The Girlfriend’s Guide to Sports

Sports with a girly twist!

Amy Rodriquez-Living the Dream April 28, 2008

I began playing soccer in a time where Mia Hamm was quickly becoming household name and the U.S. Women’s National Team was well on their way to earning international recognition as a one of the most premier programs in the world. The success of the WNT led to a boom in popularity for the sport. The term ‘soccer mom’ was practically synonymous to the word ‘mom’ because practically everybody’s kid seemed to be playing soccer. Soccer was everywhere and girls’ soccer, in particular, was becoming more and more mainstream.

Every time the WNT came to Southern California I would be there, along with literally thousands of other little girls cheering and crying when they watch their heroes walk out on to the pitch. We all dreamed of becoming the next Hamm, Foudy, or Scurry.

Now here I am 17 years later; I almost finished with my college eligibility and as of right now my dreams of making the WNT are pretty much nonexistent. While my dreams of competing at the international level may have been stifled, a girl that I grew up playing against is currently preparing for the Beijing Olympics.

Amy Rodriguez was always a ball of energy; I remember my coaches instructing the defenders on my team how to mark her. Her speed alone made the feat practically impossible, and when you combined it with her technical skill and remarkable ability to make a connection with the net she was unstoppable.

For the past three years Rodriguez has been attending the University of Southern California. At USC she has had a tremendous career. This past season Rodriguez had 10 goals, three assists and three game-winners during USC’s NCAA championship drive. These points elevated her to rank No. 6 all-time in career points (59), No. 6 in career goals (23) and No. 4 in career game-winning goals (9) at USC.

Rodriguez has played and scored in several of the CONCACAF tournament games, which were held as the Olympic qualifiers. The U.S. won the tournament and received the top seed for the Beijing Olympics. Now they are scheduled to play Norway, Japan and New Zealand in the first round.

In August I will be watching and cheering for the WNT as they compete for Olympic gold. My heart will be with all of them, but I will be rooting for Amy in particular. She is living proof that little girls can grow up and be just like Mia Hamm. Maybe one day little girls will grow up dreaming about being the next A-Rod, as her teammates like to call her.

-Tab

 

Seven Sports Vie for 2016 Olympic Admission April 26, 2008

Filed under: Current Events,Olympics — gfg2sports @ 7:01 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Earlier this month I wrote an entry about how golf may gain inclusion into the Olympics for the first time in over a century. I have now discovered that golf in not the only sport with Olympic aspirations.

In addition to golf, there are six other sports that are in consideration for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics Games. The other sports are softball, baseball, rugby, squash, karate, and roller sports. I can imagine it now…kick ass roller-derby chicks whizzing around a track, sporting the good ole’ red, white, and blue. Just kidding…I’m not sure exactly what “roller sports” would entail, but I thought that I would entertain you with one of my strange fascinations. Now lets get back to the story…

While there are seven sports vying for a bid, only one or two will actually get admitted. Aww…sad face! The Olympic Games only allows for the inclusion of 28 sports, with 26 already selected for 2016.

In June 2009, the IOC executive board will meet with leaders from all seven sports; each leader will make a presentations and the executive board will then submit proposals to the entire IOC on which sports to include.

The IOC will then decide which sports will gain admission by a simple majority vote. In previous years a two-thirds majority was needed, but luckily this was amended last year.

In the 2005 meeting of the ICO, the governing body rejected the admission of softball, baseball, golf and the four other sports that were hoping to gain inclusion. The actions of the IOC resulted in the 2012 Olympic Games having only 26 sports rather than the usual 28.

By now you must be wondering which sports have the best chance for getting the bid.

Well…there is now way to be sure. Personally, I’m torn about which sports that I would like to see. It would be interesting to watch a sport like rugby or squash for the first time, but I doubt that that will happen. I predict that both softball and baseball will receive entry because they are the most recent sport to be dropped from the Olympics. While this may be viewed as a negative facet, I believe that it is actually a positive trait because both sports will be in the recent memory of the ICO and the rest of the world for that matter.

Softball and baseball have been vying for a chance to return to the Olympics since both sports were narrowly voted out by the International Olympic Committee in 2005. Both softball and baseball will be present at this summer’s Beijing Olympics, but will be absent from the 2012 Olympic Games, which are scheduled to be held in London, England.

-Tab

 

A Role Model for All April 22, 2008

5. When you are having a texting conversation with someone and in the middle of it they disappear. This is on the list of the Top Ten things that Annoy Maria Sharapova, as posted on her website mariasharapova.com.

Well, you’re not alone Maria. It’s refreshing to know that the highest paid female athlete in the world has a similar annoyance to any other type of person.

