Tag Archive : camisetas de futbol 2018 2018

He started off as a simple dockworker, segued into bootlegging on a large scale, and was known and the “King of the Rum Runners.” Big Bill Dwyer made so much money, he was partners with known gangsters in several swanky New York City nightclubs. Dwyer also owned two professional hockey teams, including the New York Americans, and was owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers football team. However, in the end, when Big Bill Dwyer passed away, he died out of the limelight, and flat broke.

William Vincent Dwyer was born in 1883 in the Hells Kitchen area on the west side of New York City. Two gangs, the Hudson Dusters and the Gophers, ruled Hell’s Kitchen at the time, but Dwyer avoided joining both gangs, and instead took a job on the docks as a stevedore for the International Longshoremen’s Union (ILU).

While working on the docks, Dwyer started his own bookmaking operation. After the Volstead Act was enacted in 1919, banning the distribution of alcohol, with the money he made from bookmaking, Dwyer branched out into the bootlegging business. Dwyer purchased a fleet of steel-plated speedboats, each with a mounted machine gun, in case crooks tried to hijack a shipment. Dwyer also purchased several large rum-running ships, which were needed to offload the illegal hootch from whatever boat was supplying it.

Dwyer traveled to Canada, England, and the Caribbean to establish ties with those who sold him the liquor he needed to smuggle into the United States. Then Dwyer set up a system whereby his ships would meet the ships, that were supplying him the liquor, many miles out at sea. There the booze was transferred to Dwyer’s ships, then quickly transported to Dwyer’s speedboats, which were closer to the shore of New York City.

The speedboats were unloaded at the docks, which were protected by Local 791 of the ILU, of which Dwyer was a charter member. From the docks, the liquor was moved to several warehouses in the New York area. When the time was right, trucks filed with illegal alcohol, and protected by convoys of teamster members, transported the booze all over the country: with heavy shipments going to Florida, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and as far away as New Orleans.

Dwyer was able to smuggle large amounts of booze into New York City because he knew one simple fact: you had to bribe the police and the Coast Guard if you wanted to be successful in the bootlegging business. And that Dwyer did, handing over thousands of dollars to whomever needed to be greased.

Paying off New York City cops was easy. The cops who didn’t have their hands out for graft money were far and few between. However, Dwyer was especially skillful in recruiting Coast Guard members to look the other way, when his speedboats were entering New York waters.

Dwyer’s first contact was Coast Guard Petty Officer Olsen. Through Olsen, Dwyer met scores of Coast Guardsmen, “Guardies” he called them, who might be willing to take bribes. Dwyer would bring these Guardies into the bright lights of New York City, where he would feed them sumptuous meals, take them to Broadway shows, and even get them a swanky hotel room, occupied by the lady of their choice, whom Dwyer would pay for too. Once a Guardie took a bribe from Dwyer, he was informed that he could earn hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars more, if he could enlist other Guardies to help protect Dwyer’s shipments.

Soon, Dwyer was making so much money through bootlegging, he was considered the largest distributor of illegal alcohol in the entire United States of America. However, Dwyer had one huge problem, which he needed help in solving. Whenever one of his trucks left New York to distribute the booze to other parts of the country, they were vulnerable to being seized by the hundreds of hijackers who operated throughout the country. Dwyer knew to stop this from happening he had to take in partners – members of the Italian mobs, and the Jewish mobs. Since he was raking in millions in profits, Dwyer didn’t mind, and certainly could afford to share the wealth. The problem was, Dwyer considered himself no more than a businessman, and wasn’t a gangster himself. Dwyer needed someone in the underworld who could make the contacts Dwyer needed to continue to operate without fear of being hijacked.

Almost by accident, that person fell right into Dwyer’s lap. In 1924, two of Dwyer’s shipments were hijacked in upstate New York. Dwyer leaned on the cops on his payroll to find out who was responsible for the hijackings. Word soon came back to Dwyer that the perpetrator, who was arrested for the hijackings, was none other than Owney Madden, an Irishman himself, who grew up in Liverpool, England, before he emigrated to New York as a teenager. Madden was a vicious con nicknamed “The Killer” and had once ruled the murderous Gopher’s gang in Hell’s Kitchen.

