Evan Bergen-Epstein

National Women’s Soccer League Tries to Ride World Cup Momentum

nwsl carli lloyd megan rapinoe

Jess Fishlock leaped into the air. Her fist rose to the gray Seattle sky as rain poured down in sheets. A roar erupted from the Reign record 6,300 fans gathered at Memorial Stadium to celebrate the first goal of the match scored by the home side. This was the key moment when the balance shifted in the Reign’s National Women’s Soccer League match against the rival Portland Thorns on July 26, a 3-0 win for Seattle.

There has also been a positive shift in women’s soccer in the United States, especially following the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The final, in which the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Japan 5–2, attracted the largest television audience of any American soccer game in history (25.4 million viewers) and sparked enthusiasm for the women's game across the nation.

The eight-team NWSL, of which the Seattle Reign is a member, was founded in 2012 with the idea of creating a women's soccer league in the U.S. after two previous leagues folded shortly after their formation. 
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Smarty Pants: Ravens Offense Lineman John Urschel is a New Kind of Mathlete

  • From the Mag
  • Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • August 21, 2015, 12:48 PM

john urschel baltimore ravens

Imagine it's the first day of school. You're sitting in a classroom, your new math teacher walks in, and he's built like a tank: 6'3", 300-ish pounds, shaved head. He looks ready to crush a guy on the gridiron, not crunch numbers. Clearly this guy's in the wrong place, right?

That was Laura San Roman's experience a few years ago at Penn State. A math and computer science double major, she was waiting for the start of her Integral Vector Calculus class when Nittany Lions guard John Urschel took his place at the front of the room.

"I was like, What?! No way a football player could also be a math teacher," San Roman says. "But then someone asked him about football, and he said, 'I'm not a football player here. I'm your math teacher. That's what I do. I'm a mathematician, and I like to play football, but don't talk to me about that.'"

When he puts it that way, Urschel makes it sound as if his dual life is no big deal. But he's a rare breed, someone so good at athletics and academics that he succeeds at the highest levels of both.
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Fantasy Football 2015: Snake Draft Strategies

fantasy football 2015 snake draft

It is impossible to predict exactly how a draft will unfold. All the pre-draft prep in the world won’t help you if you don’t have contingency plans in place when the unforeseen happens. That’s why we lead our column on draft strategies every year with a discussion of the difference between strategies and tactics.

The word “strategy” derives from the Greek word strategos, referring to a military general. Put simply, strategy is the overarching plan and coordination of your resources to meet specific goals and objectives. It’s the plan of action put in place by said general. Tactics are used to implement that strategy via short-term decisions that further the long-term goal.

Famed military theorist Carl von Clausewitz wrote that “Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war.” Crudely re-purposing that for the fantasy world, tactics refer to the individual picks you make in a draft. Those picks should be governed by a set of carefully crafted strategies that guide your short-term decisions.

Below are the strategies that will set up the tactical decisions necessary to emerge from your draft with the best possible team.
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Will Foster

Previewing the 2015 Little League Baseball World Series

little league world series 2015 preview

In the end, last year’s Little League World Series was marred by scandal. A Chicago team that had captured the city’s heart on its way to a U.S. championship was later stripped of all its victories after rules violations were uncovered.

One can only hope that this year’s tournament, which begins Thursday afternoon in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, will be free of controversy. So far, at least, none have developed, and the focus has been on the hundreds of 11- through 13-year-olds who will take the field in the coming days. 

These young ballplayers make up 16 teams from 16 towns and cities in nine countries. A sampling: There are teams from Bonita, California; Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan; Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic; and Barquisimeto, Venezuela. The teams are All-Star squads, assembled a couple months ago from a city or town’s best players specifically to qualify for — and now play in — the Little League World Series. 

From Thursday until August 30, the five-round tournament will progress in a double-elimination bracket format that includes several consolation games. One side of the bracket is devoted entirely to the eight American teams; the other includes the eight international squads. The U.S. champion and international champion will meet in the overall championship game on the 30th. 
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Spare Time: Golden Tate and Brian Robison Know How to Reel 'em In

spare time fishing golden tate brian robison

TATE: My dad was a fisherman, and we would go to a lake in Tennessee with a box of worms or crickets and fish for blue gill, crappie, sunfish, or catfish. If they were big enough, we would cook them and have a fish fry. It started when I was five or six. After school on a Friday, my family would pick me up. The poles would already be hanging out the window, and we'd get a Happy Meal from McDonald's and go straight to the lake. That's if I had all happy faces on my weekly report at school.

ROBISON: By the time I was five or six I started realizing I was in love with it. My dad used to take me to the pond out back of our house in Texas, and I'd fish the ponds around the neighborhood or the creek at the bottom of the road. I loved everything about fishing.
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A-Rod Hits 25th Career Grand Slam

alex rodriguez new york yankees grand slam

The New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays are in a battle for the American League East. The Yankees are currently one game up on the Jays, and that’s thanks in large part to Alex Rodriguez.

Last night, down 4-1 to the Minnesota Twins in the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees looked listless. And when A-Rod came to the plate with the bases loaded, fans in the Bronx hoped for something, anything, to get the team going. But they weren’t holding their breathes. After setting the league on fire, hitting 24 home runs through July as the Yanks’ DH, Rodriguez had been held homerless in his last 72 at bats.

But that all changed on a 1-0 pitch. Rodriguez pounced on it, driving it to center field for a grand slam.  It put New York up 5-4, which led to the team earning a crucial win, 8-4.
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Skater Greg Lutzka Teams with Blast Motion on Action Sport Sensor

  • GearHead
  • Lauren Shute
  • August 18, 2015, 4:33 PM

greg lutzka blast motion

As a young skateboarder in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Greg Lutzka had to be creative to track his improvements on his deck. He often tried impromptu tricks and stacked skateboards to ollie over, using each new board as a measure of progress. 

Over the past 17 years, Lutzka has become a skater known for his work ethic, tactical skills, and professional success. He’s a two-time X Games gold medalist and the only person to win the Tampa Pro competition three times.

And he has finally found a reliable way to measure what he does on his board.
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