Stickers and tattoos – Using stickers, rub-on designs, or even temporary tattoos, you can add plenty of style to your MagicBand. For one of my Halloween themed designs, I actually downloaded a Haunted Mansion style font, printed words onto temporary tattoo paper, and applied it to my MagicBand. For more longevity, you may want to coat the MagicBand with some type of sealant (either a spray or clear paint) after decorating.Decals – For less than $10, sites like MagicYourBand and DVCCentral can send you pre-designed or custom vinyl decals that you can apply to your MagicBand. See our review of those here.Duct Taping – This one is pretty simple. Find a duct tape style you like, apply it to your MagicBand, and cut away the excess. If cutting near your MagicBand makes you nervous, you could use tissue paper or newspaper taped to your MagicBand to trace a stencil first. Then use that to cut the duct tape to size before applying.Fabric Cover – Whether you use a no-sew approach or start stitching, the idea here is generally the same. You want to create essentially an open ended tube of fabric to slide onto your MagicBand. Some people also choose to create a hole where the Mickey head is on the MagicBand to make life easier at touch points.Painting – Probably the most difficult of the DIY methods, this technique requires a steady hand and some creativity. My favorite tip for those taking this route is to use transfer paper to get your design from paper and pencil onto the MagicBand. Then it’s just a matter of coloring in the design with either nail polish or acrylic paints. This is another one where you may want to seal the MagicBand for durability. MagicSliders given to Annual PassholdersMagicSliders slide onto the MagicBandMagicBandits and MagicSliders (start at $6.99)You can further accessorize any of the MagicBands with items that pin into the holes (MagicBandits) or that slide onto the MagicBand (MagicSliders). MagicBandits are typically sold with three or four packaged together under one theme. For example, you can get one box containing the icons of each of the four parks, one package featuring all three Hitchhiking Ghosts from The Haunted Mansion, or one with three of the dogs from 101 Dalmations. MagicSliders, on the other hand, are usually more expensive and only sold individually. Having tried to check my MagicBand for the time more frequently than I’d care to admit, I love the idea of the MagicSliders that feature a watch face. MagicBands on Demand (start at $24.99)In October of 2015, Disney debuted MagicBand on Demand. At certain locations in Walt Disney World, guests can use a touch screen to design a personalized MagicBand by selecting both a design and color. While names cannot be printed on the underside of the MagicBand, they can be included in the design on the front for an additional charge. Sarah provided a step by step update on the process back when the first location opened. Currently, there are three locations: Tomorrowland Light & Power Co. in Magic Kingdom Park, D-Tech on Demand boutique in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs Marketplace, and Star Wars Launch Bay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Star Wars designs only). Painted MagicBand (Left)Painted MagicBand (Middle)Painted MagicBand (Right)Well, what do you think? Would you spend extra money to get customized MagicBands for your whole family? Or better yet, are you willing to risk turning your dining room table into a Picasso painting in order to personalize them? Tell me all about it in the comments below! Limited Edition MagicBands (start at $32.99)Limited edition MagicBands are released in a limited and pre-specified quantity for special events like holiday parties or movie releases. For example, the MagicBand that will be available for the 2016 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will have an edition size of 3,000, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Depending on the situation, these MagicBands may only be available at specific locations in the parks. Other times they will be available on the DisneyStore.com or on the Shop Disney Parks app, like this Alice Through the Looking Glass Limited Edition MagicBand. These do not include the ability to add your name to the underside of the MagicBand. However, some of these MagicBands feature special sound and light effects when used at the main entrance or FastPass+ touch points. Share This!When MagicBands first rolled out across Walt Disney World, design and accessorizing options were limited. Bored with the sparse selection, some guests (okay, I’m guilty) started to customize their MagicBands to feature their favorite Disney icons. As long as nothing interfered with the Mickey head, everything from painting, temporary tattooing, and fabric covering was fair game to personalize a MagicBand. Not one to miss an opportunity like this, Disney took note and started selling additional design options. Little by little, new designs began to appear. Now, there are tons of different ways to personalize your MagicBands, whether you purchase something special or do it yourself.Standard MagicBands free to on-site guestsStandard MagicBands ($0 for on-site guests or $12.99 to purchase)Available for free to Walt Disney