Dwyer paid whomever needed to be paid to get the charges dropped against Madden, with the order, “Get me Owney Madden. I want to talk to him. I’ve got a business proposition we need to discuss.”

Madden got the word who his benefactor had been, and that a meeting with Dwyer was expected of him in return. The two men met at Dwyer’s office in the Loew’s State Building in Times Square. There is no recording, or transcript of this meeting, but T.J. English, in his masterpiece on Irish gangsters called Paddy Whacked, said the conversation between Madden and Dwyer might have gone something like this:

“You’ve got a problem,” Madden would have told Dwyer. “Gangsters have been picking off your trucks like sitting ducks and what are you going to do about it?”

“That’s why I called you here.”

“You gotta organize the shooters and the cherry-pickers, not to mention the bulls (cops) and the pols (politicians).”

“You’re right. I need the hijackings to stop. I need a place to make my own brew right here in the city. Protected by the Tiger and the coppers. And I need outlets – speakeasies, nightclubs, you name it.”

“You need a lot, my friend.

“Are you with me?”

“Give me one reason why.”

“I can make you rich.”

“Pal, you and me are two peas in a pod.”

And that was the start of the New York City Irish Mob, which would then unite with the Italian and Jewish mobs to control the bootlegging business throughout the United States of America. The grouping of the three ethnic mobs was known as the “Combine.”

With Dwyer’s millions, Madden oversaw the creation of the Phoenix Cereal Beverage Company, which was located on 26th Street and 10th Avenue, right in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, where both Madden and Dwyer had grown up. This red-brick building, which comprised the entire block, was originally the Clausen & Flanagan Brewery, which was created to produce and sell near-beer, which no true beer-drinker would ever let pass their lips. The beer produced at the Phoenix was called Madden’s No 1.

With Dwyer basically the money man behind the scenes, Madden became the architect who created and nurtured their empire. Madden brought in a former taxi business owner named Larry Fay as the front man for several high class establishments, that were needed to sell Madden No. 1, plus all the scotch, rum, vodka, Cognac and champagne that the Combine was smuggling into the city. One of these places was the El Fay at 107 West 54th Street.

The main attraction at the El Fay was Texas Guinan, a bawdy cabaret singer/comedienne, who was later copied by May West. To entice Guinan to work at the El Fay, Madden and Dwyer made Guinan a partner. Guinan was famous for her wisecracks, which she belted out between clacks from a clacker, or toots from a piercing whistle, while she was sitting on a tall stool in the main room. Guinan’s signature saying was “Hello Sucker,” which is how she greeted all the well-healed El Fay customers.

When a singer or a dancer finished their performance at the El Fey, Guinan would exhort the crowd to “Give the little lady a great big hand!”

One day, a prohibition agent, who couldn’t be bought by Madden or Dwyer, raided the El Fey. He marched over to Guinan, put his hand on her shoulder and said to his fellow agent, “Give the little lady a great big handcuff.”

Dwyer did what he did best, Guinan was released from prison, and the El Fey was soon hopping again, making everyone involved very rich indeed.

Madden and Dwyer also partnered with former bootlegger Sherman Billingsley at the very fashionable Stork Club on East 53rd Street. The two Irish gangsters spread their wings to the north part of Manhattan when they bought the Club De Luxe from former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Johnson. They inserted Big Frenchy De Mange as their operating partner, and changed the name to the Cotton Club. At the Cotton Club, De Mange instituted a “Whites Only” admittance policy, despite the fact the waiters, dancers, and headline entertainers, like Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and the Nicholas Brothers, were all black.

Still, the Cotton Club was wildly successful with the big spenders from downtown, putting tons of cash into Dwyer and Madden’s pockets.

In 1925, Dwyer was arrested for attempting to bribe Coast Guard members during a sting operation headed by the Prohibition Bureau. Dwyer was sentenced to two years in prison, but he was released after 13 months for good behavior. With Dwyer in the can, Frank Costello took over Dwyer’s bootlegging business.

While he was in prison, a despondent Dwyer said to one of his cell mates. “I wish I had never seen a case of whiskey. I spent years in daily fear of my life, always expecting to be arrested, always dealing with crooks and double-crossers, and now look at me. My wife is heartbroken and I am worse than broke.”

As we shall see, that was not exactly the truth.

