Rugby Is Better Than American Football

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By:  Vivien Veil

The first game I ever played in rugby, after two minutes, I was begging the coach to take me out. 

– Leonard Peters, former NFL player

I’ve been living in the UK for a long time now, and just last month I realised that rugby isn’t such a boring sport.  The thought hit me while watching rugby at my London home with my South African husband.  And that got me thinking when he asked me to choose between rugby and American football.

This post may garner negative criticism from many of my American readers, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer rugby over American football.  I confess that, for a while now, I’ve regarded American football with some uncertainty.

I’ve never been a diehard NFL supporter, so I’m not your typical American.  I didn’t grow up watching it like the average American who eats, dreams, and breathes the NFL.  According to The Nielsen Company, the 2014 season reached 202.3 million unique viewers, representing 80% of all television homes in America!

American-Football-1

NFL action in all its glory.

First of all, if you toss in the time-outs and all of the stops, a one hour game of American football can take about three hours to finish.  That’s three hours for 60 minutes of playing time!

The Wall Street Journal analysed NFL games back in 2010 and discovered that a game that takes nearly three hours to watch should only take 11 minutes because that is all the action you get.  The play stops and starts with the frequency of a car driving through downtown traffic in Los Angeles.

Nevertheless, a rugby game lasts 80 minutes, broken into two 40-minute halves.  As journalist George Will noted, “Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”

Rugby, of course, is a vicious sport, too – closely mirroring a scene out of Fight Club than a competitive game, but it is also one that combines extreme self-control to help them with their aggression.

Why am I watching rugby now?

Well, my South African husband really enjoys rugby.  He grew up playing it and like a good South African – he’s a zealous Springbok supporter.  Thus, our ears have been hearing a lot of rugby since the beginning of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

I even managed to attend my first ever rugby match a few days ago – observing South Africa’s Springboks thrash USA’s Eagles 64-0 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium here in London.  In a crowd of 54,658, I was probably the only Texan outwardly supporting the Springboks.

Al McFarland, Greg Peterson, Hayden Smith, Titi Lamositele and Zach Fenoglio sing the anthem. Photograph: Michael Lee/Taiwan Mike/KLC fotos/Corbis

Al McFarland, Greg Peterson, Hayden Smith, Titi Lamositele and Zach Fenoglio sing the anthem. Photograph: Michael Lee/Taiwan Mike/KLC fotos/Corbis

Yet an overwhelming wave of pride hit me once they sang The Star-Spangled Banner.  Deep down in my heart, I really wanted them to win the game or at least score once.  The Eagles played valiantly the first half of the game despite openly being bullied by the Springboks.  However, come the second half, and the Springboks came out firing on all cylinders – they clearly must’ve had a serious half-time team-talk.

How do I put this gently?  The USA needs A LOT of help in rugby, the sport that spawned American football.

Will Americans ever warm up to this great sport?

According to a 2014 study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, rugby is the fastest growing team sport in America.  The report showed rugby growing by 81% from 2008-2013, while basketball, baseball and American football participation took a nose-dive into the abyss.

“Rugby is the fastest growing team sport in America, but the sad thing is it’s still amateur.  When you’re born in South Africa, instead of getting a pacifier you’re given a mouthguard, but in America it’s not like that.”

– André Snyman, former South African rugby player

As stated by the report, kids in the 6-12 range are playing the sport that was born in 1823.  Interestingly enough, American football-dominated Texas is the third-largest rugby-playing area in the USA, after the north-east and California.

The UK is saturated with touch rugby classes for children as young as two-years-old.  Who knows, maybe my sisters in America will enrol their children in touch rugby after reading this.

Will Americans become full-fledged rugby devotees?  Will they obsess over rugby like they do with the NFL, Major League Baseball, and the NBA?  Who knows.  We tend to gravitate towards our own national sports instead of fully embracing non-American sports like cricket, football (soccer), or rugby.

