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Super Bowl 48!!

Super_Bowl_XLVIII_logo

Since I am getting sick of winter and the polar vortex, I have decided to write about something that will make me happy-the upcoming Super Bowl.  This year’s matchup is a rarity in that it will be a meeting between the best offense in the league (the Denver Broncos) and the NFL’s best defense (Seattle Seahawks).  This is only the fifth time this has ever happened and so far the defenses have won 3 out of the first 4 times it has happened.

This will also be the first time the game will be played outdoors in a cold weather stadium and the weather could play a factor in the game.  If the conditions are bad it could hurt Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense as he has historically had some of his worst games in bad weather.  Another thing to watch is the Richard Sherman ‘controversy‘.  He caused an uproar after the NFC Championship game when he was mocking the 49ers Michael Crabtree.

If you don’t care about the game on the field, there is also the halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and there should be some awesome commercials.  Either way, it will help us forget about the cold!!

Steelers Training Camp

training-camp

I know that everyone is excited about the Pittsburgh Pirates and the amazing season they are having so far.  I was tempted to write about them, but I don’t want to take the risk that I might jinx things and cause another late season fade.  So, instead I will stick with the NFL and the Steelers!  I always love when the Steelers start training camp because I get to see highlights of Saint Vincent College in beautiful Latrobe, PA.  As a proud SVC grad it is cool to see my college on the news every night. 

Plus, Sports Illustrated writer Peter King called it his favorite training camp location.  The Steelers will be at Saint Vincent until Saturday, August 17th.  All the practices that are open to the public will be held from 3-5 in the afternoon.  There will be one night practice on Wednesday, August 14th from 5:30-7:30.  If you go to Latrobe I recommend the wings at Sharkey’s Cafe.  They are awesome, plus there is always a chance that you might see some of the Steelers there too!

As far as the actual NFL action looks, here are some my top thoughts and predictions about the upcoming season.  Sorry to all the Steelers fans out there, but I don’t see them making the Super Bowl this year.

AFC:

Playoff teams: Patriots, Steelers, Texans, Broncos, Colts (wild card), Bengals (wild card)

NFC:

Playoff Teams: Giants, Packers, Falcons, 49ers, Lions (wild card), Saints (wild card)

mattryan

Super Bowl: Falcons over Broncos

Super Bowl XLVII

logo

So what did you think of that Super Bowl?  It was definitely one of the most eventful Super Bowl games we ever had.  I know a lot of Pittsburgh fans were conflicted about the game since the Ravens are their bitter AFC North rivals and the Niners would have equaled their record of 6 Super Bowl titles.  But from the Ray Lewis controversies to the HarBowl to the 34 minute power outage, this was a game that had it all!  It looked like it would be a Ravens’ blowout before the Forty-Niners were able to rally after the power outage.  San Francisco rookie Colin Kaepernick led a furious comeback, but his team fell just short in the last few minutes.  The game also featured a halftime show by Beyonce.  All of this led to the game being the most watched tv show in history!

Not only was the game eventful, but I thought the commercials were awesome this year.  Of course, my favorite was the Oreo commercial with people fighting in a library and whispering the whole time.

But I also liked some of the other ones, including the Taco Bell one with the senior citizen party animals.

What was your favorite part of the game?  Were you happy that the Ravens won?  Did you have any favorite ads?

Jim-CLP Sheraden

How Disappointing; Pittsburgh Sports in 2012

Oh, sports. All year, through each and every season, you give me hope. I invest time and emotion into you and sometimes it’s even worth it. Then there are the other times, years like 2012, when you fulfill your awful, inevitable promise to ruin my life.

OK, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s been a bad year for Pittsburgh sports. This year, every team that I care about has completely self-destructed in one way or another. Let’s review, shall we?

The Pittsburgh Pirates The Pirates came into the season facing a seemingly inevitable Major League Baseball record-breaking 20th consecutive losing season. It was an ominous milestone, but the Pirates decided to temporarily shake the monkeys off their collective backs and put together a very solid season through the all-star break.

Their record shortly after the break was 67-54. That’s right–13 games over .500. Things were looking up. Nobody wanted to jinx it, but, at 13 over, people in this city seemed ready to come out and say it–there’s no way the Pirates will screw this up. No, sir, this is the year we at least finish above .500. And that’s just about the time the slide started.

