Saturday, August 9, 2008

Top 25 Athletes In Bewildering Uniforms....

With Brett Favre changing teams Dan Hopper thought it would be a good time to look at some players in uniforms that just shouldn't have happened.

We're so glad "Waikiki Hockey" favourite Steve Yzerman retired in a Red Wing jersey.

Bizarre Olympic Moment - Day 2

Each day of the 2008 Olympics we're going to find a bizarre clip or story from a past Summer Olympics. Today we'll look at runner Betty Robinson.

Yesterday, we showed you a bizarre moment from the pool at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Today we go to the track and there will be no video clip as our moment is from the 1928 games in Amsterdam . It must be one of the most insane stories I’ve ever heard.

In 1928, Betty Robinson, was running for a train when the track coach at her high school saw her and convinced her to join the track team. Three weeks later she made her debut and finished second to the US record holder. In her next meet she equaled the world record of 12.0 seconds. In just her third meet she qualified for the American Olympic team, at just 16 years old.

The IOC was forced to include women’s events in the 1928 Olympics, making it the first time female track and field athletes were allowed to compete. Just four months after she was discovered and with only three meets under her belt, she sailed to Amsterdam to compete in the games.

The 100-meter race was first up. Robinson ended up winning a very close race … making her the very first female track medalist in Olympic history.

A nice story up to this point but this is where things get crazy.

In 1931, still a top athlete, Robinson was involved in a plane crash. The man who found her body thought she was dead, put her in his car boot and drove her to a mortician - but she was still alive, in a coma. She woke seven months later, and spent six months in a wheelchair. It took her two years to learn to walk normally again.

''If I had not been in such good physical condition,'' Robinson said, ''I would not have lived through it.''

Incredibly, she eventually returned to racing. Unable to bend her legs fully, she couldn't adopt a sprinter's crouch. But she could still run the relay, and in 1936 she won her second gold in the 4x100m. Completing one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.

(The information for this article was taken from articles in the New York Times and The Guardian.)

Take a look at the 16 most bizarre Olympic moments in history:

Day 1 - Eric "The Eel" Moussambani
Day 2 - Betty Robinson
Day 3 - Sally Robbins
Day 4 - Abebe Bilkila
Day 5 - 1972 USA Basketball team
Day 6 - Bobby Pearce
Day 7 - Byun Jong-il
Day 8 - Stella Walsh
Day 9 - Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team
Day 10 - Ingeborg Marx
Day 11 - Vanderlei de Lima
Day 12 - Hans-Jurgen Todt
Day 13 - Liu Changchun
Day 14 - Dorando Pietri
Day 15 - 1956 Hungarian Water Polo Team
Day 16 - 1960 Tunisian Modern Pentathlon Team

ESPY Highlight...

The ESPY's are an interesting idea. We here at"Waikiki Hockey" love seeing athletes outside of their comfort zones. But things do seem to drag on a bit. I watched the 2008 version a few weeks ago. I couldn't make it through the whole thing, but managed to see most of it.

Justin Timberlake tried his hardest to make things interesting but there were just too many thank you speeches for me. The highlight was seeing Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly giving their demands to host the ESPY's:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bizarre Olympic Moment...Day 1

For each day of the Olympics we're going to find some bizarre clip to show you from a past Summer Olympics.

First up is Eric Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea, who was invited to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney as a wild card entry without reaching the qualifying standard. When he lined up for Heat #1 in the men’s freestyle he had never been in an Olympic sized pool, or even finished a whole 100 metre race.

His two competitors false started and were knocked out of the race. But Moussambani swam the 100 metres by himself…barely making it. He received loud cheers from the audience and the nickname “The Eel” for his performance. His time was 1 minute and 52 seconds…which is about how long it takes a top swimmer to swim 200 meters.

I have to agree with the commentator in that clip. Moussambani shouldn’t have really been there in the first place, but at least he was entertaining.