World Resort Annual Passholders or guests staying on-site at Walt Disney World, these original MagicBands are just one solid color. Options include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, and gray. Choosing the solid color is the only customization here, unless you count the fact that guests receiving these for free can have a name printed on the underside of the MagicBand. For guests purchasing these, they are now available on DisneyStore.com, the Shop Disney Parks app, or at many gift shops at Walt Disney World.Open Edition MagicBands (start at $22.99)Guests visiting Walt Disney World can purchase these via DisneyStore.com, the Shop Disney Parks app, or upon arrival in many of the resort and theme park gift shops. These MagicBands feature various Disney characters or icons from the parks. However, the color and design combinations are not customizable. For example, if you want Rapunzel from Tangled on your MagicBand, it only comes in purple. There is no option to print a name on the underside of these MagicBands either.Limited Release MagicBands (start at $27.99)These MagicBands are only available for a limited amount of time. Aside from the higher price, they’re hard to differentiate from the open edition MagicBands. They can be found on DisneyStore.com, the Shop Disney Parks app, or in resort and theme park gift shops and cannot be customized with a name on the underside of the MagicBand. MagicBand covered in Nightmare Before Christmas fabricDo-it-yourself There are a few reasons you might want to forego the clean lined and professionally designed MagicBands available for purchase. For some, spending $48 for a specialty MagicBand (I’m looking at you Dooney and Bourke MagicBands) for each member of the family is not an option. Even choosing from the open edition MagicBands, a family of four would spend nearly $100. Then for others, despite hundreds of options, it’s quite possible that Disney doesn’t have a design to fit your needs or preferences (MagicBand designers, if you’re reading this and taking requests, I’m still holding out for resort specific MagicBands, pretty please). Or maybe you want a unique MagicBand that you won’t see on everyone else walking around the parks. Whatever the reason, taking one of the following do-it-yourself approaches to the MagicBand may be the best option for personalization depending on your situation.
By contrast, the simplest solutions in quadrant C, webmail and telephone, are rarely discussed as collaboration solutions because there is no multibillion-dollar market driving further innovation in that space. Everyone can use them, whether inside or outside the firewall, and they are already deeply entrenched in the normal daily workflow of most information workers. Some solutions that are more sophisticated than webmail and telephone could still be placed in quadrant C because they do not require IT intervention. Google Apps is one example of such a solution. Without IT assistance, a team could use the consumer-oriented version, Google Drive, for basic collaboration functions, such as document sharing and common content creation tools, inside and outside the firewall.Collaboration Solution Sweet Spot For most line-of-business managers and their information workers, the collaboration sweet spot lies between webmail and telephone at one extreme and complex converged solutions at the other. When a team’s collaboration approach is in that sweet spot, users are empowered with essential capabilities that easily extend beyond the firewall and are not weighed down with rich features they might not want or use. We find that the sweet spot’s essential capabilities are as follows: Social capabilities such as blogs, wikis, and activity streamsMobile user experience optimizationSophisticated native platform analytics, including predictive analytical capabilitiesPlatform scalability and extensibilityPrepackaged integration with collaboration tools and applications from major vendors Easy-to-Implement Solutions This blog is part 2 of 4 in a series focused on enterprise collaboration that explores a recent Prowess Consulting study. An Overstuffed Toolbox?Many hardware and software vendors are eager to help your business users share content without barriers. Some of the largest enterprise software and hardware vendors play in this space, including IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco. The ongoing need for collaboration and potential value of the market continue to attract new startups and new solutions, such as those from lesser-known but well-regarded vendors such as blueKiwi, Moxie, Huddle, Jive Software, Mzinga, and many more. Enterprise collaboration is also a topic of ongoing research and interest to industry analysts including Forrester, Gartner, and IDC.Why all the attention? Because enterprise collaboration software is predicted to be a market worth $4.5 billion by 2016, with rapid growth expected between now and then.But not all solutions are created equal. These vendors deliver a wide range of functionality. The graph represents feature richness on one axis and ease of implementation on the other to illustrate the spectrum of solutions currently available. At the upper extreme of this spectrum (quadrant B, upper-right) are