When Dwyer hit the streets again, he eased out of the bootlegging business, leaving the rum-running operation to Costello and Madden. To pass his time, Dwyer started investing in legitimate business, especially sports teams.

In 1926, boxing promoter Tex Rickard conned Dwyer into buying the Hamilton Tigers of the National Hockey League. Dwyer did so, and he moved his team into New York’s Madison Square Garden, and re-named them the New York Americans. As smart as Dwyer was in running the bootlegging business, he was just as dumb in running a hockey team. His pockets bursting with bootlegging cash, Dwyer’s strategy for winning was basically to over-pay everybody on his team. With the average hockey player making between $1500-$2000 a year, Dwyer gave Billy Burch a 3-year $25,000 contract. Shorty Green also got a huge raise, when Dwyer awarded him a $5000 a year contract.

Being an old crook at heart, Dwyer took an active part in running his team, even going so far as to try and rig the games. Dwyer paid off goal judges to rule his team had scored a goal if the puck just touched the goal line, instead of completely passing the goal line, which was the rule.

At a game in 1927 in Madison Square Garden, the goal judge, whom Dwyer had in his pocket, for some unknown reason started taunting Ottawa goalie Alex Connell. Connell responded by butt-ending his hockey stick into the goal judge’s nose. Dwyer became incensed at the Ottawa goalie’s actions (You don’t manhandle one of Dwyer’s employees), and Connell was told to leave town quickly after the game. A police detail took Connell to the train station, and protected him until the train was safely out of town. After the train left the station, a man asked Connell if he was the Ottawa goalie Alex Connell. Connell afraid for his life, told the stranger no. And, as a result, he lived to goalie other hockey games.

Bypassing a league rule that a person can’t own two hockey teams, in 1929, Dwyer, using ex-lightweight boxing champ Benny Leonard as his front man, purchased the NHL’s Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1930, Dwyer inserted his grubby fingers into the newly-formed National Football League too, by buying the Dayton Triangles for $2,500. Dwyer moved the team to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, and renamed them the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In three years, Dwyer, again overpaying all his players, began losing so much money, he sold the Brooklyn Dodgers to two former New York Giant Football players: Chris Cagle and John Simms, for $25,000. Even though he sold the team for 10 times more than he had paid, Dwyer estimated he still lost $30,000 in the three years he owned the team.

In 1934, having his fill of America sports teams (he still owned the New York Americans, but they were bleeding money), Dwyer bought the famed Tropical Park Horse Racing Track in Miami, Florida.

However, the roof fell in on Dwyer, when in 1935, he was indicted on a gambling charge. Dwyer beat that case, but then the government did to him what they did to Al Capone: they hit him with tax evasion charges. Those charges stuck, and Dwyer was stripped of all his assets, except the New York Americans, and a house in Belle Harbor, Queens. Almost penniless, Dwyer no longer had the money to keep the New York Americans afloat.

In 1937, the National Hockey League temporarily took control of the New York Americans. To show the NHL that he was financially solvent, Dwyer borrowed $20,000 from Red Dutton. However, instead of paying his team’s salaries, Dwyer decided to try to multiply his money in a craps game. That didn’t go over too well, when Dwyer busted out, and lost the entire twenty grand. Unable to pay his team, and unable to raise any more capital, the NHL booted Dwyer out permanently, and took final control of the New York Americans. Broke and despondent, Dwyer retired to his Belle Harbor home.

On December 10, 1943, Big Bill Dwyer, the “King of the Rum Runners” died at the age of 63. Dwyer was reportedly penniless at the time of his death, his only asset being the roof over his head.

Breaking 1996 down into the biggest news, sports and entertainment events; here’s what happened…

Two tragedies hit the hearts of Britons in 1996, the nation’s sympathies going out to the people of Dunblane and Manchester. In Dunblane, a crazed gunman went on a shooting spree in at a local infant school, killing an entire class and their teacher. Later in the year, as a direct response to those ill-fated events, the Government announced that it would be outlawing almost all handguns in the UK.

In Manchester, a huge bomb devastated its busy central shopping area just as it was filling up with eager Saturday shoppers. Police managed to start an evacuation before it blew up but scores of people were still killed or injured in the blast. Such was the damage caused, that the episode led to a total regeneration of Manchester city centre.

Also hitting the news in ’96 was the introduction of the first genetically modified (or GM) food to go on sale in British supermarkets. Modified tomato puree was the cause of all the fuss with some critics dubbing it a “Frankenstein food”.

