Thursday, January 31, 2013

Do football fans really examine their consciences about violence in the NFL?

While weighing in on player safety in football, President Barack Obama told the New Republic that gradually reducing violence in the sport will be better for the players and "those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much."

I question how much fans examine their consciences about violence in football, especially the NFL.

They might pause when an especially dangerous hit causes a stoppage in the game while the player is tended to. After that? It's "Next Man Up!" as people in the game like to say.

Fans might be concerned about the injured player the next day, but I believe that's proportional to how important the player is to the success of the fan's favorite team, or a fantasy team.

For example, let's replace the Saints with the Browns in the bounty scandal. Knowing what the penalties are, would the suspensions and fines still be worth it to you if it meant Cleveland winning the Super Bowl?

I think an overwhelming majority of Browns fans would say yes because Cleveland wants a Vince Lombardi Trophy that badly.

But if dangerous hits in the NFL are so important that fans are examining their conscience about what they're watching, wouldn't the answer be no?

A popular angle in this debate is parents like Obama saying they don't know if they'd want their sons to play. But are they going to stop paying for tickets, merchandise or watching games on TV? Of course not, under the reasoning that players knew what they signed up for.

Ravens safety Bernard Pollard's prediction that the NFL won't exist in 30 years won't come true. The NFL will be doing just fine in 2043.

As long as there are more than 10,000 Division I scholarships available, and as long there are 32 NFL teams with $120 million each in player payroll, there will be a talent pool, risks and all.

Maybe one day the money behind those scholarships and salaries won't be there. But it won't be because fans started examining their consciences and stopped watching football or spending money on it as a result of that soul-searching.

- Howard Primer

The place for your question, complaint, comment

Each week, yours truly will write an editor's notebook/column (still thinking of a name for it) with my thoughts concerning just about everything The News-Herald sports department covers, and more.

I would also appreciate hearing from you. If you have a question, complaint or comment about anything pertaining to The News-Herald sports department, email me at:

You can also follow me on Twitter: @MPodo

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The more stats the better when covering a high school hoops game

If you are a reporter, how many pages of stats do you need to write a high school basketball game story?
Five if you are me.
Two if you are my colleagues - John Kampf, Chris Lillstrung or Cory Schuett.
Why do I have so many pages of stats?
Mainly, because I'm paranoid and I don't want to miss a thing.
When I do hoops games, I have two clip boards. On one side, I keep play-by-play with a separate page for each quarter. On the other side, I have one sheet where I keep quarter-by-quarter scoring (for each player), turnovers, rebounds, field goal attempts and free throw attempts.
Yes, I know it's overboard.
No, I'm not going to stop using the same system I've used for 19 years.
If I needed to, I could probably write an entire chapter on a game with all of the information I've collected.
Add in my pages of transcribed quotes and the crazy amount of info is now over seven pages long.
You want to know something about my game? I better have an answer for you.
That's why it's such a joy to cover college and professional hoops games. The stats are actually kept for you. It's an amazing concept. Even play-by-play and fully transcribed notes are often included.
I love it even though I rarely get treated to such a luxury. 
For now, I'll stick with my numerous pages of stats and notes.
Afterall, it's worked for this long.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Super Bowl prop bets list fascinating

It never fails to amaze just how intricate the prop bets are for the Super Bowl.

If you want to lay money down on it, chances are you can.

I found a full list of what are called "exotic bets" here and just could not believe it.

Among the highlights:

Will Alicia Keys be booed during or after for her rendition of the national anthem? (5/1 Yes)

What will be the predominant color of Beyonce's top at the start of the halftime show? (A black top is the favorite at 9/4)

What color will the liquid be that's dumped on the winning coach? (Clear is 7/4, with orange and yellow each at 5/2)

There's also apparently combination bets, such as golfers' scores and combined goal totals for English Premier League teams.

Obviously, anything actually involving the game can be wagered upon as well.

These exotic bets, though, are fascinating.

