How Has Covid Changed The Sporting World

Three focuses of my blog are Athletics/Sports, Business/Entrepreneurship and Current Events. The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Crisis/Pandemic has exerted a lot of changes on our world. One aspect which has been particularly affected is the sporting world, and it’s yet to be determined if it will recover. The following contributed post is entitled, How Has Covid Changed The Sporting World.

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COVID-19 has triggered an unprecedented hit on the world. Some businesses have been forced to close their doors while entire countries have been impacted by deep recessions. Everyone is struggling with how to keep things as normal as possible and the reality is that this may no longer be an option. Instead, we might be forced to adapt to a new normal and whatever that entails. This is certainly true for the sporting industry which has been dealt with massive blows due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s worth exploring the impact the virus has had on the sporting world and the potential solutions of tomorrow.

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Keeping Things Safe

The first challenge faced by the sporting world is continuing to operate while keeping everyone safe. By everyone, this includes the players and the spectators or viewers. So, let’s start with the viewers. Currently, the primary mindset is that there shouldn’t be any spectators. Instead, sporting events are using and relying on virtual crowds to provide the cheers and energy of a typical game or match. Spectators are not permitted to be in the stadiums or arenas and this does make a lot of sense. After all, it’s difficult to maintain social distancing measures in an arena filled with thousands of people.

This puts the players in danger too. Speaking of the players, certain leagues have taken drastic measures to protect the wellbeing of their teams while allowing them to continue to play. This has been necessary in the case of contact sports like basketball. Indeed, the NBA is currently operating in a bubble and using an arena to play matches in Disney World Orlando. This might seem odd however it’s working quite well. Players stay at the Disney hotel, get shuttles over to matches, and keep separate from everyone else. Disney even manages to generate a solid revenue which the company desperately needs as they fight their own COVID-19 battle in the trenches.

There is also controversy as some leagues including the NBA have managed to gain access to fast testing kits before other communities. The official response to this was that the NBA is a business and therefore can pay the premium to gain tests for its employees. It’s easy to forget this but at its center, the sports world is a business machine or rather multiple business machines. So, perhaps it’s worth exploring how COVID-19 has impacted revenue.

Recovering Losses

The sports industry is estimated to be worth more than $471bn. This number has been climbing steadily for a number of years. It’s worth noting that there are numerous sections of the industry including broadcasting, sponsorships, and advertising as well as match day revenue. It’s also worth noting that every aspect of this industry, every piece of the puzzle has been hit by COVID-19.

So one of the biggest issues right now is the lack of live entertainment. While there are exceptions, and we’ve already mentioned a couple of these, in most cases live games are simply not happening. So sports businesses have to find new ways to engage and interact with their players. Take bets as an example. Businesses have run virtual events for pundits to bet on instead of actual games. This happened with horse riding in the UK. The good news is that you can now take bets on things like Browns Super Bowl 2021 odds, but things aren’t fully back to normal just yet. There’s still a long way to go.

Some sports broadcasters are currently focusing on showing classic games. This might be enough for some people to continue to pay a subscription but others won’t be convinced that it’s worth their time or their money. However, certain businesses have seen success here. The NFL ensures that every game since 2009 was available for streaming and increased daily signups for their service by 500.

Other broadcasters have been searching for other events to broadcast. This has led to an increased focus on e-sports. It’s a lot easier to run and stream e-sports events remotely and maintain social distancing measures between players. As such, it has been the obvious choice of replacement but it’s nowhere near as popular as typical sports events.

Delays And Cancellations

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Certain sports events have been canceled or postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The action taken seems to differ depending on the country, the type of sport, and the people in charge. For instance, there are some questions surrounding whether the NFL season will be postponed to a later date but there is no confirmation as to whether this will happen right now.

The Olympics has been shifted back an entire year which was the only plausible option. There was no way to run an event like that during a massive international pandemic. For several weeks, it looked as though those in charge would press forward with the plans but this quickly changed as the pandemic grew worse.

National lockdowns have led to the postponement of various sporting events. The premier league in the UK was stopped for numerous weeks before starting up again so that a champion could be named. In other countries like Africa, semi-finals of the African Champion League were postponed indefinitely. The Belgian cup final has also been put on hold and the CONCACAF finals have moved to a later date as well.

Why Is The Sports Industry Crucial?

If you have no interest in sports, then you might be wondering why it’s so important that the sports industry bounces back from this. The reality is that we have already provided the answer to this question. The sports industry has tremendous value and covers a large chunk of the economy. If it goes down, it will have a ripple effect. People will lose jobs, companies will close and the entire entertainment sector will have to shift. Luckily, there is virtually no chance that this is going to happen. While the sporting world has taken a nasty hit, it will bounce back. It will recover.

When Will Things Return To Normal?

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Obviously, a key question that people want to be answered is when are things going to return to normal. When are we going to be able to enjoy sports the way we used to. Unfortunately, the answers are cloudy at best. While we can hope that things are back to normal by 2021, this is unlikely to be the case. Many businesses are preparing for a long haul in terms of the coronavirus with some experts predicting that it could remain a major issue for several years. This will all but certainly be the case if no vaccine is found. Don’t forget, when a vaccine has been found it will still be nearly a full year before it has been administered to the general public. So, we are still quite a way off of a miracle cure.

It seems then that instead of preparing for things to return to normal sports companies and businesses are going to have to learn how to adapt in a variety of different ways. Ultimately, this is going to be the deciding factor that determines whether the sports industry continues to survive in its current form.

Will We Watch Sports Again The Way We Used To?

With a high level of uncertainty floating around when things will return to normal, there’s another question to answer. Will things ever go back to the way they were? Thankfully, the answer is likely to be yes. There’s a lot of fear currently surrounding how the general public is going to react. For instance, cinema owners are concerned that the longer things remain closed, the more accustomed customers will become to simply watching the new movies at home. While the days of the cinema might now be numbered, it’s worth remembering that cinema was already on its way out. Ticket prices were too high and people were finding it easier than ever to get the same type of content at home thanks to resources like Netlfix. However, sports are a whole other type of beast. Sporting events provide a group think that is virtually euphoric when you’re part of a crowd. It’s irresistible and for many completely addictive. That’s why there’s no doubt that once it is safe, people will return to the stadiums to watch their favorite teams play.

For the time being, sports fans will have to settle for enjoying watching games and events in a virtual world. When stadiums do reopen to the public, it will only be a smaller crowd that’s allowed in. There are going to be even more safety measures in place too. However, fans are going to adapt to these changes, and more than that they’ll embrace them. Yes, these changes are likely to be with us for a number of years but it’s nothing new. It’s just like when metal detectors were introduced and bag checks came into force. This is just a different type of threat and the sports industry needs to adapt.

We hope this helps you understand the key ways that COVID has changed the sporting world and why this is so important.

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The Unusual (But Healthy) Relationship Between Combat Sports and Office Work

Three focuses of my blog are Athletics/Sports, Career Discussions and Health/Wellness. There are a number of health drawbacks to office work where you’re sitting most of the day, staring a computer screens and enduring the potential stress from working with other people. A potential way to balance this out is combat sports. The following contributed post is entitled, The Unusual (But Healthy) Relationship Between Combat Sports and Office Work.

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Office workers tend to have a very mundane weekday. They get into the office, sit down for most of the day and work on stressful things from start to finish. While many people have gotten used to this kind of lifestyle, others are still struggling to cope with the boring schedule and tiring work. As such, it’s a good idea to have a hobby that you can look forward to when you get home.

