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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Nitty Gritty to Soccer Safety


As soccer is one of the most well loved sports on Earth, many children and adults are lured into participating in playing on a daily basis. Due to this wide spread popularity, soccer injuries are very common.

With over 80,000 adults and children going to emergency rooms every year as a result of soccer, knowing the safety rules is vital. When playing and watching, there are certain things that you should always be aware of so that you and your teammates or family members are not among those hurt through either playing or watching. There are several categories of safety rules that you should be aware of. These consist of the following:

  • On Field Safety

  • Goal Safety

  • Stadium Safety

  • Equipment

  • Weather Safety

  • Miscellaneous Accessories

On Field Safety

Of all of the categories, on field safety is the one that players are constantly aware of. This is where most children and adults are injured. Whether it is a sprained ankle from tripping over the ball, collisions, and other accidents, there are several things that you can do to prevent injury. Sprained ankles are one of the most common soccer injuries, as there is a great deal of foot work involved.

These injuries can be avoided by using a slight amount of caution when passing or receiving the ball, as well as taking care when running down the field. Proper foot position when handling the ball is one of the most effective ways at preventing this type of injury. Unfortunately, accidents will happen, regardless of how careful you are. By being diligent, you can make certain whatever injuries you sustain are minor and should not interfere with future game play. The key rule to preventing injuries on the field is to always be observant. Know where the ball is and know who is around you.

Goal Safety

Whether you are the goalie, or a player on defense, the goal can occasionally become a safety hazard. In most instances, collisions with goal or goalie are caused by lack of observation. Whether you trip and fall into the goal posts, or hit the goalie by accident, you need to make certain that you are always watching where you going when moving in to score. Not only can this action cause injury, it can also get you carded which could potentially have you removed from the game.

Another point to consider when shopping for 8 x 24 soccer goals, is to consider goals with rounded posts instead of square posts. When colliding with a post, you're more likely to skip off a rounded one and avoid serious injury.

Stadium Safety

For parents, guardians and friends, there are a few stadium safety tips that tend to be neglected when the subject of soccer safety comes up. Occasionally a player can lose control of the soccer ball, and it enter the stands where you are observing the game. Injuries due to being hit with the ball, or any other piece of equipment that flies your way, can be easily prevented by making certain you pay attention at all times.

Running through the stands, or through the player's area can be dangerous to you and others. As a rule, common sense is the best safety precaution you have. If it involves doing something that could harm yourself or others, such as walking over the back of the bleachers, climbing over people and tall benches, it should be avoided for your sake and others.

Equipment

Without soccer safety equipment, all of the in game rules would be ineffective. Shin guards, cleats, jerseys and proper fitting shorts and socks all work together to ensure that every player can enjoy the game without being at high risk of injury. Shin guards are used to prevent bruising or breaking of the lower portion of the leg, where cleats and soccer balls are highly likely to hit you. Without these, such as lotto shin guards, you put yourself at high risk.

Wearing a proper pair of cleats, such as the ones designed by Nike, gives you more grip into the turf. This grip helps to prevent sprains and breaks in the ankles. These shoes also give your feet adequate protection from other pairs of cleats and impact with the soccer ball.

Proper fitting clothing, ranging from the jersey, shorts and socks, contribute to player comfort. This is important, as distractions from the game can lead to injuries to yourself and others. It is always advisable to wear your proper jerseys to practice or to games. Specially designed jerseys and shorts are designed to handle the rigors of soccer. The fabric in particular is designed to stand up against grass stains as well as be comfortable.

Weather

One aspect of soccer safety that is forgotten by many players and parents is weather conditions. Playing in the rain can be a fun, invigorating experience, treasured by players for years to come. Despite this, playing in muddy conditions is dangerous. The slipping and sliding that creates a great deal of the enjoyment taken from playing soccer in the rain leaves room for a wide variety of different injuries. If you choose to play soccer in the rain, make certain you take every precaution possible, from wearing cleats, guards and your protective gear.