The New Zealand All Blacks perform the Haka, or war dance, prior to kickoff in a rugby game

The New Zealand All Blacks perform the Haka, or war dance, prior to kickoff in a rugby game

One English guy named James told me, “I think Americans only watch their own sports because most of them are self-centred and arrogant.  Plus, loads of them have attention deficit disorder, so our sports wouldn’t appeal to them.”

A French girl named Noémie commented, “I heard that there are many Americans who have never travelled outside their native state, so no wonder they don’t watch international sports.  They only care about themselves.”

Noémie’s statement made me do a quick search to see how many Americans actually own a passport.  I found that of the 311 million United States residents, only 35% possess a valid USA passport according to a 2012 study by the State Department.

While I respect their opinions, I think it has more to do with those money-hungry corporations who control the media.  Not a lot of revenue can be made in a short rugby match compared with a three hour NFL game.  Remember TV commercials bring in lots of dough for marketing.

Now for what you’ve been waiting for…

My Top 3 Reasons Why Rugby Beats Football

burger 2015

More Skilled   American football players only have one job to do on the field – except of course for the quarterback.  Hardly any of them play offence and defence.  However, rugby players must be adept in running, tackling, and handling the ball.  Plus, half of them need to know how to kick the ball – whereas football players are specialised in certain abilities, making them less skilled as athletes.

Dallas Cowboys' DeMarco Murray takes oxygen during the second half of an NFL football game

Dallas Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray takes oxygen during the second half of an NFL football game

Tougher and Fitter –  Rugby players play without helmets and excessive padding.  Head collisions are scarcer in rugby, mostly because playing without head protection means players don’t believe they’re invincible.  On top of being stronger, rugby players are in peak physical shape unlike some NFL players who require oxygen masks on the sidelines, so they can catch their breath from all of the “intense” running of 10 seconds.  I highly doubt many of the NFL players can last an 80 minute rugby match.  One rugby fan told me, “You have to be a superior athlete to play rugby.  You are running continuously, so you can’t be 200kg and play rugby.”                                                                                                                                               

Trained Gentlemen and Humility –  “Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen; soccer is a gentleman’s game played by beasts; football is a beastly game played by beasts.” Henry Blaha couldn’t have said it better.  Rugby’s values of discipline, respect, sportsmanship, and humility make the matches special for fans and players alike.  The players learn about chivalry and good manners as children.  Swearing is banned and frowned upon during practices and matches.  Plus, you won’t see ridiculous celebrations after scores or see a player argue with a referee like in the NFL. The NFL is infested with arrogant players and coaches, which for me is a complete turn-off.

The difference between rugby and most other sports?  After being called for a penalty, six-foot-nine, 260-pound, 22-year-old South African forward Lood de Jager said to the referee: “Sorry, sir.”

– Bill Carere

Like it or not, the world is getting smaller, and we’re headed towards a unified world order – so it’s impossible to turn our backs on the rest of the world’s sports.  I do hope that this post has made you consider giving rugby a chance.  Perhaps one day rugby will be included in all American schools and not just at their elite colleges like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.  Now last, but not least – Who’s my pick for the final rugby match?  South Africa vs Australia with of course South Africa taking home the coveted Webb Ellis Cup.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think I’m full of nonsense or do you agree with me?  It’ll be great to hear what you guys have to say.

 Before I forget – here’s a video sketch of the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony featuring Prince Harry, Prince William, Kate Middleton, pyramids, giants coming from underground, and a catchy “New World Order” song.

 

Lance Armstrong Empire Explodes

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By: Mike Adams

The fall of Lance Armstrong needs to be understood not merely as the self destruction of one man, but as a betrayal of one of the most powerful and important fables of our time. Lance Armstrong taught us that a simple man, if dedicated to hard work, high integrity and the admirable pursuit of greatness, could achieve overwhelming victories against all odds. The mythology of Armstrong taught us that greatness is earned, not merely granted, and that there are no shortcuts to achieving the things that really matter in life.