Ideally, it should be able to relieve stress, help you stay active and also train you in other skills. Some people like to play video games, others like to go for a jog and some enjoy cooking. However, of all the hobbies that you could pick up, combat sports are an unusual but surprisingly good pairing for your average office worker.

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Combat sports come with health benefits to counteract office work

While most sports can help you counter the effects of sitting down all day, combat sports can go a step further and actually train you to become more flexible, to lose weight and also improve your muscles. In addition, learning a combat sport can teach you about self-discipline and controlling your emotions, and the techniques you learn can be used to defend yourself. While you should never learn a combat sport for the sake of hurting someone else, it’s perfectly acceptable to use the knowledge to defend you and your loved ones.

It’s also convenient to purchase training equipment. With websites like The Fight Factory, you can easily get your hands on training gear, apparel and even punching bags to keep at home. These at-home workouts are a great way to release some stress and train your body at home without needing to sign up for a gym membership. This means you can get into combat sports and reap the health benefits even if you work at home.

Combat sports can help with mental health concerns

Office environments can quickly wear down your mental health. Even thinking about being stuck in a small cubicle every day can make some people shiver in fear. On top of that, you also have to deal with snide co-workers and a pushy manager. It’s definitely not the kind of environment you want to be in for 7 hours a day. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have a choice and we force ourselves to stay with the job.

As a result of this, our mental health can quickly decline if we don’t find a hobby to anchor ourselves. This is where something like combat sports can actually help out. There’s a strong link between good mental health and combat sports. This is caused by several different factors, such as the feel-good hormone (endorphins) that you release when exercising. This isn’t a short-term impact either, but something that helps lower depression and anxiety over a long period of time. There’s also immediate stress that you can release with explosive physical activity, such as punching a training bag or lifting weights.

Six Ways To Deal With Muscle Soreness

A key focus of my blog is Health/Wellness. If you’re very active in terms of exercise and in some instances competition, you will likely deal with some form of muscle soreness. It’s critical to understand how to manage this soreness so that it doesn’t impact your quality of life, and so that you can continue doing the activities you enjoy. The following contributed post is entitled, Six Ways To Deal With Muscle Soreness.

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Have you ever done an amazing workout and then really regretted it the next day because of DOMS? You’re not alone. DOMS – or delayed onset muscle soreness – is one of the most difficult things to deal with when you are exercising regularly. It can feel awful to put all your effort into exercise only to be in too much agony to even walk the next day. Muscle soreness is the difficult part of exercise, but if you know how to combat it, you can manage your regular day to day activities even after a heavy workout.

You need to remember to warm up and cool down with every workout, but more than that, you should check out these six ways to deal with muscle soreness after working out.

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Invest In a Foam Roller
You can find these anywhere at a low cost, but foam rollers could be the help you need when you’re in pain after a workout. Foam rolling is a good way to recover when you’re in pain after a workout, and it works by compressing and rolling the muscle tissue to move the fluid and help you to heal. Yep, it’s going to hurt, but go slowly and focus on the tight areas of the body.

Go For A Massage
Whether you ask your partner to use a Sports Massage CBD Oil on the achy areas of your body, or you book in a proper sports massage, you can do so well with getting rid of muscle soreness this way. Massage manipulates the muscles and helps you to feel relaxed afterwards, too.

Eat Well
Your muscles tear during a workout, and they require the right nutrients to recover properly. You need to remember that your muscles have to recover, and you can do that when you eat well. Bananas and other proteins and slow-release carbohydrates can be excellent pst-workout choices. You can go for protein shakes, too, if you want something quick and easy.

Embrace Epsom Salts
Epsom salts come with magnesium, which will be absorbed through the skin and reduce the muscle soreness you’re feeling. Everyone loves a hot bath after a workout, and when you add salts, you’ll feel much better.

Get Some Sleep
Sleep is healing, and it’s the most overlooked aspect of healing when you are dealing with muscle soreness. You need to try and have at least 8 hours of sleep a night if you want your muscles to recover properly after a workout.

Hair Of the Dog
We’re not suggesting a drink, but we’re suggesting a workout to recover. Yoga and Pilates offer you the chance to recover your muscles after a heavy workout. If you do it right, you can stretch the muscles and keep them warm. You want to go slowly and not rush too much – this has to be carefully done so you don’t do more damage.

These six tips will help you to get your recovery going properly after you workout – why not try them today?

The Top 5 Pros and Cons of Watching Sporting Events Live

Two of the focuses of my blog are Athletics/Sports and Current Events. Because Covid-19 it’s it’s not possible to watch sports live right now. At some point though, we will get back to a point where we can flock to arenas and venues to see our favorite athletes and teams compete. Which is better? Watching sports live or on TV? The following contributed post is entitled, The Top 5 Pros and Cons of Watching Sporting Events Live.

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Because of Covid-19, the thought of watching a sporting event live might feel like a lifetime away. But it will return in the near future, when it’s safe to do so. And because of this, there’s no reason why you can’t get excited ahead of time for whatever event you’re planning on attending.

So many people love to attend sporting events, whether it be an NBA game, a tennis match or the MLB. Which is why it’s no surprise that the global sports market is sitting at over $400 billion. So what are some of the pros and cons of watching these sporting events live?

The pros…

There are so many plus points of watching a sports event live. Enjoyable no matter what your age, it’s an experience that you’ll remember forever.
Immersed into the atmosphere

When you attend a sporting event live, you’ll be quickly immersed into the atmosphere around you. From the moment you walk through those stadium doors, you’ll be met with a crowd of loyal sports fans, the smell of hot dogs and popcorn and the excitement of seeing your favorite players live.

When you walk into the court itself and find your way to your seats, the energy of the crowd will start to rub off on you, getting you excited for what’s to come. Unlike watching it through live streaming on the TV, you’ll be in the heart of the action instantly.
Part of the game

Following on from the above, instead of being a spectator through a screen, you’ll be part of the game seeing it unfold as you take in the sights and sounds. Whether it’s a college game or a national event, it’s the ultimate experience for any sports fan – and one that you’ll want to experience again and again.

Seeing your favorite players in real life

Seeing your favorite players in real life is incomparable. Only a few feet (or a few hundred feet depending on where you’re sitting) in front of you, you can admire their physicality and sporting skills in person rather than through a screen.

The cons…

There are, however, certain cons that come with watching sports events live. And while these aren’t terrible for everyone, they are important to consider before you look for tickets to the next planned event in the calendar.

The cost

It’s not cheap to go and see sporting events live – especially if they are a big match that’s notoriously popular. Therefore, it simply might not be feasible for everyone. On top of the cost of the match/event itself, you’ll also have to factor in the cost of food and refreshments and whether you will wager on it.

For the latter, even though it can be a quick way of earning money online and there are many sites to choose from (see the best NFL betting sites here), you could end up losing a significant amount of money.

The seats

Not only does the cost of the tickets affect where you can sit in the stadium, but the popularity of the event itself. If you attend a game and find out that you’re sitting right at the back of the stadium, you might not have the same experience that you would have closer to the players. Not only will you have a struggle seeing each detail, but the atmosphere might not be as electrifying.

Final Thoughts

Those are just some of the pros and cons associated with watching sporting events live. At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether you opt to see it in person or in the comfort of your home/a local bar. But no matter how you watch the event, it’s bound to be an incredible experience.

Cycling Might Not Be All That Good For You After All

Two key focus of my blog are Athletics/Sports and Health/Wellness. A common activity/pastime/sport is cycling. It’s thought to be universal activity, one which individuals with certain physical limitations such as hip replacements can safely participate in but it is 100% beneficial for you? The following contributed post is entitled, Cycling Might Not Be All That Good For You After All.

