The Sports Archives – Jeremy Lin and The NBA Season of Linsanity

“I just try to play as hard as I can every possession. If you’re aware and you’re high-energy, the ball will eventually bounce your way and you’ll be able to make plays.” -Jeremy Lin

Origins and Adversities

Born to Taiwanese-Chinese Christian parents in Los Angeles, California, Jeremy Lin grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Right up until the moment he lit up the NBA in the 2011-2012 season, Lin never seemed to get enough credit for his explosive energy and great talent on the court, and always faced some kind of resistance as he pursued his career in basketball.

Despite earning the honor of Northern California Player of the Year as a senior in high school, he received no athletic scholarship offers.

He attended Harvard University, where his playing made him a three-time All-Conference player in the Ivy League. Yet he went undrafted out of college, but managed to reach a partially guaranteed contract with his hometown Golden State Warriors in 2010.

His rookie season he was rarely let off the bench and was assigned to the NBA Development League three times. He was waived by the Warriors and the Houston Rockets the following preseason and joined the New York Knicks early in the 2011–12 season.

Facing Down Racial Stereotypes

Lin is one of few Asian Americans to play professional basketball, and the first American of Chinese descent to play in the league.

Lin has said: “I do think [my ethnicity] did affect the way coaches recruited me. I think if I were a different race, I would’ve been treated differently.”

He said that at games in most if not all Ivy League gyms he would hear racial taunts such as “Go back to China!” “Wonton soup!” “Sweet and sour pork!” “Open your eyes!” and mocking impressions of spoken Chinese.

One of Lin’s Harvard teammates, Oliver McNally, says he once heard another Ivy League player call Lin a “chink.” Lin defines himself not according to his race, “Asian American,” but as a basket player.

“Maybe I can help break the stereotype, I feel like Asians in general don’t get the respect that we may deserve whether it comes to sports, basketball, or whatever it might be.”

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey admitted to racism affecting his team’s decision to pass on Lin, citing Lin’s performance in pre-draft testing:

“He lit up our [statistical] model. Our model said take him with, like, the 15th pick in the draft.” A year later, the Rockets began using the speed of a player’s first two steps as a critical performance metric.

Lin was the fastest of any player measured and his agility was far above average in the NBA. “He’s incredibly athletic,” said Morey, “But the reality is that every f***ing person, including me, thought he was unathletic. And I can’t think of any reason for it other than he was Asian.”

The 2012 Season of Linsanity

During the 2011-2012 NBA season, while playing for the Knicks against the New Jersey Nets and their All-Star guard Deron Williams, Lin scored 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists— all career bests, leading a 99–92 win for the Knicks.

Following this performance Lin was given his first NBA career start in a game against the Utah Jazz. The team was missing two of its all-star players because one had to leave the game with an injury and the other hand a death in the family.

Lin repeated his stellar performance, scoring 28 points and 8 assists, leading the Knicks’ 99–88 victory. The amount of fan attention and good will was nothing short of a marvel. Amid the swell of enthusiasm, Time Magazine ran an article entitled, “It’s Official: Linsanity Is for Real.”

Sports Illustrated put Lin on its cover with the headline “Against All Odds,” which the New York Times called “the greatest tribute.” Lin also graced the cover of Time in Asia prompting Forbes Magazine to write, “Congratulations Jeremy. You have now made the cover of Time the same number of times as Michael Jordan. Linsanity reigns on.”

NBA commissioner David Stern said,” I haven’t done a computation, but it’s fair to say that no player has created the interest and the frenzy in this short period of time, in any sport, that I’m aware of like Jeremy Lin has.”

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The Sports Archives – 4 Martial Arts Disciplines that Can Make You a Better Athlete

The conventional view about professional athletes is that they stick to a single sport or discipline and then train vigorously within that discipline to reach new levels of skill and physical achievement. However what many athletes often do is mix and match various disciplines in order to complement their training regimen.

