘Macho’ Camacho pasó mas de mitad de su vida peleando en un ring de boxeo.
En una carrera deportiva llena de altibajos, Camacho entretuvo a muchos fanáticos del boxeo con la rapidez de sus manos, sus llamativos atuendos, extravagantes joyas y su estilo de vida fuera del cuadrilátero.
"Todos lo querían aquí en Puerto Rico", dijo Henry Neumann, secretario del Departamento de Recreación y Deportes. "Es uno de esos atletas que trascienden las barreras de su país, no sólo por sus habilidades dentro del ring, sino por las características de su personalidad".
En los anos ochenta, el boxeador puertorriqueño conquistó los títulos superpluma, ligero y welter junior, y participó en combates épicos contra su compatriota Félix ‘Tito’ Trinidad, el mexicano Julio César Chávez, el panameño Roberto Durán, el mexicoamericano Oscar De La Hoya, y los estadounidenses Sugar Ray Leonard y Ray Mancini.
Una de las de vida que nos deja Camacho es que en este mundo siempre hay que pararse después de ser derribado. “Héctor se está ahogando en las drogas”, apuntó Billy Giles a principio de los años ochenta mientras era su entrenador. Sin embargo, el boxeador boricua combatió en los mejores cuadriláteros del mundo hasta el año 2010, cuando decidió colgar los guantes con una marca personal de 79-6-3.
A pesar de que ‘Macho Man’ estaba consciente de sus problemas fuera del ring, su lógica pura lo contradecía a sí mismo. Por un lado admitía “no puedo seguir abusando de mi cuerpo. Esta vida nocturna que tengo me va a terminar matando”, pero por otro lado bromeaba acerca de sus constantes accidentes automovilísticos diciendo que mientras tuviese licencia para conducir, iba a continuar chocando carros, porque esa era la única manera de convertirse en un gran conductor.
Es curioso que previo a sus enfrentamientos él mismo se coreaba ‘Macho Time’ para animar a su público y a sí mismo, ya que el pasado sábado 24 de noviembre, fue verdaderamente ‘Macho Time’ para Héctor Camacho. Lastimosamente las heridas de bala que le impactaron en la cara lo dejaron en coma por cuatro largos días antes de decirle adiós al mundo que hizo vibrar de emoción por tantas décadas con su talento y forma de ser.
José Sulaimán, presidente del Consejo Mundial de Boxeo, lo recordó con las siguientes palabras: "Fue un gran peleador que dejó una historia imborrable en el boxeo mundial. En la soledad era completamente diferente a la extrovertida que era su vida pública, y era uno de los pocos peleadores que se me acercaba y me dirigía palabras de cariño”.
Cuando John Russell fue preguntado por la experiencia que tuvo con Camacho cuando lo entrenó a mediados de los años noventa, el coach norteamericano sintetizó la vida del gran boxeador puertorriqueño de forma honesta y sencilla mencionando que “aunque muchos sabíamos la lucha que ‘Héctor’ tenia contra la adicción al alcohol y las drogas, él nunca me dio ningún problema… él simplemente estaba lleno de vida y era una gran persona con quien uno disfrutaba estar”.
- Y gracias por no fumar!
Camacho en el ring se robaba todas las miradas de los espectadores.
 Imagen de google.com
 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

No Gentleman On The Pitch


26th minute, score is 1-0 Shakhtar winning. The soccer match is about to be resumed after the referee stopped it due to a collision between two opposing players.
In an effort to apply the FIFA fair play rule, one of the Shakhtar’s players kicks the ball out to the Nordsjaelland’s defense so they can start playing from the back, but wait a minute -I cannot believe my eyes- Luiz Adriano from Shakhtar ignores the intention of his teammate, runs after the ball, gets it and scores while everyone else on the field is not moving.
To make the match even more unforgettable, the referees get together and do not cancel out the goal.
Call it however you want… shameful, cheap shot, dirty, unfair, illegal, etc. I just think it is crazy how soccer plays out sometimes. On one hand, there are super honest players like Miroslav Klose, who called off his own goal with Lazio after scoring with his hand. And on the other, there are shameless and disrespectful players like Luiz Adriano who dishonored the FIFA fair play rule at its worst.
I had never witnessed such a pathetic behavior in soccer before. And I hope I never will again -not only for the love I have for the game- but for the reputation and future of the most popular sport in the world.
Like my friends said “they should create an anti FIFA fair play award and give it to Luiz Adriano... Maybe that way he will be embarrassed of his actions. Shame on him!”