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Cycling is currently undergoing a resurgence in popularity. Everyone wants to hop on a bike, cycle to work, and get healthy, especially when there are significant risks for using public transport.

Public health officials love the idea too. For years, they’ve been pushing cycle lanes and bicycle-to-work incentives to get people riding on two wheels. For them, it’s a solution to the longstanding obesity epidemic. If people cycle to work, they’ll lose weight, get healthy, and reduce the strain on the health system.

Cycling, however, remains a bit of fringe activity. People do it – but not in the numbers required to make much of a dent in motor vehicle use. Plus, it is such a fleeting part of most people’s lives that there are only limited scientific studies on the downsides of the activity. For that reason, there’s barely any pushback that recognizes both the benefits and risks.

And there are risks. We mustn’t forget that.

The Benefits Of Cycling

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Before delving into why you might want to avoid the current cycling craze, let’s be clear on the benefits. We’re not saying that riding a bike is a bad thing, like smoking. It’s just that it isn’t just a list of benefits: there are costs too.

Cycling has all sorts of positive effects on your body. For one, it helps to improve your posture. Riding a bike requires the use of all kinds of core muscles, and it forces you into a particular stance, which enhances the overall balance of your body.

The exercise you do while riding a bike may also increase your level of cardiovascular fitness. The more you ride around, the healthier your heart and lungs become.

There’s also a good deal of evidence that riding a bike reduces your levels of stress more than practically any other form of exercise. There’s something uniquely freeing about the sensation of pedaling with a smooth-riding contraption between your legs. You feel liberated, particularly when you go offroad, something that might reduce blood pressure.

Finally, it may increase muscle mass, especially around the legs and buttocks, thus raising your natural metabolic rate.

Nobody seriously disputes the benefits of cycling – and in a perfect world, there would be only benefits. But in reality, that’s not how it pans out. Cycling has serious drawbacks, and we need to discuss them.

It’s Physically Dangerous

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Cycling is one of the most dangerous things that you can do on the road. You wouldn’t run down the middle of the street with cars passing by on all sides, but that’s essentially what you’re doing when you ride a bike. You’re not in a vehicle, so you have no protection. It’s just your soft, fleshy body, versus metal bodywork.

Per mile traveled, cycling is one of the most dangerous forms of transport, which is why city authorities are so keen to install bike lanes. Bureaucrats know that motorists don’t pay as much attention to cyclists as they should, and that’s when accidents happen.

Cyclists also have a penchant for ignoring the road rules – another thing that gets them into trouble. Jumping red lights or under-taking are tempting when you’re on a bike, and you know you’re not going to get caught. But they also make getting from A to B more dangerous.

Even if you go offroad, there are still serious risks. Mountain biking isn’t a sport known for its low chance of injury. If you come off at speed, you can easily break bones and concuss yourself. Wearing elbow and knee pads can remove some of the chance of serious injury, but not all of it.

The Pollution

Cycling around in city traffic also exposes cyclists to a host of unpleasant fumes from ICE vehicles. Diesel is the worst. It contains tiny particles that damage the lining of the lungs, eventually leading to serious conditions, like cancer. They get in through the nose and mouth and bury themselves in the soft tissue that lines the passageways that lead to the lungs. With enough exposure, cyclists can eventually develop a sore throat and more severe conditions, especially if they spend more than an hour per day in heavy traffic conditions.

Pollution levels are often higher in places where cycling is more important. In China, for instance, officials want to encourage it to prevent cities from being overrun with cars. Therefore, regular folks are going to need assurances that they’re not damaging themselves at the same time.

The Fertility Issues

If you thought that bouncing along on a tiny saddle was a bad idea, you are right. Researchers rethink that the act of riding a bike restricts the arteries that flow to the testicles. Cycling is a significant reason why so many people visit a male infertility doctor. It’s an unseen factor that prevents families from having children.

You might think you can avoid fertility issues by wearing padded shorts and avoiding lycra, but it’s not as simple as that. Vasoconstriction appears to happen regardless of the level of padding, so it’s not just a matter of pressure. There seems to be something about the very act of cycling itself that causes problems.

We tend to forget that bicycles are contraptions, not parts of the natural environment. Operating them, therefore, could be just as much of a risk as anything else. Like so many other machines, they may not perfectly conform to our bodies’ ergonomics, causing problems.

Fertility issues may be just the tip of the iceberg, too. Evidence suggests that cycling regularly can lead to muscle imbalances and knee problems, especially if cyclings clip into their pedals.

The Cost

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Cycling might seem like a cheap form of exercise. But the moment you get serious about it, the price rises significantly. If you want to go running, you put on a pair of sneakers and hit the trails. If you’re going to go cycling, you have to spend at least a couple of hundred dollars on a bike, and extra money on helmet and gloves. And that’s just for the basic kit. Serious cycling is much more expensive.

The average mountain bike, for instance, is an extremely sophisticated machine with dozens of moving parts. Brand new, these bikes typically cost thousands of dollars and are top on the list for criminals to steal. They’re highly transportable, and there is no central registry, tracking who owns what. It’s not like cars.

The same applies to road bikes too. Quality cycles in this category are often made of carbon and cost thousands of dollars. Replacing them isn’t easy.

On top of the upfront cost and the risk of theft, you also have ongoing maintenance issues. Serving a car might cost $500 per year. If you buy a top-end bike, you can easily spend that sort of money on your machine as well. It gets expensive.

The Importance Of Dialogue

Cycling is hailed as the preferred mode of transport for the 21st century. It’s green, good for you, and, dare we say it, fun. But people have become so enthused that a serious discussion of the risks is no longer a part of the dialogue.

The truth, though, is that cycling is not as innocuous as checkers. It comes with risks to health, many of which are far higher than driving in a car. Modern society is set up for the motor vehicle. Like it or not, that’s how the world has developed. The pushbike was, until the pandemic, way down the list of most people’s priorities. Some city councils built cycle lanes, but they were often an after-thought and seldom used. The vast majority will always prefer to go around on four wheels. And so getting around frequently requires riding on the road.

Cycling isn’t as accessible as many people imagine, either. First, you have to be physically fit to do it, which many people are not. You also have to have parents who taught you to ride a bike. If you’re an adult who can’t, you either have to learn – which isn’t easy – or forget about it. And, secondly, cycling is more expensive than many people imagine. Bikes might be cheap for policymakers on fat salaries. Still, they’re far dearer for the average person looking to make a living.

Therefore, it is critical that we have a sensible dialogue about cycling as a form of transportation. If it really were as good as people imagine, then we would all be doing it, but we’re not. Many of us use our cars at the first opportunity, even if it’s just to go down the street to pick up some groceries from the store.

We have to question; why? Is it just laziness? Or does cycling come with some serious risks? Do people avoid it for good reasons? Imagine if the government was pushing motorcycling, which is as dangerous as riding a pushbike per mile traveled. There would be an uproar. It would be irresponsible. But for some reason, the same rules don’t apply to bikes. Perhaps that needs to change?

A Quick Introduction To Pickleball – The Sport Growing In Popularity Across The U.S.

A key focus of my blog is Athletics/Sports. Many people don’t know about the sport of Pickleball which is gaining popularity across the United States. The following contributed post is entitled, A Quick Introduction To Pickleball – The Sport Growing In Popularity Across The U.S.

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What is pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport that incorporates elements of tennis, badminton, ping-pong, and squash. Played both indoors and outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net, the game can be played as singles or doubles by people of all ages and abilities. Invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island by three fathers whose children were bored with their usual games, Pickleball has since evolved from a home-made game to a national and international sport, played by more than 2.5 million people in the U.S alone.

