Smokestack and the Foothill Fury

first_imgSmoke Stack and the Foothill FurySmoke Stack and the Foothill Fury Smokestack & The Foothill Fury, given name Jarod Yerkes, is a vagabond minstrel, a one-man band, traveling the country with his self-styled punk-country-blues. He summons in equal parts the spirits of Son House and Joe Strummer, belting his raspy baritone over a furious slide guitar and a snare/bass drum rhythm section that he plays with his feet. His debut is a 15-track, 45-minute blues explosion that is absolutely, unapologetically balls to the wall—sonic bursts of backwoods bravado.last_img read more

Cuomo Reverses Email Purge Policy

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The emails of New York officials will no longer be automatically deleted after 90 days, aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week in response to political pressure over the purge policy.It’s been a slow burn leading to the policy shift. The purge policy was first reported by the Albany Times Union back in mid-2013, but didn’t stir much protest until more recently, following coverage by ProPublica and Capital New York.At a public meeting Friday, aides to the governor said they had reviewed the policies of other states and, going forward, any email deletion would be manual. That means more government communications should be retained and be accessible in response to public records requests or in the case of investigations of wrongdoing.Good government groups welcomed the move, writing in an open letter that it “shows the power the governor has to lead by example to increase transparency” — rare praise for Cuomo, whose administration has generally been marked by secrecy.Since the purge policy has been in effect for about two years in some state agencies, it’s probable that some public records have been lost.“The purged emails are not coming back,” said John Kaehny, head of the pro-transparency group Reinvent Albany, in an email. “There is no Freedom of Information Law or archive ‘police’ to ensure that email records are actually being saved.”Kaehny also noted that government officials sometimes use their non-government emails for work-related correspondence, another way to avoid public disclosure. We’ve previously reported on aides to Cuomo using private email accounts to conduct public business.The deletion of emails and the use of private accounts has become a recurring issue for politicians across the country, from Hillary Clinton’s controversial use of her own email server when she was secretary of state to aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie using private accounts to communicate during what later became known as the Bridgegate scandal.Earlier this month, the email issue emerged in Kansas, where the Wichita Eagle reported that Gov. Sam Brownback uses a private account, potentially putting his communications outside the bounds of the state’s freedom of information law.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

Leslau to launch new ‘riskier’ Investment

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Larry Sintz

first_imgI just received word that Larry Sintz of Brookville will be inducted into the Indiana Refereeing Hall of Fame this summer.  Larry has been a referee for most of his adult life.  His tourney resume for both boys and girls numbers over 100 tourney games officiated.  Larry was one of those referees who was always on an even keel.  His laid back style worked well for both players and coaches.  In recent years Larry spent a lot of time refereeing volleyball.I not only know Larry as a referee but also as a former sports writer and friend.  He worked for the Brookville Democrat as the sports editor until his retirement.  While I was actively coaching, Larry wrote a lot of articles about my coaching results here at Batesville.  He was always very positive and very fair in all of his reporting.  Congratulations, Larry!  It is a well-deserved honor!last_img read more

Treviso punish Munster mistakes

first_img Ludovico Nitoglia had two tries while Mat Berquist kept the points flowing from his boot as Munster missed out on the chance to become the first side ever to begin a league season with maximum points from their opening three games. Keith Earls and Stephen Archer both crossed Munster, but ill discipline cost them as Berquist amassed 19 points, scoring five penalties, while three different Munster players endured spells in the sin bin. Press Association Things began well for Munster as they bossed the opening stages with Earls opening the scoring with a seventh-minute try. But Ian Keatley, having already missed a penalty, was off target with the conversion, and two Berquist penalties soon saw the momentum swing the other way. Munster regained the lead with a penalty try when Treviso’s scrum collapsed after a gutsy call from captain Peter O’Mahony, Keatley finding his aim this time to make it 12-6. Another Berquist penalty cut the deficit before half-time but when Archer crossed early in the second half, Keatley’s conversion pushed Munster’s advantage into double figures and all looked well for the Irish. That feeling lasted only a couple of minutes before Nitoglia notched his first try, and Berquist’s penalty on the hour mark had the teams tied once more. Nitoglia then dove over from close range for his second score and Berquist sealed it with Munster again down in numbers as Cathal Sheridan took his turn in the sin bin. ends center_img Munster were knocked off the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table as they were upset 29-19 by Benetton Treviso in Italy.last_img read more