I say Beyonce should throw a curve ball, mess with the oddsmakers and wear a top that's such an obscure color no one wins any money on it.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Warren JFK coach deserves credit for stepping up to challenge

So you think you had a rough weekend?
Try being Warren JFK coach Shawn Pompelia.
Pompelia's team got blasted by Villa Angela-St. Joseph by 50 on Friday, then voluntarily stepped into the line of fire on Saturday to get clubbed by Richmond Heights, 74-59, in the Dunk 4 Diabetes Shootout at Walsh University.
Despite being throttled by two of the top Division IV teams in Ohio, Pompelia said his program was for the better.
"Think of it. In less than 24 hours, we played the Number 2 team in the state (VASJ) and the Number 8 team in the state (Richmond Heights)," Pompelia said. "We are a D-4 school, so this is an experience and opportunity we are thankful for."
Kudos should be given to Pompelia for stepping to the plate on Saturday. When Gateway, Pa., backed out of the Dunk 4 Diabetes because of weather/travel concerns, Richmond Heights was temporarily left without an opponent for their 12:30 p.m. tipoff.
Enter VASJ coach Babe Kwasniak whose team was in Warren Friday night to play the Eagles.
"Babe called me (when) I was driving to the school," Pompelia said. "The JVs were 10 minutes away from tipoff. He said, 'Can you do me a favor? Can you play in this showcase?'"
Pompelia weighed the options. Not only was his team a few hours from playing VASJ, a game the Eagles lost, 86-36, but he also had a youth tournament going on at his school this weekend.
Pompelia told Kwasniak he would talk with his players, but deep down he already knew the answer.
"I'm like, 'Why wouldn't we play in this. It's a great event,'" Pompelia said. "So I'm trying to call people at 10 o'clock. 'Tell me something about Richmond Heights,' because I knew nothing."
JFK gave Richmond Heights a battle for a while. The final score says it was a 16-point margin, but the Eagles scored six points in the final seconds that made the final margin closer than the game actually was.
But Pompelia and his program deserve credit. In a span of 18 hours, his team got ripped by VASJ by 50, took a long drive from Warren to North Canton on Saturday morning, and then took another lopsided loss.
Granted, JFK had another motive for accepting the late invitation. Should the Eagles advance out of the Warren District, they could play either VASJ or Richmond Heights in a Division IV regional game.
They now have a scouting report on both.
That's a long way down the road, though. For now, Pompelia and his program will take what they learned from the difficult weekend - and also keep an eye on what happens when/if Richmond Heights and VASJ meet in the Garfield Heights District final.
"That's going to be a dynamite district final if they play each other," Pompelia said. "It's going to be a great matchup. Buy your tickets early."

- John Kampf

Friday, January 25, 2013

10 years ago, Mentor took on LeBron James

Jeff Forman/

In a preview story for the Dunk 4 Diabetes Shootout this weekend, Mentor boys basketball coach Bob Krizancic likened the Cardinals’ opponent on Saturday, Huntington (Va.) Prep, to a 2003 trip to James A. Rhodes Arena to take on LeBron James and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

The 2003 matchup against James and Co. comes up from time to time around the office, mainly whenever “Pardon the Interruption” is on. That’s because one of the hosts, Tony Kornheiser, referred to the Cardinals as a “bunch of dopes” the day after the game.

If you’re a regular viewer of “PTI,” you know that when Kornheiser calls someone that, it’s not personal. If anything, it’s kind of cool, like a rite of passage in the sporting world. I’ll bet a lot of high school athletes would love to make it onto “PTI,” even if it’s for being on the wrong end of a 92-56 game, like Mentor was in January 2003.

Current feelings from most Cleveland fans about James aside, that was one of the most historic games to involve an area team. The JAR – the University of Akron’s home arena – was sold out, including about 1,500 Mentor fans.

The Cardinals came in on a six-game winning streak. But like every other school that played the USA Today No. 1 team in the country that season, it didn’t go well.

James, then listed at 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, went for an SVSM-record 50 points before calling it a day 90 seconds into the fourth quarter.

He was 11 of 17 on 3-pointers, with four in the first quarter, two in the second, fourth in the third and one in the fourth.