How is pickleball played?

Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles and has a very simple set of rules.

1. The ball must always be served diagonally across the net.

2. Players on both sides must let the ball bounce once before volleys are allowed.

3. Volleys cannot be played from the ‘no volley zone’ which occupies seven feet each side of the net to avoid spiking

4. The player who is serving will continue to do so until a fault is made by the other player or they make a fault themselves. Then the serve moves to the other player or team.

5. The first person, or side, to score eleven points and to lead by at least two points wins.

Pickleball faults

A team, or player, takes a fault whenever:
A. If they enter or touch the non-volley zone during a serve
B. They hit the ball out of bounds
C. They do not clear the net
D. They volley within the non-volley zone
E. Or the ball is volleyed before one bounce has occurred on each side.

What equipment do you need to play pickleball?

Originally, pickleball was played with simple home-made paddles, however as the sport has grown, this has been replaced with more specialist equipment. To play pickleball, all you need is a pickleball paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle, and a pickleball, which is unique to the sport and is based on the Wiffle ball. Pickleballs come in a variety of colors and differ slightly depending on whether you are playing indoors or outdoors. Ideally, pickleball will be played on a badminton-sized court with a pickleball net, however, theoretically, it can be played on any modified court.

What do you wear when playing pickleball?

Pickleball is a sport accessible to all, and no specialist attire is required. Generally, it is suggested that players wear athletic wear to allow them a full range of motion and wear some style of court shoes with the correct foot support. Although not essential, committed pickleball players often choose to purchase specific pickleball shoes and also store their equipment in the best pickleball bags to make it easier to transport their equipment and clothing to and from the court.

Where to play pickleball!

Pickleball is growing in popularity across the U.S, Canada and into Europe, and is often played in schools as well as by private clubs. If you want to give pickleball a try where you live, then if you live in the U.S then you can use this link to find an official place to play. If you live abroad, then a simple Google search will usually notify you of any local pickleball clubs.

So there you have it – a brief introduction to the world of pickleball. Have you ever played? maybe it’s a new hobby to try this year?

5 Items That Every Serious Angler Should Add To Their Fishing Arsenal

Two key focuses of my blog are Athletics and Sports and Health/Wellness. A very popular sport that people participate in for both competition and for relaxation is fishing. If you’re going to go fishing, it’s critical to have the proper equipment. The following contributed post is entitled, 5 Items That Every Serious Angler Should Add To Their Fishing Arsenal.

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Fishing can be enjoyed by anybody of any experience level. When you are serious about your angling endeavors, though, you should go the extra mile to get better results and boost your enjoyment. A few simple purchases can make all the difference.

When done well, fishing is great for your health. Here’s how to ensure that your next adventure is the one you love most.

1| Quality Reels

All items within your fishing setup are important. Still, nothing matches the significance of your reel. A premium reel, such as a KastKing Royale Legend, prevents casting problems as well as tangles and snapped lines during battles. Conversely, a bad reel will leave you spending a large percentage of your time will be spent fixing faults and setting up new tackle. If there’s only one item where paying a little extra will serve you well for years to come, this is it.

2| A Suitable Watch

One of the great things about fishing is that you can switch off from the world of social media and emails. While the hours can pass you by in the blink of an eye, you don’t want to lose track of the time. This is especially true when entering timed competitions or you want to try out several bays during a session. A diving watch is the best option as they can withstand extreme weather, water, and low light conditions. Compared to checking a smartphone, it’s a far easier way to monitor the length of a battle.

3| Footwear

Whether you’re freshwater fishing or sea fishing, your feet will get wet. At least, they will if you are serious about getting the best haul. The right choice of waterproof waders will provide a solid platform. However, some moisture is likely to find its way into your footwear, even when combined with a fishing wetsuit. Therefore, thicker socks are ideal. Otherwise, the damp can cause a lot of discomfort and cause chills. Even with the right facilities, a towel and spare socks are priceless.

4| Fish Finder

Not all fishing trips can be as productive as others. Nonetheless, you do not want to limit your hopes of success before you’ve even started. A GPS fish finder gives you the chance to scout out the most densely populated areas of the lake, stream, or body of water. Aside from actually providing an edge, it gives you a motivational boost. After all, nothing cripples your enthusiasm like a slow start and doubts as to whether any fish are around. This simple device removes those concerns entirely.

5| Underwater Camera

Fishing is a great way to get away from the stresses of modern life. Still, you may wish to capture the moments either for personal or commercial reasons. An underwater camera that allows you to shoot film, as well as still images, enables you to gain a whole new perspective. Whether it’s to impress friends or share your adventures online isn’t overly important. It’s probably not a gadget that’s needed for casual anglers. But anyone that wants to record their experiences or study their skills should take note.

5 Reasons Fishing Is The Best Hobby For Your Health

Two key focuses of my blog are Athletics/Sports and Health/Wellness. Humans have been fishing all throughout history. While its an industry and a sport, it’s also a therapeutic activity. If you’re looking for an activity that’s good for your well-being, fishing is something you ought to consider. The following contributed post is entitled, 5 Reasons Fishing Is The Best Hobby For Your Health.

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There’s nothing like a new hobby to challenge your body and mind. Perhaps you haven’t ticked many items of your new year’s resolution list yet, but thankfully there’s still time. Maybe you’ve considered a few hobby options, and haven’t made a decision? Well, fishing is a great hobby to improve your health. There are many benefits to grabbing your fishing gear and heading to the waters!

1 . Great exercise

Fishing is an excellent form of exercise; you’ll give both your lungs a heart a nice bit of stimulation, plus work those muscles when you’re casting and reeling! Of course there are many different types of fishing, and some are more active than others. Fly fishing is usually done from a drift boat, however some adventurous fly fishers like to wade into the water. When you’re knee-deep in the water, standing strong and throwing the rod, you’ll be working your core!

2. Learn new skills

When it comes to fishing, there’s so much to learn, from the types of equipment and sustainable fishing practices to the best forms of bait. If you choose to try deep sea charter fishing, you’ll get to learn about the different fish you’ll catch (depending on the time of year). With this info, you can schedule your trip whether you’re looking for Yellowfin or Snapper! A fishing charter trip can be a real once in a lifetime experience, whether you’re a novice or a professional.

3. The great outdoors

Many studies indicate that the great outdoors boosts our health, whether it’s swimming in the ocean, hiking in the forest, or a fun-filled fishing trip! In our modern society, many of us have lost our connection with the natural world. We go from our offices to our TVs and forget about the joy of the outdoors. When you take up fishing, you’ll get out in the fresh air and help your body to raise it’s endorphin levels. Being out in the sun helps you to get enough vitamin D which is essential for a healthy immune system. For a fast way to boost your wellness levels, fishing is the key!

It certainly helps to live near a location where you can fish such as a lake or a river. Since many of the best fishing spots are out in the wild, some people combine their fishing trips with hunting as well. It’s a similar hobby that uses some of the same skills, such as understanding your surroundings and setting up the ideal conditions to successfully catch an animal.

4. A social hobby

One of the best things about fishing is that it’s a really social hobby. A fishing trip with family or friends is excellent fun, or you might like to go to a local fishing club. At a fishing club, you’ll get yourself some fishing buddies plus gain some great fishing tips. A fishing trip with friends is a great way to find new camping spots across the country and explore the countryside.

5. Improved concentration

Fishing requires a lot of concentration, and so within just a few weeks, you’ll see your concentration levels improve. As we age, it’s important to do activities which boost our cognitive health, and fishing is undoubtedly one of them!

