The Hidden Benefits of Fishing

Fishing is one of the great hobbies that anybody could enjoy and that’s really attractive in various ways. Anybody could enjoy the really peaceful recreation of fishing. In case you are a big fan so you do not say how addictive the fishing hobby could be as well as how content it is when you draw in your big catch.

However, then there’re many other hidden advantages of catching fish that you may be not well-aware of. Fishing is beneficial for your lifestyle and you in various ways, so you need to look at some hidden benefits you are perhaps enjoying without even knowing it actually. Before taking a look at some important benefits below, it is a good idea to prepare your trip with the best fishing kayak in order to get the most of your vacation. Besides, visit this site right here you can get more information the best tandem kayak fishing.

Allard-kayak-fishing-australiaHealth

Going fishing is advantageous to your health in so many ways. There is the fact that you outside also mean that you are taking in not only a larger amount of fresh air but also the sun. This will clearly bring in so many benefits for you in lots of ways.

Then there are psychological advantages of getting lots of quality alone time for your thoughts to run riot and make you feel as much as peaceful without any stresses or pressures – turning your smartphone off and enjoying your surrounding environment incredibly beneficial for the psychological health and your well-being and blood pressure. It is something that lots of us do not do enough with our time.

Then even though there is also the advantage of eating the fish. It is true that you will consume all of the things you capture. Fish are often filled with so many proteins. Besides they’re low in the amount of fat and are really high in important fatty acids that will make them healthy for your skin, your brain, and your joints.

Time

Fishing is really relaxing activity as it does not require the full attention of yours. After you set the lineup, you could then take a seat by your line and just need to wait for your targeted fishing’s bite that means you will have the chance of keeping your attention and your hands-free. This will make your fishing trip a perfect opportunity in order for you to continue reading some of your favorite books that you do not have enough time to read before, or to call your friends and respond your correspondence, to read some morning papers.

If you find difficulty in getting some peaceful moments to yourself, so fishing will be your perfect excuse in order to stay alone with only your thoughts. But in case you prefer to go with your partner or friend so this’s also a good way to have lots of quality time together and to have some catch-up with them.

benefits-of-garlic-fishing

Scenery

  • If you are going fishing so that means you will be going to either select from many scenic locations or enjoying a wonderful view. Ensure that you do not waste this quality time and concentrate on fish – take in the surrounding environment and enjoy the interesting fact that you are somewhere really beautiful.
  • Actually, you could take this chance to chase after the artistic pursuit that can mean painting or sketch the surroundings, or just maybe take some photos of beautiful surrounding views. But in case you are people who need to travel much, then going fish will create a good way for you to experience new destinations and great activities which you will have the chance of enjoying in any nation to get the most of your vacation.

Conversation

When you come across any fellow fishermen, you will find that it is nearly like a certain member of the exclusive club and immediately you will have so many things to catch up and you will learn that you make friends. You will be capable of breaking the silence and have some chats with strangers.

Conclusion

Now you know that going out for fishing will bring you a variety of potential benefits. It is not only advantageous to your both physical and psychological heath, but it also gives so lots of quality time with only your thoughts after the days of hard working. Taking some wonderful photos is also a good idea. So it is wise to enjoy your fishing trip as much as possible.

 

 

High Sierra Appalachian 75 Internal Frame – A good backpack ensures a good travel trip

A good backpack ensures a good travel trip. When you pick the best travel backpack that you can always get a good number of advantages. Therefore, you will always need a particular thing to be answered. In this case, you may in need of a good backpack before you are going to backpack.
High Sierra Appalachian 75
high-sierra-appalachian-75
internal frame pack is a good model of High Sierra brand. The brand always provides the best quality backpacks for hiking (Click Here to read the review), camping and backpacking trip. This is another model that provides versatile adventure design along with rich fabric.

The backpack offers durable backpack that ensures the quality. The frame is lightweight and ensures good performance. The man made materials are very high quality and give you a clear indication of a good trip.

Specifications

Don’t forget to have a look at the specifications and features of a backpack before you research for the positive and negative sides. This is easy to decide about a backpack very easily with the specifications. Therefore, you should wait and have a look at the features to verify that the backpack is okay or not.

  • Measurement: 10.3 x 34 x 14.3 inches
  • Weight: 5.8-pounds
  • This is a 75L backpack
  • Man-made materials are very much good quality to increase durability
  • The top loading compartment helps to carry bedding items very easily
  • Single contoured aluminum frame is used to keep the structure
  • Folded foam in the backpack for good airflow

Advantages

There are so many advantages when you will purchase the backpack. This is a good opportunity to have the backpack because of its features, quality and performance.

First of all, this is a very durable and builds with aluminum frame. Therefore, you will always get a proper structure and shape of the backpack whenever you are traveling throughout the world.

