Saturday, March 27, 2010


By Your Athletic Supporter, Jack Strap

THE MADNESS has been upon us for over a week now & there's still over a week to go so enjoy that & this A to Z tribute to that MADNESS:
A = Alex Herrmann, the autistic teen from the Chi-town burbs who picked 48 straight games correctly in his MADNESS Pool before The 'Cuse let him down; Honorable Mention: my son Andrew who leads 100 bracketologists in our Relay for Life Pool
B = Big East Busted MADNESS Brackets B-B-B-B-Badly
C = Champions--Who are the Champions My Friends? TBD, but it won't be my pick Kansas
D = Do you believe there were no teams in the 65 team MADNESS field that begin with a "D"? No, there was & still is Duke
E = Ekpe Udoh from the surprising to some Baylor Bears (not me, have them in my Final 4) who will take on those Dukies in the Elite Eight
F = Florida & Florida St. both went out in Round 1--this ain't Football
G = Greenie & Golic's (Mike & Mike's) "Sheets of Integrity"
H = Houston's Aubrey Coleman easily led the Nation in scoring (anybody remember Phi Slamma Jamma?)
I = Interestingly this year, Iowa wasn't the best team in Iowa--it was the Jayhawk Giant Killing Panthers of Northern Iowa
J = Johnathon Jones of Oakland (not Da Raiders) had as many assists/game as the more well known Wall, John
K = Kentucky is the Favorite now that Kansas was upset, but don't forget about Coach K and/or Kansas St.
L = Lehigh Mountain Hawks (didn't they used to be the "Engineers"?) which was the closest team to me to make the Tournament
M = MADNESS: Murray St. #13 Seed Buzzer-Beats #4 Seeded Vanderbilt; Honorable Mention: Robert Morris #15 who took #2 'Nova to OT
N = New Mexico was a #3 Seed & like New Mexico St. was an early-out
O = Orange-men of Syracuse #1 Seed are now Out courtesy of those Butler Bulldogs
P = Purdue Boilermakers shared the Big 10 Title & then without their best player made it to the Sweet 16
Q = Quincy Acy of Baylor made over 70% of his shots in the Regular (Non-MADNESS) Season
R = Red, Big of Cornell--the Ivy Champs out-smarted Temple & Wisconsin
S = Sweet Sixteen didn't include the Siena Saints like it said on my MADNESS Pool
T = Three Point Shots: St. Mary's Mickey McConnell led the Nation hitting a Terrific 51.7% & Turner, Evan from Ohio St--the 2010 National Player of the Year
U = University Tennessee defeated Evan Turner & Ohio St. to reach the Elite 8
V = Villanova who was Samhan-dled by Omar's 32 Points in St. Mary's Victory
W = West Virginia--the only Big East team still standing, at least until tonight vs. KY
X = Xavier had a nice MADNESS run before losing to K-State in a great double-overtime game
Y = Your MADNESS Bracket on Yahoo or CBS Sports? Yummy or Yucky?
Z = Zags of Gonzaga--those former Giant Killers are now Giants, but they ran into that Syracuse 2-3 Zone

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

CareMeridian contacted me about running an article about traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and their relation to sports, especially football. Below is the article passed along to me by them. I urge you to read it.

Mild TBI and Sports Related Injuries

Athletics are a fun and healthy way to stay active that millions of people take part in each day. However, some of these activities can take a toll on the physical body of the individual. Contact sports like football, boxing, soccer, and hockey can cause damage that can change a person’s entire life and sometimes can even be irreversible. An example of this type of sports injury is traumatic brain injuries. A TBI can permanently alter someone’s life and can even require long-term rehabilitation and care from special facilities like CareMeridian and these injuries are often too common when taking part in sports.

According to the Brain Injury Resource Center, an estimated 300,000 sports related brain injuries occur each year. Most of these injuries are not classified as severe. Many of these mild TBI’s or concussions may appear unthreatening, but in fact they can often cause significant damage if not treated properly. The hidden danger of a concussion comes from the fact that it is usually passed off as nothing more than pain and soreness inflicted from the sporting activity, which is why they can easily be a repeatable injury. Consequently, concussions are often regarded as very hazardous and should be given thorough and constant attention.

Concussions are head injuries that are caused by blows to the head that usually cause the brain to move violently within the skull. For a sport like football this type of injury is common and unfortunately, at times ignored. Many athletes shake off the pain that’s caused from the head injury, because the immediate effects are often unnoticed. Yet, without treatment, a simple injury can cause a lifetime of suffering. The NFL has a concussion rate of 61% and this type of injury not only sidelines the player impacted, but can end their career. Some NFL players, like quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Steve Young, retired from the game rather than take on the risk that comes from the injury, but others are not so lucky. Many retired football players and athletes battle memory loss and constant migraine headaches that result from head injuries.