comprehensive, feature- rich social collaboration solutions, which are large-budget projects driven from the top down. They would likely include advanced capabilities such as integrated VoIP and video capabilities for face-to-face meetings and screen sharing over the network. At the low extreme (quadrant C, lower-left) are simple collaboration tools like webmail and telephone that require little or no setup action by anyone except the individual user or department manager.Converged SolutionsIndustry wide, a great deal of resources are spent evaluating, analyzing, and promoting comprehensive collaboration and social suites such as those represented in quadrant B. Such solutions can integrate traditional e-mail–based collaboration with social functions to enable relationship building, not just data sharing. Their goal is to enable an ongoing conversation inside and outside the firewall, and as IDC states, “activity streams, discussion forums, blogs, and wikis are becoming assumed functionality of enterprise social software to facilitate collaboration in real time and in context.” Examples include IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, Salesforce.com Chatter, and Cisco WebEx Social.Because of the reach and scope (not to mention price tag) of such solutions, their adoption must be a company-wide initiative driven by top leadership with early planning and input from IT managers. With a nearly unified voice, analysts are predicting that comprehensive solutions are set to transform business, and analysts are generating enormous volumes of research and reports to help enterprise IT organizations choose the right solution. A glance at the criteria that analysts consider essential reveals the ambitious nature of these solutions: Your organization might be among those that are evaluating converged collaboration options with long-term plans to arrive at a fully converged solution. However, as businesses invest more in their infrastructure with such solutions, they increase dependency on that infrastructure and impact information workers’ abilities to collaborate outside the firewall with organizations and individuals that use different tools.Meanwhile, as your IT organization evaluates and tests a comprehensive solution, your team members need a solution that works readily with current workflows and tools without weeks or months of procurement plus extensive backend overhauls. The ideal solution is the one that provides the shortest path to the sweet spot without creating future complications for IT’s long-term plans.If you missed it, Part 1 in the series is The Shortest Path to Intercompany Collaboration: What Does’Collaboration’ Mean to Information Workers?Opens in a new window No hype, just research – for cutting edge research on the current state of mobile workplace computing trends, click here. For more conversations about IT Center and Enterprise Collaboration, click on the Hashtags below:#itcenter #enterprise Shareability: Content created on one team member’s device must be viewable and editable on others’ devices.Work flow integration: The solution must function with minimal disruption to user work styles. It should require little or no re-training and must integrate seamlessly into information workers’ workflow.Multitasking support: Information workers are accustomed to working with multiple windows open on their laptops or desktops. They might have open a content creation program (such as Microsoft Word), an e-mail and calendaring application, and one or more instant message or other communication windows to collaborate with colleagues. In high-end quadrant B solutions, these functions might be served by one or two applications that call in multiple services. But in the collaboration sweet spot, users accomplish these tasks through multiple applications and windows. Therefore, it is important users’ tools have sufficient processing power and task management capability to support easy switching between windows.Infrastructure integration: The solution must function with little disruption to IT—either to the current infrastructure or to the company’s future collaboration plans.Security: At minimum, the solution should support encryption for secure exchange of data while in transit and while stored on devices.
Robin van Persie celebrates after scoring Manchester United’s third goal.Manchester United recorded a sixth successive Premier League win when they beat old rivals Liverpool 3-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday. The latest victory, sealed with goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie, kept them in third place, five points behind neighbours Manchester City and eight behind the leaders Chelsea.But they had Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea to thank for such a convincing margin. He made a series of fine saves from Raheem Sterling and then substitute Mario Balotelli.Rooney scored against the run of play from Antonio Valencia’s inviting pass to put United ahead in the 13th minute and although Mata was clearly offside as Van Persie flicked on Ashley Young’s cross to him shortly before halftime the goal was allowed to stand.De Gea made further important saves before Van Persie completed the scoring in the 72nd minute.
