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XXII Olympic Winter Games

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The 2014 Olympic Winter Games are now open in Sochi, Russia!  The slogan for the games is Hot. Cool. Yours. 

The Sochi Mascots are The Polar Bear, The Hare and The Leopard.  The Mascots even have their own Facebook page.  The public got the chance to vote for their favorite mascots in 2011.  The look of the mascots have changed since that time.

2014_Winter_Olympic_Mascots

mascots

Some Fun Facts about the Winter Olympic Games

  • For the XXII Olympic Winter Games there are 98 events in 15 winter sports.  Four of the sports will be played indoors:  Curling, Figure Skating, Speed Skating and Ice Hockey .
  • 3,000 athletes will represent 88 countries.
  • The United States has hosted the Olympic Winter Games four times.  Lake Placid  hosted the games in 1932 and 1980, Squaw Valley hosted in 1960, and Salt Lake City had the honor to host in 2002.

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~Marian

Super Bowl 48!!

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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!!

Your Guide to 2014

Happy New Year!  I hope that you all have a happy, health and awesome 2014.  There are a lot of great things going on this year and I want to give you some of my highlights for this upcoming year.

The first big event to take place is the Winter Olympics, which will start on February 6th and run through February 23rd in Sochi, Russia.  There will be over 2500 athletes participating in 98 events in 15 sports.  Some of the most popular events are ice hockey, snowboarding and ice skating.  Another big sporting event will be the 2014 FIFA World Cup that will take place from June 12th to July 13th in Brazil.  The United States will have a tough time since their group includes Germany and Portugal, two of the top teams in the world.

There will also be some HUGE movies coming out this year.  One that is getting a lot of buzz is Divergent, which is based on the book by Veronica Roth.  It will be released on March 21st.

Another movie that is getting a ton of attention is The Fault in Our StarsBesides being based on the bestselling book by John Green, the movie was also shot in Pittsburgh so that gives you an extra reason to see it when it comes out on June 6th!

There are also a bunch of great new books being released this year.  The 6th book in the Mortal Instruments Series (City of Heavenly Fire) should be coming out in May and Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor is due for release in April.

Those are just some of the big events taking place in this new year.  I hope you all have a fantastic 2014!!

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

Pirates Season preview

Winter is FINALLY over.  So that means that the weather is at last getting nicer and it is time for baseball season!  This should be an interesting year for the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates.  Lat year they almost ended their record streak of 20 losing years in a row, but struggled in the second half and ended up finishing 79-83.  This offseason has seen a few changes, most notably the loss of All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan and the addition of former Yankees catcher Russell Martin and former Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano.

There are some interesting questions this year that will go a long way in determining how well the Pirates do this year.  How will Pedro Alvarez hit?  Will he be the batter who hit 30 home runs or will he be the batter who hit .244 and had 180 strikeouts (second in the National League)?  He will probably be both!  Just like he was last year, but hopefully he can raise his average and cut his strikeouts a bit.

The second big question is when will Gerrit Cole make it to the big leagues, and how will he do when he gets there?  The number 1 overall pick of the 2011 draft had a good spring training, but will start the season with the Triple A Indianapolis Indians.  It is very likely that Cole will be up with the Pirates by the summer and hopefully, he will be the first of many of the young pitching prospects that the team has drafted in the last few years.

America's Best Ballpark

America’s Best Ballpark

Even if the Pirates don’t break .500 this year (and I don’t think they will), you can still enjoy the beautiful PNC Park.  It was just named  America’s Best Ballpark by TripAdvisor.com.  The team just announced some of the new features they will have this year and I am already looking forward to the new Brunch Burger, which is a patty made of beef and ground bacon topped with more bacon!  It also has cheddar cheese and a fried egg and is served on a glazed doughnut!

The Brunch Burger!!

The Brunch Burger!!

March Madness-Shamrock Shake edition

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March is one of my favorite times of year for two reasons.  The first is that Shamrock Shakes are available at McDonalds.  I LOVE Shamrock Shakes!!  The mint, the cream, the deliciousness.  I wish they sold them all year, but March is the only time to get them.

The second reason I love March is that it is time for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, or March Madness.  This is my favorite sports event of the year-even more than the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup Finals.  I love it so much because it is so unpredictable.  A small school like Butler can go to two straight Final Fours and someone that nobody has ever heard of can become a basketball immortal like Bryce Drew did in 1998.

You can vote for the best players and teams in NCAA history right here.  You can also watch some of the greatest moments in tournament history including Christian Laettner’s famous jumper to beat Kentucky in 1992.

This is a weird year for the tournament because usually there are a couple of teams that are head and shoulders over everybody else, but this year that has not been the case.  Kentucky and NC State were ranked in the top 10 when the season began, but they are not even in the top 25 now, while Gonzaga is ranked number 1 for the first time in school history.  Overall, 5 teams have been ranked number one this season.  So it’s been a topsy turvy year this year with no clear cut favorite going into the tournament.  I’m hoping that Gonzaga can pull it off, but if not then I am hoping for lots of excitement and upsets.  Hope you all have a great time watching this year’s tournament (with a Shamrock Shake of course!)

Super Bowl XLVII

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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

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