Black Cats secure safety

first_imgGus Poyet got his miracle as Sunderland ensured their continued presence in the Barclays Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 victory over West Brom. However, having dealt in unexpected twists for much of the season, the head coach was not prepared to leave anything to chance and sent his players out under orders to seal their own fate. They could hardly have responded to Poyet’s pleas any more emphatically as they took the game by the scruff of the neck and raced into a potentially decisive lead with barely half an hour gone. Colback needed just 13 minutes to set the ball rolling, turning up on cue to stab Marcos Alonso’s low cross past Ben Foster after Sebastian Larsson had slipped away from Claudio Yacob in midfield and picked out the full-back wide on the left. Confidence coursed through red and white veins as Sunderland, once again led admirably by midfield enforcer Lee Cattermole, dominated. A surging break out of defence and slide-rule pass from the former Middlesbrough and Wigan man allowed Adam Johnson to deliver a dangerous 23rd-minute cross which Steven Reid had to hack away. But as Reid and fellow full-back found themselves repeatedly under pressure, the Black Cats were relentless and extended their lead with 31 minutes gone. Larsson was once again the instigator with a delicate lofted pass to pick out Borini, who volleyed first-time past the advancing Foster to make it 2-0. The Baggies offered little as an attacking force in return, and it was not until injury time the home goalkeeper Vito Mannone was called upon to make a meaningful save when he pushed away Saido Berahino’s drive. West Brom boss Pepe Mel attempted to shore up his team at the break, replacing Reid with Craig Dawson and Yacob with Youssouf Mulumbu, and they immediately had a more compact and coherent look to them. They came close to dragging themselves back into the game when striker Victor Anichebe only just failed to connect with Dawson’s driven cross as he slid in. Poyet replaced Johnson and lone striker Connor Wickham with Liam Bridcutt and Jozy Altidore with 61 minutes as he looked to consolidate, but with the visitors pressing, it was Black Cats old boy Stephane Sessegnon who dragged a shot wide two minutes later. Altidore somehow missed the target when it seemed easier to convert Colback’s 65th-minute cross and full-back Santiago Vergini smashed a shot across the face of goal four minutes later, but the points – and safety – were already secure. Press Association Just weeks after admitting they needed divine intervention when they slipped seven points off the survival pace, the 46-year-old Uruguayan saw his team secure a fourth successive top-flight win for the first time since December 2000 to end their fears. The win means 18th-placed Norwich have only a purely mathematical chance of avoiding relegation as the season draws to a close on Sunday. Jack Colback’s third goal of the season got the home side off to the perfect start when he turned Marcos Alonso’s near-post cross past goalkeeper Ben Foster. But Sunderland were cruising 18 minutes later when Fabio Borini volleyed home his ninth of the campaign to give the home side breathing space. Neither goalscorer may remain at the Stadium of Light next season with Colback out of contract and being linked with derby rivals Newcastle, and Borini wanted back at Liverpool after a hugely successful loan spell. But if their goals prove to be their last meaningful contributions – Poyet has hinted talks with Colback could yet be reopened – they could not have been any more timely. The Stadium of Light was rocking as the bulk of a crowd of 45,181 celebrated the great escape as if it were the trophy the club came so close to securing in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley in March. Sunderland could even afford a glaring miss from substitute Jozy Altidore, who steered a 65th-minute shot wide with the goal at his mercy as a chance to kill off a resurgent West Brom came and went. But for all the visitors made a game of it in the second half after a tepid first 45 minutes, they rarely looked like denying their hosts three more points to go with the 10 they had garnered from their last four games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Cardiff and Manchester United. Poyet’s men had manoeuvred themselves into a position of strength, albeit a precarious one, by virtue of an unlikely sequence of results, and they ran out knowing a point would be enough to leave the Canaries needing to beat Arsenal handsomely on Sunday and hope the Black Cats lost heavily at home to Swansea to eradicate a goal difference deficit of 13. last_img read more

