Categoría: camisetas de futbol baratas niños

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Joe Taylor: Horse Trainer, Punter and Gentleman

Joe Taylor was born in Sydney in 1908 to Edmund Barton Taylor, who earned his keep as a hotel cellarman, and Norah Catherine Killalea.

Taylor first took up boxing as a young man, played Rugby league, and filled in as a bill poster before advancing to management of boxers and Rugby League teams.

In 1932, he married Edith Anne May Johnson at St. Pius’s Catholic Church in Enmore. That union persisted for 8 years, producing a son prior to a divorce in 1944. If asked at this stage, he would claim the occupations of bookmaker and shipwright.

Less than a month after, he married again to Elizabeth Watson. That lady produced two daughters before she died and left Taylor a widower.

Taylor’s passion in life was gambling and those early years often saw him leaving his wages for the week at the track.

The period of WWII had Taylor involved with Thommo’s two-up school, essentially a series of illegal card games that was initiated by George Guest in 1910 and operated for many years in Sydney. Taylor supplemented this with some baccarat schools.

Taylor brought Rose’s Restaurant back to life in 1949, christening it the Celebrity Restaurant Club. It was wildly popular with the racing set, especially during the 50s and 60s, and featured top shelf entertainment imported from, among other places, America.

In 1954, he expanded by opening the Carlisle Club in Kings Cross which also proved a hit. History states that there were illicit gaming facilities on the premises of his clubs, but a sanguine perspective would offer that this was just a case of a business trying to please its clientele. That same year, he assumed control of Thommo’s following the death of George Guest.

As a punter, Taylor wagered with everyone’s favourite commodity: Cash. He used his employees as agents to place his bets, and enjoyed substantial success on his own horses to the extent that other bookies opened his horses lower. This did not prevent Taylor from turning a profit, however, and Taylor was his own man when the subject of buying horses arose.

Trainers of note that prepped Taylor’s horses for him were Reg Farris, senior and junior, as well as Albert Woods and Kevin Hayes.

Taylor gambled at cards and wagered on the dish lickers as well. He was considered a “magnificent, if unflamboyant,” gambler, and had the unique attitude that “money is nothing but betting ammunition,” and was more a source of pleasure than an end to itself. Big Bill Waterhouse is quoted as saying Taylor was “one of the few men in the world who completely doesn’t give a damn about money.”

Nowhere was this attitude more apparent than on the day that Taylor experienced his greatest racing triumph, a 1962 STC Golden Slipper Stakes win for his horse Birthday Card. He is reputed to have given most of his winnings, thousands in fact, to his mates, and lost the rest when another of his horses finished dead last in the last race of the day.

A modern day Robin Hood such as Taylor is often known by the company he keeps and Taylor enjoyed some notoriety via his association with personalities such as Jack Davey and State premier Sir Robert Askin. He was also associated with Ezra Norton, publisher of the Sydney Daily Mirror and owner of the 1957 Melbourne Cup winner Straight Draw.

Less savory, perhaps, acquaintances included confederates from the illegal gambling community, namely Len McPherson, Fred Anderson and Perce Galea.

Taylor seemed also to possess connections with the law enforcement establishment because police raids designed to topple the illegal gambling operations never quite seemed effective in closing the shop.

In 1971, at the age of 63 Taylor married for a third time, marrying a 46-year-old secretary, Patricia Moffit, listing his occupation as restaurateur. Five years later, he died from a heart attack. He is survived by the son from his first marriage and the daughters from his second.

Taylor’s legacy to the sport of punting will forever be that he knew his horses, honoured his debts, dealt in cash, and most importantly, did it with grand style and few enemies.

How To Raise Finance For Your Property Investment

Raising Finance

There are many ways of investing in property, even if you don’t have any money. Lease options and Rent to Rent are two very popular strategies. You can create a lot of cash flow by packaging and sourcing deals for other investors for a fee. However, it doesn’t mean that if you don’t have money, you can’t invest in multi-million pound projects such as developments, commercial conversions or normal BTL properties worth a lot of money.

There are people out there who are waiting with their cash to invest in your deals instead of having their money in their bank where they’re unlikely to get much return. Money loses value every single day and after paying taxes, they may just break even or make a loss. That is why they look for new opportunities. Some of those people are cash rich and time poor, meaning they don’t have the time to find deals. These investors are looking for people like you to find and negotiate deals so they can finance it and share a profit with you. You need to start hanging around with these sorts of people; tell them what you do and build a relationship with them at the networking events, exchange business cards and after the event follow up with everyone the next day via email. You can say things like: “Hi Mr Smith, it was a pleasure to meet you at the property networking event yesterday. It would be great to meet up with you to discuss further business opportunities. Please let me know when you’d be free to meet up.” Or you can say things like “There is no free lunch, but there is when I am in town.” It all depends on who you deal with. This is just a simple example. If you are good at writing emails you can develop it, but try to keep it short and to the point. Remember: dress to impress; you can never get a second chance at a first impression. Who you hang around with is who you become and your network is your net worth. If you told us how much five of your friends made annually we could predict your salary.

We will name a few places and products where you can raise money for your property investments. Even if you have a lot of money and you start investing, you will eventually run out of money one day. That is why it’s very important to raise finances and use other people’s money instead of your own. All successful people do the same – they don’t use their own money.

Joint Venture (JV)

This is a very good way of building your property portfolio quickly with minimal risk and no capital required. JV partners could be people who you meet at networking events. Some have a lot of time and will bring you good deals, whereas others are very busy but have a lot of cash to invest. If you are working with private investors they will have business experience that can help you. This will be very beneficial when analysing deals, legal issues, profit and loss etc. It is much easier and quicker to build a property business with partners than by yourself. Before entering in any JV agreement, make sure you do your due diligence on the person you are dealing with and consult with your solicitor. JVing with other people has positives and negatives so you need to analyse it before you enter such an agreement.

For a joint venture to work, you need to choose the right partners; each partner needs to bring something different to the partnership. It’s important to have clear documents that outline how the partnership will work so you know who is responsible for what. You need to be honest and open with each other.

I (Damian) experienced bad partnerships many times and lost a lot of money in business but it wasn’t their fault – it was mine. You need to take responsibility for yourself. If I had done enough due diligence on the people I was partnering with I would never have gone ahead with the deal. But I am happy that it happened as it was a good lesson and I will never make the same mistake again. It takes time to find good partners and you might be lucky and find a good one in the first place. Remember there is a golden rule in business: trust but verify! I have done many good deals with my current business partners and it would never have happened if I didn’t go to networking events. Shane and I travelled all the way from London to Florida just to network and meet new people who we can do business with. That is called sacrifice; we do whatever it takes. Do today what others don’t, to have a tomorrow that others won’t.

You can also JV with your friends and family; you provide the deal and knowledge whilst they bring the money required. Once the work is done, you share the profit 50/50. There are many different ways of structuring JV deals. For example, there might be people who are not interested in monthly income but investing money for capital appreciation. So instead of sharing the profit 50/50, you take the cash flow every month and they take the equity. The amount the house appreciates in value will benefit your JV partner, but make sure you have an exit strategy in place so you don’t have situations where they want to sell the property but you want to keep it.

Remember that 50% of the deal financed by a JV partner is better than 100% of nothing.

