Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's Fair is Fair!

Tomorrow morning, the US World Cup soccer team takes on African nation, Algeria, with a spot in the second round on the line. The scenario for advancement can be simple for the Americans. Win, and they're in. A tie will require the US to lean on other teams' results. No one wants that.

The US team will not have to wait long to find out if they do advance after the game. Awhile back, the World Cup instituted a rule where all four teams play the final Group game at the same time. Did the higher ups want to create an atmosphere of suspense? Perhaps. Each team with a fighting chance would go into the final Group game not knowing the other result.

After doing some digging, I found out the real reason for this change, and it's a rather ugly story. The 1982 World Cup, held in Spain, went down in the history books as one of the most controversial due to the scheme of two countries, West Germany and Austria. On Day One of the tournament, Algeria (yes, the same nation the US wrangles with tomorrow!) scored one of the greatest World Cup upsets ever with a 2-1 victory over West Germany. The Algerians played inspired soccer and had a chance of advancing to the next round. In the final match of group play between West Germany and Austria, Algeria had played its final group game the day before. The table and the possible scenarios for advancement had been set. A West German win by 1 or 2 goals would qualify both West Germany and Austria. A larger German victory would qualify Algeria over Austria, and a draw or an Austrian win would eliminate the Germans.

What happened during the game was pretty disheartening and downright disgraceful. West Germany scored 10 minutes in. For the rest of the game, Austria and West Germany kicked the ball around nonchalantly, as if they were playing at a practice session. No further goals were scored, the result held, and both teams were through.

While the situation was deplored by even people from the scheming countries, nothing could be done. A country's hopes were dashed as Algeria was denied a berth in the second round. Perhaps, it a bit of justice was served when Italy beat Germany 3–1 in the World Cup Final that year.

After that unfortunate incident, FIFA changed the rules for the timing of the final group games.

Be Agressive. B-E- Agressive.

The time has come to answer the age-old question, "Is cheerleading really a sport?" Varying opinions can now be set aside, as a federal judge in Connecticut is going to tell us. On Monday, Judge Stefan Underhill began presiding over a U.S. District Court trial to decide whether cheerleading can be counted as a sport by schools looking for ways to meet gender-equality requirements.

The decision is part of a lawsuit filed last year by the members of the women's volleyball team at Quinnipiac University (known for all of those polls) in Connecticut. The school decided to eliminate women's volleyball in favor of a competitive cheer squad because it was cheaper. Apparently, pom poms and mini-skirts cost less than knee pads and volleyballs?!

The hullabaloo is due to the adherence to Title IX, the 1972 federal law that mandates equal opportunities for both men and women in athletics. An activity is considered a sport under Title IX if it has coaches, practices, competitions during a defined season, and a governing organization. The activity also must have competition as its primary goal—not just the support of other athletic teams.

So, what do we think? In the description above of what an activity encompasses, I would have to agree that cheerleading should be considered a sport. What amazes me about this whole situation is that the school needs to cut one sport in order to accommodate another, and that the deciding factor is cold, hard cash.

Slightly off topic...well somewhat related. Why didn't cheerleaders ever cheer at soccer games? As a soccer player, I was always bummed that we did not have the ladies strutting their stuff in support of our team. I mean, after all, our soccer team won the State championship twice in high school, and the football and basketball teams were lucky to finish above .500. Perhaps the decision to cheer or not to cheer was based on the fact that we were so good, we didn't need any support.

Featured Bluegreen Resort:
The Cliffs at Long Creek

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Don't Blame the Ref

America, and the world, are abuzz today with the news that the "US got robbed" during its World Cup soccer match with Slovenia. It's true. Malian referee Koman Coulibaly did make a bogus call at the end of the game. When Maurice Edu slotted home the game-winning goal off a free kick, there was no foul. This is true. There was no offside infraction either. It was a totally incorrect call.

We are outraged. Americans everywhere are livid and feel that the World Cup win was snatched from their very own hands. This may well be true. But the thing is, in sports, you can only control certain things.

Had the game been tied 0-0 and Edu's strike was the only goal, perhaps I'd think differently. But, the game unfolded in a different way, with the US asleep at the wheel for the entire first half. Had they not let in those two goals early, they would never have been in desperation mode for the entire second half.

Having played the game myself, I can appreciate the ebb and flow of each match. As frustrated as I was after the game today, I just kept thinking that the US team played an amazing 45 minutes. If they would have played an amazing 90 minutes, none of the calls or refereeing would have been an issue.

Amazingly, the US is still in contention for one of two berths into the next round. With a win over Algeria, the US is in. There are a multitude of other scenarios should the US draw, but let's hope it does not come to that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Concert Tix No Fees

Attention, music lovers. Live Nation is waiving all ticketing fees for the month of June. So, now's the time to get your tickets for your favorite bands like Counting Crows, Kings of Leon, John Mayer, Rihanna and more!

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SeaGlass Tower | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

See It Again - US VS. England Recap

Did you miss the first US World Cup match this weekend against powerhouse England? Check out this rather creative recap of the historic 1-1 tie. Pretty spot on, if you ask me!

Featured Bluegreen Resort:
La Cabana Beach & Racquet Club | Oranjestad, Aruba

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Only One Day Left to Vote!

Its up to you to pick the winner of Bluegreen Resorts 2010 Photo Contest. Browse exciting vacation photos submitted by Bluegreen owners and guests and decide which photo captured the best Bluegreen vacation moment.

Hurry! Voting ends tomorrow, June 15th!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Experience Winter Sports

Slip and slide down the ski slopes with Bluegreen:

Excuse Me, Mr. Elephant

In all my years of soccer, I was never delayed en route to a game by an elephant. Unfortunately, the US soccer team was not as lucky.


World Cup Fever!

The greatest tournament in the world featuring the world's most popular sport began today in South Africa. The opening game featured host nation South Africa and Mexico, who dueled it out to a 1-1 draw before 84,000 rowdy fans. South Africa surged to an lead early in the second half, only to give it up on a goal by Mexico’s Rafael Marquez in the 79th minute. The South Africans were so close to a dream victory as they opened the 2010 World Cup in their home country.

Here in the States, no doubt all avid fans will be glued to the TV tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. as the American squad opens its World Cup campaign against perennial power England!

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Shenandoah Crossing | Gordonsville, Virginia

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