This is especially true when athletes incorporate martial arts into their training. The martial arts involve a variety of disciplines that are highly effective at helping their practitioners achieve peak physical and mental condition. Martial arts serve to build focus, mental discipline, flexibility, energy, strength, and other critical attributes in practitioners. Specific martial arts disciplines can even be utilized to develop targeted skills such as footwork and pass protection in football.

Whatever type of athletic activity you’re involved in, martial arts disciplines are some of the best elements you can add to your training regimen to achieve higher levels of conditioning. Here are 4 martial arts disciplines that are sure to make you a better athlete.

1. Muay Thai

Muay Thai has become wildly popular among martial arts enthusiasts for its unique style that emphasizes creative usage of unconventional parts of the body for striking. Sometimes referred to as the “art of 8 limbs,” Muay Thai makes use of elbows, shins, and knees in addition to fists and feet.

Because of this full range of physical contact, Muay Thai training tends to be extremely intensive and thorough. Athletes who practice this martial art are able to derive the benefit of a full body conditioning that has few rivals. Like many other martial arts disciplines, Muay Thai makes use of shadowboxing, running, jump-roping, weight training, medicine ball and abdominal exercises to complement technique training. This discipline also makes extensive use of the heavy bag to strengthen less-examined regions like the shin bone, which can have practical applications for other sports as well.

2. Karate

It is common in Western societies to generalize many types of martial arts as “karate,” whereas karate itself is a distinct martial arts discipline with its own body of techniques, training methods, philosophy, and history. There is a good reason for this generalization though, since karate gained international fame for its legendary power, and the discipline was catapulted into the mainstream thanks to martial arts movies focusing on karate. Today karate is still revered as one of the great martial arts disciplines to come out of the East, and enjoys a dedicated following.

Karate is a versatile system of martial arts that includes punches, kicks, throws, grapples, and joint-locks, and you can expect to get a full-body workout practicing it. One standout attribute of karate is its unique emphasis on mental discipline. Every martial arts discipline involves some sort of mental conditioning, but with karate it is something that has been a major part of the practice for centuries.

Those practicing karate can expect to work on mental focus, humility, and conscientiousness among other things. This can help athletes perform better on the field, execute various actions more effectively, and get more out of their training because they are better absorbing instructions.

3. Boxing

Boxing is the premier Western martial arts discipline and physical training pastime. Regarded as  a combat sport that is thought to have its origins in ancient Greece, boxing has been further developed since then in Great Britain and the United States.

Boxing places a greater emphasis on developing upper-body strength, as the sport’s rules require punches with the arms and fists that are to land no lower than the belt. Boxing is an engaging way to build up core strength and work on the arms and shoulders. Of course boxing also requires carefully coordinated footwork as well, so you can expect to work on overall coordination, flexibility, and cardio in your training.

4. MMA

MMA has become a popular martial arts discipline of choice for many athletes thanks to its versatility and flexibility. It is in the name: Mixed Martial Arts is the practice of many different techniques and styles taken from all sorts of disciplines. Originally MMA was conducted as a competition to find out which martial arts disciplines were the best, and since then the competition style has really taken off.

You could say that MMA includes all of the martial arts disciplines mentioned above as well, except that practitioners of MMA are less inclined to devote themselves to unique martial arts disciplines and their given emphases and constraints.

The “no holds barred” ethos of MMA means punches, kicks, wrestling and grappling, and many other techniques are accepted in the sport. This translates to a highly variable training regimen that can be tailored to the athlete’s specific needs.

Whatever the martial arts discipline, athletes undergoing training almost universally opt for safety gear like boxing gloves and mouth guards to accompany their training regimens. Demanding workouts like these – and the sparring that accompanies them – can be dangerous without adequate protection. With the proper training and technique, anyone can become a better athlete by applying the lessons and benefits that martial arts have to offer.