Secondly, this is a 75L backpack along with a good number of compartments. The top loading compartment also offers you to pack bedding for the hiking and camping. As a result, this is very easy to arrange a good trip with friends when you have the backpack.

Thirdly, there is a waterproof backpack for rainy season. Therefore, you will get a built-in water proof packet that you can use in the wet conditions.

Fourthly, the backpack offers removable mp3 pockets that you can also use as pockets for easy access. As a result, this is very easy to keep your mobile phone and other important accessories very easily.

Fifthly, the straps are padded and easy to adjust. Mreoover, the waist belt offers 48 inches for adjusting for anybody people. Therefore, this is a good option to use the belts when you are carrying the backpack.

These are the main advantages of the backpack that can give you a good strike in the travel days.

Disadvantages

This is regarded as a good backpack by most of the users. However, you will notice some problems in the backpack.

The first thing is that this is not a lightweight backpack. This is a 5.8 pounds backpack unloaded that could be a problem. As a result, the weight will increase more when you will pack your things in the backpack.

The rest of the problems are not common in every backpack. Only some of the customers complained about the problems.

First, the stitches of the shoulder straps start to reveal after using for some days.

Second, the aluminum frame is not as durable as they are expecting.

However, these two problems is not a major case because they might happen because of unaware use or any defect on the units only!

FAQs

Question-1: What is the size of the waist belt for adjusting?

Answer: This is a 48-inch adjustable waist belt that you can easily adjustable.

Question-2: What is the actual weight of the backpack when it is fully packed?

Answer: This could be nearly 6 lbs when you will fully pack the backpack.

Question-3: Is there any portable pockets for mp3 player or mobile?

Answer: Yes, you will have a removable pocket formp3 players and quick access items.

Question-4: Does the waist belt have any pocket?

Answer: No, there is no pocket in the waist belt. So, this could be a problem if you are expecting this.

Conclusion

High Sierra Appalachian 75 internal frame pack is a good option for the people who love to hike and camp anywhere. This is a type of backpack that is qualified for long time experience with good packing capacity. The frame is quite durable and ensures you to give easy to adjustable shape. Moreover, the overall features and quality of the backpack is also good. As a result, you can trust on the backpack and made your mind to purchase it for the next trip.

How To Choose a Balance Bike For Your Baby

We all know that cycling is one of the activities interesting and beneficial for children, especially in the development of height. In the market there are so many balance bikes for parents to choose. However, it should be noted that not all the bike helps your baby higher, unless it is really the children’s bicycle and suitable to baby’s height.  You can view the article below to know how to choose a balance bike suitable to your baby and can also learn more about the best balance bike as you like.

1. Ask about the height of the saddle

The height of the saddle is the first feature you need to consider when looking at a balance bike. Before entering a store or visiting a website to purchase the balance bike, you should measure the inseam (the length from the crotch to the bottom of the foot) of your child. For balance bike, minimum height of the saddle must be lower than your child’s inseam from 2.5 to 4 cm. On technical respect, the height of the saddle is the same as the inseam of your child. But when the saddle fall from 2.5 to 4 cm, so it will help your child get on and get off the bike with ease and lessen the trauma than when the saddle is in a higher position.

One more important thing is you need to check the distance from the saddle to the handlebar in such a way that your babies can hold the handlebar comfortably, they needn’t stretch too much as well as bend their arms, it’s very easily tiring. When sitting on the saddle, their foot must be able to touch the ground. Parents can ask the salesman to adjust the saddle’s height or do it themselves to suit the child’s height.

2. View the materials of the saddle

The materials to make the saddle are also plentiful from plastic to imitation leather. Most balance bike has the saddle made of plastic and covered with a vinyl sheet and different layers on a sponge pad. Additionally, there are also hard plastic saddles or wood saddles with gel coated outside in order to fit many types of children clothes.
Plastic saddle
 Imitation leather saddle
 Wood saddle

3. Check the materials and shape of the chassis

The chassis of balance bike are generally made of two types of materials that are wood and metal have a lot of different shapes. The metal bike made of steel and aluminum alloy. The steel chassis is heavy and susceptible to rust when it is struck and children must spend more energy to operate it. Wood bike is friendly with environment but have fewer adjustments than the metal frame. However, parents would rather take the child with them when going to store to ensure that it likes the style of that bike.
Wood chassis
Metal chassis

4. See the weight information

As a general rule, you shouldn’t buy a balance bike heavier up to 30% than the weight of your child. A lightweight bike would be more beneficial because children can carry it lightly and it isn’t cumbersome when storing.

5. Test the wheels

You should choose the wheels with tires instead of rubber wheels. The wheel with tire is very flexible in moving problem on any terrain and absorbs the shock better than rubber wheels.

