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    A look at the early history of the national basketball association

     

    For one to appreciate what he sees now, he must have a glimpse from the past. Here, we have gathered some data regarding the history of the National Basketball Association which became the symbol of Basketball. From the combined efforts of the National Basketball League and Basketball Association of America, NBA was given birth in 1949. While the American public was quite skeptic on the game, history proves that this later became the most well-loved game in history that its story is marked by hundred of events that led us here now. After World War II, American businesses boomed, more particularly the sports businesses. By this time, the only large-scale basketball league was the National Basketball League (NBL) in the mid-west. The various owners of the indoor sports businesses then congregated to form the Basketball Association of America. There were just 13 cities that were given franchises however, two backed-out from the national league, the Indianapolis and the Buffalo. The 11 left were the following: • Boston Celtics • New York Knickenbockers • Philadelphia Warriors • Providence Steamrollers • Toronto Huskies • Washington Gardens • Chicago Stags • Cleveland Rebels • Detroit Falcons • Pittsburgh Ironmen, and • St Louis Bombers While the new league was acknowledged in the cities, the take-off was still mediocre. Nevertheless, this debut league led to more popularity on the part of the National Basketball league as it was played in the larger cities. But everything was yet to unfold. The first and second season of the BBA met dramatic changes which led them towards the acquisition of 4 teams from the NBL. With a decrease of 48 from 60 games from the first season and the dropping out of four teams, the BBA was forced to import Baltimore Bullets from the American Basketball League, a regional basketball circuit to meet the balance between the 7 remaining teams. Apart from the loss of the four teams and the star George Mikan, NBL suffered a loss of public interest due to their failure to play in the cities that led them to their downfall in the 1948-1949 season. They packed up at the end of the season and dissolved. During this time, the National Basketball Association was formed. The six remaining teams from the NBL joined the BBA. Indianapolis Olympians joined the league and both Indianapolis Jets and Providence Steamrollers backed-out. This set of seventeen teams went on to commence the NBA as we know it today.

         
    A moving experience

     

    I’ve found a cool apartment! Okay, okay…so it’s not perfect. Just a few bugs. I mean literally! First expense? An exterminator! Is it worth the cash? Well, I can’t afford a more expensive place, so a one-time (please!) cash outlay should be okay. Maybe just a can of “Raid?” I need a way to move my stuff. Daddy, can I borrow your truck? You don’t have one? Why not? Do you want one? I’ll help you pick it out! Well, it was just a suggestion. No need to get all bent out of shape! I guess I’d better call the truck rental places. What do you mean…$200…PLUS mileage? AND Gas? Good grief! While I’m on the phone I’ll call the utility and phone companies. Yes, I know I haven’t used your services before. No, I don’t have a credit card; this is my first place. You want what? A $100 deposit? For EACH? Holy cow…do you people have a license to steal? Daddy, I need $500 for moving expenses! I used all my money for the first and last months rent AND the damage deposit. Well, how was I to know this was going to be so expensive? Sell something? Daaaaad…I NEED my TV! Boy, this place is pretty empty. Maybe I should buy a couch and a chair. Nah…I have my bed. That’ll be good enough. I don’t need a table; I’ll just use this box. Renters Insurance? I don’t think so! What do I have to insure? Just got my first phone call! I’d love to come to your party! Daddy, I need a car. Because it’s too far to walk to work, that’s why. Umm, Daddy…there’s car insurance too! Thanks, Dad…you’re the best! And gas? I didn’t think so… Time for dinner. Let’s look in these boxes. Oh, No! No dishes or pans. No FOOD! Uhhh, Mom?

         
    A new premier league season

     