Crowd Funding

Crowd funding is getting more and more popular. There are a lot people with a good business plan and models but with limited finances. Raising money from banks is difficult and bridging is expensive. Many investors look for opportunities where they invest their money for a share in a company or project in return. It is very common in this day and age to start big developing projects where there are few investors that fund the project together to build apartments, and once it is sold they share a profit equivalent to the proportion of the money invested. In some crowd funding projects, anyone can invest money and get, for example, a 10% return on their investment. Quite often there are hundreds of people investing in one project. This is an extremely powerful strategy and it’s now even used to raise money for start-up businesses and movies.

Credit Cards, Loans and Overdrafts

When we started our property journey we had no money and a lot of debt. Our favourite source of investment at the time was credit cards and overdrafts as we didn’t know many people who we could raise the money from. Most of our credit cards were maxed out, so we had to increase our credit limits. Our first property investments came from none of our own money! When you have no money you must start thinking outside the box as you have little choice. These tips came from our mentors, they showed us how to do it and what to say when talking to the banks as this is very important. If you tell your bank that you need money to invest in property then you can forget about them agreeing.

From being broke, we both achieved financial freedom in just one year of investing in property. It all came from knowledge that we acquired from our mentors, books and creativity, so we managed to crush the myth that you need money in order to make money! If you want to master the property game, you need to have the knowledge to be creative. That is how winning is done. Most of the multi-millionaires and billionaires are self-made; they started from zero or debt, so anything is possible. You just have to believe it, set up a plan on what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there; for your dreams to come true you first have to wake up! You can have anything you want in life, you just have to be hungry and believe that you can have it.

Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa) is a great example of a self-made millionaire. He started from humble beginnings – he was evicted from his apartment and was homeless for a while. In March 1975 Stallone saw Muhammad Ali fighting against Chuck Wepner. After that fight, he went home and started writing a script, taking inspiration from both the fight and the autobiography of Rocky Graziano to start writing Rocky Balboa. Stallone attempted to sell his script to multiple studios with the intention of playing the main role in the movie. Although receiving enormous amounts of rejections, which went on for several months, he never gave up. He was finally offered $350,000 just for the rights to the script without him playing in the movie. He refused to sell it unless he could play the main character, so after a substantial budget cut to compromise the producers agreed to have him as a star, and the rest is history. He could have just taken the $350,000 which for him at that time was a lot of money, but if he did he wouldn’t be where he is today. That shows determination. There was a time in his life where he had to sell his dog for $50 because he didn’t have any money to feed him; after his success with the Rocky Balboa script, he bought his dog back for $15,000.

Angel Investors

There are a lot of places to go where angel investors spend their time. All you need to do is search on the internet for the closest one to your area. Millionaires and billionaires come to these places and look for people with great ideas for a new business where they can invest their money for a share in the company in return. More importantly, not only will they invest, but they will also give you all the support you need, which is priceless. They usually have their own power team that has expert knowledge in marketing, branding and selling. Of course, you must know everything about the business and have a great pitch that will attract the investors to persuade them to invest in your company or project.

You need to make sure you know your numbers; know everything about your competition, if there is any, and have a great unique selling proposition (USP). Having a mentor that has already achieved what you want to achieve is precious! I (Damian) have invested and started many companies before property investing. I invested all the money I saved from my part-time jobs and I lost it as well as getting myself into debt. The main reason I failed in both businesses was because I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no guidance or a mentor to tell me how it needs to be done, what needs to be changed and what it is I was doing wrong.

When I started property investing, I had a mentor from the beginning and that is why I succeeded and I have done it in a very short space of time. I knew exactly where I was going and I knew that I had the support if I needed it. Every successful person has a mentor; imagine a footballer in the English Premier League or an athlete without a coach. Do you think Usain Bolt, the fastest runner on the earth, would be where he is today without a coach? We have paid a lot of money for mentoring and coaching, but with angel investors you can receive investments and free mentoring for a share in your business.

Family and Friends

There are a lot of people such as friends and family that have money sitting in their bank accounts without getting much return on their savings. Believe it or not, but money goes down in value all the time; inflation kicks in and prices go up. What you could buy for £10 ten years ago you can’t buy anymore. That is why it’s very important to invest in assets that appreciate in value. If you get a good deal, you can ask your friends if they would like to get 10 % return on investment on their money. I am sure they will like the idea as in the bank it’s unlikely they’ll get more than 1%. How you give it back is flexible; once the property is refinanced or pay them interest each month. It all depends on the individual and your agreement. Once they get their money back after the first deal, this will prove you can be trusted and they are likely to lend you money again.

Sell Liabilities

What do we really mean by selling liabilities? A liability is something that takes money out of your pocket, e.g. if you have a car that is worth £10,000, it will go down in value every single year plus it will cost you money every single month. Car insurance needs to be paid, road tax, petrol, MOT test, car maintenance and repairs. If you sell the car for £10,000 and buy a property below market value, you can refinance the property after 6 months and buy a new car or you can get a new car on finance as you will have a passive income from the house you bought. Every single month the rental income will pay for your car without you physically working to pay for it, so instead of having just a car, now you have a property plus a car that is paid by the asset you have acquired. What would you prefer?

Bridging Loan

A bridging loan is a very good method if you need to borrow money for a property that you want to buy very quickly. It only takes a few days for the bridgers to accept your application and lend you the money; in some cases 24-48 hours. If you borrow for the first time and pay back successfully the next one will be much easier and quicker because they know that you are reliable.

Bridging loans are mainly used by investors buying houses at auctions where you have to complete the purchase almost immediately. You cannot do the same with a standard mortgage company. Bridging loans have very high interest, from 1-3% per month or more in some cases. You need to know your numbers and have an exit strategy in place as it’s a very risky loan. If you have never taken out a bridging loan, make sure you consult with a financial advisor beforehand or somebody that has experience in bridging so they can make you aware of the potential problems that can arise.

Social Media Groups

There are a lot of property investing groups on social media that you can join for free. You can ask questions, gain free advice and find potential business partners. You can even sell and buy property deals, subject to how active you are in the forums.

Before buying anything, make sure you do your due diligence on the person that is offering the deal and on the property they are offering. We had many deals that came our way but when we did our due diligence we found out that many of these properties were on Rightmove and Gumtree, revealing that we were not being offered a discount or, in some cases, they were trying to charge us above market value!

Seminars and Networking Events

This is our favourite way of raising finance, as most of the deals we have done and money we’ve raised came from people we met at seminars and networking events. Some people we know say that we are lucky because we manage to sell a deal or get a deal financed that made us a lot of money. But guess what? If we were sitting at home watching TV, playing PlayStation or going to the pub with friends, we would never have met the sources and our business partners. It’s all down to our hard work and the time we spent building relationships and our network. Your network is your net worth and it’s not who you know but who knows you.

You first need to invest some money into the relationship before you start to do business with anyone. We invite potential business partners for dinner, for example. Is food free? No, it isn’t! Is transport free? No, it isn’t! You need to pay for eating quality food, for petrol or a train ticket. People who say you are lucky forget about all the sacrifices, costs and hard work. Business relationships are similar to dating. You shouldn’t ask for sex on the first date; it’s the same in business. You need to meet multiple times and build a relationship with a potential business partner before you do any business together.

