Top Ten Tuesday: Best PE/Gym Class Games

Top Ten Tuesday: Best PE/Gym Class Games

The great debate of 2021… dodgeball or kickball? This tweet kicked off the discussion for the best recess game, but the focus of this Top Ten Tuesday is on PE/gym class. So, what were/are the best games to play in gym class?

 

10. Softball

Soccer, floor hockey (inside the gymnasium on the hardwood), four square, and types of tag were among the games not to make the list. Softball gets the nod because of its variations—you could go with Wiffle ball, hand ball, or even play with a massive dodgeball/kickball ball instead of an actual softball. It might have felt bad if you took a big swing and miss (especially if you were supposed to be a good athlete), but softball games can allow students to shine at the plate, in the field, and on the base paths.

 

9. Pickleball

A combination of tennis, badminton, and table tennis (all of which, with the exception of table tennis as it is probably not in many schools, could have their own spots in the top ten), pickelball is easy to play in 1v1 or 2v2 fashion. It can be played at all competition levels: from just hitting the ball back and forth, to actively moving around and trying to deliver crafty serves and kill-shots.

 

8. Ultimate Frisbee

Most people can get the hang of throwing a frisbee, so ultimate frisbee—despite it perhaps sounding quite extreme—is accessible to just about everyone while also keeping the elements of competitiveness found in sports like football and soccer. Now termed “Ultimate”, the sport is actually eligible for the 2028 Olympics.

 

7. Speedball

Sticking with the same spirit as ultimate frisbee, speedball is another game where you try to move from one end of the field to another to score points. But speedball combines many different sports—you can either throw or kick the ball, there’s a goal (instead of an end-zone like scoring zone), and the scoring changes depending on how you get the ball into the net. Many different types of athletes can come together and form a successful speedball game.

 

6. Disc Golf

Disc golf has gained in popularity over the years. It’s been around for a while, but it felt like it really started becoming more mainstream in the past decade—and you might have played it in your PE class during high school or middle school. Disc golf is like golf, but you use a frisbee instead of a golf club and golf ball. It’s not very costly to set up and play compared to golf (and not as challenging), so it’s a natural fit for schools around the country.

 

5. Basketball

Basketball is one of the quintessential games in gym class. Of course, almost all gyms have at least a couple of basketball hoops—and often times maybe six or more of them—so it’s easy for gym teachers to roll the ball out and let students shoot around. Whether it’s a 3-on-3 game or a round of knockout, PE basketball is pretty simple.

 

4. Volleyball

Some gym classes can take volleyball pretty seriously. I remember learning from an early age in like elementary school about the proper rotations throughout the game. As much as any game played in gym class, volleyball takes teamwork—the squads that properly set each other up for saves and spikes were typically tough to stop. And it’s one of the top sports where both boys and girls can be at around an equal playing field in many cases.

 

3. Football

This is obviously either flag football or two-hand touch. Playing inside within a gymnasium can be limiting (because of the lack of space and deep passes) but interesting, almost like scaled-down arena football. But football was undoubtedly one of the top outside sports to play in PE in my opinion. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a cool moment when a kid you might not expect comes through with a catch. We’re talking about America’s favorite sport. It belongs in the top three. Also, just a special shout-out to recess football, which countless kids enjoy to play in middle school and elementary school.

 

2. Kickball

Finally, we’re down to kickball versus dodgeball. Strong cases can be made for each. Many people certainly have vague memories of smashing a kickball to the back wall of the gymnasium, which is arguably peak achievement in gym class. You could also make spectacular plays in the field in kickball, and pitchers could spin the ball and frustrate hitters. Kickball is definitely an all-time classic gym game that will always be around. However…

 

1. Dodgeball

Nothing against the rest of a worthy list, but dodgeball is the clear No. 1 for me. Nothing else in gym class gets the excitement and buzz that dodgeball does, at least in my experience. Sure, you could be the target of fastballs coming your way, but you could also go on the defensive and make Matrix-like dodges or spectacular catches. I’ve never heard of kickball tournaments, but dodgeball tournaments (volleyball, too) are a common theme throughout schools around the country (and even into colleges). Dodgeball probably had more people that despised it (you could probably find them standing at the back of the playing area while hoping to just take a soft hit to the leg), but it was often the top game choice for those that actually looked forward to PE class.

Best Moments From ‘The Match IV’ Featuring Rodgers, DeChambeau, Brady, and Mickelson

Best Moments From ‘The Match IV’ Featuring Rodgers, DeChambeau, Brady, and Mickelson

The fourth edition of Capital One’s The Match delivered another entertaining day of golf involving four stars, with viewers able to watch all 18 holes on TNT. Former U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers defeated golf legend Phil Mickelson and the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady in the event. Mickelson and Brady are now 0-2 as a pairing in The Match after losing to Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning last year, but Mickelson has won his other two appearances for a 2-2 record overall.

 

The Match IV was held at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana—a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. The setting was stunning, and the broadcast gave viewers a nice look at a great state like Montana.

 

A big takeaway is that all four guys behaved like gentlemen and came off as very likable. There were many “good shot” and “thank-you” exchanges throughout the few hours of golf. DeChambeau and even Rodgers sometimes catch some flak for their demeanors, but they both probably gained new fans and won some people over after yesterday.

 

All four competitors—and Charles Barkley as one of the commentators along with Brian Anderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Trevor Immelman, and Cheyenne Woods—delivered plenty of memorable and funny moments throughout The Match. It’s cool to get some insight on both the trash talk and sportsmanship, as well as a feel for the personalities of each player.

 

Overall, The Match is becoming one of the best events on television. And best of all, it raises a lot of money for charity.

 

These were some of the top moments from yesterday:

 

https://twitter.com/PGATOUR/status/1412509443984695302?s=20

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/brgridiron/status/1412560878940131328?s=20

 

https://twitter.com/GolfDigest/status/1412564899037909000?s=20

 

https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1412575070317203463?s=20

 

https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1412576399655804929?s=20

 

 

https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1412605053974704130?s=20

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Stars Who Have Competed In The World Series of Poker

Top Ten Tuesday: Stars Who Have Competed In The World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker takes place this fall in Las Vegas, and already qualification has begun in earnest.

 

One of the earliest qualifiers for the tournament was a familiar name to NBA fans: Tony Parker. The former San Antonio Spurs point guard was the first to qualify for poker’s primary competition and will be looking to add a poker win to his four NBA titles. As a six-time NBA All-Star and well-known person internationally, he could certainly be classed as a celebrity entrant for the big event, and he is not likely to be the only one taking their place around the felt later this year.

 

Across the history of the WSOP, celebrities from the world of sports and screen have tried their luck. The competition encompasses most game variants, all of which have the same poker hand rankings. That means that rather than studying hard to learn the game, people can pick up most variants quickly without any complicated scoring method to pick up. Whether you play Texas Hold’em or Omaha, the hand rankings remain the same, and that makes it easier for amateurs to learn. What they need to bring to the table is a cool nerve, a good poker face, and the ability to handle pressure, which suits many celebrities who have competed in the past.

 

Who has sat around the famous tables of Las Vegas hunting poker glory? This week’s top Ten Tuesday highlights celebrities for you who have competed in the WSOP over the years.

 

Telly Savalas

Savalas was well known for his role as Kojak, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. He appeared at the WSOP on three occasions, in 1985, 1987, and finally in 1992.

 

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce is still a popular voice on the NBA circuit—unless you are a Miami Heat fan, of course—although after his recent dismissal from ESPN, he might have more time on his hands to follow his poker dream. Pierce is a keen player and even came close to reaching the money stages in 2015.

 

Roberto Luongo

The former New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and the Vancouver Canucks goaltender is still involved in hockey, winning a gold medal as Special Advisor to the General Manager of Canada at the IIHF World Championships this year. He also finished 634th at the 2012 WSOP event, winning $19,227.

 

Matt Damon

Matt Damon is a massive Hollywood star and is credited with playing a significant role in sparking the original poker boom with his role in the cult film Rounders. He entered in 1998, around the time the film was released, possibly as part of the promotional drive to push the movie with viewers.

 

Edward Norton

Norton also starred in Rounders, and it stands to reason he too should enter the 1998 WSOP, a tournament which saw a considerable uplift in entrants on the back of the film gaining a cult following. Like Damon, he lost out early and never troubled the money stages.

 

Ben Affleck

As if completing a three-of-a-kind around the table, Affleck joins Norton and Damon, two friends, as a serious competitor at the WSOP. Of the three, he has entered the tournament on most occasions and is a skilled player with nerves of steel—which also helped him play a good Batman.