    In the intervening period more than Ј350m has been spent as clubs desperate for success search for the winning formula. But for all the money that the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham have lavished on new faces, it is United and Chelsea who start the season once again as most people's favourites for the title. With Uefa Cup places also up for grabs and new boys Birmingham, Derby and Sunderland desperate to preserve their top-flight status it promises to be a fascinating season. And you can keep up to date with all the action on BBC Sport, including: Highlights on Match of the Day on Saturday evenings (repeated on Sunday mornings) and MOTD2 on Sunday evenings - this season broadcast simultaneously on the BBC Sport website (UK only). Features, news and updates on Football Focus and Score on BBC One every Saturday. Live match text commentary on the website and for mobiles plus all the scores and stats, news, previews, reports and reaction, as well as features, comment, photos and interaction online - including player rater. Live commentary on Radio Five Live, with reports from the ground at every Premier League game - plus a daily podcast every Sunday-Thursday. Live scores for every matchday on Ceefax and BBCi via your television. Our 606 website for your views, plus Tim Lovejoy, Alan Green and Spoony on the 606 phone-ins on Radio Five Live every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated his team's success last season by buying Nani, Anderson and Owen Hargreaves. And with the drawn-out Carlos Tevez saga finally coming to a close, Ferguson has certainly bolstered his squad as he goes in search of more silverware this season. Chelsea, in contrast, have had a relatively thrifty summer, with Lyon's Florent Malouda the only big-money arrival. But the arrival of Tal Ben Haim, Claudio Pizarro and Steve Sidwell on free transfers could be just as siginificant for a squad that struggled with injuries last season. Those problems have returned, with the likes of John Terry, Didier Drogba, Andrei Shevchenko, Michael Ballack and Wayne Bridge sidelined and several others doubtful for Chelsea's opener against Birmingham. Expectation will be high at Anfield after Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez spent the summer assembling a squad he believes is capable of challenging for the title. The likes of Andrey Voronin, Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun, Ryan Babel and Lucas Leiva have all arrived over the summer ahead of their opening game at Aston Villa on Saturday. Tottenham have again spent big and their fans will hope that it allows them to make the leap into the top four at the expense of an Arsenal team coming to terms with the departure of Thierry Henry. Fulham's Lawrie Sanchez, Bolton's Sammy Lee, Sunderland's Roy Keane, Derby's Billy Davies and Manchester City's Sven-Goran Eriksson start a season as Premier League managers for the first time. Eriksson's City remain an intriguing and unknown quantity with the former England coach having recently undertaken a spending spree in the region of Ј40m. City begin the campaign at West Ham, who have also been active in the transfer market, with Scott Parker, Freddie Ljungberg, Julien Flaubert and Craig Bellamy coming in, and Nigel Reo-Coker and Marlon Harewood going out. A new era starts at Newcastle under Sam Allardyce, while Aston Villa will expect greater consistency in Martin O'Neill's second season. Blackburn, Everton, Portsmouth and Reading all enjoyed successful seasons last time and face the difficult task of following those up with high expectations from their fans. Middlesbrough and Wigan will have aspirations of improving on last season. It all starts on Saturday, with Sunderland entertaining Tottenham in a 1245 BST kick-off.

         
    A nice billiard light can really dress up your pool room

     

    Are you looking for a billiard light? A nice light can put a nice touch of class in your pool - billiards room. The light in my pool room is custom made. My buddy made this light about 20 years back. The light is made out of wood and on one side it is carved out to say “2 Bad 4 U” and the other side reads “2 Hot 4 U”. I did not think of this. My friend put these phrases on my light and delivered it to me just like that. If you have a partying kind of pool room, you may want to go with one of those plastic fixtures like Budweiser or Coors makes. You can also find some cool plastic fixtures with billiards graphics on them. If your table is i a large and spacious room with nice furniture all through the house, you might consider brass or some kind of fancy fixture. Which ever way you go, remember to get the right size of light for your table and hang it low enough to make the table bright. I have a 4 foot florescent fixture in my custom made shade. These 2 4 foot bulbs light up my 7 foot Valley table nicely. I have seen some lights that even have the sliders on them for scoring your match. I would suggest doing some shopping on line before buying the first light that you see. There are many lights to choose from and chances are you will have your new light for a very long time. Taking a little extra time in picking out your billiard light can certainly be worth while. When looking for your new light, take note on how the light is turned off and on. I like the ones that turn on with one switch. I have seen lights with 3 or 4 individual bulbs and they all need to be turned on separately. (Kind of a pain in the neck) I hope this article helps you out a little while selecting A new light for your pool room or billiards parlor. Post your comments, questions and stories below. Get involved. To your run out success, Ted

         
    A practical beginners guide to choosing a bowling ball

     