Indian Premier League Lasith Malinga takes 10 wickets in 24 hours for two teams in different formats

first_imgMumbai Indians defeated Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2019 contest.The Super Provincial One Day tournament is being played to determine Sri Lanka’s World Cup probables.Lasith Malinga’s 7/49 is his best List A bowling figures. Despite a long international flight and having played against Chennai Super Kings in the night, Malinga showed no signs of stress and put in a magnificent performance. Galle notched up 255 all out with Kusal Mendis hitting a fifty along with solid knocks from Sandun Weerakkody and Minod Bhanuka. In response, Kandy was blown away by Malinga, who picked up 7/49, his best-ever List A bowling figures as they were bowled out for 99, losing the match by 156 runs.Thus, in less than 24 hours, Malinga had taken combined figures of 10/83 in two different formats for two different teams in two different countries. Speaking about the achievement in the post-match presentation following Team Galle’s win, Malinga said, “I played a match last night for Mumbai Indians and got to the flight by 1:40 AM. I landed in Sri Lanka at 4:30 AM and made it to Kandy by 7:00 AM. We need to show an example to the youngsters. How an International player should commit himself to the game. I think they will learn something out of this lesson. I showed what I can do and will continue to do the same in the future. I have proved that my fitness is at the highest level and I am happy about the way I performed,” Malinga said.It will be interesting to see whether Malinga will be available for Galle or Mumbai Indians’ next game in both the tournaments. Galle take on Dambulla in the next game at the Dambulla International stadium on April 6 while Mumbai Indians take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on the same day. However, by playing two games for two different teams in different formats, Malinga has shown his ultimate commitment and dedication to the game of cricket. highlights New: Lasith Malinga has had a confusing time in the Indian Premier League 2019. Since the league is being played before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, there were earlier reports that the Sri Lankan pacer would miss the first six games for Mumbai Indians as he had to participate in the Super Provincial One Day tournament in Sri Lanka in order to be eligible for the World Cup. However, Malinga played for Mumbai Indians in the first two games of the Indian Premier League. The confusion persisted when Sri Lanka Cricket had cleared him to play the entire IPL but the chief national selector Asantha de Mel, speaking to Sportstar stating that Malinga had changed his mind and wanted to play the tournament.In the game against Chennai Super Kings, Malinga showed his class and got the big wickets of Shane Watson (5), Kedar Jadhav (58) and Dwayne Bravo (8) as he ended with figures of 3/34 from his four overs. He bowled with good pace and despite being slightly expensive, Malinga showed that he had lost none of his venom. Immediately after the match, he flew to Colombo and he decided to play the Super Provincial One Day Tournament where he was going to lead Galle against Kandy at the Pallekele International stadium. For all the Latest Sports News News, Indian Premier League News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Steelcity Warriors upstage Assassin to win Apollo Super Bash

