It is a source of great comfort and joy to find out that one of your most beloved musical idols is also partial to the most amazing sport on planet earth.
Please incorporate this into a song, John. Especially
"Prior to the red carpet walk of the 2011 NHL All-Star teams, there's the promenade of the mascots. I don't think there's much I can tell you about the promenade that isn't already covered by the phrase "promenade of the mascots,"
See you in DC, Richmond, and Chapel Hill.
To add a clarification to a point in the article regarding being picked last. The NHL organizers were going to have a group of players be picked last, so that no one got singled out, but the players overwhelmingly objected. They want to see their teammates squirm.
Late-breaking news Wednesday morning -- Canes forward Jeff Skinner was promoted from the rookies team to the All-Star roster and will play in Sunday afternoon's game. Canes defenseman Jamie McBain took Skinner's place on the rookies team and will compete in the SuperSkills competition on Saturday night. Everything's televised on Versus.
Its hard to fathom the fact that bulls management sets them up with buffet of greasy fried food, I would have thought it was all fresh fruit and granola bars..LOL
Wonderful insight into the world of derby. Thanks for sharing how awesome a sport this truly is. These girls work hard, put on a hell of a show, and do it all for the love of the sport, the league and each other.
And on a side note, the next tryouts are coming up on June 5th.
Read more here http://carolinarollergirls.com/join_us/
I play for the cape fear roller girls in wilmington, nc (btw, we are bouting with the CRG Bootleggers on May 15th) and I have to say this is one of the most well-written, comprehensive and accurate articles that has been written about the the now-decade old revival of women's roller derby. We are not just pretty faces in tight tops. We don't play this sport for the fame and certainly not the money (I don't know of a single team that pays their skaters); we do it for love of the game and love of our teammates AND opponents. Thanks for getting it right, INDY!
-Truck Nutz, captain, CFRG
I'd say that's a pretty accurate assesment of what went wrong for the Heels this season. I could easily add to the laundry list. But really, the implication that the esteem of the program hinges on the success or failure of Duke in the NCAA tournament is a leap. I wouldn't call this season a "disappointment" either, but I'm a glass-half-full type of fan. The game I witnessed personally in Carmichael was the foundation for a successful '10-11 season.
You also mentioned the perceived "inflexibilty" of Roy Williams' coaching. I'm usually a pretty harsh critic, but in this case I have to give Coach Williams credit for making changes in his coaching plan (both macro and micro) that kept the ship upright. Give him props for making player position adjustments (ie John Henson) slowing the tempo on offense, efficient use on time outs to steady the players and (gasp)using the 2/3 zone when help defense didn't work. 'Ol Roy still has a slight upward tilt in his learning curve too.
So, to me at least, things aren't quite as bleak on The Hill as you make out.
agreed - there's no way to 'outlaw' fighting in the game. if you do this, other ways to express frustration/aggression will develop - this could be more dangerous than a simple 60 second delay to pick up gloves and sticks.
I don't love the fighting, but it's a part of the lore of the game, and it does serve a purpose in the intimidation portion of the competition.
Thank you for bringing up a legitimate worry in a discussion that can quickly degenerate into absurd conjecture. For all of my support of the original NASL, it was a league of imported players. This was actually a step up from a couple of their predecessors - two of which imported entire clubs on summer break from their European and South American Leagues - so in a weird way, it was progress.
The American soccer world has changed dramatically since then. Today, we export players to Europe - something unheard of in the 1970s, but a trend that started before MLS. Despite this, we think it's still important to stimulate US talent with some protectionist measures. Our transition plan to open leagues includes provisions that encourage protectionist measures along the lines of the work permits issued in the UK. While we can't copy that system - our immigration laws are different - we think there must be a way to limit imports by accepting only those that have been capped by their national teams.
This measure would leave a huge role to play for homegrown talent. Sure, top clubs could choose to import the majority of their players, but this would be cost prohibitive for most. Also, when we get to the full complement of 160 American clubs in eight leagues across four top divisions, there won't be enough capped foreign players for everyone.