With a 3 – 4 years old baby, parents should choose to purchase a bike with wheels diameter of 30 cm. For the bicycles for kids from 4 to 6 years old, the diameter of wheel is about 40 cm. Wheel diameter for 6-8 years old and 8-10 years old child is 50 cm – 60 cm.

These are important features for you to have a good balance bike for your child. However, you still need to be aware that the most important thing is to examine the firmness and safety of the chassis, pedals, and wheels…. Biking learning is sometimes inevitable falling and injuries, so please equip your child with a light helmet and protective pads for knees, elbows to keep them safe.

Things To Look Out In a Longboard Before Purchasing

Things to look out in a longboard before purchasing it

Longboard is a popular sport equipment that is used for downhill racing, cruising and for many purposes. You can also use it in your daily life to go to market or nearby places. Longboarding also is a great way to get around at school. The speed of this sports equipment is pretty good which will help you to reach out your destination in a quick time. If you are planning to purchase this useful sports equipment then you must consider the following factors before purchasing it.

sv4 longboard evolutions

Check your ability level

  • There are several models of this equipment which are designed according to the ability level of the users. If you are beginner and you purchase a board designed for professionals, then you will definitely find it difficult to operate and you will give up in a few weeks. So, check out your ability skills and purchase the board according to it, so that you can operate it easily.

Select board according to your riding style

  • There are different board models available which are designed for a specific type of riding styles. If you are planning to buy a board for downhill racing, then you should look out in the downhill longboards and if you have a big bugget, you should choose the best downhill longboard. The boards designed under this category have high speeds and are mainly used by professionals. If you purchase cruising longboards and use it for downhill riding then you will get bored as the cruising boards are quite slow as compared to downhill boards which will spoil your entertainment.

Check out the board shape

  • This sport equipment is available in different shapes and sizes. The shape of the board decides whether it can go in one direction forward or in both directions. Boards with no curves will go in one direction forward only whereas boards with curves can move in both direction forwards. So, it’s important to check out the shape before purchasing any model of this sports equipment.

Never ever neglect the board features

You should never neglect the features of this equipment as its functioning is based on its features only. Let’s have a look at the features to look out in this sport equipment.

Kick tail

  • This helps the board to lift it from one end and is available in every board model. If kick tails are not placed properly then you will not be able to perform any board skill, so do check out this feature before purchasing it.

Wheel cut-outs

  • Wheel cut out prevent wheel bite whenever the board hits the ground. If the wheel cuts are not accurate then the wheels of the board will get damaged quickly. So, carefully examine this feature as wheels are the important elements of a board.

Where to buy this popular sport equipment?

Longboard is easily available in sports shops, online stores. Some manufacturers of this sport equipment also sell this equipment on their websites. Before purchasing any board, visit the manufacturer’s website in order to get the detailed information about it. You will easily find the uses, features of every board in the manufacturer site which will be very helpful in picking up the perfect model.

Mountain Bike Riding Tips

For someone new to mountain biking, it is wise to gather every bit of information that you can find about it so that you’ll know what needs to be done once you get out on the road. You can read more about how to choose the best mountain bikes under 1000 here. It is important for a beginner to follow certain safety rules to guide and protect you in case you face an obstacle or accident. You also need to know the different basic guidelines that every biker must do before riding. There are different tips and tricks that a newbie can learn that can be very useful on certain situation.

Safety measure

Better be safe than sorry as the popular saying goes. That is why it is important for a new biker to observe certain safety rules while biking. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the different things that you can use to protect yourself from harm. Some of the things you should consider on wearing on every ride include:

  • Helmet to protect your head
  • Sunglasses that will protect your eyes and give you clear vision
  • Elbow and knee padding when necessary
  • Proper outfit, lightweight shirt and padded pants

These things are often get taken for granted but it is very important because these items can sometimes safe you from life threatening situation. Besides the gears there’s also some important safety rules that you need to follow every time you ride. The following are the basic safety rules that you must put to heart:

  • Always ride on safe approved trails
  • Know your limits, never go beyond your control
  • Be alert and slow down when you face blind corners
  • Always bring important tools
  • Make detailed plan ahead

If you always follow this guide on every ride you will go, surely you will enjoy riding your bike without facing any possible danger. It is important that you are always prepared on whatever things that might come your way during your ride. It will be a good idea if you split your wallet for necessary accessories and use the best mountain bikes under 500 dollars, click here for more information.

Basic guideline

By now you probably have bought your bike and assuming that you have followed the right rules in buying the right sized bike you are ready to learn the basic guidelines before you can be ready to hit the road. Just follow these tips so that you can enjoy your ride without having to worry about possible accident or trouble that you might face while on terrain.

