Insight News

Dec 22nd


Nellie Stone Johnson kids are ready for a repeat

Nellie Stone Johnson kids are ready for a repeatThe boys from Nellie Stone School are getting ready to do it again.

Last year they were the state middle school champs and finished second in the country in the unrated (translate rookie) division of the United States Chess Federation national tournament . Two of the boys, Cheng Xiong and Ismael Mendez-Perez, finished fifth and sixth respectively in the country.

Everything was new to them last year. They had never played in a major tournament. Then math teacher Leif Neilsen brought together a combination of resources from throughout the twin cities and built a team. The YMCA, through their Beacons Program, provided transportation and a second coach. Minneapolis Chess, an area nonprofit, provided additional training and funding. The Castle Chess Club in Northeast Minneapolis provided one-on-one mentoring.

Accentuate the positive for Brewster and Childress

Accentuate the positive for Brewster and ChildressI’m not a fan of calling for a coaches’ heads. The coaching thing can be quite the tough gig. In football, whether college or professional, the coaching job description reads: Must be able to deal with big, biff, hardheaded young men. Now unfortunately for the NFL coaches, their hardheaded players get paid millions of dollars – which I understand has a deteriorating affect on the players’ ability to hear, or give a durn, what the coach is saying. As for the college football coaches, they have to simply deal with viral young men fresh out of their high school age nest. Either way, it ain’t easy on football coaches. And above the testosterone and money issues, is the fact that they have the largest teams (regarding # of players) in team sports.

Twins: Solid as a rock

Twins:  Solid as a rock
In jazz, they refer to a good tune or jam session as having “that thang” or “that swing”. I make it a point to watch sports teams and athletes for a winning demeanor. Demeanor can tell you a whole lot about who is going to win or lose a sports competition. I would imagine that a jazz musician would agree that when the music has that certain winning demeanor, then it has “that thang.” I suppose that as it applies to baseball, then it should be said that the Twins have “that swing.”

For years we’ve seen the big budget Bronx Bombers from the Big Apple, the Yankees, strut around with chemically enhanced chests, and indisputable folklore, seemingly winning games with their mere presence. When the Twins played the Yankees in recent playoff series, some sort of metaphor comparing the Twins to the little dog jumping over the big dog’s back saying, “Hey Butch!?!” over and over comes to mind. But seeing as the Twins do have championship hardware in their history, one has to imagine that somehow, someway, the Twins would be able to concoct a little upper Mississippi River magic on this side of Y2K.

Michael Vick is back

Michael Vick is backWell, well, well, if it isn’t Michael Vick

I always like to remind my three readers that I’m writing for the barbershop and beauty shop crowd, and coincidentally this is where the best conversations seem to go down.

Now most of the time I would physically smooth on down to my usual Fades of Gray, grab a seat, and get the pulse of the people (you gotta love that kind of field work).  However, for this go ‘round I can sit here at the computer and telepathically tell you with supreme certainty, like Ms. Cleo, exactly what 99.9% of the target market would say if asked “Should Michael Vick take over as quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles?” Here is a list of responses:  “Yeah, Fool!” “You saw what happened when he came in the game last week, didn’t you?” “Boy quit wastin’ my time, you know Vick is that deal.” “Ha, ha, ha, wheeeew! Man, I knew Vick was ‘bout to come out and…(insert 30 minutes of loud, grandiose gesturing and laughing about how fast and amazing Michael Vick is on the field, and how their cousin dated him back in the day). And lastly, “That Insight News sports dude was just talking about concussions, and that’s what the Eagles starting quarterback (Kevin Kolb) has, and that ain’t good.”

Reggie Bush has to give it up

Reggie Bush has to give it upSeeing as the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans are bringing their football fanfare to the Twin Cities, I’ll show a certain measure of support for the Gophers by calling out my favorite team (USC, that is), for some drama that hey have going on.

The Trojans have an array of current NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) sanctions that have been slapped on them for all the dirty business they had going on during their dynasty earlier this decade. Specifically, Reggie Bush and his family were pegged as having taken benefits from some raggedy sports management agency that is not even in business anymore. Just to refresh any rusty memories, Reggie Bush, now with the Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints, was one of the most amazing college football players of all-time during his years at USC from 2003-2005. The easiest comparison that came to my mind during those years of witnessing Bush’s greatness was to the highlights of former Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers. Sayers was the closest thing to poetry on a football field, and watching Bush seemed effortlessly on par with those highlights. I’m sure that those who witnessed Sayers in real time would have some greater elaboration to explain the difference between the two, but my tendency is to give a respectful bow to the original masters anyway. It was probably only the fact that Sayers played football for a basketball powerhouse, the University of Kansas, that prevented him from earning a Heisman Trophy himself (awarded to the best college football player of each given year since 1935).

Concussions, Sports, and Money: a bad cocktail

Concussions, Sports, and Money: a bad cocktailWith Minnesota Twins icon Justin Morneau suffering the lingering effects from a concussion since early July, and the head knocking football season at hand, it’s important that young athletes and their families learn about the effects of concussions. Whether football, hockey, basketball, soccer, baseball, and whatever, there are multiple ways to come across a concussion when athletes get to running around with scowls on their face, fighting for the extra inches that lead to victory. We celebrate these dangerous, but exhilarating, efforts with statements like “going the extra mile” and “sacrifice your body for the team”, but there is always another side to valor.

There is a growing problem of traumatic brain injuries in sports – or perhaps there is just greater testing and attention focused on these injuries – and the affects are both in the short-term and long-term. Former Minnesota Twin Cory Koskie, who suffered through troubles with concussions in his baseball career, described the experience as “exasperating.” Simple tasks like driving and reading become difficult. Short-term effects include: confusion, temporary amnesia, headaches, dizziness, ringing of the ears, nausea, slurred speech, and fatigue. One of the major difficulties with concussions is due to the very individual nature of its effects.

College Football Preview: Gophers deserve a break

College Football Preview: Gophers deserve a breakMinnesota sports. I tell ya. It’s a good thing that hope springs eternal and that new stadiums provide for lovely distractions to team results that leave fans yearning for much more. For all the people, and Gopher Alumni, that struggled through those years of watching ant fights in the Grand Canyon --a.k.a. Gopher football games in the Metrodome-- who gives a darn if the team is delivering Earth-shattering victories over some of the greatest college football programs in history.  It just feels good to see goofy kids and proud old folks able to take in the darn game like it’s supposed to be taken.

Getting some pancakes and coffee in the morning, and strolling to the Gopher game at TCF Bank Stadium on a crisp, but not cold Fall morning, might be my vote for the purest good time going for Minnesota sports fans.  Or maybe its just that college is a beautiful thing period. Kids, go to college. Adults, take a group of kids down to the game, even if you can’t get in. There’s just good stuff in the air down there for old and young to find some inspiration. Plus chicken wings at Big Ten restaurant, or Chinese food at Village Wok is worth the trip alone.
Page 16 of 31

Recent Comments

Powered by Disqus

Facebook Twitter RSS Image Map

Latest show

Business & Community Service Network