Author Bio:

Carl Turner is a personal trainer and freelance lifestyle writer from Los Angeles, California. With over 10 years of experience, he has trained many clients and has helped them to reach their personal fitness goals. During his free time, he enjoys kayaking, hiking, and reading.

Images:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Martial_arts_in_the_sunset_Stefano_Kocka.jpg
https://www.flickr.com/photos/genista/263238241
http://www.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2000784383/
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The Sports Archives – Muhammad Ali: The Greatest of All Time

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. Muhammad Ali was an African-American descendent of slaves in the pre-Civil War South.

Humble Origins

Ali grew up in a time of racial segregation and discriminatory Jim Crow laws in the south. His mother once recalled a time when he was denied a drink of water on account of his race:  “They wouldn’t give him one because of his color. That really affected him.”

In addition to facing societal adversities in the America of his time, Ali also had personal struggles due to spelling and writing abilities far below average and learning disabilities that caused him graduate school at the bottom of his class.

He became interested in boxing at the age of 12 when a Louisville police officer and boxing coach encountered a young Clay fuming over having had his bicycle stolen. The officer encourages Clay to learn how to box.

He made his debut in amateur boxing in 1954 against a local amateur boxer and won by a split decision of the judges, then went on to win six Kentucky Golden Glove titles, two National Golden Gloves, and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.

Meteoric Rise

Clay’s amateur record was a solid 100 wins and just 5 losses. After winning a gold medal in the Olympics he made his professional debut in October 1960, winning his first match.

The winning streak would go on until the end of 1963 through 19 boxing matches with 15 wins by knockout!

He defeated many of the great boxers of the time, including Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark, Doug Jones and Henry Cooper.

The Greatest of All Time

Clay developed a notorious and not always respected reputation for his trash talking of opponents, a strategy he would use his entire career to get in the other fighter’s head and provoke them to make mistakes in the ring out of anger or fear.

His brash confidence and pointed taunts were something he observed and borrowed from professional wrestling. He called Doug Jones “an ugly little man” and Henry Cooper “a bum.” He said he was embarrassed to even get in the ring with Alex Miteff.

By the end of 1963 Clay was the number one contender for Sonny Liston’s world heavyweight title. Clay was considered an underdog by bookies 7 to 1, but that didn’t stop him from taunting Liston before the fight, calling him “a big ugly bear,” and saying, “Liston even smells like a bear.”

Clay even joked, “After I beat him I’m going to donate him to the zoo.” During the pre-fight weigh in, he shouted at his opponent, “someone is going to die at ringside tonight!”

During the fight, Clay opened up a cut under Liston’s left eye, the first time he’d ever been cut in a boxing match. By the seventh round Liston did not answer the bell and Clay was declared the winner and world heavyweight champion by technical knockout.

He was the youngest boxer, at the age of 22, to ever win the heavyweight title from a reigning champion.

Muhammad Ali would go on to win many fights over an unusually long boxing career. His talents and personality always made for a great media spectacle. He died in 2016, one of the most beloved and admired professional athletes in history.

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The Sports Archives – Eliminate Stress With Alternative Activities

tandem skydivers

Credit

Life can be incredibly stressful – there are no two ways about it. But the main issue is how to stop stress from ruling your life. There are so many blogs out there that give tips on how to reduce stress – but a lot of them focus on calming your world through meditating, yoga and clean eating. And that does work for some people, and it can be a really beneficial way of relieving stress – but it isn’t for everybody. Sometimes the best way to shake off stress is to scream about it or to go base jumping. A lot of stress works its way into our lives in the form of pent-up emotion, whether that’s anger, sadness, or even giddiness. And the former two can really bring you down, making you feel worn out, ill-tempered, and even aggressive. And one of the best ways to deal with pent-up aggression is through physical exertion. One trick therapists use to help people with anger management issues, is to tack up a sport like boxing. Where you have to focus that energy into an activity, and where you have to be focused and disciplined enough to avoid injury to yourself and others.

Here are some high-energy or alternative ways of getting rid of your stress.