As is its custom, Mentor pushed and pressed the entire game, which drew praise from Fighting Irish coach Dru Joyce.

“Mentor played hard,” Joyce said. “That is the first team in four years that tried to press us the whole game. That’s their game. I was a little surprised they stayed in it after we kept breaking it, but I give them credit.”

Another sign SVSM was playing on a different level came when James made a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer, which meant free chalupas for everyone in the crowd. What’s more amazing, that a high school team was doing a chalupa giveway, or that the minimum was 85 points? Over the course of a 48-minute NBA game, that would be 128 points.

James’ buzzer-beater gave him 45 points heading into the fourth quarter. He added five more before leaving the game.

“He is definitely the best high school player I have ever seen,” Krizancic said after the game. “Some of those 3-pointers were dribble and fade-back shots that is more of an NBA move. He impressed me. We wanted to keep him outside, but he just kept draining the shots. He really put on a show.”

-- Howard Primer

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Can't wait for "Francona"

Reading Joe Torre's book "The Yankee Years" was interesting because it opened - so to speak - the secret world of a Major League Baseball clubhouse.

Torre wasn't highly critical of any player (Alex Rodriguez was the closest), but it was a fascinating read. Baseball clubs are interesting to me because they play almost every day, pack up and barnstorm around the country for six months, much like a rock band that's on tour.

Wild and interesting stories are bound to occur. As wild and interesting as the Yankees were under Torre, I can't wait to read about Terry Francona's eight-year run managing the Red Sox to two World Series in 2004 and 2007, and all the zaniness and controversy at the beginning, middle and end of his tenure.

Francona's book, simply titled "Francona," is available on Tuesday.

I'm sure Indians fans will be reading and wondering if Francona's magic can rub off on the Indians, starting this season, Francona's first as Tribe manager.

News-Herald Indians beat writer Jim Ingraham will be reviewing "Francona" for The News-Herald in the coming weeks.

- Mark Podolski | @MPodo 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

High school athletes are gracious when doing video interviews

I need to take a timeout and thank all of the high school athletes who have done video interviews with me.
In the past few years, I haven't had a single athlete turn me down for an interview. Coaches are a little different. One of the first things they'll say when you go to interview them after a game is: "You aren't going to video tape me are you?"
After hearing that pretty often, I chose to stick with shooting the athletes.
It doesn't matter what sport, it doesn't matter how cold, rainy or hot it is outside. Athletes are gracious.
The interviews they do are important because their perspectives breathe life into stories. They often have very insightful things to say. Most of the time.
Sometimes, you'll get an athlete who clams up and has no idea what to say.
When that happens, I usually stop doing the video, give them a pep talk and tell them to "wing it" and start over again.
For the most part, it works.
The video helps me write a better story because during the interview, athletes often answer a lot of questions I have.
- How were you able to rally?
- What was the difference for you in the fourth quarter?
- How has your team come together this season?
Plus, a lot of other questions floating around in my head.
So the next time you see me at a game with a flip cam in hand, please know ahead of time I appreciate you taking the time to do an interview with me.
Thank you.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Where does it end?

Watching breaking sports news, including NFL coaching searches, play out over the last couple weeks on social media has been fascinating.

Journalists attempt to share news via their sources - in some cases perhaps too hurriedly.

A portion of the audience displays their disdain for sources, especially when tidbits turn out to be off-base.

Even worse, some of said audience pretend they have sources for news, and some journalists, in an attempt to be first, spread that word without checking whether what's being said is actually true. In the end, it causes an unfortunate ripple effect of undeserved viability for a bogus report.

There are journalists who bicker among one another over who had a story first and how the story was being reported - and frankly at times it's cringe worthy.

This is the age in which we live - at times a vicious circle.

Sometimes, I genuinely wonder what Hal Lebovitz would think of all this.

There is a value for instantaneous information of course - a coaching candidate is spotted at an airport, an athlete is involved in an incident in a nightclub and virtually anything in between. Granted, the sources for that information aren't always traditional journalists, and that's fine.

The problem is we seem to be losing at least some of the desire to ensure what's out there is accurate.

