Volleyball has always been one sport that I thought could be a professional sport during the summer months while the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) were in hibernation. Over the years, the beach version has overshadowed the indoor game. During the 1970s there was an attempt to create a major league with the International Volleyball Association (IVA).
The IVA was a co-ed professional league which lasted from 1975 to 1980. Most of the team were located in the western United States. Teams in the league were: Santa Barbara Spikers (1975-1979), El Paso-Juarez Sol (1975-1977), Los Angeles/Orange County Stars (1975-1978), San Diego Breakers (1975-1978), Southern California Bangers (1975), Tucson Turquoise (1976), Tucson Sky (1977-1979), Phoenix Heat (1976-1977), Denver Comets (1976-1977), Seattle Smashers (1978-1979), Albuquerque Lasers (1979), Salt Lake City Stingers (1979) and San Jose Diablos (1979).
The most notable player was former NBA great Wilt Chamberlain who played with the Seattle Smashers in 1977. Chamberlain also played in the IVA’s All-Star Game which was televised on CBS. He also played in three games for the Albuquerque Lasers in 1979. Chamberlain was involved with the league from the beginning serving as the Commissioner during the late 1970s.
League champions were:
1975 – Los Angeles Stars
1976 – San Diego Breakers
1977 – Orange County Stars
1978 – Santa Barbara Spikers
1979 – Tucson Sky
The IVA featured two women and four men on the court at all times. The league did manage to attract the world’s top volleyball talent during its existence. Mary Jo Peppler, Lino De Gama and Ed Skorek were just a few of the international players that appeared on team rosters.
The Denver Comets were one of the league’s most stable franchises. However, in July 1979 government agents raided the offices of the team and arrested team owners along with other team employees on charges of running a multi-state cocaine and marijuana trafficking operation.
The Salt Lake City Stingers had relativity strong fan support with an average of 2,000 per game and nearly 400 season ticket holders. While most IVA teams played in small high school arenas, the Stingers played their home matches in the Salt Palace which was also home to the Utah Jazz of the NBA.
Most accounts claim that the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was the final blow to the league. The league had hoped the exposure of featured Olympians would help them with an expected television contract with ESPN. The boycott forced many teams to fold.
The Obscure Sports Page is a weekly report of sports leagues in the United States that are unique or get little coverage from the sports media.
American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The league will get national exposure on ELEVEN Sports Network on Sunday, July 9th for the A7FL Championship Game. The league’s third championship game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park. NJ Paterson U, NJ Savage, PA Immortalz, NJ BIC, NJ Chiefs, Baltimore Kings, Baltimore Gators and PA Dynasty will begin the playoffs this weekend.
American Flag Football League (AFFL) – The league’s inaugural “test” game will be played on Tuesday, June 27th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California. The game will feature Michael Vick, Chad Ochocinco and Justin Forsett. The league has advertised to be a modern version of flag football and will feature several technical innovations to the game.
American Hockey League (AHL) – Martin Frk scored the winning goal with 7:19 left in regulation to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch. This is the Griffins’ second Calder Cup title in five years.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league’s “Cross Coast Challenge” concluded last weekend with a high scoring game in Toronto. The Rush overcame an early three goal deficit for a 33-27 win over San Francisco. After trailing 16-15 at halftime, the Rush went on a 5-1 run to start the second half and never looked back. The current division leaders are: South-Raleigh (10-1), East-Toronto (8-3), Midwest-Minnesota (8-1) and West-San Francisco (7-3)
Arena Football League (AFL) – Philadelphia Soul running back, Mykel Benson, became the fifth player to rush for 100 touchdowns in league history. He joined the elite group on his second touchdown in the win over Tampa Bay. The Soul remain undefeated and on top of the league at 9-0 followed by Tampa Bay (7-2), Cleveland (3-7), Baltimore (2-6) and Washington (1-7).