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Last week I wrote about Hank Aaron, who recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his record-breaking 715th home run. I concluded that Aaron would still have been a great player — and would very likely have made the Baseball Hall of Fame — even if all of his home runs had been counted as singles instead.Or at least — that’s almost what I wrote. What I actually wrote left a lot of room for interpretation (emphasis added from original):What if Aaron had never hit a home run? What if those 755 round-trippers had fallen for base hits instead? (If we’re trying to isolate the effect of his power, that seems like the fairer way to do it, instead of turning them into popups or something.) Would he still be a Hall of Famer?If all of his homers had been singles, Aaron would still have his 3,771 hits.The ambiguity is over the means by which we’re turning Aaron’s home runs into singles. When writing the original post, I’d imagined that this was accomplished by some sort of accounting trick. After Aaron retired, some Evil Commissioner decreed that all of Aaron’s homers would be counted as singles in baseball’s record book (like how the NCAA sometimes retroactively forfeits a team’s wins after it’s determined to have used an ineligible player); but it wouldn’t have changed what happened on the field.But what if the change had occurred on the field instead? So as not to violate any laws of physics, we can imagine it happened by means of a ground rule. Before Aaron made his major league debut, our Evil Commissioner decreed that any ball hit over the fence in fair territory by Henry Louis Aaron would be counted as a single rather than a home run. This rule applied to Hank Aaron and only to Hank Aaron. Everybody knew about the rule, including Hank Aaron, the pitchers who faced Hank Aaron, and the teams who employed Hank Aaron, and they were free to adjust their strategies accordingly.1A couple of complications: First, is Aaron allowed to hit inside-the-park home runs? Sure, let’s let him; he hit only one during the course of his career anyway.Next, what happens to the baserunners when Aaron hits a ground-rule single? Do they advance only one base? This would make Hank Aaron’s ground-rule singles less valuable than regular singles, since baserunners sometimes advance from first to third or score from second on a base hit. So let’s imagine that our Evil Commissioner decrees that a set of Strat-O-Matic dice shall be thrown by the umpires when Hank Aaron hits a ground-rule single. The baserunners will then be allowed to take an extra base in accordance with league-wide averages for runner advancement.This thought experiment is starting to get a bit complicated. Still, it gets to the point that the economists Scott Sumner and Tyler Cowen have made, which is that changing the ground rules for Aaron would have changed the way he and the pitchers who faced him approached the game. It thereby might have affected the rest of Aaron’s batting line and not just his home runs. There are several such effects to consider.Aaron would have drawn fewer walksThe number of walks drawn by a hitter is partly a function of his plate discipline and partly a matter of how much the pitcher fears him. The reason to risk walking a hitter, as Cowen notes, should be largely a function of his extra-base power. There’s not much reason to pitch around a singles hitter and give him a free pass to first base when most of the time the best he’s going to do is get to first base anyway by means of a base hit.This is clearest in the case of intentional walks.2Or at least it should be obvious in theory; whether it’s quite so obvious to pitchers and managers is another question. I was surprised to discover that singles hitters like Ichiro Suzuki and Wade Boggs each led their league in intentional walks multiple times during the course of their careers. Some of these intentional walks may have been prudent if first base was open and there were runners in scoring position. But I’d guess that many of them were not very smart. Still, the aggregate trend is suggestive of rational behavior. In the 2013 season, the correlation between a hitter’s rate of intentional walks drawn and his isolated power was .44. The correlation between intentional walks and his rate of singles per at-bat was essentially zero (.03).Aaron’s unintentional walks would probably also have declined if he weren’t allowed to hit home runs. According to data compiled by Fangraphs, the percentage of pitches thrown in the strike zone to major league hitters varies between about 40 percent and 55 percent. The hitters on the low end of the range are power hitters (Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Vladimir Guerrero, Pablo Sandoval); those at the top end are singles hitters (David Eckstein, Jason Kendall, Chone Figgins, Juan Pierre). A homerless Hank Aaron would have seen considerably more strikes.Aaron would have hit for a higher batting averageSeeing more pitches in the strike zone would have made it easier for Aaron to make contact. From 2009 to 2013, the league batting average for at-bats that concluded on a pitch thrown within the strike zone was .291; for pitches outside the strike zone, it was just .175.3Players were also 3.6 times more likely to hit home runs on at-bats that concluded on pitches thrown in the strike zone, although that doesn’t help Homerless Hank. (This research was provided to me by Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Info.)A quick calculation from these figures shows that if Aaron finished an additional 10 percent of his at-bats on pitches thrown inside the strike zone, he’d boost his career batting average by 12 points (from .305 to .317). However, that’s a crude estimate. We’d also have to consider how Aaron