A few things about Maria that will help you better understand where she comes from are: she is originally from Russia where she began playing tennis at the age of four. Maria and her Dad decided to try to pursue her passion for tennis by moving to the U.S. Her mother stayed behind in Russia to finish her college degree and for concerning visa issues. She followed them after a long two years. Maria attended an outstanding tennis academy in Florida, IMG’s Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. She began training more and more and eventually started entering into tournaments. She actually won Wimbledon at the young age of 17, and has been very successful ever since.

Maria is not only the highest paid female athlete but she has an overwhelming amount of sponsors some of which include, Tag Heuer, Cannon, Sony Ericsson, and Prince.

She also happens to maintain her poise on and off the court. She attends many red carpet events looking well polished, if you didn’t know already Miss Sharapova is a model too, as if being a ridiculously great athlete isn’t enough to make us love her.

Maria also has founded an organization called The Maria Sharapova Foundation that is dedicated to underprivileged children and it gives them the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

Maria is an excellent role model for athletes everywhere, more specifically young female athletes. Like my partner Tabitha said in a recent post concerning Danica Patrick, as a celebrity status female athlete, there are other ways to get noticed, and I think Maria does a fantastic job of doing so.

In addition, the original reason I wanted to recognize Maria is because on Sunday April 13, 2008 she won her first ever clay-court tournament. This is an outrageous accomplishment for any tennis player, especially one like Maria who has been in the business since such a young age.

So, Congrats Maria!

 

OMG. Danica actually won!

Filed under: Current Events,Professional Sports — gfg2sports @ 2:46 am
Tags: , , , ,

Irony struck Sunday when Danica Patrick won her very first IndyCar race.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I really laid into her in my last blog, but what can I say she hadn’t done tremendously well in her first 50 races and who would have thought…this week of all weeks; she would step up and finally win!

Patrick placed first at the Indy Japan 300 and it truly was a historic day for the male dominated racing scene. While she has acknowledged her victory as historical, she still remained humble through the entire experience.

“I just hoped and believed when I was young that it would happen and if I had the right opportunity that it could,” Patrick said about her first IndyCar victory, the first by a woman in the 100 years of US open-wheel racing.

I, for one, am proud of her. She has always intrigued me because of her status as a female racer and I applaud her for this win.

When she was asked about whether she had a disadvantage in racing because of her gender, Patrick said: “Well, I think that the disadvantage to overcome was just that I hadn’t won.”

I hope that this is the first of many wins for Patrick. I know that she has a rare talent that is just beginning to blossom. She is just 26 years old and she will most likely have a long career ahead of her.

I have not been disillusioned by her victory. I still stand by what I said in my last blog. I really do believe that as a very public female athlete she could better represent herself by not showing off her sexual side.

I hope she gets all the attention she deserves as a racer and not as that hot chick that drives racecars. With this win, Patrick cemented her place in history, but it would be a shame if other factors overshadowed her accomplishments.

 

Danica Stop Flashing Your Headlights! April 17, 2008

I’m so sick of female athletes shedding their clothes for dirty men’s magazines and trying to sell themselves as bombshells rather than the premier athletes that they are. Take for instance Danica Patrick. Patrick is currently one of the few female IndyCar racing drivers and her story is pretty admirable.

Patrick went from driving go-karts when she was little to signing a multi-year contract with a well known professional racing team in 2002.

At first I thought…wow…a female race car driver that’s unique, but now all I see is a sellout because in the past few years she shed a majority of her clothes for FHM and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In FHM she was in half-naked glory leaning ever so sexily on the hood of her racecar and in the swimsuit issue she was wearing a tiny bikini of course.

If you visit her official website, www.danicaracing.com, you’ll see exactly what I mean. The first image of her on the homepage is a sexy looking photo of her in what appears to be a black lacy cocktail dress. Once again Danica looks back at you with her bedroom eyes. It’s not the picture I have of what the website of the most successful female in IndyCar racing would look like. For some strange reason I thought she might have on her racing gear. Boy was I mistaken.

I’m sorry, but that is complete crap. Can’t she see what type of example she is giving young girls? I know that celebrities are people too, but come on she should have honestly left her clothes on and found a way to attract attention through some other positive outlet. Like… I don’t know…she could try actually winning a huge race or something. Hey, it’s just a thought.

Currently, Patrick has never won an IndyCar race.

I know it must be hard having to hide all those curves under her racing gear, but maybe she should have gone into another sport like volleyball if she wanted to show some more skin. Really, it is quite ridiculous; if you type her name in to Google Images it takes you several pages to get past all of her dirty pics to find one of her actually sporting some race gear.

Patrick has made it so that the press focuses on how hot she is rather than how well she drives. I know her heart is in racing so that must be pretty tough to deal with. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be one of the only girls in a male dominated sport. I know she is just trying to say ‘hey world I’m a girl,’ but personally I think she went about it the wrong way.