 

Jennifer Tilly

Tilly is well known for her role as Samantha Cole in Liar Liar, as well as voicing Tiffany Valentine in the Chucky films. She is also a superb poker player, winning the WSOP Ladies No-Limit Hold’em in 2005, taking home $158,335.

 

Richard Seymour

Seymour might have to play a patient waiting game when it comes to his Hall of Fame entry (especially with a loaded grouping, including quarterbacks, in the coming years), and that is a strategy he has employed around the WSOP tables. He finished third in the elite $25,000 Roller event at the PCA and followed that up with a strong run at the 2019 WSOP, where he took home $59,295.

 

James Woods

74-year-old Woods is a two-time Oscar nominee and a Golden Globe winner, a small and big-screen star. He is also an avid poker player, with more than 80 tournament cashes to his name. He finished seventh at the 2015 event in the $3,000 No-Limit Shootout event and fifth place in the $1,500 Dealers Choice event in 2018.

 

Shannon Elizabeth

Elizabeth starred in American Pie and Scary Movie, to name but two of her popular features, but she is also a big name on the poker scene. In 2006, she described poker as her second career, cashing four times in the 2006 and 2007 events and winning a special celebrity event in 2005.

Top Ten Tuesday: Trash Talkers In Sports History

Top Ten Tuesday: Trash Talkers In Sports History

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday picks the best trash talkers in sports history. Plenty of athletes over the years could have made this list, and the rankings are a rough mix of effectiveness and notoriety. Honorable mention goes to the NHL’s Sean Avery, who was called “King of the Trash-Talkers” by the New York Times—but it otherwise wasn’t as high profile as these other guys on the list.

 

10. Tom Brady

A surprise appearance on the list? It shouldn’t be for anyone that’s watched Tom Brady play over the years. Like some other great trash talkers, Brady isn’t someone that’ll typically start the “discussions” with the opposition—but he’ll be the one to finish it. Super LV was a prime example, with the G.O.A.T. promising to go after Tyrann Mathieu after the safety started talking, following through by the targeting of Mathieu on a touchdown to Antonio Brown. Brady let Mathieu hear about it.

 

 

9. Mike Tyson

This one is pretty simple. When Mike Tyson got going, his trash talk was borderline disturbing. The best (or worst) from “Iron Mike”:

 

“My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart; I want to eat his children.”

 

8. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. wasn’t always a big talker, but a switch was eventually flipped, and that trash talk—paired with his tremendous ability as a fighter—helped him earn over $1 billion throughout his career. Money Mayweather’s criticism wasn’t just aimed at his opponents, extending to commentator Larry Merchant and his own father at times.

 

7. Richard Sherman

The famous post-game interview with Erin Andrews after the NFC Championship Game in January of 2014 is the major standout, but Richard Sherman is not a shy talker—even going as far as going after Tom Brady earlier in his career. In his prime, Sherman was one of the best talkers in recent years.

 

6. Philip Rivers

To not be someone that cursed yet still be regarded as one of the top trash talkers in the NFL is quite the feat. Philip Rivers might not have angered his opponents too much with his clean words, but the funny side of the unorthodox quarterback helps him land on the list.

 

https://twitter.com/NFLFilms/status/1371853769756000257?s=20

 

5. Gary Payton

Gary Payton is one of the most well-known trash talkers in the history of sports. It helped that Payton was an elite defender that could lock down players from the other team—it was like a double whammy to deal with a guy shutting you down and telling you about it.

 

4. Larry Bird

“So, who’s coming in second?” Those famous words from Larry Bird ahead of winning yet another Three-Point Contest stand out, but Larry Legend carried that extreme confidence throughout his career. As one of the top players in NBA history, Bird simply talked as if he couldn’t be stopped.

 

3. Michael Jordan

For as good of a trash talker Gary Payton might have been, he couldn’t be at his best in terms of talking against Michael Jordan. MJ told his opponents what he was going to do, and then he did it—including when he humbled a then-rookie Payton in 1990. The Last Dance documentary released last summer gave an inside look at Jordan’s ability as a trash talker, and it (like the entire documentary) did not disappoint.

 

2. Muhammad Ali

The great Muhammad Ali was a very smart person, and that translated to top-notch trash talk throughout his legendary career. That said, Ali would get personal with his targets, which was effective if not unbecoming. The talk could turn from relentless to poetic for Ali:

 

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.”

 

1. Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has become a superstar athlete and the highest paid in the world (thanks to business ventures, boosted in large part due to his popularity, which was sparked by his brash personality). From his numerous MMA fights to the Floyd Mayweather boxing bout to smacking people down on social media, the sharp McGregor is tough to beat when it comes to trash talk—and he apologizes to absolutely nobody. It helps that social media has exploded during McGregor’s career, but you can argue that no one has delivered more memorable quotes than the UFC star. McGregor even laid down one of the most hilarious insults across sports, demolishing Draymond Green on Instagram.

 

https://twitter.com/TopBallCoverage/status/1283207709559386114?s=20

The USFL Is Back, Returning In 2022

The USFL Is Back, Returning In 2022

The United States Football League is coming back. The professional football league that competed with the NFL in the early-to-mid 1980s will officially return in the spring of 2022. FOX Sports will serve as an official broadcast partner for the USFL.

 

https://twitter.com/FOXSportsPR/status/1400437750688456720?s=20

 

The press release reads, in part:

 

Initially launched in 1983, the USFL originally was an upstart spring football league consisting of 12 teams which featured some of the most exciting and recognizable young football stars in the country. When relaunched next year, the new USFL retains rights to key original team names.

 

The league will target a minimum of eight teams and deliver high-quality, innovative professional football to fans throughout the spring season.

 

“I’m extremely passionate about football and the opportunity to work with FOX Sports and to bring back the USFL in 2022 was an endeavor worth pursuing,” said Brian Woods, co-founder of the new USFL and founder and CEO of The Spring League (TSL). “We look forward to providing players a new opportunity to compete in a professional football league and giving fans everywhere the best football viewing product possible during what is typically a period devoid of professional football.”

 

FOX Sports owns a minority stake in the company that is relaunching the USFL.

 

In the 1980s, the USFL boasted stars including Doug Flutie, Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, and Reggie White.

 

The USFL is also well known for having eventual President Donald J. Trump become owner of the New Jersey Generals, leading an antitrust fight against the National Football League. It’s also worth noting that Mr. Trump wanted to bring the USFL to the fall, but this new league is relaunching in its former spring schedule.

 

The USFL is attempting to stick around longer than recent spring leagues—the AAF and XFL—did in the past couple of years. They have the history, a strong name/branding, and the immediate backing of a media titan like FOX going for them. Aside from the AFL before its merger with the NFL, the USFL is the only professional football league that actually put up a fight and showcased a comparable product to the NFL.

 

More information on the relaunched United States Football League will be announced at a later date.

‘The Match’ Is Back: Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson Facing Aaron Rodgers, Bryson DeChambeau

‘The Match’ Is Back: Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson Facing Aaron Rodgers, Bryson DeChambeau

Fresh off of Phil Mickelson’s epic PGA Championship major victory last Sunday, it was just announced that he’ll again be pairing with seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady for another friendly matchup with another golfer and MVP quarterback. Brady and Mickelson will face Packers star Aaron Rodgers and bomb-hitting Bryson DeChambeau in the latest installment of Capital One’s The Match on July 6, airing on TNT.

 

Brady got the trash talk going already shortly after the announcement:

 

https://twitter.com/TomBrady/status/1397570468056535040?s=20

 

Expect a highly entertaining afternoon on the Tuesday after the Fourth of July. Mickelson and Brady were a great combination when the played together last year, DeChambeau is one of the most well-known players on the Tour, and Aaron Rodgers is a Super Bowl champion that’s been in the headlines all offseason while voicing his frustration with the Packers and trying out to become the host of Jeopardy!

 

The press release for the event reads, in part:

 

Turner Sports will present the next edition of Capital One’s The Match, the Sports Emmy-nominated premier live golf event series, which will feature World Golf Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson – following his historic 2021 PGA Championship win – and seven-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady teeing off against 2020 U.S. Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau and reigning NFL league MVP Aaron Rodgers.

 

TNT will exclusively televise the event, to be held Tuesday, July 6, with live coverage beginning at 5 p.m. ET from picturesque Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana. In addition to live televised coverage, interactive social and digital content will be available on Bleacher Report and House of Highlights leading up to and during the event.