The world of sport was dominated by England’s hosting of the European football championships (Euro ’96). The England v Scotland group stage match drew much attention with Gazza’s wonder goal eventually stealing the win for the home team. Cheered on by home support, the ‘Three Lions’ made it all the way to the semi-finals, the nation going football crazy as it looked as if England were really going to win a major tournament for the first time since ’66, then, as really should have been expected, they lost on penalties to Germany.

Entertainment wise, carrot topped Chris Evans re-invented the chat show format with his hit show ‘TFI Friday’.Presenting celebrity gossip, the hippest bands and lad friendly guests, this unscripted, chaotic program briefly made Evans the most sought after man on TV. Over on the BBC, a group of thirty-something lawyers were gaining huge ratings; ‘This Life’ being a bit like the American ‘Friends’ but with much more ‘bad’ behaviour and saucy goings on.

The big screen was blessed with one of the jewels of the British film-making crown, ‘Trainspotting’. Despite featuring heroin, needles, vomit and disgusting toilet bowls, this was the coolest thing of the year and took Ewan McGregor from nowhere to ‘Star Wars’. The more family friendly film of 1996 was ‘Toy Story’; it being the first feature length movie ever to be animated entirely by computer. The results were quite stunning and people flocked to see ‘Woody’ (a pull-string cowboy) and ‘Buzz Lightyear’ (a high-tech space ranger) battle it out to become little Andy’s favourite toy.

No such award officially exists in the sport of baseball, but if it did the plaque should be given in honor of Pat Meares. He spent his nine year career as the regular shortstop for the Minnesota Twins and later the Pittsburgh Pirates, an unremarkable but quite adequate infielder who was exactly average.

At no point was this more true than in 1997, when the primary offensive stats of Meares matched exactly the statistics of the average player in baseball. He hit .276, which was the exact overall batting average in both leagues combined, as were the ten home runs Meares amassed that season.

Those numbers would be far from average for the player who would win the Pat Meares Award at this point in the season, for his mark of .276 is more than twenty points higher than the current overall batting average. On the other hand, his ten home runs would be significantly fewer than the league average, which is on pace to reach almost twenty.

In 2018 so far players have a collective batting average of .247 in the American League and just .244 in the Senior Circuit, numbers alarmingly low when compared to the decade in which Meares played. In fact, not one single team has as high a batting average as Meares did in 1997, and the league leading Boston Red Sox (.265) trail him by more than ten points. Amazingly, four clubs have team averages under .230, bottomed out by the .220 overall average of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Although no one is the exact match for Mr. Average that Meares was three decades ago, one guy in the A.L. comes extremely close. Oh, and he happens to be not only a perennial All-Star, but also a future first ballot inductee of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Having a batting average of .247, Albert Pujols is hitting at the precise percentage of the typical player. The eight blasts Pujols has mashed this year is just a half a percentage point more than the average player in the A.L.

Several guys in the National League are hitting .244, the exact overall average so far in 2018. Third baseman Evan Longoria of the San Francisco Giants is one of them, but his ten home runs have put him three over the average. The other .244 hitter is outfielder Ender Inciarte of the Atlanta Braves, who is however three home runs shy of the average National Leaguer.

Trey Mancini, an outfielder for the Orioles, is hitting at the exact average, not of the league he plays in, but the team to which he belongs. His .228 batting average is the same mark at which Baltimore is hitting overall, tied with the Texas Rangers for lowest in the American League.

There is an equivalent to Mancini in the other league, a player whose batting average is exactly the same as his team’s overall mark. Pittsburgh shortstop Jordy Mercer started the day at .255, which is also the collective average of the Pirates as a club.

Meares patrolled the Pittsburgh middle infield fifteen years before Mercer, but the game they are a part of has changed dramatically. A guy who hit twenty points over today’s league average never made an All Star team or ever reached the playoffs, and that season Meares earned $225,00 for being “Mr. Average.”

Joyeux Noel (2005, French)

Director: Christian Carion

Cast: Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann Guillaume Canet, Gary Lewis

Genre: History, War

Plot: Christmas ceases the fire!

