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RIP Cassius Clay Aka Muhammad Ali

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali – one of the world’s greatest sporting figures – has died at the age of 74. The former world heavyweight champion died late on Friday at a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, having been admitted on Thursday. He had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease. Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, said his family. Ali was crowned World Heavyweight Champion 3 times, the Light-heavyweight Olympic gold medal once and had a 31 fights in a winning streak before being beaten for first time by Joe Frazier.

George Foreman, who lost his world title to Ali in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight in Kinshasa in 1974, called him one of the greatest human beings he had ever met. American civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson said Ali had been willing to sacrifice the crown and money for his principles when he refused to serve in the Vietnam war. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Ali shot to fame by winning light-heavyweight gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, the American beat Sonny Liston in 1964 to win his first world title and became the first boxer to capture a world heavyweight title on three separate occasions. He eventually retired in 1981, having won 56 of his 61 fights. Crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC, Ali was noted for his pre- and post-fight talk and bold fight predictions just as much as his boxing skills inside the ring.

But he was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who transcended the bounds of sport, race and nationality. Asked how he would like to be remembered, he once said: “As a man who never sold out his people. But if that’s too much, then just a good boxer. “I won’t even mind if you don’t mention how pretty I was.” Soon after retiring, rumours began to circulate about the state of Ali’s health. His speech had become slurred, he shuffled and he was often drowsy. Parkinson’s Syndrome was eventually diagnosed but Ali continued to make public appearances, receiving warm welcomes wherever he travelled. He lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games in London.

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Fandom

Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.

Yes I am, though I don’t watch as many games I as used to. Mainly because I have to stream them online and cannot watch them on a tv anymore. Therefore I usually watch just a match or perhaps 2 a week and maybe 6 in a month. I am a football fan and the team I support is Arsenal FC. I have been a fan since 1997-98 and I support them through and through. I try and watch all their matches that I can.

The only other sport I have a big interest in is ice hockey but I rarely ever get to watch a live game and I haven’t watched a recorded one in it’s entirety in the last 3 years or so. I used to watch the highlights for as many games as I could on Youtube till last year but haven’t watched any in 2014 or 2015. I plan to pick up again soon. I support the Ottawa Senators since 2002 onwards. I love hockey but not as much as I love football.

I used to watch a lot of tennis but haven’t followed the sport since the late 1990s. I used to watch a lot of WWE/WCW but stopped following it since 2007.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Khaira Pride of Punjabi-Canadian Hockey Fans

Jujhar “J. J.” Khaira (born August 13, 1994) is a Canadian professional ice hockey Center currently playing for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Khaira was drafted 63rd overall by the Oilers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Khaira is just the third Punjabi player to appear in the NHL, after making his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 28, 2015, he also became the third player of South Asian descent to play in the NHL, after Robin Bawa, and Manny Malhotra.

After two seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Prince George Spruce Kings Khaira and after he was drafted by the Oilers, Khaira committed to play collegiate hockey with Michigan Tech of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. At the completion of his freshman season in 2012–13 with Huskies, Khaira left college to pursue a major junior career closer to home in the Western Hockey League with the Everett Silvertips. On August 7, 2013, he was signed to a three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. In the following 2013–14 season, Khaira posted 43 points in 59 games with the Silvertips. At the elimination in first-round of the post-season, Khaira then made his professional debut with the Oilers AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, joining the club for their post-season run.

He suited up for the Oilers playing on a line with Anton Lander and Matt Hendricks. Robin Bawa and Manny Malhotra are the other two Punjabi players to have played in the NHL. Bawa played 61 games in four seasons, including 42 with the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks. Malhotra had a storied 991-game career and is currently a free agent.

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Dupuis Unable To Play Hockey Due To Blood Clots

Sad news to restart posting about hockey after such a long gap.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis will no longer play hockey because of a medical condition related to blood clots, Dupuis and the Penguins announced Tuesday. Dupuis felt pain in his chest during a Dec. 1 game against the San Jose Sharks, one of several games he either left early or did not play this season for precautionary reasons. He was cleared and returned to play on back-to-back nights against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks last weekend but said he was already considering retirement. Dupuis was playing this season taking blood thinners. He was diagnosed with blood clots in January 2014 shortly after sustaining torn ligaments in his knee and missed the remainder of the 2014-15 season after a blood clot in his lung was discovered in November. He was cleared to work out and take contact in June 2015.