In this day and age, there are people who want to know, people who think they know and people who do know.

Any venture on social media during breaking news - sports or otherwise - makes something abundantly clear, at least to me: The moment we can stray from that middle ground of entrusting those who think they know, the better off we'll all be.

In short, maybe we all need to take a deep breath and consider being right before being first.

Unfortunately, that seems like a pipe dream anymore.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It's a tough week for sports fans

You know the old saying, everything happens in pairs?

Let's hope that's not true because having two baseball hall of famers - Earl Weaver and Stan Musial - pass away on the same day is strange enough.

Considering the week sports fans just witnessed, who knows what will happen on Sunday.

It's been the week of bizarre and strange. The first pair we witnessed this week was Lance Armstrong's admission of doping and the Manti Te'o saga,

In any other week, Armstrong's confession he doped during his seven Tour de France wins would dwarf any other story.

Wrong. The saga surrounding Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and his imaginary girlfriend who never existing in the first place can't possibly be topped this week, right?

Stay tuned. It could be wild Sunday.

- Mark Podolski | @MPodo

Friday, January 18, 2013

Aaron Craft is just fine as a distributor and defender

Associated Press
Ohio State will take the floor at the Breslin Center at 6 p.m. Saturday for an important Big Ten game -- aren't they all this year? -- against Michigan State.

If the Buckeyes start slowly on offense, I hope fans won't start complaining about how point guard Aaron Craft needs to start scoring more.

Craft does two things well: Distribute and defend, as he did against Michigan's Trey Burke in the picture at right. That's what he does, and he's good at it.

It's not to say he couldn't become a better scorer, because his 39-percent field-goal percentage could be improved.

But a problem could arise if the Buckeyes start relying on him to put up more points than 8.9 per game.

Let's say Craft gets into foul trouble, as he did in the Buckeyes' game at Purdue on Jan. 8, when he picked up his second foul 4 minutes, 19 seconds into the game.

Ohio State won that game, but I wouldn't assume that to happen against teams better than the Boilermakers (9-8).

So if Craft was counted on to score more, and then he got into foul trouble -- or was injured -- Ohio State would be stuck without a top offensive threat and its best defensive player.

It would better for the Buckeyes to let Craft be what he is, and continue to develop other players to help leading scorer Deshaun Thomas (20.3 points per game).

- Howard Primer

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New in 2013: N-H preps Hall of Fame

As someone who appreciates history, the excitement level for yours truly is as high as it can get with 2013 in full force.

For the first time ever, The News-Herald will unveil and begin the process of inducting a set of athletes each year in the newly created N-H high school sports hall of fame.

The HOF will be managed through a Website ( No more than 10 will be inducted each year. Players, coaches, officials, teams, administrators and individuals to make a contribution to area high school sports will be eligible. 

The first class will be honored at the June 21 N-H Senior Bowl at Mentor's Jerome T. Osborne Stadium. Who will make the cut this year? There a few obvious names that would be at the top of any serious fan of high school sports in these parts for the first class.

Nominations from readers are being accepted. Email to Final decisions for HOF induction will be made by a selection committee that is in the process of being assembled.

A few ground rules for induction:

- Players or teams must have graduated at least 10 years prior to induction. 

- Coaches and administrators must have spent at least 10 years at an area school or schools.

- Accomplishments by players, coaches, etc., must have occurred when The News-Herald covered such school.

- Mark Podolski | @MPodo

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's important to remember OHSAA records are "unofficial" when checking facts online

As everyone knows by now, Gilmour coach Bob Beutel is closing in on his 600th victory.
He is currently at 596 going into Wednesday's game against Aurora.
One of the first questions I had when I heard the news was where does that put Beutel in the OHSAA girls basketball state record book?
When I checked the OHSAA list, I realized right away the all-time coaching wins list was not correct. Beutel is currently on the list at No. 12 with a record of 502-160 which he compiled while at North.
To see if I could obtain updated records, I e-mailed Tim Stried, the Director of Information Services for the OHSAA.
Stried is always helpful in answering any questions I have regarding Ohio high school sports.
He said the list is not always 100 percent accurate because the OHSAA relies on schools to update their coaches records from year to year.
Well, that explains a lot.
Now I know when I write my upcoming stories on Beutel and his 600th win, I can't list him as the No. (blank) coach in the all-time wins category because my information would be inaccurate.
I checked the records again today just for the heck of it and noticed a disclaimer at the top that I did not read the first time around.