    When you first start bowling, more often than not, you are never given any instructions on how to choose a bowling ball. It's not like playing a board game where all of the rules are nicely spelled out for you. When you first start bowling, knowing how to choose the right bowling ball can mean the difference between having a great experience and having a relatively frustrating experience. If you have chosen a good bowling ball, you will concentrate less on how the ball feels in your hand and more on proper bowling technique. Technique, for a beginner, is more important, to a certain extent, than the ball you are using. If you are new to bowling then you most likely do not have your own bowling ball. so, when you do bowl you will be stuck choosing your ball from those that are available at the bowling alley. Bowling balls provided by bowling alleys, known as house balls, do not have a reputation of being of the best quality. Looking for a house ball that perfectly suits you is similar to looking for the perfect pool que at the local pub. The perfect house ball simply does not exist. You are more likely to get close to perfection if you know what to look for in a good house ball. There are three things you should concentrate on when choosing a house ball; the balls weight, the balls grip, and the balls coverstock. Bowling balls range in weight from six pounds to sixteen pounds. The weight of the bowling ball that you choose for yourself should depend heavily on two factors; your strength and how well you can control the ball. Many beginners when choosing a bowling ball just pick it up and decide whether or not it is too heavy for them. To help determine the proper weight ball you should take a few practice shots with the ball. During the practice shots if you are straining to pull the ball back in your arm swing then the ball is too heavy. If you strain to pull the ball back in a controlled manner you will lower your shoulder, your elbow will pop out to the side, and your back will arch to the side of your bowling arm. This is natural body mechanics. But, straining in this way will throw off your bowling technique and ruin your game. By the same token, during your practice shots, if the ball feels if it has no weight to it then it is obviously too light. You would think that using a ball that is too light would not be a bad thing. But, using a ball that is too light becomes a control issue. Unless you are skilled and have a lot of physical control you will power through a bowling ball that is too light and overshoot the shot. A balls weight is important. But, it is not the most important aspect to choosing a good house ball. In my opinion, the grip of a house bowling ball is the most important aspect of choosing a bowling ball. If the holes of the bowling ball are too loose or too tight they will affect how you release the ball. How you release the ball is single most important factor in how well you can throw a bowling ball. Releasing a bowling ball is the last facet of control you have over the ball itself. After the ball is released, when it meets the lane, you no longer have any control over it. You will never find a perfectly drilled bowling ball. That is unless it was drilled specifically for you. Here are a few rules of thumb for determining a good grip. You should not have to grip the ball tightly through your bowling swing. When you start your swing the ball should rest easily on your thumb. As you work through the swing inertia should distribute the weight of the ball easily between your fingers and thumb. If on the down swing you have to grip the ball to hold on to it, then the holes are too big. If the holes pull at all on release then they are too small. The weight of the ball should stay evenly distributed, between the finger and thumb, through the entire swing. A final aspect you should keep in mind when choosing a bowling ball. Avoid balls with divots and nicks. Even if the are very small they will still affect the roll of the ball. Just like the bend of the pool que at the local pub. It can still be used but the outcome of the shot is unpredictable. I hope this little practical guide has shed some light on the different things you should consider when choosing a bowling ball the next time you are at the bowling alley.

         
    A preview of february s uk horse racing

     