Dupuis spoke about the aftermath of coming out of the game against the Sharks and the mental toll the health concerns took. The Penguins will place Dupuis, 36, on long-term injured reserve and continue to pay his salary. He is in the third year of a four-year contract with an average annual salary of $3.75 million. Dupuis made the NHL as an undrafted player, scoring a goal in his first game for the Minnesota Wild on April 2, 2001. He became a regular with the Wild over the following four-plus seasons, scoring 20 goals and 48 points during the 2002-03 season, when Minnesota reached the Western Conference Final. Dupuis was traded twice during the 2006-07 season, from the Wild to the New York Rangers, and after six games from the Rangers to the Atlanta Thrashers.

Dupuis played 79 games with the Thrashers before he was dealt again prior to the 2008 NHL Trade Deadline, this time to the Penguins in a trade that also involved forward Marian Hossa. Dupuis helped Pittsburgh reach the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, where it lost in six games to the Detroit Red Wings, and win the Stanley Cup in 2009 in a seven-game series against Detroit. A frequent linemate of Sidney Crosby during his time with the Penguins, Dupuis set NHL career highs in 2011-12 with 25 goals and 59 points. He averaged 18 goals and 40 points in his first five full seasons in Pittsburgh before his final three seasons were curtailed by injuries and the blood clots. Dupuis finishes with 190 goals and 409 points in 871 regular-season games, and 19 goals and 44 points in 97 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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Ending On A High Note

I have never heard of the name Flavia Pennetta before this weekend but her’s is a feel good story of ending on a high. Having just been crowned the 2015 US Open Women’s Champion, her first single’s Grand Slam title, at the age of 33, Flavia stunned the 23,000 crowd by announcing her retirement from the game. She will end her career in a low key fashion in China, after the drama of the finest hour and a half of a career that properly began at the age of 17, when she won the French Open girls doubles with her close friend Roberta Vinci in 1999, and rose to a glorious peak here on Saturday, when she beat the rain by four minutes and her compatriot by 7-6, 6-2 in the first all-Italian major final.

Marion Bartoli won Wimbledon in 2013 in her 47th major campaign, then quit a couple of months later after losing to Halep in faraway Mason, Ohio; Pennetta, who won a major after 49 attempts, will say goodbye to her sport in Wuhan, then Beijing. She had success here and there, winning 10 titles before Saturday, where victory lifted her from No26 in the world to No 8. Not only was her hunger for tennis waning – she almost quit last year with a wrist injury – but she had found love again. Beaming down from the stands in celebration of her triumph on Saturday was the Italian tennis radical, Fabio Fognini. Pennetta was pronounced a Knight of Order of Merit of the Republic on 24 January 2007 by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, then President of Italy.

Being able to go out on a personal high is a chance that so few get the chance to do. There are still some major titles left in the calendar year but the US Open is the last slam of the year and choosing that moment to announce your retirement must have been an emotional rollercoaster for her. Yet it is also a envious moment for many.

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RIP Steve Montador

I Former NHL player Steven Montador was found dead inside his Mississauga home early Sunday morning, according to Peel Regional Police. Police said a female friend woke up at 2 a.m. to find Montador deceased. She contacted police and he was pronounced dead just after 2:30 a.m. at his residence. “Foul play is not suspected, pending the outcome of an autopsy,” said Const. Fiona Thivierge, a Peel police spokesperson. At this time, Thivierge said, the incident is being treated as a sudden death investigation, not a criminal investigation.

Born in Vancouver, the 35-year-old began his NHL career with the Calgary Flames in 2001-02. He went on to play defence for a number of NHL teams including the Carolina Panthers, Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks. He last played in the NHL during 2011-12 season for Chicago and suffered a season-ending concussion. He went on to play for the American Hockey League’s Rockford Icedogs the next year before moving to the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2013-14 season. On June 28, 2013, the Blackhawks announced Montador would be bought out making him a free agent during the off season.

He won the 2000–01 AHL Calder Cup with the Saint John Flames. In 10 NHL seasons, Montador compiled 33 goals and 98 assists for 131 points and 807 penalty minutes.

