Picture of the Day: Parachuting Into Falcon Stadium

This is a picture I took last month at an Air Force Academy football game that shows a parachutist landing in the stadium during the pre-game show.  For people looking for something fun to do in Colorado Springs I do recommend checking out a Air Force football game because tickets are affordable and the Air Force teams are usually fun to watch. 

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Video of the Nuggets’ J.R. Smith’s Basketball Blooper

I guess it can happy to the best of us:

Via Yahoo Sports.

Hopefully he doesn’t get ribbed too bad by his teammates and he takes it all as good humor.

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Video of High School Running Back Running Over Three Defenders

Here is a video that I think everyone will want to check out of a a 42-yard TD run by James Wilder Jr., of Tampa (Fla.) Plant High School putting three defender at one time on their butts during the run:

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Picture of the Day: Dobbs the Cricket Player

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Yes that is me playing cricket and actually wasn’t that bad of a player.  Cricket has similarities to baeball and was actually a lot of fun to play.

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On Walkabout Video: Aussie Rules Football

Here is a pretty well done video promoting Australian Rules Football for everyone:

Via Fan IQ.

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Former Geelong Cat Ben Graham to Become First Australian to Play in the Super Bowl

It is only about an hour to the start of the Super Bowl between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which usually does not mean much to Australians who generally do not follow the NFL.  However, Australians may give extra attention to America’s biggest sporting event then they usually would simply because the first Australian ever is about to play in the Super Bowl:

Ben Graham shook his head slowly, nodding in agreement: Yes, if there’s anything more improbable than the Arizona Cardinals being in the Super Bowl, it’s him being here with them.

Cut three times this season and out of work two months ago, the 35-year-old punter will become the first Australian to play in the NFL championship game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I’m on top of the world. I’m still pinching myself,” Graham said Wednesday. “These last eight weeks have been unbelievable.”

The former Australian Rules Football star was waived twice in September by the New York Jets, then spent one week in October with the New Orleans Saints. Five weeks into a hiatus the fourth-year pro expected to last until next season, the Cardinals signed him on Dec. 1.

Since joining the NFC champions, he’s punted in four regular-season and three playoff games. He delivered his best performance in Arizona’s first-round victory over Atlanta with four of six punts downed inside the Falcons’ 20 — three inside the 10-yard line.

“We made a change with a few weeks left in the season at that position because we felt that in the playoffs it was going to be important, field position especially,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

“He’s brought a stabilizing influence to that, as well as an ability to pin the punts deep, which is something that is really advantageous.”

Graham played for, and eventually captained, Geelong in the Australian Football League from 1993-2004. He played full back and his towering kick-outs, to restart play after points, were a feature of his game.

That brought attention from NFL teams early in his Australian Rules career, but he delayed a move until his retirement from a sport whose physical demands end most careers not long after the age of 30. He moved to the United States and signed with the Jets, who had initially approached him in 1997.

“Growing up in Geelong and living in Geelong, it’s been known as a fishbowl community. We wanted to get out. We wanted to experience the big wide world,” Graham said of the decision he and his wife made to move the family to New York.

“The first six months were tough. … We had our ups and downs. But to me, it’s been an amazing journey.”

In four NFL seasons, he’s averaged 43.5 yards per punt.

He fell out of favor in New York after struggling against New England in Week 2 this season. The Jets wound up cutting him twice in 12 days, telling him they were “moving in another direction.”

“I honestly didn’t see it coming. I thought I was going to be with the Jets for the rest of my career,” Graham said.

The punter’s appearance in the Super Bowl is attracting lots of attention. A dozen family members and friends will make the trip from Australia to Tampa for Sunday’s game, and others will watch it on television.

“I would say it’s big, but not massive,” said Anthony Sharwood, who’s covering the Super Bowl for the Australian sports magazine Alpha. He added that most sports fans there are more interested in the Australian Open and ongoing cricket season.

“This is a diversion that people are noticing. It’s not front page or major headlines,” Sharwood added. “But if he wins, that’s going to change.”