    : Sandown opens the month on February 4 with an excellent card and another set of possible Cheltenham clues. In recent seasons the Agfa Diamond Chase has suffered through small and uncompetitive fields but that worrying trend has started to change of late and this year’s renewal is sure to be a competitive one. Alan King’s tough stayer Fork Lightning may well be among the entries for the ‘Agfa’, and given his preference for racing right-handed and his fine run behind Joaaci in a strong heat last time, he is likely to be among the more fancied runners. Some of the season’s smarter novice chasers will be in action in Sandown’s Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase, a contest that was won last year by Henrietta Knight’s El Vaquero and it’ll be interesting to see whether Ms Knight decides to let her rising chase star Racing Demon take his place in the select field. Over at Wetherby on the same day the staying novices strut their stuff in the Grade 2 Totty Construction Towton Novices’ Chase where the accent is firmly upon stamina in what is always a gruelling contest. Northern trainer Sue Smith won this race a couple of years ago with smart stayer Royal Emperor and may have another similar candidate in Rebel Rhythm, who has already won a novices’ event around the West Yorkshire track. A week later sees Newbury stage the totesport Trophy Handicap Hurdle, Europe’s richest handicap over timber, on February 11. On a day of cracking action the pulsating two-mile contest takes pride of place and is always won by a good horse. Finding the winner is never easy but the bookmakers seems to think that Martin Pipe’s talented novice Acambo is the one to beat and he heads the ante-post market with most firms. Pipe has won the race a couple of times in recent years courtesy of Copeland (2002) and Make A Stand (1997) and Acambo is sure to figure highly in Pipe’s plans for Newbury. Local handler, Nicky Henderson, has also been a trainer to watch out for in this valuable event, saddling no less than four of the last ten winners and the stable’s main hope in 2006 looks to be Grand Jete, a one-time Champion Hurdle hope who looked like winning at Aintree last April until he went lame approaching the last. Twelve months ago Ireland’s Essex justified favouritism to give the Emerald Isle its second winner in three seasons. One year later there’s a strong Irish challenge once again with the Jessica Harrington-trained Studmaster bidding to follow Essex’s footsteps by winning at Newbury after landing Ireland’s prestigious Pierse Hurdle one month earlier.

    Significantly, Mrs Harrington landed this valuable pot with Spirit Leader in 2003. Top weights boast a good record too and Irish trainer John Queally believes his stable star Al Eile will go close to winning the totesport Trophy off 11st 12lb. Queally’s gelding didn’t hurt his Newbury chances by winning at Haydock the other day because he incurs no penalty for that success and has to be on any one’s short-list. The same is true of the Venetia Williams-trained Chief Yeoman, who looks terrific value at 14-1 with most bookmakers. Connections have been pleased with his two runs so far and he has been aimed at this race since returning to action behind Acambo at Windsor before Christmas.

    Expect hi to step up on what he’s done so far this season. The main attraction on Newbury’s supporting card is the Game Spirit Chase, a two mile and a furlong conditions chase that is often used as a final preparatory race by trainers for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. This year’s race is likely to be won by the current Queen Mother favourite Kauto Star, who will be using the Newbury event as a stepping-stone to Festival glory. Over at Warwick course specialist Voy Por Ustedes will be treading a similar path as he bids to earn a place in the Arkle Trophy line-up at the Festival by running well in the coralpoker Kingmaker Chase at Warwick on the same day. On the following weekend – February 18 – all eyes will be on Champion Hurdle aspirants in the Axminster Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton. Trainer Alan King may well let Penzance, his Triumph Hurdle hero of 2005, take his place in the line-up at the West Country venue after a series of disappointing efforts so far this season. Who knows, maybe even the elusive Lingo will return to action for Jonjo O’Neill. He won easier than most horses do at Cheltenham in November and following good support for the Champion Hurdle in March would be a fascinating runner. Up at Haydock on the same day Grand National hopefuls will go on trial in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup, a punishing test of stamina over Haydock’s big drop fences in a contest that has sometimes exerted a strong influence upon the outcome of the world’s most famous race at Aintree in April. Trainer Ginger McCain, a four-time winner of the Grand National courtesy of Red Rum and Amberleigh House, looks to have another leading Grand National candidate in the guise of Ebony Light, a surprise winner of January’s Peter Marsh Chase from the joint Gold Cup favourite, Kingscliff. McCain plans to run Ebony Light in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup before going to Aintree for a crack at the Grand National. The best of February’s action closes on the weekend of February 25 with Racing Post Handicap Chase day at Sandown Park. The betting is often a strong guide to the outcome of this classiest of chases and well-fancied runners boast a good record. Take note too of the winner and placed horses because this influential contest has frequently yielded a winner or two at next month’s Cheltenham Festival. Among the more potent contenders this season are likely to be the well treated Ladalko, who has been talked about as a possible for this prize by his trainer, Paul Nicholls, and Lacdoudal from the Philip Hobbs stable that has sent out three winners of this race in recent years. On the same day at Newcastle there’s the four mile and a furlong Tote Northern National, a marathon chase in which shock winners are a rarity. Stamina is of the essence here and the locally-trained Ossmoses, who relishes racing over long-distances and has long looked a natural for this race and will be a name to note among the entries later in the month.