Based on some real events/stories of WWI, Joyeux Noel simply leaves you speechless with its in-depth and immaculately scripted showcase. Music plays a vital role all through the movie, especially the Scottish bagpiper and German opera.

It starts with an appalling scene of French, German and Scottish youngsters reciting their anti-enemy lines in cold bold. You witness this horrendous murder of innocence (nothing graphic, it is all sheer vibes) and tone is set for remaining movie.

The next scene features the dreaded WWI Trenches and starts-off bloodily somewhat like “Paths of Glory” but from there on the movie takes a completely different turn.

Now, the film revolves around the German, French and Scottish standoff at no man’s land and this standoff remains in the back drop throughout the movie. Christmas is around the corner and the soldiers on all sides-at the Western-Front want the cursed war to end.

There is a French Lieutenant who left behind his pregnant wife in occupied France to attend the war-call, Lieutenant’s helper/assistant who misses his mother and her coffee, a Scottish priest who-untouched by politics of faith-actually preaches about humanity and two Scottish brothers. Two lost in love German opera singers separated by war-Anna, Sprink. These and few others form the core of the movie. Their stories are interwoven-not literally-at an emotional level and by Christmas Eve combined feelings of all three sides reach the threshold of something spectacular. What happens now completely defies the purpose/need of war and, to this day, is a lesson in morality for us all.

All three warring sides call a truce and make merry together. This merry making isn’t just about having fun, you get to feel some of the most complex human emotions captured elaborately on-screen.

Some sequences leave you spell-bound, e.g., Sprink coming out singing from German trenches-ignoring orders and probable enemy bullets-and being chorused by the bagpipe, Father Palmer sermon delivered in a language (Latin) not understood by most, Anna’s soul full song that leaves everyone too moved to applause, Jonathan writing to his mother on-behalf of his dead brother.

There are some genuine fun moments too, like, the football match, the exchange of chocolates and wines, the alarm clock that mysteriously rings at a particular time, and to top them all there is a cat (Felix/Nestor) who is addressed by different names among all the sides.

A piece from the movie:

General Audebert: You and your men will rejoin the Verdun sector. You’re right about one thing. I don’t understand this war. My corps was the cavalry. You should have made a career of it, like I said. Today, I’m asked to fight a way where the shovel outweighs the rifle. In which people swap addresses with the enemy to meet when it’s all over. Plus the cat we found with a note from the Germans, “Good luck, comrades!” I was ordered to arrest the cat for high treason… until further notice.”

Of course, the personnel involved in this fraternization were ultimately punished.

And if all this wasn’t enough-Diane Kruger, beautiful as ever, emits Donna Reedesque radiance!

Indeed a must watch.

8/10

January and February oftentimes feel rather flat, especially when the weather's cold and miserable. There may be little to look forward to, so it's up to us to become proactive, herald a few changes and inject a little sunshine into our lives.

– Get something in the diary. Finances may be strained after Christmas, but there are still ways to socialize with friends. Arrange a meal and ask everyone to donate a dish and / or bottle. That way you can enjoy a fun time for relatively little expense. Suggest everyone dresses up to make the evening extra-special.

– Have you heard of a safari supper, where one course is eaten at each person's house and then everyone moves on? Again a fun, inexpensive and unusual way to brighten up the darker evenings.

– Add your name to several mailing lists. There are often free or two-for-the-price-of-one deals going around, especially after Christmas. Or look out for free or inexpensive concerts, exhibitions and events that appeal enough to prompt you and your pals to go.

– Invest in your home. Add some color, bright prints, warm fabrics, lovely fragrances, so that your home is a pleasurable place to be, whether you're on your own or with friends. Often local markets and craft fairs offer unusual, inexpensive items that can add a special touch to your home. Lighting is especially important during the winter months so introduce lamps, side lights and even candlelight at this time of year.

– Board games and cards can bring a lot of fun to colder, darker evenings and can become an enjoyable part of your winter activities. Find your competitive side and plan a get-together at virtually no cost.

– Do not forget to include opportunities for exercise and fresh air. Weekdays might be difficult to arrange but make the most of the weekends, with outdoor strolls in the park, treasure hunts and nature walks. Follow with a relaxing pub lunch or a warm soak in the bath with a mug of hot chocolate. Or arrange a game of rounds or football with friends and neighbors.

