Sports Violence

In ancient societies, athletics and especially competitive contact games always have been rough, but aggression in the past was tempered by an insistence that playing hard, playing to win, did not countenance playing to cheat and to hurt. One of the very first nations that expressed athletic ideals, were the Greeks. As enunciated by Pindar, the athletic ideal incorporated courage and endurance with modesty, dignity, and fair-mindedness, those elusive qualities the Greeks called Aidos. As sports became more specialized, the general populace increasingly withdrew into spectatorship. Sports history reveals that although Greek sports had increasingly marred by corruption and bribes, nonetheless they flourished in an era which witnessed the rapid expansion of stadiums and arenas under the Roman Empire. During the Roman Empire, violence in sports became the generally accepted principle and spectators not only endorsed it, but also embraced it as a social norm.

In recent years sports violence has become to be perceived as a social problem. Commissions have been appointed in Canada and England to investigate violence among hockey players and soccer fans. Numerous examples of violence in professional sports exist today, as counties like the United States, Canada, Greece, Italy and Germany, report court cases have been heard which concern the victims of violence perpetrators. Newspapers, magazines and television programs portray bloodied athletes and riotous fans at hockey, boxing, football, soccer, baseball, and basketball games with what appears to be increasing regularity. But are sports violence incidents actually increasing, and if so, what is the reason of such a negative increase? Or does the heightened public attention and media focus on sports violence reflect not an increase in the incidence or severity of aggression, but greater public concern with moral issues and political discourse?

Contrary to popular belief, there appears to be growing dissatisfaction with sports violence. Changes in sports rules, developments in the design of equipment, and even the physical characteristics of modern sports arenas evolved in an effort to reduce violence or its consequences. But still, among athletic management teams, government officials, fans and athletes themselves, there is an ambivalence attitude towards sports violence. The ambivalence takes the form of justifying the existence of violence in sports, but not taking personal responsibility for it. Coaches and managers tend to blame fans, saying that violence is what attracts people into stadiums, as the risk entailed makes the game more “interesting”. Athletes frequently admit that they are opposed to violence, but it is expected of them by coaches. Fans justify it by attributing aggressiveness to athletes and to situational aspects of the game. Spectators view violence as an inherent part of some sports as one cannot play games like hockey or football, without accepting the necessity of violent action.

Nevertheless, public opinion tends to focus more and more on sports violence as major advances in the technologies used have increased media coverage making information available to a vast global audience. Thus, contemporary critics tend to consider sports violence as a worldwide phenomenon with highly disturbing future course and social outcomes.

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Most Popular Sports Around The World

All types of sports are popular globally, but what sports can we call THE most popular in the world? Some of the answers may surprise you.

It’s no surprise that football, or what Americans call “soccer” is the world’s most popular sport to play and to watch. An estimated 3.5 billion people either watch or play football. The World Cup is the global championship of the sport and this tournament is played every four years. The World Cup itself is one of the highest rated sports on television, with many countries tuning in en masse to watch their country’s team play. Football is popular in all of the UK, Europe, Asia as well as South America. However, with so many other sports being popular, the Unites States still lags behind in their interest in “soccer”.

Next, we have cricket. This sport which consists of a bat and a ball, has been around for hundreds of years and originated in England. The sport is popular in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, some African countries, some Caribbean countries and it is the most popular sport in the countries of India and Pakistan. An estimated 3 billion people watch or play cricket each year.

The next most popular sport is a sure surprise, and that is field hockey, with an estimated 2 billion players or watchers, mostly in Asian countries, European countries, Australia and around Africa. This sport tends to be played in high schools in the United States, usually by girls only.

Coming up next is tennis. Not so surprising, but there are an estimated 1 billion players and watchers of tennis around the world. Tennis tends to be popular in richer countries, including the United States, Asian countries, Australia and Europe. There are four main tournaments in tennis, called “Grand Slams” at which players from many countries play. The first is the Australian Open, then the French Open, Wimbledon and then the US Open in late August. The Grand Slam tournaments tend to get the most attention during the tennis season.