         
    A preview of july s uk horse racing

     

    The quirks of the racing calendar have nudged Newcastle’s Northumberland Plate into the first day of July and there cannot be a better way to begin the month’s racing. Few staying handicaps are as fiercely contested as the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’ and this year’s race is no exception to that familiar rule. Anyone thinking of having a bet in this grueling two-mile contest needs to pay strict attention to the draw. Year after year horses drawn high race wide at Gosforth Park struggling to secure a prominent early pitch with the result that they are forced to sit and wait at the back of the field while the race unfolds up front. More often than not, the die has been cast by the time a high drawn horse is able to make its belated challenge. Older horses too tend to rule the roost these days and the times when progressive three-year-olds were able to annex this valuable prize have long gone. The doughty Archduke Ferdinand was the last of the younger generation to win the Plate in 2001 and remarkably, there are no representatives from this age-group in this year’s renewal. Good recent form is an obvious plus in a race of this nature and Richard Fahey’s Greenwich Meantime and Amanda Perrett’s Bulwark are two talented sorts that rise swiftly to the surface when studying the entries for this year’s race. The former is on quite a hot roll at present for his canny trainer and might well be the one they all to beat in 2006. Over at The Curragh on July 2 there’s the weighty matter of the Irish Derby to consider though this year’s renewal is already suffering from a bad case of the absentee blues with Epsom Derby winner Sir Percy and unlucky-in-running third Hala Bek both forced to miss the race through injury and the 2006 renewal already looks a below-par affair. Both Dylan Thomas and Dragon Dancer, the fourth and second respectively at Epsom, are set to fly the flag for the Derby form and this useful pair should come toe-to-toe with Darsi, a surprise winner of a typically open French Derby at Chantilly last month. The performances of the French three-year-olds’ at pattern level in Britain has left a lot to be desired this season, and it would be no surprise to see them failing once again. Classic form is essential on any potential winner’s c. v and perhaps this year’s Irish Derby winner can be found within the ranks of the Epsom Classic. The Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 8 is famous for its traditional clash between the older and younger generations. The latter age group receives a chunky 10lb weight-for-age allowance and in sixteen runnings of this Group 1 race since1990, the three-year-olds have managed six victories while five four-year-olds have triumphed alongside five five-year-olds. Honours, then, are even across the age groups. The loss of Sir Percy through injury has probably sunk the three-year-old challenge below the water and it would raise few eyebrows to see an older horse come out on top. The Godolphin stable continues to stutter at the top level and for David Junior, a bitter Royal Ascot disappointment behind Ouija Board, this is a chance to atone for his recent defeat though if the latter lines-up again after her Ascot heroics he may have to settle for a supporting role once more. On the same day as the Coral Eclipse, Haydock hosts the Lancashire Oaks which is often won by a late developing filly, a category into which Luca Cumani’s talented Princess Nada fits very snugly. She is one to watch out for when the entries are published. Punters should pay close attention to the running of the Old Newton Cup at Haydock, another