Arena Pro Football (APF) – The Richmond Roughriders won the championship over the Florida Tarpons 74-61. On the game’s final play, Tarpons’ quarterback Chris Wallace rolled to his left looking for a receiver. Two Roughrider defenders closed in on Wallace as he hurried the pass which was intercepted by linebacker Malique Johnson who returned it for a touchdown to end the game and give the Roughriders the title. Richmond (8-0) completed an undefeated season. Although the Roughriders claimed the first title in the APF, it will be their last in the league as it is set to merge with the CAN-AM Indoor Football League to form the American Arena League but Roughriders’ owner isn’t sure about following the rest of the league into the merger. Owner Gregg Fornario is considering other options including the National Arena League (NAL) and Indoor Football League (IFL).
Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The inaugural season of the 3-on-3 basketball league tips off this weekend in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center. The league was created by Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. The league will feature eight teams with former NBA players.
Champions Indoor Football League (CIF) – The Omaha Beef will face the Texas Revolution on Friday for the CIF title. Omaha defeated the Sioux City Bandits 55-45 and Texas got past the Amarillo Venom 77-71 in the semifinals.
Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) – Here are the current Top 10 rankings in the GDFL:
North Mississippi Road Warriors
River City Pythons
Indoor Football League (IFL) – Nebraska Danger quarterback Drew Powell was named the league’s offensive player of the week after leading his team to a 59-44 win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks. Powell completed 17 of 23 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 71 yards. Sioux Falls Storm defensive back Rashard Smith was the defensive player of the week as he helped his team end the Iowa Barnstormers’ 11-game winning streak returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Storm a 21-point lead with less than five minutes left.
Major League Futsal (MLF) – Diablos Ensenda MX leads the Men’s Pro Division with 18 points. The Women’s Pro Division is led by Alianza F.C. with 3 points. Futsal is the official version indoor soccer which played without dasher boards.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – Davey Emala and Will Manny combined for eight goals in Boston’s 16-9 win over the Outlaws in Denver on Saturday night. The win avenged Boston’s loss to Denver two weeks ago. Boston goalie Tyler Fiorito earned the Coca-Cola Player of the Game after stopping 20 of the 29 shots against him. He made eight saves and did not allow a goal in the fourth quarter. The teams were within a goal of each other at the end of the first quarter and within two goals after the second quarter, but Boston pulled away by outscoring Denver by a 7-2 margin in the second half. The loss drops Denver into a first place tie with the Ohio Machine (5-2).
Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – Boston (3-0), Rochester (3-0), Austin (3-0) and Los Angeles (3-0) continue to lead their respective divisions early in the season. Austin’s Monroe Augustine leads the Individual Quaffle Stats with 12 goals and nine assists. This weekend’s matches will feature Boston hosting Ottawa and Phoenix at San Francisco.
National Arena League (NAL) – The playoffs are set for this weekend’s league semifinal games. The Columbus Lions (9-3) will travel to play the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) while the Jacksonville Sharks (11-1) will host the Monterrey Steel (7-4). The Steel upset the Sharks in the final regular season game last weekend 44-37.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Here are the current standings for the league:
USSSA Pride (8-2)
Scrap Yard Dawgs (7-5)
Chicago Bandits (9-7)
Texas Charge (7-6)
Akron Racers (5-7)
Beijing Eagles (0-9)
North American Soccer League (NASL) – Week 14 of the NASL Spring Season comes with another stern test of Miami FC’s title-winning credentials. Miami faces the New York Cosmos, who sit seven points behind along with the San Francisco Deltas in the table, on Saturday night. A win at Riccardo Silva Stadium would move Miami closer to gaining the Spring Championship. A loss, of course, would bring the rest of the pack a little closer. The Deltas head north to take on FC Edmonton and the club has yet to lose on the road in league play. The other Saturday night kickoff gets underway in Cary as North Carolina FC squares off with Indy Eleven. On Sunday, Jacksonville Armada FC hosts Puerto Rico FC as both sides look to rebound from conceding four goals apiece a weekend ago.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The North Carolina Charge are still on top of the league with 21 points. The Charge will play Boston this weekend. Boston is in 9th place in the standings.
Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – The Cape Fear Heroes had little trouble with the Cap City Bulls in the first round of the league playoffs. The Heroes ran away with the game 63-14. Unfortunately, there appears to be no information about the next round this weekend.
United Soccer League (USL) – Trevin Caesar had a hat trick and a highlight-reel assist to lead Sacramento Republic FC to a 6-2 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday night.
Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) – In the second round of the playoffs:
St. Louis Slam 69, Madison Blaze 8
Orlando Anarchy 57, Cincinnati Sizzle 6
Arkansas Wildcats 36, Austin Outlaws 6
Southern Oregon Lady Renegades 46, Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz 6
Toledo Reign 22, Maine Mayhem 7
Boston Renegades 27, DC Divas 24
Chicago Force 45, Pittsburgh Passion 0
Dallas Elite 53, Minnesota Vixen 0
Montreal Blitz 49, New York Sharks 27
Tampa Bay Inferno 35, Carolina Phoenix 26
San Diego Surge 35, Central California War Angels 34
Mile High Blaze 28, Sin City Trojans 14
This week’s schedule for the third round:
Chicago at Boston
San Diego at Dallas
Tampa Bay at Montreal
Mile High at St. Louis
Orlando at Toledo
Arkansas at S. Oregon
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – Glory Johnson recorded her fourth 20-point game of the season to help the Wings get their second consecutive win over the Stars, 81-78. Johnson ended the day recording her sixth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Throughout the game, the Wings found themselves down by as much as 14, then were lifted back up when Skylar Diggins-Smith drove it up the lane late in the fourth quarter sinking a layup and a chance to make the 3-point play, when a foul was also called on San Antonio’s Erica deSouza. At the line, Diggins-Smith completed the play to give the Wings a one point lead over the Stars 79-78. The team sealed the win, when Karima Christmas-Kelly was sent to the foul line and sunk one to put the Wings up 81-78. Three Wings players recorded double figures for the day. Diggins-Smith and Christmas-Kelly scored 16 points, with Diggins-Smith leading the team in assists dishing out six.
Let me start off by saying that I have not been known as a Country Music fan but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally listen to it. I do listen to it more now since living in Nashville. You just can’t help it. I mean, this IS the Country Music capital of the world. You can’t exactly run around the Music City with fingers in your ears. I have realized now that when scanning radio stations, I don’t always scan past the Country stations.
Last night my wife and I attended the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. We were not disappointed.
My extent of Country Music growing up was Hee Haw. I don’t recall ever listening or watching the Grand Ole Opry before last night.
We were close to the stage. I’m talking like four rows out. It was awesome to be that close to the various acts. Last night’s line up included: Riders In The Sky, Raelynn, T. Graham Brown, Chuck Wicks, Danielle Bradberry, Dailey & Vincent, Bill Anderson and Kelsa Ballerini. The only people I knew before last night were Bill Anderson and Kelsea Ballerini.
Just a few facts that you should know about attending a performance at the Grand Ole Opry:
The show is a LIVE broadcast. There is a worldwide radio audience listening to the show.
Each act performs three songs which is fine for some acts but for some you wish they performed longer.
Seating is long “church pew” seats so if you better hope everyone is within the average size.
The show isn’t like a concert. It’s more like watching those old variety television shows in the 70s.
The Opry sells concessions but not quite like a movie theatre. It’s best to get something to eat before the show.
Alcoholic beverages are sold but I really don’t think it’s necessary for something like this.
There is a 15-minute intermission during the show. Good luck with going to the bathroom if you are a woman.
Traffic after the show is horrible since there are only two ways out of the area.
If you see someone you like, get your tickets early.
The Grand Ole Opry started on November 28, 1925 as a one-hour “barn dance” on a local radio station. The phrase “Grand Ole Opry” began in 1927 when the show followed NBC’s Music Appreciation Hour which was a program of classical music and selections from the opera. Opry presenter George Hay introduced harmonica player, DeFord Bailey by saying: “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely form the Grand Opera. From now on, we will present the Grand Ole Opry.”
