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Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Detour: The Other Side of the Steroid Issue

People all over the baseball world are called the 90s and 2000s the “Steroid Era,” and with good reason.

With 89 players mentioned in the 2007 Mitchell Report and a reported 103 others who failed the 2003 test that lead to Alex Rodriguez’s name being leaked out, it makes sense that this will go down in history as a black mark on baseball.

Historians are calling for records to be erased from those whose names are listed on the Mitchell report, and fathers all over the country are trying to explain to their young children why some players shouldn’t be looked upon as heroes after all.

But there are other victims in the Steroid Scandal, victims that should be recognized… pitchers.

Now, while 13 pitchers did appear in the Mitchell Report, most notably Roger Clemens, pitchers generally stayed away from steroids for a few reasons.

First, pitchers don’t need to bulk up the way that hitters do. Think of the transformation of such batters as Barry Bonds or Jason Giambi, both listed in the Mitchell Report. Their bodies went from lean, mean athletic machines, to rock solid, enormous creatures. That bulk would hamper a pitcher’s ability to throw with a fluid motion and get the ball over the plate.

Secondly, steroids helped players recoup faster, in order to play back-to-back games, or 5 games in a given week. Pitchers have the luxury of built in recuperation as part of their routine. Starting pitchers only pitch once every five games and relief men, normally only pitch an inning or two and for the most part don’t really even pitch back-to-back nights. If they do, you can usually see them resting the following few games.

So, if we established, based on the Mitchell report, that only a small minority of pitchers juiced, then the question begs to be answered…. If we are going to take away some historic records, shouldn’t pitchers have the luxury of getting more realistic, lower ERAs?

If it is a forgone conclusion that hitters such as Bonds and Raffy Palmero used steroids, then at least some of their combined 1345 homeruns were tainted. One could argue that without the benefit of steroids, at least a good handful of these homeruns would have fallen short of the fence, and consequently the pitcher of record wouldn’t have been credited with giving up the runs. You could then go further to say that had they not given up those tainted homeruns, they might have stayed in the game longer, thus increasing their Ks.

So, not only are the offensive statistics stained because of the steroid era, but unbeknownst to some of the pitchers, their records should be better than advertised.

If I were a pitcher in the major leagues during that time, and had an outside shot of getting into the Hall, I would call up the reporters who vote and make sure they understand that, even though I had a, say, 4.00 ERA, I pitched when guys were juiced and survived virtually unscathed.

Hopefully they will understand.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Webday Lists: Inexpensive Home Exercise Equipment

Last week we looked at some Home Exercise Equipment that you can purchase to get a gym-like workout from the comfort of your home. Several people commented that the items listed were fairly expensive, so today we will look at inexpensive home exercise equipment you can purchase.

Jump Rope – For less than $10 you can get an amazing piece of technology… a rope. Kidding aside, jumping rope gives you a great cardio workout, and also help tone your legs and helps with core, stability and eye hand coordination. Throw in a few tricky crosses and you can have fun while burning off the calories.

Stability Ball – For under $30 you can tone strengthen your core, and not even know it. To do so, get yourself a stability ball and exchange out your desk chair for it. Now when you are on the computer, or hard at work, maintaining your balance on the stability ball will help to keep your core tight. You can also replace the couch and sit on the stability ball as you watch TV.

Dumbbells – For roughly $1 a pound you can purchase your own set of dumbbells. Most people who get their own set generally get lighter weights to accompany home workout routines or to challenge themselves on their morning walks.

DVDs – Nowadays you can purchase DVDs that will help you through a variety of workouts. From pilates to yoga to ab strengthening and on, DVDs can give you the know-how to get in shape, and stay in shape. Depending on the popularity of the title, most exercise DVDs run in the $20 range.

Ab Rollers – Depending on the ab roller you purchase, you can either get out of the store spending around $25 or upwards into several hundreds of dollars. The less expensive of the options doesn't make it any less effective, and generally is easier to store.

So there are 5 inexpensive items you can purchase that will help you get your body in shape, without having to leave your home or handing over lots of cash in the process.

Have ideas on other inexpensive equipment? Leave a comment.

Keep sporting!
- Who's In First

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Should You Drink and Energy Drink Before you Compete in a Sporting Activity?

Yesterday I had a tiring day. I worked out fairly hard in the morning and then had a rec basketball game that started at 9. The game was a close one that came down to the final seconds. Because of the closeness of the game, there were lots of fouls at the end, that stopped the clock, and subsequently, I didn’t get home to close to 10:30.

A friend of my wife was over kibitzing and left close to midnight, so after a shower and winding down, I was in bed sometime in the early hours of the following day.

Although my body told me that I shouldn’t go, I had an appointment with my trainer early this morning. Because I was trying to rest my body as much as possible, I didn’t roll out of bed until there were only a few minutes to spare before I needed to be out of the house.

Consequently, I didn’t have an opportunity to eat anything. Knowing how much my trainer pushed me, I felt like I needed an energy boost to make it through the workout.

When I got to the gym, I glanced over to the glass vending machine that is located behind the check-in station. Quickly, I decided that an energy drink was just the thing the doctor ordered…. Or was it?

I purchased a drink called Turbo Tea (lemon flavor) and quickly downed the 18 oz. I immediately felt like a rock star. The 90 mg of caffeine, ginseng and guarana gave me the boost I was looking for, and also helped me sustain the energy through the entire workout.

Now normally, my trainer kicks my rear end to no end. But today I blazed through the workout and beat it, rather than it beating me. I attribute that completely to the energy drink.