- Y gracias por no fumar! 

 
Luiz Adriano right after scoring his controvertial goal. Picture from guardian.co.uk




Monday, November 12, 2012

Bad Choice


Honest question: Who is watching the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers tonight? …yeah, me neither. This may be one of the worst Monday Night Football games ever in the history of MNF.
Out of so many good match-ups this weekend, why this game? Seriously! This makes me wonder, what was the league thinking when it scheduled this boring game? Or maybe a better question would be: what does the league try to accomplish with this?
No disrespect, but this is one of the most unappealing games of the regular season, and yet it was chosen to be a MNF game… wow! Is this a marketing strategy by the league to promote teams or something? If it is, I do not understand it.  
To make a long (and boring) story short, Roethlisberger will have a great performance. Cassel… not so much. Pittsburgh will not only crush Kansas City, but they will remind them of the problems that they have been carrying over throughout this season. And, the ratings of the NFL on tonight’s Monday Night Football will drop drastically.
Luckily for the NFL, football is America’s favorite sport, so tomorrow’s game will not have a negative impact on the next Monday’s match-up.
Tonight’s game is so pathetic that even NFL.com could not come up with a better description about the match-up than this one to promote it.
“Why this game is intriguing: A Monday Night Football game ranked this low? Say it ain't so. But so it is. Ben Roethlisberger and his merry band of burly running backs are rumbling along, while the Chiefs are doing just the opposite. Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel fired himself as defensive coordinator after last Thursday's loss to the Chargers, but is that cause for optimism? We'll see. The storyline to watch here is Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, former Chiefs coach, taking on his old team. If Pittsburgh gets up big, will Haley rub it in? That is to say, how much will he rub it in? Bad blood still runs deep.”
So, what else is on TV tonight?

- Y gracias por no fumar!
 
Steelers defenders tackling a player of the Chiefs. Picture from steelers.com
 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jets Got Nothing


I got news for you New York: with Mark Sanchez as quarterback the Jets are never winning a Super Bowl! It does not matter how many more opportunities Coach Rex Ryan gives him, or how much support Sanchez receives from the team in general… he is just not a winning quarterback. Period!

Honestly, it is a shame for all the real talented players on the team because I believe that if they were being led by a better quarterback, this group of players would have won a Super Bowl already, and would be championship contenders this season, too.
It is sad to think that the team that has had one of the toughest defenses in the NFL for the past four years has not found the results they have been seeking since Coach Ryan took charge of the team and created a winning mentality within the organization.
Clearly, the Jets are missing just one piece to get the puzzle together. But, unfortunately for them, it happens to be the most important piece out of all. It is just surprising to me to notice that Coach Ryan and/or the Jets organization have not realized this yet, or just do not want to admit it.
In my opinion, this is not only an insult to super star players like Revis, Holmes, Cromartie, and Greene, but also to the team's fans. Oh, and if it has even crossed your mind that Tim Tebow is the solution to the problem, then you are headed to some big disappointment because I doubt that the miracle that happened in Denver last year will repeat itself in New York all over again.
- Y gracias por no fumar!
QB Mark Sanchez sitting on the turf after a play unfolded.
Picture from espn.go.com

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dethroned


It is no secret that the choices we make, define our lives. Whether you are a celebrity or a regular human being, your decisions will have an impact on someone or something and you will be judged (evaluated) upon it.

Unfortunately, for former professional cyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong, this judgment came once he had accomplished a lot in life and took it all away quickly, fairly. The most disappointing part about this is not all the fans, sponsors and country he let down, but the toll that the LIVESTRONG cancer foundation took due to his acts.

Let's all remember that -putting all negative facts aside- this organization fights for a great humanitarian cause. People every day die from cancer and families are affected by it. Though this campaigning is greatly affiliated with Armstrong's image and own life, and, sadly, was jeopardized by his own self, let's not turn our backs on it.

