Category Archives: Sports

Rick Mirer….What he’s up to now.

When his professional career began with the Seattle Seahawks in 1993, Rick Mirer may not have dreamed of where he’d be today, in 2013, but the long road of professional football brought him this far, why not keep going? After playing college football at the University of Notre Dame, under the direction of Lou Holtz, and then playing in the National Football League for 12 seasons, Mirer enjoyed the activities life brought his way off the field. 

While still playing in the NFL, Mirer started the Mirer Family FoundationAccording to the foundations website, MFF aims to “assist children in his hometown (Goshen, Indiana) and beyond and to provide Notre Dame scholarship funding for scholars in the surrounding area.” Once Mirer left the NFL, he decided he would put his college degree to use and started his own business in the wine industry: Mirror Wine Company was born in 2008 in the heart of St. Helena, California. 

“Wine making was not only something that I was interested in, but it was something I thought I could apply the marketing skills that I had been taught at Notre Dame and apply them to my brand, Mirror Wines,” Mire told NCB in an interview in 2012.

With little wine knowlegdge, Mirer needed connections that would allow him to start and grow a business based on expertise and quality of wine-making. While he lived in the bay area, Mirer decided to reach out to one of his connections that he met while playing football, Rob Lawson. According to Mirror Wine’s website, Mirer has adopted Lawson’s “humble approach to making the best wines possible.”

“I have surrounded myself with good people, and that adds to our success as well. Our expectations are not out of whack; we are just building out business one customer, one person at a time,” Mire told NCB. 

According to Mirror Wine Company’s website, the company has released six vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon and four vintages of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. In 2012, the company introduced a third wine to its portfolio, and according to the website, the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Cimarossa Vineyard on top of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, California did not disappoint. 

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Oscar Robertson and Dick Barnett meet again

It may have been marked as a historical meeting between two National Basketball Association greats, but for Oscar Robertson and Dick Barnett, reuniting in Gary, IN, Thanksgiving weekend was more than historical. Both men were scheduled to speak at the CN Lakeshore Classic that consisted of a series of high school and college games. Gary’s Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chuck Hughes hoped the meeting would also be educational for the cities younger audiences.

“It’s a shame because there’s (young) people in the NBA who may not know who Oscar Robertson and Dick Barnett are,” Hughes told the National Basketball Retired Players Association. “When I was talking to TNT and some of our sponsors, I was telling them our kids need to know the NBA didn’t start with Kobe and LeBron.”

The two former NBA basketball stars, and current NBRPA members, participated in a ceremony that honored the 1955 Gary Roosevelt and Indianapolis’ Crispus Attucks basketball teams that were the United States’ first two African-American teams to play each other for a state championship title. According to school records, Robertson and the rest of the 1955 Attucks team beat Roosevelt’s team, lead by Barnett, 97-74 at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

“At the time it happened, I was 17-years-old. It was a competitive game and I wanted to win,” Robertson said on Saturday, November 30. “When I got older, it meant a lot more then, because I thought about the game and what it meant.”

The tag-line for the weekend read: The men who played “the game that changed basketball,” and as Robertson and Barnett watched with their respective teammates from 58 years ago, this year’s Roosevelt and Attucks teams played the game both men shared and loved. Attucks again beat Roosevelt 75-54, but not before the 1955 teams posted for pictures at half court prior to the game. Barnett and his teammate, William Eisen,  both had their jersey’s retired and presented to them. According to NBRPA and Hughes, the meeting did not fall on round number anniversary date, but rather was coordinated because it was simply time to remember: Time to remember a historical moment in this country and for the basketball community.


Why does the world of collegiate sports lack women athletics?

Collegiate sports are one of America’s favorite pass-times. Both the football and basketball seasons bring in more money than all other collegiate sports combined. But what makes these programs so successful? Now, take me for what my opinion is worth, but many of these programs, from UNC to Noter Dame to UCL, all have behind the scenes people that we don’t think about or give credit to: The Athletic Departments and Athletic Directors. However, what’s even more surprising (or maybe it’s not to most) is that almost all of Division I Athletic Directors are men.  

Now, I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, but maybe there is room for possible change and growth. According to an article on the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, “women occupy five of the 120 athletic-director positions in Division I-A.”  

With all the progress that women have made in the last century, and with the adaptation of Title IX by the NCAA, you might think that the number of women athletic directors would have risen steadily with the increase of women athletics in institutions across the country. Sadly this has not been the case. It’s not that women aren’t skilled or educated enough. But rather a popular belief stands in their way. Influential boosters of collegiate programs believe that women are not up to the task of leading programs dominated by men’s sports, nor can they handle the business aspect of the job. The NACWAA sees it in the way that college presidents and chancellors need to break the mold and hire a woman. 