and the pitchers and defenses who faced him would have changed their whole approach to the at-bat.There’s reason to think that Aaron would have adapted to these conditions more readily than his opponents. He was a smart and versatile hitter; Sports Illustrated’s 1958 scouting report described how Aaron was very difficult to defend because he could hit to all fields and leg out infield hits (emphasis added from original):Man who excites the experts is Henry Aaron, of the loose, free swing. Called “best wrist hitter in baseball,” he’s actually an arm hitter, lashing pitch with masterful coordination of forearms, biceps, wrists and bat. Slumped through June but has had best record in league since then. No set way to fix defenses against him, since he hits to all fields, bunts beautifully, is fast enough to beat out infield hits. He’s also a good, if lackadaisical, outfielder, with a fine arm. The team’s big man.Furthermore, we have some experimental evidence on cases in which Aaron had an incentive to hit for contact. He performed very well in these situations.Singles increase in value relative to home runs when there are runners in scoring position. For his career, Aaron hit .322 with runners in scoring position.4Aaron accomplished this by means of hitting more singles; 20.4 percent of his at-bats with runners in scoring position concluded with singles, compared to 17.6 percent with the bases empty. His rate of extra-base hits was largely unchanged. Note that there is not a strong systematic tendency for players to hit for a higher average with runners in scoring position. In 2013, major leaguers hit .255 as a group with runners in scoring position, compared to .253 for all at-bats.Singles become more valuable still when there are runners in scoring position and the score is tied late in the game. In these cases, either a single or a homer will usually score the go-ahead run and win the game, so the hitter should be hitting for contact and the pitcher should be trying to prevent contact. I looked for at-bats on Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index when Aaron hit with runners in scoring position in the seventh inning or later of a tied game. It’s a small sample — just 139 at-bats. But Aaron hit .331 in these situations for his career.Another natural experiment comes from cases in which home runs aren’t necessarily less valuable, but are harder to hit. Of the ballparks Aaron played at regularly during his career, the one least conducive to home runs was almost certainly Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, where the left field and right field power alleys were 392 and 395 feet away from home plate, respectively. From 1954 (Aaron’s debut season) until the Pittsburgh Pirates’ last full season in Forbes Field in 1969, the Pirates hit 65 percent more home runs in road games than at Forbes Field. They also hit for a slightly higher batting average in Forbes Field than on the road, although the difference was modest (.267 versus .259).How about Hank Aaron? He adapted wonderfully to Forbes Field, hitting .338 for his career in 639 at-bats there. That’s a little bit better even than Pirates great Roberto Clemente (.329), whose game was tailor-made for Forbes Field.Aaron might have seen less playing timeThe no-homers ground rule might have made teams more reluctant to employ Aaron, especially toward the end of his career. After breaking the home run record as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Aaron played two farewell seasons as a designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1975 and 1976. He hit just .234 and .229 during those seasons. The Brewers were terrible back then, but they might not have had much patience for Aaron if he didn’t compensate for his poor batting averages with occasional home runs.It’s also plausible that the start of Aaron’s major league career would have been delayed, but this case is more debatable. Aaron’s potential as a singles hitter would have been evident quite early. He began his professional career as a 17-year-old in the Negro Leagues, where he hit .366 in recorded at-bats as a member of the Indianapolis Clowns. Purchased by the Braves for $10,000, he then hit .336 and .362 in minor league seasons in 1952 and 1953.5Furthermore, the Braves had an opening for Aaron since they had traded the veteran outfielder Sid Gordon at the end of the 1953 season. Press accounts from the time do not seem to mention Aaron’s emergence as a motivating factor for the Braves to trade Gordon, though it may have played into their thinking.Aaron might have stolen more basesIn the comments on my original post, some readers noted that if Aaron had hit more singles, he’d have had more opportunity to steal bases. This is true — although I also have Homerless Hank drawing fewer walks and perhaps getting less playing time than the real Aaron, which would counteract his increased rate of singles.It’s probably the case, though, that Aaron could have stolen more bases if he’d wanted to. He was reasonably fast early in his career, as the Sports Illustrated scouting report mentions. But the stolen base was not in vogue in the 1950s and Aaron rarely attempted to steal. Steals became a much more popular strategy in the 1960s, however, and Aaron proved to be a proficient base-stealer. He stole 240 bases during his career and was successful on 77 percent of his steal attempts, leading the National League in stolen base percentage in 1966 and 1968. His high rate of success suggests that Aaron may have left a few opportunities on the table. Perhaps if he had been cast as a singles hitter, his teams would have expected him to be more active on the bases. He presumably also would have hit first or second in the batting order rather than third or fourth, which means he’d reach base more