Take a look at the 16 most bizarre Olympic moments in history:

Day 1 - Eric "The Eel" Moussambani
Day 2 - Betty Robinson
Day 3 - Sally Robbins
Day 4 - Abebe Bilkila
Day 5 - 1972 USA Basketball team
Day 6 - Bobby Pearce
Day 7 - Byun Jong-il
Day 8 - Stella Walsh
Day 9 - Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team
Day 10 - Ingeborg Marx
Day 11 - Vanderlei de Lima
Day 12 - Hans-Jurgen Todt
Day 13 - Liu Changchun
Day 14 - Dorando Pietri
Day 15 - 1956 Hungarian Water Polo Team
Day 16 - 1960 Tunisian Modern Pentathlon Team

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Drinks on Crosby...

Canada's golden boy Sidney Crosby turns 21 today. So I thought it would an opportune time to talk about all things Sidney.

Crosby did an interview with Pittsburg Tribune-Review reporter Rob Rossi the other day. Mr. Rossi pulled out the big guns early and asked Crosby some hard-hitting questions like "What adult beverages do you drink?", "What has been your greatest surprise?" and "What does turning 21 mean to you?". Rob finally gets to something interesting at the end of the interview when he asks Crosby about Hossa's departure. I was going to discuss these comments in a little bit of detail but Puck Daddy beat me to it. So I'll just give you some Crosby clips instead.

Only here at "Waikiki Hockey" can you see see Crosby:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ten Things You Should Know About Cricket...

I've only recently started watching cricket and I'm by no means an expert. From my limited knowledge of the sport, I've come up with 10 things that sports fans who know nothing about cricket should know.

10) The Channel 9 Cricket theme reminds me a bit of the "Hockey Night in Canada" theme and it means as much to Australians as the HNIC theme does to Canadians.

9) Australia's most famous cricket presenter is an 78-year-old former cricket player named Richie Benaud. His distinctive voice is often imitated but never duplicated.

8) The 'biggest' prize in cricket is the urn that is presented to the winner of the Ashes Series -- a 5 day test series between Australia and England. The tiny urn contains the ashes from the stumps of the first English cricket loss to Australia in 1882 (although there are other theories on the urn's contents).

7) The Barmy Army is an organised group of cricket fans who follow the English cricket team on all of their overseas tours. The Barmy Army has the stated goal "To make watching cricket more fun and much more popular". The group uses flags, banners, songs and chants to encourage the team and crowd participation in their activities. It’s England’s answer to the Dawg Pound.

6) Cricket has characters ... tons of them ... here are three of my favourites:

  • Andrew "Freddy" Flintoff - England had not won an Ashes series since 1987 but that streak came to an end in 2005 as Flintoff led England to a thrilling upset win over Australia. The celebrating was the best part, as the England team stayed out all night and was pretty rough looking the next morning when they visited with the Prime Minister.
  • David Boon - Boonie has a big-time cult status in Australia. He doesn't look anything like an athlete but he played more than 100 tests for Australia. His claim to fame is holding the record for the most cans of beer consumed on a flight from Sydney to incredible 54!
  • Don Bradman - "The Don" is easily the best cricket player who ever lived. His average of 99.94 runs per innings is almost 40 runs higher than the person in second. This feat has been called the greatest performance by an athlete in any sport.

5) The Ball of the Century is one of the most famous wickets in cricket history. Shane Warne, a spin bowler, delivered a ball that spun far more than expected and baffled England's Mike Gatting. Warnie had a few other amazing wickets in his long career.

4) When a batter is out one of two things must happen. He either gives himself out, by leaving the field (which is the highest form of sportsmanship), or the fielding team must appeal to the umpire. The appeal technically must be made for an out to be recorded. It can be a simple "how's that?" but will more likely be a "HOWZAT?!?!" or even a incomprehendable shriek.

3) A particular day of cricket could easily go for eight hours or more. Sometimes the crowds need to find ways to keep themselves interested. Luckily, there are plenty of empty beer cups on hand to make the legendary beer snake.