Adrenaline Junkie

Connect with the adrenaline junkie with you. Going base jumping, skydiving or bungee jumping are all ways of getting that adrenaline pumping. The natural endorphins released by physical activity still occur when you are throwing yourself off a cliff, and the experience will be extreme enough that you won’t be thinking about tomorrow’s meeting or presentation while you are plummeting to the ground. If you are going to be taking part in any activity like these, then make sure you’re doing it with a licensed company.

Intense Sport

All high-intensity sports have the same effect as the above, just for a prolonged amount of time. Where a bungee jump might last for an hour – including the talk and gearing up – a sport can take all day. Some ideas would be rapid kayaking, free-climbing and hang-gliding. Even slightly calmer sports like ones including paddle boards, offer the same level of concentration. And the more experienced you get, the more extreme you can take the waves. These prolonged times of intense activity gives you no room to think about anything else, and can actually help boost thought processes and creativity.

Work Out

You might just need a good round in the gym, or a run or bike ride. There are plenty of stress-busting workouts out there that are proven to deal with all the pent-up frustration you keep bottled up. You might want to look into a full body workout, and, like we said; sometimes you just need to hit something – boxercise would be a good option. You might find that you need to not think about what you need to do next, in which case, hiring a personal trainer can really push you to the limits without you getting sidetracked by next week’s deadlines.

Gaming

Gaming consoles have become an integral part of most people’s homes – especially millennials. With over 50% of millennials owning a gaming console, and many owning more than one. Gaming can be a good stress-buster, as it allows the gamer to become immersed in a different world where the worries of real life don’t matter. It’s like reading a really good book, except it’s you shooting the mob boss in the head, or you scoring that impossible goal, and not the character.

Binge Watching

We’re all guilty of it, and we all love it. Sometimes the best way of dealing with stress is to curl up on the couch with Netflix and binge watch your favourite series, or a show that you have had saved to your list for a year. Just taking the time to indulge yourself by doing something ‘naughty’ will help reduce your stress levels.

Dance

And not professionally – although if that helps you then go for it! But sticking on a playlist and dancing around like a fool. The exercise releases endorphins, and the childlike freedom you get while dancing like an idiot will make you smile. It might not get rid of the stress but it will help you to get in a better frame of mind to deal with it.

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The Sports Archives – 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Sports Season

Image credit: Unsplash.com

With winter in full swing, it’s time to start preparing for the following spring sporting season. That means no matter what sport you take part in you should start preparing your schedule, mindset, and body for whatever recreational sports team you plan to be a part of. Whether it’s baseball, soccer, or football, there are plenty of things you need to consider planning for. So, let’s get started and start preparing you for the spring season of 2018.

1. Join a Sports Group

The first thing you should do to prepare for the upcoming sports season is to join a sports group or club. Although this may seem obvious, you don’t want to wait until the last-minute to sign-up for a team and end up being the odd one out. In fact, joining a sports group early on may mean practices before the sports season starts to help you prepare even more. This pre-season training can help you get in better shape and help you make new friends for the spring season.

However, if you sign up for the team late, you may miss out on the opportunity to improve your skills and bond with your teammates. In fact, there may not even be room for you on the team. Plus, signing up early gives you plenty of time to submit any paperwork or fees that may be required by the organization.

2. Train with Your Peers

It may seem easier to train alone, but it’s not nearly as fun to train as a group or among your peers. This gives you the chance to hone your athletic skills and get to know your team. Plus, most athletes train faster when they’re working with another person, and they can give a little more push to their workout. Also, friendly competition with your friends is always a healthy approach to exercise and sports.

Additionally, you will also have access to professional knowledge. If you hire a coach to review your technique, you can use them to improve your performance and your whole team’s performance. This can help you to become the best athlete that you can be and do your best the whole season long.

3. Focus on Physical Conditioning

In preparation for your next sports season, you should primarily focus on physical conditioning. No matter what sport you are playing, physical conditioning is crucial. It can help you to boost strength and endurance, so you will be able to play better during the season.