It reads as follows:

The following state records should be regarded as "unofficial." They were compiled by the Ohio High School Athletic Association through information received by OHSAA member schools, coaches, athletic administrators and media members.
If you have information that you believe should be included in these records (additions, deletions or corrections), it may be received by the OHSAA one of three ways:
1.) Submitted by an OHSAA member school athletic administrator on official office letterhead;
2.) Submitted by a media member on official office letterhead;
3.) Submitted to the OHSAA by a fan with documentation verifying the validity of the record. Accepted would be items such as copies of newspaper clippings, copies of scorebooks or copies of yearbooks.

As a reporter, you always want to keep your facts straight. You want to get records right, scores, times, etc. So this is a little frustrating to me. But I will have to overlook it for now.
We may have to wait until the end of the school year for updated records since they are not always updated during the season.
For now, I'll do my best to work around it.
Here's what I will stick with for now: According to the current records, Beutel would be the seventh coach in Ohio girls basketball history to clinch his 600th win.
That's a fact.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

Monday, January 14, 2013

That nasal spray is some bad-news stuff

It's all right to get a head cold, maybe even the flu, if you're a professional ball-player.

Just make sure you contact the right people before doing something to unclog that stuffy nose.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that Tampa Bay catcher David Wendt and free-agent catcher Bryan Henry were suspended 50 games for positive tests under baseball's minor-league drug program.

The commissioner’s office said Monday that each tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, a banned dietary supplement originally developed as a nasal decongestant.


Maybe Wendt and Henry were doing something underhanded by taking Methylhexaneamine. I have no idea what it would be.

Can you get a competitive advantage by unclogging your stuffy nose? Or is that the competitive advantage right there - getting that full night's sleep with the head cold that other players are denied because they spend the evening gasping for air and hacking from the post-nasal drip that could have been cured with a little shot of nasal spray.

I'm no pharmacist. I'm not chemist. I'm not the guy who made up the rules or the dude who drew up the list of banned substances. Maybe Wendt and Henry were trying to get ahead in the game. After all, one is a minor-leaguer and the other doesn't even have a team right now. Maybe they were snorting the bejeesus out of nasal decongestant to gain a competitive advantage.

Just curious here, but how much of that stuff do you have to suck back before you gain an advantage? And how does it help? You could snort a five gallon bucket of nasal decongestant and still not be any better at hitting a curve ball or catching a lazy fly ball, but by golly, you'll be able to breathe fresh air with the best of 'em.

This isn't HGH, Andro or Testosterone. C'mon, it's nasal spray for crying out out. Some stuff with two crippling side effects - pronouncing it and spelling it.

Again, maybe Wendt and Henry are guilty as sin. Maybe they were onto something in using this Methylhexaneamine stuff.

If not, then they learned a valuable and costly lesson - if you're a professional ballplayer and don't have a hand grenade with which to unplug your nose during that week with the flu, you'd better call someone in the know before you shoot something up your nose in search of a good night's rest.

- John Kampf

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's time for football's silly season

A nice side effect of the Browns' coaching  and general manager search is the delayed start to the 4-1/2 month slog of unnecessary hype leading up to the NFL draft.

Or so I thought.

I turned on my TV on Thursday, and there he was -- Mel Kiper Jr., his hair as immaculate as ever.

Kiper was breaking down the draft-stock changes for Alabama and Notre Dame players based on their performances in the BCS national championship game.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o didn't have a good showing to the point that he might get passed on Kiper's Big Board by Georgia's Alec Ogletree. On the other end, several Alabama players apparently improved their stock, in Kiper's opinion.

Never mind that overall player rankings do not necessarily coincide with how teams are going to draft. Also never mind that moving players up and down said rankings based on one game is stupid.