Next we have volleyball. Yet another surprise, with an estimated 900 million viewers or players around the world. Volleyball is popular in the United States, where the sport originated, as well as in Brazil, all over Europe, Russia, China and Japan. Volleyball is a popular high school sport in many countries due to it’s team centered play and lack of specialized equipment requirements.

Also popular is table tennis, otherwise known as Ping Pong. This is another surprisingly popular sport around the world, with an estimated 900 million watchers or players. Table tennis originated in England as an after dinner activity for Victorians in the late 19th century. Table tennis as a competitive sport is popular in many countries but is especially popular in China, Korea and Singapore.

After these sports, we have a triumvirate of more mainstream American sports including baseball, golf, American football and basketball, with each sport attracting between 400 and 500 million players or watchers worldwide.

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Extreme Sports in Cross Country Wilderness Treks

Imagine your self like Lewis and Clark but roughing it in the Wilderness. You have gone through survival training in the past and you are smart enough to stay alert. You have experience in river kayaks, tent making, living off the land, hunting and you feel confident. Next you make your extreme cross-country trek plans. To cross 2200 miles of pure Yukon Wilderness, alone! Wow that is what I call; Extreme Sports in Cross Country Wilderness Treks.

What is amazing is that there are many humans who do this for fun! For fun? Well, sounds more like a test of wills against the extremes of nature to me. Nevertheless there are thrill seekers who have done it and do it all this time. Out in the middle of nowhere anything can happen, of course we could all be lit up like a Christmas Tree in WWIII too, I suppose. Of course someone out in the middle of nowhere would have no clue that half the world got obliterated or even the outbreak of bird flu would be news to them.

There are many daredevil extreme sportsmen out there but those who chose; Extreme Sports in cross country Wilderness Treks, well they are a breed apart, but perhaps they do prove that mankind walked to North America across the land bridge. Because if a modern man can do it and live off the land as they go, well a stronger ancient human could have easily done it too. Please consider this in 2006.

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Goal Setting in Sports

Goal setting is an important part of almost every aspect of life. One particular facet of life that the effects of goal setting are interesting is in sports. Goal setting in sports is used to measure quality of performance, just like in any other aspect of life in which it is used. If you talk to an athlete of any kind, from a professional basketball player to a nine year old just starting out on his Little League baseball team, he will tell you that goal setting is an integral part of his hobby or profession. The Little Leaguer’s particular goals might be to simply get a single hit every game to impress his friends, while the professional’s goal may be to hit for a batting average of three hundred in order to attain a higher rate of pay. The fact remains that each player sets a particular goal and in most cases, that goal is integral to his success or failure in his particular endeavor. We can see that goal setting plays quite a different role as the level of athletics changes, but we can see that it is also present regardless of the level of play at which an athlete is competing. You can not only compare the role goal setting at different levels of competition you can also compare them across different sports.

One comparison that is easy to look at is the role of goal setting in long distance running and in soccer. Now in this case the athlete who participates in long distance running will have a much easier time setting his goals. This is simply because the long distance runner’s individual performance is measured in a very tangible way. He can track his progress in every workout, in every race with as much accuracy as his stopwatch can measure. Thus every day the runner goes out to run he can set a tangible goal and after he is done training or racing he can tell whether he achieved that goal or not.

This is not the case however with a soccer player. In the course of a soccer game, a particular player may get one or two chances to score a goal. Whether or not he capitalizes on the opportunity is really not a good indicator of how he performed that day. In the case of the soccer player, the goals he sets have to be much less tangible. He has to take into account how the game was played and try to measure his contribution to his team’s performance. He could look at how he contributed to the possession of the ball being in his team’s favor or the opponents’ favor, he could look at how many times he turned the ball over and he could also look at the individual quality of passes that he completed. Even when breaking down the soccer game, the soccer player still has a hard time assessing his performance and his level of achievement with regard to his particular goal since so much is dependent on the other twenty-one people on the field. Even though all this is true, the soccer player still needs to measure his performance and the only way he can do this is by goal setting. Even though these goals may be subjective, goal setting is still an integral part of his hobby or profession.