My advice to Danica and all other pretty female athletes is to remember what got you where you are today. It has never been about your looks nor should it ever be. Just do your best and compete. Make the world see how bright you shine through your performance and not through pictures of you flashing your headlights!

-Tab

 

What Tiger-iffic sport is not an Olympic Game? April 16, 2008

Filed under: Olympics,Professional Sports — gfg2sports @ 6:04 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Quick, here’s a mini-quiz. Which of these sports is not an Olympic program: a) Judo, b) Badminton, c) Equestrian, d) golf, or e) shooting? With all those crazy choices, I bet you didn’t guess golf. Believe it or not, golf hasn’t been an Olympic sport for over 100 years.

Currently, there is discussion about whether or not golf should be inducted as an Olympic program. If everything works out, golf could be included in the Olympics as early as 2016.The last attempt to make golf an Olympic game was in 2005, but the effort failed because there was no support from the professional tours.

Golf already has several distinguished tournaments and championships that take place every year including: four majors, three World Golf Championships and The Players Championship. For professional golfers the Olympic Games wouldn’t really be the ‘big show’ the way it is for many other sports.

In 2000 Tiger Woods said, “I don’t think it would be a big priority in our game.”

Personally, I think that statement is really pompous, arrogant, and incredibly unpatriotic. Who wouldn’t want the chance to represent their country in the world’s greatest athletic competition? There are many answers: not enough prestige, money, or international competitors? Maybe the professional golfers are worried that if golf were more prevalent on the world’s stage that people in other countries would train and overtake their current dominance.

These are my personal theories, but it is truly difficult to get to the heart of the problem. I can’t find a solid answer as to why golf wouldn’t be included in the Olympic Games. Golf is an incredible sport that should most definitely be appreciated the world over. I think that it would be nice to see the sport grow and mature. There would only be benefits that come from diversifying golf.

While there are some players and top members of the golf circle that believe that golf should not be an Olympic sport, there are also very influential people that are trying to make it happen.

For instance, the current PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is endorsing the effort to for golf to become an Olympic sport and his support could give golf its best opportunity for getting included in the Olympic lineup.

Finchem believes that if golf became an Olympic sport, it would promote growth of the game’s popularity all around the world.

“I do not believe that Olympic golf would have any effect on the stature or prestige of these other significant events, but rather would provide another complementary opportunity for our players to compete and demonstrate their skills on a global stage,” he said.

Nothing will be decided until next year when the International Olympic Committee will meets to vote on a host for the 2016 Games and decide whether to include additional sports.
-Tab

 

Can they make it? April 14, 2008

Today the Los Angeles Lakers played the second to last game before the first round of the NBA playoffs. And might I add, they did phenomenally well.

The Lakers have been continuing to prove themselves after a long and grueling recovery from a team that fell apart. After the three-peat ending in 2002, the Lakers have had a less than successful record, season after season.

Despite all the negativity from other teams and the outside world, the Lakers have pushed through many obstacles that they have faced, one of them including the on-going rivalry of the San Antonio Spurs and the battle for a high-quality spot in the play-off round in the 2007-2008 season.

All major sports broadcasting networks said that this was going to be a good game to watch, that the Spurs and the Lakers are neck and neck in trying to get the number two spot for the play-offs; the New Orleans Hornets are in first. Many fans of both teams were in for a great surprise.

The game started and the Lakers had a hard time putting in a basket. The Spurs got up to seven points before the Lakers finally got their first basket in. The remainder of the first quarter was back and forth, ending the quarter at 25-23, Lakers lead. The second quarter was quite similar to the first and the score at half time was tied 53-53.

With both teams knowing what they had to do, the third quarter began. This is when it seemed as if the Lakers took flight and the Spurs were still on the ground watching. Laker, Pau Gasol did an exceptional job of shutting down Power Forward, Tim Duncan. Duncan went to the bench with six minutes still remaining in the game. Forward, Ronny Turiaf provided the usual surge of power and energized stamina to the court, specifically in the fourth quarter.

At this point the Lakers starting line-up was then on the bench cheering on their fellow teammates. Guard, Kobe Bryant rumored to be up for the NBA MVP award this 2007-2008 season was especially excited for his team to be doing so exceptionally well, he was one of the many smiles across the faces of the bench, including starter and Laker veteran Derek Fisher.

The final score ended being 106-85, Lakers. Not only did this put smiles on faces, this enabled the Lakers to have a better chance for having the number two spot for the play-off round, maybe even boosting themselves to first; they currently have a two game lead.

After the game, Derek Fisher said, “We’re built to play as a team and not rely on the individual talents of other guys, hopefully that can carry us a long way.”

Overall, the Lakers have had a hard four seasons in a row, being eliminated from the play-offs after the first round, two of the times by the well-rounded Phoenix Suns. It’s looking a lot better for the Lakers this year, but the question is, can they make it?