The Grand Ole Opry called the historic Ryman Auditorium home until a new 4,000-seat Opry House was built and moved the Opry there in 1974. The new facility was more modern although they did include a section of the stage from the Ryman to include in the stage of the new Opry House.
Regular performers at the Grand Ole Opry become members from referrals of current Opry members. Their membership must be maintained throughout their career with a minimum number of performances throughout their career.
The Opry features shows every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from March through November.
More than you wanted to know about the Grand Ole Opry? Perhaps, but when you’re in Nashville you have to go at least once. I’m glad we did and I’m thinking we might go back soon. Sure, there were some acts I really wasn’t interested in but it was all entertaining.
For more information about the Grand Ole Opry or for tickets: www.opry.com
In the various video file formats I have to work with in litigation, one of the most common are .VOB files. A .VOB file is the container format in DVD-Video media files. VOB (Video Object) files can contain digital video, digital audio, subtitles, DVD menus and navigation contents which are put together to stream the content of a DVD.
If you have a DVD and just want to play it, you will never need to know about .VOB files but when you have to convert it or capture clips from it you will need to find a way to do this. Sometimes you can just simply play a .VOB file in Windows Media Player or Videolan (VLC) player separately. There are times when you can simply change the file extension from .VOB to .MPG and it will work the same but it doesn’t always work depending on how the file is coded. Although a VOB file is essentially an MPEG file, it could have additional data that might be needed.
Perhaps the safest way to convert a .VOB file is to use a video conversion program. I sometimes use AnyVideoConverter. Doing so will ensure you can keep it seamlessly and not risk losing any important information or any loss in quality.
If you need to convert a DVD to play in TrialDirector, there is a nifty program included which will make life easier. It is called the inData Digital Video Disc (DVD) Extractor. It is very easy to use and can export the output to MPEG-1 and MPEG-2. This is a useful tool if your attorney hands you a DVD to put into TrialDirector. This utility will extract the DVD format into a more user friendly form for TrialDirector.
With an video conversion, you must always use caution that you aren’t altering the video file or degrading it in any way. There have been some instances when I have converted a VOB file only to discover that the video and audio did not match up or the time code was missing or different than when the legal team reviewed the original DVD. Also, you have to stress to the legal team to provide you with the video files with ample notice as sometimes conversion doesn’t always happen instantly.
During the Stanley Cup playoffs, the hockey world took notice of Nashville’s support for the Nashville Predators. When fans couldn’t get tickets to the game, they filled the streets of Lower Broadway, Walk of Fame Park and other locations downtown painting the town gold. Yes, Nashville embraced hockey. Watching and being a part of the Predators’ amazing journey this season, I wondered if what happened here could help Nashville’s quest for a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team.
Nashville is one of 12 cities on the list for four slots that the league plans to expand to take the league to 28 teams. Nashville joins Sacramento, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Antonio, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Diego and Detroit.
I would think that the city of Nashville only helped their cause with the success of the Predators’ and a sport which people probably never thought would take in the Music City. One thing that helps Nashville is that there is no other professional sports teams that would compete with MLS in the bulk of the regular season. They would compete with the Predators in the first 1/3 of the season and then the Titans in the last 1/3. There is definitely a big gap where a team would get the support since the city does not have a Major League Baseball team. In fact, six of the 12 on the list would not have competition with baseball. They all have minor league teams but I don’t see that as real competition with professional soccer.
The United States national teams have done well with matches here. The four games between 2006 and 2015 averaged 31,998 fans, which was something that attracted CONCACAF Gold Cup to have matches in Nashville this summer. On July 8th, the United States will play Panama and Martinique will play Nicaragua. Also, more than 40,000 filled Nissan Stadium in October for a match between Mexico and New Zealand.
Even Nashville Mayor Megan Barry expressed her thoughts about how the Predators’ success should help the city’s bid.
“I have to tell you if you were an MLS official and you watched any fan participation for the Predators, I can’t believe you wouldn’t think this is a place that would be supportive of a soccer team.”