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Top Ten Hardest Sports in the World

We constantly find ourselves arguing about the most difficult sports in the world. Based on their own personal inabilities to participate in those sports, some people give their opinions. What they don’t understand is that the difficulty of any sport will depend on certain aspects like the strength, power, endurance, speed, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and any other quality required in the sport. This article will include the top ten hardest sports in the world along with the qualities required for these games.

10. Alpine Skiing

This is a hard game where a person uses skis to move down the slope on the snow-covered hills. You need to know how to move down on the snow. Besides, you have to endure the chilling cold. In addition to this, Alpine Skiing requires perfect timing and a high degree of precision. Lack of any of these qualities may bring about disastrous results. Different researchers have revealed that 4 out of 1,000 players need medical attention.

9. Baseball

This is more of a mental sport- as it requires great eye-hand coordination. Moreover, the players need to be standby at any given time. The hitter has to track the movement of the ball, using his or her eyes. At times, it can be really difficult to follow the speed of the ball.

8. Martial Arts

To become a successful martial artist, you need to be an enduring human being. To win this game, a person should have enough strength. Here pain and exhaustion are too high to endure without a regular training and practice. Martial arts require a lot of hand-eye coordination, endurance, and enough strength.

7. Basketball

This sport requires fast reflexes, great eye-hand coordination and accuracy, too. Sometimes, the players get injuries due to their quick turns in the game. At times, they end with a broken wrist or ankle.

6. Football

Football requires the capability of running for 90 minutes and the power of fighting with 11 opponents. A footballer needs to be fast. He or she must have rapid foresight. To become a successful football player, one should have very good foot-eye coordination.

5. Ice Hockey

To become an ice hockey player, you need perfect ice-skating skill. In the playground, you have 9 other players moving around you at high-speed. All of them are aiming at one puck. You, therefore, need a lot of power, stamina and precision in order to play this game.

4. Gymnastics

Flexibility is the main criterion required for this sport. Here you need a perfect control on your body. Courage is another mandatory quality. Any small mistake can bring about massive injuries.

3. Rugby

Of all the sports in the world, rugby is the sport that demands real giants who are not only physically fit but also possess enough strength. All through the game, you need to use your strength to knock your opponents down. Side by side, you have to endure their powerful knocks. Making your own way through your opponents is like moving walls. You can’t do this very well unless you have enough strength, enormous power and high endurance capacity.

2. Wrestling

Wrestling requires great power, endurance and high-speed. You will lose the game- if you cannot take the right action at the right moment. Speed and tactics are two important things in order to defeat your opponents.

1. Boxing

This sport requires more endurance and power than any other game in the world. You need to show enough strength, great eye-hand coordination, and high-speed to win a game. You have to be ready for any incoming kick. You have to endure the pain of any unblocked kick. You need to be fast enough to save unpredictable kicks coming from your opponent. Besides, you need to hit your opponent hard. Anytime you are stepping into the ring, you are almost sure that you will receive a few injuries at the end of the game. Sometimes, you may receive severe injuries like a broken arm or a bleeding nose.

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Professional Bull Riding – Sports Center

Professional Bull Riding has grown tremendously over the past 10 years. My dream is to one day turn on ESPN Sports Center to see highlights from the latest PBR Built Ford Tough Series event. The thought of that 15 years ago would have been insane. Today I think I can see a little light at the end of the tunnel but my opinions may be a bit skewed on this subject due to the fact I am engulfed with this amazing sport.

I rode bulls myself for 15 years and have been retired for 11 years. I have been an agent for Professional Bull Riders for the last 10 years along with raising bucking bulls. So, as you can see, the sport of Bull Riding has been a part of my life for the last 26 years. I’ve seen the sport from many different angles.