I'm hoping Rob Chudzinski and the gang in Berea get the Browns turned around in the playoffs, so we can turn our attention to on-field competition, not four extra weeks of offseason nonsense.

The pro football playoffs coincide with the beginning of football's silly season. The first big date is Feb. 6, national signing day. Then comes the NFL scouting combine from Feb. 23-26, in which scouts try to project how prospects will play full-contact, tackle football by having them run drills in T-shirts and shorts.

Both come with a full complement of pundits projecting players' futures. For such a cold month, February has a lot of hot air.

Then comes seven weeks of so-called NFL draft experts pontificating about which player each team should draft, as if they knew more than the scouts who actually work for teams.

I think next time Kiper comes on the air, I'm just going to change the channel, even if it means not finding out how Te'o's stock is looking compared to last week.

- Howard Primer

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Coming in 2013: Saban vs. Meyer?

At the height of their rivalry, Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer was as good as it got in college football.

For two straight seasons, in 2008 and 2009, Saban and Meyer faced off in the SEC Championship game with a berth in the BCS title game on the line.

In 2008, Alabama was No. 1 and Florida No. 2, but Meyer hung a 31-20 loss on Saban, en route to winning the national championship over Oklahoma. The next season, the Gators were No. 1, but Saban and his Crimson Tide hammered Meyer and his Gators, 32-13. Weeks later, Bama won the BCS title over Texas in the Rose Bowl, a victory that started a four-year span - capped last week - in which Saban and his team won three BCS national crowns.

Missing during the last two seasons, and some can argue the last three as Meyer contemplated leaving Florida because of a burnout, only to stay on one more season, was Meyer himself to challenge Saban.

Meyer vs. Saban was shaping up as the Woody vs. Bo coaching rivalry of this era, but now that Meyer no longer coaches in the SEC, it's not the same. There's a still a chance the two could cross paths again soon.

It's early, but when the preseason polls are released next season, don't be shocked if Alabama and Ohio State are neck and neck, and ready to fight for position to get into the final BCS national championship game.

At the rate Meyer is at as Ohio State coach (a 12-0 mark in his first season), that 2009 SEC championship 1 vs. 2 game probably isn't the last time we'll see the two coach against each other with high stakes and plenty of chips on the table.

- Mark Podolski | @MPodo

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tips on staying motivated in the New Year

Tips on staying motivated in the New Year

The New Year is over a week old, and I’m just wondering if you remember your New Year’s resolution?

If your goal is to workout more this year, I have a few tips on how to get your through some of the toughest workouts.

1. Set a goal for yourself: When you make a promise to yourself, it is difficult to break. You must hold yourself accountable for how you look and feel. If you are 10 pounds overweight, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to go out for fast food and sit home on the couch or are you going to push yourself to go the gym? It’s up to you. No one can do it for you. You are the only one who can make a change inside of you. Don’t you deserve better? Don’t you deserve to feel good? Don’t you deserve to eat right, exercise and get your rest? The answer is yes.

2. Be kind to yourself: If you are just starting a workout plan, go easy on yourself. You can’t accomplish all of your goals in one week. Change is going to take some time. You didn’t gain 10 pounds overnight and you aren’t going to lose 10 pounds overnight either. It’s a daily process. Working out is a habit. Once you get into the grove, you don’t want to stop. You actually won’t feel right if you don’t get your workout in. Don’t worry if you skip a workout. Tomorrow is always a new day.

3. Drink more water: Yes, it’s a simple as that. Drink more water. Instead of reaching for liquid calories in a can, fill up on the good stuff. A few years ago, I was drinking a few Diet Cokes a day. I think I just liked the sensation of popping the top and drinking down the pop. Then I went on a trip to Italy where a cold Diet Coke was hard to come by. Europeans don’t seem to drink as much pop as we do. Instead, their stores are filled with sparkling water and regular water. I quickly learned to love sparkling water. Now, I drink it out of a can and it gives me the same sensation as opening a can of pop. Plus it’s much healthier.