RIP Steve Montador (December 21, 1979 – February 15, 2015)

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Weekend Planning

The upcoming weekend is going to be an exciting one for us – with that comes movies to watch, catching up on the week’s tv show episodes and ofcourse – football! There is nothing like watching the English Premier League matches at home on the telly with you friends or relatives and rooting for your favourite team. Somehow the English league is the one to watch and especially here in India, more football fans follow the English teams than the ones in Italy, Germany, Spain or other nations. Why? I’d say that it boils down to our connection with the British Isles, having once been under their rule, the charm of the English clubs, cities and town and perhaps the timings of the games as well (perfect for late evening watching in India) could also be a big factor! I plan to watch a few games over the next two days.

And ofcourse no game is complete without some good food. Just like our Western counterparts, we enjoy some good food and snacks as we watch the games on tv. And what food goes best with sports? Why pizza ofcourse. We plan to go get 4-5 large pepperoni & cheese pizzas from Dominos or perhaps barbeque chicken pizza and bring it to my place before the weekend. If we are running late and the match is about to start, we just order online and also look for e-coupon deals that e-coupon deals we can use for buying the pizza. Just look at a couple of the pics below – man my mouth is watering just thinking of the pizza!

“If we are running late and the match is about to start, we just order online and also look for e-coupon deals that we can use for buying the pizza. Just look at a couple of the pics below – man my mouth is watering just thinking of the pizza!”

And I’m always on the lookout for discounts that Dominos or other places can offer you; especially when they post them on Facebook or Twitter. And check this out, I also found a place that gives you a general discount for outlets that includes Domino’s. Any one who wants to avail of these offers from CupoNation can do so by clicking on the link. It comes in handy, especially when like us if you are planning on buying a few pizza pies at a time. We are a hungry bunch of guys, so we will surely finish the food by the first half of game one but then – hey, we can always order more, right?

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The Ridiculous Behaviour Of Indian Cricket Fans

A huge bunch of Indians can be an intolerant & idiotic lot who sit in their mighty big well and believe that the world outside does not exist. This latest incident just highlights the moronic behavior of these assholes. Maria Sharapova earned the wrath of some Indian cricket fans who were miffed when she replied “I don’t” when an interviewer asked her if she knew who Sachin Tendulakr was. The reason the question was asked was because Tendulkar was in the stands along with some other other major celebrities including David Beckham. Sharapova knows who Beckham is and has met him a few times but being a Russian, who has also spent a lot of time in the US, she is not a cricket fan and is unaware of the man considered and called rather ridiculously as the ‘god of cricket’ by most Indian cricket fans as well as some abroad.

The response of these miffed idiots was to litter social media and in particular Maria’s official Facebook page with abuses, taunts and spam to show that they are are ignorant & intolerant bunch of idiots! They started a hastag in Twitter called #whoismariasharapova and the story of this incident was carried in numerous websites and the comments in some of them can shame the rest of us Indians who know how to differentiate between an insult and someone not knowing a sportsstar from a sport she does not follow and has no interest in.  Indians would not major stars of some other sports but cricket, tennis & football – yes they do know! And that’s because those sports are popular here. It’s simple logic and yet this simpleness escapes the “brains” of these idiots.

The behaviour of some section of Indian cricket fans is typical of the ignorance / rudeness / backward thinking of some sections of our society. This whole ‘incident’ has highlighted not Maria Sharapova’s ignorance of a sport that is celebrated in only a few nations but the fact that some Indians know nothing about the rest of the world! Most non-cricket playing nations would be hard pressed to name Tendulkar or any other top cricketer. It’s like ice hockey or baseball – 99% of Indians do not know the name of the NHL legends or the baseball greats whereas even little kids in Canada and the US will know their fav sport personalities and same for European & South American nations. I don’t like cricket, I personally couldn’t care any less about it. The only reason I know Sachin & Dravid and them players is because I live in India where these names are on constant rotation on tv, newspapers & social media. Stop acting like idiots and behave like decent human beings!