Private Members Club

There are many different types of private members’ clubs. If you are a fan of cars, you could look into a Ferrari or Lamborghini private members’ club. You don’t necessarily need to own one to be a member. People who can afford these kinds of cars are definitely the ones with money so it could be a huge benefit to hang around with them and build relationships that could add value to your business in the future.

There are also yacht clubs, gentleman’s clubs, luxurious concierge services where you pay a monthly fee of anything between £50-£200. You get access to the best clubs in your city for free where you don’t need to wait in a queue. Impressive restaurants and sold out VIP events from the world of music to theatre, film, sport and art. There are many different private members’ clubs to choose from – it all depends on what you are looking for and what interests you. You can find more information about private members’ clubs online.

High End Gyms

The gym is a perfect place to network with people. There are reasons for that. First of all, you will see the same people every single day or at least 3-4 times a week because if you want to keep healthy and fit you need to work out on a regular basis. When you meet someone every single day and you make eye contact with them they will remember your face, and eventually you will start talking to each other. You will share weights, benches and equipment together and if they like you, you might even come to the gym with them at the same time and work out together.

The main reason that we mentioned high end gyms and not just any gym is because this is where wealthy people go to exercise. Wealthy people won’t go to any local gym as they like luxury and great customer service – everything they need is in one place from nutritional guidance, private medical care, spa treatments to DNA testing to determine what exercise suits them best. They also want to hang around with other people who are successful because who you hang around is who you become.

High end gyms have very expensive joining fees, which could be anything from £400-600 and a monthly fee of around £185-240. The most expensive one in London is in Knightsbridge, which costs as much as £2000 to join and £500 per month. There are a lot of gyms to choose from that are also very good and attract successful people and cost much less. David Lloyds or Virgin Active gym will cost you around £70-90 per month. High End gyms cost a lot but sometimes it is money well spent. If you can find someone that could finance your project of £500,000 to £1,000,000 or JV with you, isn’t the £200 per month worth it? Some people spend £3 on a coffee every single day, £3 x 5 days= £15 per week! In one month, that’s a cost of £60. What if you could save this money instead and put it towards the gym membership that will be much more beneficial and healthier than your daily coffee?

There are many more places where rich people spend their time. A charity ball is a good place to go as people spend a lot of money there bidding and raising funds to help the less fortunate.

There are very cheap and also very expensive ways of raising money. Everyone’s situation is different. You might be able to pay the £200 for the gym membership or you might prefer to go to free seminars or networking events. If you keep working hard and you are out often meeting new people, you will build your network and you will find the people who you are looking for. It might take you slightly longer than the more costly route as it may attract wealthier people, but you will still make it as you might meet someone who knows somebody who has the money and would like to invest it or get a better return than the bank is giving. We had to choose the cheap route as we were in debt so didn’t have the money to join expensive clubs. We are a living example that you can build a big network without spending £200 per month on gym membership. We met most of our business partners and investors at networking events and seminars, but we worked really hard to build those relationships.

An Insight Into Bundesliga

Bundesliga refers to a professional and top-tier football league in Germany. The league is also claimed to enjoy the highest number of stadium attendees through the globe. Bundesliga is also considered the primary football competition in Germany and participating by 18 clubs. The league is based on promotion and relegation, which further hinges on performance of a side in question. The competition commences in August and ends in May. Most of the games are played on the weekends ie Saturdays and Sundays where a few matches are held on the weekdays.

All of the participants in Bundesliga earn qualification for DFB-Pokal. The Bundesliga champion qualifies for DFL-Supercup.

Bayern Munich has been the most successful side in Bundesliga, claiming the titles 23 times till date. They are the defending champions during the current 2014-15 season and have also clung to the leading spot on the league table so far this campaign. Other clubs that have won the Bundesliga titles include Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfB Stuttgart, Werder Bremen and Hamburger SV.

Bundesliga is one of the most competitive and popular national leagues in the world and rank third in Europe as per the league coefficient of UEFA. The league matches are broadcasted in more than 200 nations.

History of Bundesliga

Bundesliga was established in Dortmund in the year of 1962 and its first season began in 1963. Both organization and structure of Bundesliga as well as other football leagues in the country have undergone frequent and massive changes to become what they are right now. Deutscher Fußball-Bund first founded Bundesliga but now it is regulated by Deutsche Fußball Liga.

Structure & Competition

Structure of Budesliga resembles to the same of other major leagues like English Premier League and La Liga or Spain Premier League. Every team takes on each of other sides once at their home ground and once in an away match. Previously, the winning side of a match was awarded two points and a draw earned each of both sides one point whereas the loser gained nothing. However, according to changes of rules and regulations during 1995-96 season, the winning side gets three points (max points).

The club, which collects maximum points at the end of the ongoing season, is crowned with the Bundesliga title. The first three clubs on the Bundesliga table directly qualify for the Champions League group phase whereas the fourth-spotted side enter into the third-qualifying round of the same competition. The two teams at the root of the league table are relegated into the 2nd division whereas the two leading sides of 2nd Bundesliga get promotion. A two-leg play-off match is played between the third-last team and the 3rd spotted side of the 2nd Bundesliga.

The winner plays in the Bundesliga for the next season while the loser plies their trade in the 2nd division.

The method of tie-breakers plays a role if more than one team has a collection of same points. The method is in line with the following order:

  • Goal difference in the season
  • Total goals netted by a team in question for the season
  • Head-to-Head goals in outings
  • Number of head-to-head scores

Indian Premier League – A Cricketing Extravaganza Or Something Else

Cricket has gone through a strong metamorphosis, moving from the 5 day test match pattern to one-day internationals that give 50 overs a team and now, we are into an even more compact format of cricket called T20 or twenty-twenty. The twenty-twenty format shrinks the game further to just 20 overs per team. The present T20 world cup is supposedly to be held from 30th April to 16th May 2010. In addition, we also have different competitive events like the Sharjah Cup, the Champion's Trophy and so on. Given the slew of cricketing events and the massive fan following they have it was only a matter of time before a sports entrepreneur decided to capitalize on this phenomenon and build one of India's largest sporting extravaganzas of all time. And India being a cricket-crazy nation, the Indian Premier League, which is closely modeled on the hugely successful English Premier League found almost instant fan following.

So, the first installation of the IPL began in 2008, with 8 teams – Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore. The teams are essentially named after specific Indian states, and they are owned by different entities beginning with movie stars, media conglomerates, and industrialists and so on. There was massive media frenzy around the whole event as it started in early 2008, with international players, Indian players all up for grabs and a huge auction following it. The teams were formed and the matches began. The model was interesting in more ways than one. First, players of the same country were being pitted against each other many-a-time. So, as far as the sport went, we could see the magic of Muralidharan along with the keeping of Dhoni in one team. As with seeing Tendulkar and Jayasurya bat on the same side! Secondly, the teams were all tied to different states or cities. So a Mumbai Indians match versus say Kings XI Punjab was played in Mumbai or in Punjab, and somehow the scintillation of watching a Mumbai team in Mumbai or a Deccan team in AP was cooked out, much like how fans find watching Man U play at Old Trafford more enjoyable than any other Man U match! It even served to unite a state with the undering theme being cricket. So, while different teams won and lost at different times, the winner was clearly cricket. At the same time, the whole franchise is valued at over $ 4 billion!