Going on mountain biking is a life changing kind of activity and you need to prepare yourself because it will surely take a lot from you. Increasing your stamina will help you perform well once you take on a long difficult route. You also need to be fit it is important that you have enough power to sustain your control and speed during your ride. There are some riders that even go as far as changing their whole diet just to maintain their weight and continue to be fit. Training regularly is also a very important factor that you need to do as a biker. This will help you become comfortable with your bike and also it will help you perform better when you are on a difficult bike ride. You need to try out different terrain especially if you are planning on going off road. This will help you know what necessary adjustment you need to do to continue have that control. It is also important that you monitor your speed. If you know just how much you are able to go and still have full control over your bike the better. This will come in handy when you face certain obstacle in your bike run.

Tips and tricks

There are several simple tricks that you can use and have been proven to be very handy in times of facing difficult terrain. It includes bunnyhop, wheelies and stopies. These kind of tricks are just easy to master that is why most of the riders know how to do these tricks. There are also some basic skills that you need to focus on developing as a newbie in mountain biking. This includes:

  • Braking technique in downhill
  • Uphill climbing technique
  • Speed
  • Overcoming obstacle

Once you are comfortable in using your bike it is safe to start learning a few useful tricks. There are instances that you might face certain obstacle that requires you to jump or you need to balance on your bike. If you are comfortable in doing certain tricks you can easily pass those obstacles. If you plan on going to mountain terrain it is important that you develop your skill in taking on uphill and downhill ride. Remember that if you lose control for just a second you might end up with some serious injury that probably would hinder you from riding again. So practice and do the necessary preparation so that you avoid getting injured in the process. Just give time to do it regularly so that you will learn to master these skills in no time.

There are a lot of people who are getting hooked into mountain biking because of all the benefits that this activity that they can get out of doing it. This is a fun way of getting healthy and also a good activity to bond with your friends and love ones. You will enjoy discovering new places in a different perspective. So just continue on practicing and keep on learning from the simple instruction guide that you can find. You can also ask some expert rider you know for advice and tips that can further help you with your ride. It is important that you continue to accept advice and tips from other more experienced riders that you know. They are the perfect person to give you very reliable tips and if possible if you can join their team in one of the ride they will plan. It is easy to learn it you can actually see how it should be done properly. And if it doesn’t work out the first try just continue on and never give up. You will soon enjoy mountain biking like a pro in any kind of terrain that you might face.

Main Tips to Ride Mountain Bikes

One of the best way to learn related to bike is to ride it through mountains that is easy to perform if you are away of riding any bike on mountains. Best mountain bikes under 1000 are considered to be the best one for the beginners to learn and get use to of it. Mountain biking is very much helpful when you want to do something as an outdoor sporting and you go with friends for enjoyment. Also check for the (best mountain bikes under 500).

There are different ways to buy cheap bikes for your work to go and ride on mountains but you must learn the basic tips before going for mountain riding. Let’s discuss some useful tips that will help you to ride bicycle easily on mountains.

  • Tip no 1: Try to purchase brand new bike when going through mountains

Your first duty is to check for the right bike that any beginner must have so that he can easily bike his bike through mountains.  Stolen bike may cause trouble to those who are performing bike for the very first time as it won’t be easy to get through such problems. Brand new bike is also beneficial as it won’t let your bike get destroyed easily as it will be new so it won’t harm you. Learn more tips of the beginners that will guide you to ride bike on through the mountains.

  • Tip no. 2: Keep solid favorites that excites you during biking through mountains

This will differ from company to company and will be of different brands so it will help you to know what should be the best company for you to get the bike off. To learn about few of them is a good choice to know during hiking. Check for the best materials that you need to have when going through the mountains by bike. You should keep an eye on the latest models that are coming of the brand you like or of that you purchased already.  If you keep an eye on the latest models this will help you to know that how any bike is helpful and is used by other bikers

  • Tip no 3: What are the materials and accessories that can easily be replaced and which one can’t?

The beginner must know that what and when he needs to make changes in his bike that is useful for him to make. This is very important for the person or you can say beginner to make that will help you to know more about the parts of your bike.  Try to buy the parts that are cheap in rate and can be purchased easily from the near store. For ideally parts, do check for the websites that will also be helpful for you to get the proper guidance.  Also keep some parts as extra along with you like tire and such tools that you may need in emergency case and that will definitely help you to get benefit if you gets in any trouble during mountain biking.

Try next opportunity and wait for the right thing to come in the market rather than buying expensive products or tools for your bike.  This includes the sets of wheels, drive trains and many such types of equipment.

  • Tip no 4: check out the latest good deal for you that is available

Keep yourself prepared to have the right one for you that can be helpful for you to know about when going through bike riding on mountains. Check for more relevant articles on it that can help you to get more information.

  • Tip no 5: purchase bikes from near store

Always try to purchase your bikes that are near your store and near your home that will help you to go to the store whenever you need changes in your bike or when you are using it to go through the mountains.  Other than that you should keep other accessories along with you like camera so that you can take pictures of relevant views when travel through the mountains.