2) Sledging (or trash talking) seems to be 'celebrated' more in cricket than in other sports. They do it very well in cricket, better than any other sport, in my opinion. Here are a couple of the best:

  • Shane Warne: “I’ve been waiting two years to humiliate you again.”
    Daryll Cullinan: “Looks like you spent the time eating.”
  • Glenn McGrath to Zimbabwean Eddo Brandes after Brandes had played and missed at a McGrath delivery.
    Glenn McGrath: "Oi, Brandes, why are you so fucking fat?”
    Eddo Brandes: “Cos every time I fuck your wife she gives me a biscuit!”
    Apparently, even the Australian players were in hysterics after that one.
  • When Ian Botham took guard in a Ashes match, Marsh welcomed him to the wicket with the immortal and famous words " So how's your wife and my kids?"
  • Click here for a longer list

1) Cricket is also home to the one of most disgraceful plays in sporting history. Let me paint the scene for you. In 1981, Australia played New Zealand in the World Series Cup. New Zealand needed six runs to tie the match and had only one ball remaining. The Australian captain, Greg Chappell, ordered the bowler, his brother Trevor, to bowl underarm. Thus making is impossible for the batsman to hit a six. Technically, this wasn't against the rules of cricket, but it was widely perceived as unsportsmanlike. The Australian team was booed off the field by the Australian fans.

Go to a Cricket game if you get a chance (especially if you go in England or Australia). If you're a big sports fan, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Poke Check Professor...

One of my blurry, distant childhood memories is watching a cartoon puck talk about the some of the greatest moments in hockey on "Hockey Night in Canada". I don't have very many memories before I was five but Peter Puck is definitely one of them. I remember having one of the three Peter Puck books, which is apparently a collectors item now.

The show was created by Hanna-Barbera, and only nine original episodes were made. The nine 3-5 minute episodes were played between the first and second periods over two seasons. Over the next five years, the creators spliced in clips of Peter with live action footage to create "The Story of the Stanley Cup" segments to keep Peter Puck alive. Click here for a detailed outline of the Peter Puck story.

Over the last year, there has been a bit of a comeback for our little puck friend. All of his episodes are now available on DVD, there is a Peter Puck fanclub on Facebook and according to the Globe and Mail:

"A line of Peter Puck apparel [has hit] store shelves and a national financial institution has secured a three-year deal in which Peter will be its official 'spokespuck'... [there are] big plans for the character, which could involve books, toys, breakfast cereal — even his own computer animated television program ... there's been interest from various broadcasters in a half-hour television program depicting the adventures of Peter Puck."

I can't see anything that would be negative about a Peter Puck comeback. I think it would be a great idea for Versus/NBC and the NHL to add to their broadcasts. Some new, younger viewers is something the NHL could definitely use.

If you really need your fix, episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4 are available on YouTube. Otherwise, check out Peter Puck in the introduction clip to "The Story of the Stanley Cup":

Sounds of the Game...

In 1952, Foster Hewitt called the first hockey game on television. There have been a some advancements in hockey broadcasts since then ... some good, some entertaining and some very bad.

One thing that seems to be done a lot more frequently is having the players mic'ed up. Watching a clip of third line winger Matt Cooke would be pretty uneventful ... put a microphone on him and we've got some broadcasting gold.

Same is true for the stars as shown in this clip with Dany Heatley and this clip with Crosby and the Penguins.

See Malone ask for a fight in the beginning of the last clip? I've heard about this happening in the league but I've never seen it as blatant as that ... that is, until I saw this clip of a George Laraque & Raitis Ivanans fight. Laraque was even nice enough to wish Ivanans good luck for the upcoming punch-up. When I first saw this I was a bit amused. But as it sunk in, I've decided I don't like this practice one bit. Let's do a mini poll. What do you think of the Laraque vs. Ivanas clip? Embarrassing or Entertaining? You make the call ... leave a comment to place your vote.

As entertaining as it is to see players singing along to a song or joking around with their team mates you get the feeling the real sounds of the game would involve a few more f'-bombs and a lot more shouting. I want to see the mic'ed up players trash talking each other. Obviously, not very TV friendly but it would be entertaining.

I found a really good example of what I imagine would be a more realistic example of a 'sounds of the game' clip ... Brian Bellows getting an absolute mouthful from some Penguins in the 1980's:

That's what I'm talking about. When will the networks start broadcasting "R" rated hockey games?
Since this is likely the greatest hockey clip ever caught on tape we have no choice but to induct the Pittsburg Penguins into the Hall of Fame. Congratulations to the Penguins, we know they are thrilled.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

YouTube's Best Sport Videos of the Week - Jul 28th to Aug 3rd

A look at the most interesting sports videos posted onto YouTube this past week:

- A video & photo tribute to former(?) Leaf Mats Sundin and his big bald head.