And so, as is the case with any event that gathers instant stardom and is worth billions of dollars, this one found its controversies as well. Even the Beijing Olympics that were executed to inch-perfect perfection were not spared the controversy, from lip-syncing ceremony performers to instant shutdown of polluting factories. So how can this sporting enterprise be spared?

So, IPL2 – the second installation was mired in controversy over security. The event clashed with General Elections in India and so security was of paramount concern. The Government requested the organizers to postpon the tournament till after the elections, but this was refused since television rights and slots had been booked. So amid a lot of controversies and hue and cry the tournament shifted to South Africa, leaving a disgruntled Indian Government and disappointed Indian fans in its wake.

IPL3 was not spared as well. When peace talks with Pakistan hit an impasse, some political parties were up in arms against allowing Pakistani players from participating in the IPL. Yet again, the papers screamed out about how some politicians were interfering in sport, and how the unifying spirit of sport was being squandered and so on. Finally newer players were given a chance and the Pakistani players did not indeed get a chance to play in IPL3.

Now IPL4 though, intercepted controversies before it could even begin and this controversies has threatened the entire existence of the enterprise – the largest controversies so far.

As per the original plan by the organizers, 2 more teams were to be added to the IPL franchise in 2011 – Pune and Kochi. There have obviously been some wrongdoings in terms of money laundering and corruption undering some transactions and the way the auctions and franchises have been incurred are allegedly not very transparent. So, the past few weeks have brought out a lot of murkiness in the story to the fore. Now, one of the proposed 2 new teams was Kochi, in Kerala. The IPL chief, Lalit Modi tweeted once revealing the winners of the Kochi team and also noted that a Kerala MP, and Union Minister Dr. Shashi Tharoor was involved in 'mentoring' the team. It came to the fore that the winning bidder, Rendezvous Sports World belonged to Dr. Tharoor's friend, Sunanda Pushkar. What followed was a murky mud-slinging exercise, with allegations of wrongdoing flying on all sides. On one side the union minister was accused of bargaining some money himself, the financial capacity of Ms.. Pushkar was called into question, the union minister's involvement was looked upon with suspicion, his friendship with Ms.. Pushkar was asked and just like it takes a pinprick to open up a can of worms, all skeletons came tumbling out of the IPL closet.

The taxmen then stepped up and started scrutinizing the records of the bidding process. The bid documents of two legitimate bidders who lost were interestingly missing. The winning franchise owners were not spared either. Save for a couple of teams like say the Chennai Super Kings with 100% ownership by India Cements, many other teams seemed to have ownership by different entities, some hailing from tax havens like the British Virgin Islands as well! Clearly the IPL had ventured into a lot more than just cricket and unification of the sport.

Dr. Tharoor was asked to step down, since it looked as if the minister was exploiting his governmental powers and the Indian Opposition demanded the same of the ruling coalition. Ms. Pushkar cave up her sweat equity in an attempt to prevent the resignation of the minister. As if that were not enough, the erstwhile BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) president Mr. Sharad Pawar and his political party were drawn into the controversy. And when accosted, Mr. Pawar, with blessings Lalit Modi had started the IPL franchise, had to disown it all. And then, apparently Multi Screen Media (MSM), an arm of Sony Entertainment Television paid all of Rs. 125 crore or 1.25 billion rupees to World Sports Group (WSG) for broadcast rights. This money apparently has fluctuated to several beneficies with 'political connections'.

The controversial keeps getting murkier and different entities and their nefarious interests keep coming to the fore. And while all this is happening, Mumbai Indians take on Chennai Super Kings in a face / off on Sunday – April 25th. Whether that match is interesting or otherwise, the IPL controversy sure makes for interesting early morning coffee time reading!

What does all this mean for me as an Indian? Well, I was exposed to how a business can take shape out of an Indian fan phenomenon. At school, we had a representative of an IPL team come and give us a talk on their business plan and proposition and that was when I realized how an entrepreneur could capitalize on the two things that stoke the Indian imagination – cricket and glamor. The combination came as a masterstroke. And now, with the whole franchise embroiled in controversy, another Indian phenomenon has come to the fore and that is the quintessential C for corruption which nowdays seems to underline every enterprise that plans to take shoot in India. Till the controversial opens itself up, I guess we at least have enough stories as fodder for the media and enough to fill up newsprint. So no matter who wins this battle of who is the most corrupt of them all, the winner most certainly is the media that finally has one of the juiciest Indian story of all time.

La Liga 2011-12 Preview: Real Madrid Vs Osasuna

Real Madrid are set to host Osasuna on Sunday, November 6, 2011, in the La Liga.

Real Madrid are coming off a 1-0 away win against Real Sociedad in their last La Liga encounter. Higuain struck on 9 minutes to give Madrid an early lead and that was sufficient to ensure three points from the game for the visitors. The goal transpired after Fabio Coentrao advanced from his left-back position and who delivered a perfect pass to Higuain who scooped the ball over the advancing Claudio Bravo, into the Sociedad goal. Sociedad gave a better account of themselves in the second half but hardly troubled Madrid who remained dominant throughout and were in fact unlucky to miss a few more opportunities to score, most notably by Sergio Ramos, Di Maria and Ronaldo.

Osasuna beat Levante 2-0, in last week’s league match. Levante, who were on a seven-match unbeaten run, were handed their first loss of the season and forced to relinquish their top spot on the points table. Alvaro Cejudo put the home side ahead on 40 minutes and Nino made it 2-0, a few minutes later. The hosts were reduced to 10 men when Cejudo was sent off, with a second yellow, after the interval but had no difficulty keeping the Levante attack at bay, though Kone and Suarez came close to scoring.

Head to head, the teams have met in 20 league matches in the last 10 years; Real Madrid have won on 12 of those occasions, while Osasuna have won on 5, with the remaining 3 games drawn. The teams last met in January, in a game hosted by Osasuna, with the hosts winning 1-0.

Real Madrid who are currently at the top of the points table have won 8 of their last 10 games, with one loss and one draw completing the tally. Eighth placed Osasuna have won 3 and lost 2 of their last 10, with the remaining 5 games ending in stalemates.

Madrid have had a perfect home record this season, winning all four games hosted this far; Osasuna have drawn three and lost 2 of 5 games on the road.

Real Madrid’s starting eleven against Sociedad: Iker Cassilas, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Coca, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil, Lassana Diarra, Angel Di Maria, and Gonzalo Higuain.

Osasuna’s starting eleven against Levante: Andres Fernandez, Sergio, Lolo, Jukka Raitala, Marc Bertran, Raul Garcia, Javad Nekounam, Francisco Punal, Ibrahima Balde, Juan Francisco Martinez, and Alvaro Cejudo.

FIFA Ultimate Team Best Player

FIFA ultimate team best players

Who are the FIFA ultimate team thirteen best Players?

Well I suppose that depends on how you define the best player.

FIFA ultimate team is a unique game format and I like the FIFA ultimate team’s chemistry feature because it doesn’t allow one player to be a god and every one that can’t afford him get flogged game after game. It lets everyone have a chance but saying that, there are still good players and bad ones.