Like the saying "don't hate the game, hate the player", it is our choice to either turn our backs on a foundation that is determined to help others, or to keep believing in a good cause. If we really think about it, the support we have been giving the organization was never about Armstrong... It was all about the people who are fighting this horrible illness.

Let's keep on helping, so others can keep on fighting... Let's all keep living strong!
                                                                                                                 - Y gracias por no fumar!

Wristband and message of Livestrong campaign.
Picture from myspace.com

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Encuentro De Números Uno

Este fin de semana los Patriotas de Nueva Inglaterra viajan a la costa oeste del país para enfrentarse a unos Seahawks de Seattle que no le temen a nadie.
Los Patriotas llegan a este partido, al igual que los Seahawks, con un record de 3 victorias y 2 derrotas. Sin embargo, lo más interesante de este partido no será que ambos equipos poseen un promedio ganador de .600, sino que será un verdadero duelo de defensiva contra ofensiva.
Después de cinco fechas disputadas, la ofensiva de Nueva Inglaterra se encuentra de primera en el ranking de la NFL con 19 touchdowns, 2.197 yardas recorridas (1.370 yardas completadas en pases y 827 yardas corridas). Y, a su vez, la defensiva de Seattle ocupa el mismo puesto con solamente 6 touchdowns permitidos, 1.293 yardas concedidas (333 por tierra y 960 por aire), acumulando 3 intercepciones y 16 saqueadas al mariscal de campo rival, y provocando 8 arrebatos de balón (fumbles).
El equipo del oeste no es cosa de juego. Desde el inicio de temporada el entrenador Pete Carroll y la organización de los Seahawks de Seattle han demostrado tener carácter con sus decisiones. Por ejemplo, recordemos que el talentoso receptor Terrell Owens fue cortado del roster del equipo por ser problemático y tener un mal desempeño, y Matt Flynn, a pesar de haber sido traído al equipo para ser el mariscal de campo titular, perdió la posición debido a la excelente pre-temporada del novato Russell Wilson.
A Seattle le gustan estos desafíos y harán todo lo posible para terminar el partido con record de 4 ganados y 2 perdidos, en vez de 3-3. El jugar en casa les brinda confianza y los convierte en un equipo mucho más peligroso de lo que ya son en esta batalla entre la defensiva y la ofensiva número uno de la NFL.
¿Será que es verdad que la ofensiva es poderosa, pero que la defensiva es la que gana campeonatos? No se pierdan el encuentro el domingo a las 4:05 de la tarde en el CenturyLink Field.
- Y gracias por no fumar!
 
NFL hottest matchup on week 6: # 1 Defense vs. # 1 Offense.
Picture from prod.www.patriots.clubs.nfl.com
 





 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Brady vs. Manning

¡La rivalidad de la década pasada regresa! Este fin de semana traerá uno de los encuentros más esperados, llamativos y emocionantes del calendario de la temporada regular de la NFL.
Los Patriotas de Nueva Inglaterra recibirán en el Gillette Stadium a los Broncos de Denver el domingo a las 4:25 de la tarde en un partido que contará con la presencia de dos de los mejores mariscales de campo en la historia del futbol americano.
Tom Brady y Peyton Manning, quienes protagonizaron históricos partidos la década pasada cuando Manning jugaba para los Colts de Indianápolis, se verán las caras nuevamente después de un año de ausencia por parte de Manning por lesiones. Sin embargo, esta vez Manning vendrá con un arsenal nuevo de jugadores pertenecientes a los Denver de Broncos, quienes darán todo por el todo para salir victoriosos del encuentro.
La cita entre Nueva Inglaterra y Denver promete mucho por varias razones:
1.       Ambos equipos vienen de ganar arrolladoramente este domingo pasado (Los Broncos vencieron 37 – 6, y los Patriotas dominaron 52 – 28), y, al mismo tiempo, han demostrado ser igual de vulnerables en juegos anteriores.
2.       Tanto ofensiva como defensivamente, ambas unidades se han visto muy bien, pero también muy mal, y los aspectos en los que tienen que mejorar son muy similares. Por ejemplo, los dos equipos necesitan tener un mejor juego ofensivo por tierra y jugar bien los 60 minutos de partido.
3.       Poseen entrenadores inteligentísimos y con mucha experiencia.
4.       Es un encuentro personal entre Brady y Manning, porque en Noviembre del 2010, Brady y sus Patriotas vencieron a Manning y su ex equipo, los Colts.
5.       Y es un encuentro personal entre Nueva Inglaterra y Denver también, porque los Patriotas derrotaron sin compasión a los Broncos en el juego divisional de la post-temporada del 2011.
Aunque el partido y sus protagonistas hablan por sí solos, lo cierto es que el margen de error será bien pequeño para que un equipo se sobreponga al otro el domingo por la tarde, y ultimadamente vencerá el equipo que este mejor sincronizado a nivel ofensivo y defensivo.


