Monthly Archives: July 2011

Schwarzenegger Son Injured

They say when it rains, it pours.  In the case of former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife of more than 25 years, Maria Shriver, that’s an understatement.  While the public is fully aware of the governator’s infidelity and controversial, pending divorce, reports emerged this week that Christopher, the couple’s youngest son, is recovering from serious injuries he obtained after a boogie-boarding accident.

The accident took place in Malibu last week, but now that attention is back on Schwarzenegger as a result of a failed divorce filing, more people are learning about Christopher.  Since July 17, the 13 year old had been in intensive care with multiple broken bones and a collapsed lung.

The governor addressed concerns on his Twitter account: “Thanks for all your support for Christopher.  It means a lot to me and to him.  He’s doing much better, and we’ll have him back at full speed soon.”  Shriver, who has been largely thought the victim in this incredibly publicized separation, joined with her still-husband to release a joint statement about their son: “Christopher is surrounded by his family and friends.  He is a brave boy and is expected to make a fully recovery.”

When a couple wants nothing more than to get away from one another, the children are always a tie that binds.  In this case, differences are almost insurmountable between Schwarzenegger and Shriver, but they did raise four happy and thriving children.  Let’s hope for Christopher’s sake that the injuries he sustained are, indeed, temporary setbacks to a long and prosperous future.

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LSU Freshman Already Out

For those who scoffed at the NFL negotiations and always prefer their college games to professional football, there has never been a question as to whether fans would get their Saturdays’ fill of sports television.  The only question now is which teams stand head and shoulders above the rest and which teams have the greatest potential for success.   LSU, better known to the rest of America as the Fighting Tigers, is one such group to watch out for this year. 

Their only problem right now is a much hyped freshman player who now has a broken foot.  Jarvis Landry signed with LSU hoping to bring a much needed strength to their receiving corps, but during a ‘for fun’ game with friends (called ‘7 on 7′ football) his right foot snapped and laid him flat on the ground.  Unlike the professional world where agents represent players, when it comes to college ball, parents are the ones playing agent.  Landry’s mother spoke up about her son to the New Orleans’ reporters when asked about his playing potential for the start of the season:

“Yes he did break his foot, but he’s going to be fine.  He’s OK.  He had a little surgery on Friday, and they told him he’ll be out about three weeks.”  Apparently, moms are good for embellishing the truth.  Landry will be out for closer to four weeks and there’s no such thing as a ‘little surgery’ when it comes to big time athletes.  Ce La Vie.   

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More on the NFL Settlement

They’re calling it the comeback story of the summer!  How the NFL was almost down for the count.  How the NFL almost couldn’t bear to play anymore games.  How the… well, maybe it wasn’t quite like that.  But however you saw the gradual drawdown of owners and players toward the end of a record heat wave, two things are for sure: the lockout is over and everyone is ready for some football.

Before the season gets underway, it’s important to answer just a few questions about the results of a lockout that lasted longer than any other in professional history.  Who gets what?  And what was the agreement?  Will we have to sit through this next summer as well? 

Players walk away with higher salaries (ugh!), better benefits, and a safer working environment.  For instance, they’ll have shorter offseason workouts in order to minimize future injuries across the board.  And regarding benefits, there is more than $1 billion being thrown into a pot for post-career injuries that result from on-field accidents.  No doubt every fan can get behind this one.

Owners, on the other hand, get a larger share of the $9 billion plus in revenues that the league brings in every year.  The objective isn’t that they would pocket that extra money (we hope!), but rather, that they would invest it in new stadiums, better working conditions, redirecting payouts to veterans more than rookies, etc.   

You can be sure that this will not be a topic of dinner table discussion next year because the deal reaches ten years out.   No more arguing about what to do on Sunday afternoon and Monday night if the NFL decides not to have a season. 

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NFL: ‘Football is Back’

While President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner continue their last minute wrangling over an economic solution to the nation’s fiscal crisis, there is finally some hope in the world of compromise and done deals.  The National Football League, which has been in lockout and lawsuit mode since March, finally came to an agreement over the terms between players and owners.  Take a look, Washington.  Maybe you could learn a thing or two.