So the question now is are energy drinks a good energy supplement or are they detrimental to your health.

Well, like anything else, excess is not good, but if you occasionally need the boost, then there is nothing really wrong with this, or any approved energy drink.

Generally these energy drinks are nothing more than caffeine, sugar and sometimes taurine. The caffeine in most are right around 80 mg, which is equivalent to the caffeine in a cup of coffee.

Because of the ingredients, many people experience a serious crash when the effects of the caffeine, sugar and taurine wear off. But depending on the amounts you ingested, this shouldn’t happen for an hour or two.

So, if you are looking for a sudden burst to get through a workout, then the occasional ingestion of energy drinks do not cause your body any harm.

Issues with energy drinks arise when they are taken regularly or with alcohol.

Since the ingredients cause dehydration, it is recommended that you do not drink more than one per session, and that you follow it up with plenty of water. Doing so will alleviate the potential for dehydration, and also give your muscles the water they need to expand during your workout.

As for alcohol, it has become popular to mix energy drinks with alcohol in order to offset the downing effect of alcohol with the upper of the energy drink. This is analogous to putting your foot on the gas and brake of your car. Like your car not knowing what to do, your body has difficulty knowing how to act. And because of the high of the caffeine, many people do not realize how intoxicated they are and put themselves, and others, in danger by hopping behind the wheel of a car.

In summary energy drinks can provide a good service to your body, namely giving you the alertness you may be lacking, but only when used in moderation. Like anything else, you should not relay on these types of stimulants to get you through a workout or game. Instead, make sure you are eating healthy and getting sufficient sleep.

That, above all else, will give you the energy you need to compete at the highest level.

Keep Sporting!
- Who’s In First

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fun Things To Do On A Treadmill

Have you ever got onto a treadmill, only to jump off a minute or two later? Why? Boredom.

Until you hit the point where you get the “runners high,” treadmill running s often times boring and cumbersome.

Below, though, is a list of five activities you can do to pass the time while you are on a treadmill.

1) Television – If you can plan your workout around your favorite TV shows, you will be able to sustain yourself for longer periods of time on a treadmill. Keeping your attention focused on the tube, and not on your training will help to pass the time. If you are watching a particularly intense or interesting show, and do not wan the pounding of your feet to interfere with the sound, try and speed things up during commercials, and then bring it down to a more reasonable pace during tha actual show.

2) Books On Tape – Books on tape are a great way to get your mind off your workout. Go online and find your favorite book on tape, download it to your MP3 player or iPod, then get magically swept away in the action and adventure of audible literature. To make sure you don’t quit on yourself early, make it a goal not to stop in the middle of a chapter.

3) Music – The treadmill is a great place to sample out a new album. Your attention is squarely focused on the new sounds and you can get a good feel if you like it or not. Always have a back-up though, in case the album wasn’t exactly what you were hoping it to be.

4) Poetry – Use your time on the treadmill to memorize your favorite poem. The rhythmatic pounding of your feet can help you keep time and memorize the poem more easily.

5) Read –Lots of people have trouble reading while running, so I put this one last, but if you are using the treadmill for a casual stroll, you might be able to read a book or magazine while you walk.

Hopefully these techniques will to ward off boredom and keep you on the treadmill for a good workout.

Keep sporting!
- Who's In First

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Detour: National League Predictions

Welcome again to the Friday Detour. The weekly entry that diverts away from recreational sports to discuss happenings in other areas of the sporting world.

With pitchers and catchers having already reported, it is not too early to start thinking about the Major League Baseball season. And while there are a handful of marketable players still left unsigned, below are my preseason predictions for the National League.
Disagree with any of my selections? Post a comment below!


The National League East will look eerily similar in 2009 as it did in 2008.

Philadelphia Phillies – With three MVP candidates in your infield, an unhittable closer and a potential Cy Young award winner, you are going to find yourself atop the standings come October.

New York Mets – A new ball park and the additional of a darn god 8 th inning guy will give the Mets the push they need to secure a Wild Card Spot.

Atlanta Braves – The Braves took 2008 off, but will be back around .500 in 2009.

Florida Marlins – Hanley Ramirez is one of the best players in the league, but one man cannot win a pennant.

Washington Nationals – The additional of Adam Dunn will increase their HR total, but also their strikeout tally.


The Cubs ran away with the division in 2008 but 2009 will prove to be more competitive.

Chicago Cubs – This year is not next year, but the Cubs will win the division.

St Louis Cardinals – A healthy Albert Pujols makes the Cards more competitive than last year. A shaky starting rotation prohibits them from taking the pennant.

Milwaukee Brewers – The 2008 Wild Card winner wont have the post-all star break magic they experienced last year.

Houston Astros – Houston will find themselves closer to .500 than they have in a few years.

Cincinnati Reds – The Reds need help everywhere.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Hey, at least the Steelers won the Super Bowl.


It seemed like last year nobody wanted to win the Wild West. This year it should be a lot clearer.

LA Dodgers – Just give them the pennant title when they sign Manny Ramirez.

Arizona D-Backs – Behind Brandon Webb's arm, the D-Backs will have the honor of placing second.

San Diego Padres – After an off year, the Padres will be back playing above .500 ball

Colorado Rockies – No Matt Holliday. No Jeff Francis. No repeat of 2007.

San Francisco Giants – The Giants had the opportunity to improve their squad and sign Manny Ramirez, but when they didn't they showed to the baseball world that they were destined to clean the basement of the NL West.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols – How can you really not think he will win it?