So back to my dream, Professional Bull Riding on ESPN’s Sports Center. I love sports center! That may be part of the reasoning for my dream but really it leans more toward my love for the sport of Professional Bull Riding. I’ve been a Professional Bull Rider, I’m currently an agent for Professional Bull Riders and I raise Bucking Bulls. I know the sport inside and out! I’ve seen the growth of this sport first hand. I’m excited about the growth but not satisfied. Because of my unique position, I know all about the sponsorship figures for these athletes along with earnings for the bull athletes. Yes the earnings are way better than they were 26 years ago and sponsorships back then were pretty much nonexistent but I believe these figures need to be more. I think that is a key factor in making the Sports Center dream a reality. Sports Center reports on sports that are main stream and involve athletes who rake in millions. Obviously, Professional Bull Riding is lacking in both of those categories.

I really believe the Professional Bull Riders Association (PBR) is doing all it can do to take this dangerous sport to the next level. Most people in this country grow up playing Baseball, Football and Basketball so they can connect with those sports as fans. That holds another key factor for the mainstream growth for Professional Bull Riding. Connection! The television broadcast of the PBR Built Ford Tough Series is helping with that but I think there needs to be more focus on introducing this sport to the youth of America. I don’t have all the answers on how that should be done but I do believe some sort of plan should be put in place. Maybe the PBR should dedicate a division for youth outreach. Like I said, I don’t have all the answers but hopefully this will be an area that is discussed. Who knows, maybe I will end up on a committee for this topic.

Until then the dream will stay alive! Next on Sports Center… da na na da na na!

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Youth Leadership In Sports

Leadership has been called the most studied and least understood topic of any in the social sciences. Leadership is the process of providing direction, energizing others, and obtaining their voluntary commitment to the leader’s vision. A leader creates a vision and goals and influences others to share that vision and work toward the goals. Leaders are thus concerned with bridging about change and motivating others to support that vision to change. As scholars state, “management involves coping with complexity, while leadership is about coping with change.”

Leaders can be found at all levels of a sports organization, but not all immediately stand out from the crowd. Different situations, different cultures, different organizations, at different moments in their life, call for different characteristics and require different skills in a leader. A young person may be terrific at exercising leadership in his/her volleyball team, yet be awful in exercising leadership in another environment. This happens all the time. Some terrific young sports leaders exercise no leadership in their school projects or in other typed of clubs they may belong at the same time, not just because they choose not to, but also because they do not know how. Those other settings have different set of norms, different authority structures and different sets of adaptive challenges that the kid may be unfamiliar with.

On the other hand, power is the ability to influence the behavior of others. Regardless of their age, leaders exercise power and effective leaders know how to use it wisely. The types of power used by a young leader reveal a great deal about why others follow that child. One of the most useful frameworks for understanding the power of leaders was developed by John French and Bertram Raven. They identified five types of power: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent and expert power.

But apart from the different forms of power that leaders can use, there are several different characteristics that describe how effective young leaders influence others. These characteristics have been put into four categories of models: traits, behavioral, contingency and transformational. There is no single or simple answer to which style of leadership works best. Fifty years ago, trait models of leadership were popular. Gradually, as evidence accumulated, traits models were replaced-first by behavioral models and then by contingency models. Currently, the transformational model has many supporters, reflecting efforts of many leaders to transform outdated forms of organizations into more competitive ones. Traits models are based on the assumption that certain physical, social, and personal characteristics are inherent in leaders. According to this view, the presence or absence of these characteristics distinguishes leaders from non-leaders. Some of the key traits are physical, social background and personality traits. There is some common sense supporting the notion that effective leaders, young or older, have certain traits. However research hasn’t proved that traits consistently separate potential leaders from non-leaders. For example, the physical characteristics of a young baseball athlete don’t necessarily correlate with his ability to excise successful leadership later in his life; they relate only to perceived leadership ability.

Summing up, as today’s world pace speeds up, the leadership styles applied during the previous century, or even twenty years ago, differ substantially from the ones needed to be applied today or in 2020. To illustrate this, consider the young members of a school baseball team who if unwilling and unable to perform, the school coach will then definitely have to follow the autocratic leadership style. As long, though, as the coach applies appropriate motivation and training techniques, the young subordinates gradually become willing and able. Hence the situation is changing. This denotes that the leadership should also evolve from the autocratic towards the democratic style. In a few words the leadership style should “comply” with the evolution of the outstanding situation. As the example illustrates, sports organizations, especially those that involve children, must confront the future and learn from past practices by continuously adapting to the new instruction programs that evolve.