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Silken Laumann On “Unsinkable”

Sportsmen & sportswomen are human too. Already an iconic figure in the sport of rowing, Canadian athlete Silken Laumann inspired many by winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics despite having had a horrific & serious injuries to her leg just a few weeks prior! The collision with another rower’s scull was so serious that it shattered her right ankle and shredded her calf muscles in that you could see the bone but five operations and a total stay in the hospital of approximately three weeks, Laumann was back on the water training by late June. Her efforts paid off with a bronze medal, and she was subsequently named Canadian of the Year by the Canadian Club in recognition and was selected to carry the Canadian Flag in the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

This year, age 49 Silken had published her book Unsinkable which focuses on her life & troubled childhood and also opens up in particular about the terror she felt and the verbal and physical abuse she experienced at the hands of her troubled and erratic mother, abuse that caused her feelings of unworthiness she battles to this day. She says this book took 5 years to write and came about as she did open up bits of her life during her long stint as a motivational speaker . Here is an interview with her by Fiona Forbes on The Rush.

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India At The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics is currently being held at Sochi, Russia (7th Feb 2014 – 23rd Feb 2014). This winter olympic games is already marred by the by major controversies, including allegations of corruption leading to the aforementioned cost overruns, concerns for the safety and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes and supporters during the Games due to the country’s recent restrictions on the promotion of LGBT sexual relationships (which have led to ongoing protests) and various security concerns over threats by jihadist groups tied to the insurgency in the North Caucasus. Several fans from various nations have opted to boycott watching the games due to these factors.

Here’s my 2 cents worth – I wouldn’t boycott watching the Olympics if its an event I would normally watch. I’d still support my teams/athletes and watch the sports that I love. The sportsmen & women have not done anything wrong, so I’d support them and keep watching. But if there’s any way I can show my displeasure & disapproval to Mr. Putin and his government in other ways, I’d join in. But my issue is something else altogether and it’s to do with India and not Russia. One look at the different countries who’s athletes will be competing in the various sports sees a large nation missing – ofcourse it’s India! India has never had much success at the Summer Olympics, much less the Winter ones. We normally send one or two people to the Winter games (I’m not joking; last time in Vancouver we had 3 Indians representing our nation). This year I checked the competing nations and found no Indian flag! But there are 3 Indian athletes at the Olympics and they will competing.

Himanshu Thakur (Men’s Giant Slalom), Nadeem Iqbal (Men’s 15km Classical) and Shiva Keshavan (Luge Men’s Singles) are all Indians competing in their respective sport but will be under the Independent Olympic Participants category. This is because the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), who are responsible for selecting athletes to represent India, is suspended on 4 December 2012 due to non adherence of International Olympic Committee rules and on the basis of corruption, government interference. Several members of the IOA have been charged with crimes. The IOA was formally banned for not following the Olympic Charter in their elections, instead following the Indian government’s Sports Code. The IOA held elections under the Indian Sports Code due to a directive from the Delhi High Court. On 15 May 2013, International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to lift the ban on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as Indian representatives from the government and sports bodies reached an agreement with IOC officials but the suspension remained. It was announced on December 31, 2013 that India would be competing under the Olympic flag in Sochi. Elections by the Indian Olympic Association are scheduled two days after the opening ceremony, which would not provide enough time for the suspension to be lifted.

A shame India, a goddamn fucking shame indeed! My heart goes out to the 3 athletes and I hope they do well.

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Your 2013 Men’s & Women’s Singles Champions

At the age of 28 Marion Bartoli won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. At 28 years, 9 months, she is the fifth oldest first-time winner in the Open Era. She is the sixth woman in the Open Era to win Wimbledon without dropping a set, it has happened nine times in total. She is the first woman to win Wimbledon in the Open Era playing double-handed off both sides. It was her first victory on her 47th attempt.

Andy Murray won his first Wimbledon title and ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion with a hard-fought victory over world number one Novak Djokovic. Wimbledon is Murray’s second Grand Slam title after he won the 2012 US Open.

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Leander Paes Still Plays At 40!

Indian tennis’ veteran star Leander Paes just turned 40 years old and he still wants to keep going and play in his seventh Olympics Games. He still features in the doubles events in the ATP Tour and the Davis Cup tournament, grinding it out with the younger lot. He is the only tennis player in the world who has featured in six consecutive Olympics. But the Indian says he still has a lot of fire in his belly to improve his game and play in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Paes said he would reunite with his Czech partner Radek Stepanek, with whom he won the Australian Open last year to complete his career slam. An injury to Stepanek followed by surgery forced Paes to look for other partners and no partnership succeeded. Paes, whose has dropped out of top-10, said he was looking forward to play with Stepanek again. They will start with a tournament in England, which will be a warm-up for Wimbledon.