NL Cy Young: Cole Hamels – The spotlight is shining brighter now that he won a World Series and people will see how good this kid is.

Wild Card – NY Mets

Playoffs Predictions
NLDS: Mets over Cubs
NLDS: Phillies over Dodgers

NLCS: Mets over Phillies

Have your own thoughts on the standings or award winners, post them below?

Keep sporting!
- Who's In First

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Recreational Athletes Blog Carnival - February, 19, 2009

Who's In First is proud to be a part to be hosting a Blog Carnival for recreational athletes. Every other Thursday you will find link to some of the best blog postings by and for recreational athletes.

If you want to be a part of the next carnival, please make sure to submit your blog posting in the recreational athletes category over at Blog Carnival . If approved, you will see it here in two Thursdays. All submissions must be made by Noon on Monday of that week for inclusion into that week's carnival. If you submit after the deadline, your posting will be eligible for the following carnival. So keep those submissions coming to get publicity for your blog.

FitBuff presents Man up, do some Ballet Exercises posted at FitBuff.com's Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog , saying, "I can already hear the groans just from reading the title. I mean, even this guy thinks ballet exercises are for girly men (yes, look closer)…"

Matthew Paulson presents 5 Tips for Commuting by Bicycle posted at American Consumer News .

Dianne M. Buxton presents Ballet and Sports Fitness - Magnesium For Your Muscle Tone posted at Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes , saying, "ballet/sports/fitness interest - magnesium and muscle tone"

OCGolfCourse presents 10 Tips for Playing Golf in the Rain posted at OC Golf Course , saying, "Raining can be your friend in golf. Practice and know what to do when it happens and you could learn to love it!"

OCGolfCourse presents What's in the Bag - Camilo Villegas posted at What's in the Golf Bag , saying, "This amazing athlete can really crush the ball off the tee. Know what he plays in his golf bag!"

Myscha Theriault presents Frugal Fitness - Twenty-Five and a Half Ways to Make it Happen | Wise Bread posted at Wise Bread , saying, "Thanks for hosting a great carnival!"

Evan Pfaff presents Who Is Your Coach? posted at Who's In First Blog , saying, "Sometimes it is difficult to discern who your coach is when a group of friends play together. But finding a decision maker is imperative to success in rec sports."

Tristan presents Cable push downs posted at Body And Fitness Blog , saying, "A guide to doing the ultimate tricep isolation exercise for building big triceps."

Peter Jones presents Why We Love Upslopes: Colorado Telemark Video posted at Rocky Mountain Raider: Telemark Skiing, Bouldering, and Trail Running in Colorado .

David Ridarelli presents Sweet Snowboarding Moves For The Slopes posted at The Intelligent Workout .

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of recreational athletes using our carnival submission form . Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page .

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Webday Lists: Home Exercise Equipment

Wednesday's here at the Who's In First Blog we like to create lists on some popular topics, items or websites. Today we are going to look at home exercise equipment.

During economic downturns, gym memberships often times are one of the first things to suffer, but that doesn’t mean your health should suffer as well. Whether you are looking to cut back on your monthly expenses, or if you occasionally would like to work out without the hassle of driving anywhere, look at the list below that outlines the best exercise equipment you can purchase for your home.

Some of these items carry a sizeable price tag if purchased new from your favorite sporting goods retailer, so if you are in the market, check out Craigslist or your local pawnshop. You are bound to find better deals. Remember, though, that when purchasing used exercise equipment to make sure all parts are working and that it appears that the machine still has a good life ahead of itself.

1. Rowing Machines
Rowing is one of the best total body exercises you can do. It combines upper body strength with lower body strength to work most muscles in your body. Arms, pecs, back, legs. You name it and a rowing machine will work it.

2. Treadmills
Treadmills sometimes get a bad rap for the wear and tear people claim your knees absorb on them, but good treadmills often times are built to counter the impact. A good treadmill has a kind of bounce to it when you are running and this will sustain your knees much more than running on concrete would. Treadmills, in general, provide a great cardio workout, and the differing speeds allow you to do anything from a nice stroll to an intense sprint.

3. Exercise Bicycles
Exercise bicycles also provide a great cardio workout and, like a treadmill, can help you keep in shape during inclement weather. Bicycles are a great way to get out and see the landscape you live in, but only if you have good weather. When Mother Nature isn’t good to you, an exercise bike is the best solution. Use the tension on it to simulate climbing hills or just go out for a smooth ride and leg your legs pumping.

4. Elliptical Trainers
Elliptical trainers are essentially treadmills without the pounding on your knees. Elliptical machines also have the built in feature of adding arm movement to your run, to give you a better overall workout. For some the motion is awkward at first, but spending enough time on them will make you feel like you have been using them forever.

5. Step Machines
Want to simulate climbing to the top of the tallest building in your hometown, in the country or in the world, without leaving your house? Get on a step machine! Step machines are like treadmills, in that they have a moving belt, except in the case of step machines, the moving belt is fashioned in to steps to simulate climbing. Most modern step machines will count the number of stairs and flights you have climbed, so before hopping onto one, find out how many flights of stairs a certain building is and then challenge yourself to climb that many flights.

6. Cross Country Ski Machines
Another total body workout, cross country ski machines can simulate winter trekking. Like rowing machines, ski machines will give you a full body workout and will help you stay fit in the summer time, so that you can go exploring your favorite hiking trail in the winter months.