But Lance Armstrong, we now know, was a cheat. A liar. A false prophet. He injected his body with banned, illegal substances. He intimidated and threatened teammates into silence. He bullied critics and even lied to his own sponsors (like NIKE) to keep the cash flowing into his own pockets. While presenting a public face of honesty, integrity and hard work, Lance Armstrong was cheating his way to victories he never deserved… and then he lied about it year after year, race after race, insulting not merely his millions of fans but the reputation of the entire sport of cycling.

Lance Armstrong, in other words, claimed to be a man of greatness and achievement but was secretly cheating his way to the finish line every single time. He betrayed the very belief system that he publicly claimed to espouse. He violated not just his own body with doping chemicals; he violated the public trust in a story of personal achievement that simply turned out to be too good to be true.

Massive evidence is conclusive: Lance Armstrong is a liar and a cheat

There is no question that Lance Armstrong is a confirmed liar of almost unbelievable magnitude. The evidence against him is overwhelming. Over two dozen of his former teammates testified against him, and USADA is releasing more evidence with each passing day. As USADA writes on its website:

The evidence of the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team-run scheme is overwhelming and is in excess of 1000 pages, and includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants’ doping activities. The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding.

Together these different categories of eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence reveal conclusive and undeniable proof that brings to the light of day for the first time this systemic, sustained and highly professionalized team-run doping conspiracy.

If you want to see the stunning magnitude of evidence against Lance Armstrong, take a look at this report from USADA.

Here’s a small taste of what’s being published about Lance Armstrong right now across the ‘net:

Lance Armstrong is “the greatest fraud in American sports.” – Yahoo Sports

“Lance Armstrong’s reputation lies in tatters after the United States Anti-Doping Agency labelled him a ‘serial’ cheat who led ‘the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen’.” – the BBC

“USADA’s report on Lance Armstrong has opened the flood gates for humiliating instances for the disgraced star. Lance Armstrong was branded as a serial cheat by USADA after stripping him off his Tour de France titles. USADA report, an anthology of evidence of Armstrong’s doping habits was compiled with the help of the statements from the star’s former colleagues.” – Sports Bulletin

“Levi Leipheimer, one of the 11 former colleagues who gave evidence against Lance Armstrong, has been sacked by his team, Omega Pharma-QuickStep. In another development on Tuesday, International Olympic Committee vice-president Thomas Bach called for Armstrong to make a full admission of his doping history.” – The Telegraph

“The United States Anti-Doping agency’s report, which amounted to a damning depiction of Armstrong as a main conspirator in a vast doping scheme, contended that Armstrong repeatedly lied under oath. The antidoping agency said it found Armstrong committed perjury during the SCA hearings by making false statements about his doping activities. At the time, Armstrong attacked SCA and its founder, Bob Hamman, as well as witnesses, including some members of the cycling community, who testified for the company.”- New York Times

“In the months and years to come there is going to be a lot of stuff revealed. It’s going to be not just a black period for doping but it’s going to reflect on what others… He’s destroyed people and if you go against him, he tries to destroy you. He’s been trying that for ten years with me.” – cycling champion Greg LeMond, in CyclingNews

“He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it. Armstrong’s use of drugs was extensive and the doping programme on his team, designed in large part to benefit Armstrong, was massive and pervasive. Armstrong and his co-conspirators sought to achieve their ambitions through a massive fraud now more fully exposed. So ends one of the most sordid chapters in sports history.” – BBC Sports

Armstrong continues to lie to the world

Despite all the evidence against him, Armstrong continues to lie to the world, absurdly claiming he never doped and it’s all some evil government conspiracy set out to destroy him. He apparently wants us to believe that all his teammates and former employees and assistants have all formed a grand conspiracy against him for the purpose of… what, exactly? Creating a media circus that benefits no one and may very well destroy the credibility of the entire sport?

No, it’s now perfectly clear that Lance Armstrong is a serial liar. He lied to his fans, lied to his sponsors and lied to the world. He achieved his victories by cheating.

All those people who adored him by wearing those silly yellow Livestrong bracelets were, predictably, worshipping a world-class deceiver who has received millions of dollars in sponsorship money from the pharmaceutical companies. And today, Lance Armstrong has stepped down as the chairman of Livestrong.