  • Tip no 6: focus on the classifieds properly

You should try to focus on the classified before going through mountains on bike. In winter the prices reduces and it is easy for you to purchase till that time.

  • Tip no 7: keep your bike neat and clean and tuned well

Always keep your bike maintained and tuned up so that it won’t stop working when you are going through mountains. So the best thing is to keep your bike neat every time. It is very easy for the beginners to check for the major starting tips so that you can learn and easily go on riding through the mountains. These were the easy general tips that every beginner must follow.

The Old Ballgame: Baseball is Increasingly a Thing of The Past

Mr. Smith is a radio commentator, university lecturer, former speechwriter for President Bush, and author of seven books, including the current Windows on the White House and Voices of the Game.

Not long ago America seemed umbilically attached to baseball. Hitting fungoes, citing batting averages, trading a dozen Red Sox playing cards for a dog-eared Mickey Mantle – young males thought of little else.

“In our youth,” recalls NBC’s Bob Costas of the Fifties and early Sixties, “baseball was everything.” By day, my friends and I forged pickup games. At night, we turned to baseball the way a heliotrope turns toward the sun. Traversing the dial, you heard Mel Allen and Curt Gowdy and Lindsey Nelson and Ernie Harwell. Each of these Voices affirmed baseball as the finest game in the land.

The archetypal announcer was Harry Caray. It might be! Sport’s Jackie Gleason. It could be! The man who made “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” half-anthem and half-command. It was! Caray’s banter wafted into small shops and gas stations and gentle back yards. His death last month led millions to weep – for Caray, and his game.

In the Eighties

  • Caray became a patch of folklore on superstation WGN-TV – rasping, “You can’t beat fun at the ol’ ballpark.” This, although fun has largely fled baseball – popularity, too. Today’s kids wear grunge shirts, buy Dennis Rodman jerseys, and seem allergic to baseball’s gentle rhythms. Caray was beloved because he believed in a splendid arcadia – baseball as it once was, and we pray can be again.
  • For Caray, baseball was a way of life, not a diversion. And until about the last decade, most Americans agreed. Like jazz and Broadway, baseball was a peculiarly American institution – so much the quintessence of America that in World War II Japanese soldiers, charging our positions, cried, “To hell with Babe Ruth!” A decade later, Dwight Eisenhower was scorched for missing Opening Day (he had stayed at his retreat in Augusta, Ga., to play golf); as President, he never missed another.
  • “That’s how it was,” Caray told me recently, “and anyone who says otherwise has a lousy memory.” As a small boy, I aped the Yankees’ Bobby Richardson. Others picked Luis Aparicio, a palatine at shortstop, or Ted Williams, John Wayne in baseball woollies. Each October, the World Series became a U.S. town meeting. Classes erupted as Ted Kluszewski homered, or Yogi Berra showed that as a “bad-ball hitter” he could summon good.

Forget the old saw that in spring a young man’s fancy turns to love and baseball. Recall that just a decade ago, according to Gallup, baseball barely trailed the NFL as the nation’s favorite sport. How did it fall so far, so fast?

One cause is organized baseball itself. Many owners are bottom-lining Hessians. Stupidity compounds their greed. The late Edward Bennett Williams owned the baseball Orioles and football Redskins. “What’s dumber than the dumbest football owner?” he’d ask. “The smartest baseball owner.

Pro football markets itself better than Frank Capra did World War II. By contrast, baseball spurns national promotion. In 1990, it killed its sole network grandstand – TV’s Game of the Week. (The revived Game begins when the season is already two months old.) The sport hasn’t had a commissioner since 1992. Its 1994 – 95 strike aborted one season and truncated another, and killed the World Series for the first time since 1904. Moreover, the World Series is now all prime-time. How can kids fall in love with a game if they’re asleep when it’s played?

In a Lou Harris poll in 1964

48 per cent of Americans named baseball their favorite sport. This year, says Gallup, 17 per cent did. From 1954 to the early ’80s, TV Guide hailed each season with a cover preview. In 1993, an inside story asked, “How did the sport become a second-rate TV draw?” In 1994, Sports Illustrated asked kids aged 9 to 12 which sport they preferred reading about. The NBA beat baseball, 57 to 17 per cent. In 1996 and ’97, the World Series’ Nielsen rating was barely half of 1980’s 32.8.

Even Acting Commissioner Bud Selig says: “In the Forties and Fifties, baseball had DiMaggio, Williams, and Jackie Robinson. That kind of dominance by today’s players doesn’t exist.” Baseball has too few stars and not enough young fans. Says the Indians’ Dwight Gooden, noting how NBA sneakers are everywhere: “I don’t see kids walking to school in baseball spikes.