Hopefully this list gives you a good sense of the types of exercise machines that are out there. Most gyms should have these onsite which can allow you to test out which you like before you buy.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Monday, February 16, 2009

President’s Day Edition: What Can you Gain From Playing Rec Sports?

How about a job?
In Washington D.C.?
Working for the President of the United States?

Imagine that you love playing basketball, and are fairly good at it. After school as a child, you go to your mom’s work and play pick up games with other children in the neighborhood. You go to college and are good enough to play on the varsity team. Your senior year your teammates name you co-captain and in the highest profile game of your collegiate career you score 20 points against a nationally ranked team.

You end up playing professionally in Australia for a couple of years, but are not a standout Down Under.

When your basketball career is over you return to your home town and get a “real job,” but your passion for the game doesn’t wane.

Because of your love, you continue to play pick-up games with some of the guys you have met through your job. These games aren’t scheduled regularly, but when they are played, there are more than a few players whose names grace the pages of the newspapers.

Some run major corporations, some are successful in the non-profit world, some have household names like Michael Jordan, and some have strange names like Barack Obama.

In case you are unaware, I am describing what may have contributed to Arne Duncan being appointed Secretary of Education by President Obama.

Duncan has always been a big fan of basketball. Growing up, Duncan would accompany his mother to her children’s center that catered to African-American youth on the South side of Chicago. He would play pick-up games with the other kids and got good enough to make the basketball team when he enrolled at Harvard.

After graduating magna cum laude, Duncan spent 4 years playing professionally before returning to Chicago to pursue a career in education.

Because of his high profile jobs, he ultimately met many of Chicago’s most famous people and started playing hoops with them whenever there was free time amongst all the busy schedules.

One of the guys he regularly played against was President Obama, then a state senator from Illinois. As Obama rose in the political spectrum, Duncan rose in the world of education, and in 2001 he was appointed CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

But even as their schedules got busier and busier, Obama, Duncan and several others still found time to get in a few games of roundball each year.
Playing basketball became an Election Day tradition for Obama, Duncan and the others. Every time Obama was up for office, the group would vote and then convene at a local gym to get their minds off the day’s goings-ons.

This continued even through Obama’s recent election in November, when Duncan joined other players to help Obama sweat out some nerves.

After the election results came in and Obama had the tough choice of selecting a cabinet, his mind didn’t stray far from the hardwood; and on January 20, 2009, once Obama was sworn into office, his good friend on and off the court, assumed the position of Secretary of Education.

Now it is not everyone who knows people of such power, or who desire to be in a life of politics, but there is a lesson we can all learn from Duncan’s story: there are more than just health benefits to participating in rec sports. In some cases you can meet someone who will help you attain something you might not have been able to attain otherwise. Likewise, there may be someone you play with or against that you might be able to help down the road.

So next time you throw on your jersey or lace up your shoes, think about Arne Duncan and the possibilities the position he is in because of rec sports.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Detour: Go Get You Some!

My wife and I were at a financial planner last night and the planner was discussing that we wouldn't be his only "younger" clients. He mentioned in passing that one of his clients was an NFL player in his late 20s or early 30s, who was "not going to be playing football anymore." (He never revealed who it was.)

It got me thinking that this football player was retiring, or not going to be re-signed, and everything he worked for his entire life was going to end at such an early age.

Figuring that that this player, whomever it may have been, probably spent 4 years in college, thus entering the NFL in his mid-20s, I estimated that he probably has been in the league for 5 or so years. Now depending on where he was drafted odds are that he didn't receive one of the outrageous signing bonuses or first year lucrative contracts out of college.

For arguments sake, I will figure that this guy was a late draft pick and had a career mainly played on special teams.

So to figure out how much he probably made during his tenure in the NFL, let's look only at the minimum salaries for players.

As of 2007, the minimum salary for rookies and first year players was $285,000/year. Second year players are entitled to a minimum of $360,000, third year players can receive as "low" as $435,000, fourth year players $510,000 and finally the minimum for 5-year vets is $595,000.

So assuming this player received "only" the minimum throughout his career, he walked away from his job earning a grand total of $2,110,000. His agent took out between 2% and 5% (I think 3% is pretty average) and then the federal government taxed him at approx 30%.

Assuming that the agent received approx $63,000 and the government took an additional $633,000, this player walked away with $1,414,000 for his 5 years in the league. Not too shabby at all.

The problem is that now the player is out of the league and his ability to earn that much money is pretty much out of the question.

If the player never worked another day in his life, his $1,414,000 is the equivalent of him making just over $40,000/year for the 35 years most people are employed. That is not a whole heck of a lot of cash.

Now, I understand that given a bull market and the right investments, he can surely take that large sum of money and live happily ever after. Even in this economy, if he invested into munis or other bonds and returned 5% he could have $70,000 a year for the rest of his life without ever touching the principle. (See, I was listening when the financial planner was speaking yesterday.)

That is not my point. My point is that people all over the sports world complain every time they hear about another big contract. They cringe and cry afoul when they hear that the Yankees tied up approx half a billion dollars this off-season and that people like A-Rod are making $25M a year.

But to them I say "Go Get You Some!"

Since the average NFL career is only 3.5 years that means at minimum these players are earning less than $1M before taxes and agent fees. Again, that is a lot of dough, but think what would happen if you trained your entire life for a job and then were told you could no longer be at that job after only 3.5 years.

Per the 2005 US Census Bureau, the average American makes $32,140. Take into consideration what would happen if you could earn your $30k and change for only 3 years. Essentially that is what is happening to these players.

