Monday, August 29, 2011

Some Undeniably Cool Women Athletes

Last week, I was checking out Dave Zirin's blog, The Edge of Sports and it prompted me to write a post for Open Salon about several cool women athletes.

As part of my book on the Pittsburgh Passion women's full-contact football team, I've been up to my eyeballs in researching the history of women and sports. The attitudes -- even those of medical professionals -- might shock you. From disparaging to downright hysterical, women and athletics is a combustible mix. But now is not a time for a didactic discussion of history and the sociological and psychological effects of some truly asinine ideas on women athletes. Now is the time to celebrate some really cool women. Go to:  Can Women Athletes Be Cool?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sidney Crosby Still Battling Concussion Aftershocks

If you didn't feel the earthquake, then perhaps didn't log on to any hockey news websites yesterday. Because I'm not talking about the quake that rocked the Nation's capital, but rather the aftershocks of internet reports that Sidney Crosby, once again, shut down his off-season workouts, something that Sid's agent angrily refuted, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story.

Even if, as his agent says, Crosby has merely 'adjusted his summer workout' (which I translate to 'scaled back' his notoriously demanding workouts) on his own, isn't that a bad sign, too? This is a guy for whom too much training is never enough. If he's scaling back, that is completely counter to everything he had ever done in his entire life prior to the Winter Classic.

It's Crosby's completeness that makes him the best player in the NHL -- he can score and he plays defense, he is always two or three steps ahead of everybody else on the ice. He scores gritty goals by parking near the net in heavy traffic and he can shoot from the outside. He has moves and grace and speed. He is surprisingly strong, given that he's not really a big guy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Coach Pat Summitt Diagnosed with Dementia

Sports Illustrated reports today that the University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has publicly announced that she has been diagnosed with dementia. I should say, the Great Pat Summitt has been diagnosed ...  because she should always be referred to as the Great Pat Summitt.

In typical coach Summitt fashion, here's what she told the Knoxville News Sentinel:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Recipe: Spicy Roasted Fra Diavolo Sauce served over Polenta

This time of year in Western Pennsylvania, if you are a gardener, you are probably inundated with hot banana peppers. If you are not a gardener, you probably know people who are over-run with banana peppers. Of, if you're like me, you can't resist buying a huge box of hot peppers from your local farmer's market. (Freedom Farms rules, by the way.)  Stuffed peppers are really popular, but beyond stuffing them, what to do with these fresh, spicy gems?

I've started roasting them by the bushel-full. They keep all their heat, but the roasting adds an amazing smokey flavor. Plus, the skin (which can be nasty) is removed in the process. The smell of the peppers on my grill brings out my neighbor who moved here from San Antonio, so every time I grill hot peppers, she tells me it smells like home to her. Instead of making something Mex or Tex-Mex with them, I use them primarily for a quick sauce. You can serve the sauce over any type of pasta, but I think it pairs best with polenta. (Whether the flavors end up being Italian or Mexican, the combo of hot peppers and corn meal is,  is a perfect marriage of flavors and textures.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reactions to Steelers v. Eagles in the Preseason

The Dream Team came rolling into Heinz Field and, amazingly enough, the Steelers didn't just say, "oh, you signed Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Babin (and Vince Young and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie). You have Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson. We're scared. We forfeit."


And this is why I love media hype. Some idiot says, "it's like playing on the Dream Team" (Exhibit A:  Idiot -- Vince Young), the media runs with it like a starving dog with a Tuscan steak, prompting the rest of us jump on the Philadelphia Eagles Haters Bandwagon. All Aboard! (The NFL:  bringing you knee-jerk Pavlovian responses since 1958 ...)

It's times like this when I miss Lee Flowers. You just know he would have been calling the Eagles 'paper champions' in the locker room last night. Ah, good times.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Pittsburgh Pirates Say: Who You Callin' Cheap, Bub?

Back here in the Burgh at Bucco Central:

Late on Monday night, the Pirates signed their top two draft picks -- Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell, spending $17 million dollars in bonuses to do so. These bonuses put the Pirates in front of every other team in terms of spending on the draft and, in the Neal Huntington era, they have spent about $47 million on the draft, the most of any club in MLB.

Not to cheerlead for the Pirates, but can we stop saying that they're too cheap? Or not trying anymore? Just because they may fail, just because this particular team hit a losing streak of bibilical proportions (I was expecting a plague of locusts to descend upon the clubhouse any second), just because Pedro Alvarez is positively painful to watch at the plate, doesn't mean they aren't actually trying to win.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gone Fishing, New England Edition

Gone fishing. Or rather, to haul lobster pots. Or rather, to eat the lobsters that somebody else has hauled. Back in a flash. Good god, I hope the Pirates are out of this tailspin by the time I get back to the Burgh. See yinz.