The Pirates started to lose and lose big. Even then, with a September schedule that featured plenty of games against the Cubs, Astros, and Mets, the suddenly flat Buccos could find a way to limp into the playoffs, right? No. The Pirates kept losing, prompting me to calculate daily first their playoff chances and then the number of wins they needed to stay above .500.

That great feeling permeating small-talk around town began to fade. Sports fans who were excited to have a meaningful conversation about the Pirates had to come to the realization that 2012 was different, yes, but not in the way they’d hoped. It was, instead, the year the Pirates engineered the biggest collapse in Major League Baseball history. Better focus on the Penguins and Steelers, right?

Wrong. After a sad first-round exit last season courtesy of their hated rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, The Penguins haven’t played at all this season due the the NHL lockout. They have, therefore, disappointed fans by default. I won’t blame the players, but a lost season is a lost season.  Will we see the Pens take the ice at all this winter? It’s not looking good. All games through Dec. 14, along with the New Year’s Day Winter Classic and the All-Star Game, have been canceled. The last NHL lockout resulted in a completely lost 2004-05 season and Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby is talking about playing in Europe.

The Pittsburgh SteelersThen there’s the Steelers. The Steelers made the playoffs last season like they usually do, but they were Tebowed. In fact, I think we were the only team to truly BE Tebowed. So sad. This season, the Steelers are confounding us all with injuries, inconsistent play, and some suspect coaching decisions. You know how the Steelers seem to always lose to bad teams? Yeah, they’ve done that a lot this year. The Steelers have lost to the sub-par Titans, Raiders, Chargers, and Browns. One week you get a gutsy, seemingly season-saving performance by 3rd-stringer Charlie Batch, and the next week you get a completely incompetent effort at home against the San Diego Chargers. (If the CBS sports guys didn’t pound it home enough yesterday, I will remind you that the Chargers had never won a regular season game in Pittsburgh until yesterday’s blase performance.)

Wow–reading over all of this reminds me that it truly has been a terrible year in Pittsburgh sports. (And I didn’t even get into college sports.) What good can come of that? Well, for me, there has been the surprising upside of finding a way to not let it ruin my day. Believe me, I’ve let a Steelers playoff loss, or Penguins’ first-round playoff exit, ruin my day(s) before. That’s why I don’t want to let it happen in the future. Why? Because it’s inevitable. All of these teams will lose again in excruciating fashion, so don’t think that it won’t happen. It’s a game, and while I totally understand getting caught up in the stories  and the emotions, out boys in black and gold will play and win again.

Need another reason to get over the latest sports disappointment? We’re spoiled! The Steelers have more Super Bowl wins (6) than any other NFL team! The Penguins, too, have won three Stanley Cups and recently captain signed Sidney Crosby to a 12-year deal that will keep him in town until he’s close to retirement. As for the Pirates, well, they haven’t done much in a while, it’s true, but that doesn’t invalidate what they have accomplished–five World Series championships and rosters featuring Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner, and Willie Stargell.

I’ll leave you with this, video of the greatest, most clutch, home run in history, and proof that, sometimes, things do work out–it’s Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off home run against the juggernaut New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. It was the only walk-off, series-clinching, home run in World Series history and it happened across the street here in Oakland.

So, even though it’s the Monday after a Steelers loss, I hope you have a good one.

- Corey, The Labs @ CLP

Football Season: Allderdice Dragons

Hi, my name is Jamir and I’m a sophomore at Taylor Allderdice High School. This summer I volunteered at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Hazelwood. I’m interested in hanging out with friends and doing group activities like sports and social networking.

I play wide receiver for the Allderdice Dragons. The reason why I’m interested in sports is because it keeps me out of trouble and helps keep my grades up in school. Every year many of our programs win the championship from football to lacrosse because of hard work, sportsmanship and great chemistry. So if anyone else is interested in playing any type of sport I recommend Allderdice because all programs are great and hard working.

If you are not interested playing a high school sport you can always come to the games to support your team. The Allderdice Dragons home games are always at George K. Cupples Stadium on the Southside.  The first home game is Friday, September 7th at 7:00 pm! You can check out the game schedule here!

It’s that time again-Football is almost here!

The Olympics are FINALLY over (thank God) and it is almost time for the NFL to start playing real games!  The season kicks off on Wednesday, Spetember 5th with a matchup between the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys.  Of course the big game locally is the Steelers against the Denver Broncos.  That might be the most watched game of the first week since many people will be tuning in to watch Peyton Manning play his first regular season game for the Broncos.