4. Don’t stop: Don’t stop moving when you are working out. You are working out for a reason. Make the most of it. Don’t cheat yourself. Whether you are in a class or simply running on your own, you have to have the motivation to keep going. If you workout for 10 minutes one day, increase it by 10 the next few days until you get up to an hour. When it’s time to workout, set aside at least an hour (or whatever is comfortable for you). Commit to that hour workout. If you put the time in, you will see the results.

5. Listen to motivating music: Music is motivating, especially when you put together your own play lists. I love my iPod. It has a fitness app that allows me to insert how many miles I want to run on any given day. The app keeps track of my workouts including my top performances. It’s nice to flip through to see how I’ve progressed from month to month. Then at the end of the year, I clear all the workouts and start fresh.

6. Stay focused: Life is going to get in the way of fitness goals you want to accomplish. There are kids that need to be taken care of, meals that need to be cooked and work that has to be done. But somewhere in a span of 24 hours, I believe you can carve out a chunk of time to take care of yourself. It will help you in all areas of your life.

Good luck.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How the UK views the NFL

The NFL is not just an American thing anymore.

There is an audience elsewhere in the world as well.

Every so often, while watching Sky Sports News on Fox Soccer Channel, it's kind of interesting to see that United Kingdom equivalent of ESPNews reporting on the NFL.

There is room for improvement - an NFL highlight sounds a bit like they're reporting on rugby, and even as recently as a couple years ago the Super Bowl was treated in an "oh, by the way" style on their ticker - but it is getting better.

Sky Sports actually shows games live (they're five hours ahead of us, so a 1 p.m. kickoff here would be 6 p.m. in, say, London), including this weekend's wild-card games on Sky Sports 1.

And of course, there's also the regular appearances for the NFL in London at Wembley Stadium.

It's not to say there's a London expansion franchise on the horizon or anything, but there is an audience.

In December, Sky aired this pretty funny video of Buccaneers cheerleaders trying to teach a rugby team the rules of American football. The look on their faces is priceless.

But at least they're willing to listen, and that's a start.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH

Friday, January 4, 2013

ESPN commercial showcases Manchester's bloody-good rivalry

ESPN is airing two ads from its "It's not crazy, it's sports" series this month. The first is a tribute to Alabama and "Roll Tide," in advance of the BCS national championship game.

The second is ... well, I'll let you watch it first.

It appears to be showing both sides of an epic soccer rivalry in the United Kingdom. I say appears because I have no idea what these guys are saying.

Thankfully, there is a companion video that explains everything.

Now that I know all about the divide in Manchester when it comes to its sides on the pitch, please don't call me a git, a moppet, or even a plonker. That would make you a minger.

- Howard Primer

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Holy Buckeye ... 10 years ago tonight

Ten years ago tonight - Jan. 3, 2013 - I was in Tempe, Ariz., for one of the most exciting nights of my life, watching Ohio State win the 2002 national championship in the Fiesta Bowl.

Back then, the BCS National Championship game - like the one you'll watch Monday night - did not exist. The championship game rotated among the four BCS bowl games.

The night couldn't have been any better. I was sitting in the stands with a college friend who was eventually the best man at my wedding, and of course the Buckeyes won, 31-24, in double overtime over the heavy favorite Miami Hurricanes. It was a game for the ages, and will likely never be topped, in my opinion.

Here's the link to the box score that night, with video below of the final play of the game.


- Mark Podolski | @MPodo

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nutrition is key when working out