-Jess

The next time you can watch the Lakers play is on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 7:30 at home versus the Sacramento Kings.

 

What a Week for Candace Parker? NCAA Championship & No. 1 WNBA Draft Pick April 13, 2008

Candace Parker just had the best week EVER!

First, she led the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team, the Lady Vols, to its second consecutive NCAA Division I title Tuesday in Tampa.

The following day she went on to be selected by the Sparks as the No. 1 overall draft pick in the WNBA.

Parker is a tremendous selection for the Sparks; her awards and accolades are practically innumerable. She’s won nearly every major basketball related award since high school.

In 2005 Parker was a medical-red shirt with a knee injury for her first season at the university, but she recovered and went on to become one of the best basketball players to have ever graced the Lady Vol’s court.

This weekend Parker flew to Los Angeles to spend time getting to know her new teammates and making arrangements for her move to LA.

Parker is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in sports management, but she will be commuting between LA and Knoxville, where the University of Tennessee is located, for training camp with the Sparks.

“I’m very tired,” she said. “I took a long flight here, but it’s just been something that, you’re not going to get these hours back. Winning a national championship and then turning around and being drafted No. 1 is an amazing feeling . . . it’s too bad that it had to happen, bam, bam, bam, because you had no time to sit back and absorb it.”

Parker is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in sports management, but she will be commuting between LA and Knoxville, where the University of Tennessee is located, for training camp with the Sparks.

The Sparks are very excited by the addition of Parker. Fellow Sparks’s teammate Lisa Leslie, three time WNBA most valuable player, is looking forward to playing with her.

There had been concerns that rivalry would develop between Parker and Leslie the way it had between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, but Leslie went on to squash these concerns by saying that she looks forward to being a mentor for Parker.

“This is the beauty of the sport,” she said. “I came along and I was a lot better than a lot of the centers that played the game, and now you have another player who’s even more phenomenal than me coming along. Then, there’s going to be someone behind her, so this is how it goes, this is part of life and I love it.”

-Tab



 

Wait a second…I thought the Olympics were about sports, right?

If you have been watching the news at all lately, you’ve probably heard all about the Olympic protest and torch extinguishing attempts. In fact, last week the torch was extinguished a reported five times while it traveled through Paris, France. The protesters are concerned about issues relating to Tibet and other human rights violations. With all this talk about Chinese politics, it makes me beg the question, ‘Aren’t the Olympics suppose to be about sports?’

The most straight forward answer is, yes. The Olympic Games are suppose to be a time where athletes from all around the world get together to showcase their talents and compete at the most premier level imaginable. It is obvious that spirit of the Games is being diminished by all the hoopla; in a time when we should be comparing player stats and shooting playful trash talk at one another, we are instead focused on China’s internal affairs.

While the Olympic Games should put a spotlight on tremendous athletes, this spotlight is currently burning so bright that the entire world can see right in China’s front window, so-to-speak. While China was hoping to use this attention to promote their own agenda about their growth and advancement, the world has instead turned their collective eyes on China’s many problems.

The focus primarily rests on China’s dealings with Tibet, but there has also been discussion about other human rights issues and the pollution problem in Beijing. As shameful as it is to admit, I had no idea what the news meant about ‘Tibet Controversy,’ until I started researching for this article.

In short, in the early 1900s Tibet existed as an independent Buddhist country, but in 1950 the Communist controlled Chinese government took over Tibet and claimed it as part of China. There has been controversy and resistance ever since. The current protests are utilizing China’s Olympic spotlight to raise awareness about this substantial injustice.

Governments all around the world are reacting to this display. Reportedly, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has stated that he is planning to boycott the opening ceremony and Prince Charles of England has said that he would simply not attend the Olympics at all.

In the U.S., members of Congress passed a resolution, Resolution 1077, which calls on the Chinese government to begin discussion with the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist leader of Tibet, in order to find a lasting solution that will result the country’s respect for human rights of Tibetans.

So what does the Chinese government have to say about all this? “The Tibet issue is completely China’s internal affairs. No foreign countries or international organizations have the right to interfere in it,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

For the most part I agree with her. No one is digging up our dirt and telling us to give California back to Mexico or our entire country back to Native Americans for that matter, and besides this has NOTHING to do with the Olympics, at all.

Hopefully this all gets resolved before August, when the Olympic Games are scheduled to begin. I am not trying to be insensitive to the human rights violations that are going on, but you would think that China would have ‘cleaned the house before inviting everyone to dinner.’ What we’re really looking at here is a huge PR nightmare that could have definitively been avoided. It’s sad for both the Tibetans and the Olympians that their issues have to be so tragically entwined, because after all the Olympics are suppose to be about sports, right?

-Tab