often with second base open.Aaron might have hit doubles and triples at a higher rateIf Aaron had only been credited with singles on balls that cleared the fence, he would have had reason to swing for the gaps more often in an effort to hit doubles and triples.In general, however, it’s not all that easy for players to try to hit doubles. The league leaders in doubles change quite a lot from year to year and the lists mostly comprise good overall hitters who play in stadiums like Fenway Park that are conductive to doubles. Still, none of those hitters faces incentives where doubles are actually more valuable than balls hit over the fence. As the scouting reports and batting splits makes clear, Aaron could hit to all fields and was smart about adapting his approach to the situation. I imagine that he’d find a way to hit a few more doubles and triples.Summing upThe real Hank Aaron hit for a .305/.374/.555 “slash line” (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage). If all his home runs had been changed to singles after the fact, his line would have been .305/.374/.371 instead. But this doesn’t account for the changes Aaron and the pitchers might have made as they adapted to the ground rule.It’s just a guess, of course — but I imagine that Aaron would have hit somewhere in the .320s as a result of seeing more strikes and changing his approach to make more contact. His slugging average would have gone up accordingly, perhaps also boosted by a few extra doubles and triples. However, he would have drawn fewer walks, which could offset any gains in his on-base percentage. I envision his slash line as being something like .325/.375/.405, which is reasonably similar to Rod Carew’s.I don’t think Homerless Hank would have been in any jeopardy of failing to notch 3,000 hits. He may even have reached 4,000. The real Hank Aaron had 3,771 hits, and I have Homerless Hank hitting for a higher batting average. I also have him drawing fewer walks, which means more opportunities to put the ball in play. In fact, a .325/.375/.405 batting line would translate to roughly 4,150 hits given the number of plate appearances Aaron had. That would put him in striking distance of Ty Cobb, who had 4,189 hits. (Pete Rose surpassed Cobb’s record in 1985 and finished with 4,256 hits.)I also imagine that Homerless Hank wouldn’t have been very productive in the last couple of seasons of his career; his batting average over his final three seasons was .244. Teams don’t normally have much interest in singles hitters who hit .244. Still, they sometimes find spots for players who are pursuing career landmarks; Rose was somewhere between marginally productive and counterproductive after the age of 40, and yet he got (and gave himself as player-manager) another 2,469 plate appearances. If the Braves or the Brewers had been so generous to Aaron, it’s possible the Home Run King would have ended up as baseball’s Hit King instead.
2013 NBA Champion for the Miami Heat and Akron, Ohio native LeBron James stands on the sidelines at the Wisconsin football game Sept. 28 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 31-24.Credit: Lantern file photoThe droplets trickled down my face, falling and creating mini oceans upon the speckled floor of the gym, when he uttered those unforgettable words.With a tank top and the chiseled physique I could only dream of, he walked towards me as the words slid so nonchalantly out of his mouth and into the air.“LeBron’s coming back,” the stranger said. “He’s coming back to Cleveland.”—Quite ironic that the announcement of LeBron’s arrival came amidst a workout, as workout routines were something that I’d never done as a boy in South Florida.Even as a high school football player taught daily the importance of rigorous workout regiments, I didn’t get it. By simply arriving at the gym or to the field, I thought that I would be in shape and that I would improve as an athlete.The merits of hard work of any kind- physical, mental, or emotional- didn’t register… until I came to Ohio.—Each and every year, my parents, my siblings and I would leave behind the sun-filled beaches of South Florida to travel to Cleveland to visit my family.While I don’t remember my first visit to Northeast Ohio- I was merely an infant resting comfortably in the arms of my mother- I’ve been in love with the area since my early years.I never knew what it was that drew me in so quickly, so wholeheartedly.When I walked around school sporting Chief Wahoo upon my chest or “Couch” across my back, I knew how much pride I had in the city, but couldn’t really explain it to my peers.“If they haven’t lived it, they’ll never learn it,” I thought.Reality was, outside of those bi-annual trips, I hadn’t lived it.After a year at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, however, I decided that I couldn’t pretend anymore. I couldn’t pretend to understand what made Ohio so special to me without ever having spent more than a couple weeks there.So, with the begrudging approval of my parents, I packed my bags and headed off to The Ohio State University- the school of my dreams since I was eight years old.—When I left Florida for Ohio, I didn’t understand the importance of much.My father- my hero, my role model and the hardest working man I’ve ever known- sacrificed any resemblance of free time so that I could spend my youth amongst the elite of South Florida and attend one of the most prestigious schools in the country.While I knew he worked hard, I couldn’t comprehend the grueling hours and the unbelievable work my father put forth.How could I?Many of my friends and I, we were handed everything. It didn’t make us bad people, rather, we just never had to fight for anything. All the clothes, the food, the cars we wanted were right in front of us, there for the taking.Amidst all of the fun in the sun, I still wondered why something in my life was missing. My friends and my family were incredible pieces in my puzzle, but there was still a massive piece that I needed to find.When I arrived in Ohio as a full-time resident, that puzzle piece instantly emerged and I was well on my way to finding what made this place, these people, so special.