To help you out, you should print a calendar to keep track of your progress and organize your work out times. Additionally, you should also maintain a practice log for the exercises you did and how long you worked out for.

This way, you can work on building your endurance and conditioning without the pressure of having to do it with a team. With a practice journal, you can set exercises where you work on your physical conditioning, not the physical conditioning of the entire team.

4. Set Achievable Goals

Setting achievable goals is crucial to your success as an athlete. Really think about where your skills fall short and what you would like to do better. Whether it be improving a certain skill, beating a personal record, or even setting aside time to practice on a regular basis, write down a few achievable goals you hope to complete by the end of the season. This is a great technique to use to continually improve your performance and do even better than the year before. Once your sports season is over, you can work on creating a new list of goals to work on.

5. Maintain a Healthy Diet

In addition to exercising, you should also be watching what you eat. While preparing for your next sports season, it’s never been more important to maintain a healthy diet. Eating junk food and soda every day can severely cripple your motivation to work out and ruin your performance when next season rolls around.

You should focus on eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, protein, and grains to have the right energy and attitude to exercise. Consuming foods high in starch, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the like will only weigh you and your whole team down.

There is plenty to prepare for in the next sports season. Whether it be setting new goals or training with your peers and eating a healthier diet, the number of things to consider when thinking about a new sports season is nearly limitless. Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you could get a few ideas and build on your own goals you hope to succeed by the start of the upcoming spring season.

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The Sports Archives – Protective Equipment For Paintballing

Paintball

By Nado24 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Paintballing is a fun and adventurous activity, but there are things you can do to make sure you’re always safe while practicing it. Even experienced paintball players can benefit from wearing safety gear that will provide additional protection and comfort. Today, we’ll focus on what to wear while playing paintball in an effort to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Players of all levels will benefit from the information we’re about to share.

Everyone knows that wearing only shorts and a short-sleeved shirt on the paintball playing field is a bad idea. But what type of clothing and equipment should you choose to prevent pain while facilitating a free range of movement. Paintballs are harder than actual paint. Sometimes, they can be fired at velocities that create a rip or a hole in clothing. So wearing garments that are especially thin may not be the best idea. Thick shirts and pants can absorb the impact of a paintball that strikes your body at a high velocity but too thick clothing can make you overheat and even restrict your movement. You should also consider the weather in which you’re playing to pick out clothing that’s appropriate and will keep you cool or warm.

It is very important that you do not leave any skin exposed. Paintballs sting when they come into contact with unprotected skin. If you are hit in softer tissue, a paintball can even leave a welt on exposed skin. Sometimes, they even hurt when hitting skin that is protected if your clothes are particularly thin. Your paintball experience will be as pain free as possible if you put forth the effort to dress appropriately and opt for some protective gear on top of your clothes.

Upper Body Protection

You can supplement your long sleeve t-shirt with a hoodie or a thick sweatshirt. Some players top this off with protective paintball chest protectors or tactical paintball vests for extra padding. The extra padding in these shirts offers important protection and can even take the place of an extra layer. They are also very lightweight and very comfortable and available in both long sleeve and short sleeve varieties.

Paintball

 

By Nado24 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Lower Body Protection

Two pairs of baggy elastic sweatpants are sufficient to keep your legs protected. A pair of old baggy jeans on top of long johns is also a good alternative. Jump suits, cargo pants or pants made specifically for paintball are other options to choose from. You will be running and rolling around, crawling, kneeling and diving during play, so nothing skinny or tight as it will restrict movement and possibly even blood flow. Keep in mind that outdoor paintball players are exposed to rough terrain, twigs, dirt, rocks, thorns and other objects that can easily tear holes in pants. So, use one very durable layer of pants or double up for extra protection.