first_imgTORONTO, Canada – Underdogs, Steelcity Warriors upstaged Assassins to claim top honours when the Apollo Cricket Club Super Bash six-a-side five-over round-arm softball knockout competition came off with a bang last Saturday at Keele Top, North York, Toronto.Entering the final as firm favourites with an experienced six-man squad, which included former Guyana skipper, Damodar Daesrath; former Guyana and West Indies Under-19 batsman, Hemnarine Chattergoon and former Berbice player, Loaknauth Ramsuchit who was at the helm, Assassins could only muster 48 all out in 4.5 overs in the six-over affair after electing to bat first.Skipper Ramsuchit led from the front with an attacking 22 which included three massive sixes while Riaz Kadir supported with 20.Avish Rukram, who a few years ago had the unique distinction of scoring over one thousand runs in a season, grabbed two for five off just five deliveries of the fifth over as Assassins failed to bat out their quota of overs. Boodhu and Dennis Shiwlall supported with one wicket each.Best bowler Avish Rukram receives his prize from a representative of Calypso Hut.Steelcity Warriors raced to the required total with three deliveries to spare, losing two wickets in the process with Rukhram completing a fine all-round performance with a match-winning innings of 29 which contained two sixes and a four. Daesrath caused some amount of anxiety in his lone over, capturing two wickets in his first three deliveries but was them plundered for 16 in the next three.Dubbed the Apollo Super Bash tournament, the fund-raising effort attracted some 17 teams on a somewhat windy Saturday.At the presentation ceremony, Rukhram carted off the major share of the individual awards:man-of-the-match, the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, sponsored by Caribbean Heat, and the best bowler in the final which saw Calypso Hut putting up the trophy. Ramsuchit received the prize for the best batsman in the final, compliments of JDG Tooling.The winners collected the Canadian Surplus Guyana sponsored trophy and $1500 while the six members were decorated with medals. Runners-up Assassins were recipient of the Caribbean Lyme trophy and $500 while the players also received medals.Among the other sponsors were T& S Enterprise 24 hours glass system while Dent Wizard and PGI Limited were responsible for the grand prize.Organiser, Daesrath is expressing sincere thanks to all those responsible for the successful staging of the tournament and also disclosed that at Inter-county competition is slated for the same venue in July. (Frederick Halley)last_img read more

