Tag: sports

“Swim Whisperer” Conrad Cooper Teaches Kids to Be Water-Safe

For 20 years, Conrad Cooper has been teaching children in Los Angeles to swim by earning his young students' unwavering trust.
For 20 years, Conrad Cooper has been teaching children in Los Angeles to swim by earning his young students’ unwavering trust. (Elissa Nadworny/NPR)

If you looked at the children at the edge of Conrad Cooper‘s pool, you’d think you were watching an ad for something. Jell-O, maybe. Or a breakfast cereal kids like. They’re that cute.

They’re lined up on the steps in the shallow end, 10 little ones, ranging from age 2 to 5. The boys are in board trunks, many wearing rash-guard shirts like the weekend surfers they might become years from now. The girls wear bright one-piece suits and two-pieces that show their childish potbellies.

They are a rainbow tribe: black, Asian, white, biracial. And every eye is trained on the large man in the middle of the pool.

Conrad Cooper has been teaching little kids (and some adults) to swim for 20 years now. His business, Swim to Me, operates out of his pool in the View Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. He has taught kids who scream with fright at being put in the water, and adults who never thought they’d ever be able to swim.

“After two or three times in the pool with me,” Cooper says, “they recognize, ‘OK, this guy is serious. He’s not taking no for an answer. I’m going to do this.’ ”

His families come from around the corner and across the ocean, because word of his effectiveness travels. “He does not fool around,” parents will tell you, “but it works.”

It’s not a method that works for everyone.

“If you think this is someplace you can come and do monkey-walking by the side of the pool and sing songs … you’re in the wrong class,” Cooper says. A tall brown man with sun-bronzed dreadlocks and Pacific Islander tattoos, Cooper radiates authority, in and out of the water.

To hear audio of this story, click here.

Helicopter parents are politely instructed to find a landing place in one of the comfy chairs that ring the large saltwater pool — and stay there. Parents who want Cooper to teach their children have to promise to abide by his rules: They’re there to support the method, not to comfort their children.

That sometimes comes as a shock to his students.

“After two or three times in the pool with me,” Cooper says, “they recognize, ‘OK, this guy is serious. He’s not taking no for an answer. I’m going to do this.’ ”

Continue reading ““Swim Whisperer” Conrad Cooper Teaches Kids to Be Water-Safe”

NFL Network And Popeye Spinach Donate to Los Angeles Food Bank and Score for NFL AM

article by Lesa Lakin

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Left: NFL AM’s Erin Coscarelli, Rhett Lewis, LaVar Arrington & Terrell Davis

Spinach might just be the coolest vegetable in the game right now. Did you know October is Spinach Awareness Month? Yeah, neither did I… but the NFL Network and Popeye Spinach sure did and they’ve done something pretty cool.  As part of a fun segment for NFL AM, Popeye Spinach supplied 400 cans of spinach to create a motivating backdrop while hosts Erin Coscarelli and Rhett Lewis discuss the best players of the week with analysts Terrell Davis and LaVar Arrington. Rhett, LaVar and Terrell give their picks (the players that have clearly eaten their spinach and performed well and those who may need to well… eat a bit more). It’s engaging and super fun… well maybe not so much for the players who have had a rough week.

Check it out…it makes for some interesting weekly recaps:

Allens Popeye Spinach and the NFL Network donated the cans to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The LA Regional Food Bank is dedicated to mobilizing resources to fight hunger in the community.

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Eli Lipmen, Director of Marketing & Communications at the LA Regional Food Bank

 

Frank Thomas Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas smiles as he responds to a question during a news conference about his selection into the MLB Baseball Hall Of Fame Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Thomas joins Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as first ballot inductees Wednesday, and will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 27 along with managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, elected last month by the expansion-era committee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas smiles as he responds to a question during a news conference about his selection into the MLB Baseball Hall Of Fame Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Thomas joins Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as first ballot inductees Wednesday, and will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 27 along with managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, elected last month by the expansion-era committee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

NEW YORK (AP) — A new generation of starting pitchers and a self-proclaimed Mr. Clean of the Steroids Era will be ushered into baseball’s Hall of Fame this summer.  Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were elected on their first ballot appearances Wednesday, when Craig Biggio fell just two votes short.  Maddux and Glavine will join their former Atlanta Braves manager, Bobby Cox, at the July 27 induction along with Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, also elected last month by the expansion-era committee.

But Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other stars whose accomplishments were muddied by accusations of steroids use lost even more ground, dropping below 40 percent in an election where 75 percent is needed. And on his first day as a member of baseball’s elite, Thomas said the living members among the 306 Hall of Famers don’t want those with sullied reputations.