—I’d like to think LeBron James and I shared a similar experience in the entirely opposite direction.James spent his early years in Ohio, living in poverty, dreaming of the life of leisure I previously described. Rather than to loaf through life, he worked incessantly to hone his craft in order to provide for his family in the way that his family could never provide for him.After working for seven years at home in Cleveland with an unfulfilled promise of a championship ring to Northeast Ohio weighing upon him heavily, enough was enough.For once in his life, LeBron needed to take the easy road- the road that I’d traveled for years.As I had departed from South Florida to learn a different way of life in Ohio, LeBron James departed from Ohio to learn a different way of life in South Florida.—I’ll never say I “grew up” in South Florida. I lived there, I loved there and my friends for life are from there, but to say I “grew up” in South Florida would be a lie. To grow up is to mature, to understand what you value in life. In South Florida, I did neither of those things.I “grew up” in Ohio and amidst that maturation process, understood that Ohio is where I belong.It started with work ethic- the something I’d never had in the Sunshine State.As I inundated myself into Ohio’s culture, I developed an understanding of the hard-working,“blue collar” reputation of the people and connected the dots quickly.In Florida, while my father certainly worked his rear-end off to provide for me the aforementioned life of ease, I never learned how to work hard. My father was too busy putting his work ethic to the test every day to force me to find mine.Buried deep inside my Midwestern blood, however, it was there all along and only Ohio could bring it out of me.When I started to mirror the work ethic that my fellow Buckeyes put forth every day, I suddenly began to understand the things I truly valued in life.That’s what hard work does.It instills a sense of greater value in everything, but especially in your fellow men. I began to value my family in a way that I never had before. I began to count my blessings, rather than my problems. I began to feel that I belonged, as I’d always dreamed of belonging while boasting my Cleveland sports gear as a toddler.It took a while to find, but “blue collar” was in my blood.—Again, I feel as if LeBron James had the same findings, but on the opposite path.In Miami, LeBron realized that his fame, his fortune and most especially his rings didn’t have the value they would in Northeast Ohio.He worked for them, but not in the way he would have if he stayed home.Rather than understanding the value of hard work first-hand, as I did in Ohio, LeBron took a look in the rearview mirror from South Florida.This was all evidenced by his article in Sports Illustrated, which may be known as the most important piece of literature in the history of athletics in Ohio.“In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned,” James wrote. “You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge.”For James, should he win one ring or several, his new era in Cleveland will be filled with a value he’s never felt.For myself, well, I head into my final year at Ohio State with a new outlook on life, yearning to get back to work.Be our journeys polar opposites or juxtapositional parallels, venturing from the sandy beaches of South Florida to the rolling hills of Ohio, LeBron and I have each learned of the value of hard work.It’s what brought me and it’s what brought LeBron…Home.
Coach Urban Meyer looks on during a game against Maryland on Oct. 4 in College Park, Md. OSU won, 52-24.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorFollowing games against Cincinnati and Maryland in which the Buckeyes combined for more than 1,200 yards, they are facing what could be their biggest opponent yet: another bye week.After seeming to hit their stride both offensively and defensively, the Buckeyes will be left watching from the couch Saturday for the second time in a month.But even though OSU will not take the field this week, I compiled a list of things you should look for around the college football landscape. 1. Could this week be the most exciting week in 2014 for college football?During the Buckeye bye week, there are five matchups scheduled that will pit ranked opponents against each other, with two of those games involving top-five teams. Those matchups feature No. 5 Baylor against No. 9 Texas Christian and No. 2 Auburn against No. 3 Mississippi State. Both games are battles of unbeaten teams and will no doubt make or break each team’s season, as well as their dreams of making it into the first ever College Football Playoff. So if the Buckeyes get bored just sitting around, all they will have to do is flip on the TV and enjoy. 