Unfortunately, it is my feelings and beliefs that women will always be seen as inadequate in the sports world by some critics. Yes, we’ve come a long way since the women’s rights movements, but we still have a ways to go. There is still a stigma that women don’t have a place in sports, or don’t do much for the athletic programs. Even professional sports lack the respect for women’s sports, but that’s an argument for another day. 

Nevertheless, the five women that currently lead DI-A programs – “Sandy Barbour, at the University of California at Berkeley; Kathy Beauregard, at Western Michigan University; Cary Groth, at the University of Nevada at Reno; Lisa Love, at Arizona State University; and Deborah A. Yow, at North Carolina State University” – have earned all my respect. I hope the future finds more women athletic directors and less push-back, if you will, to the change and the skill-set of a women leader in sports. 


The Dangers of Football Hit Close to Home

As the main stream media, doctors and scientists dive deeper into the reality of traumatic brain injuries and football, I can’t help but realize just how close to home this is for me. I grew up in small town where football was what we lived on once we went back to school in the fall. We were a football town, through and through. But as I learn more about the dangers of the sport and the numbers of athletes that play with brain injuries, and injuries period, I can’t help but feel a little guilty about our admiration for the sport.

Of course I know that football by nature is a violent sport and that the men who play are trained to be as physical as physical will allow. But, when I sit back and think about it just a little more, I can’t help but ask the question: 

“How young is too young?”

The only reason this bothers me so much is because my little brother has reached the age where he can choose to play football. He can now partake in the community’s pee-wee league and that scares me a little. With society so willing to accept the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude, my brother is likely to learn the habit of not saying anything when he “get’s his bell rung.” 

According to the New York Times boys who play high school football suffered from 11.2 per 10,000 games and practices. Now I know that my brother is no where near the high school playing age, but if children are starting to play this game at an early age, how much higher is that number likely to be? I know pee-wee leagues are not as physical, but yet they can be pretty physical in comparison to the tiny bodies that are playing.

I don’t discourage the little tikes from playing the game. In fact I am one of those that thinks someone can learn a lot from playing a sport. I’m just wondering how many young players aren’t aware of the risks or are too afraid to say anything when they do get hit hard and suffer from a mild headache. The change in attitude towards concussions won’t start at the top level. It might have to come from the bottom and trickle up. Change might mean younger players aren’t faced with the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and concussions are treated properly without the fear or anxiety of not being able to play for a few days. Shame in protecting their minds and brains from injury should not be associated with this sport. It should be the exact opposite. 

Protect

Change


A Dangerous Game

A story that broke earlier this week could be what it takes to convince the NFL that concussions need to be taken more seriously.  In statements made to numerous news organizations across the country, Brett Farve admitted to having memory loss following his exit from the game that had been his career for 20 years. In 2010, Farve finished his career with 525 sacks and according to him, there is no way of telling how many concussions he had. 

This past week, Farve told a radio station in Washington that he couldn’t remember his daughter playing in a youth soccer league for an entire summer. He added that he remembers her playing basketball and volleyball, but not soccer. The former quarterback goes on to mention that missing part of his memory has him concerned…as it should.

This past August, the NFL settled a lawsuit that had been brought against the league by 4,500 former athletes, all of which were suffering from some form of brain damage, and agreed to pay $765 million to 18,000 of the leagues retired players. The NFL agreed top pay for medical expenses and further research related to the dangers of concussions. Unfortunately, since the NFL decided to settle, any previously obtained knowledge and research by the NFL may not have to be released. However, the fact that a well-known and respected quarterback such as Farve has now experienced the dangers of the injury sheds possible new light on the issue. 

Regardless of the money involved, the NFL should be taking every precaution possible to ensure that concussions are recognized and recognized early. If not, then more players will continue to play with the dangerous brain injury and not even know it. Isn’t that what they pay the sideline medics and doctors for?  At the end of the day, wouldn’t the NFL want to do everything possible to protect the leagues largest asset, or are these players seen as so replaceable that if one guy won’t play, the NFL will find someone who will? That to me is sad and reckless. Regardless of who is willing to play the game, there needs to be more done to ensure that players who receive concussions during a game are treated properly, or we will start to see more and more high profile players like Brett Farve with significant memory loss or worse.