If I had a choice between cooking and cleaning my house, I would choose cleaning any day of the week.
I'm sure my husband wishes it was just the opposite, but honestly, I'm not a very good cook.
I do just enough to get by. Thank God, I have an Italian mother-in-law who lives near by. She loves to cook and is always giving my husband and I great leftovers.
But this year, I think I need to focus more on cooking nutritious meals. Especially since my husband and I workout several times a week.
You can't deplete your body and expect to just get by.
You have to eat right.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there is a simple formula for eating right. It can be found  here at the website
For someone who can't cook, this is an easy one. Half of your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice is part of the Fruit Group. Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice is part of the Vegetable Group.
Here is the portion of the plate I struggle with - protein.
The guidelines for most adults is between 5-6 ounces of protein which can be anything from meat, poultry, seafood, beans, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds. I am guessing the daily protein shakes I drink don't really count. I'm sure you have to eat real food (which entails cooking).
Next comes grains (which seems to be an easy one for most people). The catch is the 5-8 ounces of grain required should be whole grains. The Italian white bread I love from Alecsi's is out.
Three cups is the daily requirement for dairy for most people. All fluid milk products and foods made from milk are part of this group. The catch is products should be fat-free or low-fat. Real butter is not part of the deal.
Finally, oil is included in the guidelines. But it must be used sparingly.
The star burst candies I bought today are no where to be found on the guideline. Either are the butterscotch and peppermint candies in my desk drawer at work.
So it looks like I'm going to have to start eating better if I want to keep my weight off and improve my workouts.
Who's with me on this eating right kick?
Also, does any one know of a cool place to take cooking lessons?

- Theresa Neuhoff Audia

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Optimism will come back to haunt me

So yeah, I'm the typical Cleveland fan I guess.

How else can one explain that it is Jan. 1, 2013, and I'm feeling optimistic about the Browns and Indians. Maybe even the Cavaliers!?!?

Say it ain't so!

I'm probably just setting myself up for disappointment. After all, as Jim Ingraham outlined in his column today, 2012 was the ultimate stinker for Cleveland's professional sports franchises. Still, as the new year turns, there's a lot to be at least semi-optimistic about.


-- The Browns have an owner that is A) rich; and B) wants to be involved with the day-to-day dealings with his team.  That's not always a good thing - i.e. Jerry Jones - but Jimmy Haslem wants to win and he wants to win now.

The Browns were one of the youngest teams in the NFL this year. Even though they had a 29-year-old rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden, the rest of the offensive playmakers - RB Trent Richardson, WR Greg Little and WR Joshua Gordon - were either rookies or first-year players. Consider also that Little and Gordon both sat out their year prior to coming to the NFL, so they had some rust to chisel off their games.

The Browns' offensive line is young and very promising. The defensive front seven, with Sheard, Rubin, Taylor, Winn, Parker and Rucker, is young and very solid. The linebackers and defensive backs need some work and some depth, but that can be addressed in the draft and with some free-agent moves.

There's a lot to like about the direction of the Browns.

-- Are the Indians playoff contenders? They might not be as far away as people think.

A lot will depend on Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez.

With ANY sort of run support two years ago, Masterson's 3.21 ERA could have translated into a better record than the 12-10 mark he had. His 4.93 ERA last year was bad, almost a full run worse than his career ERA of 4.17. If he tones it down to the 4.00 range or better, he should be fine.

Jimenez is only two years removed from a 19-8, 2.88 season - IN COLORADO. He doesn't have to be THAT good this year - he just can't be 9-17, 5.40 like he was last year.

If Trevor Bauer is ready to contribute right away (really, why not?), Carlos Carrasco keeps popping in the mid 90s and someone among David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez, Brett Myers and Zach McAllister steps up, then the rotation might not be horrible. Because the bullpen is again going to be stellar.

The possible lineup of CF Drew Stubbs, 2B Jason Kipnis, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, RF Nick Swisher, C Carlos Santana,1B Mark Reynolds, 3B Lonnie Chisenhall and LF Michael Brantley should put some runs on the board, no matter who the DH ends up being.

-- So the Cavs have some work to do, especially on the front line. Kyrie Irving is a definite keeper, rookie Dion Waiters has some promise and Tristan Thompson is OK. Zeller is going to be an Ilgauskas-type center - solid but not flashy for a decade.

The Cavs are going to get another high lottery pick this year - plus they have another late first-rounder (from the LeBron James trade). I know Anderson Varejao is a fan favorite, but if the Cavs can trade him and the late first rounder for a high first rounder, why not?

The pieces are starting to come into place for the Cavs.

As they are with the Indians and Browns.

Then again, I've thought that before.

We'll see how this one pans out.

- John Kampf