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The Aston Martin Virage Sports Car

Aston Martin Virage – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The V8 Series of Aston Martin sports cars had been successfully produced since 1969, and a replacement was well overdue.

Consequently, in late 1988, and as a natural evolution, the successor was introduced at the Birmingham Motor Show as a 2+2 coupe, and designated the Aston Martin Virage sports car.

It was positioned as the company’s premier and exclusive model, and the timing of the launch coincided with the acquisition of the company by Ford of the US.

In terms of styling, it’s sleek lines, which produced a drag coefficient of just 0.34, resembled that of a Lagonda rather than the classic lines of the V8 Series.

It was fitted with spoilers both front and rear, and stylish flush headlights.

The influence of Ford was noticeable in the fact that, as a cost-cutting measure, a number of the car’s’ components were sourced from a wide range of companies, including the Parent.

Although it used aluminium body panels, it was still a heavy car with a curb weight of 1790 kg.

When production ended in 1995, Aston Martin had built a total of 365 Virage sports cars.

THE ENGINE

The Virage was powered by a front-engined, all aluminium, 5.3 litre, 32 valve, DOHC, V8 unit with the head modified by Callaway Engineering in the US, and incorporated a modified intake manifold and Weber-Marelli fuel injection.

This developed 330 bhp at 5300 rpm, and 350 ft/lbs of torque at 4000 rpm.

Fitted with a ZF five speed manual gearbox and using a 9.5:1 compression, it produced a top speed of 158 mph, with 0-60 mph in 6.5 secs.

Interestingly, the majority of customers preferred the optional Chrysler three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission.

Towards the end of production, an optional six speed manual gearbox from the Vantage sports car was offered.

In January 1992, as part of a programme of improvements, existing customers were able to replace the original 5.3 litre engine with a 6.3 litre V8 unit that had been incorporated in the Aston Martin AMR1, a Group C sports car racer that was entered in the 1989 Le Mans 24 Hours race.

The new engine developed 500 bhp at 6000 rpm, and 480 ft/lbs of torque at 5800 revs, which gave the car a top speed of 175 mph.

The conversion included fitting larger vented disc brakes, 18 inch wheels, air dams and side air vents.

For Technical Data, see original article below

COMPETITION

Typical competitors of the Aston Martin Virage sports car were the following: Porsche 964 Turbo, and Ferrari 550 Maranello.

For Comparative Technical Data, see original article below

This concludes my Aston Martin Virage Sports Car Review

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The Real Sports Heroes to Admire

Who are the real sports heroes we should be admiring? We idolize major league ball players who are given too much money to play a game. Where do the real American sports heroes play? Take a drive through just about any neighborhood park, in any city, in any state and you’ll find grown men and women playing softball. Twelve inch to sixteen inch, slow-pitch or fast pitch. Good old American softball.

Many great, working class folks play softball two to three nights a week. My dad played sixteen inch until the day he died. Five to six nights a week grown men gathered to swing giant hunks of lumber, get in a little exercise and then commiserate at the local watering hole. coincidentally, the same place just so happens sponsor the team. These guys and girls often wake at the butt crack of dawn and labor away at jobs they may or may not really like. With every brutal minute that clicks by, these dedicated sports heroes are thinking about tonight’s game.

Growing up in Chicago our softball of choice was the Clincher 16 incher. No gloves, just bats and bare hands. The best guys hand bear like paws and a certain athletic grace that sometime only translates to sixteen inch softball. It’s a beautiful game to play. This game created deformities and we kept on playing. Never ask a sixteen inch softball player for directions. He’ll point to three different locations around the city the second he puts up his hand. Guys who limp worse than my high school auto shop teacher, and that dude could barely walk. That is real sports hero dedication in my book.

These men and women play the sport until one of two things happen. They can no longer move any limbs or they die. Folks, those are real sports heroes. Don’t let your children admire the men who are paid exorbitant sums of money and who dedicate their entire existence to their sport. Have them go watch the guys and girls at your local park playing in leagues that requires each player to fork over hard-earned cash to play. Have them go talk to and have a catch with the guy who just spent all day cleaning your kid’s school but still gets in the game he loves because he has dedicated his life to his sport, but he does simply because he loves the game.