UW behind the scenes

first_imgThere’s a coach on the UW-Madison campus that recently entered the 150-win club and has won three Big Ten championships — more than any other coach that came before him — but his name is hardly mentioned when talking about championship coaches. He’s been coaching more years at Wisconsin than most of his colleagues, yet his name is hardly recognized among the student body.Dean Duerst, head coach of the Wisconsin women’s soccer team, could probably care less about the lack of recognition. All Duerst cares about is winning soccer games and making his players better people.Entering his 13th year as the head coach and 18th year overall with the team, Duerst has been involved in some memorable and historic moments in the program. Duerst was an assistant coach for the 1988 NCAA semifinal squad and the 1991 NCAA runner-up team under his predecessor, Greg Ryan.After being named the head coach in 1994, Duerst has built on Ryan’s achievements and expanded the success of the program. Duerst has guided the Badgers to not only eight NCAA tournament appearances, but also a regular season Big Ten title and two Big Ten tournament championships.Ryan remains a large influence on how Duerst coaches his team. Duerst took two important things away from his time under the ex-coach: running a sound defense and finding players to buy into that philosophy.”He told me that you had to create your own way of doing things and a philosophy of doing things by looking at the personnel you have, learning the way you want to plan and getting ready to adjust during the games,” Duerst said. “The other thing he taught me was that he was a great defensive coach. Defense is a team thing and they need to work as a group. You’re going to have to have breakdowns in soccer and, as Coach Ryan always said, you have to keep finding those defenders that will do anything to keep the ball out of the net.”Even with the Badgers’ success under Duerst, Wisconsin hasn’t made it back to the national finals since 1991. Regardless, Duerst maintains that this program is only one or two bounces away from retuning to the national spotlight, having taken national contenders Notre Dame and Penn State to the brink.”It has to be our reality in our program to get back to the national championship,” Duerst said. “It’s a goal of ours before every season to win the title. I know it can happen because the men did it in 1995. With the right group of players and having some things go your way, it can happen and I certainly can see it [happening] at Wisconsin.”Earning his 150th victory — more than any other head coach — in this 25th season of women’s soccer at Wisconsin, Duerst has been one of the most significant figures in shaping the program into one of the elite in the Big Ten. Although the wins reflect the work on the field, Duerst’s proudest achievement is what happens on the practice field and in the classroom, getting his players in position to succeed in life and sport.”Most important thing is the people, and I think Wisconsin attracts great people,” Duerst said. “The quality of people that play for the Badgers are very successful women in their field. Some are continuing to grow in that success. They represent Wisconsin very well and I think that’s [the] important thing, to enjoy their time here and leave as better players and students of the game.”Duerst’s attitude and positive outlook also trickles down to the players, as the Badger women respect him for making soccer at Wisconsin competitive and fun.”What stands out about Dean is that he always has a positive outlook on everything,” sophomore Taylor Walsh said. “We had a tough time this season again and Dean always tells us on how things can happen and turn around [for us]. He’s always being optimistic and is a good energy to be around. When we put our heads down, he tells us not to get discouraged. It’s a good thing to be hard on us, but at the same time, he doesn’t do it all the time and does it when it needs to be done.”This weekend, Duerst and his squad are traveling east to Penn State in hopes of defending their Big Ten tournament title. In the most important weekend of the season for Wisconsin women’s soccer, Duerst has a lot of work to do to prepare his team to try and defend their tournament title, and he only has five short days to do it.Friday, Oct. 27After easily beating Northwestern on Friday night to guarantee Wisconsin a bid into the Big Ten tournament, the Badgers find themselves in the same position they were last season. Having to beat Northwestern to make it into the tournament, Wisconsin was awarded the seventh seed and proceeded to win three straight games to take the title.This season, Wisconsin is once again the seventh seed and will play Illinois, a team that beat the Badgers in Madison 4-2 in late September, at 1:30 Thursday afternoon.While the players go out and celebrate their victory at the Halloween festivities, Duerst quickly goes to work on preparation. Since Wisconsin plays Thursday, Duerst will have to move up his timetable and practice schedule for the girls.He spends the night going over the Northwestern game, reviewing the five Badger goals and trying to find other things that worked right that can work against Illinois. It makes for a mildly relaxing night, as Duerst is excited to be able to coach for at least another week.”Take a look at what was important that week in preparation and look at what’s important in preparation for your next opponent,” Duerst says. “It’s hard to go right to sleep and I want to create a routine where I am not staying up late.”Saturday, Oct. 28After a late night studying film, Duerst begins an early day in the office, making phone calls and exchanging game film with other programs.”That was one of the most helpful things in getting game film on Illinois from other schools,” Duerst says.The day also begins early for the players, as they are in cleats for an hour-long practice that Duerst describes as short, crisp and sharp.”You always want to practice that morning after the game,” Duerst explains. “We break into two groups, one of players that played a lot and the others not so much. The players that didn’t play as much in the last game get to have time with the ball, some shooting drills and skill work. The others stay loose and get a massage, just to have some activity after the game.”Afterward, Duerst begins doing his homework on not only Illinois, but on Purdue and Ohio State, the two opponents Wisconsin could play if it advances to the next round. Duerst also comes up with their schedule for Sunday, which during the season is usually a game day for the Badgers. By having the extra day off, Duerst moves up the Badgers’ normal schedule one day in hopes of trying to keep some sort of routine