While he’s the first athlete from his country in the Super Bowl, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Graham doesn’t expect to be the last. He envisions more Australian Football League players pursuing or extending careers in the NFL.

He noted many of the skills needed to excel in Australia relate well to the American game.

“I’ve got no doubt that the American system, whether it be the NFL or college, will look to Australia. I know a lot of punters in the college system already,” Graham said. “I’m sure there’ll be more interest, and this creates that interest.”

Arizona special teams coach Kevin Spencer is not sure what happened between Graham and the Jets. He’s just knows the punter has been a key contributor since replacing Dirk Johnson for the Cardinals’ stretch run.

“It’s like art. Some people think it’s a beauty and some people think it’s garbage,” Spencer said.

“Something happened that changed their feelings about him. He’s been through a rough year in that respect. … I think he got the whole gamut of the NFL, but I’m really happy that we got him.”  [Associated Press]

Good luck to Ben Graham who’s career has definitely hit a new high point with his appearance in the Super Bowl.

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Picture of the Day: Aussie Open Riot

Arrests were made and fans ejected after an ugly confrontation between Serbian and Bosnian fans at the Australian Open. - Herald-Sun

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Picture of the Day: Fans Cheer at the Australian Open

Fans cheer for Lleyton Hewitt. Picture: Ellen Smith - Herald-Sun

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Lance Armstrong to Begin Comeback in Australia & Race in the Tour Down Under

Great news, Lance Armstrong’s decision to comeback and return to competitive racing culminating in competing in the Tour de France again will begin right here in Australia:

Lance Armstrong has confirmed that he will return to professional cycling next year and seek an eighth Tour de France win with the Kazakhstan-based Astana team.

Armstrong, who will use the return to sport to promote a global cancer awareness campaign, will join Johan Bruyneel at Astana.

Bruyneel was Armstrong’s sporting director at former teams US Postal and Discovery, with whom the Texan won all seven of his Tour de France titles.

“I have decided to race my bicycle again,” said Armstrong, 37, a survivor of testicular cancer, as he launched the Live Strong Global Awareness Campaign in New York.

“With this campaign we feel that by racing the bicycle all over the world, beginning in Australia, ending in France at the global summit, it is the best way to promote this initiative, it’s the best way to get the word out.

“I will race in 2009 with Astana, reuniting myself with Johan Bruyneel.

“While we looked at other teams and we talked with other teams, as a friend and as a partner and as someone I can really trust on every little decision I could not imagine racing against him or without him.

“So Johan and I will be together in 2009 and my first race will be in Australia, the Tour Down Under.

“The only other races I can say I’m doing for sure are the Tour de France and the Leadville 100.”

Earlier, the organisers of the Tour Down Under – a stage race based in Adelaide and South Australia – were given the go ahead to confirm Armstrong’s participation, a huge boost for the race.

The move was announced by state Premier Mike Rann, who said Armstrong’s participation would make the tour “the biggest sporting event in South Australian history”.

“What Lance wants to do is to use his comeback to really globalise his campaign to raise awareness and also raise funding for research into cancer prevention and cancer treatment,” said Rann. “We will be very willing partners in that.”

Armstrong will also use the race in January to prepare himself for his quest to win the Tour de France title.  [Telegraph]

This is a great opportunity for everyone in Adelaide to see a cycling legend in action.  I cannot imagine that Armstrong will be anywhere near as strong as he was when he gave up cycling four years ago considering his age now, but it still will be an interesting spectacle to see his comeback which fortunately will begin right here in Australia.

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Andrew Symonds Flattens Streaker at Cricket Game

Last night at the cricket match between Australia and India, Australian cricket team member Andrew Symonds took out his frustrations about losing the match to India on a streaker:

That was just too funny. The streaker is currently in the hospital, but Symonds is not facing any charges from the police.  However, I expect the streaker will probably try to sue him later on to get money out of Symonds, but for now Symonds has provided everyone in Australia a good laugh by taking out the streaker. 

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