So let’s take a look at a few of my favorite players in the game.

Here is a list of my favorite five-star players, their leagues, positions and their teams so it will be easy for you to find, buy or trade them.

Let’s start off with Barclays Premier league, there are four five-star players that I’ve found so far. They are:

  • Nani, a gold player with a ranking of eighty-five. His position is LM and he plays for Manchester United.
  • Hatem Ben Arfa is another gold player with a ranking of eighty-one. His position is RW and he plays for Newcastle United.
  • Oussama Assaidi is also a gold player and his ranking is seventy-eight. His position is LW and he plays for Liverpool. This guy has kicked a lot of goals for me.
  • Adel Taarabt is another Barclays’ legend. He is a gold player with a ranking of seventy-eight. His position is CAM and he plays for Queens Park Rangers.

I like the Barclays Premier league players as they are easy to find if you know the names of the British clubs, but I have to admit I have a soft spot for the Brazilian players as well. So let’s have a look at my top Liga do Brazil picks:

  • Ronaldinho is of course the first one that comes to mind as he is an unstoppable force in real life. Well. it’s no different in this game, he is an amazing player. He is a gold player with a ranking of eighty-three. His position is CAM and he plays for Atlético Mineiro.
  • Andrés D’Alessandro is an international gold player with a ranking of eighty and his position is CAM as well.
  • Neymar is another one I like. He is a gold player with a ranking of eighty-five and he plays LW position and his team is Santos.

I could go on all day about the gold players that I like and use, but it would make for some pretty dull reading.

To summarize, there are a lot of really great players and I am just scratching the surface here, but I can definitely say that if you like FIFA and fantasy football then you will love playing FIFA ultimate team. It gives you all the action of the FIFA World cup game with the strategies and tactics of fantasy football.

It is by far my all-time favorite sports game and I must give a big thumbs up to the guys at EA games for this one. You guys have definitely done it again.

In-Season Training for Athletes

One of the most oft asked questions by a majority of athletes is how to train in-season. In-season training is perhaps one of the most overlooked components of an athlete’s training. In western periodization literature, there is clearly a strong push for increasing size and strength within a general preparation cycle and a major peak for an event. However, this system is flawed for athletes who compete in sports that require multiple peaks of performance over a given season. Football, Soccer, Hockey, Basketball, Baseball, Rugby, Lacross, Field Hockey, and Volleyball seasons all usually consist of multiple “peaks” during a competitive season. If an athlete is using western style periodization they may peak their performance right before the season, and attempt to maintain their gains throughout the rest of the season.

Bigger, Faster, Stronger founder Greg Shepard in his book of the same title explains the need for in-season training stating the fact that generally most high school level athletes play multiple sports. Within that context if the sports coach neglects or puts training on maintenance levels, the athlete may not reach full potential. As a result short changing themselves in higher-level athletics (college, etc). However if the athlete works to improve their strength/power/hypertrophy (size) during the season, the end result is an explosion of strength and size gains in the off-season program due to the increased neural efficiency and (sometimes) slight increase in size.

In an in-season program, the training splits must be worked in around the sports specific training, even if that means working out two days consecutively. Typical in-season programs are generally 2-3 sessions, and a goal of no longer than 45 minutes to an hour in the gym (that includes warm ups, flexibility, core training). The training split can be a mix between upper and lower body movements or can be separated into upper body and lower body sessions. You might be asking right now, how exactly do you set up in-season sessions. Well, here it goes…

It is generally acknowledged that there are three ways in which to improve concentric strength…

1. The Maximal Effort Method- Lifting a maximal load (Heavy weight training, 1-5 Repetitions @ 80-100 % of Maximum)

2. The Dynamic Effort Method- Lifting a non-maximal load as fast as possible (Light weight training, focusing on SPEED, 1-5 Repetitions @ 40-70% of Maximum)

3. The Repeated Effort Method- Lifting a non-maximal load to failure or near failure (Moderate weight training, focusing on controlled tempo, 6-12 Repetitions @ 50-80% of Maximum) 1

The quickest way to improve an athlete’s strength and size is to utilize all three of the methods within a program. Force production is improved through the use of dynamic and max effort methods, while the repetition method is used to build size for improving potential force production and prevention of injuries.

For the high school athlete I do not feel (most of the time) that dynamic effort training needs to be addressed. However, advanced (i.e. Seniors and at times Juniors) athletes with a solid foundation of technique and hypertrophy can and will benefit from using the dynamic effort method in-season.

I prefer to use what is termed Conjugate Periodization, in my athlete’s in-season program. That means each one of the three methods is being worked within one cycle. This system was put together by powerlifting guru Louie Simmons, but has numerous applications to sport training. Traditional periodization splits these methods up into phases (Hypertrophy Stage, Strength Phase, Power Phase, etc.) this tends to lead to an increase in the target capacity, but decease in another capacity. An example is an athlete under goes a 6 week hypertrophy stage, then moves to a strength phase, by the end of the strength phase, the gains they had from the hypertrophy stage are decreasing due to the fact they haven’t been training that quality! We want our athletes to be big, strong, and powerful all season long! With conjugate periodization, we can have our cake and eat it too!

For freshmen and sophomore athletes I tend to stick to either a two or three day split with one day devoted to upper body max effort and one day devoted to lower body max effort and the optional third day is a “pump” day, where they will use a combination of dynamic effort and repeated efforts. On the max effort days, the repeated effort method is used to improve weak points. For advance juniors and seniors I tend to use a combined max effort upper and lower split on one day, a dynamic effort day one day, and a “pump” day.

The optional “pump” day is a way for athletes to increase blood and nutrient flow after a hard game. This is typically done the day after a major competitive event. The pump day works off the premise that increased capillary density improves nutrient transfer. You might be thinking WHOA, what does that all mean? Ok, capillaries are small blood vessels, whose job is mainly to drive precious nutrients into the blood stream. This is called nutrient transfer. When a muscle contracts, capillaries drive fresh blood, infused with all the nutrients into the muscle to improve recovery. Capillary density is the ratio between muscle fibers and capillaries. Increasing your capillary density improves ones recovery at a faster rate than normal. However, studies have show that in large amounts of hypertrophied muscle fiber, capillaries tend to be decreased. So it is imperative that athletes use this information to speed up recovery after a hard day of competition.2

Eccentric training is dear to my heart, but due to the nature of the method it causes the most micro-trauma to muscle fibers. Great for off-season hypertrophy/strength work, bad news for capillary density. Therefore the “pump” day utilizes exercises that are a. fun for the athlete and b. de-emphasize the negative. I am not saying to go super-fast, but to control the lowering, but do not lower the weights exaggeratedly slow. A nice controlled rhythm should suffice.

Maximal effort days should focus on lifting as heavy weight as possible for 3-5 reps for most young athletes, and 3-2 for most advanced athletes. The goal is for the athlete to exceed their previous best effort in the exercise. There is only one max effort exercise done per session for the upper and lower body. In the examples I will have some of my favorite max effort exercises to use on those days. The trick is to work up to the max, not jumping right into it. A rep/set scheme similar any of these would work great.