- Y gracias por no fumar!
 
Brady on the left and Manning on the right. Picture from ru-crazy.com




 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Historic Day For Two Venezuelan Big Leaguers


Omar Vizquel and Miguel Cabrera were the center of attention on the night of October 3, 2012. While it might have been for very different reasons, they both made the Venezuelan people and Latino communities all over the world proud.
It is easy to tell that Vizquel and Cabrera are nothing alike, but they shined on the same day, coincidently. While Omar Vizquel is super charismatic and talkative, Miguel Cabrera is not a people person. During his 24 year MLB playing career, Vizquel was a role model on and off the field, always helpful and understanding with the media and fans… Parents would want their kids to look up to him. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Cabrera.
Though, what can be said is that the kid was born to play the game of baseball. Cabrera has not disappointed anyone on the field since he was a prospect. Throughout his years in the Majors, he has been a home run and RBI machine, putting unbelievable numbers season after season.
Off the field, I must admit that I do not like the guy, but, on the field, he is the best player a team can have. Cabrera has shown to be a complete player, doing well with his glove, extraordinary with his bat, and a true team player. Therefore, I am excited that he won the Triple Crown this season after 45 years without a winner, and I feel proud and blessed to have witnessed such a historic accomplishment. He totally deserved it! And who knows? Maybe this is what he needed to start being more matured, responsible and respectful off the field.
Vizquel, without a doubt, was also brought into this world to play ‘ball’, as well. Blessed with so much talent, Omar shared smiles and stories with thousands of people during his baseball career. His sense of humor and humbleness made it easy for him to be liked and admired by baseball fans from all over the world. And his mental and physical preparation for the game, as well as his skills, allowed him to be privileged enough to enjoy and be one of the few players who ever played the game through four different decades in the MLB (from 1989 to 2012).
Last night, at the age of 45, Omar Vizquel played his last baseball game as a player. The great infielder played shortstop (his routine position in his younger days), wore number 13 (exchanged numbers for a day with Lawrie), threw the ceremonial pitch, made a catch over the shoulder, hit a single in his last at-bat, and left the game with a huge standing ovation (well deserved), after being taken out of the game in the top of the ninth inning with two outs, winning the game 2-1. In a way, the game reflected a summary of his career: playing shortstop, wearing number 13, smiling, making great plays, hitting singles and making people proud, happy and joyful.

In case you are wondering…
- Miguel Cabrera won the AL Triple Crown after recording an average at-bat of .330, 44 HRs and 139 RBIs.
- Some of Vizquel’s achievements as a big leaguer are: 11 times golden glove, 3 times selected to the All Star game, fielding percentage (.985), oldest player to ever player the shortstop position (45), most number of games played at the shortstop position, least number of errors at the shortstop position in a season (3), among others.
Congratulations Miguel Cabrera and Omar Vizquel for your historic accomplishments! The Hall of Fame awaits you.

- Y gracias por no fumar!
Collage of Miguel Cabrera's and Omar Vizquel's historic nights (Own creation).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcome Back, Officials!


Now that the NFL and the referees have reached an eight-year agreement to come back into the game as early as today (Thursday, September 27), there will be no excuses for the losing teams anymore.

