Bad Guys of Sports

Who are the "bad boys of sport"? I have listed a few below.

Mohammed Ali
White America did not like him but Ali did not care. He relinquished his name Cassius Clay saying it was his "slave name" and changed it to Muhammad Ali. "I don`t have to be what you want me to be; I`m free to be what I want," Ali would say.

He threw his Olympic Gold medal into the Ohio river. His argument was if it could not make him equal to a White, of what use was the medal. His best anti-establishment act to date has been his refusal to fight in Vietnam.

The US Govt prosecuted him for draft dodging, and the boxing commission took away his license. But three and a half years later, he was back in the ring.

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell was aggressive, resourceful and casual. He had tremendous self-belief and conviction and was never afraid to speak his mind. He stood up against the Australian Cricket Board for players rights. In 1974, the gate collections from the Melbourne Test were a quarter of a million dollars, but the players were given a paltry two hundred dollars each for the game.

He cried foul, and changed the whole payment system for the Aussies. Perhaps he is the only critic of Sir Don Bradman, for the ex-Aussie captain thought Bradman was running the ACB as his own.

John McEnroe
McEnroe was a champion tennis star - with 154 singles and doubles titles, including 17 Grand Slam Championships (7 Singles and 10 Doubles), in addition to leading the United States to five Davis Cup titles. But he is most remembered for his outburst on the field, more specifically, `You cannot be serious!`

While most tennis players would grudgingly go on with the game, he would question the umpire & linesmen. Racket throwing, racket breaking, swearing, and eventually ending up paying huge fines was what McEnroe did best. Yet, he was loved.

Mike Tyson
Tyson is usually calm but at times goes hostile. And when that happens, god save people around him. From biting Evander Holyfield`s ears during a bout to biting Lennox Lewis` thighs during a press conference, this hulk of a man has done everything.

In between, he served a three year jail term for raping Desiree Washington, a beauty queen, in 1991. He comes out of the jail, and here are his first words: `Where is Desiree, I am so angry at her, I want to rape her now.`

Ben Johnson
It took Ben Johnson just 9.78 seconds to shake the World - he won the 1988 Seoul Olympics 100m Gold. The line up he beat included Carl Lewis and Linford Christie. And that was no mean achievemnet. But two days later, the World shook again. This time, he was stripped off his Gold medal after testing positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid.

Johnson twice tried a comeback after Seoul Olympics but was found guilty of doping violations each time. Today, Canadians do not like the mention of his name. As for Johnson, he is an athletics coach at Toronto Track and Field Centre at York University and at 41 still lives with his mother in Toronto.
Others include the cricketers Shane Warne and Brian Lara , Dhanraj Pillay, the mercurial Indian hockey striker, footballer Diego Maradona.
Genius begets eccentricty, they say. And from the looks of it, it just might be true. How else can one explain the behaviour of a Brian Lara or John McEnroe or Mohammed Ali. But does this mean that a calm and composed Sachin Tendulkar is not a genius?
How about Vishwanathan Anand? Sergi Bubka? Or a Pete Sampras? Even as the question remains unanswered, we move on to some sportsmen who have behaved really bad. So much so, parents do not want their children to watch them play.

Famous Football Fathers and Sons...

Paolo and Cesare Maldini Cesare Maldini is a former Italian centre half and captain of AC Milan. He later went on to coach the national U-21 team. Prior to that, he proudly wore the national soccer uniform for 14 years, making his debut in the year 1988. Cesare retired in 2002 with 126 caps and 7 goals to his credit. His son, Paolo Maldini, was one of the best defenders of all time.

He shares the record for most caps in the Italian national team. Paolo spent 25 seasons of his career playing for AC Milan, during which he won seven Italian Serie A championships, five UEFA Champions League Cups and one FIFA World Cup.

He is remembered for his lightning pace, precise tackling and strong influence, both on and off the pitch. Paolo captained Milan to the 2003 Champions League Title, a feat achieved by his father forty years ago...

