Scotland Did Not Always Give Sports a Sporting Chance

King James I Banned football soccer in Scotland
Scotland is known for its passionate football (American soccer) fans, and it is recognized as the birthplace of golf and home to the most famous golf courses in the world. Did you know that both sports were once illegal throughout the land? Continue reading

And the Game Goes On… and On… and On….

World record for longest games basketball baseball Minecraft Mario Kart tennis
Fans of sporting events are known to be so committed to their team that they will endure years of poor performance, shell out big money for season tickets, sit through horrible weather to watch an event, and wear their team’s colors on every possible occasion.

Sometimes fans also have to be prepared to wait. And wait. And wait.  Continue reading

Athletic Rivalry Taken to the Extreme

Soccer War Football War Guerra Futbolistica

Every match between rivaling athletic teams is described in terms of a military conflict, but few expect much more taunts and fight songs to be used as weapons. When soccer fans gathered to watch El Salvador compete against Honduras, an athletic rivalry quickly escalated into an actual military conflict between two nations.  Continue reading

Run in God’s Name

chariots of fire quotes run in God's name J.D. Liddell
In the movie Chariots of Fire, Rev. J.D. Liddell advised his son, future 1924 Olympic gold medalist and missionary to China, “You can praise God by peeling a spud if you peel it to perfection. Don’t compromise. Compromise is a language of the devil. Run in God’s name and let the world stand back and wonder.”

Football: the Sport of the Brave or of the Wimps? You Decide

Theodore Roosevelt Julius Caesar football too violent not violent enough

US President Theodore Roosevelt considered outlawing American football because it was too violent.

Roman Emperor Julius Caesar banned a game similar to football because it was too gentle.

Like Those M&M’s? Get Ready To Run

exercise needed to burn off M&M

If you want to burn off the calories from M&M’s, you need to run or walk the length of one football field for each M&M you eat. Are peanut M&M’s your thing? That takes two lengths of a football field, apiece.

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Time Waits for No Man … But Don’t Underestimate Illinois Politics

 

Illinois State Capitol Building

Baseball is one sporting event that doesn’t use a clock to regulate the length of its games. Ironically, it was a clock that was very much at the heart of one of Baseball’s most dramatic moments.

The date was June 30, 1988. The Chicago White Sox wanted a new stadium to replace the run-down Cominsky Park. The team’s owner, Jerry Reisendorf, negotiated with Illinois officials on a plan that will provide the funding to build a new stadium, but negotiations seemed to be stalling.

In hopes of moving things along, Reisendorf opened negotiations with officials of St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida, who desperately wanted a professional baseball team of their own. They agreed to put up the money if Illinois failed to act.

The big day was June 30. By law the Illinois legislature had to finalize all legislation relating to the fiscal year before adjourning that day.  The Senate had already approved the $200 million bill, but the proposal was still a couple of votes short in the House.

As midnight approached the intensity of negotiations reached a fever pitch. Supporters in St. Petersburg gathered and prepared to celebrate the stroke of midnight, which would usher in a new chapter for professional sports in Florida. Meanwhile, back in Springfield, Illinois, some of the most intense political lobbying in recent memory was going on. Governor Jim Thompson personally came to the floor of the House to persuade representatives to support the bill.

The clock continued to tick, and in St. Petersburg it took on an atmosphere akin to New Year’s Eve, as celebrants prepared for the final countdown to midnight and ensuing celebration.  With less than a minute to go before the mandatory adjournment of the House, the Florida celebrants started popping the corks from the champagne bottles, in preparation for the midnight toast.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Mike Madigan decided that if time wasn’t on his side, he could figuratively shoot the messenger, so he gave the order to unplug the chamber’s clock — seconds before midnight. While the champagne flowed in Florida in the opening moments of July 1, as far as the House of Representatives of Illinois was concerned, it was still June 30.

Several minutes later — who can say how long, when time has stopped? — Thompson secured the necessary votes. Speaker Madigan called for the question, and the White Sox bill passed by one vote. Madigan then ordered the clock restarted and declared that since the hour of midnight had arrived, this session of the Illinois House of Representatives was adjourned.

The folks in Florida never knew what hit them. They simply hadn’t considered the power of Illinois politics to transcend space and time.

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