 

With a focus on the importance of supporting community, Capital One’s The Match will include donations made to Feeding America, among additional charitable beneficiaries.

 

The Match between Tom Brady/Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning last year raised $20 million for charity, coming at a perfect time to deliver entertaining during the COVID-19 pandemic while sports were basically shut down entirely. Unfortunately, Tiger Woods is unable to play this year after a serious car accident a few months ago.

 

The Tuesday at 5:00 PM ET time is a bit of a surprise, but plenty of sports fans are going to find a way to tune in.

 

The Match airs Tuesday, July 6 on TNT.

Fantasy Sports Versus Sports Betting: Explanation, Legality, Market

Fantasy Sports Versus Sports Betting: Explanation, Legality, Market

Popularity of fantasy sports and sports betting

Americans love sports. Unlike most countries that have one clear favorite game, they have many alternatives to choose from and can get their fix all year long.

 

From football to basketball, baseball to ice hockey, and now soccer and MMA, there’s no shortage of options on television and via streaming platforms. Each has its own league and own set of fans trying to predict the outcome come the end of each season.

 

When you have millions upon millions of fans and a bunch of different sports to choose from, it’s no surprise to see why fantasy sports and sports betting are becoming more popular by the year. Especially for the average fan thanks to technological advancement, there’s so much more to just watching or playing the sports today—creating fantasy teams or betting on sports adds an entirely new entertainment aspect to it.

 

Fantasy Sports

Fantasy football and fantasy baseball are two examples that have become synonymous with their sports as a whole. It is a game that has become a huge part of sports culture here in the States that is played by people of all backgrounds, team fanbases, and ages. Fantasy sports are not only fun, but also easy and accessible for nearly everyone.

 

In the year 2019, around 49.5 million people were playing fantasy sports in the U.S. alone. The added interest it gives to the sport, the draw of competition, and the chance to win some cash are just a few reasons why playing fantasy sports has become incredibly popular.

 

Sports Betting

For similar reasons, the popularity of sports betting has grown enormously since the Supreme Court of the United States lifted the federal ban on sports betting in 2018. The landmark move made such an impact that Americans now legally bet billions of dollars per month on sports—including over $4 billion in January to kickoff 2021.

 

Prior to 2018, Americans were limited to Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware for betting on sports. Now, many states have opened their doors to gambling, which has seen the market flourish in the states that have legalized sports betting.

 

 

Why are fantasy sports and sports betting not in the same category?

As mentioned, not all states have legalized sports betting and gambling in general yet. Looking at the country at large, there have been rapid transitions in the three years since states were given the ability to pass sports betting laws.

 

So far with regard to sports betting, 22 states have now legalized it and six states have recently had bills passed. Aside from Idaho, Wisconsin, and Utah, the rest of the other states have recently introduced bills regarding this topic, but they have yet to be passed.

 

While sports betting has only just become legal to many states (still illegal in others), fantasy sports have always been legal. This has been a controversial topic in recent years and leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision, as many people have considered them to be the same thing.

 

Both fantasy sports and sports betting are both essentially wagering money on the outcome of a game. This is why they have been put into the same category by many; however, they are viewed as two different approaches in the eyes of the lawmakers.

 

The difference between the two is that one is a competition between multiple players (fantasy sports), and the other is a competition between the player and the bookmaker (sports betting). Also, it is seen more advantageous for the bookies, who in almost all cases have much larger resources of data and technology to profit from the bet compared to the sports bettor.

 

The 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed by Congress explains the reasoning for this further. It sees fantasy sports to be a game of skill that adheres to statistical analysis rather than chance like in sports betting.

 

To add to the point that fantasy sports are considered a game of skill and sports betting is not, consider this: in sports betting, anyone can pretty easily make a bet and get lucky and win without any prior knowledge; whereas in fantasy football, for example, you’re extremely unlikely to win any money if you don’t research, strategize, and plan your lineup.

 

 

It’s true, there are similarities between the two. The fact that they both utilize the same information source and have a purpose that is based on predicting the outcome of a sports contest.

 

But the route to victory for each is often very different. In fantasy sports, you build a team that you hope will gain the most points and beat other players. In sports betting, there are many more things to bet on other than wins and touchdowns—it can be almost anything, such as substitutions or yellow cards (such as in soccer), and it is against the bookies, not other bettors or competitors in a league.

 

What to expect in the coming years

With fantasy sports having been around for some time now, many of those players may also start testing their knowledge in the sports betting markets as more states legalize it. The skill of statistical analysis will prove very useful when it comes to sports betting and could allow players to make bigger profits than in fantasy sports.

 

In the rest of the world where gambling is legal and has been for a long time, we see higher popularity in sports betting compared to fantasy sports. Americans have garnered a culture globally for fantasy football and other fantasy sports, but perhaps that’s because the world of sports betting has not been as open in the country as it is now.

 

That said, the game of fantasy sports will remain an American tradition and will continue to grow as data and statistics increasingly shape sports. But in the years to come, expect that many will turn much of their focus to the more profitable all-year opportunities of sports betting.

Is This Lee Westwood’s Year In His 20th Career Start At The Masters?

Is This Lee Westwood’s Year In His 20th Career Start At The Masters?

English golfer Lee Westwood has enjoyed a sparkling career, but he has never won one of the four major championships. The reigning Race to Dubai champion has twice been runner-up at the Masters in 2010 and 2016; and this year, the 47-year-old is many people’s tip for an outside bet for this year’s Masters based not only on recent form but also his top experience.

 

Despite no major titles, Westwood has had plenty of success with 19 finishes in the top ten in major competitions, making him one of the world’s best at his craft for over two decades.

 

Westwood at The Masters

When looking at the current Masters odds, Westwood is among the favorites. The player has an impressive set of results in the Augusta-held tournament, with those two runner-up years plus third place in 2012 and seventh in 2014. He also recorded an impressive tied-for-sixth finish back in 1999 near the start of his pro career.

 

Much of excellent Westwood’s showings at the Masters is based on his consistency and perfectionism. A priority of Westwood’s game is a steady-handed evenness, which when taken with his unconventional swing, opens up a wealth of opportunity. This successful style was first witnessed at the Masters of 2010 when he finished second to Phil Mickelson. Westwood was one shot up going into the final day, but was narrowly overtaken by three.

 

The next top-three finish at the Masters occurred in 2012 when he was just behind Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen. Westwood later lamented his putting performance as the reason he didn’t take the overall championship.

 

2016 saw Westwood finish joint runner-up with Jordan Speith behind fellow Englishman Danny Willet. As the competitors played the final round, Westwood was briefly one stroke behind the lead. It was another close-but-no-cigar finish for Westwood at the Masters.

 

Recent Form

Westwood has been in good form recently and could well be in the mix for the Green Jacket when it’s handed out on Sunday evening. As well as the Race to Dubai competition won at the end of last year, he has also recently recorded finishes as the runner-up in both the Players Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

 

Once ranked the world’s number one, in 2010, there is reason to believe he will do well this year.

 

The Race to Dubai win was a case in point. The end of season triumph for the European Tour’s No. 1 saw Westwood take advantage of dropped advantages from rivals Patrick Reed and Laurie Canter. The Englishman won the title for the third time and staked his place as one to watch for the Masters.

 

In the Players Championship Westwood lost out by just one shot to Justin Thomas. The fact that he won a career-best prize money check for this performance highlights that he can still step up for the big occasion.

 

The Arnold Palmer Invitational was another closely contested finish for Westwood. He and his younger rival Bryson DeChambeau were neck and neck for much of the concluding play. As the two approached the final four holes, it was completely even.

 

DeChambeau then broke the tie, to leave just one stroke between them. At hole number 16 Westwood had his best chance to lead, but the score remained tied. On the final day of play, Westwood had the overall lead, but DeChambeau held his nerve to win by a single point.

 

Westwood received praise from the eventual winner DeChambeau. He cited Westwood’s close connection with his caddie as a big reason for his success.

 

Westwood has recently announced that his caddie for the Masters will be his son Sam, and not his fiancée, Helen Storey. He outlined how much he enjoys being out on the course with both of them, and how it keeps him relaxed.

 

Westwood recently geared up for the Masters competition by flying out to Augusta with son Sam to try out the course. Careful preparation for tournament play is essential, and Westwood has years of experience of this.

 

Lee Westwood: Style of Play

Part of Westwood’s successful history in golf can be attributed to not only his consistency and strength of concentration, but also his famous swing.