Franz and Stephan Beckenbauer Franz Beckenbauer or The Emperor, helped Germany win the World Cup back in 1974. Regarded as the greatest German footballer ever and one of the best footballers in the world, he was known for his precise passes and cool headed play making. Beckenbauer's pet name recalls the way he dominated the football pitch, much like an Emperor!

After retiring, he took on the job of coaching the German national team, which went on to win the 1990 World Cup. Beckenbauer is said to have invented the role of the modern sweeper or libero. Having made 103 appearances for West Germany, he won the World Cup as captain in 1974, and again as manager in 1990!

Beckenbauer found a place in the National Soccer Hall of Fame and was voted second, behind Johan Cruyff, in the European Player of the Century election in 1999.

Beckenbauer continues to be an influential figure in German and international football. His son, Stephan Beckenbauer, began his career with Bayern Munich, before transferring to TSV 1860 Munich. He is now back with Bayern Munich, this time as coach, and that's his soccer uniform.

Frank Lampard, Senior and Junior Frank Lampard Senior played left back at West Ham United for eighteen years. Thereafter, he became the assistant coach of the Hammers, while his son, Frank Lampard Junior, began playing for Upton Park. Frank Junior currently plays for the Premier League club Chelsea and the England national team.

He is Chelsea's top goal scorer with 130 goals, the most by any midfielder in the club's history! With more than 190 goals scored to date, Frank Lampard Junior is the highest scoring midfielder in Europe, and continues to make his mark...

Chris and Stuart Broad both played cricket for England. Brian Christopher "Chris" Broad (born 29 September 1957, Knowle, Bristol) is a former England Test cricketer and current Test official. An opening batsman, Broad had a 25-match long international Test career during which he hit six centuries, together with 34 One Day International matches with a respectable over 40 average. His son Stuart represents the same teams as his father, England and Nottinghamshire.

A left-handed batsman and right-arm seam bowler, Broad's professional career started at Leicestershire, the team attached to his school, Oakham School; in 2008 he transferred to Nottinghamshire, the county of his birth and the team for which his father played.

In August 2006 he was voted the Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year. He was a vital member of the victorious 2009 Ashes squad, and he won Man of the Match in the fifth Test at the Oval, after figures of 5/37 in the afternoon session of the second day.

The History of the Football

The history of footballs is one surrounded in a mist of questionable facts and legends, which makes it hard for anyone to say for certain how the football ball evolved throughout time.

As legend has it, football started in a rather grim setting during the middle ages. In Europe and more specifically, in England, the first forms of "mob football" were played after public executions, when the head of the poor victim was thrown in the crowd and the mob started kicking it aggressively. With a lot of executions being performed during that period in England, it is easy to understand why the Brits took this sport as their own. Still, leaving legend aside, let's pass on to the fact-based history of soccer balls.

Since the history of the football game can be traced back to ancient times, it's quite clear that the footballs used back then were improvisations made out of daily used materials. The Aztecs used small, bouncy rubber balls in their basketball-football game of hoop kicking, whereas Chinese warriors would often enjoy a game of no-rules football using sewn up leather balls stuffed with light materials.

However, leather footballs were a luxury those days (who would spare a fine piece of leather for some silly game, when it could have been used for clothing, making bags out of or using it in armors?).
The most common type of football in ancient times, at least in Europe and Asia, was made out of animal bladder. Since pigs were the most common source of food for winter sustenance, their bladders were often extracted, cleaned, inflated and kicked around.
Although pig-bladder football balls were quite resistant, they were extremely light and could not have been used for more than a simple game of "hold the ball in the air", so calling them "footballs" is an overstatement at best.
Good thing that particular sport did not evolve or we would still be playing soccer with balloons. When someone, somewhere had the idea to use stuffed leather in order to create a kicking object, we could very well state that it meant the start of a new era in the history of football balls and the football game.
Leather balls were harder, more controllable and more durable, although not as elastic as the rubber balls used in the Americas. However one of the biggest problems of that period's soccer balls, be they made of leather, rubber or bladder, was that they were highly irregular in shape and size, which made them less controllable.
In 1836, Charles Goodyear did us all a favor and patented vulcanized rubber and although his invention was to be used in more important areas at that time, it also helped taking the history of footballs one step forward, with the introduction of the first vulcanized rubber footballs (which were also designed by Goodyear, reportedly a fan of the game) in 1855.