There will be lots of interesting storylines this season, both with the Steelers and around the league.  Some of the questions with the Steelers include how the team will deal with the loss of veteran leaders like Hines Ward and James Farrior, how new offensive coordinator Todd Haley will mesh with Ben Roethlisberger, the inexperienced offensive line, and injuries to James Harrison and Rashard Mendenhall.  It should be an interesting season as the Steelers try to hold off some up and coming AFC teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills.

Around the league some of the most interesting stories will be the soap opera of the New York Jets and Tim Tebow, the rookie seasons of top draft picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and how the Bountygate scandal will affect the New Orleans Saints.  It should be an interesting year for football fans that is for sure.  I am excited for the year to begin and my predictions are that the Packers will defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVII, Aaron Rodgers will win the MVP Award, the Steelers will not win the division but be a wild card team, and the Bills will end their streak of non-playoff years with a wild card appearance.

On Your Mark, Get Set…GO!

Here’s a shout-out to East Liberty, Homewood, Friendship, and Shadyside on Sunday during the Pittsburgh Marathon!  I am particular to them because they carried me through all 6.1 miles of my relay leg.  Everyone was out enjoying the beautiful weather, cheering us on as we thundered through their neighborhoods in our running shoes and sweat.  Music blasting from the street corners, lyrics joining the cheers and encouragement as it pounded through our blood.  Even now, a few days later, I am still affected by the support of the neighborhoods, and as spectators they certainly deserve 1st place!

As you may have already guessed, cross-country running is my go-to, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying many other recreational sports or activities.  (WARNING: I like them but it doesn’t mean I’m any good ;)) What’s got you hooked, your heart-racing adrenaline taking over?  As a spectator or a contender, the emotion of an event can be rather exciting!  Whether it is basketball, football, hockey, golf, tennis, volleyball, or some other cool activity, you’ll be sure to find fans and players alike are all rooting for the big WIN!  If you are the type that prefer to do computer whiz fun, getting artsy, or gaming (don’t worry, I didn’t forget you either) check out the sweet things that will get you up and running, too!  (Well, maybe not literally…)

Ultimate Sports: Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults edited by Donald R. Gallo

  Sixteen original sports stories featuring young men and women playing basketball and football, running track and cross-     country, and training for the triathlon, as well as participating in water sports, raquetball, tennis, boxing, wrestling, and the ultimate sport of the future.

 

Guide to Outdoor Sports edited and written by Jonathan Hanson and Roseann Beggy Hanson

   All you need to get started camping, dayhiking, backpacking,
mountain biking, sea kayaking, canoeing, river running,
cross-country skiing, and climbing. 

 

 

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets.  He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”  ~Emil Zatopek

Super Bowl XLVI Preview

Remember the NFL lockout?  I didn’t think so!  Back in June and July, it was a struggle to even get football season started.  But now here we are in late January, awaiting the last game of the season.  Most people here in Pittsburgh are probably still upset about the Steelers loss to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos, but it still promises to be a good game.  Super Bowl XLVI (that’s Super Bowl 46 for those of you not schooled in Roman numerals) will feature the New York Giants against the New England Patriots.  This is a rematch of one of the best Super Bowls of all time just a few years ago, when the Giants knocked off the undeated Patriots and ruined their perfect season.  Will it be Tom Brady joining Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls, or will Eli Manning lead the Giants to their fourth Super Bowl (and his second win)?  Hopefully, this game will be as good as the last one featuring these two teams!  Enjoy!

Who are you rooting for in this year’s Super Bowl?  Who do you think will win?

Are you ready for some football??

It’s finally here.  It has been a very long and very strange offseason with more talk about labor laws and bargaining agreements than quarterbacks and linebackers.  But now we can finally get down to the business of watching football

It should be an interesting season as the Green Bay Packers look to repeat as champions.  New England looks like they will be really tough to beat in the AFC this year with the additions of Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth.  Both of those players have had trouble with coaches in the past, but Bill Belichick and Tom Brady seem to be able to keep people in line. 

The Steelers will look to avoid the post-Super Bowl letdown that they have suffered after each of their last appearances in the NFL Championship game.  After Super Bowls XL and XLIII, the Steelers went a combined 17-15 and missed the playoff both years.  Hopefully, this year some younger players like Maurkice Pouncey and Cameron Heyward will be able to blend with veterans like Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger to achieve a winning season. 