– Make the most of this season's fruits and vegetables and enjoy some healthy, colorful meals. Rediscover the joys of your slow-cooker and leave delicious stews, casseroles and nourishing soups cooking all day.

– Spend an afternoon going through your old photographs, vinyl records and clearing out your clutter. You may even earn yourself a little money by doing so. Physical, mental or emotional clutter can bog us down and interrupt our flow. Be decisive and use the time well.

– Review your aspirations for the coming year . Have they already started to flag? Write them at the front of your diary or notebook and keep your intentions regularly in mind.

– Intermittent rewards and trips are a good way to encourage you out of hibernation mode. Monitor your oncoming goals and give yourself credit for each month's achievements. Celebrate each stepping-stone rather than focus solely on the ultimate goal.

– Be gentle with yourself if your resolutions slip or you do not achieve the same as others. Start again and get back in the zone. Book another driving lesson or training session. Be motivated by others but do not compare yourself and your achievements to their heads. Everyone has very different stories and situations.

Appreciate each season's charms and enjoy opportunities to invest in yourself and your quality of life.

Do you want to earn more money just by pursuing your hobby? Vintage football cards are an easy option. With a keen eye and wise investing mind, you can also become an ace player in football cards investing.

Football cards are low-risk investment option and will continue to earn you money even after the players have long retired. But before you start your collecting your vintage cards, keep these points in mind. Here’s how you can ensure you have the right collection:

1. Always purchase the best-quality you can afford. Although cards in mint and near-mint condition might cost you a bomb when you buy them, they will also increase fastest in value.

2. Always buy from reputed sellers and auctioneers. The chances of getting a decent and true deal are much higher at such stores. You can also get to learn from the experience of the sellers and the auctioneers and know what’s in demand with the collectors.

3. Buy high-grade cards from the early 1950s. The older a card, the higher is it value. Cards that have been printed in 1950s and 60s are much more valuable than the ones printed post 1980, as this period saw over-production of football and other sports trading cards. You can choose from a number of old cards; however, it’s hard to beat the 1952 Topps or T206 football cards.

4. Do your homework before you buy. You might make an unwise decision if you buy in a hurry and without doing any research. This is especially important if you are new in the business of collecting. You’ll make an informed decision this way and would not be throwing your money around while waiting to get the best deal. Research properly the cards that you want to buy, study their market trend, and finally find a cheap but reliable store to buy from.

5. Buy only graded cards. If you are unsure whether the vintage cards that you want to buy are authentic or not, look for the graded cards. Authenticating experts, at agencies such as Beckett, grade the cards on the basis of their condition on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. Although they are a little expensive, by paying a little extra, you can ensure that the merchandise you get is real.

6. Get complete sets. Complete your sets if you buy individual cards. Grouping cards in categories can fetch you a much higher value.

7. Be aware of the risks. Like any investment option, sports memorabilia is also not a risk-free venture. However, you can minimize the risk and make a worthy decision by focusing on the quality, rarity, and authenticity of the cards you buy.

Sports banquets are centered on rewards, sports stories, sports heroes and food. They are a time of celebrating the finished season and moving on to the next season. The decorations that fill the room create a theme for the banquet. They tell a story and they often dominate the atmosphere. Sports banquet decorations begin with the decision to go formal or informal. The decision to go informal leaves a huge space for gag decorations such as stuffed sports jerseys and bowls that are shaped like different sports equipment such as footballs and soccer balls. The decision to go formal is created with a whole different atmosphere. Lighting is important in a dining setting. Candles on the tables indicate formality while balloons can create a less formal atmosphere.

Huge cut outs of famous football heroes can be created around the beverage table. A greeter at the door could be dressed in full sports attire. For a less formal theme there are supplies available through party stores such as confetti, cups, streamers and napkins.

Using technology such as large screens behind the speaker can create a screen for photos of the sport season or of old time players. Streamers can be paper or even material depending on whether you choose a formal or informal theme. The table clothes should be cloth for a formal affair and can be crazy and fun for an informal affair. Sports memorabilia can be set out on display. Photos of the seasons best plays can crowded with observers during various intervals in the banquet. The decorations at the banquet should be appealing to the eye and should also create some conversation pieces.

