Category Archives: Sport

Federer’s Backhand In Australia

Prior to his injury, Federer had dropped his number one ranking but today he has won the Australian Open.  Tennis pundits in recent years have bestowed the best one handed backhand drive in the game to Stan Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet.  Wawrinka most likely today generates the most power from the back hand wing and Gasquet utilizes more torque from a smaller physique.  However; Roger Federer today demonstrated the importance of a compact back swing and set up to deal with the immense power generated by today’s tour players.  While enjoying the highlights this morning, I noticed that Roger was always delivering the drive on the backhand side during service return when in years past he would often deliver the more defensive blocking style of return.  It’s evident that in the run up to his tour return that his team put a focus on absolute conviction of the backhand drive from every backhand position on the court.  This would have lead to more repetition in practice and mastery of set up.  Today he delivered fluid cross court backhand winners at will with acute angles while managing points with sustained depth from the base line all in the context of that human back board on the other side, Rafael Nadal.  Not only now a legend of the game, in Roger Federer tennis has never had a better ambassador of the sport.

Some Credit To NHL

Some credit to the NHL is in order as I took in a couple of periods of the Flames vs Hawks last night at Big Al’s pub over at International Avenue.  No fights!  Some inspired play by John Goudreau of the Flames.  Fairly tight checking with low scoring and the O/T shoot out didn’t conclude until the 7th round.  The goalies prevailed over the course of thirteen straight one on one encounters.  Some sharp stick handler tallied the winner with a somewhat controversial deposit following a deke which arguably entailed backward movement of the puck – hence testing the rules.  In fact, I’m surprised that officiating didn’t utilize video replay for confirming the game winning goal.

The game has taken positive steps to enhance the entertainment value.  In spite of there being regulations around the size of goalie equipment, in my opinion those goalie pads are still too big.  The Hawks may have won the game had the Flames goalie been fitted with a smaller catching glove.  There weren’t many penalties and much to my surprise the game was played quite cleanly.  Moments of suspense were endured by Flames fans when their team was shorthanded in the overtime period.  However; the dump and chase style of play is still evident asking one whether coaches believe that offense can penetrate to the net with the three on two rush.  This particular game was defensive dominant thereby limiting the excitement factor.  The four on four format for the overtime is a definite positive.  Advertisement interference was pleasingly tolerable – especially when matched up against the adjacent screen carrying the Broncos and Texans.  I did not witness any acts of poor sportsmanship and coverage by Sportsnet was good.  Given my criticism of the NHL, some balance was due.  A shout out to Big Al’s for your warmth as my host!

Ad Hoc Tennis With Kids

Sitting at the computer this Saturday night thinking….it’s way too nice out tonight not to get outside.  Reached for my tennis bag and headed over to the community courts.  Figured if there’s nobody there, I’ll just hit against the board.  Nobody there and the board was gone.  Had a silent chuckle.  It does indeed need replacing due to chips, cracks and holes.  My balls were forever veering off due from such.  Watched a group kick a soccer ball around and then looked back at the court and there were three kids sitting on one of the tennis nets.  Oops….they were gonna catch it.  Headed over and talked to them about how tennis players like to keep the net at the same height and hence nobody sits on it.  They asked what I’m doing here anyway.  I mentioned that I thought I might catch a game but nope.  They asked if I had another racquet and if they could play.  Hard to say no under the circumstances and yes my spare was in the kit.

It started out as three enthusiastic boys.  We set up mini tennis boundaries (the services boxes) for some back and forth.  There was some chat about whose turn it would be next.  Then “Slam” came along who set up the rules.  I thought how ironic of a boy’s name on this evening in the context of the most celebrated of tennis competitions.  There was going to be five misses each before they handed off to the next in line.  Skateboarders appeared and organized mayhem ensued.  The three boarders all of whom knew clearly that skate boarding is disallowed on the court but they cooperatively heeded my request to skate the perimeter.  Slam showed great promise while making his shots.  Then came along five more cousins including I’d say a three year old little boy and a six year old girl.  Of course all kids were tracking the balls and this girl intuitively knew exactly how to one bounce a ball back to me with the straight arm in the air just like at Wimbledon.  If she only knew she needs no ball girl lessons.