Yes, it is true that the replacement officials were not as good as the ‘old-time referees’, but if it was not for them, there would had not been football this season (or it would had begun late, at least).
To me, it is a little harsh to blame it all on them and to criticize them so much when they actually did everyone a favor (fans, players, teams and the league included). It is true that sometimes they would not make good calls, but they would not do it for either team… it was not that they were favoring a team, or picking a side.
Let’s be a little more grateful to the replacement referees, because for as much as they may have been inconsistent with their calls and not on the same page with one another, it was really the league’s fault for being so careless, cheap and unaware of reality. The performance of the replacement referees may have changed the perception of the game, however, the NFL should have known better about these replacement referees and not let the image of the NFL deteriorate the way it did.
For the experienced officials, I just want to say “congratulations” for standing up to the league and, principally, for demonstrating how important they are to the sport (they did give their point across!). For the past three weeks, football has not been the same without them, as they not only know each and every one of the rules of the NFL and are familiar with them, but are part of the game of football itself.
And, to the replacement officials, I believe it is fair to say “thank you” because they took this big responsibility, did the best they could, tried really hard and stepped up when the league, the fans and the sport needed them the most.
Now that all is going back to ‘normal’, I assume that Green Bay and New Orleans are never losing again… NOT! All I hope is that the officials do not make any mistakes any time soon, because who-knows what people may start rumoring or talking about.
To conclude, I just want to ask: Was all the wait and trouble really necessary? It is funny to see that usually human beings need to hit rock bottom to realize that they were being too hard-headed when making the wrong decisions. The NFL should have simply met the demands of the experienced referees and not taken them for granted... It was truly a risk not worth taking, as it affected its reputation and integrity, and now a great number of fans and players feel disrespected by it.

- Y gracias por no fumar!
 
Ed Hochuli (image) is one of the best known and experienced
officials in the NFL. Picture from cbssports.com


Monday, September 17, 2012

Stupid NHL Lockout


The National Hockey League’s lockout makes no sense. It jeopardizes the sport’s popularity and punishes the fans the most. While the players and the league’s association come to terms, the sport itself misses on the continuation and development of the game.

Hockey is the fourth most popular sport in The United States, surpassed by football, baseball and basketball. However, this current lockout has not even caused half the commotion that the NFL or NBA had during their own recent lockouts.
As a matter of fact, the current strike of the NFL referees has received much more attention from the media and the general public than the NHL lockout.
This situation between the NHL and the league is not smart all. If the matter does not get resolved, most of the players will just go to play in Europe (from rookies to super stars) and no professional action will be seen in America. Also, hockey will suffer from it, as the support of the fans will disappear and the sport’s popularity ranking will drop drastically.
The players and the league need to understand that they are the only responsible for the future of hockey. The consequences could be devastating, if an agreement is actually not met. And, of course, in that case, the players and the league would be held accountable for, as this is -sadly- all about who gets the biggest portion of the business and who has more power over whom.

- Y gracias por no fumar!
 
Image created to reflect the current reality of the NHL.
Picture from forums.mammothmountain.com
 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What Is Ronaldo's Deal?


The player who has it all, apparently, is not happy. How is that possible?
Cristiano Ronaldo plays for the most famous club in the world, enjoys a salary of about ten million euros per year, and dates a smoking hot super model. Again, how is he sad?
Reportedly, Ronaldo’s family is doing just fine and, despite the rumors, money is not what the Portuguese soccer phenomenon is looking for. Also, he already sent a message to his Real Madrid fans expressing that ‘he will not let his professional commitment to the team and himself affect or interfere with his performance on the pitch’.
So, where is he going with this? Why is he making such an unnecessary commotion?
He said he feels lonely and not loved by Real Madrid, but how can he feel that way when he is the most expensive player on the team’s roster? Every time he scores a goal almost every one of his teammates run to hug and congratulate him, the coach adores him. In addition, Ronaldo plays the position he likes, is rarely substituted, takes pretty much all the free-kicks and penalty-kicks, his jersey is the one that is sold the most, and shares locker room with a few of his national squad teammates. What else could he possibly want!?
 This is just too strange for me to understand… maybe former Real Madrid defender, Roberto Carlos, is right on the dot when he said that ‘Ronaldo is probably upset because he did not win the Best Player of Europe Award last week’. But for whatever reason it may be, what it is certain is that Cristiano Ronaldo needs to stop whining and crying, to get his act together, and to cut off his childish attitude.
Real Madrid needs men on the field to accomplish all the goals it has in mind for this and every season… little boys who need attention and like being ‘drama-queens’ are not going to help the team at all.
- Y gracias por no fumar!
Cristiano Ronaldo showing his discomfort, unhappiness, frustration,
 or whatever it may be. Picture from euronews.com