 

Westwood delivers a powerful golf swing by beginning in a familiar standard stance and then developing some idiosyncratic maneuvers. The unique style includes dipping and minutely altering his position, balancing hips, head position and legs in perfect sync.

 

The unusual swing has left many wondering where the style came from, but Westwood himself simply explains that that is how he’s always played it.

 

Whatever the reason, it certainly seems to work.

 

Whether it can help him to get within shooting distance of the honors this year remains to be seen. Whatever happens, there’s a lot to like heading into Thursday, and Westwood is bound to attract bets and tips from many in the know.

 

The 2021 Masters Tournament will be Westwood’s 20th showing at the competition. Perhaps this could be the year that he takes home the biggest prize of all.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2021 NCAA Tournament Moments

Top Ten Tuesday: 2021 NCAA Tournament Moments

The 2021 NCAA Tournament is in the books, and thankfully we got an awesome few weeks after missing out on the tournament entirely last year due to the pandemic. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday highlights the best moments from the tournament following the Baylor Bears claiming the title last night. Also, you can watch the annual One Shining Moment recap here.

 

10. Baylor survives against Villanova

 

 

The toughest challenge of the tournament for Baylor probably came against Villanova in the Sweet Sixteen. The eventual national champions were down at halftime, and the final score was not an indication of how close the game was at the end. But the Bears advanced, and the rest is history.

 

9. Abilene Christian stuns Texas

 

 

With a very late East Coast start time in the first round on Saturday night, many people woke up to the shocking news the No. 3 seed Texas was eliminated by Abilene Christian. Joe Pleasant hit two clutch free throws in the final seconds to help ACU pull off the upset.

 

8. Houston wins thriller over Rutgers

 

 

Rutgers was coming off its first tournament win since 1983, and they put Houston on the ropes in the second round of the tourney. A tough and-one tip-in from freshman Tramon Mark put the Cougars ahead with 24.1 seconds to go, and they got a defensive stop to seal the victory.

 

7. Buddy Boeheim gets buckets

 

 

The magic for Syracuse ended in the Sweet Sixteen, but Buddy Boeheim (son of legendary head coach Jim) lit it up in the first two rounds for the No. 11 seed Orange. Boeheim hit 13 three-pointers in the first two games, and a great video of a young Buddy in the locker room with former ‘Cuse star Carmelo Anthony during the 2003 title run emerged.

 

6. Loyola Chicago beats Illinois

 

 

The first one-seed to fall in the tournament is always noteworthy, and Loyola Chicago—with the backing of Sister Jean—went on another tournament run this year by knocking off in-state adversary and No. 1 seed Illinois in the second round.

 

5. Oral Roberts takes out Ohio State

 

 

But the most stunning upset from the always-eventful first couple of rounds of the NCAA Tournament was undoubtedly No. 15 seed Oral Roberts shocking No. 2 seed Ohio State and immediately busting the many brackets with the Buckeyes in the Final Four.

 

4. Alex Reese sends UCLA-Alabama to overtime

 

 

UCLA ultimately survived against Alabama, but Alex Reese hit an ice-cold three with 0.4 seconds remaining to send the Sweet Sixteen matchup to overtime. Reese being a senior that saw his role decline a bit this season made the moment even more special.

 

3. UCLA makes the Final Four

 

 

UCLA is obviously no Cinderella program, but to go from the First Four to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed—taking out both of the top seeds in the East Region—was quite the feat. Mick Cronin’s squad became just the second team to go from the First Four to the Final Four, and they put up an extraordinary fight against Gonzaga.

 

2. Jalen Suggs’ buzzer beater

 

 

However, the Zags survived the effort by the Bruins thanks to freshman Jalen Suggs hitting an insane buzzer beater off the glass. This moment easily could have been No. 1, and it will live on for years despite it not eventually leading to a championship.

 

1. Baylor dominates the title game

 

 

From the start, despite being underdogs entering the night, Baylor was clearly the most talented and the better team in the title game. The Bears were super deep, they got toughness and key plays from their big men and forwards, and their guards could all score at ease. And the defense was an absolute thrill to watch, playing like one of the best units in history. The dominance, defense, and talent—while preventing a perfect season by Gonzaga—should make Baylor one of the most memorable NCAA champions.

Top Ten Tuesday: Sports/Events To Bet On

Top Ten Tuesday: Sports/Events To Bet On

The 2021 NCAA Tournament has two Final Four teams, with two more to earn a spot tonight. It’s been an entertaining stretch, with many tight games, close calls, and competitive bracket challenges. Where does March Madness rank among the best sports and sporting events to bet on?

 

10. Futures

We’ll start at No. 10 with not an exact sport or event, but futures in general. Have a feeling a player is going to have a massive breakout year and win the MVP of a league? You might be able to place a futures bet on that. A handful of years ago, Leicester City of the Premier League was notably a preseason 5,000-to-1 shot to win a championship, and they did it. Striking on a futures bet like that is the rarest of feats, but it can still be fun to take a chance on a futures you feel good about happening.

 

9. Stanley Cup Playoffs

Arguably the most thrilling postseason in sports, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are great because anything can happen in a series and a championship tournament—which makes it one of the top events to bet on. And the Stanley Cup Final is a worthy championship that gets plenty of action. The NHL is also one of the best leagues to place live in-game bets on during the regular season.

 

8. World Series

There’s a feeling of history and tradition while betting on the World Series. America’s Pastime is one of the United States’ oldest traditions when it comes to sports, and not too much has changed in the actual game since the 19th century. The 1919 World Series was unfortunately fixed by Arnold Rothstein via the Black Sox Scandal, but that actually might lead to some extra clout for baseball betting being that it’s well known but happened over 100 years ago and—Astros cheating scandal aside—people can now trust the game for the most part.

 

7. Boxing/MMA

When a big primetime fight is on the card, almost everyone that pays attention will offer their thoughts on who will win—many of those people will put a little money on it to back up their prediction. An episode of AMC’s period drama series Mad Men even showed the office workers placing bets on the Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston rematch in 1965, and it’s not an uncommon occurrence today for friends and/or co-workers to bet on a notable bout.

 

6. College Football

Saturdays are obviously the highlights for college football, but the sport stands out for its depth endless possibilities—with action, particularly from smaller conferences, also falling on weeknights throughout the fall. Football is America’s game, and college football (often spread over moneyline because of the gap in talent between opponents) draws a ton of interest from bettors.

 

5. World Cup

The World Cup gets a boost into the top five because of its international appeal. Especially in the men’s game (as the U.S. dominates the women’s field), the World Cup is typically competitive and somewhat unpredictable. Also, many citizens love putting their money behind their home countries.

 

4. Kentucky Derby

People really enjoy going to the track with a bet on the Kentucky Derby. Over $100 million is typically wagered on the biggest race of the year, so it’s clearly one of the top events in terms of sports betting. Picking the Kentucky Derby winner can give you some great bragging rights.

 

3. NFL

17 weeks (likely 18 moving forward) and an awesome postseason set up makes the NFL one of the easiest and most straightforward sports to place a wager on. Viewers can simply tune in on Sunday (as well as Monday night, Thursday night, and sometimes Saturday) and know they’ll have something to bet on. You can also throw fantasy football—which has become one of America’s most consistent traditions—into the discussion here.

 

2. NCAA Tournament

It doesn’t get much more exciting than March Madness, and it shows with the billions of dollars that are wagered on it every year in just a span of a few weeks. The more hardcore fans will place bets on individual games or futures, but just about everyone can join a bracket pool and fill out a bracket while using the seeds as a guide.

 

1. Super Bowl

While the NFL came in at No. 3, the Super Bowl gets its own category at No. 1. As is the case with a big boxing match but on a much higher level, the Super Bowl is something most people in the United States will give thoughts on. Aside from picking the winner, there are prop bets (even on the color of the postgame Gatorade shower), over/unders, and Super Bowl squares. March Madness has an argument, but the top sporting event to bet on is the Big Game.

Data: The Majority Of Young People Prefer Watching Sports Highlights To Full Games

Data: The Majority Of Young People Prefer Watching Sports Highlights To Full Games

According to Variety (and via data provided by The Maru Group for Variety Intelligence Platform), sports viewing is changing by age demographic. In a survey, over half of United States sports fans aged 18-34 prefer watching highlights to full games.

 

Wolf Sports Illustration

 

Clearly, the NFL’s conservative fanbase shines here. However, there could be trouble on the horizon as sports compete with a growing number of television and movie streaming options, as well as social-media platforms that deliver the highlights.