When a full fledged storm comes up, complete with thunder and lightning, game play should be ended immediately. A soccer field is the worst place to be in the middle of a lightning storm, and parents as well as players have been killed or maimed by lightning. If lightning is spotted and your referee does not end the game, you should still leave the field as soon as possible.

Miscellaneous Accessories

Before you play soccer, you need to make certain that you are not wearing miscellaneous accessories such as earrings, anklets and other pieces of jewelry that could be broken or cause harm. Earrings in particular are prone to being torn from earlobes when contact is made with a soccer ball. By removing these pieces of jewelry and other items of this nature, you can help prevent injuries to yourself that could be disfiguring. If you are considering getting piercings and you play soccer, you may want to consider planning to have your piercings done when the soccer season is over.

If you keep all of these things in mind while playing or observing soccer games, you should be able to enjoy the sport while being at low risk of injury.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ontario Is A Fishing Paradise


With a huge variety of fish running its streams and rivers and residing in its lakes, Ontario is a favorite destination for fishing enthusiasts the world over. Known for playing host to the "big one," this Canadian province welcomes tourists to enjoy the natural splendor its boundaries have to offer.

Before diving into a fishing trip in Ontario, however, there are some things a non-resident might need to pay attention to. Fishing in this province generally requires a permit and some areas might demand more than one. Camping in Ontario's Crown lands, for example, might require a specialized permit for those who come to not only fish, but enjoy the great outdoors on their stay.

Getting solid information about where you're going and what you intend to fish and comparing it to what licenses or permits you might need can be a little tricky. The best place to seek answers and avoid any unfortunate circumstance is directly from the government itself. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is perhaps the best location to find all the information a fishing expedition will require before it pulls out. That site can be accessed here: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/index.html.

Those who choose to fish Ontario do so for the massive variety of fish they can encounter. Although not all species are found in every location during certain times of the year, here are some general rules of thumb for where to find what kinds of fish:

Warm water fish found in Ontario include: pumpkinseed, bluegill, goldeye, largemouth bass, white perch and more.

Cooler waters will play hose to black crappie, walleye, rock bass, northern pike, white sucker and even redhorse suckers.

The cold waters of Ontario are home to rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon, Cisco, smelt and more.

The diverse landscapes found in Ontario offer up all kinds of fishing and outdoor possibilities for residents and tourists alike. So prevalent are fishing opportunities in this Northern haven that urban fishing is also quite popular. Keep in mind, however, that licensing regulations may apply even in small urban streams and creeks, so check out the laws before you cast.

Whether you're planning to fish in different parts of Ontario or have a favorite spot picked out, don't forget to check local rules and regulations. This province is welcoming to tourists and outdoor lovers, but its authorities aren't friendly to those who don't play by the rules. Ignorance isn't a good defense. Check it out before you drop a line.

While enjoying all that Ontario's fishing scene has to offer, don't forget to check out some of the scenery as well. This province is known for its breathtaking landscapes, abundance of wildlife and more. To truly experience Ontario in all its glory, camping trips are often recommended. While Toronto has the allure of the city, the wilds of Ontario are really where the action is.

When preparing for a trip to Ontario, remember the climate here can be a little harsh. Even in the summer months, the temperatures will be cooler than those from some locales might expect. Pack accordingly.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Road Trip - Vintage Car Auction


I might be running 33 years late but I’m certainly making up for lost time. I am undergoing a most demanding induction course into the automobilia world and steering me unflinchingly, while barely peering over the dashboard, is my eight year old son. Whisper it softly but I do vaguely recall a passing infatuation with cars at that age. The passing soon passed, however, and I became deeply immersed in footballing ephemera instead. It wasn’t enough for me to simply play or even, from time to time, attend a big match. I can remember still the pinch of excitement as I opened my new packets of football stickers, sharing joy and pain with my friends, concocting shady transfer deals behind closed doors and wondering if I was ever going to see George Best again. This was but a prelude to a more sinister development, whereby I started recording the results of imaginary matches in my exercise books, complete with scorers, half times, crowds and league positions, if appropriate. Oh, I did things properly. If they’d handed out prizes for footballing obsession, I’d have hoovered up every time.