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cliff Divers Were Well Received In Boston


Last weekend, The Institute of Contemporary Art, located by the Boston Harbor, became the stage to witness one of the most fascinating sports events on the planet.
Fourteen cliff divers from all around the world were the center of attention in this event that hosted about sixteen thousand spectators, who were delighted with every one of the jumps performed by each one of the cliff divers from the 80 feet tall platform, located on the roof of the institute.
Interestingly enough, one of the most outstanding cliff divers was Colombian, Orlando Duque, who is currently in first place of the overall standings with 770 points, and finished second in last Saturday’s competition with a score of 430.20.
“This good performance is dedicated to all the Colombian people and the Latino community of Boston. I thank everyone for their support”, said the athlete of Cali, Colombia, after the competition was over. While answering questions, Duque showed optimism about the future of this sport in Boston, because in countries like Italy and France, where the event is well known, the presence of the public varies between forty to seventy thousand people.
- Y gracias por no fumar!
 
Orlando Duque lifting his 1st Place trophy at a previous competition.
Picture from redbull.ca
 
Orlando Duque jumping off the platform in the Boston Harbor.
Picture from redbull.com
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From Cuba To The World


Before Alberto Vasallo Jr. migrated to the United States of America, he would always play baseball with the Cuban player who would become a pitcher of the Boston Red Sox, Luis Tiant. “I was able to hit only one single off of Luis when we played ball as kids”, Vasallo Jr. mentioned during a radio interview in the baseball radio station 850 AM.
As you can imagine, Vasallo Jr. and Tiant developed a great friendship after seeing each other so much at the baseball parks in Cuba. However, when they both left the country by their own means and ways, it was uncertain if they would see each other again.
What was certain though was that when Vasallo Jr. arrived in Miami from Cuba, he came with the goal to have a better life and to represent his beautiful country and Latin American culture well. Mr. Alberto made the United States his home, and when he moved to Boston, he was able start a family with his wife Flor Vasallo, who helped him found the Spanish Weekly Newspaper ‘El Mundo’.
Curiously, the newspaper itself highlights the quality of human being that Alberto Vasallo Jr is: respectful, professional, a full time contributor, and a sports and community man, among other characteristics. The newspaper is pure evidence of these characteristics of his, since ‘El Mundo’ Newspaper has always been focused on integrating the community with the sports, constantly supporting the different activities of the Latino youth and culture, and celebrating their accomplishments.
For these reasons, immense heart and forty years of committed service to the Latino community through his newspaper and other media sources, Alberto Vasallo Jr. had the honor to be invited by the Red Sox Organization to throw the first pitch prior to the Red Sox game on August 8, 2012.
Of course that Vasallo Jr.’s first pitch was caught by the one and only Luis Tiant, who gladly attended the ceremony organized for his dear friend Alberto. The occasion was also used to celebrate the commemoration of the Latino Youth Award’s night at Fenway Park with the help of David Ortiz, Franklin Morales, Pedro Ciriaco y Bobby Valentine.
Congratulations to Alberto Vasallo Jr. on his merits and everything he has done for the Latinos in the New England region and the rest of the country. Undoubtedly, Vasallo Jr. is an inspiration, a true gentleman and a role model!
- Y gracias por no fumar!


Alberto Vasallo Jr. at Fenway Park right before throwing the first pitch prior
 to the Red Sox's game on August 8, 2012. Picture from my own collection.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Latino Olympic Gold