Sure they can go out and get other jobs and maybe even use their name recognition to their advantage, but ultimately for probably 99% of players, they are "forced" to enter the same world we all live in. Namely desk jobs, manual labor or entrepreneurship. They come back into society, a hell of a lot richer than us, but scrounging for the same jobs we are scrounging for. And this is not what they worked an entire lifetime to achieve.

Now, I don't feel sorry for the ones who mismanage their money. Not a tear is shed for the ones who Jay-Z "See the rollers roll up wit ribbons/I seen them repoed, re-sold then re-driven." (From Kanye West's "Never Let Me Down" off College Dropout.)

But to think that you spend your entire life with one goal; you work hard, outperform your peers and then 3.5 years later are told you aren't good enough and essentially fired. This must be excruciating.

So next time you hear of a professional athlete signing an insanely lucrative contract, think about what is behind the contract and all the other ones that didn't get on SportsCenter for signing a contract and won't have a televised press conference when they hang it up.

For every Brett Favre, who played for 18 remarkable years, there is always a Larry Stegent, a RB for the 1970 StL football Cardinals who had 1 career reception in only one season in the NFL.

Keep sporting!
- Who's In First

Got an opinion on this topic? Post a comment below.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

All Those T-Shirts!

As rec athletes we all have the same dilemma…. what to do with all those t-shirts we have accumulated throughout the years.

Rec athletes obtain t-shirts in one of four ways. We participate in events that earn us t-shirts, we play sports that use t-shirts as jerseys, we buy t-shirts to workout in or we attend sporting events with t-shirt giveaways. Regardless of the way the t-shirt was acquired the question is what to do with them.

While I was looking through my dresser the other day trying to find a shirt to play hoops in, I realized the enormity of my t-shirt collection. I had t-shirts from fun runs, I had t-shirts from cycling events, I had sleeveless workout t-shirts, I had old softball uniform t-shits and so on.

So it got me thinking, which of these t-shirts should I keep and which should be donated or made into wash rags?

So I diligently scoured through what seemed like 1 million t-shirts and used the following criteria to trim my stash of shirts.
  • Are there duplicates?
    Often times, and unbeknownst to me, I will end up with multiple shirts of the same event. This is generally do to one of two reasons. Either my wife and I both participated in the event and consequently we received two shirts, or I drove with friends to the event and one or more of them left their shirt behind.

    The latter reason is a slam dunk, give that extra one away, without question. No need to find the friend who left it behind, because if the duplicate made it to your dresser then your friend has long forgotten about it.

    If your spouse/significant other is the owner of the other shirt, you should put it aside (along with any others that may fall into this category) and bring them to her/him for review. Let them decide what to do with the shirt and forget about it. If they want to keep it, so be it, but it should go in their dresser.

  • Do you NEED the shirt again?
    If your shirt doubled as a softball or basketball jersey, and there is a possibility that your team will use the same one again next year, then you must keep the shirt. If your shirt will get you a free breakfast at the sponsor's restaurant, or a free beer, then by all means keep the sucker and wear it out until the offer no longer stands. If not, then it may be a candidate for adoption.

  • Does the shirt have significant nostalgia?
    Does the shirt remind you of your first completed marathon, your first century bicycle race, your first 10k? If so, keep it. If not and the race was a "fun run" that really didn't have much significance to you, then feel free to set it aside. Every summer, most people are wrangled into doing one or more fun runs or walk to help a friend or a cause a friend is passionate about, if this is the case then it is ok to get rid of the shirt.

  • Is the player/team/group still your favorite?
    Sometime when attending a sporting event you will get a t-shirt as a memento. Often times these are player "jersey t-shirts." And often time shortly thereafter that player is traded. If the player still has an important role in your fandom, then keep the shirt. If they were a role player whose shirt you had just because it was free, and then he got traded, give the guy away.

    Likewise, if you happen to attend a game outside of your hometown and receive a shirt as a souvenir, try to figure out if you really want the shirt. If you got a Derek Jeter shirt when you took in a game at Yankee Stadium, but can't stand the Yanks or Jeter, then why do you want to keep the shirt. It may go back to the nostalgia factor ("This is from my first visit to New York"), but if not then you should think about donating the shirt to your favorite charity.

  • Are you still working out in the shirt?
    We often times buy a t-shirt to work out or play sports in. Either it is sleeveless and gives us better range of motion, or it has a graphic of our Alma matter or favorite team. Whatever the case, we have all purchased shits for recreational purposes. The question now is what to do with them. If the shirt can be replaced by one of the aforementioned criteria then put it in the give-away pile. If the shirt still has nostalgia and/or a conditioned response then keep the guy and be proud to wear it out.

  • Does the shirt have holes?
    Plain and simple, if the shirt has holes or rips, get rid of it. These shirts make the best rags. And for this you can discount the nostalgia factor, because wearing this shirt is more embarrassing to you than the pride you think it conveys. The best thing you can do to this type of shirt is to cut it into a rag, and if the placement of the rips allow, you can make it so the graphic on the front or back is preserved, giving you the warm feeling inside when you use it.
With spring right around the corner, Spring Cleaning isn't far behind. Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you find more room in your dresser for your next round of shirt hoarding.

Keep sporting!
- Who's In First

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Webday Lists: Individual Events You Should Attempt

Wednesday's here at the Who's In First Blog we like to create lists on some popular topics, items or websites.