2. Can OSU’s rival Michigan get out of its current rut?Ever since the fallout from the Shane Morris incident in which the sophomore quarterback was put back into a game after seemingly suffering a concussion, Michigan has not looked in more of a state of disarray since the Rich Rodriguez era. Rodriguez was ousted from Michigan after just three seasons in which the Wolverines made just one bowl appearance. After the team’s loss to Rutgers in its last game, Ann Arbor, Mich., is ready to implode. All is not lost for the Maize and Blue, however. The Wolverines are scheduled to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday at home under the lights. If there is anything that can give a program hope for the future, it’s a win during a night game at home (see: OSU vs. Wisconsin in 2011).The Nittany Lions are coming off a bye week, one that came a week after they were embarrassed at home by Northwestern, 29-6. If there was ever a time for Michigan to turn around its season, this weekend’s game is the opportunity it has been waiting for. 3. Will a team emerge as the country’s clear No. 1?Going into its seventh week, the college football season has yet to provide us with a clear, dominant team, despite what the polls may have us believe. The defending national champion Florida State Seminoles are still undefeated and remain atop most polls, however they have not impressed like they did a year ago.Just last week, it took the Seminoles nearly a full half of football to start scoring against the lowly Wake Forest Demon Deacons before pulling away late to win, 43-3. In addition, the Seminoles have played just one ranked team on the season, and are currently set to play just one more ranked foe for the remainder of the season against Notre Dame. With that said, this leaves the door open for teams like Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Baylor and many others to make their mark on the college football world.4. The Big Ten as a whole is a must-miss this week.Aside from the Michigan-Penn State matchup, you might want to stay away from watching Big Ten football this weekend.With OSU on an off week, the only ranked Big Ten team in action, No. 8 Michigan State, is set to take on conference bottom-dweller Purdue.Not exactly the most riveting game. However, if matchups such as Northwestern against Minnesota or Indiana against Iowa pique your interest, I encourage you to tune in (at your own risk). 5. Will two early bye weeks end up hurting the Buckeyes in the long run?How could they not?Any time two bye weeks are scheduled within a month, it could very well lead to players, and even coaches, becoming lackadaisical.While OSU coach Urban Meyer said he will not allow this to happen, one has to wonder what the Buckeyes’ mindset will be like going into their Oct. 18 matchup with Rutgers.And even if they come out firing on all cylinders and bring down the Scarlet Knights, a straight stretch of games from Oct. 18 through Nov. 29 could mean players missing time because of injury. Injuries are part of the game, there is no denying that, but not having time to heal from these injuries could prove crucial for the Buckeyes.We will find out as the season presses on.OSU’s matchup with Rutgers is set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Ohio Stadium.
Former Paris Saint-Germain star Christophe Dugarry has told Neymar to put an end to the constant speculation surrounding his future by revealing his plans for the futureThe Brazil international has been strongly linked with a move away from the French capital, despite having only arrived last summer for a world record transfer fee of €222m.Neymar has remained silent on the ongoing speculation, that has seen him being heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer, as he continues his recovery from his foot injury in his homeland.But Dugarry is tired of the growing uncertainty about Neymar and has now demanded that the forward tells the world himself on whether he intends to stay at PSG or not.Opinion: Neymar will earn respect back from the PSG fans Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 After completing his incredible return to Parc des Princes, we predict that Neymar will earn the respect back from PSG supporters.The situation between Neymar…“I will call Neymar, I want him to express himself, I’m fed up of other people talking for him, I want to hear him say whether he’s staying at PSG or not,” the French 1998 World Cup winner told (via Marca).“We don’t care what his father says, Neymar has to make a statement to explain to us if he wants to stay or not.“At the moment, it’s always other speaking for him.”
Nigeria legend Nwankwo Kanu believes that Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi and ex-Watford striker Odion Ighalo are the key players for the national team for the World CupThe 41-year-0ld was part of the famous “invincibles” Arsenal side that went an entire league season unbeaten in the 2003/04 campaign and he has also won major trophies such as the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup during his glittering playing career.Ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Russia, Kanu is hopeful that Nigeria will be able to do well with the young talent that is currently emerging and he feels that the Super Eagles will have the added bonus of the tranquillity in the camp this summer.”As the years go by we keep growing and planning, getting more experience. I believe we have the best young players in the World Cup, in terms of age, ” Kanu told RT.”They are doing well. The hunger is there and this is the first time that they have a peaceful camp, in terms of everything [being] well organized.Alex Iwobi: “I feel like an Evertonian now” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Alex Iwobi is pleased with how quickly he’s adapting at new club Everton following his prolific start to his Merseyside career.”[Odion] Ighalo, Alex Iwobi. There is a lot of them that you can mention. We don’t really call them star players but all round we believe they are a good team.”The Atlanta 1996 gold medalist represented Nigeria in the 1998, 2002 and 2010 World Cups.”That was the best. You do everything you do at club level just for you to be in the World Cup,” he said.”The best players in the world have to come to the World Cup. For every player, that is a dream.”For me as a player I always look forward to the World Cup because it is every four years, it is not something that comes every year.”