From 1855 until today, the history of the football game evolved tremendously and so did its "work object", which evolved more in a century than it did in the entire history of footballs prior to this period.
Modern technology and the exponentially rising popularity and financial strength of football all worked together in bringing state-of-the-art super soccer balls and taking the history of footballs one step further.
We could say that the trend was always renewed each four years, with the introduction of a new World Cup football ball. It has been almost a tradition to have a new and improved football at each World Cup, each with its own characteristics.
For example, the World Cup footballs used in 2002 in Korea and Japan were lighter than those used as standard before and made out of a material that would be more controllable, favoring technically skilled players and thus, rising the entertainment value.
In 2006 at the Germany World Cup, a new football was introduced, which sparked the anger of many, including veteran Oliver Kahn the German keeper.
The football, as Kahn and many other keepers would notice, is "built in favor of the striker" meaning that it has several characteristics that make shots stay on the ground and thus, having more chances to hit the goal.
On the other side of the fence, many strikers stated that the 2006 World Cup football was extremely comfortable to shoot and that it did not have the usual unintentional mid-air swerve that most other balls had. Some would say that is what the beautiful game needs more of ?....... Goals!

Will the 2010 world cup ball be different again or has technology reached it's peak?

Great Sporting Upsets....

1) US defeat USSR Hockey 1980
The "Miracle on Ice" was a medal-round men's ice hockey game during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, on February 22. The United States men's national ice hockey team United States team, made up of amateur and collegiate players and led by coach Herb Brooks, defeated the Soviet Union team, which was considered the best hockey team in the world.

The US went on to win the gold medal by winning their final match over Finland, who finished 4th. The Soviet Union took the silver medal by beating Sweden in their final game. As part of the its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2008, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) picked the Miracle on Ice as the number-one international hockey story of the century.
2) Giants Defeat Patriots In Super Bowl XLII
That's all anyone can do now. The Giants, a team that was counted out and discounted time after time this season, are the Super Bowl champions.
"It's in this room, right here," linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "The best team won. What else can you say?"
The 17-14 win in Super Bowl XLII was as improbable and as crazy as any of the 11 straight wins away from home this. They beat the perfect team and were the 11th seed in all of the playoffs !
3. Greece Win Euro 2004
Greece defied all the critics and all the bookmakers to sensationally win Euro 2004 beating the hosts Portugal in the final and knocking out defending champions France in the Quarter Finals.

Betting shops had Greece at 100/1 before the tournament and their victory has to be one of the biggest sport betting upsets of all time!

4) Buster Douglas defeated Mike Tyson 1990
Nicknamed "Kid Dynamite","Iron Mike"and "The Baddest Man on the Planet", Tyson won his first 19 professional bouts by knockout, 12 in the first round. He unified the belts in the splintered heavyweight division in the late 1980s to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Tyson lost his title when he lost to 42-to-1 underdog James "Buster" Douglas in February 11, 1990, in Tokyo, by a KO in round 10. Shock horror!
5. Jack Fleck Beats Ben Hogan in 1955 U.S. Open
How confident were people that Ben Hogan would win his record fifth U.S. Open title? After Hogan made par on the final hole, NBC signed off the air, declaring Hogan the winner even though Fleck, an unknown municipal-course operator from Iowa, trailed by just one stroke.

Hogan even flipped the ball to a USGA official and said "This is for the Golf House," referring to a museum. Fleck, however, wasn't quite finished: needing a birdie on 18 to force a playoff, his 7-iron approach just cleared the bunker and landed eight feet from the pin.