Since summer is just around the corner and you might be thinking of participating in some big individual events to test your will or to just get out and have fun. So what will you do to test your might this summer? Below is a list of some of the more popular activities people train and attempt during the summer months.

If you are interested in participating in any of these events you can also do a Google search on the event and location you are hoping to compete. Local newspapers and Craigslist.org are two additional resources we recommend.

Also keep in mind that while it is recommended that you participate in an organized event (since the impending date will keep your training focused), it is not necessary to participate in an organized event. For example, you can opt to run 13.1 miles on your own one weekend instead of participating in an organized half-marathon. Also remember that only a small majority of the people participating are doing so as a competition, so don't feel overwhelmed if you don't feel like you are the fastest or the best. Having fun is the most important aspect of these events.
  • 10k Road Race
  • 5k Road Race
  • Adventure Races
  • Day Hikes
  • Half Marathon
  • Ironman Triathlon
  • Kayaking
  • Marathon
  • Mountain Biking
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Mountaineering
  • Overnight Hikes
  • Paddle Sports
  • Rafting
  • Road Cycling
  • Rock Climbing
  • Sailing
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sprint Triathlon
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Triathlon
  • Walking
  • Weight Lifting
Keep sporting!
- Who's In First

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who Is Your Coach?

Scenario: A group of friends are sitting around a table one night over dinner and they all talk about how much they miss playing basketball (or softball or football or any team sport) and decide to get a team together.

One of the guys volunteers to call around to different places to find the league that is best for them, and sign them up. He collects the money and sends in the correct forms to the commissioner of the league.

This same guy goes to the manager’s meeting to hear the rules.

He gets an email from the commish and sends everyone on the team a link to their online schedule, so that everyone has the information.

Fast forward to the first game. This team, made up of a group of friends, is down by a few points with a few minutes left.

Seeing that the aforementioned guy made all the plans, did all the leg work, and fronted all the money, does that make him the manager?

Does he have play/sit authority over the rest of the team?
Can he select which D to play?

In organized team sports there is a clear cut voice of direction. For example, at the University of Missouri, Mike Anderson is the coach and instructs his players on what plays to run, what Ds to set up in and when players can go in and when they sit. Likewise, at The Ohio State University, Jim Tressel is the man and all players listen to what comes out of his mouth.

Rec leagues are a little different. Since there is nobody who has the full time responsibility to lead the squad, and for the most part all players will have the same basic knowledge of the sport as anyone else, a decision should be made prior to the start of the season on who will make the tough calls.

Maybe it is the guy who set the league up.
Maybe it is the best player.
Maybe someone on the team has coaching experience.
Or maybe you choose the most outspoken member of the team to lead.

Whatever your decision, every team needs a leader to take charge. There will be times that this person is commended, but there may also be times he is chastised. So whoever you choose, make sure they can not only be objective in their decisions, but also strong enough to bench best friends, if the setting isn’t right. They should also have a strong working knowledge of the sport, so that they can make the educated choice that is best for the team.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Monday, February 9, 2009

How Many Teammates Should Be On Your Team?

The question always arises just before the start of any season, “How many guys should we have on the team?” and to this question, everyone has a different answer.

To get the right answer for your team, you should ask yourself and your team a three questions.

1) Do we want subs?
Sometimes the answer to this is a resounding YES and sometimes it is a definitive NO. This all depends on the sport you are playing.

In a slower paced sport such as softball or baseball, people may not want to sit out an inning or wait an additional person to bat. I have been on teams where we want to field exactly the 10 softball players that can play the field, as nobody likes sitting, and to me that is the right answer.

Same with volleyball. Not enough energy is expanded in a match to warrant subbing, although, since it is almost built into the flow of the game, sitting out in volleyball isn’t as much of a drag.

Sports that use a lot of energy have the exact opposite answer. You would never want to field a basketball that had only 5 guys, as one guy may get into foul trouble, or most likely someone will need a breather.

2) Will everyone show up each week?
If you have a softball team of 11 but one of the players travels a lot for work, or is unreliable, your options are to either field the 10 or scramble for a sub each week. The downside to bringing 11 into this mix is that if everyone does show up then someone will have to sub and you are back to square one. Also keep in mind that with 10 people, there will undoubtedly be a family emergency, last second business trip, or illness to fall upon someone most of the weeks. If this is the case, a guy on retainer may be a good bet. And as long as you can know far enough in advance that someone will be absent, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding a fill in.

In hoops, you want to be weary about having 6 guys for the same reason. If you try and go with just one sub and you have the unexpected absences, then you are stuck running only with your 5 guys. This is why you may want to sign 7 or 8 guys to a hoops squad.

3) How easy is it to find last minute subs?
As discussed above, you may want to have a player on retainer in case you need a sub quickly. New fathers may be the perfect bet in this case. They will probably not be able to commit to an entire season, but can probably get out of the house once every few weeks to sweat with you or to swing a bat.

The easier it is for you to find a sub, the easier it will be for you to pick your perfect number.

So with a little planning you should be able to discern how many players you will want to sign up the next time a new season rolls around.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Detour: Football "Made For TV"

Pitchers and catchers report in a week meaning the baseball season is officially upon us.

To some, baseball is an antiquated game whose games are too long, too boring and too plentiful to be considered tolerable. And while baseball attendance numbers continue to rise, a look around an average stadium shows that a good majority of the folk there are at the game to have a good time and not necessarily to keep manual score on the $1 scorecard with the $0.25 pencil.

How did it get this way? How did baseball fall from “The National Pastime” to a sport of lesser significance?