Check out sites like Facebook or Meetup to see if you can find a local fishing club in your area. When you are starting out it really helps to have some connections and like-minded hobbyists.

Damien Foster discusses playing basketball beyond Buffalo Traditional and the Yale Cup

“I think playing in Buffalo alone prepares you for the world, if you’re lucky enough to be able to grow up in the City of Buffalo!”

This interview is the second part of my interview with Buffalo basketball legend Damien Foster, the other half of the Buffalo Traditional dynamic duo from the 1990s. In part one we discussed his background, and the run he and his teammates went on at Buffalo Traditional High School in the early- to- mid 1990s in Western New York’s city league, the ‘Yale Cup’ and in postseason play. In part two we discussed his basketball career after Buffalo Traditional at the college level. The pictures in this post were shared courtesy of Damien himself and from an archive of Section V and Section VI basketball assembled over the years from issues of the Buffalo News and the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle by my first Coach at Hutch-Tech High School, Dr. Ken Jones.

Anwar Dunbar: So pretty much after your freshman year, you guys had ‘bullseyes’ on your backs (no pun intended). Everyone was looking for Buffalo Traditional, but were there teams you guys looked forward to playing? I know there was a ‘thriller’ against Bennett High School in your junior year. Adrian Baugh (pictured below in blue) posts about that sometimes on Facebook. Did you have that game circled? I know Bennett was supposed to be pretty good that year with players like Mike Carter and Monty Montgomery.

Damien Foster: Well, in our junior year we lost to those guys. I think we took them for granted. I have that tape and I watch that game. I watch a lot of the games. I’ve got all the games starting from my freshman year. We really weren’t focused on that game and we really didn’t have a game plan, so we really didn’t know what to expect. We knew they were good, but we felt like we were going to go in, beat them and take care of business. When the ball went up, those guys were focused! Mike Carter was focused! The infamous ‘spin move’ – everyone kept saying he was spinning to the hole. Mike was a big guy! He was a football player so once he got you on his hip, it was hard to contain him. So that game caught us off guard and it really sparked the rivalry between us and Bennett.

Losing that game in front of all those people – I want to say that there were 5,000 to 6,000 people at Erie Community College’s (ECC) gym at the time, it was very embarrassing. Those guys rubbed it in our faces, and it was one of those things like where you say, ‘Wow.’ They definitely had a bullseye on our calendar for next year. I was absolutely looking forward to that game and I couldn’t wait for it in my senior year. You could tell the difference between our junior and senior year – the focus was just so different. We were locked in my senior year. There was no way they were going to beat us again. Some of their players didn’t care for me – Monty Montgomery didn’t care for me. I didn’t care for him and that was a rivalry. It was what it was, but yes, that game for sure.

I looked forward to playing against Jeremiah Wilkes and Burgard High School (pictured). I also looked forward to playing against Kensington High School, which had Kilroy Jackson and Edmund Battle. You couldn’t just go into Kensington and be soft. Edmund Battle and those guys would talk crap to you and try to intimidate you. Me? I liked it because it got me going and those were the games I looked forward to playing – the big games against guys who talked crap – guys who thought they were tough. It was definitely Kensington, Burgard and Bennett. Those were the teams.

AD: Now, I might not put this in print, but did you and Monty have some kind of run in at a summer league?

DF: No. Monty moved here from California and he was on his California ‘swag’. He talked about how he was going to do this and do that. He looked at us like, ‘Who are these guys?’ I’m looking at him saying, ‘Numbers don’t lie!’ And there were some words that were said over the summer when he first got here. And then when they won the game in my junior year, they really ran with it so that’s kind of what got the fire underneath me for my team.

AD: Well they had a bit of a ‘reckoning’ when postseason play started because they got disqualified in the Class B bracket, while you guys went on to Glens Falls and then back again. Anyway, your best game, was it the final game where you got the MVP or was it something else?

DF: For me I would say it was the state championship final game in my senior year. My shooting percentage was pretty high. I scored more points in other games, but it was just more so the timing of when the points came because it was the state championship. I won the “Most Valuable Player Award” and that was huge.

AD: I also asked Jason this. I asked him about the last shot of games, and he said it was never a concern because your team were usually so far ahead of your opponents (laughing). In terms of the volume of shots, were you always able to find a balance?

DF: You’ve got two ‘A-type’ personalities, two ‘alpha-dogs’ out there – of course you’re going to bump heads a little bit. Me and Jay (pictured with Damien), we were close, so we knew how to work through it. It was never a concern about who would take the last shot because we were both comfortable with whoever shot the ball. If one of us ‘squared up’, both of us had a good chance of the shot going in. We both had great shots, so for me, I never had a problem with him taking the last shot and he never had a problem with me taking the last shot. It was more like just make it and get the win.

Our chemistry was always natural from our playing together at the Boys Club, learning the game together and coming up together. We were cut from the same cloth. Teammates are going to argue. You’re brothers and you’re around each other all the time – the locker room, practice, school. When we were on the court it was a family and it was all about taking care of business.

AD: Of your four years, was one your favorite or did you enjoy them all together?

DF: I enjoyed all four years, but my senior year was my favorite because we won everything. We won the Yale Cup, the states and the federation. It was just a great year. There was a lot of winning and when you’re winning, everybody is happy. You’re being remembered, you’re writing your legacy and you’re winning at the same time. It was my best year, but then you hate for it to come to an end because you know it’s your last year. The years go by so fast.

AD: With your team coming in together, was Jason your closest teammate? Or were you tight with some of the other guys?

DF: LaVar Frasier and I were close, and Damaon White and I were also close. Jason and I came up in the Boys Club and didn’t live too far from each other. I was probably closest with those two guys in my senior year, but again me and LaVar Frasier were close and are still close today (seated to the right below with Jimmy Birden and Adrian Baugh). We talk all the time.

AD: Was there anything you saw during your four years that surprised you? I know one of your teammates got murdered in your freshman year, Cameron Calvin.

DF: That was huge. We’d just won the Wilson Tournament. The bus dropped us off at the school and everyone went their own way. Some parents picked up teammates, while some guys caught the bus. I just remember getting a phone call the next morning from one of my teammates saying, ‘Man did you hear about what happened to Cameron?’ I said, ‘Cameron? Last night?’ They said he got shot and murdered and I couldn’t believe it. I felt like no way.

We were just playing together and it kind of haunted me. Growing up on the eastside you hear stories, but I’ve never experienced it with someone so close to me getting murdered like that. So that was very detrimental to the team and we rallied together and around his parents, his brother and sister. And we all wore No. 41 armbands in remembrance of him. We wore the black bands and with the black socks and we tried to mimic Michigan’s “Fab Five” back in the day. Everybody was doing it. That brought us together even more and we really became family when that happened.

AD: Yes, that was right before you guys played us (laughing). Academics kept a lot of Yale Cup players from playing beyond high school. What kind of student were you when you were at Buffalo Traditional?

DF: I was a B+ student. My grades were pretty good because it was instilled in me early on what a ‘student-athlete’ is supposed to be. My parents didn’t play with my grades. I was just inspired to play the great game of basketball. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to play if my grades slipped, just knowing that alone made me work even harder in the classroom. There was no way I wasn’t going to be eligible to play the game knowing what I had to do to set records. So, I never had a problem with school. I liked going to school.

AD: When did the colleges start recruiting you?

DF: The colleges started recruiting me my sophomore year.

AD: Wow.

DF: I started getting letters every day. It was pretty much from every school and conference in the country except for Duke. Those letters started coming in like crazy. A lot of that had to do with the fact that we were so active during the summer.