Baseball’s decline also stems from the Nineties’ cesspool culture. The Nineties celebrate taunting and trash-talking. Baseball evokes a Mayberry of picket fences and unlocked homes. The Nineties move to the non-stop cross-cutting of music videos. Baseball is rational and leisurely (imagine – time to think between pitches!). The Nineties disdain history. Baseball prizes tradition and salutes its long-gone heroes.

The late Bart Giamatti called baseball “an unalloyed good.” Conceivably the game could still thrive by touting itself as a sanctuary from our attention-deficit-disordered time. Instead, it tries to mime the age, a foolish, hopeless task.

“Every business has a cardinal rule,” Caray observed. “Don’t be something you’re not.” He knew what kind of baseball worked – real grass, chitchat between pitches, riveting announcers, and parks heavy with individuality. He also knew what kind didn’t work -domes, mascots, and rap music between innings.

“Baseball forgot what made us fall in love with it,” Costas says. Football is weekly, an event. Baseball is daily, a fact of life. Basketball is a greyhound you thrill to. Baseball is a cocker spaniel who steals your heart.

Perhaps we are no longer capable of admiring a game more poetic and cerebral than slam-bang or cutting edge. Caray didn’t think so. Nor did Giamatti, who loved its variety. A student once asked about the NBA. “Young woman,” he replied, “I will not talk about thumpety, thumpety, thumpety, swish!

Recently, Caray was reminiscing about FDR’s edict to keep baseball alive in World War II. “Imagine,” he told me in his whiskied voice. “Hitler couldn’t kill baseball. Tojo couldn’t kill baseball. But baseball” – and perhaps America – “could.”

Geopolykicks

What is the abiding memory of the 1972 Munich Olympics? Nothing that happened on the track or in the swimming pool, but the fatal hostage-taking of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists. What will people associate with the 1994 World Cup in the United States? Alas, perhaps the sound of shots. Not shots at goal by the world’s best soccer players, but the gunshots that killed Andres Escobar outside a nightclub near Medellin, in Colombia.

Superstar

This World Cup, now moving to its climax at the final between Italy and Brazil in Pasadena on July 17th, has had more than the usual share of off-field drama. It was bad enough that God abandoned Diego Maradona, theatrical Argentine superstar of the 1980s, seeking a return to glory after a cocaine scandal; Mr Maradona was expelled from the competition after testing positive for ephedrine, a banned stimulant. But the madness in Medellin made even that seem trivial.

Escobar’s blunder was to have accidentally kicked the ball into his own net, helping his much-fancied Colombia to a 2-1 defeat by the United States and to a surprising first-round exit from the competition. In a World Cup, such mistakes are magnified by the vast amount of national pride–and sometimes gambling money (at least $20m of it in Colombia’s case, on one estimate)–invested in a team’s performance. Mix that with Colombia’s drug-linked culture of violence and you have the makings of atrocity.

The power of football (which is, after English, perhaps the closest thing there is to a world language) translates such events into messages received and understood by hundreds of millions of people. So Colombians, who had hopes of seeing their country’s reputation soar through a World Cup triumph, now see this murderous image etched into minds the world over.

Politicians and businessmen know football’s power, and used the World Cup to sell a wide range of messages. In Haiti anti-sanctions propaganda from the military rulers flashed on screen during match broadcasts. American television marked the competition’s opening kick-off with a picture of a chocolate bar in a corner of the screen and the self-contradictory announcement: “This segment of the game is brought to you commercial-free by Snickers.”

  • As for the balance of power on the soccer field itself, too often cruelly bathed in 90-degree-plus midday heat to suit television schedules, the shifts were small but significant.
  • Attack succeeded in denting the depressing dominance of defence. The number of goals per game at the previous World Cup in Italy four years ago was 2.2, the lowest in the competition’s history.
  • This time the average after the semi-finals was back to 2.7. Firm refereeing helped, including a crackdown on vicious tackles from behind.
  • So did flashes of individual brilliance, such as Oleg Salenko’s record-breaking five goals in one game for Russia against Cameroon and Saeed Owairan’s dance through the Belgian defence to score for Saudi Arabia. But bolder rule changes would be needed to bring back the prolific goal-scoring of the World Cup’s early years.

Geographically, the balance of power moved away from Latin America: Brazil, though in the final, was the only non-European team to get into the last eight. Events also confirmed an emerging strength of soccer outside that old Euro-Latin American stronghold. Nigeria was unlucky to lose to Italy in extra time. Saudi Arabia did well. From Asia, South Korea nearly upset Germany.

The spread of soccer power must surely influence decisions on where to hold future competitions. Europe and the Americas have taken turns to play host so far. France will do it in 1998. But South Korea and Japan are pitching for the privilege in 2002.

Yet this was not to be the year of the big breakthrough for upstart soccer continents. The biggest surprise was that Bulgaria (no wins in five previous world cups) conquered Germany. Otherwise the old powers remained in charge. Nothing illustrates this better than the performance of the host country.