He then sank the putt to tie the score. Hogan, who had been sipping scotch in the Olympic Club locker room, dropped his head and cursed softly. The next day, Fleck beat the game's greatest player by three strokes in an 18-hole playoff. "I can't believe it, Ben," Fleck said as he and Hogan walked off the final green. What clubs did Fleck use to beat his idol? The Ben Hogan signature series.
6. Wrexham v Arsenal - F.A. Cup 1992
The F.A. Cup has a habit of throwing up shocks and this example is one of the greatest in the competitions history. In 1992, Wrexham defeated the league champions Arsenal in the Third Round, Wrexham having finished bottom of the Football League the previous season.

Arsenal took the lead in the game through Alan Smith but Wrexham stormed back to send the Gunners crashing at the Racecourse Ground at odds of 25/1!

7. Senegal 1 France 0 - 2002 World Cup
In a story that virtually mirrored the story of Italia 90, The defending champions were beaten in the opening game by an African team making their first appearance at a World Cup finals (Cameroon were making their second appearance when they beat Argentina).
Fulham's Papa Bouba Diop scored the only goal of the game to stun the footballing world at odds of 10/1.

Punters steamed into France in every game in Group A assuming that a change in fortune was round the corner but it never came and France limped out of the World Cup at the group stage with 1 point and no goals scored.

8. Cameroon v Argentina 1990 World Cup
Italia 90 was one of the most exciting World Cups in the last 30 years and it threw up a classic upset in the opening game. Argentina were defending their title won in Mexico in 1986 but were stunned by Francois Oman Biyiks header as Cameroon went onto to win 1-0.

Cameroon were 12/1 to win the game but the Argentineans still went on to reach the final where they lost to West Germany. The lasting memories from Italia 90 however will be the likes of Roger Milla dancing round the corner flag, Toto Schillaci banging in goals, the site of Roberto Baggio terrorising defences and Gazzas tears!

9. Dream Team Stunned By Argentina in 2004 Olympics
The US men's basketball team, known as the Dream Team were humbled in Athens in the 2004 Olympic, semi-finals by Argentina, beaten 89-81.

Argentina had a 43-38 half-time lead and never allowed their more glamorous opponents to overtake them as the Americans tried desperately to avoid a shock defeat.

10. Bangladesh v Australia - 18th June 2005
Bangladesh pulled off what may be the greatest shock ever in cricket betting with a five-wicket victory over world champions Australia in a One Day International in Cardiff in 2005. The Tigers were aided by a magnificent century by Mohammad Ashraful and surpassed Australia's 249 for 5 with 4 balls to spare.

Ashraful was the games top run scorer 6/1 and the huge upset was complete in when Jason Gillespie was hit for the winning runs in a victory that was priced at a massive 20/1 before the game.
The Americans had been gold medallists in every Olympics since 1992 when NBA players started competing in the Games and were the massive favourites at 1/6 to win their 4th successive title even before the Olympics began.

2010 World Cup Draw

The World Cup draw has finally taken place in Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa. Now the speculation, calculation and analysing of each team and group can take place.

Before the draw Spain and Brazil were joint favourites to win with odds of 9/2, after the draw Spain have been quoted at 4/1 and Brazil 11/2

The seeded Countries are Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the hosts South Africa. That leaves teams like France (1998 winners), Portugal and Greece as potential "banana skins" for those seeded teams!

Who's in the "easy group" and who is in the "group of death"? Which team are the favourite to win and who's for the early bath? The bookies have Brazil as favourites, but there is no surprise there and who to go home early? Perhaps North Korea?

One of the hardest groups is Group G. This includes Brazil (one of the favourites), Ivory Coast (great African side), along with the inclusion of Portugal makes this the "Group of Death", for me.

The first match between the hosts South Africa and Mexico will be in Johannesburg on the 11th June with the knock out stages commencing on the 26th June, climaxing to the final back at Johannesburg, also referred to as Jozi, Joburg or Egoli (place of Gold) a month later on the 11th July which is located on the eastern high-lying plateau in South Africa referred to as the Highveld.