Undoubtedly, the 2012 London Olympics did not disappoint. As usual, the Olympic Games ended with gratifying memories of unexpected victories, amazing performances, broken records, and an electrifying atmosphere full of emotions.
But, clearly for South, Central and North America there was no greater satisfaction than when Latino athletes got their thirteen gold medals in their respective disciplines.
Cuba stood out with five gold medals thanks to the immense efforts by Robeisy Carrazana Ramirez in men’s boxing (52 kg fly category), Roniel Iglesias Solotongo in men’s boxing (light welterweight 64 kg category), Idalys Ortiz in the women's judo (+78 kg category), Mijain Lopez Nunez in men’s wrestling (GR 120 kg category) and Leuris Pupo surprised the world by winning the men’s 25 meter rapid fire pistol.
Brazil followed the great achievement of the Cubans with three gold medals through the individual participation of Sarah Menezes in the women's judo (-48 kg category) and the collective participation of its women's volleyball team and women's gymnastics.
Also, in a group effort, the men’s Mexican soccer team claimed the gold after defeating the powerful Brazilian soccer team 2 to 1 at the Olympic soccer finals.
And, in their own means (individually), Venezuelan Rubén Limardo became "the Zorro of Venezuela" to capture the Olympic gold in men's fencing, Colombian Mariana Pajon dealt well with the pressure and held onto the experts’predictions by winning in the women’s BMX cycling, Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic repeated his first place from Athens 2004 in the men’s 400 meter hurdles, and Sebastian Eduardo Crismanich of Argentina became the champion of the men's taekwondo (category-80 kg).
Of course that these achievements not only made the Latino Community feel proud and jump out of excitement, but also aroused the enthusiasm and set the goal of multiplying the number of Latino gold medals for the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

Did you know?

Erick Barrondo won the first and only medal in the Olympic history of Guatemala after reaching the second place (silver medal) in the men’s 20 km race walk with a marked time of 1 hour 18 minutes and 57 seconds.

- Y gracias por no fumar!


Venezuelan Ruben Limardo (men's fencing champion) showing his Olympic
 gold medal to journalist Cristina Ettedgui and the whole entire world.
 Picture from Cristina Ettedgui's collection.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Recap: The Manning Effect

It is incredible and yet very credible all the commotion that four time regular season MVP Peyton Manning created among teams ever since the Colts released him. Though he is now thirty six years old and had four neck surgeries last year, he is still a very desirable player to have on a NFL roster, based on the interest he received from so many teams up until he decided to play for the Denver Broncos.

But regardless of whether the Broncos are a good pick by Manning, or if he should have retired as a Colt, there is no doubt that the Broncos of John Elway have demonstrated to have a great deal of faith in whatever Manning may have left in the tank by offering him a contract that made him the highest paid player in the history of the game.

In addition to it, this off-season Manning has shown the power that one player has over so many others by creating a ripple effect on numerous teams' plans and players' contracts... especially the QBs of the league.

After Manning signed up for the Broncos, the teams that were most interested in him had to take drastic measures and go in a direction. For instance, the 49ers jeopardized their relationship with their 2011-2012 starting QB Alex Smith when he learned that the team was after Manning. The Dolphins and Cardinals were rejected by Manning, and consequently they had to sign QB Garrard, who missed all last year due to back surgery (Dolphins), and resigned QB Kolb (Cardinals). Also, the Titans were big contenders to sign Manning, but failed to do so, which gave no better option to the team than to resign QB Hasselbeck one more year. Lastly, the Seahawks and Jets were dismissed by Manning early in the race, which allowed the Seahawks to move fast and sign QB Flynn (very good and smart move by them. Personally, I believe Flynn will help the team improve tremendously), and made the Jets decide to resign QB Sanchez for three more years. In addition, the Jets landed last year's Broncos QB sensation Tim Tebow, who was traded to New York a couple of days after Manning signed for the Broncos.

All these moves occurred due to the circumstances of last year and the 2012 NFL draft. If Manning had not been out last season, the Colts had not had a terrible back up QB, or the Colts had won at least one more game, they would have not been granted the first draft pick of the 2012, and consequently, senior Stanford QB Andrew Luck would have never been in the picture for the Colts.

As for Manning, undoubtedly he will be a first ballot round hall of famer (unless he crashes his car into a tree after a fight with his wife and mistresses start popping out of everywhere). But this story goes on to show the value of the reputation of a player, the influence of the position that you play on the field, the importance of circumstances, and the determination of a team and GM to take risks in order for the team to be in a better situation and have a successful run to win the Super Bowl as soon as possible.


- Y gracias por no fumar!

Peyton Manning during his presentation with the Denver Broncos.
 Picture from sportsillustrated.cnn.com