**All percents based on previous max**

50% x 5, 60% x 4, 70% x 3, 80% x 3, 90% x 3, 100%+ x 3

50% x 5, 60% x 5, 70% x 5, 80% x 4, 90% x 3, 100%+ x 3

45 % x 6, 55% x 5, 65% x 5, 75% x 5, 85% x 3 95% x 2

50% x 8, 60% x 6, 70% x 5, 80% x 5, 90% x 5, 100%+ x 5

Repetition effort work follows max effort and dynamic work on each of the days. This is the opportunity to increase size and tendon strength in muscles that are weak links in an athlete’s chain. For lower body days I tend to use it for a unilateral exercise (1-leg variation), and posterior chain (essentially the gluteals, hamstrings, and low back, the keys to being FAST and explosive). For upper body days I use it mainly to target the back (various pull ups, rows, etc), shoulders (various raises), rotator cuff complex (external rotations), triceps (various presses and extensions), and at times chest area (horizontal presses, push ups). Set and repetition schemes vary from 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps with around a minute to two minutes rest.

Dynamic work is trained separate from maximal effort work. This is not ALWAYS the case, but the majority of the time this is how it is set up. The key to dynamic work is to move the load with speed. Traditionally there is speed bench, where an athlete moves a loaded bar on the bench press as fast as possible while maintaining control. But there are other options such as medicine ball chest passes, explosive pushups, explosive chin ups, push jerks, all work great for the upper body. For lower body the norm is usually box squats, if there is no access to a box, a bench will suffice. There are other options such as the Olympic lifts (if qualified to perform them), jumping squats and lunges of all varieties. General set and repetition guidelines are 5-8 Sets of 2-3 perfect reps, with one minute to 45 second rests between.

Since you a have made it this far I will show you some sample splits. Here is an example of two days per week Upper/Lower Split. Meaning there is one Max Effort Upper and one Max Effort Lower session.

Day 1 (ME Lower Body)

ME Exercise (Work up to a max set of 3-5 in 7-9 sets)

Squat or Deadlift variation (Full Back Squat, Full Front Squat, Snatch Deadlift, Hex DL, Regular Deadlift, etc)

Unilateral Exercise 3 x 8-12

Pick 1…

1-Leg Squat, 1-Leg Bulgarian Squat, 1-Leg Split Squat, 1-Leg Dyamic Lunge, 1-Leg Static Lunge, 1-Leg RDL, etc.

Posterior Chain (this will make you faster) 3 x 5-12

Hyperextensions, good mornings, rdls, stiff-leg deadlift, etc.

Abs Circuit (Pick 2-4 movements, do for rhythmic tempo 3 x 10-30 reps)

Day 2 (ME Upper Body)

ME Exercise (as per day 1)

Pick 1 from either…

Horizontal Press

Close Grip Bench Press (shoulder width), Incline Bench Press, Rack Lock Outs, Board Press, Regular Bench, Decline Bench, Dips.

or

Vertical Pull

Close Grip Chin Up, Wide Grip Pull Up, Medium Grip Pull Up, Neutral Grip Pull Up, Alternated Grip Pull Up

or

Vertical Press

Barbell Military Press, Push Press, Push Jerk, etc.

****Alternate every 2-4 weeks ME Exercises****

Horizontal Pull 3 x 8-12

Barbell Rows, Cable Rows, 1-Arm Rows, etc.

Triceps Assistance 3 x 8-12

Lying Triceps Extensions, etc

Shoulders Assistance 3 x 8-12

Raises of any kind, rotator cuff work, etc

This is an example of a combination of ME Upper and Lower and DE Upper and Lower.

Day 1 (ME Upper/Lower, Work up to a max set of 3-5 in 7-9 sets, once a max is reached do 2 x 8-12 @ 70% of NEW Record.)

****Alternate every 2-4 weeks ME Exercises****

ME Exercise Upper

Pick 1 from either…

Horizontal Press

Close Grip Bench Press (shoulder width), Incline Bench Press, Rack Lock Outs, Board Press, Regular Bench, Decline Bench, Dips.

or

Vertical Pull

Close Grip Chin Up, Wide Grip Pull Up, Medium Grip Pull Up, Neutral Grip Pull Up, Alternated Grip Pull Up

or

Vertical Press

Barbell Military Press, Push Press, Push Jerk, etc.

Super Set with Upper Back work- 4 x 8-12 (Rows, Pull Ups, Chin Ups, etc)

ME Exercise Lower

Squat or Deadlift variation (Full Back Squat, Full Front Squat, Snatch Deadlift, Hex DL, Regular Deadlift, etc)

Unilateral Posterior Chain work- 4 x 8-12 (1-Leg RDL, 1-Leg Stiff-Leg Deadlift, 1-Leg Deadlift, etc)

**Note** After Each Max Effort Exercise, you will do 1-2 Back-Off Sets, in which you’ll use a lighter load and move it with SPEED.

Day 2 (DE Lower/Upper)

DE Lower

Explosive Squat- 5 x 3 @ 50% load

DE Upper

Explosive Push Ups- 5 x 3 @ BW

Unilateral Quad Dominant- 3 x 8-12 (1-Leg Bulgarian Squat, Dynamic Lunge, Static Lunge, Step Up, etc.)

Upper Back Work- 3 x 8-12 (Rows, Chin Ups, etc)

Posterior Chain- 2 x 8-12 (Hyper Extensions, Prone Cobras)

Shoulders- 2 x 8-12 (External Rotations, Raises)

Generally guidelines for the “pump day” are one to two exercises per muscle group (this is one of the few times I actually target muscle groups!), two to three sets of 12-20 reps with a load of about 40-50% meaning REALLY light weight and de-emphasize the negative. Pick some fun exercises or exercises that they don’t usually get to do, curls, pressdowns, leg press, etc. Just don’t go overboard! They should target the whole body, and be out of the gym in less than 45 minutes.

In conclusion I feel that training in-season is one of the most important factors in the athletes development. If they continuously break records and gain strength, there is no doubt that they are improving as an athlete as maximal strength is foundational to all other qualities utilized on the field. It is my opinion that the conjugate method is far superior to any other method for use in-season, especially with high school multi-sport athletes. Let me know what you think at Andrew@Modern-Athlete.com!

Sources & Further Study

1. Cosgrove, Alwyn The Professional Fitness Coach Program Design Bible: A Unified Theory of Program Design (Self Published) Santa Clarita, California 2005.

2. Waterbury, C. (2003) 100 Reps to Bigger Muscles Breaking through size barriers with endurance training. [Online]. Available at http://www.T-Nation.com

Reasons to Make the University of Oregon Your College of Choice

Although I graduated from the University of Oregon and went back there to complete my Master’s Degree, that isn’t the main reason I encourage young people to become students there. The truth is, there are a number of good reasons to choose The University of Oregon, and I would like to share some of them here.

1. Location and a few things the University of Oregon has to offer

The University of Oregon is located in Eugene, Oregon, a city of just over 100,000 people about 100 miles south of Portland, Oregon’s largest city. The climate is moderate with very few days a year of freezing weather and very few days of extremely hot weather. Ocean beaches are a little more than an hour away and the mountain lakes are about the same distance in the opposite direction. I-5, a major freeway runs along the eastern side of the city making the University one of the most accessible colleges in the state.