The United States had a team with more flair for hair-styles than goal-scoring (it managed only three goals in four games, and one of those was Escobar’s fateful miskick). But it had a solid defence, and the victory over Colombia sent it into the second round for the first time ever. Enter the dream match: a second-round game against the world’s most charismatic team, Brazil, on America’s national day, July 4th. Hitherto ho-hum Americans started to take an interest. President Bill Clinton telephoned the American players to wish them luck: “My daughter is a big soccer fan, so she’s making sure I understand what I see.” The stage was set for a historic upset.

It was not to be. A clearly superior Brazil won by a single goal – no disgrace to the United States, but an anti-climax. A nation evidently warming to soccer did not progress to full-blown soccer fever. Perhaps Mr Clinton got a sense of the real thing in Italy, where soccer temporarily up-staged the G7 summit.

Still, the television ratings in America were higher than expected. The July 4th game with Brazil was watched by about 32m Americans; a big audience, even if four times as many watch the Super Bowl. The size of the crowds smashed the World Cup record, set in Brazil in 1950, when the average attendance was nearly 61,000. The average in Italy in 1990 was 48,000. The average for the first two rounds this time was over 67,000.

Stamps Capture World Cup Soccer Extravaganzas

The World Cup soccer games are played every four years and the US will host the 1994 games. Countries that have been victorious in previous years issued stamps to commemorate their teams and athletes. One member of the US soccer team believes that soccer will become more popular in the US.

Your average U.S. sports fan probably does not know the names of the soccer players on the U.S. national team – but that is about to change with the countdown to World Cup U.S.A. ’94 heating up. Although soccer is the most-watched sport in the world, it has not yet become a mainstream attraction in the U.S.

From the viewpoint of the countless fans around the world, the World Soccer Federations could not have selected a better venue than the U.S.A., with its excellent hotel accomodations, reliable airlines connecting the 10 World Cup host cities where the 52 games will be played, and a superior telecommunications network.

Speaking on behalf of the U.S. national team, Alexie Lalas predicts a U.S. professional soccer league for 1995. Lalas – athletic, outgoing, a ready smile beaming from behind a neatly trimmed beard and mustache, runs a series of soccer camps for youngsters in the off-season, when he is not playing in the European League. Organized soccer could not have asked for a better role model for the many young boys and girls who play the sport on countless school and club teams throughout the country.

When soccer is played well, it is poetry in motion. “It is very hard to score a goal,” explains Lalas. “That is why fans and players alike erupt in near-frenzied excitement when finally a player drives the ball past the keeper to the back of the net.”

The first two sides to square off at World Cup U.S.A. ’94 will be Germany and Bolivia. Germany, 1990 World Cup champions, will face Bolivia at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 17, 1994. The second game of first-round playoffs on opening day will be contested in Dallas, TX between Spain and South Korea.

Thrilling as World Cup fever is for the two billion worldwide fans who will be watching the various matches on television, the soccer extravaganza comes only once every four years. Stamp collectors, though, can enjoy the excitement of World Cup soccer every time they open their album pages. Past tournaments, and the athletes who make the game come alive, have been commemorated on stamps by postal administrations from around the world.

World Cup Championship

Bulgaria, for example, issued a 13st denomination stamp in recognition of the 1962 World Cup Championship hosted by Chile. A bi-colered stamp, it depicts a player about to strike the ball, super-imposed over a green background that outlines the South American continent on a world globe. Fanatical about soccer, as are most Europeans and much of the world’s population for the matter, Bulgarian fans saw their squad survive the intense 1994 competition on the road to the U.S.A. The team will square off against Nigeria in Dallas on June 21.

  • One country that did not survive the obstacle-strewn road to the World Cup to defend its hard-earned reputation as a legitimate Rimet Cup contender was England. English squads have enjoyed a long string of World Cup glory days on the pitch and, in 1966, Britain issued a set of three stamps to commemorate the final World Cup match at Wembley Stadium.
  • It was a hotly contested game between the favored English and an all-powerful West German team. England prevailed with a final 4 to 2 score; but even today, soccer fans still argue about the British side’s questionable third goal that officials allowed to stand, and how that decision affected the final outcome of the match.

The hype and hoopla associated with the 1994 U.S. extravaganza will do much to advance the cause of soccer. Aimed at capturing the hearts of fans will be the theme song, “Gloryland,” especially written for World Cup U.S.A. ’94.

The catchy tune is expected to attract the imaginations of potential fans who are essential to the success of the professional league predicted by Lalas. If his dream for a viable soccer league by 1995 – which is shared by thousands of U.S. soccer enthusiasts – becomes a reality, American stamp collectors, who until now have had to satisfy their love for the game by leafing through the pages of their albums, will soon be able to join the two billion fans around the world to cheer on their own favorite team. And just perhaps they will see the poetry in motion that is world-class soccer.