Extra Protection

Many paintball players want the peace of mind that additional protection in the form of arm pads that protect the forearm from the elbow to the wrist. These are especially helpful for players who like to slide and dive throughout the paintballing game. The pads soften the blow when your arms come into contact with the ground. Some players also opt for shin pads as well. There are “slider shorts” that are designed specifically for paintball players. They are perfectly padded to provide ample lower body protection.

Head Protection

Helmet/masks designed specifically for paintball are an absolute must. As a bare minimum, you should at least wear paintball goggles. Paintballs fly through the air at 280 feet per second, which equates to about 200 miles per hour. If a paintball hits you in the head and you are not wearing protection, it will definitely hurt.

Some paintball goggles are built with thermal style lenses and are especially effective as they prevent your paintball mask from fogging up. When choosing between thermal lens goggles and single lens goggles, always prefer the thermal variety. But make sure your specific mask is compatible with the goggle fan before purchasing it.

Finally, do not forget to add on a sturdy neck protector to guard your neck’s extremely sensitive skin. If you find it uncomfortable, a bandanna around your neck can provide some protection. You can also keep your groin area safe with a cup or an elongated body armor design. But that may be a bit restrictive to your movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sports Archives – Is WWE a Professional Sport or an Entertainment Show?

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is not everyone’s cup of tea. The brutal fights and constant bickering is a feast for the WWE maniacs. However, the same is highly criticized by many.

There have been questions raised about the social impact of WWE. But more than that, the surreal atmosphere that WWE creates can often look fabricated. The question is- Is it?

The answer lies in WWE’s claim that it is the leader in sports entertainment. The term sport entertainment in itself smartly reveals WWE’s business strategy.

Sports entertainment is a type of spectacle which is accompanied with theatrics and exuberant proceedings. The purpose is to keep the event lively and the audiences hooked, and for that matter outcomes may also be predetermined. A die-hard WWE fan may provide an argument that it is ‘best for business’.

Professional sports are sports in which athletes receive payments for their performances. So it is not wrong to say that WWE can qualify as a professional sport.

There is a huge misconception that WWE matches are faked. That is not entirely true. It is just that WWE is sticking to a fixed storyline. Neither Undertaker and Kane are half-brothers, nor has Undertaker risen from death more than once. These are cooked up stories served per the taste of the fans.

WWE wrestlers can come from different streams of combat. Kurt Angle is a former Olympics freestyle wrestling gold medalist, whereas Shinsuke Nakamura and many others have a background of mixed martial arts. Mark Henry is a former amateur weightlifter, while Roman Reigns comes from a lineage of Tongan wrestling family- Anoa’i.

So to accept wrestlers of all styles and backgrounds, WWE has to tinker with the outcomes. Fans will only accept new styles if they can see the results.

The WWE Universe expands with a simple formula­­­­- castles in the air will fascinate the masses. It has been proven in the past that drifting away from a WWE storyline has been negatively received by fans. The fans are ready to accept a pointless storyline if it is executed properly.

The recent instance that any fan can recall is of Roman Reigns. He was the ‘apple of the eye’ of a WWE fan. He was a constant thorn in ‘The Authority’s’ skin. Fans were already fuming with the handling of Daniel Bryan storyline and were happy to see the vexed faces of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon week in week out.

But the Reigns vs. Authority storyline was overextended and suddenly Roman Reigns was not that ‘next big thing’ any more. The good face of Roman Reigns was completely antagonized when he beat Undertaker in WrestleMania 33. And yet again, Reigns regained his good repute after reunion of the Shield.

There can be no denying that the actions performed inside the ring cannot be faked. The high-flying action and the finishing moves is impossible to be faked. The outcome might already be known but what goes inside the ring is certainly not fake.

If combat arts (UFC, MMA etc.) are a professional sport then so is WWE.

The motive of the WWE has always been to keep its fan base waiting for the next episode. While it may not be a competitive sport anymore, but the dedication and commitment that the wrestlers put in to perform for the fans should not be given a status of an entertainment show.

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