There has been alot written about Brazil being the only country to win the tournament outside of their own continent. On that principal the highest ranked team would be the Ivory Coast at 22/1 will be a good bet, if they can get out of their tough group.

England are in Group C and have got a favourable draw and will start the tournament on the second day of the competition on the 12th June against the USA.

Spain and Italy appear to have a good chance to progess to the second stages.

However there is bound to be many twists and turns throughout the tournament.

That's why we all love the game! Bring it on. I'm on countdown already.

All the teams and groups are listed below:-

GROUP A. 1. South Africa 2. Mexico 3. Uruguay 4. France

GROUP B. 1.Argentina 2. Nigeria 3. South Korea 4. Greece

GROUP C. 1.England 2. United States 3. Algeria 4. Slovenia

GROUP D. 1.Germany 2. Australia 3. Serbia 4. Ghana

GROUP E. 1.Netherlands 2. Denmark 3. Japan 4. Cameroon

GROUP F. 1.Italy 2. Paraguay 3. New Zealand 4. Slovakia

GROUP G. 1.Brazil 2. North Korea 3. Ivory Coast 4. Portugal

GROUP H. 1.Spain 2. Switzerland 3. Honduras 4. Chile

All the details regarding the 2010 World Cup Website can be found on the link below:-

Mauresmo calls it a day...

Former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo has retired from tennis today after admitting she was no longer capable of putting in the effort to train for major competitions. The 30-year-old French player leaves after a 16 year career that has seen both highs and lows.

Two Grand Slam titles in 2006 were the pinnacle of hard work and effort which saw Mauresmo reach the No.1 spot as the best female tennis player in the world. After a winning drought in 2007 and 2008, Mauresmo came back this season to win her 25th singles title in Paris.

However, going out of the US Open this year in the second round to Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak was the final straw for the player, who officially decided to hang up her racket today. “It’s a bit sad, but this is the right decision,” the Associated Press reported Ms Mauresmo saying, “I had to make a decision, which became evident in the last few months and weeks. When you grew older, it’s more difficult to stay at the top.”

The French star revealed that she did not wish to train anymore and that she was no longer able to make the commitment to tennis: “If I were able to enter the court, play and shine, of course I could continue, but to achieve this you need to put in such hard work. And I’m not capable of that.” Tennis players have been tempted out of retirement in recent years to make triumphant comebacks.

Belgian Kim Clijsters won the US Open after two years out from tennis earlier this year in September. Justine Henin has also given the nod that she will return to the game after retiring at the peak of her game last year.
Good luck to you Amelie and thank you for all the entertainment that you have given us all over the years. I wish you a fabulous future in whatever you do.

Cheat or honesty?

What Makes People Cheat?

Cheaters seem to be everywhere these days in sports, boardrooms, and in the government.

Are you a cheater? You may not think so. Sure, you may not be perfect, but you probably consider yourself a reasonably honest person.

Experts in many different fields of education, sports, and law, for instance -- believe that cheating has become more accepted in recent years.

We have got professors and scientists who cheat, journalists who cheat, CEO's who cheat, lawyers who cheat and sportsmen and women who cheat. It seems like everybody is doing it.

If cheating is more common, why are we more likely to cheat than previous generations? What does cheating do to us? How does it harm ourselves, society, our families.

Is Cheating Really Worse These Days?

Some experts say that some amount of cheating is inevitable in any culture. When the first human beings set out the first rules for ethical behavior, there was no doubt some scheming person who started working out ways to bend them a little.

Apparently levels of cheating in a society can rise and fall. Some experts think that they are on the rise. It's hard to find definitive numbers to establish that cheating is more common across the board.

This idea that there are only a few bad apples in the barrel, is undermined by the fact that in reality, in many, many different sports, there are only a few good apples.

According to most experts, that most cheaters are not usually looking for public attention Some people cheat to keep up, or to get by.