Well the answer is in the way we now follow sports.

When baseball was in its heyday, and was earning the reputation of being the National Pastime, radio was king. Every night families would gather around the radio to listen to their favorite shows or to take in a baseball game. And baseball was perfect for radio.

Its slower play, pitch-by-pitch account and simplistic nature, lent itself perfectly to a radio broadcast. And you had announcers out there who were so descriptive that you could almost smell the peanuts and popcorn wafting through your radio. Essentially this game was made for radio.

Because the placement of the players and batters never changed, one could close their eyes, listen to the announcer’s call and visualize themselves at the ball park.

Then TV was invented. And while baseball was still king at the beginning of the TV era, a new sports was starting to take hold of America’s attention, football.

Similar to how baseball was the perfect sport to be broadcast of the radio, football was prime for television.

The fact that it went East to West, the same as your television, and contained colossal hits, made it a must watch sports spectacle.

And while baseball announcers could depict with almost uncanny clarity the actions on a baseball diamond, football radio announcers had a more difficult time describing the action on the field. “Split right.” “Two tight end set.” “Man in motion.” These phrases just weren’t descriptive enough for a radio listening audience to visualize the action, but when accompanied by a moving picture on a TV screen, it all comes together to create the perfect storm.

So next time you have an opportunity to listen to a football game and baseball game on the radio, pay attention to which you feel more involved in. Which you feel you are a part of. The do the same with while watching it on TV. You will notice that the orientation of the football game, along with the hard hits and amazing catches lend itself better to being “Made For TV”

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Who's In First Blog Carnival - February 5, 2009

Who’s In First is proud to be a part to be hosting a Blog Carnival for recreational athletes. Every other Thursday, you will find link to some of the best blog postings by and for recreational athletes.

If you want to be a part of the next carnival, please make sure to submit your blog posting in the recreational athletes category over at Blog Carnival. If approved, you will see it here in two Thursdays. All submissions must be made by Noon on Monday of that week for inclusion into that week’s carnival. If you submit after the deadline, your posting will be eligible for the following carnival. So keep those submissions coming to get publicity for your blog.

Sarah Scrafford
presents 100 Best Health and Nutrition Blogs for Athletes posted at NursingDegree.net.

Mike Krueger presents Fishing Boats posted at Fishing Boats, saying, "This article is about fishing boats and how important they are to the success of the modern fisherman."

Tristan presents Training Journal: Wednesday 28th January 2009 posted at Body And Fitness Blog, saying, "A day in the life of an aspiring body builder who is getting back into shape after going through a rough patch in his life."

Travel Advocate presents Top Snow Tubing Travel Destinations Revealed posted at The Travel Advocate.

Steve Faber presents Belly Fat Loser » Some Great Portable Exercise Equipment – Not Home? No Excuse! posted at Belly Fat Loser.

Tristan presents Weight Training Exercises posted at Body And Fitness Blog, saying, "A look at the benefits of weights training and the various types of training that can be undertaken."

Who's In First Blog presents When a Teammate Gets Injured posted at Who's In First Blog, saying "What should you do if a teammate of yours get injured during a rec league game?"

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of recreational athletes using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. using our

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Webday Lists: Top Online Sporting Goods Retailers

Wednesday's here at the Who's In First Blog we like to create lists on some popular topics, items or websites.

Today we are going to take a look at some of the top sporting goods online retailers. Some of these have both brick and mortar stores to go along with their websties, and you can purchase their goods in either place. As always, if you have any other suggestions that we may have overlooked, feel free to post them in the comments section.

All descriptions of the merchants were taken from the About Us sections of their websites.

  • Academy
    Academy Sports + Outdoors is one of the nation's largest sporting goods retailers, operating over 100 stores across the southeastern United States. Our stores offer the sports and outdoors enthusiast a broad selection of equipment, apparel, and footwear at everyday low prices. Our formula of low prices and a large selection has allowed the company to become a leader in the sporting goods industry.

  • Dick's Sporting Goods
    Now with over 300 stores, Dick's family continues to offer the finest quality products at competitive prices, backed by the best service anywhere. Like you, we have a real passion for sports and are excited to bring the enthusiasm and experience to the online community.

  • Eastbay
    Eastbay is a leading world supplier of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment. It was established to meet the performance needs of local high school and college athletes within Central Wisconsin. Originally viewed as a grassroots project, this venture grew into a worldwide direct mail catalog and internet sales conglomerate featuring top athletic brands such as adidas, ASICS, Reebok, Converse, New Balance, Saucony and Nike.

  • Modell's Sporting Goods
    Modell's Sporting Goods is the nation's oldest, family-owned and operated, retailer of sporting goods, sporting apparel, menswear and brand name athletic footwear. Modells.com currently offers a large collection of products from top name brands in the sporting goods and apparel business.

  • Paragon Sports
    For sports enthusiasts around the world, Paragon Sports is considered the benchmark of quality for all types of sports equipment and clothing. Since 1908, we have taken pride in showcasing products from the brands you know and love as well as unique and exceptional brands that you may not be familiar with yet.

  • Play It Again Sports
    Play It Again Sports ® stores are individually owned and operated by moms and dads just like you who understand that money doesn't grow on trees. But because kids grow, their sports equipment needs change every year, which is why used sporting goods makes great sense. And today we also offer a wide variety of new sporting goods that provides ultra high value when it's time to upgrade. In fact, new inventory arrives daily at each and every one of our convenient locations nationwide.