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Daddy Ball – The Painful Reality of Youth Sports

What do I mean by “daddy ball”? I refer to a situation in a youth sports such as baseball, football, soccer, hockey, basketball or any other competitive youth sport where a parent coaches the team and plays his son above where he falls athletically. In short, daddy ball refers to the coach’s child playing either preferred positions or increased playing time, in exclusion to other more athletically gifted competitors.

Having raised two sons I can say that there is not much as painful as watching a coach play the game to advance the talents of his own child. When a game is played and it clearly revolves around the coach’s son, unless he’s the best athlete on the team, it’s daddy ball.

In baseball, you may see the daddy ball coach’s son batting ahead of players with higher batting averages, playing shortstop or pitching frequently and not getting the job done. In football, it usually involves increased playtime and the position of quarterback or running back or you may see in most short and goal situations mainly one boy getting the chances to be the hero and score the touchdown — of course, the coach’s son.

Regardless of the sport, the concept is the same – when a child gets playtime or position that he does not earn through his own hard work and athletic ability or if others who can get the job done are not given the opportunity-so the coaches son can play more- it is daddy ball.

I regard coaches who play their son above where he falls athletically as cheating his son, the other boys, the team and himself. What do I mean by that bold statement?

A coach who does not make his son earn his position has in effect trained the boy to expect something for nothing. Continued over time the boy expects things to be handed to him and has little incentive to put in the hard work necessary to beat out other young athletes and truly earn what he gets.

Would that be the type of employee you would like to hire out of college? So I say, the coach who did not make his son truly earn his position on the team has cheated his own boy.

It is easy to say that the other teammates who may have higher batting averages, or otherwise were better able to play a spot were cheated because the coach’s son got to play it.

Young boys hold few; in as high regard as their coach, if they put in the work, have a good attitude and can beat out another kid- they deserve to play the spot.

A coach, who will not play the best boy for the job to work another agenda, improving his own child’s ability, should not be coaching the team.

Daddy ball also serves to cheat the team, as a team, because when boys are not played where the fall athletically, the team will be less competitive and the boys will be less motivated. Resulting in a team that is not all it could have been.

Well how does the coach who plays daddy ball cheat himself?

A coach who plays his son above his athletic ability to the detriment of more qualified boys has failed in its primary mission as a father, that is to adequately prepare his son to leave the nest and stand on his own 2 feet. When children do not experience earning by their own efforts and truly competing, they suffer.

How do you avoid daddy ball?

The main way to avoid daddy ball is to coach the team your self. But if you do, take careful objective measure of each child’s athletic ability and play it accordingly, lest you fall into the daddy ball role as a coach.

A way to lessen the impact of daddy ball is to get your son on a team coached by a father whose son clearly is the best athlete on the team. In that situation, it will be hard for the coach to play the son over more athletically inclined children.

Or if you can afford it, the best way to avoid daddy ball is to play your children with a coach who does not have children on the team. This will either be a paid professional coach or someone who truly loves the game. If you choose the paid coach route, ask hard questions of the paid coach before joining the team as some paid coaches seem to feel obligated to the dad who helps coach or put the team together and you may well find your son back in the same situation you were trying so hard to avoid.

It has been my observation that coaches that play daddy ball are usually in denial about the situation. Typically, they have eyes for one boy on the team, their own.

Some coaches feel that by coaching the team they have earned the right to play their son where ever and however they want and for the reasons set forth above, I say, find another team.

Speaking with the daddy ball coach has little chance of success because it involves his own son. If you do speak to the coach, be very careful to keep the conversation about facts and not opinions.

In baseball, that may mean keeping batting statistics your self or other objective measure depending on the sport and situation. You can hand the coach the batting averages for all players on the team and he will get the message with out a word spoken.

With the daddy ball coach, the best option for your child may be to finish out the season and more carefully select another team next year.

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