Participating in athletic competition (football, soccer, basketball, etc…) is inherent in many different peoples’ lifestyles, but comes with risk of injury. Mild TBI is among the most common forms of sports related injuries, which also include fractures, tears, bursitis, sprains and more. As an enjoyable means of human interaction and competitive lift, sports will always be an integral ingredient of modern day society. Ultimately, it’s important to be aware of mild traumatic brain injuries (symptoms, treatment, etc…) and the frequency of occurrence on the field of play.

Awareness is always a good thing. Continue to enjoy all of the wonderful contact sports out there, but be mindful and safe.

Thanks to CareMeridian for passing along this article.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Phield 2010: My Bracket

As The Phield churns out matchup previews over the course of the next few days, as well as starts the tournament with voting for the play-in game, let's take a look at my bracket.

My bracket for The Phield 2010. Click to enlarge and see my predictions.

Yep, I'm calling for a 3-seed to take it all. I am still shocked The Fightins were given a 3 and not a 2 (or even a 1), as their site has been stellar since its full-time debut in the spring of 2008. Yep, before the greatest night, er, nights in Phillies history. My final four consists of Macho Row, The Fightins, Beerleaguer, and The Zo Zone.

Macho Row, in my opinion, got too high a seed and could have easily been a 3 or 4. I think they can take down the almighty 700 Level, the overall #1 seed. Why? Because, while The 700 Level is an excellent Philly blog, it is split over all things Philly sports. I think blogs that are dedicated to just the Phillies cover the team more thoroughly and I think that will be shown with the results in The Phield. Really though, no disrespect to The 700 Level. I've been a daily reader of their site since 2006 and think they're the best all-around Philly blog on the web. For this though I go Macho Row.

The Fightins may just be my favorite Phillies-centric blog. It has a little of everything: statistics, game recaps, a kick-ass store, focus on broadcasters, and jokes. Boy do they bring the jokes. They have the fan base to topple the other 64 worthy entrants.

Beerleaguer is a classic and located just outside my hometown. The commenters may appear dry and pessimistic about everything but sole writer Weitzel knows his stuff. His strong following should get him to the Final Four. I'll be one pushing to get him there.

Lastly comes The Zo Zone, my favorite blog by a Phillies beat writer. I figure one of the beat writers makes it and since Zo is my favorite - and appears in tune with fans and other blogs - I think he storms past fellow beat writer blog Finger Food and edges out Swing and a Long Drive in the Elite Eight.

So there are my picks. I'm not getting into every single selection because that would take forever. Plus, this is just my gut feeling and biased approach as to which blogs I like best.

Really the real winner in this whole awesome process are the smaller, less-known blogs. This is free advertising for them and they should relish the chance to grab a new audience. I know I'll be perusing all 65 of these sites more often to get as much Phillies love as possible. Each site is different and original, and I respect that.

So, now that you see who I got... who you got? Favor The 700 Level? Love a dark horse?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Playing The Phield

Yep, another long break in posts. Sorry about that. We're mainly a Penn State/NFL blog so it's hard to stay up on things from February through August (save for April... NFL draft!). One thing I need to start doing again is blogging about my beloved Phillies. And this might push me to do so. It's called "The Phield".

The Phield has composed a bracket of 65 of the best Philadelphia Phillies blogs around the Internet to determine one Phillies blog to rule them all. It's an awesome idea, started by former Phillies Nation - a #1 seed, by the way - writer by the name of Timothy Malcolm. He has done a stupendous job of finding great Phillies fans' sites from across the web, excluding us here. But that's OK; I never expected to be added to The Phield since I haven't written about the team since October 30th, 2009. Heck, I didn't even comment on the World Series loss or offseason changes.

Anyway, this leads me to want to start talking about the Phillies again. I love the team but don't give them as much face time here due to my obsession with all things football. Hopefully that changes this coming season and I can get a high seed for the 2011 Phield. That's my new goal.

For reference, here is The Phield for 2010, taken from the main site.

Click to enlarge.

Malcolm certainly included all of the ones I peruse on a daily basis, such as Macho Row, The 700 Level, The Fightins, Swing and a Long Drive, and Phinally Philly, plus a lot more. There are at least 30 I hadn't even heard of before this tournament. My Google Reader is about to be even more full...

You can get involved in the voting, too! Follow @ThePhield on Twitter, where you can submit votes and get updates. You can also vote by emailing by 8 PM each day. You vote for your favorite blog in each two-team matchup, when the match-up is featured on the site (and mentioned on Twitter). UPDATE: Kevin McGuire, from Macho Row, has let me know that The Phield has changed voting procedures to a poll on the main site. Vote there each day between 8 AM and 8 PM.

Good luck to all 65 teams involved! My the best Phillies blog win!