Most soccer experts list Nashville as 7th on their list of the 12 cities. One thing that might detract from Nashville is that the city is an unknown as far as a soccer fan base. Sure, the Predators had incredible support but would that translate to support for an MLS franchise? Unfortunately, I think cities with past professional soccer teams in the old NASL (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Detroit) seem to be sentimental favorites. Personally, I think I would mix it up if I were MLS officials. Maybe include two old favorites and two cities who have never had a team.
Nashville already has support from the local community to build a stadium for an MLS team. That is always a huge hurdle for a city to strengthen their position for an expansion team.
Here is my personal (non-soccer expert) ranking of the list of cities. The numbers indicate professional sports teams:
Tampa Bay (3)
San Diego (1) – Remember the Chargers have moved to LA
St. Louis (2)
San Antonio (1)
The Predators’ success certainly helped Nashville’s chances but is it enough to put them in the top four? Another factor in the process is Miami’s on/off bid for an MLS team. Who knows how that situation will work out? Miami could be the factor that bumps Nashville out. Of course, both Miami and Tampa had MLS franchises but lost them.
The next two expansion teams are planned to join the league in 2020. With the length of time between now and the next decision for the next two teams, you also wonder how long the Predators’ success this season will stay in the minds of those on the MLS expansion committee. But, the Music City will have several opportunities to show their support for soccer on their own with the upcoming Gold Cup games and other friendlies being hosted at Nissan Stadium.
Honky Tonkin and Corner Kicks in the Music City? It isn’t so far-fetched.
I grew up as the son of a preacher man. In the early years of my life, my dad was the man behind the pulpit.
He preached a lot of sermons but the lessons I learned was him. He wasn’t like other fathers. Sure, he took time to play basketball or throw the baseball around with me but his priority was the church.
He was born in Gadsden, Alabama but some how migrated to South Georgia where he graduated from Clinch County High School in Homerville, Georgia. He played football and basketball and you will still find him at the football stadium on Friday night watching his beloved Clinch County Panthers.
When he graduated from high school he left for the United States Air Force. Later, he and my mother married and I was born while dad was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base near Abilene, Texas.
He was “called” into the ministry when I was a toddler. Dad was the pastor at many churches in Georgia. I called Valdosta, Moultrie, Temple, Homeland, Villa Rica and Savannah home over those years I was living at home.
Dad was strict. He didn’t have any tolerance for any nonsense and I was careful not to cause much trouble. Strict isn’t always negative. I have inherited a lot of his characteristics. When I stand in the mirror I see some of him in me. Some of the things I see is:
Dad was a planner. He was never one to just do anything without planning.
Dad was punctual. I never recall my dad ever being late for anything. If nothing else, he would be early.
Dad was honest. I never remember him lying or cheating anyone.
Dad had faith in God. I remember many times he said that we were just going to trust in God.
Dad had a unique sense-of-humor. He wasn’t a cut-up like my mom was but he had his very unique humor.
Dad was a hard-worker. There were many times he worked a job in addition to pastoring a church. He never complained about it.
One thing about my dad was that he was committed to doing what he believed was the right thing to do even if he never got recognized for it. I remember when we were in Temple, it was a very small church. One Sunday no one showed up for church but Dad still had church with me and my Mom.
I don’t think he was really appreciated for the sacrifices he made. He made a lot of them. I never remember him being a selfish man. He always thought of others before himself. I would like to be more like him in that way.
My dad is still a good man. I still think of him that way even if things are quite as they should be between us. It has been a rocky road for us but he’s still my dad and always will be. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to have been my Dad.It’s tough writing this because it exposes some of my raw emotions. While most Dads aren’t supposed to show emotions, I remember times that I saw my Dad cry. I know I have probably been some of his tears. I am not one that seeks to blame his Dad for things that he did or didn’t do in my childhood for some setback today. My Dad was just like any other parent, he did the best he knew to do with the time and situation during those years. I certainly don’t put anything on him. It was what it was.