Another team everyone is talking about is Pennsylvania’s other team-the Philadelphia Eagles.  They added some huge names like Steve Smith, Cullen Jenkins, Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Vince Young in free agency and trades.  These new players along with the exciting Michael Vick have some analysts calling them a ‘Dream Team’. 

My predictions for this year are:

Playoff Teams:

AFC: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets (WC) and Baltimore Ravens (WC)

NFC: Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears (WC) and New Orleans Saints (WC)

Super Bowl- New England over Philadelphia

Batburgh: The Dark Knight Rises rolls into town

I work at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main in Oakland. Right outside of our great old library is an area called “The Bosque.” It’s the area full of London Plane Trees between the library/museum buildings and Schenley Plaza. The bosque is full of picnic tables and features a fountain by great American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Most days you can find library employees, patrons, and others hanging around out there eating lunch or grabbing a little sunshine.

But right now the bosque is covered with tents full of extras and crew for Christopher Nolan‘s third and final Batman film The Dark Knight Rises! For two weeks, sweltering Summer-time Pittsburgh will be transformed into chilly, Winter-time Gotham City, and I’m pretty excited about it. Just now, I came back from lunch and walked up the street along with a bunch of movie cast and crew. There were a ton of Gotham City Police and a whole bunch of punk thugs, pierced, bedraggled, and carrying Kalashnikov rifles and various kinds of improvised weapons. Totally cool.

They were on their way up to 5th avenue for more shooting at the Mellon Institute building, which is doubling as Gotham’s City Hall for Dark Knight Rises. Last week, fans caught some intense footage of Batman fighting the films villain, the hulking Bane!

It might look like violent chaos to the untrained eye, but we know it’s Hollywood movie magic, featuring The Caped Crusader–easily the coolest superhero around.

This Saturday, my friends and I will be taking part in the filming of a giant scene at Heinz Field. The script is so hush-hush that we don’t know exactly what will happen, but I expect the Gotham Rogues football game we’re supposed to be seeing is going to be interrupted by some baddies. Hopefully The Dark Knight himself will show up and save the good people of Gotham. Pittsburgh & Batman, a great combination!

Have you seen any cool Batman-related stuff around town? Post a comment and let us know.

To put you in a Batman kind of mood, here are some Bat-recommendations, all available at the library, of course (just click on the item and order it online!):

Batman R.I.P. by Grant Morrison–(Originally published as Batman 676-683) The Dark Knight finds himself at the hands of the diabolical Black Glove in this intense chapter of the Batman story. Batman buried alive? Check. The Dark Knight poisoned and driven nearly nuts? Check. After this one, Bruce Wayne had to go away for a while (it’s that serious!). If you like your Batman gritty and fantastical, you’ll love Morrison’s take on the character. (This is also the conclusion to Morrison’s first act with The Bat, so do yourself a favor and read Batman & Son and Batman: The Black Glove first.)

Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison–(Originally published as Batman and Robin 1-6) After Bruce disappears (I would explain how and where he goes, but you wouldn’t believe me) the original Robin, Dick Grayson reluctantly takes over with Bruce’s petulant assasin-trained son Damian as the new Robin. It’s totally wild! Morrison himself described Batman & Robin as a combination of Twin Peaks and the 1960s Batman TV show. Pretty apt, really. Very cool to see how a different personality works behind the cape and cowl (check out his posture on that cover–really neat).

Batman: Knightfall by Doug Moench–In the early 90s Batman nearly met his match when Bane stepped onto the scene. A Mexican strong-man with brains to match his bulk, Bane wanted nothing more than to test himself against Batman. This story arc hasn’t been republished in a while, but we still have some copies. (Expect them to repackage this whole thing as the movie release date nears.) A modern classic for anyone from my generation featuring Azrael’s Batsuit (which I thought was very very cool at the time).

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller–The story of The Bat’s first year fighting crime. Written in the 80s (the peak of the “comics should be gritty and more realistic!” phase), Frank Miller found just the right way to bring out the realism, dedication, and street-level fun of Batman. All of the best movie versions of Batman cite this comic as an inspiration, and rightly so. (Also see his classic The Dark Knight.)

 

- Corey, CLP-Main

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