“Over the last year, doing a couple of charity events with Hall of Famers that are in, they’ve got a strong stance against anyone who’s taken steroids. They do not want them in. They don’t care when they started or when they did it, they do not want them in,” he said. “I’ve got to take the right stance, too. No, they shouldn’t get in. There shouldn’t be cheating allowed to get into the Hall of Fame.”

Making their second appearances on the ballot, Clemens dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4 in voting by senior members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, Bonds from 36.2 to 34.7 and Sosa from 12.5 to 7.2.  Bonds, baseball’s career home run leader, is the only seven-time MVP in major league history. Clemens is the lone seven-time Cy Young Award winner.  “As for what they did, I don’t think any of us will ever really know,” Thomas said. “But I can just tell you, what I did was real and that’s why I’ve got this smile on my face right now because the writers, they definitely got it right.”

Continue reading “Frank Thomas Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame”

South L.A.’s Jefferson High Tennis Squad Adopted by Beverly Hills Tennis Club

Alma Roque, right, and fellow players marvel at gifts of gear during a Beverly Hills Tennis Club lunch. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times / October 19, 2013)
Alma Roque, right, and fellow players marvel at gifts of gear during a Beverly Hills Tennis Club lunch. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times / October 19, 2013)

Tennis isn’t much of a big deal at South L.A.’s struggling Jefferson High.  The two dozen kids who play on the boys’ and girls’ teams practice on a pair of beaten courts at a gang-riddled, graffiti-tagged park.  It wasn’t long ago that both squads — stacked with teens still learning basic tennis rules — shared six beaten rackets and sometimes played in jeans.

“Shoes?” said David Herrera, who coaches the girls’ team. “A lot of my players didn’t even know there was such a thing as shoes made just for tennis. They played in skateboard sneakers. One girl showed up in boots. They just didn’t know.”  They do now, thanks to the venerable, 84-year-old Beverly Hills Tennis Club.

This past weekend marked the beginning of an uncommon bond between Jefferson and the club — storied in Southern California tennis circles, with a wealthy membership that once included Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin. On Saturday, Jefferson’s tennis players boarded a bus in their neighborhood and went on a 12-mile journey to a corner of the city far different from their own.

They ended up at the leafy club — as honored guests.  “Most of us, we’ve never really been to Beverly Hills before, even though it’s not that far from home,” said Alma Roque, a 17-year-old senior who stood back for a moment, tentative as she surveyed her teammates.

Continue reading “South L.A.’s Jefferson High Tennis Squad Adopted by Beverly Hills Tennis Club”

Usher To Executive Produce Education Documentary ‘Undroppable’

UsherUsher Raymond is on double movie duty with his credit as executive producer of the upcoming education documentary Undroppableas well as his role in Hands of Stone as legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.  The project, written and directed by Jason Pollock, will explore the dropout epidemic in the U.S. educational system with direct feedback from American students. The film will be supported by a social media/video campaign that will allow them to discuss the issues they face in school.

Raymond will executive produce with Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber‘s manager) who introduced him to the project, as well as Adam McKay, Sharon Chang, Alex Soros andJohn Powers Middleton.  “I knew Usher was very passionate about the issue of education, so I felt this was a great project to bring him into,” said Braun. “His expertise will be invaluable as we continue this film and movement.”

Undroppable will be completed this year for a 2014 release.

article by via uptownmagazine.com

 

Kenya Native Dennis Kimetto Sets Course Record With Chicago Marathon Win

 

Dennis Kimetto sets Course Record in 2013 Chicago Marathon
Dennis Kimetto sets Course Record in 2013 Chicago Marathon

Dennis Kimetto of Kenya set a course record Sunday as he took first in the 2013 Chicago Marathon, his second marathon win of the year.  Kimetto beat the previous record of 2:04:23 with 2:03:45, according to unofficial times.  Kimetto and Emmanuel Mutai were neck-and-neck until the last half-mile when Kimetto broke out front.  “I am happy because I broke the course record,” Kimetto said. “The [race] conditions were very good.”

Kimetto came to Chicago with a 2013 marathon win already under his belt. He took first in this year’s Tokyo Marathon with a time of 2:06:50, which set a course record for the race, just his second marathon to date.  During his first marathon, in Berlin last September, he crossed the finish just one second behind the winner.