The connection a man has with his father shapes his life. Which is why every adult son must choose how that relationship will – or won’t – define him. His ways prepared my way. I am who I am because of him. It was 35 years ago this month when I left home to join the United States Air Force but the lessons he taught me continues to this day. My work ethic and personality are a lot like his. Yes, I have tweaked it a lot over the years but he’s still there. I see him in me when I look in the mirror.
Life isn’t always what we expected and we all make decisions that cause collateral hurts and consequences. We all have to do the best that we can. I have made some of those difficult decisions that have disappointed my Dad. No son intentionally wants to disappoint their dad. A son always wants to have his dad’s approval. He wants to know that he made it regardless of how successful he has been on his own. That approval matters deep inside of us somewhere.
When we’re not reconciled with our fathers, there’s something inside of us that remains restless. We don’t really grow up until we have come to terms with our fathers. Whether we want to admit it or not, we need our fathers to bless us in a way that brings us into adulthood regardless how old we are.
As for me, it doesn’t matter what has happened before. He’s still my Dad.
With Father’s Day happening this weekend, let’s take a look at some of the most famous father-son sports duos. This list isn’t ranked in any way.
Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning
It is rare enough that a father and one son make it big in sports but to have two sons to do well in professional sports is a rarity. The Mannings have been one of the few to accomplish this feat. Archie played most of his career when the New Orleans Saints were frequent losers in the National Football League (NFL). He started 139 games and finished with a record of 35-101-3. Archie was never fortunate to participate in the postseason. On the other hand, his two sons exceeded that by both winning Super Bowls. Peyton won with Indianapolis and Denver while Eli won with the New York Giants.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. was known as “The Intimidator” with his driving. He won 76 races in his career, achieving perhaps his most elusive victory at the 1998 Daytona 500. Tragically, he perished on the final-lap wreck at Daytona in 2001. Dale Earnhardt Jr., then age 26, finished second in that race. In the traumatic aftermath of his father’s passing, Earnhardt Jr. won the Pepsi 400 that year in the first race held on the Daytona track since the tragedy. A visible and charismatic figure, Earnhardt Jr. was named NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for 11 consecutive seasons. After winning the Daytona 500 in 2004, he thrilled fans by taking the checkered flag there in 2014 at age 39, his 20th career win. They are the only father and son who ever competed directly against each other. Dale was still racing at a high level when his son came onto the scene. Junior was unfortunately in the race where his father was fatally killed in a crash.
Bobby and Brett Hull
Bobby Hull—nicknamed “The Golden Jet”—collected the Hart Trophy twice as the league’s MVP and led in points three times. His statue now stands outside the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks. Brett Hull had a very high standard to aim for, and he drastically outperformed his two brothers to earn the honorific of “The Golden Brett.” He joined dad in the Hall of Fame in 2009, the first father-son duo ever enshrined. While Brett won “only” one MVP award, he doubled up his father in Stanley Cups and scored more often; they tallied 1,351 career goals between them. Brett currently serves in the front office for the St. Louis Blues.
Bobby and Barry Bonds
They are the greatest father-son duo in baseball history. Bobby hit 332 career home runs and stole 461 bases. He played for eight teams in 14 seasons with three All-Star appearances. Barry’s career is questioned amid the BALCO scandal, but his on-field production is legendary. The infamous steroid allegations has meant four years of Hall of Fame voting and no entrance for Bonds, but he finished his career with the records for home runs in a season (73) and career (763).
Other notable father-son teams:
Buddy, Rex and Rob Ryan (football)
Prince and Cecil Fielder (baseball)
Felipe and Moises Alou (baseball)
Cal Ripken, Sr. and Cal Ripken, Jr. (baseball)
Kellen Winslow, Sr. and Kellen Winslow, Jr. (football)
Clay Matthews, Sr. and Clay Matthews, Jr. (football)
Ken Norton, Sr. (boxing) and Ken Norton, Jr. (football)
Calvin Hill (football) and Grant Hill (basketball)