 

This might not be a bad thing for merchandise and ticket sales, but this development is not promising for TV ratings. The NBA’s ratings issues—arguably triggered by “superteams” and mass kneeling during the national anthem—have been well documented; but The Association does not seem to mind that fans enjoy getting the highlights on Twitter and other platforms.

 

For the overall sports discourse, highlights over full games is not good. Obviously, you will be more knowledgable as a sports fan if you watch and pay attention to full games instead of seeing the highlights. That is already on display when you see large numbers of people talking out of their hats online.

 

The NFL’s RedZone channel is basically an all-day highlight each Sunday. Viewers see the action when it gets into the red zone, and they see every score throughout the afternoon. It’s a good thing to watch on the side, and it is extremely popular, but it does not allow you to feel the ebb and flow of a matchup like watching the full game does. Should the NFL be asking itself if RedZone is good for the game long-term? It’s probably too late at this point, as many fans would throw a fit if the channel is eliminated.

 

On balance, RedZone should probably be seen as a positive for the NFL, which dominates a day of the week. The same probably cannot be said for the other sports, which don’t have as popular of a highlight channel and rely more on social media.

 

Sports—in particular the NFL—still remains king. The National Football League’s new media agreement attests to that. But sports leagues should hope these younger, impatient fans become more traditional as they age and eventually prefer to settle down and watch entire games over the highlights.

50th Anniversary: ‘Fight of the Century’ Between Muhammad Ali And Joe Frazier

50th Anniversary: ‘Fight of the Century’ Between Muhammad Ali And Joe Frazier

March 8, 1971 – Madison Square Garden, New York; ‘The Fight of the Century’: Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier

 

Plenty of fights over the years have been given taglines and titles, but 50 years ago today, the “Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier actually lived up to the hype and still undisputedly deserves that nickname five decades later. Frazier defeated Ali by an unanimous decision, which included a 15th-round knockdown—one of the only times “The Greatest” had been knocked down in his career.

 

Both fighters were unbeaten heading into the “Fight of the Century”, and they were battling for Frazier’s heavyweight title in Madison Square Garden in New York. While many had to settle for round-by-round recaps via the radio, everyone wanted to be there. The building was filled with celebrities, and the attire throughout Madison Square Garden was picturesque. Frank Sinatra even participated as a Life magazine photographer to get as close as possible to the action at ringside.

 

There was no love lost between Ali and Frazier leading up to the fight (and before, during, and after their two following bouts), and many felt Ali crossed the line with his talk toward Frazier. At the time, many people despised the anti-war Muslim (Ali refused to participate in the Vietnam War, so he was banned from boxing for over three years) and wanted the more traditional Christian, Frazier, to win.

 

So, just about everyone in the United States and the world was interested in Ali v. Frazier. An astounding record of 300 million people from around the world tuned in. Ali and Frazier each took home $2.5 million for participating in the 15-round showdown, an especially large amount of money back in 1971.

 

The “Fight of the Century” is worth watching on today’s 50th anniversary if possible. It’s available on YouTube if you search, but an ESPN on ABC special, Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special, dives deeper into the fight and has digitally remastered the original broadcast.

 

Overall, Ali and Frazier made each other better. And because they had each other, the “Fight of the Century” will live on for many centuries to come.

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Overview, Round Robin And Qualifying Schedule

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Overview, Round Robin And Qualifying Schedule

The NHL returns tomorrow, and—even in a bubble environment with no fans—the Stanley Cup Playoffs should again deliver arguably the most exciting stretch of play in all of sports. Things will feel more normal when the top eight seeds in each conference are determined, but let’s get right to the look of an unprecedented 2020 race to the Stanley Cup.

 

Locations

 

Due to COVID-19, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will take place entirely within two hub cities:

 

Eastern Conference: Scotiabank Arena in Toronto

Western Conference: Rogers Place in Edmonton

 

Playoff Format

 

Round Robin

The top four teams in each conference play each other to determine first-round playoff seeding 1-4. The eight teams (four each conference) in the round robin have already qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Regular season overtime rules will be used during round robin play.

 

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins

Tampa Bay Lightning

Washington Capitals

Philadelphia Flyers

 

Western Conference

St. Louis Blues

Colorado Avalanche

Las Vegas Golden Knights

Dallas Stars

 

Qualifying Round

The next eight teams in each conference will play best-of-five series to determine which team will advance to the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Postseason overtime rules (i.e. full five-on-five 20-minute periods, no shootouts) will be in effect for the qualifying round.

 

Eastern Conference matchups

5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 12) Montreal Canadiens

6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. 11) New York Rangers

7) New York Islanders vs. 10) Florida Panthers

8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. 9) Columbus Blue Jackets

 

Western Conference matchups

5) Edmonton Oilers vs. 12) Chicago Blackhawks

6) Nashville Predators vs. 11) Arizona Coyotes

7) Vancouver Canucks vs. 10) Minnesota Wild

8) Calgary Flames vs. 9) Winnipeg Jets

 

Playoff Seeding

After the round robin play and the qualifying round, seeding is set for the First Round. Seeding is then reset for the Second Round (so the highest seed will play the lowest remaining seed, etc.).

 

Stanley Cup Playoffs

From there, the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the race to the Final will look like it normally does, with best-of-seven series in each conference before the Eastern Conference champion and the Western Conference champion face off for the Stanley Cup. Both the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final will take place in Edmonton.

 

Schedule (*if necessary)

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

 

Round Robin

Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers vs. Bruins (3:00 PM ET, NBC)

Monday, Aug. 3: Capitals vs. Lightning (4:00 PM ET, NBCSN)

Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning vs. Bruins (4:00 PM ET, NBCSN)

Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers (TBD)

Saturday, Aug. 8: Flyers vs. Lightning (TBD)

Sunday, Aug. 9: Bruins vs. Capitals (TBD)

 

5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 12) Montreal Canadiens

Saturday, Aug. 1 – 8:00 PM ET, NBC

Monday, Aug. 3 – 8:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Wednesday, Aug. 5 – 8:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Friday, Aug. 7 – TBD

Saturday, Aug. 8 – TBD

 

6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. 11) New York Rangers

Saturday, Aug. 1 – 12:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Monday, Aug. 3 – 12:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Tuesday, Aug. 4 – 8:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Thursday, Aug. 6 – TBD

Saturday, Aug. 8 – TBD

 

7) New York Islanders vs. 10) Florida Panthers

Saturday, Aug. 1 – 4:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Tuesday, Aug. 4 – 12:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Wednesday, Aug. 5 – 12:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Friday, Aug. 7 – TBD

Sunday, Aug. 9 – TBD

 

8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. 9) Columbus Blue Jackets

Sunday, Aug. 2 – 8:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Tuesday, Aug. 4 – 4:00 PM ET, NBCSN

Thursday, Aug. 6 – TBD

Friday, Aug. 7 – TBD

Sunday, Aug. 9 – TBD

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

 

Round Robin

Sunday, Aug. 2: Blues vs. Avalanche (6:30 PM ET, NBCSN)

Monday, Aug. 3: Stars vs. Golden Knights (6:30 PM ET, NBCSN)

Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars (6:30 PM ET, NBCSN)

Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knight vs. Blues (TBD)

Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche (TBD)

Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues (TBD)

 

5) Edmonton Oilers vs. 12) Chicago Blackhawks

Saturday, Aug. 1 – 3:00 PM ET, NBC

Monday, Aug. 3 – 10:30 PM ET, NBCSN

Wednesday, Aug. 5 – 10:30 PM ET, NBCSN

Friday, Aug. 7 – TBD

Saturday, Aug. 8 – TBD

 

6) Nashville Predators vs. 11) Arizona Coyotes

Sunday, Aug. 2 – 2:00 PM ET, USA Network

Tuesday, Aug. 4 – 2:30 PM ET, NBCSN

Wednesday, Aug. 5 – 2:30 PM ET, NBCSN

Friday, Aug. 7 – TBD

Sunday, Aug. 9 – TBD

 

7) Vancouver Canucks vs. 10) Minnesota Wild

Sunday, Aug. 2 – 10:30 PM ET, NBCSN

Tuesday, Aug. 4 – 10:45 PM ET, USA Network

Thursday, Aug. 6 – TBD

Friday, Aug. 7 – TBD

Sunday, Aug. 9 – TBD

 

8) Calgary Flames vs. 9) Winnipeg Jets

Saturday, Aug. 1 – 10:30 PM ET, NBCSN

Monday, Aug. 3 – 2:30 PM ET, NBCSN

Tuesday, Aug. 4 – 4:45 PM ET, NBCSN

Thursday, Aug. 6 – TBD

Saturday, Aug. 8 – TBD

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Ice Cream Truck Snacks

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Ice Cream Truck Snacks

While summer hasn’t been quite in full swing for most of the world due to COVID-19, the July 4 holiday is coming up this weekend. It’s a good time for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday to feature the best ice-cream-truck snacks for the summer. Please note that this list accounts for generic ice cream trucks (so essentially snacks that come wrapped and no soft serve).