One of the more touching moments of this final conclusion was a hug between Indianapolis representative and player Jeff Saturday and New England owner Robert Kraft.  Just this last week, Kraft lost his wife of 48 years to a battle with cancer.  In a press conference on Monday, Saturday acknowledged the loss of Myra Kraft and gave respect to her husband, who seemingly became the architect that saved football.

Now that the warring is over (in the NFL, that is), there are a few changes that have little to do with the everyday game that fans watch on television.  Owners will now gain 53% of the revenue with players earning just 47% (though the previous arrangement was more like 50/50).  In addition, spending will be limited for contracts on first-round draft picks.  Everything else, well, just ends up looking like paperwork for the business of professional sports. 

Now that the NFL is open for business, expect to hear a great deal about injuries in the news.  While there are quite a number of players who took time to practice off the field (where they were locked out), there are plenty of players who are not as physically prepared for the season as they could be.

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Time Capsule: A Salt Wound for Angelina

Look at the image on the left.  See if you can find a scar between the eyes of Angelina Jolie.  Can’t find it?  That’s photoshop for ya!

Just a year ago today, Jolie was out promoting her new movie, Salt, and admitted publically that after one of the action sequences, she had jumped into a television monitor that struck her between the eyes.  The star attempted to keep acting, but was soon taken to the hospital where she was stitched up and bandaged so that she could return to filming.

“I returned the next day with this big bandage on my head, they had to paint it (the bandage) out. I tried really hard to do my fight scenes and a few minutes in, they were like, ‘You’re really not fighting very well,’ so they sent me home.”

Several experts called Salt one of the riskiest movies of 2010 because Jolie was doing all of her own stunts.  What’s more, if she were to be injured during the making of the film, a single lapse in production would cost at least $250,000 per day or more.  They call that an insurance company’s worst nightmare.  So giving her just a single day off to recover from the head wound amounted to a quarter of a million dollars.  Chump change in a tough economy, right?  Yeesh!

Salt earned moderate reviews, but most critical praise was given to Jolie, who clearly earned a Tom-Cruise-like-Mission-Impossible persona as one of the first female action stars to demand that no one else could do her terrifying action sequences, like scaling the side of a building with only inches to spare.  Cut or no cut between the eyes, Angelina Jolie is one tough woman.

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Rugby Star Goes Down Again

Rugby has a storied history that easily predates the kind of padded, professional football games of America.  Since 1750, the hard hitting sport has been played with the inevitability of serious and continuing injuries.  And today, the game is mostly played on international levels with few professional tournaments held within individual countries.  Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman earned Oscar attention for their portrayal of a South African rugby player and president Nelson Mandela who worked together to use the rugby as a means for unifying a broken and racially divided nation.

Unfortunately, because rugby is a harsh contact sport that excludes most padding from the players, more injuries are commonplace on the field.  On Monday, Gary van Aswegen, one of the most prominent players for the South African Western Province team went down for a second time with a nagging injury to the knee.  Apparently, he was urged to get back into the field of play before the proper time for healing had passed.  Now, with another surgery looming, Aswegen is probably out for quite some time.

“Gary has partially torn the same ligaments that he injured during the Super Rugby season,” said Coach Allister Coetzee. “He will be wearing a brace for two weeks and then he will have to go through six to seven week of rehab, which means that the whole recovery process will take eight to nine weeks.”

This will certainly impact their ability to go for a 33rd Currie Cup title (the last one came in 2001), but perhaps a lesson will be learned about pushing players, even international ones, who simply are not invincible.

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British Open Goes to the Irishman

When his wife was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2004, Darren Clarke of Ireland disappeared from the golf scene for several years to stay by her side.  Even after her death in 2006, Paul McGinley, a fellow Irish golfer and friend took time off from the sport to deal with the sorrow, since their families had been so close.  Heather Clarke was just 39 when she died, but her spirit continues to live on as Darren plays each tournament with her memory in the wings.  On Saturday, he won his first major championship at the 2011 British Open.  Naturally, he dedicated the victory to Heather:

“In terms of what’s going through my heart, there’s obviously somebody who is watching from up above there, and I know she’d be very proud of me. But I think she’d be more proud of my two boys and them at home watching more than anything else. It’s been a long journey to get here.”