There is often a thin dividing line between passion and obsession and my son is already starting to exhibit some disturbing parallels with his father. My relationship with cars hitherto has been strictly of the A to B variety. In other words, as long as I can reach my destination safely, securely and speedily, I’m a pretty happy bunny. I am strangely unmoved by upholstery, sound systems, alloy wheels and other delights. I have never spent an afternoon washing my car. My son, however, spent an hour painstakingly polishing and sprucing his car yesterday. And as for the remote control, glad you asked, a solid ten minutes checking the electrics.

Yet it all started so innocently. An occasional reference to a car in the street was an entirely natural form of curiosity. My mumbled acknowledgement was usually enough and we went on our merry way but I felt a frisson of alarm as my son started to recognise cars he’d seen before and ask me about them too. The first time this happened I thought he was talking to someone else until he looked me in the eye with a quite disarming sincerity and repeated the question. “Dad, did you see that red Porsche, isn’t that the one from the end of the street I showed you last week? That was so cool, how fast did it go? Can we go in one?”. Well, there’s off guard and there’s on the canvas. As I groggily sought to compose myself, I nonetheless realised that my son had achieved a major landmark. He’d entered football sticker country.

No longer would my studied nonchalance suffice. My son was already in second gear while I was groping for the ignition. I could have handled simple car spotting but my son started to display a much wider repertoire, engaging in a running commentary on every journey and inviting from me, normally at a moment of maximum inconvenience, some expert analysis on the virtues of the latest BMW convertible

Frankly, I was rocking. I was all over the place when, quite serendipitously,echoing that unforgettable proverb that I’ve unfortunately forgotten, I got very lucky indeed. I was sitting in a sushi bar intermittently dabbing at a proof I was reviewing while watching a conveyor belt, with all the contours of a Scalectrix track, pass before me carrying an assortment of dishes. It all looked pretty tasty but the tastiest thing of all was the ingenious billing process. Nobody took my order so I just helped myself as, indeed, did everyone else. As I munched away, while simultaneously tiptoeing around the proof, admiring the female population, worrying about Arsenal’s recent form and staring vacantly into space – I believe it’s called multitasking – I had a sudden epiphany. Each bowl was painted with a different trim around the rim. There were pink or green or blue or whatever stripes around each and they all had a different price, reflecting their contents. At the end of the meal, you might tot up three green for £3, two red for £4 and an orange for £5. As I ruminated upon this creative thinking, a familiar face sidled up to the stool next to me. It was none other than Robert Brooks, chairman of Bonhams and a doyen of the classic car auction market. We exchanged small talk before my eye was inextricably drawn to the catalogue he had evidently intended to read over lunch.

The catalogue related to a forthcoming sale by Bonhams of classic cars and related automobilia. As we chatted away, I hinted that my son was leaning that way and the conversation dramatically moved on to an altogether higher plane. I then let slip, accidentally on purpose, that my father in law had been a racing driver of some repute in the 1950’s, notably for Jaguar and Allard, and that his old AC might still be lurking in the garage. Instantly, the catalogue was thrust into my hand as was an open invitation to join Bonhams at the next Festival of Speed at Goodwood. As this famous circuit is but a mile from our house in Sussex, even I may struggle to find any logistical obstacles to our future attendance, unless Arsenal obligingly have a home fixture that weekend. I suddenly felt a hot flush at the prospect of my son and I fighting off the groupies as we were ushered into the pits to mingle with the cognoscenti and talk race tactics. Then again, probably a belated reaction to those Japanese pickles.

I could tell my son was very impressed. His knowing look told me I’d found first gear. He pored over the catalogue, enthralled by the wonderful photographs, and I had to admit that there were some fabulous motors. The mechanical aspects left me stone cold but the voluptuous lines of many of the post war sports cars warmed me up considerably. Although I wouldn’t recognise a camshaft if it introduced itself to me personally, I can certainly recognise a thing of beauty when I see it. I could quite understand why so many of these models, with their gorgeous styling and lush interiors, have become design icons in their own right.