 

10. Snow cone

 

 

Snow cones are a simple option, as it’s basically flavored ice. They would have a case to be higher than No. 10 if it wasn’t the pre-packaged version that comes from most ice cream trucks.

 

9. Ice cream cone

 

 

Think of something like the Nestle Drumstick for what you’ll get from a non-Mister-Softee ice cream truck. If we were talking custard from an ice cream parlor, a cone (or bowl or milkshake) would likely be No. 1 on the list.

 

8. Rocket pop

 

 

A Rocket pop or “Bomb Pop” or “Firecracker” hits you with three different flavors and stands out among the traditional popsicle sticks.

 

7. Push-up pop

 

 

Sherbert in a compact little tube, push-up pops are a novel summer treat. They are just the right amount of sweet.

 

6. Character pop

 

 

Some people could probably do without the gumball eyes, but character pops offer plus flavor along with variety. SpongeBob, Spider-Man, and Batman are among the usual standouts.

 

5. Choco Taco

 

 

First of all, the name Choco Taco is just so catchy that it’ll stick with most kids. But chocolate and ice cream lovers get a little bit of everything with a Choco Taco.

 

4. Ice cream sandwich

 

 

The ice cream sandwich might not look like much on the surface, but it’s a definitive summer staple that needs a spot in the top five. The ice cream sandwich is timeless.

 

3. Orange creamsicle

 

 

The mix of the orange cream and the ice cream found in a creamsicle is an ideal blend of fruit flavor with conventional ice cream. This and No. 2 are known as lunch-room classics.

 

2. Strawberry/Chocolate éclair

 

 

Strawberry shortcake likely gets the edge for most, but both the strawberry and chocolate éclair ice cream bars combine for the No. 2 spot among the best summer treats. The very center is packed with flavor, and you also get ice cream on the inside and a cookie crunch around the outside.

 

1. The Original Chipwich

 

 

A couple of chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, and chocolate chips all in one? The chipwich might not be the most refreshing summer snack, but you’ll get your money’s worth with it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Difficult Sports To Play

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Difficult Sports To Play

Recently, a ranking of the top 60 sports in terms of difficulty has been going viral, with boxing in the top spot ahead of ice hockey and football. But, as you would expect from this type of list, there’s been plenty of disagreement and outrage over the rankings. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday gives it a shot ordering the most difficult sports to play. Of course, no one in the world has played every single sport at a high level, so it’s difficult for anyone to really judge with accuracy. Also, while everyone can improve at something if they work at it, it’s all relative to natural ability, too. Share your thoughts on the imperfect TTT in the comment section below!

 

10. Skiing

The No. 10 spot on the list was difficult, but the nod goes to skiing. Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding are not exactly something most people will be able to just pick up with ease for fun, and competitive levels of the sport takes it to another level.

 

9. Soccer

Soccer is regarded as the world’s most universal language because the sport can bring people of all ages together to kick the ball around—but running around the pitch for over an hour in an actual game is no joke. Soccer also requires both finesse and power, speed and pace, and precision along with the use angles on passes, shots, and runs.

 

8. Tennis

Pros like Roger Federer might make it look effortless at times, but tennis takes superb agility and overall skill. Getting into position and then getting the ball up and over the net—while attempting to make it a challenge for your opponent’s return—is harder than it looks on TV. You might be a ping pong master, but tennis uses much more energy and strength.

 

7. Rugby

Rugby is pretty relentless—players run at full speed and take massive hits without wearing helmets or pads. Clearly, it’s not for everybody.

 

 

6. Golf

The biggest complaint from the top-60 ranking of the most difficult sports in the world is probably how low golf is ranked. Golf is a game many will play and put up triple-digit scores, and it belongs in the top ten because of how difficult it is to get to an expert level. Becoming a scratch golfer as a non-professional is an excellent accomplishment and quite uncommon.

 

5. Water Polo

Imagine having to stay afloat in the water for a dozen or so minutes at a time. Already doesn’t sound that fun. Then imagine having to exert energy playing a physical handball, lacrosse type of sport in the pool. Water polo is squarely among the world’s toughest sports.

 

4. Football

In a physicality comparison, American football is similar to rugby. There’s no question the United States’ most popular game has lightened up over the years as the NFL and lower level games push for player safety, but it still takes a different mindset—especially at the less glamourous positions—to play. Against fast or super strong offenses and defenses, having success in football takes toughness, talent, accuracy, and everyone doing their jobs. The strategy and deep playbooks for football can get complex and add another element to the sport.

 

3. Ice Hockey

First and foremost, most average unbiased fans would probably say that hockey players have the toughest athletes in team sports. Then you take into account the skating (ice skating was another sport that could have made the top ten) while wearing pads, and the necessity of stick handling and puck control—all while keeping your head on a swivel to avoid getting checked in open ice or by the boards.

 

2. Baseball

Many argue that hitting a baseball is the most difficult thing in sports. Hitting a 90 MPH fastball (let alone speeds pushing toward the 100 MPH territory) is almost impossible without a ton of practice, but then hitting off-speed pitches like curveballs is arguably even more of a challenge. Among the facets of the game that don’t get enough recognition are the knowledge of baserunning (reading the pitcher and where the defenders are as the ball is hit), communication in the field, footwork around the bag, and judging balls of the bat in the field. As a batter, having success 30% of the time throughout your career almost means you’re an automatic Hall of Famer.

 

1. Boxing/MMA

Yes, boxing and mixed martial arts are competitors, but they’re getting thrown together in the same category at No. 1 here. Both sports can be very gruesome, and it takes both mental and physical fortitude to even step into the ring or octagon. For boxers in particular, going the distance in bouts takes serious stamina and mental toughness. And in MMA, you must be prepared to defend more than just your upper body.

Potential Big Professional Sports Changes Resulting From COVID-19

Potential Big Professional Sports Changes Resulting From COVID-19

Shortened seasons, canceled events, virtual offseasons—much has changed for sports in 2020 due to COVID-19. As we await the return of team sports, there are some big potential changes to keep in mind for the long term.

 

MLB: Universal DH

First, we need the owners and players to come to an agreement so that Major League Baseball even has a season in 2020. If and when that happens, the most obvious huge change stemming from COVID-19-impacted shortened season is that the MLB goes to a universal designated hitter forever. It feels like it’s only a matter of time before the National League adopts the DH on a full-time basis, and this year could be a test course for all 30 teams to use it.

 

There are obvious downsides to using a DH—the risk of alienating longtime loyal fans that decide they’ve had enough of change and decide they don’t need to spend their time watching baseball every night anymore and the elimination of another strategy element to the game (like double switches). However, playing this season with all teams using the DH almost out of necessity might make it easier for fans to accept it as a full-time thing potentially in 2021.

 

NFL: More virtual

The 2020 NFL Draft was almost like a fantasy football draft on a very large scale, as it had to be held virtually, with all 32 teams working separately and mostly using applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to stay connected with colleagues throughout the three-day event. Everything went very smoothly, and the virtual draft was considered a major success all around.

 

With coaches and executives locked out of team facilities, many of them admitted that it was nice to spent more time at home with family during the offseason. We could see more of that moving forward, as technology makes it extremely easy for them to still watch film and get plenty of stuff done in their houses.

 

NBA: Schedule overhaul

After the 2019-2020 NBA season officially concludes this fall with an October NBA Finals, the 2020-2021 season is expected to tip off in December. There are a lot of moving parts to the situation, but this could be a blessing in disguise to some degree.

 

Before COVID-19 really threw a wrench into just about everything around the world, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin had suggested moving the NBA season to a December start with the Finals running in August instead of June. Koonin acknowledged that the NBA “gets crushed” by the NFL if they have an opening night game go up against Thursday Night Football, and moving the season back (maybe to the first Thursday night when TNF is done in December) would help them create “relevance” and decrease competition. Also, there is not much team sports action late in the summer, so the NBA champion being determined in August could be a massive draw.

 

A June NBA Finals is tradition, and it would be weird to change that. But it makes sense from a business perspective, and now would be the time to make that change if the league ever wants to do it.