- "Top 10 Reverse Lay-ups" from the 2007-08 NBA season. Reverse Lay-ups are much better than the regular kind.

- The breast -- sorry I mean -- BEST fans of the Montreal Canadians. Photos of hot girls wearing Habs gear mixed in with Montreal players. The girls almost make up for having to look at Saku Koivu.

- Some kid showing everybody his favourite hockey cards. I would make fun of how big of a nerd this kid is, but I probably would have done the same thing if YouTube was around when I was 12.

- Boxer Wladimir Klitschko (who currently holds the IBF, WBO, and IBO world heavyweight titles) on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien".

- Highlights of Jason Bay's first game as a member of the Boston Red Sox. I liked him so much more before he was a Sock ... and Manny Ramirez's debut in Dodgers blue, wearing number 99.

- Some crazy street basketball dribbling starring 'Hot Sauce'. That's how we used to play it in the hood.

- A good mix of some classic hockey clips from the last 25 years. Looks like it would have taken a good amount of time to put together.

- A clip from the brand new EASports NHL09. Apparently, it's getting very good reviews.

- Steve Nash and Baron Davis are set to star in the sequel to "Step Brothers".

- The New Zealand basketball team proves the Haka just doesn't work when it's done by tall, lanky, white guys....these guys show how it's really done.

- There are a few sporting moments in the "Top 10 Racist Things Said on Live TV" list. It's amazing how dumb people can be.

- And this week's "Waikiki Hockey" pick for "Clip of the Week" is Angel's pitcher Justin Speier doing his best Mike Tyson impersonation. His impersonation is about as good as his pitching line is this season:

Find something worthy of Waikiki Hockey? Pass it along!

Wiffle Ball Legend...

David Mullany's son wanted to be able to throw a curve ball. But he was too young. He didn't have enough room to play real ball in the yard anyway. In 1953, David created a plastic ball with eight ovals on one side that increased resistance and allowed his son to throw the big hook in his small backyard.

The Wiffle Ball was born.

The ball was very hard to hit due to the massive curve action it generated so it was named Wiffle after the slang word for a big strike "wiff".

The game has it's own field, rules and scoring and has become a big part of growing up in America for many kids.

Growing up I wasn't into Wiffle Ball very much. I think I had one at some point and I remember enjoying it but it couldn't compete with my road hockey. We did have a Wiffle Ball tourney when I was in Grade 9 at school but the big kids wouldn't let me pitch. If I had been able to pitch and was able to use the Wiffle to throw a sinker, riser or especially the knuckleball (below) things may have been different.

I know I'm too old for a Wiffle Ball now and I know I would probably look as pathetic as these guys but I'm going to get me a Wiffle Ball again. If it's good enough for Big Papi, it's good enough for me.

The Fightin' Tenders...

The son of Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy has been charged with assaulting a rival goalie in a junior hockey game last March.

A goalie fight is a pretty special thing ... they are one part toughness, one part comedy and very rare. But the reason Roy's fight was worthy of assault charges is because Jonathan Roy, of the Quebec Remparts, skated the length of the ice and pummelled the opposition goalie who made no attempt to fight back.

I'm not sure who looks worse...Jonathan Roy or the other goalie, Bobby Nadeau. Speaking of Bobby, how would you feel to be him after this game? Your wimpy ass all over the TV and internet doing your best impression of a turtle. Poor kid.

The best thing about this fight is that Patrick Roy is the team's owner and coach. Patrick definitely wouldn't encourage this kind of behaviour, would he? Patrick has actually been accused of telling his son to go and start the fight as they mention on this clip from "Around the Horn" and is shown pretty clearly in this video (french).

For their efforts, Patrick got suspended five games and back-up goalie Jonathan was suspended for seven. Jonathan apologised for his actions but it sure didn't look like he was sorry when he celebrated his 'victory' by giving the crowd the one finger salute.

If convicted, he'll join an infamous list of gutless plays that resulted in assault charges. He'll have some pretty good company:

Good luck in court Jonathan.