Then I took a quantum leap. I bought a copy of Classic Car. There was plenty for the obsessive, ranging from the rebuild of some obscure, but paradoxically important, car to fantastically detailed classified advertisements. The most interesting revelation for me, however, apart from my conspicuous failure to correctly identify two cars in succession, was the coverage of auction activity. I discovered that Coys were conducting a sale in ten days time but a mile or two up the road in the grounds of Chiswick House, formerly a family home of the Duke of Marlborough and now owned by English Heritage.

The sale started at 10am. I had loosely intimated to my son that we’d aim on a 9am departure but, in the manner of excitable eight year olds everywhere, he took it all too literally. As ever, morning had arrived about three hours too early for me and, when I eventually stumbled downstairs, I found him almost consumed by anticipation. I gathered my bits, took a bottle of water to cool his engine and we were on the road. I had a reasonable idea of the location of the house which was just as well, since the map I had printed off told me everything and nothing at the same time. It was a largely uneventful journey, punctuated only by my impatience with sleepy drivers and my son’s impatience with sleepy me. Then, lo and behold, a sign and we were there. We followed a dribble of middle aged men walking along a wide path to nowhere whereupon, looming beyond the trees, we were confronted by two enormous marquees. There were cars dotted all around and my son was so enraptured that I almost had to frogmarch him inside for the main event. I buckled under the weight of the catalogue, truly a labour of love, gathered myself and entered.

There must have been some twenty five cars in immediate view. The vintages were redolent of museum pieces and, though we prodded and probed, I can’t say we lavished them with attention. Conversely, I was intrigued by the rows of old bicycles while my son, realising you were actually encouraged to handle the goods, was caressing a silver Aston Martin as he cast his eye at all the other wonders that awaited him. I decided to register as a bidder as even the wildest optimist in me knew that it would be nigh on impossible to leave unscathed with an increasingly passionate eight year old by my side. I picked up my paddle, scanned the horizon for my son, and salvaged him from the undercarriage of an admittedly dashing Jensen.

Admiring, touching, caressing, yes, that again, we ambled into the auction itself. I wouldn’t say the joint was jumping but the sale moved pretty swiftly. I looked at the catalogue and it dawned on me that this would be an all day affair. The main event later in the afternoon would be the sale of some fifty cars and I expect the arena would then have filled out appreciably. We were participating in the undercard but it was entertaining enough simply being there. My son pottered about viewing memorabilia, cups, toys and so forth while I took the opportunity to properly read the catalogue, enjoy the banter in the room and vainly hope that I might pick up some pearl of wisdom from the assembled enthusiasts.

As one lot followed another and I resolutely clasped my paddle to my breast, I sensed my son was becoming a little agitated. There were still about 700 more items to go under the hammer but, after numerous skirmishes, including a very near miss with a replica piston pump, a cock up of Berlusconiesque proportions, I ultimately succumbed. My son was the proud owner of a 1970 odd limited edition Ferrari. I was much more fascinated by its accompanying box that not only further legitimised its authenticity, as does a dust jacket to a book, but also told me that it had been cared for by its previous owner. I liked that.

Two further lots invited particular scrutiny. The first was an exceptionally scarce game dating from the late 19th century, formed around famous cyclists of that era. It was circular and painted and possibly French but my lingering thought was that, much as I could not afford it, it should go to a good home. The other lot I could afford and I bought it with my father in mind. This was an amusing and uncommon promotional pamphlet from the late 1920’s for Alvis that adapted the style of “The Man Who…” series by H.M.Bateman. It is one of my father’s understated regrets that he sold the Alvis he owned some thirty years ago and that, when he came to reverse that decision, he discovered the car was no longer in production. It struck me as faintly ironic that the pamphlet was entitled “The Terrible Fate Which Befell The Man Who Did Not Buy An Alvis.” As we wandered back to the cashier to settle our purchases, my son insisted on sitting in virtually every car we passed. He was in his element, joy unconfined, as he twiddled with the knobs and spun the steering wheels, while luxuriating amid the resplendent wood panelling and upholstery. His joy became my joy, his beaming smile suffused with the magic of the moment. We’d come a long way together.