 

The NHL (which, despite what people might say to get attention, is a major U.S. professional sport) is not likely to make a wholesale change like the NBA might, as—despite air conditioned arenas allowing the game to be played in any weather—hockey is better to be completed before summer rages on.

Top Ten Tuesday: Social Distancing Games For The Summer

Top Ten Tuesday: Social Distancing Games For The Summer

Much of the world is making major progress on defeating COVID-19, but it’s still smart to social distance (especially from strangers) whenever possible. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday highlights ten of the best social-distancing games—which you can play together while mostly staying several feet apart—for the start of the summer.

 

10. Have a catch

Whether you want to toss around a football or grab a glove and have a baseball catch, throwing the ball around is a very simple activity where you can’t be too close to your partner to do it. Throwing around the football in particular can get you some nice exercise if you are running some routes on air.

 

9. Billiards

This is the lone inside game on the list, but pool/billiards is an ideal social-distancing game. Stand on opposite sides of the table, and you should be good. They aren’t quite the recommended six feet of distance, but generally you’re probably fine if you stay a pool cue distance away from your opponent.

 

8. H-O-R-S-E

Just shooting the basketball is an option, but playing some H-O-R-S-E adds more of a challenge element if you’ve got a ball and a hoop around. A game in your backyard or at a playground can’t be much worse than the game of H-O-R-S-E that ESPN tried to broadcast during quarantine.

 

7. Spikeball

There have been a number of viral Spikeball clips recently, and it might be a game many are looking to try out at some point. It’s a 360-degree type of activity, so it might be hard to always keep your distance while playing—but this is definitely something most people will be playing with friends only at first.

 

6. Cornhole

Cornhole is a prototypical classic backyard summer game, and the two boards are placed 27 feet apart—obviously more than enough distance if you want to social distance. If you’re playing with the customary four participants, just have the pairings on each side alternate stepping up and back if you’d like.

 

5. Tennis

Tennis is another game where you are more than far enough apart, and you can probably feel comfortable playing it against strangers. Hopefully we see professional tennis return soon, but the sports actually might not return until after team sports like basketball and hockey.

 

4. Golf

As the charity golf match between Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady showed on Sunday while avoiding handshakes and physical contact, you can safely play 18 holes throughout the pandemic. Golf is only at No. 4 instead of higher simply because it might be difficult to find an open course (and it can be costly to play).

 

3. Wiffle ball

A game that is not costly is wiffle ball, as all you need is a cheap bat (or even a stick) and some type of ball (preferably a Wiffle ball). Running the bases is an option, but wiffleball games can easily award bases (single, double, etc.) based on where the ball is hit.

 

2. Ping pong

Standard ping pong tables are nine-feet long, so ping pong is another game that’s tailor-made for social distancing. A big reason ping pong is up at No. 2 on the list is because it’s much easier to play than tennis, and ping pong tables are probably more readily available for most people than tennis courts.

 

1. Kan Jam

Finally, Kan Jam has exploded in popularity over the past several years, arguably becoming the best overall lawn game to play in the summer. A Kan Jam set (two targets and one flying disc) costs just around $40 to purchase, and they are very durable. Like cornhole, ladder toss, and other classic backyard games, you stand far apart from your partner, which is perfect. Hopefully everything gets back to normal soon, but for now, there’s no reason most people can’t think about playing some Kam Jam.

The Match II Lives Up To The Hype, Raises $20 Million For COVID-19 Relief

The Match II Lives Up To The Hype, Raises $20 Million For COVID-19 Relief

Four living sports legends—Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson, and Tom Brady—hit the golf course for 18 holes of match play to raise money for COVID-19 relief yesterday. The first nine holes were the best ball format, and the back nine was played with modified alternate shot rules. The pairing of Woods and Manning won the match by just one point, and the event was highly memorable and loads of fun.

 

While America continues opening the country back up, many have still been stuck at home—and not much U.S. professional sports action has occurred in months. But “The Match II” with Woods, Manning, Mickelson, and Brady delivered a few hours of superb entertainment to help people get their minds off things for a moment.

 

The friendly-yet-competitive match saw plenty of good-natured trash talk—most of it coming from the quarterbacks, but Woods had a good jab at Brady, saying that a shot he hit on Hole 3 will be on the fairway… “on [Hole] 7”.

 

After the match, Mickelson said that he was a bit nervous at the beginning, and Manning said you could imagine how he and Brady felt as a non-professional golfer playing with Woods and Mickelson. Brady did not start off well, but he probably had the shot of the day on Hole 7 and clearly became more comfortable from there, instantly opening up and talking more while playing looser.

 

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley was helping announce the match, and he had his normal hilarious commentary throughout. Barkley also appeared to light a bit of a fire under Brady before the birdie on Hole 7:

 

https://twitter.com/NBAonTNT/status/1264680591972282381?s=20

 

From Eli Manning (who just joined Twitter a couple of days ago) to Brooks Koepka (who jumped in and donated $100,000 after Brady hit a par on the birdie shot) to Russell Wilson (who will donate 300,000 meals after Mickelson, Manning, and Brady got within 12 feet of the hole on Hole 16), a ton of athletes live tweeted the event.

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/DangeRussWilson/status/1264606118891843584?s=20

 

The event was also cool because it allowed viewers to see the personalities of the four amazing athletes a bit more via the live mics. Mickelson and Brady appeared to talk more and have better team chemistry (maybe because they had to rally together to stage a comeback), but Woods and Manning handled their business and held off a great comeback attempt after jumping to a three-point lead on the front nine.

 

Best of all, “The Match II” raised $20 million for charity, and people want more. Expect to see more high-profile charity golf matches into the future, and maybe we’ll even get some other activities like ping pong or Kan Jam tournaments. The power of sports was on full display yesterday, and things should be rolling at its usual maximum levels before we know it as the world works to defeat COVID-19.

How Do Sports Return And Help Get Things Back To Normal?

How Do Sports Return And Help Get Things Back To Normal?

We are two months from the birthdate of the United States, but things are going to feel much different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That extends to America’s beloved sports, as major professional sports leagues (and most high school, college, and youth sports) will not be able to run business as usual one or two months from now. However, Independence Day could help mark the closing in on the return to normalcy, bringing hope for the rest of the summer following the July 4 holiday.

 

It feels like it’s been five years since Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors topped the Warriors in last season’s NBA Finals, and the NBA sent the biggest early coronavirus shockwaves on March 11—a date that will live in sports infamy—when Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to the suspension of the season. Since then, the NCAA Tournament was canceled, the NHL season also postponed, and the MLB season unable to begin, among many other events.

 

NASCAR is finally returning this month, without fans, but all other sports are at a standstill with return dates uncertain. So how do we get team sports back?

 

MLB

There have been numerous reports and rumors about what Major League Baseball will do with its 2020 season, but July 4 has been talked about as a potential Opening Day date, which would be fitting as the sport looks to begin the process of getting things back to normal by getting some baseball in the air of summer.

 

The thought is that the MLB will try to get as many games in as possible (with 100 regular season games as a potential target), but there are a few things they can do to make an accelerated season a reality:

 

  • Have 7-inning double-headers often.
  • Expand gameday rosters from 25 to 30+ to add more pitchers and bench players. The addition of a third catcher would be critical.
  • Expand 40-man rosters to include more reserve players that can easily be brought up to the big leagues.

 

The minor league season is where it gets more difficult, but hopefully prospects can at least work out in a confined setting with their organizations. The bad news is that no actual games this year (and no sales and revenue) would be detrimental to minor-league franchises.

 

NBA

Lakers star LeBron James and others have said that the NBA season has to return to finish its season, and it would be shocking if The Association does not find a way to make it so a champion is legitimately crowned in a seven-game series like every other year. Ultimately, the best course of action might be playing games without fans either a) in home arenas, or b) all games take place at a big sports complex (Disney World in Orlando has been suggested).

 

Obviously putting the overall terrible impact of COVID-19 aside, the NBA finishing their season later could be a good thing, as it could lead to the 2020-2021 season not starting until December, with the Finals occurring in August. Sports in July and August would get a lot more exciting if the NBA playoffs were thrown into the mix.

 

NHL

The NHL has indicated they might just jump right into the Stanley Cup Playoffs when their season is able to resume. The league has indicated that there is no issue with playing ice hockey later into the summer months, as they can keep the ice cool inside of arenas with today’s technology. With both the NBA and NHL following relatively similar paths with their seasons, and both leagues working with the U.S. government to safely and smartly re-open, expect hockey to return at around the same time as basketball.