As a result, lower division clubs, and many of their top division brothers, will have to rely on American talent - and that will develop our player pool.
When talking to supporters of the current system (a fraction of the fraction of number of viewers that are watching pro wrestling) you will often find them quick to cloak MLS practices in some kind of cultural imperative. They'll tell you we can't possibly adopt such an goofy system from across the pond, that the meritocracy of promotion and relegation is somehow socialist, or as weird as drinking warm beer.
In fact, we're the weird ones. American sports owners are used to their entitlements, of which the single entity is just the latest installment. I know it's impossible for the average NFL owner to conceive of a world in which promotion and relegation rule. You certainly can't have pro/rel with tight league controls like salary caps and squad size limits.
It may not work for the conventional American pro sports owner, but please don't argue that it doesn't make for good TV. As you are a Carolinian, I suspect I only have to make the faintest mention of a couple of small college basketball teams in your state that manage to draw abnormally large national tv audience every March - despite the fact that their TV market is defined as practically non-existent on Madison Avenue.
If it wasn't for a guy named Steve Ross, soccer wouldn't be the most popular youth sport in the USA. We wouldn't have the Seattle Sounders, a Portland Timbers, or maybe even an MLS. In an ownership group comprised largely of NFL and NHL owners looking for a low cost sidelight to their primary businesses, he bucked the trend and hired Pele, and maybe more importantly, Giorgio Chinaglia. As a result, for a year in the late 1970s, the Cosmos outdrew both the Giants and the Yankees, awoke American soccer from a forty year siesta.
Yes, MLS deserves credit for keeping club soccer alive for a decade and a half, even if on life support. It's amazing what they have accomplished, given that they've produced such a debilitated version of the game, and robbed it of one of it's core tenants: The meritocracy of promotion, relegation and independent clubs.
One thing is becoming clear. What works for Applebees does not work for club soccer. Tight corporate style constraints have never been a part of successful club soccer, and they don't work today. Despite the growing popularity of the game, MLS average attendance records were set in 1996, and are in no danger of falling today.
If instituting promotion and relegation worked, it might be a threat to our closed sports system, and the entitlements bestowed on our pro sports owners when Congress granted the National League their landmark anti-trust exemption in the 1920. It might expose owners to great risk. But it will capture the imagination of a new generation of fans, and will bring us a unique, exciting game.
Thanks for the opportunity to give my two cents - don't kill me with the edits!
Hi soccerreform: I agree that the MLS has a very unusual business plan that is, among other things, structurally ill-equipped for promotion and relegation. Space in our print edition didn't permit discussion of this complex issue, but there's no limit to our space in the comments section online, is there?
Here's a little tidbit in the New York Times' Goal blog that gets at issues that aren't discussed enough when we talk about why soccer in America is structured the way it is:
Two soccer officials familiar with the plans of the N.A.S.L. and U.S.L., who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the announcement, said that federation and M.L.S. officials were concerned that with Traffics backing, the N.A.S.L. would import players from South America and in essence become the anti-M.L.S. by allowing teams to sign players without worrying about a salary cap or a single-entity setup.
While I have my reservations about the MLS' business model, I do believe it deserves credit for keeping a professional soccer league afloat for 16 years. There's a lot of talk now among MLS followers about whether it's time to "take off the training wheels" and move to a system that resembles what exists in the rest of the world (which would be, ironically, a less socialized system).
The link for the passage quoted above: http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/07/fed-to-announce-deal-on-d2-league/
Nice work - except for one thing: It's not complicated why we don't apply promotion, relegation and fully independent clubs here. The apathy about soccer experts not expecting any change in the situation is true, but that's why we have to step out and change it. It's going to take a grassroots effort, and that's what we're trying to do.
Look, WWE is beating MLS 25 to 1 in cable TV ratings. That's not a failing of MLS, or American soccer, that's a failure of MLS. It's a failure that's not surprising, given a single entity system that may shield owners from risk, may allow them to experiment with tight controls on every aspect of club autonomy, and may allow them to try and develop a fan base that doesn't threaten their other endeavors, but it doesn't improve our club game, and isn't drawing a respectable TV audience.