AD: Well, that was also before social media. Was that before or after you guys started playing big-time AAU or was it just word of mouth?

DF: It was after the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) stuff because you must remember that we started it after my freshman year. We were in France competing with their professional teams. We beat two of their pro teams, so every summer that was the regimen, AAU basketball and we were traveling. Mickey Walker was our Head Coach out of Syracuse, and it was called the “USDBL” which stood for the “Upstate Developmental Basketball League”. That was huge. Just being at the ABCD Camp, you’re playing in front of head coaches. Everybody was going to the Nike Camp, but ABCD was where it was at. You had all the head coaches in the stands and you’re playing against hundreds of other kids. That clearly helped with all the college recruiting and the letters, just getting your name out there and competing.

Don’t get me wrong. Here you’re doing good in the city, but you’ve got to play AAU ball. And like you said there was no Facebook, none of that internet stuff. This was real stuff. You had to be who you said you were (laughing)! You had to go out and prove yourself, drop some numbers and beat somebody.

AD: You initially went to Boston College, right?

DF: Yes, I signed my letter of intent for Boston College in 1996. We had a great team in my freshman year, and we won the Big East Championship.

AD: So, you were playing under Head Coach, Jim O’Brien. I’d gotten one of the Athlon Big East preseason books that year and remember seeing your picture. You were on the team with Danya Abrams right? – Keenan Jordan and those guys. Was James ‘Scoonie’ Penn on that team too?

DF: Yes, Scoonie Penn was on that team. That was my point guard! That was my boy!

AD: What made you choose Boston College and what did you major in?

DF: I wanted to play in the Big East Conference. Dave Spiller was an assistant at the time on Coach O’ Brien’s staff. He was from Buffalo. I also met Danya Abrams at an AAU tournament. I majored in Communications.

AD: Did you stay at Boston College?

DF: I stayed at Boston College for two years and left after my second year. Jim O’ Brien left after my freshman year and went to Ohio State – he left on bad terms with the university. Danya Abrams, Keenan Jourdan and Stephen Thomas – all those guys were seniors when I was a freshman. We had a lot of seniors on that team, and Coach O’ Brien was trying to bring in some players to get it going. These guys he was trying to bring in were from Boston and were good guards and good players. They passed their SATs and everything, and the school ‘shut them down’. They basically told them that their high school curricula weren’t good enough. That was the second time they did that to O’ Brien’s recruits, so he was fed up with it. To make a long story short, he left the university and sued them. He took Scoonie Penn with him to Ohio State.

AD: Yes, I remember him leaving and Scoonie Penn transferring, but not all the legal stuff.

DF: He asked me if I wanted to go. I didn’t want to go because I played very limited minutes in my freshman year because we had so many seniors. I didn’t want to go and sit out a year. Everyone was leaving and I stayed.

Al Skinner came in from Rhode Island. He played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) with Dr. J and all those guys. When he came in it was so late in the recruiting period. Everyone had signed their recruiting letters. He brought in about four guys who I think were going to Division II schools. There were five of us left from the previous year’s team. Antonio Granger and Dwayne Woodward were getting ready to be seniors and I was in my sophomore year. We also had Kostas Maglos who was from Greece. That five who were there was who started. It was my sophomore year and I remember we were in the Maui Invitational Tournament, because I ran into Duke’s Elton Brand in Hawaii and we talked about that game from my junior year (laughing) (see part one of this interview).

We were getting ready to match up with Arizona which was No. 1 in the country with Mike Bibby at the time. They’d just won the championship. Right before the game was going to start, Al Skinner came up to me and said, ‘Hey I’m going to start Kenny Harley in front of you this game. Just be ready to come off the bench and play!’ It was a last-minute change, so I said, ‘Wow, okay whatever.’ The game came and he never put me in the game at all (laughing). So, then everyone was wondering what was going on with me. You go from starting to not playing at all. I had no explanation and had to figure out what was going on.

From that point on it seemed like this guy just didn’t want to play me. I couldn’t understand it and I had to figure out what was going on. I figured Jim O’ Brien was suing the university and I was caught up in the mix. I was O’ Brien’s youngest recruit and the other guys were getting ready to graduate. I wasn’t Skinner’s recruit – I understand how the game goes. I realized that it was probably time for me to go. I sat down and talked to him after the season and we just weren’t getting anywhere. In terms of transferring, it was between Duquesne and Marquette, the University at Buffalo (UB) and Canisius. UB had just gone into a new conference that year.

The only reason I came home and went to UB was because I needed to get somewhere where I’d play immediately because I’d lost the time. So, I get to UB, sit out my first year and the next year I’m ready to go. I shook the rust off a little bit. I think I had 38 points against Manhattan. That was the game before the big North Carolina game. We had North Carolina at home. And then the same thing happens. There was just a whole bunch of nonsense going on behind the scenes with the team and the coach at the time, Coach Cohane.

AD: Tim Cohane, yes, I remember him.

DF: Some of the guys on the team didn’t like Cohane. He was a military guy and he kept it real. He’d let you know if he liked you or if he didn’t. I respected that about him. If you don’t want to play me, let me know so I can go someplace else. He just had that aura about him and some of the guys on the team didn’t really care for that. Believe it or not we had a talented team at UB. There were a couple of guys from New York City who came down with Coach Rock Eisenberg. He was helping Coach Cohane. Things basically went ‘left’. The players on the team said if Coach Cohane wasn’t fired before the North Carolina game, they weren’t playing. They were going to boycott that game.

AD: Wow.

DF: It was just beyond crazy to me and I didn’t know what was going on. They had an NCAA investigation going on at the time and they were investigating Coach Cohane about being in the gym. In the offseason, coaches are not allowed in the gym. They were trying to get down to the bottom of it regarding players seeing him in the gym. The NCAA sent its investigators to interrogate us. They brought us into these small rooms one by one to see if our stories matched up. I’d never seen Coach Cohane in the gym because I was too busy playing basketball. The other players’ stories didn’t go like that. They were making up stuff saying, ‘Yes, we saw him in the gym!’

There were only three of us who said we didn’t see him in the gym, and the NCAA came back and said, ‘We’re going to give you 24 hours to recant your story because it’s not lining up with the rest of the team! Basically, if you don’t change it, you could lose your scholarship!’ They said we could go to jail. They were really trying to intimidate us and extort information out of us. So, they interviewed me for a second time. I never changed my story and to make a long story short, the players boycotted the game and they ended up firing Coach Cohane before the game. They brought Reggie in right before the North Carolina game. He came in and that was a whole other story. So, I basically went through four college coaches in four years.

AD: Wow.

DF: And it hurt me a little bit.

AD: Well, yes, it hurts most players because you don’t have that continuity, and the new coach has a new way of doing things, and he’s probably going to bring in some of his own players. So, who was the last coach?

DF: Reggie Witherspoon (pictured).

AD: I have one last question about Al Skinner. Was he basically trying to ‘clean house’ and wipe the slate clean?

DF: Basically. He brought in his own players and they were nowhere near my level skill-wise. You have a certain time period where you sign with Division I schools and then you have a time period where you can sign with Division II schools. These guys signed with Division II schools and at the last minute, he brought them with him to Boston College. It was one of those things where some of the players were asking me, ‘Yo. Why are you sitting down? Why are you not playing?’ When you’ve got your teammates asking those questions, something isn’t right. So, I guess it was just a political thing.