Having won seven doubles and six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles and finishing as runner up in numerous other Grand Slam finals, he is considered to be one of the greatest and most respected contemporary doubles and mixed doubles players in the world. He is among the most successful professional Indian tennis players and is also the former captain of the Indian Davis Cup team. He is the recipient of India’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, in 1996–1997; the Arjuna Award in 1990; and the Padma Shri award in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to tennis in India. Paes completed the career grand slam in men’s doubles after winning the Australian Open in 2012.

I remember going to see him play the singles & doubles finals of a short lived tournament at the clay courts tournament held by the Cochin Oil Refireries at Ambalameedu back in 1991! I was15 and I went with a cousin and our uncle to see the singles & doubles finals, both in which he competed and lost. A friend of mine from school was also there and I ditched my uncle & cousin to sit with my buddy as we watched both finals. At the end we stood in line to get autographs and I’m pretty sure I still have his somewhere in my stuff, packed in the store room. Hope you continue to have success until you decide it’s time to retire Leander!

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Kerala Rocked Hard With Celeb Scandals

The past couple of days has seen Kerala and India (in the second case) rocked by two different scandals. The first one was regarding an actor Kalabhavan Mani allegedly assaulting two forest officers in the night. Mani is a mostly comedic actor who has also donned on a few more serious roles as a hero or villain and won a few state & a national award for his role as a blind street singer. He is known to be more down to earth than most actors and is also known for his charity work. However a couple of days ago he was in the news for all he wrong reasons. Apparently he was traveling with friends in a car when they were stopped by two officials for routine car checking. The actor responded violently when he was asked to open the boot of the car and he & his friend, a doctor, assaulted the two officers. The forest officials said that Mani was inebriated. The officers sustained injuries on the chest, hands, legs and eyes one of them more serious. They were admitted to the Chalakudy Taluk Hospital.

Jaya Gopinath, who was travelling with her husband Maliyekkal Gopinath and Mani, filed a complaint against the officials, complaining that the officials verbally abused her and misbehaved with her.The actor had gotten himself admitted to a hospital in his native Chalakudy. The police have registered cases against both Mani and the injured forest officials.  The latest news is that Mani has gone into hiding immediately after the police registered a case against him under non-bailable sections of the IPC. A police team visited Mani’s new and ancestral houses at Chalakudy on Thursday to take him into custody in connection with the case, but he was found missing, said the police. However some friends of his say that he had left for Bangalore on Wednesday night to take part in the shooting of a Tamil Movie.

The second incident which happened a day later when former India Test bowler Sreesanth S. and two other players have been arrested by Delhi police on suspicion of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League, sports officials said on Thursday. Sreesant is a fellow Keralite and a fellow resident of Cochin. The IPL is kinda like the English Premier League or any of the European leagues for cricket and features Indian & most of the top foreign players from nations like England, Australia, in 9 teams. Sreesant, who has been in controversial situations before, was immediately suspended from an ILP matches along with his Rajasthan Royals team-mates & co-conspirators Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila and will face harsher actions if they are found guilty post a trial. Spot-fixing is the manipulation of individual incidents within a match which may not affect the outcome of the contest, most famously exposed in a London trial and jailing of three Pakistani cricketers in 2011.

Delhi’s police commissioner Neeraj Kumar alleged that the three Indian bowlers took money to concede a pre-determined number of runs in three different IPL matches. For 4m Indian rupees (£48,000) Sreesanth agreed to concede 13 or more runs in his second over of a May 9 match at Mohali, Kumar alleged. Sreesanth tucked a towel in his waistband to signal to a bookie, giving him enough time to “indulge in heavy betting”, the police chief said.

I’m not surprised in either case. The Indian film world has always been associated with corrupt politicians, underworld figures and lots of illegal activities going on. An actor with good connections misbehaving and thinking himself to be above the law is nothing news – Mani has had two other cases against him, both which were settled. Sreesanth is known for being arrogant and hot-headed and his antics have lost him more fans than he can ever know. And cricket & match-fixing is nothing new; this is India after all and corruption & illegal stuff is everyday news. Not surprised in that case either. It’s not the first match fixing scandal to rock cricket and it won’t be the last. And I couldn’t care much since I don’t watch it and I can’t stand the game.

There that’s my two cents worth!