With dimming light I huddled up the clan and exclaimed they all have great potential to learn tennis skills and suggested that they inquire with their parents for racquets.  Upon packing my bag, a skateboarder gave me one last reason to smile when he whizzed by and said thanks for not yelling at us.

Sochi in Review

Thank God everyone is home safe and sound from Sochi. Unfortunately, not as many
local Russians had a chance to see the Olympic events due to logistical issues and
security protocol. Delegation heads were certainly counseled to remain mute on
particular negative attributes of the events and proceedings. Snow challenges were
apparently handled expeditiously and there was never a mention of scheduling glitches.

The Netherlands encountered the most success with the fewest athletes. It’s
obvious that this nation along with Norway knew exactly how to focus
training around one sport (skating and cross country skiing) with most available
medals.

The dramatic undulating swings of the Canadian women’s hockey team win over
team U.S.A. had to rank as the most exciting Canadian moments of the games.
The larger ice surface fostered pure play making and the four on four action
in overtime tested athletes’ endurance.

The sentimental moments are always cherished because the side stories are what
underpins the spirit of competition, fair play, and sportsmanship.

The Russian X country skier seen struggling with a broken ski while being
assisted by a Canadian coach exemplifies the spirit of the games. To finish
last is oftentimes a worthy accomplishment in the context of hurdles
presented.

The facilities will hopefully survive period is disuse. Russia’s government
will be challenged to exercise creativity in utilizing facilities for non-
sporting as well as sporting occasions.

These thoughts are only a microcosm from an early morning couch potato watching
from afar but it’s easy to sense the palpable bonding amongst all those who
in some way shape or form etched their name to the games’ success.

The family support of athletes will live in the hearts of competitors forever.

Why Run?

There are so many benefits to running and it’s peculiar that more people aren’t doing it for the simple sake of good health.  It may have to do with certain fallacies that work on the mind.  Perhaps, it’s much to do with the “no time” excuse that plagues the rational mind.  Maybe it’s the broken commitments of yesteryear working as a stymie for stepping forward.  Whatever the case, today is a great time to make a start just by starting.  A doctor’s okay is an errand away.  

Weight bearing stress on joint, tendons, ligaments, and bones is good for the body.  Yes, I said stress.  The body requires stress as an inciter of the life force.  Your body was built to move and thrive under eustress (positive stress).  If you are over weight, this is an issue because excessive stress on the knees can cause harm to the menisci (cartilage) floating between the tibia and femur.  Non weight bearing aerobic exercise will be a better option until normal weight is restored.  

Blood moves rapidly throughout the body including your heart.  Oxygenation at the capillaries is increased.  Imagine a washing of arterial walls at your heart as blood races through the pulmonary and coronary arteries.  With increased demand on the heart muscle, the coronary artery is asked to perform more powerfully.

Adrenaline is a hormone of which the secretion is increased during exercise and gets you feeling good.  What a way to start the day!  If you are one who can jump right out of bed and hit the streets, I tip my hat to you.  However; by 9:30 am you’ve digested a nutritious breakfast with caffeine perhaps inspiring your strength.

Running burns calories and enhances the motility of the digestive tract.  You’re life style is improved with better energy utilization and mental acuity.

Most municipalities have running clubs and welcome new members.  Make new friends and access recreational races through these clubs which often times have a component associated with fund raising for good causes.  

 

Frank Dancevic Story

He burst onto the Canadian tennis scene a decade ago and Canadian tennis fans had high hopes for Frank.  Upon checking out his talent live back then here in Calgary, I was struck by his raw talent and charisma.  However; inconsistency has plagued his play.  His results haven’t measured up to expectations but he has not given up.  For those lower ranked players keen to keep their players card and gaining a spot in the draw, it oftentimes means qualifying rounds.  This is what we don’t hear much about.  These are those matches played in the outback of the resort grounds sometimes at odd hours and periodically with wonderment whether the dream will be whisked away.

Two new rising Canadian stars have bumped Frank from the dialogue of Canadian tennis, but i see he has not only made it through three rounds of qualifying at this year’s U.S. Open, but he won his first round match in the main draw today and now meets a wiley veteran in Tommy Robredo.

Something Good is Gonna Happen Frank!  Keep it up!