The city of Eugene is an active community which provides something for everyone. If you are the outdoor type, Eugene is noted for its many miles of bicycle paths, especially the scenic ones along the banks of the beautiful Willamette River.

During the year, running is often spotlighted, as Eugene claims to be the Running Capital of The World. The Olympic Trials for track and field were held at the University last summer, so that title may be more than just wishful thinking.

Art shows and music festivals abound. The Hult Center for Performing Arts in downtown Eugene has something going on every day of the week, and people come from all over the states (and a few nearby states) to attend the annual Bach Festival there.

Eugene offers great restaurants to suit every imaginable taste.

Lane Community College, an excellent Junior College is located just outside the city and offers a wide program of technical courses as well as college transfer classes for those who prefer to start their college education in a smaller institution. (See link to Lane Community College website for further information.)

Each fall, the Eugene Celebration draws huge crowds who turn out, rain or shine to elect that year’s Slug Queen—a rather dubious honor, but it is all in good fun. The festival continues with many other activities to capture the minds of those who are not interested in Slug royalty and it is an experience that is guaranteed to leave you looking forward to next year’s festival.

There are two major hospitals in the area, and health care is readily available in almost every part of the city. An award winning newspaper, The Eugene Register Guard, effectively covers the news, both local and national.

2. A bit about the University of Oregon’s program, faculty, and size

Well-known for its excellence, the University of Oregon offers professional programs such as journalism, education, law, performing arts, music, architecture, planning and public policy. It is a major liberal arts and sciences university and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s best colleges not just once but several times.

The faculty at the University of Oregon is outstanding, often drawing notable scholars who have taught at the best colleges in the entire nation. Student enrollment for 2010 is expected to be approximately 21,000.

According to the University’s website, 7 governors of the state of Oregon have been elected 7 from among University of Oregon graduates; two faculty members have been Nobel Prize winners, ten have been Pulitzer Prize winners, 19 have been Rhodes scholars, and 129 faculty members have been Fulbright scholars. Many other faculty members are also recipients of various illustrious awards.

The University of Oregon has been recognized as having a larger percentage of its students join the Peace Corp than any other college in the nation. More than 2000 of its graduates have joined.

3. Tuition fees and student housing for 2010

In today’s economic climate, tuition costs are become a very important consideration when choosing a college. The University of Oregon is about equal to other state colleges of the same size falls where college costs are concerned. Tuition for fall 2010 is estimated at about $7428, with another $1050 for books and supplies. Students who will need financial aid or scholarships are urged to visit their website to see what is currently available.

It is hard to estimate the cost of housing as so much depends on whether a student plans to live in a college dorm, share an apartment or house off campus with a friend, or live with his or her own family members.

Upscale dorms and apartments in the immediate campus area are available for those who can afford them, but there are also many rentals off campus. Unless you have relatives you plan to stay with in the area, your best bet is to get in touch with the campus housing director who can help you match your needs with what is available at any given time.

4. Transportation around the campus and town

The University of Oregon is not closed to traffic as so many colleges are these days, but it can be difficult at times to find a parking space. Students can apply for parking stickers, but the parking areas fill up quickly as they operate on a first-come, first-served basis. If possible, students are advised to use alternate transportation such as bicycles, or the public transit system which has bus stops at most corners throughout the campus area.

The public transit system is far reaching, even going to a number of nearby towns so travel around the area is fairly easy. Tokens can be purchased by students at a discounted price, and a printed schedule is available so riders can plan ahead of time for bus arrival and departure times, transfers, and routes that may not be running after certain hours at night or on holidays.

5. Sports

Autzen Stadium, the University’s football facility, has been recognized as being one of the top ten in the whole United States and ground has just recently been broken for a new multi-million dollar basketball facility. The University of Oregon Track and Field program is known not only all over the United States, but world-wide.

Outstanding athletes such as Olympian runner, Steve Prefontaine, NFL stars Joey Harrington, Alkili Smith, and Dan Fouts, track star, Alberto Salazar, and many, many more have all been University of Oregon students. Nike CEO, Phil Knight, has been and still is very active in promoting and contributing to the sports program at the University of Oregon.

The University of Oregon does not concentrate on just one particular sport, but offers fifteen different sports programs for men and women. Unlike many other colleges, the sports program at the University of Oregon is not only self supporting, but it contributes approximately 5 million dollars yearly to academic programs in other areas of the University.

6. Churches

Eugene, where the University of Oregon is located, has many churches to choose from, as well as two Bible colleges within commuting distance. In fact, North West Christian University adjoins the University of Oregon so that would be easy to enroll in classes from both schools at the same time. Eugene Bible College, affiliated with Bible Standard Churches, is only a short drive from the downtown area.

There are even more great reasons for choosing the University of Oregon as the perfect place to continue your post high school education, but those provided above should be enough to convince you to give it a second, and maybe even a third look. A link to the University of Oregon website follows so that you can study its programs in more depth to determine whether or not it is really the best match for you.

Breakup Youth Group Cliques

Cliques and gossip will creep into your youth group unless you take an active stance against them. Popular culture and social behavior has become so dominate, and some church culture so compliant, that your youth group can simply become a reflection of “the world” without a strong Godly effort on your part. No where is this more apparent than in the way the students interact with each other. With all the news that bullying is getting, we should take a look at what is happening with “bullying” in your youth group.

There is no bullying in your youth group…right? There is probably no punching, hitting, or overt name calling, but, if you are not working to prevent it, Christian teens will simply transfer their public school social hierarchy to the youth group setting. The “in” group at school will be the “in” group at youth group. The popular guys and athletes from school will dominate all your “games” and activities. They will do this instinctively.

“Bullying” within Christian youth groups tends to be limited to gossip, cliques, and exclusion. Exclusion is the most subtle, most difficult to spot and probably the most hurtful. When teens practice exclusion they physically, verbally and emotionally “block out” those kids they don’t deem as acceptable. It isn’t that they hit them or verbally abuse them…they simply ignore them. And, most don’t even know they are doing it.

At your next activity, watch your teens. Really watch them. Is there that same group of girls that huddles tightly in the corner? It there a group of “alpha males” that dominates all the interaction and activities? Is there a group of teens that sits quietly, not talking, stuck together by default? Does your group “self segregate” along social economic or racial lines? Do you get complaints of gossiping? Is there a youth that simply wanders form group to group, not really engaging in conversation or interaction? Are there any teens standing or sitting alone? If you answered yes to a few of the above then you have a “cliquey” youth group that will not grow. Why would a visitor feel comfortable when teens that have been coming for years do not feel comfortable and are not included?

The first thing you must do is verbally address the issue. Do it. Use scripture to support what you are doing. My favorites are Mt: 7.3 and 1st Sam 16:7. However, leading a Bible study or preaching a sermon alone will not put an end to cliquey behavior. I have several ideas that will help you create a more loving and accepting youth group. At first it will be an effort and then it will become your youth group’s culture. Don’t just verbally address cliques: break them up. I break up the cliques when I seat or create groups. You can do this anytime you are about to do an activity that requires any type of social grouping: eating a meal, riding in the van, crafts, or games.

