Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Exciting Family Activities Even Surly Teens Will Love

The teenage years are the time that every parent dreads. As kids grow up, they want to spend less time with their family and more with their friends. They may shun family outings or make everyone else miserable. There are family activities that you can do that will entertain even the grumpiest of teenagers and keep parents from going nuts.

Many teenagers love going skiing or snowboarding. Not only can they have time away from the family if they want to go on the harder trails, but they get the adrenaline rush because of the speed associated with the sport. If you go on a ski trip with your family to a farther away resort, your teen will be less likely to pretend that they don't know you because they won't be as worried about running into friends. Not only will skiing and snowboarding entertain your teen but after a day in the cold, they will enjoy a hot chocolate by the fire in the condo or hotel afterwards, not worrying about seeming so cool.

Bowling is a great way for the family to get to together and enjoy each other. Kids love the competition, and for a relatively small investment in gear like bowling balls, bowling ball bags, and shoes, you can take the sport from a leisurely weekend sport to possibly a league or some sort of weekly play. By letting your kids enjoy a sport that just about every activity level can do; they will enjoy family time more and actually have a good time with the family. Find your family's bowling supplies at discountbowlingsupply.com .

Set aside a family game night and unplug from the TV, tablets and cell phones. Put away the electronics and bring out the board games. While your teen may object to spending the evening out of contact with their friends at first, they will soon begin to enjoy whatever games you have chosen for the night. Board games are relatively inexpensive and you can get games that are appropriate for younger children and teens alike that everyone will love. Do this on a weekly basis so that your entire family can enjoy a night looking at something other than Facebook.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Review: Football Nation

I got the chance to read Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America's Game, and it was a very cool book.

There are many great pictures and stories in the book, which would make for a great coffee table book. It really shows the evolvement of the game from its inception, in both pro and college football.

It starts with its earliest mention in 20th century London, all the way to the behemoth that football is today in our society across all levels, from Pop Warner to the NFL. It comes from the Library of Congress, so the resources and research are unparalleled.

It is a book I would recommend for the football fan.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Historic First Telerobotic Pitch that Stole our Hearts

In our modern life, as a result of social media sites, it has become too easy to focus simply on the controversial and negativity when it comes to sport. With the rush to be the first to break the story and have the most views, it seems that the world has lost sight of what really matters. Between the drug lawsuits and investigations, the on-field brawls and player suspensions, it seems that we have forgotten the amazing positives sport brings to the world. With a shared passion and love for their favourite team and their sporting heroes, sport brings people together. It is not often we get reminded of this, but just like on jackgold.com, every once in awhile, everything lines up and the world stops and shares in the beauty that sport brings to each and every person.

Meet Nick LeGrande, a regular 13-year-old from Kansas City who loves baseball and everything about it. Sadly though, he is fighting a serious illness. Nick suffers from severe aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder which has not only made it difficult for him to play the sport that he loves but also made it impossible for him to attend games due to his weakened immune system. This has not dampened Nick’s spirits though, as he became the first person in the history of the Major League Baseball to throw the first pitch telerobotically 1800 miles from Kansas City to Oakland A’s reliever Ryan Cook’s hands at the Coliseum in Oakland.

With help from Google Fiber, a mini-stadium was built, complete with real grass and a real dirt mound. LeGrande stepped up onto the mound in Kansas sporting his baseball cap and pitched with all his heart. The robotic arm in Oakland copied Nick’s pitching motion via sensors, completing the world record breaking pitch perfectly.

For Nick and everyone watching, the records were not important, instead, with teary eyes, everyone forgot all the negativity and focused only on the innocent and heart-warming events that unfolded. To make the surprise even greater for Nick, he only realised what was actually happening about two hours before his pitch. He was told that he was off to visit his grandmother, but was driven instead to the Google offices where he was given the opportunity to pitch to the reliever of his favourite team. Ryan Cook and all the other players topped off the event by signing the ball and sending it back to Nick.

By Jason Swindon

Monday, April 01, 2013

College Football Schedules

The best team will again be Alabama, who return a lot of talent from the team that won the national championship a year ago. They will have AJ McCaron, who could be one of the leaders in the race to win the Heisman Trophy. He is experienced, and has explosive playmakers (such as TJ Yeldon) around him to take the pressure off. They will also have a great defense, as Nick Saban always seems to recruit great players for that side of the ball.

Another fun team to watch will be Texas A&M, as they return Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football. He is the best dual threat quarterback in the country, and he can hurt you just as much with his legs as with his arm. He is the biggest reason why the Aggies were the only team to knock off Alabama last year, and that will be a great game once again. You will not want to miss watching Manziel play.

Oregon is always very fun to watch, even though Chip Kelly has left to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. With guys like D'Anthony Thomas, their offense should remain very explosive. They will be put up a ton of points under Mark Herzlich, with the question remaining their defense. Stanford will be a great team as well out of the Pac-12, and those two look to battle it out for the conference title and possibly a BCS title game berth. They are that good, and their game will be a must-watch.

LSU always seems to be in contention for the title, and they will be again even with a lot of losses. Les Miles is a great recruiter, and they always seem to rebuild. They will likely be very physical again, and ready to rebound from a disappointing year. Notre Dame will be one of the most watched teams in the country, as they look to bounce back from their title game loss. They return a lot of great talent defensively. Their biggest key will be the maturation of QB Everett Golson. He had a lot of great moments as a freshman, and will need to continue that strong play in his sophomore year.

There are always lots of great storylines in college football, and this season will be no exception. From the rise of the the powerhouse of Alabama, to all the other teams trying to bring them down, there will be no shortage of great games to watch for on the schedule. Is college football here yet?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: "The Extra 2%" by Jonah Keri

This book review was originally posted on Reed Reads.

I got the chance to read The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by Jonah Keri and thought this it was a fantastic book.

The book begins by talking about the early parts of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays franchise - how they came to be, and how they first ran things under the initial owner and general manager. It was a period marked by futility, alternating strategies, and a lot of losing. Fans lost interest, and the D-Rays were a joke of an MLB franchise.

Around the mid 2000s, they were sold to a buyer that had a history on Wall Street. The people he hired to run the team also had extensive experience on Wall Street, which is where the title of the book comes from. It talks about some of the areas where the Rays looked for inefficiencies in the market to build the baseball team, since they knew they would not have the financial resources to compete against teams like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox.

The book's most obvious comparison is Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It wants to be like that, and reaches out for the same fans that liked Moneyball. It is not that good - the detail into what makes the Rays successful is not shown in nearly as much detail as Lewis' famous book, but it is a great look into an MLB franchise. I would recommend it to baseball fans.