Juice fountains and lighted displays on the food tables can create a beautiful ambiance. Looking for ambiance should be done for formal affairs. Create the head table to stand out from the rest. Small trophies can be placed as table settings marked with the names of the guest. The same idea can be created using small footballs found at a party store. They can then have the name of the guest on a card glued to the football. Party favors can also join the sports theme with mini pre-made boxes in the shape of or imprinted with footballs or soccer balls. Each box can then be filed with small candies. The theme of the party can take on personality as various ideas are captured and created. A great banquet is one that is remembered in the years to come. This all starts with the setting of the room and the atmosphere created.

You don’t have to be a raging sports fanatic to appreciate a great film on the subject. The truth is, this genre can encompass pretty much everything you could want to see in a movie: action, suspense, heroism, comedy and even romance. These movies entertain us, inspire us and even make us want to get off the couch and get on the field or court. They make us cry, cheer and then cry some more. So what’s not to love?

Some of the greatest movies of all time are sports film, and whether viewed in high definition or on an old VHS recording, you’re sure to be enthralled when you pop one in. If you haven’t taken the chance to explore the genre, or if it has been awhile since your last viewing, now is the time to revisit some old classics and new additions.

Don’t have an extensive movie collection at home? Consider investing in satellite TV, which offers a broader selection of viewing options and allows you to watch your favorite sports flicks with just a click of the remote.

So get your buddies together, grab a cold beer, flip on the HD television and make a night out of a sports movie marathon. To help you get inspired, here are some of the best films in the genre:

Caddyshack (1980) – This classic golf comedy starring Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield is sure to keep you laughing all night. Detailing the antics at your crazier-than-average golf club, this film is one of the greats.

Bull Durham (1988) – A baseball film for the ages. Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon star in this sexy and funny film about a baseball groupie and the men she becomes entangled with.

Field of Dreams (1989) – Another classic baseball film starring Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams tells the story of a corn farmer from Iowa who hears voices that tell him to build a baseball field on his farm. Inspiring, uplifting and heartwarming.

Jerry Maguire (1996) – One of Tom Cruise’s greatest roles, starring as sports agent Jerry Maguire. The film chronicle’s Maguire’s struggles with his career, love life and his one unruly client, played by the memorable Cuba Gooding Jr.

Varsity Blues (1999) – James Van Der Beek was a long way from Dawson’s Creek in this high school football film. This movie has it all: Texas teenager antics, hot girls and of course…football, football, football.

A League of their Own (1992) – The only movie on the list that features an almost all female cast, A League of their Own can stand up to just about any sports film. Based on the true story of the World War II-era female baseball league, this classic packs a whole lot of girl power.

Friday Night Lights (2004) – Easily one of the greatest sports movie to come out in the last ten years, this film also tells the true story of a Texas high school football team over one memorable season. It is often heartbreaking, but in the end, will surely inspire viewers.

After 9 hard fought years, Daunte Culpepper announces that he is now retired. Culpepper is former teammates with Randy moss, they had it all in Minnesota but not the best relationship. Daunte then left from the Vikings, and headed to Miami. After his year in Miami, he left for Oakland. Culpepper has always had a knee injury, and that is some of the reason why he may have retired. But again, they get paid millions of dollars so he is not in bad shape if you ask me. Daunte will probably go back to his home town, (Ocala, Florida) and become an assistant or even a head football coach in Ocala. He was always fun to watch. He wasn’t the fastest but he sure could run over somebody. I think when Daunte was with the vikings, they shouldn’t of let him go.

Culpepper told the media that he said he has accomplished enough and would rather just head on into other events in life. He has money now, so he told everybody he wants to sort of explore the rest of the world, which I don’t think anybody blames him for what he is doing because that’s why most football players do when they retire. What down fall Culpepper had he stated was that he wasn’t doing the right thing as a quarterback. The job just didn’t to fit him well he said. Did you know how bad his knee was? He was sacked a total number of 21 times because of his knee injury. That is how bad his knee was after he went undergo surgery and that is mainly why he did retire. Culpepper is a great guy, loves kids, family, and has done a lot for his high school coach by donating thousands of dollars to pay for new uniforms.

There is a new heavyweight force in European football, they are being bankrolled seemingly by the Russian economy, they mean business, and their name is Chelsea FC Chelsea Football Club has always been a decent club in the second strata of English clubs. In London alone Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have invariably been ahead of the Chelsea Blues, even West Ham have often put Chelsea in the shade. But no longer, for in the season 2004-2005, Chelsea won the English Premier League title for the first time in fifty years, their only previous winning season.