It's time to break it free. Institute an open league system. Let clubs develop local fan bases free of ridiculous salary caps, barriers between leagues, and competing owner interests.
The open league system has crossed every other socioeconomic, geographic, and political border on the planet. It's fundamentally more free market than our socialist system of closed leagues. After century of trying to jam soccer into our domestic system, it's time to set it free...
Thanks for the notes: Regarding Roy Williams' religiosity, he says in his book that he isn't a particularly fervent believer. I don't have the book in front of me so I'll have to paraphrase: He says that although he's not very religious, he "believes in the Lord" (or words to that effect). He comes off as religious as he needs to be in a sports culture that can be quite overtly Christianhe leads the Lord's Prayer in the locker room, for example, and he recounts joining a player prayer circle after the 2005 national championship game. However, it seems clear to me that Dean Smith is far more devout than Williams.
Elph is correct that I didn't intend to suggest that Williams' resemblance to McGuire extends to the latter's ethical troubles. As for what those lapses were: Chansky tells us that McGuire had a habit of paying cash for lavish entertainment for his players and not producing receipts. One of Dean Smith's early tasks as McGuire's assistant coach was to attempt to document a particularly profligate road trip that included expensive dinners and trips to casinos in order to prepare a defense against charges brought by the NCAA. Furthermore, one of McGuire's players, Lou Brown, was charged with conspiring to fix basketball games (he and four similarly accused N.C. State players were granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony against the gamblers). McGuire ended up leaving UNC under pressureand under a cloud. He left as the program was placed on NCAA probationthus making Dean Smith's first few years quite difficult.
While I didn't intend to suggest that Williams' ethics are similar to McGuire's, it's worth noting that Williams, after arriving at Kansas with the program under sanction by the NCAA for violations committed under Larry Brown (another ex-Tar Heel on the KU-UNC axis), departed KU in 2003 with his program having committed what the NCAA would term "major violations" that took place during and after his tenure. In 2006, the KU basketball program was placed on probation for three yearsa period that ended Oct. 11, 2009and the school was ordered to banish a particular basketball booster for four years. You can read all about it here: http://www2.kusports.com/news/2006/oct/12/press_release_ncaa_committee_infractions_penalizes/
I think you misread that comment on ethics. The writer is said that McGuire may have had questionable ethics -- not Williams. Although I'd be curious to hear what McGuire ever did that was unethical.
To be clear, I've met Dennis Horner -- once, briefly -- but he had no input into these piece. This is strictly me channeling what Dennis may be thinking. Thanks!
Being a diehard State fan, I absolutely loved "Being Dennis Horner". Whether he wrote it or not, just knowing that these were his thoughts were enough to excite me even more about this season. We have your back Wolfpack! My wife often asks me (after the anguish of Wolfpack losses), why do you like them so much or why don't you get another team? Only a true Wolfpacker understands that its not an option. The red and white gets in your blood and its for life. Granted, there have been lean years but when things are good . . . they are real good. Dennis, Pack, thanks for pouring your hearts into this season. True Wolfpackers will be pouring our hearts out cheering you on.
Go Manada De Lobos!!!
A terrific article, although the similarities to Williams and McGuire incorrectly include questions about ethics. Williams is highly ethical and religious, which is why he does so well with many athletes who are from religious schools.
did Dennis horner have any input into this article? or is it simply a "if I was in Dennis Honer's head, this is how I think he'd react"?
Light Blue Reign is must-read for all Tar Heels and serious basketball fans. I've read every Carolina basketball book out there, but this is the one that puts it all together. It sort of created an epiphany for me the way the author traces the different (yet very similar) lives of Frank McGuire, Dean Smith and Roy Williams and their uncanny connections that have sustained Carolina basketball for the last 50 years and counting. Eye opening vividly told stories, with insider accounts that had me laughing and crying. If you love Carolina basketball, you'll love this book.
Also, I just finished Roy's memoir.. not much ground breaking info in it because Roy has recounted a lot of stories those before, but it's extremely well written. And some funny Roy quotes as usual.
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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