Are you PSYCHED for SPORTS?

How sports can help you win at life

When it comes to sports, what goes on in your mind definitely matters a lot. Your mind and your emotions play as essential a role in athletic activities as in other aspects of life. Think of how many emotions sports bring out–happiness, surprise, nervousness, fear, even anger. You feel frustrated when you let down your team and thrilled when you beat your best time. What’s more, the many hours spent practicing and trying to improve take emotional energy.

“Athletics provides an important emotional outlet for young people, especially during the school year when they’re stationary a lot of the time,”-says Harvey Dulberg, a Boston-based sports psychologist. “To enjoy the freedom to run, to work together on a team, to set and reach goals are enormously satisfying.”

He goes on to say that participating in sports helps build confidence and develop leadership skills. “It’s not surprising that the pitcher of the baseball team or captain of the soccer team becomes a leader down the road. They’re the ones who have enough self-confidence to take chances and put themselves out,” says Dulberg. Being a participant in sports also offers the chance to try things you may not have done before and teaches you how to roll with the punches. “There is always another game, another person up at bat,” he says. “You learn not to be so devastated when things don’t work out.”

Preparing for Life

Learning to deal with a range of emotions–everything from triumph to despair–is an important benefit of sports participation. Even uncomfortable feelings like anger and frustration are valuable if they help you develop a sense of what your strengths and weaknesses are. There is always going to be someone faster, better, or more skilled than you. The same is true in adult life. Whether you feel elated after a win or sad when others don’t share your victories, knowing how to respond appropriately can help you cope.

Sports serve as a model for life in other ways too. Working with others and putting aside personal goals help you gain interpersonal skills. What’s more, investing time and effort gives you a sense of belonging. Several studies have shown that young people who participate in athletics are less likely to suffer depression and low self-esteem. They may even have better social lives. “You have the chance to develop different kinds of friendships that often last longer than friendships formed outside of sports,” says Dulberg. “It’s almost like going to war together. It forges a common bond.”

Research also shows that athletic activity can help you to be a better student. Skills such as good sportsmanship, self-discipline, and working as part of a team carry over into the classroom and beyond. In sports you learn to take responsibility, to work for a common goal instead of concentrating only on yourself, and, especially, how to keep cool under pressure. Stress and anxiety, after all, are a natural part of all sports. It’s normal to feel excited–even motivated-by the tension and stress of athletics. When excitement becomes fear and nervousness, however, it changes from being a positive motivating force to one that leaves you distracted and prone to mistakes.

Such competitive stress is not limited to sports. It develops in academic, artistic, and other fields too. Still, says Dulberg, the chance to develop a sense of mastery makes going out for athletics worth it. “The fact that you can run faster, jump higher, or shoot baskets is tremendously gratifying. You see that you can accomplish something.” That’s important, especially considering how competitive school, career, and other aspects of our lives can be.

Going Head to Head

Many people view competition as a rivalry between opponents in which someone fails and the other succeeds. But competition that is only about winning and losing misses the point. Instead of comparing yourself to others and making winning your goal, try measuring your successes and failures in terms of yourself. Regardless of where you place in the standings, aim to do your best. In sports, and in life, you will always be your own toughest competitor. “The dedication, commitment, and hard work that goes into swimming laps or lifting weights is no different from the dedication and commitment that goes into being successful in life,” says Dulberg. “Besides, sports are also a whole lot of fun.”

Get Psyched! Here’s how:

  • Look on the bright side. Ban your negative thoughts–“I’m no good,” `I’ll never make it,” `I may as well give up.” Replace them with positive, enthusiastic ones–“I always give my best effort,” “I’m proud of what I’m doing,” “I will be successful.” Negative, pessimistic thoughts sap you of inner strength and program you for failure.
  • Have fun. You’ll naturally feel pumped up and energized.
  • Trust. Your thoughts can get inside your body and tighten your muscles. They can also rob you of your coordination, reflexes, and speed. Try to relax and let things unfold. Don’t think or analyze too much.
  • Concentrate. Catch yourself quickly when your attention starts to drift. Try not to zero in On things like your opponent’s skills, what your parents will think, or whether you’re going to win or lose. Put your efforts into doing your best. Winning will take care of itself.
  • Visualize. Experience success mentally before you test yourself physically. Practice seeing the outcome you want in your mind’s eye.
  • Chill out. Nobody likes to make mistakes, but you can’t learn without them. They make you better, if you listen to them and adjust accordingly. If you find yourself worrying too much about making mistakes, try thinking about something silly. Nutty, goofy thoughts have a weird way of making fear and anger evaporate.
  • Go for it. Call it nerve, heart, or spirit. No matter how tired you are, how lousy the weather, how many hours you’ve already put in, never lose your spunk. Remember, the difference between try and triumph is just oomph!