He just didn’t want to play me. I just wasn’t his recruit. I didn’t understand it, but I had to understand how that political game was being played. Again, O’ Brien was suing the university and I was his recruit. He was at war with Boston College and I was still there. It was the same thing at UB. Cohane sued UB and the NCAA. We recently lost the lawsuit against the NCAA a few years back. My name is on affidavits and all kinds of crap. What they did to him wasn’t right. It was crazy. I’ve never seen anything like that. The NCAA is an institution and you’re not going to win against them (laughing). I think Jerry Tarkanian, “Tark the Shark” from UNLV, he had a lawsuit against them too. No one wins against them (laughing).

AD: Well, that’s interesting. I never knew all of that happened. I remember Jim O’ Brien going to Ohio State and Scoonie Penn following him to Columbus. And then they had Scoonie Penn and Michael Redd in the backcourt, but I never knew all of that happened and –.

DF: In hindsight, looking back maybe I should’ve left because it would’ve been me, Scoonie Penn and Michael Redd. I thought I was making the right decision by staying and –.

AD: Well, you also think that when you’re going to a school, you’re going to be there for the next four years playing for that particular coach for the entire time and –.

DF: Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s the reason you sign up and that’s why you’re there – because of that coaching staff. You say, ‘I’m here for four years with you guys!’. That’s not always the case. I had four different coaches in four years (laughing). That was crazy.

AD: Did you finish at UB?

DF: Yes, I finished at UB.

AD: Did your team ever come close to winning the conference tournament and making the NCAA Tournament?

DF: Not at UB. Like I said, we had a very talented team, and when that coaching change happened that was Reggie’s first run with a Division I school, so he was learning. He was learning how to maneuver and practice, and it just wasn’t there for him at that time. He couldn’t relate to players and players didn’t like him. I’d known Reggie since I was in the seventh grade.

He had an AAU team called ‘Ace’. Ryan Cochrane played on his team and I think Jason played a couple of times with his team. Reggie was a workaholic. He was going to work you, and if you didn’t have that mindset to come to work and be ready to run, you might get a little frustrated. A lot of the players didn’t know that about him, so they didn’t know what they were in for.

They got Cohane out and now they’ve got Reggie, and he’s running them like dogs – even before he introduced himself to them. They didn’t take that too well. It definitely rubbed off on the court in terms of winning. We weren’t on the same page, so we won some games, but no tournaments. When I was at Boston College in the NCAA Tournament, we went out to Utah and lost in the second round. We also went to the Big East Championship in my freshman year – I’ve got a championship ring from that. But Reggie literally went from coaching at ECC to coaching us at UB in the North Carolina game.

AD: Wow.

DF: And we were beating North Carolina. We were winning in the first half.

AD: Who was on that team?

DF: In addition to me, we had Lou Campbell, Theory Harris, Davis Lawrence, Maliso Libomi, who was from France and we had Nikolai Alexeev and Alexei Vasiliev (our point guard) who were from Russia. We had a talented team. We could’ve beaten North Carolina. Reggie decided to play everybody on the bench down to the last man. The rotation just wasn’t there. Again, you’re not coaching at ECC anymore, you’re coaching at a Division I school. I was blown away by some of the stuff that I saw, but it was a learning experience. If you let it some of it would deter you.

AD: Was that one of Antawn Jamison’s North Carolina teams? Or was that one of Joseph Forte and Brendan Haywood’s team?

DF: We played against Joseph Forte in my senior year. We played them twice.

AD: Was it Ed Cota’s senior season?

DF: Yes, it was Ed Cota’s North Carolina team.

AD: What did you do after college? Did you play any professional basketball like Jason or Tim Winn?

DF: I had a tryout with Cleveland. They told me to come up for free agency camp. I came up. They took too many players in the draft, so they cancelled the camp (laughing). I also got an offer from Israel. I want to say that Trevor Ruffin was over there playing at the time. I got with an agent and signed, and it was just bad over there at the time with the wars and the fighting over the land. I want to say that Trevor was on his way back – I think he was literally at the embassy. I just didn’t feel like the money was worth it – what I was signing for at the time, so I didn’t go over to Israel and I started doing real estate from there.

AD: Damien, it sounds like you guys were relentless with your development. For any youngster who wants to play basketball, what would you tell them?

DF: The game has evolved so much since I played. These guys have got all the tools available to them – a lot of stuff. They have online tutorials, videos – when I was –.

AD: They have trainers like Jason (Rowe).

DF: Yes, they’ve got personal trainers and they’ve got a lot of stuff that’s available to them. My advice to the youth is to just develop a good work habit. Develop great work habits all season and away from the court. Work on your game every day and you’ve just got to push yourself. You’ve got to practice and play when nobody else is. That’s just how it goes. I believe in the old-fashioned road work, so you get up in the morning at 5 am. At 6 am you’re running while the air is thin – you get your laps in. You’re putting up 500 shots a day. At the Boys Club, we would shoot at least 500 a day. You just have to work and build your confidence. Confidence is the key! Basketball is about confidence! Just be relentless and make up your mind about your goals. Set goals and if you work to achieve your goals daily, you’ll be fine. You’ll be good!

AD: You and Jason made it beyond Buffalo Traditional and the Yale Cup. There were a lot of players who didn’t make it though. In terms of facilities and budget, the Yale Cup underfunded and a lot of players didn’t make it to the next level. Do you have any thoughts on the old Yale Cup? You guys won most of the time (laughing), but do you have any thoughts looking back on how the league could’ve been better?

DF: Well, my understanding back in the day is that the Yale Cup didn’t even have the three-point line (laughing). Curtis Aiken (of Bennett) and those guys played when there was no three-point line. You play in some of the gyms in some of these schools and it was like you were playing in a bowling alley –.

AD: Like South Park or Performing Arts (laughing).

DF: With a track above it – yes, South Park. Today it has changed a little bit from that, but the city schools could always use a boost. I hate the fact that they shut Buffalo Traditional down – that’s a whole other thing.

AD: Yes, it’s now Performing Arts.

DF: They’re redoing the gyms in some of the schools. It’s good because our kids need that. They need to have the best stuff. You walk into the suburban schools and they had the best of the best.

AD: Yes, those schools had three large gyms. They had ‘Modified’ teams and Junior Varsity teams at every school, state of the art weight rooms, a track out back. And that’s a testament to how good you guys were to have accomplished what you accomplished without all those things.

DF: Yes, I think it was just coming from where we came from, our backgrounds and just wanting it. We wanted it! I know I did, and I wanted it bad. Just growing up in a single parent home, you want so much for your Mom. It was one of those things where I felt like I was going to do everything. I was going to be the man of the house. I’m going to do everything for my Mom! You deal with what you deal with. You try to make the best out of it, and you try to make it work for you. A lot of our games were played at ECC because of the schools we were going into. Our gym at Buffalo Traditional didn’t have the corner line, and everybody was coming to our games, so they had to be at ECC. You just must push through.

AD: And when those game were at ECC, did they push them to the nighttime?

DF: Yes, they were night games.

AD: That makes a big difference, because most of our games in the Yale Cup were right after school. So, you didn’t have a lot of time to get your head right. In the private and suburban schools, their games were at nighttime. Okay, last question. What did playing at Traditional and in college teach you about life and success?

DF: Ah, man, it’s the perfect parody to life. It teaches you discipline. For me, it taught me that in all your endeavors in life, you must know how to deal with them. You’re going to have to deal with problems in life and just being an athlete, it makes you see things differently. I’ll put it that way. You know how to deal with certain things when life gets hard. Life starts being overbearing or overplaying you, so you sort of have to go ‘back door’. It’s the same thing on the court. Especially playing in Buffalo. I think playing in Buffalo alone prepares you for the world. If you’re lucky enough to be able to grow up in the city of Buffalo –.