Simply “break up” the cliques before they settle into an activity or file onto the bus, etcetera. I stride over and say something like, “You always sit together, let’s make some new friends”, and then I point out who goes where. “It’s time to get out of our comfort zones,” I declare and move on. Or I make an announcement that will cause “clique breakup”, “Everyone sits with someone from a different school/grade level/neighborhood.” If you don’t do this they will simply group themselves in the same social hierarchy over and over again. This approach looks rather forced in print, but the teens will “reorganize” with your direction. They know their little cliques are boring, repetitive and ungodly, they just can’t stop themselves. They need your help.

I always break up cliques the morning after I’ve performed my show; “The Redneck Was Right.” This show is about acceptance, making new friends by reaching out, and God’s desire that we not judge one another by outward appearance, speech, or economic status. When performed exclusively for youth, I use it to fight youth group cliques, gossip, racism and prejudice. I love performing this show at the first day of camp because it clears the air and gets camp started off on a positive note. I meet the teens as they come out of the chow line at breakfast the morning after the show. I make the pronouncement, “You will sit with someone that you don’t usually sit with.” I then make sure it happens. I will guide a large football player and have him sit with a quite clarinet player. I will guide one of the “in” girls and have her sit with a “quite girl.” I will mix and match, seating teens outside their comfort zones. Some of the youth will be uncomfortable with this, but they will talk to each other. (They are teens after all) It’s a beautiful thing; teens that have been going to group for years and have never spoken will find they have something in common…all because you took a stand and pushed them out of their comfort zones.

What about you? Do you encourage cliques with your own behavior? Do you pick the same teen to lead prayer, the same group to lead activities? Are the same kids hanging out in your office before “group”? Do you greet some teens more enthusiastically then others? Through my years as a counselor, public school teacher, and touring youth speaker/comedian, I’ve learned that teens watch us, actually watch is not strong enough…teens scrutinize us. Everything we do is up for grabs. Teens also have an inner timer that is always running when it comes to your interaction with them. How long to you talk to them? Who did you sit with on the way to the retreat and how long did you sit with them? Who did you sit with on the way home? (Hint: it better be different). If you play favorites, why shouldn’t they?

It is not only who you spend time with in group; it is how you spend time. How do you greet kids and how do you interact with them? If your youth group is like most, there are probably some very trying, needy and dysfunctional individuals in your group. Do you greet and interact with them as enthusiastically and frequently as the “in” kids. The teens are watching you, what are they seeing? If you practice “exclusion” why shouldn’t they?

You can have the accepting and inclusive youth group you always wanted, one where you know any visitor from any social economic background will be welcomed. Creating a group that practices individual outreach and shuns worldly social behavior will take effort. But it can be done if you actively break up the cliques and model the non judgmental behavior you expect.

Survival Over The "HUMP" Part One

1st Lt. Art Tuttle our flight Engineer yelled over the inter-phone; "Doc, our number 4 engine is showing a drop in oil pressure and a rise in cylinder head temperature." Keep an eye on it Art and let me know if your numbers continue to go south, "Captain Doc Waller our pilot commanded.

As the flight's co-pilot I knew that B-29 engines and other bugs had become problems for many other aircrew stationed out of Piardoba, India. We were often overloaded to 140,000lbs to 160,000lbs gross weight, causing the engines to overheat.

Girlfriends, Losses, and Pin Ups

The rapid building cumulus clouds below held my attention. But, I realized that eighteen hours of B-29 flight time, per mission, in the China Burma Theater cave all of us a lot of time to think about; wives and girlfriends the "Love Boat B-17 over Walker Field, my wife, Betty Ann coaxing the big bomber through the skies over the Michigan / Ohio State football game, my time in the cavalry and new assignment as aide to General Smith. loss of Lt. Edward Pearce, a football star from Flint Northern and 3 year letter winner at Michigan State, on a mountain side in French Morocco … then, First Lt. Charles Hill (MSU halfback), piloting a Liberator over Germany failed to return a month later stuck me like a knife.

Pearce, Hill and I all remained together through 14 transfers to camps and bases, moving from the Cavalry to the Armed Forces and then to the Air Force. We all received our wings together following the same path and I mourned them and their crews. Heartbroken, their widows with new born carried on … and kept the faith that their loved ones would return.

The selection of nose art was important to crew bonding … the spirit and pride of each crew. The more personal, intimate and irreverent the better for 19 to 24 years olds in this war. Maybe a pinup on the side of an aircraft would cause the enemy to pause (in laughter or desire) in his pursuit of shooting down our plane giving our gunners a chance to nail him first. A playboy pinup or worse sure was exciting to most and a relief for some. Themes ran from saucy or sexual to cartoon / caricatures, persons, logo / name, and name only themes. What the hell the more garish the better. If it relieved some tension and we let it rip. It was a lot of fun and suddenly every man became an artist in each airrews drive for a representative coat of arms.

Star Duster's Struggle

SSgt James Lynch, our right gunner suddenly yelled over the inter-phone; "Doc, our number 4 is smoking." Here we go again, I thought, as Captain Doc Waller, our pilot, told Jimmy to keep an eye out for flames and 1st Lt. Art Tuttle, Flight Engineer, to get on the gauges, monitor temps and pressures and his emergency check list.

Number 4s timing could not have been worse. We were at 34,000 feet over the Himalayas. This is not a bombing mission but a cargo flight. We carry eight rubberized fuel tanks secured in the bomb racks, 2900 gallons to off load after 13 more hours of flight direct to our advanced base in the Cheng Tu Valley … in preparation for the push to bomb Japan's homeland.

There was a long way from home carrying this much fuel on board. A possible engine fire was now more frightening that being shot at over Kyushu and Yokohama from intense and accurate anti-aircraft

I looked over at Doc, quietly focusing on his next task. He was going through his emergency procedures and options while decreasing and reversing course – in case the worst happened. He knew twelve men were counting on his life or death decisions. Dock told me to take the yoke and I flew "STARDUSTER" on our new heading. I kept an eye on number 4 while probing Art Tuttle for engine performance numbers and asking for constant updates from our engine eyes in the back.

Through the early morning darkness we pressed on. None of us expected that our missions would come without casualties or that our own plane would have any better chance than the others to emerge without damage. The question we all pondered … What if? And it looked like the answer to what if might become a reality … shortly.

Number 4 engine was slowly losing power and now we smelled gas fumes in the nose of the aircraft. With a sudden dramatic yaw to the right, TSgt Alden Huisjen, our senior gunner yelled, "We've got thick black smoke coming out of number 4 now." Quickly, I turned to confirm our problem child on the starboard wing. Doc gave me that look and I nodded a confirmation of the reality of our problem. Our converted B-29 tanker was now in real trouble.

Doc immediately reduced the power upon hearing of the smoke coming out of engine even while Art reported that all engine instruments showed normal indications. The power reduction had reduced the volume of smoke but within 10 minutes, a large column of oil and smoke suddenly steamed out of the upper nacelle. SSgt Don Carter, our radio operator, went to the forward bomb bay to investigate the gas fumes. Doc was worried that the fumes would saturate the plane and all of the crew might become affected.

"Fire, fire now coming out of number 4," Alden yelled, "The flames are growing."

Suddenly, there was a second shudder and Art looked at the tachometer and not aware the pilots that the MAPs / RPMs on number 4 were falling fast. The engine then shot violently and stopped all together …