But they have not stopped there, in the new season 2005-2006 they are already well clear in the title race leaving all their rivals gasping, and now they have set their sights on the pinnacle of all the club trophys, the European Champions League . Chelsea have never won the Champions League, indeed no London club ever has. And it is clear that their charismatic manager Jose Mourinho is intent on winning the Champions League again, he did so with his previous club Porto, of Portugal.

So what of the traditional English giants? Manchester United, often described as the world's richest football club, have fallen into the hands of the Glazer family of Tampa Bay fame, but they reportedly needed to borrow half a billion pounds to buy United, a debt the club now shoulders. Spending on new players has so far been thin on the ground and United's brusque Glaswegian manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has admitted that United, for so long England's most successful club, can not compete with Chelsea when it comes to buying players. The hordes of United fans are not amused, the natives are growing restless.

Arsenal, London's biggest and most successful club, lost their skipper and driving force Patrick Vieira last summer, he moved to Juventus in Italy for £ 12 million pounds and with their star striker Thierry Henry suffering fitness problems, they picked up some uncharacteristic defeats at unfashionable clubs like West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough. This is their last season at their famous old Highbury Stadium before they move to their new purpose built Emirates stadium almost next door. The increased capacity of 60,000 will unduly give their French manager Arsene Wenger more money to spend next year, but of course they have to pay for that new ground too. Far from challenging Chelsea again, it would seem that Arsenal are more likely to fall further behind.

That leaves Liverpool and Newcastle. News comes through just today that the American Kraft Company and family are interested in investing in Liverpool FC, possibly even buying the club outright just like Manchester United fifty miles up the road, but that is some way down the line. And they too are seeking to build a brand new stadium on Stanley Park and of course that all costs big money. After last year's freakish win in the Champions League, Liverpool's league form this season has again been patchy, and that included a 4-1 walloping by Chelsea on their own Anfield pitch. The idea that Liverpool might challenge Chelsea for the title remains a far-fetched one. Newcastle, England's second best supported club are gradually improving, and they have signed England's center forward Michael Owen, but they still remain unconvincing at the top level. They have not won the title since Noah was seen building his ark, or so it sees, and they are not going to do so this season either.

So although it is very popular for foreign investors to snap up the leading English (and Scottish) football clubs, it appears that only Roman Abramovich at Chelsea has the muscle to buy the best players around. He is the only one to put unlimited funds on the table. Top class players now command a transfer fee of £ 40 million each and whereas Manchester United may afford one of them a season, Chelsea's purse looks bottomless. They have already spent £ 220 + million and are still in the market to buy again when the transfer window re-opens in January.

They have already achieved success by winning at home, now the European Champion's League is the Holy Grail for them, a trophy they are now the outright favorites to win with the odds layers. And astonishingly they have achieved their success to date with an array of strikers who have not really cut the mustard. Mutu the Romanian, was promptly sacked for drug taking, Crespo the Argentinian, was sent out to Milan on loan last season, and though he is back now he is hardly setting the world afire, or even playing that often, Gudjohnson an Icelander, plays more often than not, the muscular Drogba from the Ivory Coast, seems to have finally claimed the number nine shirt as his own, yet many blues followers still remain unconvinced about him, so it would seem that Chelsea may still be looking for another proven goal scorer come January, especially after a recent rare defeat at Manchester United.

It would take a brave man to back against Chelsea in any competition at the moment. But if you'd like to, you can still have a free $ 30 dollar bet at Betfair.com by entering the code 6CHE3VPWJ when prompted. But one thing is for sure; no one would be surprised if this time next year the Premier League trophy AND the Champions League trophy were both on display in the Chelsea boardroom. It seems that only the Italian giants Milan and Juventus, and the Spanish top two, Real Madrid, and most especially Barcelona with their Brazilian superstar, are certainly soon to be the world player of the year, Ronaldinho, might stop the London blues. It really does seem as if we have entered a new era in European and world football, or if you prefer the ridiculous name that no one ever uses, Soccer. Chelsea fans have never had it so good while everyone else is left gasping in their wake, for it is a fact that Chelsea Football Club has raised the bar for everyone else to follow. Time will tell if anyone can.