We are all in a desperate struggle against each other to make it to the top. Failure is disastrous. Experts have noticed that the pressure starts when we're young.

For some parents, not getting their child into the right school or college spells social and economic ruin. They are pushed by their parents to get perfect grades, play sports, join a dozen extracurricular clubs, and take up esoteric hobbies or rare musical instruments in order to stand out to admissions officers.

For young people, the pressure is greater than ever, and the competition is greater than ever, it makes cheating in school an attractive option. That pressure doesn't let up when people get out of school.

Many people feel insecure in their jobs and worry about the future. If staying afloat takes a little cheating, many people are willing to do it.

Everybody is doing it

The more people do it, the more it becomes accepted. The more it's accepted, the more people do it. If you are in an environment where cheating is the norm, a lot of people will just go along with it.

In fact, if you feel like everyone is cheating, then not cheating seems bad. You are just shooting yourself in the foot. you will suffer while all the other cheaters get ahead. Being scrupulously honest may seem like a nice idea, but to some people it's pointless, as quaint and as practical as ditching your computer and writing with a quill. That the same is true for athletes who feel pressured to use performance enhancing drugs.

Only a tiny minority of athletes actually want to use these drugs, but everyone sees them as tools of the trade. The advantage conveyed by these drugs can be so great, that it is not the difference between coming in first and coming in second or third.

It is the difference between coming in first and not making the team at all. No one wants to be the first one to quit using drugs on principle. Many athletes feel like they can not afford to unilaterally disarm.

In addition, cheating sets an example for others and that this is especially true of athletes using drugs. A lot of this does not trickle down, it cascades onto our children. Many youngsters in many different countries have cycled on anabolic steroids.

To think that there is no connection between elite athletes using drugs and our kids using them is the height of naiveté.

But role models closer to home might make a big difference, too. No one can know whether a parent who steals cable is more likely to raise a child who starts cheating in school. But it might
be true.

Children who have parents who cheat are probably more likely to cheat themselves. If people in positions of authority or role models are cheating, then I think it sends a signal to young people that cheating is OK.

What Does Cheating Do to Us?

Many people might argue that cheating is a victimless crime. Who's being hurt? Cheating has a real and corrosive effect on society. Society is premised on people accepting and obeying the rules. Why do we stop at a stoplight on a desolate road in the middle of the night? Or why do not we steal a pack of gum when we know that the cashier is not looking?

Part of it may come from the fear that we're secretly being watched. But another reason is that most of us have agreed to be bound by the rules of our society. Cheating breaks those rules, and the effects can be far-reaching.

Cheating is harmful because is betrays your responsibility to the community. It can make community standards fall apart. Imagine being treated by a doctor who never took an exam in medical school without a cheat sheet? Or finding out that your home team only won because they had the most effective doping regimen? We all rely on the fact that people like doctors and athletes are what they seem, that they are qualified and have earned their position.

Although there's little firm evidence, some experts think that cheating in one part of your life may lead to cheating in others. People who cut corners early in life, such as cheating a lot in school may bring that habit to the workplace.

Cheating also forces you to lie to yourself. Many cheaters develop rationalizations for why they cheat.

Some say that, we say that we should lie on our taxes because we think tax rates are too high. Some say that we are cheating in school not because we could not do the assignment on our own but because it is much faster to copy.

The more excuses you need to justify your behavior, the more compromised your ethical compass. You may ultimately wind up feeling like a fraud, unworthy of the things you have.

Don't cheat !

If you get a B while everyone else got an A because they were cheating, that is a good B to have. We need to put less stress on individual achievements and relax a little. Parents can recognise that life is not a linear set of accomplishments. People can find their way, and a child does not need to jump through every hoop perfectly in order to lead a secure and successful life.

Many people feel pushed into cheating because everyone else is doing it. They do not want to be the lone person who does things honestly. But if you are in that position, take a stand, and be a honest person. You may feel better about yourself if you do!