for the players. Tomorrow, Duerst decides, is going to be the team’s fitness day.Sunday, Oct. 29Another quick one-hour practice from 9 to 10 a.m. is broken up by 35 minutes of running and conditioning. The Badgers need to have quick feet and play with a quick pace against Illinois; Duerst tries to push the players to use those attributes during the training.”We don’t need to overplay for our game this week, we scale back more so than usual,” Duerst says. “It’s important to get them up and do fitness. Just trying to keep that routine of having a fitness day during the week. It wasn’t incredibly hard, but it was hard enough where there was the emphasis.”Because Duerst thinks this year’s Big Ten tournament is going to be highly competitive and may come down to penalty kicks, he institutes a partner drill that goes along with the conditioning and also lets the players have some fun.With the team split into pairs, the goal is to score a penalty kick. If you are successful, your partner has to run, but if they miss, the opponents would be forced to do the running.”[The running] wasn’t incredibly long, but it was hard enough that you didn’t want to [miss],” Duerst explains. “We need to challenge them by doing fitness and make them feel good about them accomplishing fitness, working hard and to build the mental toughness.”In a staple of Duerst’s practices, every drill or fitness test is timed, giving players an adequate flow from drill to drill. For the players, it makes them work harder and the practice as a whole to move quicker.”It’s nice that we can jump from drill to drill quickly,” junior Lauren Rudzinski says. “It makes the practices exciting and I think it prepares us for different transitionsin games, from offensive to defensive. It makes the whole practice seem faster.”Monday, Oct. 30Keeping with the normal routine of the season, Duerst gives the players the day off and locks himself in his office, going over notes, reviewing game video on Illinois and calling the Iowa head coach for some info on what worked when the Hawkeyes played Illinois.”I tried to find out what worked for them in their game,” Duerst says.It was also a day to set Wisconsin’s itinerary for the trip to Pennsylvania. In a program first, the soccer team decided to charter a flight to University Park for the tournament. By doing that, the Badgers can fly direct to Penn State and still be able to practice before they leave Wednesday.”[Chartering the flight is good] because it allows us time to practice,” Duerst said. “They are anxious to play and physically, it’s good to get out and knock the ball around … and emphasise having quick play and switching, which we’ll need to do well this weekend.”Duerst also decides to hold Tuesday’s practice inside the McClain Center in hopes of matching the type of field the Badgers will be playing on in the tournament.”That turf environment is much like Penn State’s field, short, sharp and [with] a really good roll to it,” Duerst says. “Some of our players were really able to strike the ball well off that turf. We’re going to get true bounces at Penn State and we want to replicate that field the best we can.”Tuesday, Oct. 31The women’s Halloween practice begins with some fun and games as all the players pose in their Halloween costumes. Duerst begins the practice with the goals of the day, working on tightening up spots and working on putting pressure on their opponents, something the Badgers failed to do the first time around against Illinois.To begin practice, the offense and the defense go through 20 minutes of stretching and ball-handling drills, getting the legs warm and reworking some skills. Meanwhile, the goalies are put through a rigorous drill by assistant head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt, a former All-American goalkeeper at Kalamazoo College. All three of Wisconsin’s goalies work on their hand-eye coordination, going from post to post and stopping one of Carlin-Voigt’s shots.The majority of Wisconsin’s practice is spent on a game Duerst calls the ‘Wing Game.’ The team is divided evenly, the field is shortened to 50 yards and two players from each team serve as safety outlets on each sideline. The object is simple: have the offense finish shots and the defense work on clearing the ball to boost quick transitions and quick play.This season, Wisconsin has struggled to put the ball in the net, which has been partially to blame for the inability to make the quick pass to a teammate. This drill enforces all those skills needed to score and stop teams.”It’s a drill that prepares us for game situations,” Rudzinski said. “Basically, we have our defenders working on clearances and our scorers working on getting the ball in the back of the net. It prepares the team as a whole, both offensively and defensively, for game-like situations.”Wednesday, Nov. 1The most hectic day for the traveling party as a whole, as the Badgers take the field for a quick one-hour practice and then board their charter flight. Starting at 12:30, the women take part in a scoring drill and some mild training, ending the day with shots on goal. Each player shoots 10-12 balls on goal for around five minutes to keep their legs under them.Throughout the week, Duerst decides to show some film to his players, but only in short segments. Since Illinois is similar to Northwestern, Duerst tells his players that their game against the Illini needs to be a carbon copy of their last game, with Wisconsin controlling the speed of play.”To the players in the past, we show them some film and some looks,” Duerst says. “This time, we thought they didn’t need to see Illinois because they have seen them so much. It’s good for the coaches to see and share the important information in what we feel is vital to the team with the players. We don’t want to build Illinois up … this is a revenge game and a game against a team … which we didn’t perform well against.”After a week of careful preparation and conditioning, the initial work is out of Duerst’s hands. After five days of giving his players a steady diet of drills that have allowed the players to play to their strengths and have some fun doing it, Wisconsin now focuses on winning the Big Ten tournament for the third time in school history and continuing to carry their momentum into the NCAA Tournament.”We have momentum and we focus on one game at a time, which was our experience last year as well,” Duerst says. “We have the experience of where it was a must-win situation. That experience can only help. Instead of being super nervous this year, they’re going to be confident. They really do want to beat Illinois and it is a must-win. We need to get some results if we want to get to the NCAAs and that all starts on Thursday.”last_img read more