AD: Really? I’ve never heard that before (laughing). What do you mean by that?

DF: I think Buffalo gives you the tools to go out into the real world and compete.

AD: Interesting!

DF: You know, it’s just the grime and grit here. Whether it’s the snow, it’s Buffalo. If you can make it here and make a name for yourself, I think you’ll go out in the world and you’re ready! I truly honestly believe that. Buffalo prepares you for everything in the world and you’ll definitely know how to go out and handle yourself. You have no choice. You almost have no choice growing up here. I’m speaking about growing up in the city.

AD: Well, Damien. That’s pretty much all I’ve got. I think I asked Jason this as well, but once you guys got to a certain point, did you focus solely on basketball? No football or other sports?

DF: I was never a two-sport athlete. We talked about football because we played pole to pole. But we talked about it and we didn’t want to get hurt. The basketball season was after football season and we didn’t want to mess that up trying to play football, so that was never my thing. I got asked to play football when I was at Boston College. Matt Hasselback was the quarterback at Boston College at the time and –.

AD: Oh really?

DF: He needed some wide receivers, so he said, ‘Just come out for the team! I need a receiver! You’re tall! You’re fast!’ I’m looking at him and saying, ‘Are you crazy? You want me to play Division I Football?’ If you’re going to do that, you’re going to have to do it from little league (laughing).

AD: That’s right.

DF: That never was my thing. I told Matt that they would tear my little skinny butt up (laughing)! That was interesting. He asked me, but nah, I couldn’t do that.

AD: You said something about being one of the top 50 players in the country, but not ‘All-Western New York’ your junior year. Is that true?

DF: I got an invitation to the ABCD Camp in my junior year. They wrote up an article in the paper saying that I was one of the top 50 juniors in the country (see the caption above). The ABCD Camp was for the top 100 players in the country! I’ve got the letter which Coach Cardinal signed. I’ve still got it in my scrapbook. So, it’s like my junior year I went to ABCD Camp, I was killing the Yale Cup and the numbers were there. I didn’t make the All-Western New York First Team (see picture below). I couldn’t believe it and I said, ‘Wait a minute!’

The rumor was that they couldn’t have an all-black All-Western New York First Team. They weren’t ready for that, so they had to have some white faces on the team. I just didn’t see myself not making the All-Western New York First Team my junior year. I made it in my senior season. But how are you top 50 in the country where you get invited to play with Kobe Bryant and all these guys and you don’t even make the All-Western New York First Team?

AD: Yes, that doesn’t make any sense.

DF: Because if you look at the team my senior year, it’s all-black (laughing). I get it. I totally get though. It’s Buffalo!

AD: What are you doing now?

DF: I’m in real estate on the investment side and I’ve been doing it for the last 12-13 years.

AD: Are you ‘holding’ them or are you flipping them?

DF: I pretty much buy and rent them. I’ll sell if needed, but I’ll buy and rent for the long-term. I sold one last year. I got lucky. I bought when the recession hit so I was able to stack them then. I’m glad that I did because now the Buffalo market is through the roof. My older brother was doing it when I was in high school, so I learned from him and from my other brother in Detroit. That was one of the other reasons I didn’t pursue playing basketball overseas as much. My goal was to get to the NBA. You can make a living playing overseas, but the first house I got paid off for me, so I did that.

To me there’s a fine line in any sport in terms how long you play, and a lot of athletes get caught up chasing it for the rest of their lives. And each athlete is different. It works for some and doesn’t work for others. I didn’t want to be that guy who was chasing it, chasing it, and chasing it and then would have to look around and try to be a regular civilian (laughing). Who is going to hire you at 30 or 40 you know? I saw lots of athletes get caught up that way, and I just never wanted to be that guy. The decision was easy for me, so I just did real estate.

AD: Well, I’ll you what Damien. I’m going to transcribe this, but money is something I’m also passionate about. I write about it and I record videos about in on my YouTube channel, Big Discussions76, so if you would like to come on at some point, I’m sure that a lot of the Buffalo folks around the country would be interested in it. And I think it’s something that our people need to get more involved in, the investing side.

DF: Yes, we need more black ownership. Especially in Buffalo.

AD: Well, Damien, thank you again, and I really appreciate your willingness to talk about your life and playing days. Whether you know it or not, you are royalty, at least as far as I’m concerned. What you guys did at Buffalo Traditional was big and in your successes you touched a lot of lives – not just at Buffalo Traditional, but also for the rest of us at the other schools – seeing that those types of things could be done and giving everyone else something to shoot for. It was something for the entire area to be proud of – to say that you were there, and that you played against Damien Foster and Jason Rowe, and the Buffalo Traditional Bulls.

DF: No problem.

Thank you for taking the time to read this interview. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Jason Rowe discusses Buffalo Traditional Basketball, the Yale Cup and State Tournaments
Niagara Falls basketball legend Time Winn discusses playing in the LaSalle basketball dynasty part one
Niagara Falls basketball legend Carlos Bradberry discusses playing in the LaSalle basketball dynasty part one
Niagara Falls Coaching Legend Pat Monti discusses building, and leading the LaSalle basketball dynasty part one
Lasting lessons basketball taught me: Reflections on three years of basketball camp

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Here’s Why All Sports Professionals Should Hire a Coach

A key focus of my blog is Athletics/Sports. A piece of sports is coaching. Having the right coach can make all the difference in the world in terms of developing, learning your sport and winning and losing. It’s particularly critical at the professional level. The following contributed is entitled, Here’s Why All Sports Professionals Should Hire a Coach.

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As a sporting professional you will already know how much pressure your mind and body is put under every single time you train or compete. Going through all of this alone simply isn’t an option, especially with so much competition around you. Whether you’re prepping for a big tournament or trying to improve your technique, hiring a coach is absolutely fundamental. As a sports pro, you always need to be on your A game and a coach will definitely help you to stay on track. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons that might just sway your decision to hire a coach.

They Will Help You Win

When you hire a coach, you don’t expect to be second best at anything you do. One of the highest priorities of your new sports coach will be to help you win. Whether you’re looking for reputable golf coaches to assist with your technique or you need a boxing coach to put you through your paces, there are coaches for every sport possible.

They Will Support Your Losses

Of course, your coach will push you to win as often as possible but even the greatest athletes lose sometimes. No matter what, your coach will be there for you when you are beaten at the last hurdle. Their job is to stick by you no matter what the outcome. When you fail, they will be able to coach you through mistakes and help you learn from them in the future.

They Will Hold You Accountable

A coach won’t necessarily leave you to get on with your training schedule by yourself. Most coaches come in very useful as they hold you accountable for everything you do. If you have a training session, a health check up or a weigh in, they will be there or they will expect you to tell them the results. You won’t be able to find any loopholes or skip anything important when you have a coach on hand.

They Will Work Through Mental Health Struggles With You

As a sports professional, your mental health will be pushed to the limit every single time you compete. Pushing through those mental blocks is so important and that will be one of your coaches’ main jobs. When you think you can’t do something or have limiting beliefs, they will coach you through these struggles so that you always have full confidence every single time you compete.

With all of this in mind, you will probably want to hire a sports coach right away. You don’t need to take the plunge right away, because you will want to research the best ones in your industry. Make sure you check their credentials and try to meet them in person before you sign any contracts. You need to ensure that their way of working is right for you and your sport. Once you have found the right coach for you, there will be so much improvement in your mental health and your technique too.

Image from Pexels – CC0 Licence