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
Orlando Duque jumping off the platform in the Boston Harbor.
Picture from

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 RubĂ©n 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