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Here Comes The Boom

Ok, let me tell you from the get go, this is a very predictable movie. Cheesy in places, corny in places and there’s a 100 such movies in various languages with the same type of storyline and a different sport/activity in which the hero excels in. The outcome is predictable yet you find yourself rooting for the underdog hero. Just change the sport – which in this case is Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC. There’s something in us that wants to be in the shoe of the kind of hero as portrayed by Kevin James and be the one who persists despite all the naysayers and the odds stacked against him.

Needless to say that despite knowing all this in advance and predicting the story I still wanted to watch it – because I like Kevin James. Plus the lovely Salma Hayek is in it! What more do you want? Directed by  Frank Coraci, written by Allan Loeb, Kevin James and Martin Solibakke, Here Comes The Boom also has Henry Winkler & Bas Rutten with a special appearance by Joe Rogan as himself. James plays Scott Voss, a one time high school & college wrestling champ, who went on to become a high school biology teacher. Initially he excelled as a teacher as well and won awards for his work, but 10 years on he finds himself a disillusion 42 year old man going through the motions in a school struggling to stay within their budget. The only time he seems motivated is when he tries to get a date with the sex school nurse Bella Flores (Hayek) but she keeps turning him down. When the principal announces a budget cut which means that the school will have to stop their music programme and let go of the music teacher Marty (Winkler), Scott can’t stay silent. Concerned for both his colleague and his students, Voss attempts to raise the $48,000 necessary to keep the music program alive.

At first Scott tries to work as night instructor for a citizenship class. While helping a Dutch immigrant Niko with extra classes at his home, Scott realizes that Niko was a former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. While watching UFC at Niko’s apartment, Voss learns that the loser of the fight receives $10,000, which gives him the idea of raising the money by fighting in MMA himself. Voss then begins fighting in small MMA fights and gradually gaining more and more money for the school with training from Niko and Niko’s friend Mark DelaGrotte and support from Marty. Whenever he gets hurt he goes to Bella for a patch up and they slowly become closer and share moments of affection without actually dating. Scott also regains his passion for teaching and gets his students more involved in their classes. He also becomes a hero in his school for his efforts and has a brief notoriety in Youtube. Scott also helps his brother become a chef for the father of one of Scott’s students, so that she doesn’t have to spend her free time helping in the restaurant. This allows her to pursue her dream of music, while he pursues his dream of cooking.

As his story gets more popularity, he finds out that the UFC had approached Niko to offer Scott a fight in their league but Niko turned it down due to jealously. When confronted Niko apologies and tells Scott that he had gotten injured just before he was to debut in the UFC and was momentarily jealous of Scott – a 42 year old former college wrestler who is making a name now. They patch things up and get Joe Rogan to meet with them where Rogan gets Scott a match against Ken Dietrich, who opponent had to cancel. With much fanfare Scott, Niko, Mark & Marty travel to Las Vegas and have an enjoyable evening at the hotel. However Bella calls Scott and tells him that the Vice principal, who was entrusted with the funds has been embezzling both from the winnings and the school, meaning all his effort so far has been lost. Almost giving up hope Scott he can get $50,000 if he wins the fight and decides to go ahead with the fight. At the arena, Scott is touched to see that Rogan has arranged for Scott’s school band and some of the teachers to attend the fight.

As the fight begins Dietrich decides that he is going to teach Scott a lesson and goes all out against the debutante. Scott staggers and struggles for a couple of rounds before landing a few kicks and punches of his own. Barely in the match after a few rounds, he earns Dietrich’s respect for persisting. At the end going on pure will & adrenaline, Scott lifts and smashes the experience fighter onto the mat knocking him out and winning the fight. As the crowd goes wild, Scott’s team celebrates with him. Scott gets $50,000 for his victory, and saves the music program at his school. As the movie ends, Niko and the rest of the ll the students of the citizenship class become American citizens. Scott is shown enjoying the music being played in the school.

Whatdaya think? Cheesy, corny, predictable as hell? Yes but the MMA factor does make it stand out from the crowd and I felt that Kevin James deserves a lot of credit for making it real. A good afternoon’s watch 7 outta 10!

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The Kids Are Alright!

Right next to my office building is an Upper Primary school run by the government. It looks more like a cleaner cowshed really, right in the center of the plot. On both sides of the school building is the playground – on the left side the boys play and on the right side the girls play. I don’t think that this is meant to be segregated this way but it just so happens that on the left side are what seems to be a version of a football field cum cricket pitch. There are two goal posts that I can see on one end – what looks like goal posts as there is no netting.