More prosaic matters then presented themselves, over a somewhat shorter distance, as we contrived to get lost seeking the car park. My legendary sense of direction ensured we had a very pleasant walk through the pergola but took a most circuitous route back. By this stage, I was ready to lie down, preferably in a darkened room, somewhere quiet and remote. Instead, I had to grapple with the fact that we were on the wrong side of the dual carriageway and needed to be home for the rest of the clan in the next fifteen minutes. After executing a quite masterful three point turn which surprised me, let alone my son, we were off and running. I had a nagging suspicion, however, that I might have peaked a little too early in my induction course and, boy, were my instincts hot.

A week later came another day of reckoning. Acknowledging that his recent acquisition was not equipped for a run in the park, especially minus any batteries, my son decided we should take his other model instead. It was supposed to be a quick twenty minute spin around the park, testing it for speed, durability and a few fancy tricks. It was all a bit humdrum after a while so I decided to spice things up a bit. In what I can only describe as a moment of madness, I suggested a game whereby we had to direct the car along the pavement towards the nearest lamppost within a specified time. My son made it look easy. I made it look very difficult.

It was difficult enough remembering which way the controls moved without having to contend with divots, litter, pedestrians and sundry other obstacles. Although my son generously extended my handicap, I was already 5 – 0 down by the time we were alongside the tennis courts. And it was precisely here that I delivered my coup de grace. My abject performance thus far encouraged me to at least sign off with some aplomb and so, at full speed, I charged off. I was actually making a decent fist of it for once when my concentration was shattered by a whoop of delight on Court Six. A pulsating rally was over and, distracted by the hubbub, I witnessed the car pirouette and turn sharply. As if transfixed by this remarkable manoeuvre, I watched, disbelievingly, as it rotated a full 360 degrees and trundled, almost apologetically, under the wire and straight on to the aforementioned court. I wasn’t sure if the applause was directed at the players or at me but then my sense of direction, as you may be aware, leaves much to be desired. I’ll be wearing my L plates for a while yet.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

League One Betting Review - 26 February 2006


Huddersfield Town edged into the second automatic promotion spot after earning a draw against fellow promotion chasers Swansea City. Lee Trundle and Leon Britton fired the Swans into a 2-0 lead by half-time before late goals from Martin McIntosh and David Graham secured a draw at odds of 9/4.

Southend United missed the chance to stretch their lead at the top of League One as Walsall, under new boss Kevan Broadhurst, held them to a goalless draw. Shrimpers captain Spencer Prior went off injured after five minutes as the two sides played out an 11/4 stalemate.

Following last weekend’s FA Cup glamour tie against Chelsea, Colchester United were brought back down to earth with a bump against Barnsley. Tykes midfielder Brian Howard scored the only goal of the game after 72 minutes to seal a 13/10 home win.

Brentford suffered a rare home defeat at the hands of 4/1 outsiders Port Vale. A long range effort from Jeff Smith nine minutes before the break was enough to keep the Valiants slender play-off hopes alive.

Play-off hopefuls Oldham Athletic secured a narrow 20/21 win against Tranmere Rovers at Boundary Park. Richie Wellens struck the decisive goal 10 minutes before half time.

Nottingham Forest were the safest bet of the day by crushing Swindon Town 7-1 at the City Ground. Nicky Southall broke the deadlock for 8/11 Forest after three minutes before Wes Morgan and Iain Breckin added further goals before the break. Southall completed his hat-trick with goals after 51 and 55 minutes before Morgan and Lester completed the rout. Trevor Benjamin gave the Robins some pride on 76.

Rotherham United’s survival hopes took a turn for the worse as they crashed 4-0 at home against Chesterfield. Three goals in a nine minute spell for Glynn Hurst just before half time and David Niven and Mark Allott early in the second period ended the Millers’ mini revival. Jamie O’Hara added a fourth for the 9/5 Spireites three minutes from time.

Rock-bottom Milton Keynes Dons sealed a precious victory at 13/8 against visitors Bradford City. Ben Harding opened the scoring for the Dons after 58 minutes but Steve Claridge ended a 17-match barren run six minutes later. A last gasp winner from Dean Lewington took the Dons to within four points from safety.

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