Kimetto is known for long-distance road racing. The World Marathon Majors points out Kimetto would hold the world record for fastest marathon debut if the IAAF recognized that stat. He set his personal best in Berlin with a finish time of 2:04:16.

article by Lisa Balde via nbcchicago.com

Tiger Woods Delivers Clinching Point in Presidents Cup Win

Tiger Woods hits his tee shot at No. 18 on Sunday during the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club. (Andy Lyons / Getty Images / October 6, 2013)

DUBLIN, Ohio — The Presidents Cup ended Sunday the same way it always goes — an American celebration after Tiger Woods delivers the winning point.   Woods’ back flared up on him again in the final hour at Muirfield Village. He still managed to hang on to beat Richard Sterne, 1 up, to give the Americans the 18 points they needed to win the Presidents Cup for the fifth consecutive time. It was the third straight Presidents Cup that Woods won the cup-clinching match — all three with Fred Couples as the captain. 

“It was a team effort this whole week,” said Woods, who went 4-1 for the best record of any player. “We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead.”  The biggest surprise was not so much the outcome, but that the matches ended without going to Monday. 

Continue reading “Tiger Woods Delivers Clinching Point in Presidents Cup Win”

Shaquille O’Neal Acquires Minority Ownership Stake in Sacramento Kings

NBA basketball player Shaquille O'Neal speaks onstage at the 27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner to benefit the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis at The Waldorf=Astoria on September 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis)
NBA basketball player Shaquille O’Neal speaks onstage at the 27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner on September 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis)

Shaquille O’Neal is joining the ownership group of the Sacramento Kings.  The Kings announced Monday that O’Neal has acquired a minority stake in the team under new owner Vivek Ranadive. The Kings will introduce the four-time NBA champion at a news conference Tuesday in Sacramento.

O’Neal tormented the Kings during the height of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and handed Sacramento its biggest blow by rallying the Lakers from a 3-2 deficit to win the 2002 Western Conference finals.  O’Neal retired after the 2010-11 season and has worked as an analyst for TNT the last two seasons.

article by Antonio Gonzalez, AP via thegrio.com

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Dominates Canelo Alvarez in Championship Win

Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his majority decision victory against Canelo Alvarez in their WBC/WBA 154-pound title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Canelo Alvarez proved nothing more than easy money for Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.  Mayweather turned one of the richest fights ever into just another $41.5 million payday Saturday night, dominating Alvarez from the opening bell and winning a majority decision in a masterful performance that left no doubt who the best fighter of his era is.

Fighting off his shortest layoff in years, Mayweather was sharp, efficient and sometimes brutal in dismantling an unbeaten fighter who was bigger and was supposed to punch harder. He frustrated Alvarez early, pounded him with big right hands in the middle rounds, and made him look just like he said he would — like any other opponent.

Mayweather was favored 117-111 and 116-112 on two ringside scorecards while a third inexplicably had the fight 114-114. The Associated Press scored it 119-109 for Mayweather.  “I just listened to my corner, listened to my dad,” Mayweather said. “My dad had a brilliant game plan, and I went out there and got the job done.” Continue reading “Floyd Mayweather Jr. Dominates Canelo Alvarez in Championship Win”

Serena Williams Defeats Victoria Azarenka for Fifth U.S. Open Title

Serena Williams of the US celebrates her win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during their 2013 US Open women's singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center September 8, 2013 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDASTAN
Serena Williams of the US celebrates her win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during their 2013 US Open women’s singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center September 8, 2013 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDASTAN

NEW YORK — Top-seeded Serena Williams won her 17th Grand Slam title and her fifth U.S. Open on Sunday with a 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1 victory over second-seeded Victoria Azarenka on Arthur Ashe Stadium court.  When Azarenka’s final service return went long, Williams pumped her fists and yelled, “Come on.”  Williams had also won the French Open this year and seemed well on her way to her second straight U.S. Open title when she led 7-5, 4-1 Sunday.

But the 31-year-old Williams was broken twice when serving for the match and then lost the tiebreaker to the 24-year-old Azarenka, who  won the Australian Open this year.  A swirling wind was a factor in the match and seemed to particularly bother Williams, who at times had to fight to keep her dress from flying up and her ball toss in line.

At one point in the first set, Williams mouthed to her box, “I can’t play in this wind.” She was frustrated. She would moan after missed shots. When Azarenka held for a 3-2 lead in the first set, Williams yelled, “Oh, God,” when her forehand flew wide.

Continue reading “Serena Williams Defeats Victoria Azarenka for Fifth U.S. Open Title”