 

Sports will almost certainly resume at some point this year. There is major optimism surrounding the NFL and college football beginning as usual this fall. Hopefully the MLB, NBA, and NHL can start up soon and give the United States and the world more hope as we work to defeat COVID-19.

Sports Will Be Back, And It Will Bring Us Together

Sports Will Be Back, And It Will Bring Us Together

Yesterday was supposed to be Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, one of the best sports days on the calendar every year. Instead, because of the COVID-19 outbreak across the globe, there’s a question of whether this baseball season will ever be played. Both the NHL and NBA playoffs were set to start next month, and now that isn’t going to happen, either. Even the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to sometime next year.

 

Fantasy leagues and drafts from three of the four major American sports leagues have also been impacted as the world feels what it’s like without sports in the United States and around the world. Whether it’s due to the virus, financial issues, or the boredom of being stuck at home with no sports to watch every evening, millions of people are struggling in some way.

 

If there is any good that can be taken from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that we are learning not to take things for granted. Aside from cleaner air and a cleaner earth overall, which will hopefully stay that way when we beat the coronavirus, we should also find a new value in our beloved sporting events.

 

When sports do return—hopefully in a matter of weeks—it will be a momentous moment of triumph and togetherness. Whenever MLB’s 2020 Opening Day occurs (and we need to have faith that it will happen at some point), the National Anthem and announcement of the starting lineups will highlight a newfound pride in the ability to go to a ballgame or flip it on via television.

 

The NHL and NBA playoffs should be as entertaining as ever, and a late NBA Finals, for example, could be a blessing in disguise if the entire NBA season is moved back. An annual August Finals just ahead of the return of football could be a lot of fun. And let’s not entertain the idea of no football this year—we need to believe that will not come close to happening.

 

Sports can and will help bring the country together in a time when we need it. Politics should be put aside as everyone—even non-sports fans—can at least appreciate the return and the presence of some of the world’s athletic pastimes.

 

So the next time you’re watching Mike Trout smash a baseball or Tom Brady, who is nearing the end of his career, throw a pass, be thankful that we get to watch it happen. Or if you’re playing a sport—from Little League to a pickup game to the big leagues—don’t take the ability to play a game with others for granted.

 

This pandemic will end, and people are going to love and appreciate sports, the world, and freedom in general more than ever when it happens.

White Wolf Changes Its Name To Wolf Sports

White Wolf Changes Its Name To Wolf Sports

White Wolf today announced its new name is Wolf Sports. The name change emphasizes the focus on sports, while keeping the same distinctiveness and loyalty to readers. A primary goal of Wolf Sports has always been to have people think for themselves and to not treat them like sheep. Our new company name continues to reflect that.

 

Wolf Sports’ substance will only improve moving forward, headlined by our unique NFL, NFL Draft, and fantasy football content. The new name will not affect previously existing accounts on the site, and no users or readers have to worry about big changes aside from getting used to Wolf Sports instead of the White Wolf name.

 

Fantasy Consigliere remains an integral part of Wolf Sports, with exclusive rankings, cheat sheets, analytics, projections, betting advice, a personal Consigliere Counsel, and more. You can sign up here to Join The Pack if you are not already a member.

 

While our chief focus is on football and fantasy football, Wolf Sports will continue delivering content from all around the sports world and into the realms of entertainment and technology. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Best Sports Teams Of The Decade (2010-2019)

The Best Sports Teams Of The Decade (2010-2019)

Our countdown of some of the top things of the decade concludes with the best sports teams from the 2010s.

 

Athletes of the decade

Sports moments of the decade

Movies of the decade

TV shows of the decade

 

10. 2019 Washington Nationals

The overall regular season record was not exceptional for this year’s Nationals, as the team did not win their division and got into the MLB postseason as a wild card team. But when the postseason hit, Washington toppled a 106-win Dodgers team and a 107-win Astros team for their first World Series title. After a slow start, the Nats had the best record in baseball since May 24, and they had an all-around squad led by three top-tier starters and a deep, potent lineup.

 

9. 2018 Boston Red Sox

There were a number of worthy MLB teams among the decade’s best, but the 2018 Red Sox take the crown as the top team over the past ten years. Boston won 108 games during the regular season despite playing in a stacked American League with another 100-win team (the Yankees) in the division, and then they got through the playoffs with relative ease despite playing three heavyweights in the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers, going 11-3 in that world championship stretch.

 

8. 2013 Seattle Seahawks

The 2013 Seahawks were the first team since the legendary 1985 Chicago Bears to lead the NFL in points allowed (231), yards allowed (4,378), and takeaways (39), and the unit is thought to be one of the greatest defenses in league history. Led by a brash, star-filled group that included Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor, and Malcolm Smith on defense, with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch commanding the offense, Seattle’s destruction of a Peyton Manning-led Broncos team in Super Bowl XLVIII sealed their place among the best teams of the 2010s.

 

7. 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama football won four national championships during the decade, including two in the College Football Playoff; but their best two teams might have been from 2011 and 2012 during the BCS era. The Crimson Tide team from 2012 took a step up offensively under a more-experienced A.J. McCarron at quarterback while adding an explosive 1,000-yard freshman receiver in Amari Cooper, and the group returned four starting offensive linemen from the previous championship season. Bama’s lone loss was to magician-like Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, but Alabama blew out Notre Dame in the title game.

 

6. 2012-2013 Miami Heat

The “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh took some time to click, but it all came together following their first title, as the Heat became one of the best teams in NBA history during the 2012-2013 campaign. James won league MVP, and the supporting cast including the great Ray Allen—whose shot in Game 6 of the Finals is one of the most memorable of all-time—all played their roles to perfection. Miami had a couple of tough battles against the Pacers and Spurs in the postseason, but they won 27 consecutive games during the regular season (the second most in a season in history) of a year capped with a second straight championship.

 

5. 2011-2012 Kentucky Wildcats

John Calipari has had some talented Kentucky rosters during his tenure at the school, but his 2011-2012 team was the most accomplished of any, with a 38-2 mark and a national title. The 38 wins broke a record for most in a single season in NCAA Men’s Division I history. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (the top two picks in the NBA Draft following their one year in college), and Marquis Teague were three top freshman in the starting five, and AD and MKG helped the team record the most blocks in NCAA history. The Wildcats lost in the SEC Tournament Championship, but they got through a tough path in the NCAA Tournament and beat Kansas in the final.

 

4. 2014 New England Patriots

The 2016 Patriots (the season with the Super Bowl LII comeback against the Falcons) are also in the mix among the decade’s best sports teams, but the 2014 Patriots were probably the best of the three Super Bowl champions for New England since 2010. The previously mentioned Seahawks were looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, but the Patriots rallied in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX and shut down a potential dynasty while winning their first title in ten years. Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski were on the field for the championship, making the Tom Brady-led offense incredibly difficult to stop; and shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis gave Bill Belichick a fun chess piece to work with on defense.

 

3. 2019 USWNT

The loss in the 2016 Olympics was stunning, but the USWNT had a couple of teams that could have been considered among the best of the decade for their 2015 and 2019 World Cup victories. The dominance from the start for the U.S. in this year’s World Cup—a record-breaking 13-0 victory against Thailand, including five goals from Alex Morgan—while being chased as the previous tournament’s champion makes them one of the top teams from the 2010s. The 2019 USWNT had just one loss all year (their first game of 2019) and felt like the squad was always in full control on the pitch.

 

2. 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors

The Warriors were already a dynasty, but adding former NBA MVP Kevin Durant was something you probably couldn’t even pull off in the NBA 2K video games, and it made Golden State nearly a cheat code in real life. The lineup of Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala was basically unstoppable, and the team went an NBA-record 16-1 in the postseason—and a record (in any of the four major American professional team sports) 15-0 to begin a postseason—following a 67-15 regular season.

 

1. 2018 Clemson Tigers

Dabo Swinney built up Clemson’s college football program, and it simply got better and better by the year to the point where they completely dominated last season, becoming the first program to go 15-0 since Penn all the way back in 1897. Freshman phenom quarterback Trevor Lawrence looked like a four-year starter given his poise while leading a stacked offense with star running back Travis Etienne and a talented receiving corps; and the defensive line was sensational, with Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, and returning senior Christian Wilkins (who easily could have been a first-round pick in the NFL Draft if he left school) powering an elite defense. The Tigers were the first ever unbeaten College Football Playoff champion, and they are our pick for best team of the decade.