  • The Sports Authority
    The Sports Authority, Inc. ("Sports Authority") is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado. It operates over 450 stores in 45 U.S. states under The Sports Authority. The Company's e-tailing website, located at sportsauthority.com is operated by GSI Commerce, Inc. under license and e-commerce agreements. Sports Authority has a rich history, dating back almost a century, of being an industry leader in providing a wide assortment of quality brand name products.

  • Sport Chalet
    Now, a typical Sport Chalet boasts 45,000 square feet of premium sporting goods equipment, apparel, and footwear. Each of the 55 stores features a collection of specialty shops offering brand name apparel and equipment for beginners to experts. These shops include traditional sporting goods like golf, tennis, biking, fitness, in-line skates, baseball, and athletic footwear along with specialty sporting goods merchandise such as mountaineering, scuba, skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and ocean kayaking.

Keep sporting!
- Who's In First

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Man vs Zone Defenses

I played in a rec league basketball game last night, one which we lost by double digits. We weren’t outplayed or worse than our opposition, but we were out shot. On paper and from the start of the game it didn’t look like we would have an issue in winning, but every time the other team shot the ball from deep, the sucker would go in.

So at halftime we decided to forgo playing the 2-3 zone, that had been working in our other games, in favor of a man-to-man defense.

We thought that going man would help to get out on the plethora of shooters the other team had and stop their scoring onslaught. We are not a huge team, but in this game we definitely had the edge inside and we thought that going man would force them into our stronghold and catapult us to the W.

The problem with this thought was our shallow bench. We only have 6 guys on the squad and we are not necessarily the most fit team in the league. Our opponents last night, on the other hand, had as many on the bench as they had on the floor, meaning they had endless supplies of subs.

So what got us in trouble was our stamina. We held our own to start the second half, but the other team was good at pushing the ball up the court on misses, turnovers and makes alike. They basically wore us down.

With 6 minutes left in the game we were down 3. Less than a minute later we were down 4 with the ball, where we could have cut the lead to 2 or 1 with a three-ball.

Problem is that this is about the same time our legs gave out on us. The other team made a run around the 5 minute mark where we went from a possession down to down double digits. They then kept pressing and harassing us. Because of our sea legs we were too exhausted on the offensive end to aggressively create shots and, more importantly, on the defensive end we were sagging off the guys we were guarding, giving them unobstructed looks at the rim.

At the end of the game, this turned out to be our downfall, and to the victors go the spoils.

So the question is when a team should go to man, and when zone is the best bet. In our situation, we went to man to stop their outside shooting and consequently ended up giving them free looks at the hoop.

Had we thought it through, we may have been better off going from a 2-3 zone to a 3-2 or 1-2-2. Reason being is that they weren’t scoring many points inside on our interior D when we were in a zone in the first half. They did do a good job of passing the ball around the perimeter and finding good looks, but they were relatively quiet inside. Had we switched to an odd man front, over playing the perimeter, we could have done a better job on their outside shooting and forced them to come inside.

Now, our situation should have been black and white. We only had 6 guys dressed and most of us had eaten too many buffalo wings at Super Bowl parties the night before, so switching to man, seeing that we would tire easily, should have raised a red flag.

If you have a full squad, can match up athletically against your opposition, and are not fearful of tiring, then you shouldn’t have any reservations about playing man. If, like us, you have only one sub, and are not in the best of shape, then try adjusting your zone to meet your needs. If they are pounding the ball inside, try and 2-3, or if they are draining threes, try an odd manned front, 3-2 or 1-2-2.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

Monday, February 2, 2009

What Could Rec Athletes Learn From Watching The Super Bowl?

Yesterday’s Super Bowl was unbelievable. Even if you didn’t have a rooting interest in the game, I bet at the end you were pulling for one side or the other. Maybe you wanted the underdog to win, or maybe you were/became a fan of the traditional powerhouses. Either way, what was played out in Tampa was one for the ages.

So as a rec athlete, what did you learn from watching the Super Bowl?

The major thing you learned was to not to give up. At the start of the 4th quarter the Arizona Cardinals were down 20-7 and could have easily thrown in the towel. No team in the history of the Super Bowl had ever come back from a deficit that large. Had they given up, people all over the NFL stratosphere would have commended them on just making the big game. They would have been patted on the back, told that they had a great run and been given praise all throughout Arizona.

But because of their resiliency they didn’t see the large hole as an obstacle, but rather as motivation. The D stopped Pitts’ first drive of the Fourth Quarter on a 3 and out and then the O responded with a Warner to Fitzgerald TD to gain the momentum that carried them through the game.

But the “don’t give up” mantra wasn’t heard just on the Arizona side of the ball, Pitts preached it also.

After Arizona’s score late in the fourth, the Pitts O could have given up, or tried to settle for a game-tying field goal. Instead they replicated Arizona’s drive and marched on down the field.

Heading into the final drive, Big Ben was having anything but a stellar game. Having thrown for less than 175 yards to this point, with no touchdowns and one pick, he was probably not the most confident man in the stadium at that moment, but his lack of confidence (if he actually really did have) didn’t show at all on the final drive.

Going 5-7 in the final two minutes of the game displayed Big Ben’s ability to not give up or wilt in pressure situations. And the payoff was huge.

So for all rec athletes out there who think your game is out of reach or that you are playing so poorly that you aren't a help to your team, remember the "don't give up" ideology and play hard until the final buzzer sounds. You may just surprise yourself and everyone else.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First