On the right side of the building the girls play on swings, see saws, a kind of carousel and I also see a few kids reading under the huge tree that offers a lot of shade. The girls seem to be going at a more leisurely pace during their break while the boys are in aggressive games of cricket almost everyday. The school hasn’t provided them with proper equipment so the boys make due with what I assume are sticks of plastic or bamboo and not proper cricket bats. No pads or caps and they play with a rubber ball – bright blue!! I’m two floors above yet I can see that bright blue. And the kids bowl underarm while the batsmen or batboys use all their might to swing at the balls toss to them. The fieldsmen run and jump and lunge to catch them.

As always across schools throughout the state, the players are quite serious about their game. Today there seems to be a lot of caught outs! One frustrated player threw his ‘bat’ 50 feet away in disgust as he was out within a minute of joining the game. Two boys at the far end were cracking jokes to each other – that’s what it seems like, cause they keep going off into fits of laughter, doubling over in the hilarity. I don’t see any teachers or gym teachers during these sessions. Reminds me of my childhood days in school although we played a lot more football than cricket in our school grounds.

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The Sports For Me

Until I turned 22 I watched a lot of tennis. Table tennis too on occasion but tennis was it for me. And therefore I guess I would have to say that I preferred individual sports a whole lot more back then. I mean I did love football but until 1998 I rarely got to see any club football at home on tv and would have to depend solely on World Cup & European Championships which happened once every 4 years and once in a while they might show some Champions League final here or there. But tennis was readily available atleast because of the 4 Grand Slam events and Davis cup rounds that happen each year. So you got a lot more of tennis yearly on tv which was back then only the national channels, 2 in number, that the Indian government strictly regulated.

In 1991-92 cable tv channels started blooming all across India and in my area we started subscribing to it in 1992 and got 1 sports channel. All day sports, wow. Now we have 8 to 10 such channels of which I get around 6. Anyway, I got to see a lot more sports and my options were many. I watched all the grand slams and many other tournaments on a regular basis. I never got into sports like F1 or golf or any of the other individual sports. Slowly club football matches started being shown with some regularity but if I am not mistaken it was in 1998 that the two main sports channels, ESPN & Star Sports, started showing the English, Spanish, Italian & German football leagues every weekend and some Mondays too and ofcourse the UEFA Champions league and UEFA Cup competitions. With 10 sports coming in options went up and soon we got a whole lot more.

Along with football firmly establishing itself as my main sport to follow, hockey or ice hockey also found a footing in my heart. That was in 2000 and soon I was hooked. The NHL hockey is my second favourite sport and even if I rarely get to watch games, except for regular Youtube highlights clips of each game that I watch as much as I can. I perfer team or club sports. I feel more as a part of something rather than just in an individual. You can have a lot of stars in football & hockey but they still are team sports and it forms a sense of community that individual sports just can get you.

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Error Of Judgement My Ass

I haven’t watched a bit of the Olympics this year. I haven’t watched anything of the Olympics for many, many years except for maybe a bit of the opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies. I think perhaps a few snippets during the news or sports round up watching some medals being handed out. I’ve never had much of a passion for the Olympics but yeah any Indians going for victory will have my support. This year I was hopeful that Sania Nehwal would get a gold for us and although she did get a bronze (and that too when her opponent had to retire with an injury) that’s still a proud moment for us. She is one sportsperson that I support with a lot of passion and she seems to be a very sensible person.

Ofcourse this year we had that huge stupid little scene of a gatecrasher, a fucking gatecrasher, at the opening ceremony. A young lady who was a volunteer for the Indian Olympic delegation and a dancer for the opening ceremonies, who was supposed to escort the Indian contingent up to the entrance and then back off, decided that she had to join them as they marched into the stadium. Clad in a red track top, blue pants and sneakers, Madhura Honey Nagendra marched in the front of the contingent alongside flag-bearer Sushil Kumar, smiling and waving at the cameras, before disappearing midway. This has got to be one of the most stupidest things I have ever heard or seen of in a major sporting event. That was so stupid. And it was so funny to see her bright red top and blue jeans clash (badly) with the smartly attired women athletes in yellow saris and the men in suits. She look so dumb walking along with them. And this is what she has to say! “Error of judgement!” Watch an interview with her