The Point After: NFL should consider expansion to London

first_imgAs a Florida native, my love for the Ravens came first from family but second from watching the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed terrorize offenses on Sundays. The Londoners I met shared a similar story in which they were drawn to the familiarity of team sports like soccer or rugby but fell in love with the personalities and generational talents of American football. As a student in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, I was afforded the opportunity to spend my spring semester in London. As exciting as it is to travel the world and immerse myself in a culture vastly different from that of Southern California, I have still sought out ways to remain in touch with the beautiful sport of (American) football. The results have been nothing short of eye-opening. Featuring pre-game acts from the likes of Calvin Harris, Train and Ne-Yo, the series has scheduled at least one game in London every year since 2007, growing to as many as four games in 2016, with another four slated for 2019. By the end of next season, the Green Bay Packers will be the only team that hasn’t kicked off on the Queen’s turf, as the league has sought to not only showcase the game and league as a whole but also ensure that all franchises are given the opportunity to present themselves abroad. Most Sundays throughout the fall, millions of Americans like me crowd around our television sets around 1 p.m. EST and begin the three to eight-hour long odyssey of drama and intrigue, success and failure that occurs around the nation. Coming across the pond, I was truly expecting the worst. I assumed people would be completely incapable of understanding the game’s rules. As it turned out, I was wrong. Since the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins in a sleepy 13-10 game on a particularly rainy day at London’s Wembley Stadium in October 2007, the NFL has not just retained but expanded on a particular interest in bringing the sport and the NFL brand to audiences in the U.K. For the Ravens wild-card round playoff game against the Chargers, I decided to head to what was labeled as an “NFL” pub and found 30 people decked out in purple and blue jerseys. While the crowd certainly included a few Americans, I had the opportunity to talk to locals and understand how their fandom developed. In a lot of ways, the stories they shared weren’t all too different from mine. The NFL’s initiative to schedule games in the United Kingdom has yielded a passionate group of fans in London. (Photo from Twitter) Jimmy Goodman is a junior writing about current events in sports. His column, “The Point After,” runs every other Tuesday. As an American, I was initially rather skeptical of this seemingly unnecessary song and dance put on by the league. Not only did the International Series come off as, at best, a cheesy exhibition akin to the MLB opening seasons in Japan, it even struck me as an incredibly destructive force in a team’s schedule that often knocked two teams outside of playoff contention further off course. As a massive fan of the Baltimore Ravens, I was not happy when they were chosen to play in September 2017. After waking up at 6 a.m. PST for kickoff, I was even more upset when they lost 44-7, the largest margin of defeat in the franchise’s history.center_img While I was gladly able to enjoy my fall afternoons binging “Red Zone” and watching my fantasy football team ascend to the highest peaks, my experience with this year’s NFL Playoffs was far different than anything I had previously encountered. What this interest traces back to is often not exactly clear: Was it the high production quality of the game? The 81,000-plus screaming Europeans at Wembley? The 131-yard output from Giants running back and future Super Bowl champion Brandon Jacobs? Whatever it was, the League and Brits alike were intrigued by what they saw on that October afternoon. In the decade since, the NFL International Series has only grown in size, frequency and popularity. In recent years, the rhetoric coming from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggests that there is not only an interest in putting a football franchise in London, but that it is one of the league’s top priorities. Even walking around the city, it is obvious that the NFL has made a lasting impact on British sports fans. Whether it be the Jaguars, Seahawks, Eagles or even the lowly Buccaneers, locals have shown a serious interest in the sport. There is hardly anything more American in this world than the combination of wings, beer and football. Whether the NFL will find success in officially planting its flag in the British capital remains to be seen. The money, travel logistics and television rights certainly make it a more difficult venture than most. But if anything is certain, it’s that the fans in this city are ready for professional football. The most impressive aspect of British sports culture is the passion its fans have for teams and cities that are located thousands of miles away. Whether it’s rooted in their historical interest in soccer or attraction to the fast-paced, high-impact game of football, fans of all teams hark back to one unifying concept of fandom: loyalty. Through thick and thin (and fans of the six-time London host Jacksonville Jaguars have seen a lot of the latter over the past year), these fans remain absolute in their devotion to a single team. And sometime in the not-so-distant future, wings, beer and football may not be strictly American.last_img read more