race in which Cumani holds a terrific record having landed the last two renewals courtesy of Alkaased and Zeitgeist. Scan the entries for his hat-trick seeking runner who may well be the rejuvenated Soulacroix. Newmarket’s three-day July meeting dominates the middle of the month and the opening day should see a back-to-form Soviet Song land her third Falmouth Stakes on July 12. She is sure to be a cut above the opposition while on the same card the juvenile fillies do battle in the Cherry Hinton Stakes and the Queen Mary Stakes winner Gilded may be hard to beat. On the second day of the July meeting Hoh Mike, who was poorly ridden by Jamie Spencer when runner-up at Royal Ascot, bids to go one better in the July Stakes while the Willie Muir-trained Enforcer seeks to improve upon his Hardwicke Stakes third in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes. Watch out here for any runner from Sir Michael Stoute’s stable. On July 14 the final day of the eponymously-titled meeting, there’s the small matter of the Bunbury Cup, a highly competitive seven furlongs handicap. James Fanshawe is poised to bid for compensation with Polar Magic, a runner-up last year to the evergreen and mercurial Mine while Ian Semple is seeking to improve upon his Royal Ascot second in similarly competitive handicap with the plucky and consistent Appalachian Trail. Ed Dunlop’s Britannia runner-up Easy Air would be an intriguing contender too hailing from stable that has suffered a hatful of near-misses in the race in recent seasons. The six-furlong Group 1 July Cup is the meeting’s highlight on July 14 and recent results have shown just how volatile a medium the top sprinters can be for backers with winners at 25-1, 12-1, 14-1 and 50-1. A 33-1 winner of the Golden Jubilee rubbed further salt into punters’ wounds at Royal Ascot and in my view betting on so-called top drawer sprinters is something of a mug’s game. Inevitably a good run in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot as well as a bold showing in the King’s Stand Stakes from that same meeting is often a pointer to July Cup success but fathoming just which horses are likely to run well from those races is a difficult business. Perhaps Moss Vale can shine providing he’s a sharper starter than his slow-coach self at Royal Ascot. York’s John Smith’s Cup On July 15 is one of the best ten-furlong handicaps of the whole season and remains ultra-competitive. Once again the three-year-old generation has found it difficult to scrape a place in the line-up and older horses are preferred. Trainer John Gosden’s three placed efforts from as many runners in recent seasons bodes well for the chances of his stable’s Wild Savannah, a good second at Royal Ascot on his latest start. Newbury stages the Weatherbys Super Sprint on July 22 and the unmistakable message for punters is to pay close attention to any horse saddled by Richard Hannon, who has won this two-year-old contest on no less than six occasions with three of his winners coming in the last four seasons. July’s racing comes to a close with the fabulous King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Britain’s premier all-aged middle-distance event. This year’s renewal had looked like a shoo-in for Hurricane Run but his defeat in France last time opens the race up and Japanese challenger, the late-developing, Heart’s Cry, Sir Michael Stoute’s progressive Mountain High and Godolphin hotpot Electrocutionist, seem sure to have a big say in the race’s outcome. As for the three-year-olds, well, they are a dying breed in this race with only four horses from that age group bothering to contest the prize in the past four seasons.