By the second round of play, Clarke moved into the first tier and never looked back.  He wrapped up the tournament with five under par, edging out two Americans, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, who both had two under par.

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The Real Carmageddon

The plan was to shut down a 10 mile stretch of Interstate 405 in Los Angeles from last Friday evening to early Monday morning in order to demolish the Mulholland Drive Bridge, a long overdue project for the city.  But during the week leading up to the demolition, LA residents had made national headlines, calling the entire thing a ‘Carmageddon’ waiting to happen.  The fear was that the 405 was simply too busy a road to get shut down for an entire weekend.  People from the area might turn into an angry mob overnight!

Well, that didn’t happen.  In fact, the project went so smoothly that workers were 15 hours ahead of schedule and reopened the freeway on Sunday at 11:30am, well ahead of the Monday rush hour.  Residents must have forgotten that this was the freeway where O.J. Simpson made his escape and cars were cleared from the road while cameras caught the entire thing on tape. 

So the real Carmageddon?  That happened about 26 miles from Los Angeles in Long Beach on the parallel 710.  For about 25 minutes on Monday morning, the California Highway Patrol had shut down the southbound freeway because of a multi-vehicle crash that left at least one person injured.  Someone was pulled from an overturned SUV and rushed to a nearby hospital.  All this on the morning when everyone was planning to avoid the 410.  Go figure.

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After Tough Year, Japan Wins World Cup

Last week, workers in Japan recovered 31 more bodies from the rubble of devastation that came with a tragic tsunami last March that many in the world have already forgotten.  The bodies recovered brought the death toll down by only the tiniest of fractions, leaving a count of nearly 21,000 dead and missing.  For a nation trying to regain a sense of global pride, nothing could be sweeter than a triumphant win at the World Cup, where the women managed a last minute victory against the United States.

Many called it a ‘riveting’ final on Sunday night, with the women acknowledging publically and privately to their friends and family that this was their chance to fight for a battered country looking for even the slightest glimpse of joy.  Well, they sure fought.

This had been Japan’s first showing in a major tournament final and they had never beaten the United States.  But even Americans were wondering if this was destined to be their year.  After all, sports is always about underdogs trying to overcome the goliaths of their game.  Carli Lloyd, who had to swallow a missed shot, was gracious in defeat. “If any other country was to win this, then I’m really happy and proud for Japan.  Deep down inside I really thought it was our destiny to win it.  But maybe it was Japan’s.”

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The Invincible Peyton Manning

Modest though he may be, Peyton Manning ranks up there with an elite category of NFL quarterbacks, having earned more MVP awards than any other player (having a Super Bowl ring doesn’t hurt either).  But with the lockout continuing to linger on into July, when most players would be working with trainers and physicians to ensure their peak health, the most durable quarterback of all time is now recovering from a neck procedure almost entirely on his own.

On May 23, Manning  went into surgery to correct a disc problem, though the process was said to be ‘minimally invasive’, ensuring that recovery time would only amount to six or eight weeks.  The average, unemployed American (remember, Peyton is technically unemployed) might hesitate on a health problem because of skyrocketing costs in the hope that the injury will go away on its own, but Manning says he had little choice in the matter.  The recovery, he knew, would be entirely independent of the trainers and Indianapolis facilities he would normally use.

“I’ve been very, very cautious and taking it very slow because I have been somewhat on my own in some ways. When you find a good trainer and a good rehab guy that you like, it’s a pretty special bond. These guys kind of know your body. So the fact that I haven’t had access to my guys and I’ve been somewhat on my own, I’ve been extra cautious and extra slow and making sure we don’t have any setbacks.”

When asked how his recovery is shaping up, he seemed genuinely unsure. “It’s really hard to give yourself an evaluation because I really need my trainer and my doctor to get their hands on me and work for me.”  NFL players and owners are still arguing, which means that if fans don’t get a season, at least Peyton can be assured his neck will have plenty of time to recover.  Last week, while coaching young players at his own football academy, Manning didn’t throw a pass once.  Talk about taking it easy.

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