         
    A preview of may s uk horse racing

     

    May ushers in the first Classics of the current turf Flat season, beginning with the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6. All eyes will be upon the short-priced favourite George Washington as he bids to bring trainer Aidan O’Brien back-to-back victories in the colts’ Classic following Footstepsinthesands smart success twelve months ago. In recent years the 2,000 Guineas has been the personal preserve of the Flat’s big battalions with Sir Michael Stoute, Saeed Bin Suroor and Aidan O’Brien dominating the race year after year with a succession of expensive blue-bloods. This time around it’s the tight-lipped O’Brien who seems to hold all the aces courtesy of the aforementioned George Washington, a brilliant, if at times temperamental, colt who swept all before him as a juvenile and sets out this season to prove he’s not just a two-year-old wonder but can mix it with the best and come out on top as a three-year-old. Only Barry Hills and Dermot Weld have broken the big boys’ monopoly of the 2,000 and this year it’s Marcus Tregoning who has been cast in the role of party-pooper as he bids interrupt the top guns by training Sir Percy to land the opening Classic. Regarded as the best horse that he’s ever trained by his astute handler, last season’s Dewhurst winner is sure to go close in a race that will be run to suit his talents. On the same day Newmarket stages the Palace House Stakes, a Group 3 for up-and-coming sprinters and the fast-improving Reverence well be an interesting runner while over at Haydock, the jumps stages a last hurrah with the valuable William Hill Swinton Handicap Hurdle, and Philip Hobbs could hold a strong hand here courtesy of Wellbeing and Motorway, two progressive and late-blossoming timber-toppers. On Sunday May 7, it’s the fillies’ turn to strut their stuff in the 1,000 Guineas where Gololphin’s Silca’s Sister, Ballydoyle’s Rumplestiltskin and Race For the Stars will do battle with John Gosden’s Nanina for the fillies’ Blue Riband. On the same day Breeders’ Cup hero Shirocco is likely to come up against Sir Michael Stoute’s late-developer Hard Top and the evergreen John Porter winner, Mubtaker, in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket. Spring gallop s reports have singled out the Stoute horse for top honours. Chester’s prestigious three-day meeting follows hot on the heels of Newmarket and the Derby hopefuls will be on show in the MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase (May 11), with the fillies taking centre stage in the Weatherbys Bank Cheshire Oaks on May 10. Barry Hills has a superb record on this turning track and any horse he runs in the previous two races will be worth close inspection. On Wednesday May 10 the totesport Chester Cup is the meeting’s big betting race and recent Newmarket winner Mikao set down an early marker for this big staying prize. Four-year-olds often run well here and trainer Barry Hills boasts an excellent record. Friday, May 12, closes the Chester meeting and the feature race for the older horses is the Blue Square Ormonde Stakes landed last year by Day Flight. The run of Classic trials continues at Lingfield on May 13 with the Letheby and Christopher Derby Trial and the totesport Oaks Trials respectively for the real things at Epsom the following month. It isn’t just the Classic colts and fillies that are in the firing-line at Lingfield because the Surrey course also stages the totesport Victoria Cup, a closely fought and always influential 7f handicap that frequently throws up a Royal Ascot winner or two. Over in France the following day, May 14, the European Flat season raises the volume with the Poule de’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) and the Poulai d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas) on the same card at Longchamp. Ballydoyle and Godolphin have begun to target these two important races in recent seasons and their runners should be respected, but Criquette Head-Maarek’s Quiet Royale will be fancied for the ‘Pouliches’ after a satisfactory spin in second at Longchmap the other day. Flat racing’s domestic caravan rolls on to York for their three-day Dante meeting and the potential Oaks fillies will run in the Musidora Stakes on May 17, the meeting’s opening salvo which is now a Wednesday on account of the fixture moving forward by a single day. On May 18 the Derby hopefuls will run in the Dante Stakes and it’s worth recalling that in recent times, North Light and Motivator, the last two winners of this race, have gone on to glory at Epsom in just over three weeks’ time, while looking a little further back in the race’s illustrious history, it’s worth noting that Shahrastani, Reference point, Erhaab and Benny The Dip all went on from the Dante to Derby success. This mile and a quarter Group 2 contest has clearly become a key Classic trial in recent seasons and mustn’t be missed. There’s sure to be a host of top-class performers in contention on the Knavesmire and Sir Michael Stoute has the best contemporary Dante record with two winners and three placed horses. On the same day as the Dante keep a close eye upon the outcome of the Hambleton Stakes, a valuable mile handicap that has a habit of throwing up the winner of the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot the following month especially if the Hambleton winner is trained by Sir Michael Stoute. The final day of the Dante meeting sees the stayers take centre stage in the Yorkshire Cup, a useful pointer to the rest of the campaign’s leading staying races. Alan Swinbank’s stable star Collier Hill, a winner of the Irish St Leger last season, is a likely runner and may well be capable of surprising more fancied horses. On May 20 it’s the turn of the season’s crack milers to unleash their firepower in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and this has been a good race for Saeed Bin Suroor and the boys in blue in recent seasons, and it would be no surprise to see them land this Group1 event with Proclamation, who is surely heading for the top after joining Godolphin on the back of a brilliant three-year-old season. In France the following day Longchamp’s Prix d’Ispahan always draws the top mile and mile and a quarter horses and this a race that mustn’t be missed as a key pointer to some of the season’s top races over this classic ten furlongs. The month of May rounds off with the Irish 2,000 Guineas on May 27 followed by the Irish 1,000 Guineas on the following day. Both these valuable races tend to go to horses that have raced in the equivalent events at Newmarket and inevitably British trainers hold an excellent record in both races. Finally, Sandown’s two-day fixture at the very end of the month is always informative with the Henry 11 Stakes for top-notch staying horses on May 29 followed on May 30 by the Temple Stakes for sprinters over the minimum trip and the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes in which trainer Sir Michael Stoute boats a useful record. Any runner from his yard should be noted carefully.

         
    A primer for the best snowboarding boots

     

    The snowboarding boots are the most important equipment in the sport. The boots serve as your connection to the snowboard itself; without a secured and comfortable link to your board, you can be exposed to all sorts of accidents and the chance of enjoying snowboarding is jeopardized. Therefore, choosing the right snowboarding boots for you is of utmost importance if you ever want that peak performance in this extreme sport. In buying your snowboarding boots, you might deal with making a choice between a step-in and a strap-on snowboarding boot. Step-in boots have convenient mechanisms that lock your footing onto the snowboard. Strap-on boots, on the other hand, bind your footing onto the snowboard by using straps and are the classic and standard ones. But no matter which type of snowboarding boots you plan to buy and irrespective of the amount of money you are willing to spend for your boots, the most important factor in choosing your snowboarding boots is the manner in which your feet fits inside them. Your snowboarding boots, unlike ordinary shoes, should last for a long time and therefore you have to choose what you think is the best and most comfortable pair for you. Choosing the best pair of boots for you can be a challenge in itself. But the improved performance and the unparalleled experience of a perfect slide down snowy slopes is well worth your efforts to find the most comfortable snowboard boots that will meet your snowboarding needs. Read on for the inside story of finding the perfect pair of snowboarding boots. Listen To Yourself And Yourself Alone So what if your friend has an expensive pair of professional grade snowboarding boots? When you are buying boots avoid being influenced by other snowboarders' choices. Most snowboarding boots look great on the outside but can be heavy and downright painful to wear; so never sacrifice comfort by going with what your friends like and tell you to buy. Your feet are unique and you alone can decide the kind of snowboarding boots that will work for you best. Do Not Rush Looking for the perfect snowboarding boots for you can take a chunk of your precious time. Avoid committing the folly of rushing thru your shopping for boots. Unlike ordinary footwear that can embody the form of your feet over time, snowboarding boots do not easily and conveniently mold into the unique shape of your feet. So you need to set aside ample time in choosing your boots before making the purchase. Try out every pair for sizes. It is also a good practice to try the boots wearing the socks that you will use in snowboarding. If you found a pair that you think fits, try walking around in it. If they still feel comfortable after leaving the boots on for a few minutes, then you may have found your snowboarding boots. Resist The Urge To Buy Bigger Boots The problem with snowboarding boots is that they are harder and they seem inflexible unlike ordinary leather shoes. So some people tend to buy snowboarding boots that are a little oversized to give more room for the feet. Oversized boots can cause injuries like sprains and even bone fractures. If your snowboarding boots are oversized, try wearing thick socks to compensate for too much space inside your boots. In buying snowboarding boots, always put in mind that comfort, while foremost on your list, should not eliminate your control and stability on the snowboard. These factors should be balanced in order for you to have safe and unforgettable snowboarding.

         
    A short and snappy history of bowling

     

    As the most popular sport during the reign of King Henry VIII of England, bowling is still one of the most popular sports in the world. Over 100 million bowlers from nearly 90 countries participate in the sport. The popularity of bowling has been traced back many years and the game has contributed benefits to many people world wide. The memoirs of bowling start in 5200 B. C. when some archeologists unearthed ancient forms of bowling pins and balls in the crypt of a child with Egyptian lineage. This discovery proves that Egyptians were the earliest bowlers in the world. From that time on, bowling has taken many forms, using different pins and balls and played for different purposes. For instance, during 200 A. D., it has been recorded that Germans were fond of festivities and "village dances" and that among their ancient rituals was a game that resembles bowling today. In this particular German game, Germans rolled or threw rocks or stones at nine clubs that were made of wood. These clubs are known as "kegles", and that is why Germans who played this type of bowling were known as "keglers" and not bowlers. After so many years of struggle for recognition, bowling was finally recognized in England as a form of sport during the 1100s. From that time on, the popularity of bowling created an epidemic-like influence, infecting millions of people. King Edward III even prohibited the game so that his knights would focus their attention on the "archery practices" instead of rolling the balls. By the 17th century, when the United States was still a colony, bowling was introduced in the area. The "Dutch" colonists brought this remarkable game to the Americans. They introduced a game of nine pins that are placed in a triangular formation, hence, the name "Dutch pins". As the nine pins or the "Dutch" pins strived to claim fame, the state of Connecticut banned the playing of "nine-pin" bowling because some unscrupulous people used the game as a means for their gambling activities. Connecticut then added an additional pin to the game, creating 10-pin bowling. This was the start of a new form of recreation as bowling continued to proliferate in the society. With this additional pin, this new form of bowling had definitely hit "the mark" and now many people all over the world continue to patronize the game. With almost 50 million Americans playing the game, bowling is considered one of the most popular and pleasurable sports in the U. S.

         
     
         
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