At the same time, Nike has suddenly ended its contract with Lance Armstrong, too. Sponsorship contracts for Lance Armstrong are falling like dominoes, it seems. It’s no wonder: does any corporation want the face of a world-class cheater to represent its brand?

Big Pharma loved the guy, of course. What better spokesperson for the pharmaceutical industry than a “serial liar” who used banned chemicals to cheat? That sounds like the entire business model of Big Pharma, come to think of it.

“On a different but still relevant note, the Lance Armstrong Foundation was recently exposed for funding a Big Pharma-backed study that promotes an increase in the prescription of opiates and other pain reliever drugs, despite their growing and widespread abuse. The so-called PAINS Initiative study was also backed by the group Rx Action Alliance and drug giant Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the latter of which was fined more than half a billion dollars for misleading the public about the addictive nature of OxyContin (oxycodone).” – NaturalNews.com

Mike Anderson is shown inside his garage and makeshift bicycle shop in 2005.

Armstrong was a bully to anyone who questioned him

But Armstrong wasn’t merely a cheater, a liar, and a doper. He’s also a really nasty, mean person, according to people who have had dealings with him. He viciously attacked anyone who threatened his “empire.” Just ask Mike Anderson, a former friend of Armstrong who says he was betrayed by Armstrong.

“Armstrong’s aggressive attempts to ruin me, and their effectiveness, left me with a deepening sense of disappointment in the U.S. justice system, where the well-heeled often get away with things that ordinary citizens simply can’t,” writes Anderson, adding that Armstrong was never a victim, but often a victimizer of others.

See the original story on Mike Anderson at OutsideOnline.com

Lance Armstrong, of course, can easily afford highly-paid lawyers, and those lawyers were regularly dispatched to attack anyone who accused Armstrong of doping. In the case of Mike Anderson, Armstrong’s attorney responded with a scathing letter accusing Anderson of being a liar and calling him “AnderSatan!” We now know this legal response to be full of lies itself, but if you want to read it, here’s the text published in August of this year.

One of the subheads from that attack piece written by Lance Armstrong’s lawyer reads, “Mr. Anderson Falsely Accuses Lance Armstrong of Avoiding Taking a Drug Test.” It’s almost laughable now, isn’t it? Now the whole world knows Lance Armstrong was running a massive doping conspiracy while viciously attacking the people around him who tried to blow the whistle on his behavior!

Even Piers Morgan saw the truth about Armstrong, saying, “Nice guy that Lance Armstrong — a nasty, vengeful bully as well as the world’s biggest sporting cheat.” – Hollywood Reporter.

The Guardian writes, “Lance Armstrong case: The dope cheat, the bully and the cancer fighter – On the one hand he could be utterly charming, the inspiring cancer hero, on the other he would bully anyone who dared speak against him.”

The Herald Sun declares, “Lance Armstrong branded a liar, a cheat and a bully by his former teammates.” That story goes on to declare that Lance Armstrong:

SURROUNDED himself with drug runners and doping doctors;

BULLIED teammates into using his methods;

INTIMIDATED witnesses;

REPEATEDLY lied to investigators;

PULLED out of a race to avoid a test.

NIKE / Armstrong ad lies to the world – “I’m on my bike. What are you on?”

As part of the gross deception carried out by Lance Armstrong, NIKE funded a video ad that you can see on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxnqHvEbGnc

The ad shows Armstrong undergoing a blood draw, implying that he was “clean” from any doping. During the deceptive ad funded by NIKE, Armstrong narrates:

“This is my body. And I can do whatever I want to it.”

“Everybody wants to know what I’m on. What am I on? I’m on my bike, bustin’ my ass six hours a day. What are you on?”

Followed by “Just do it” and the NIKE swoosh.

But of course we now know exactly what he was on: Illegal doping substances. Which means Lance Armstrong was, and still is, full of complete sh#t. And NIKE helped pay for the ads that attempted to cover it all up.

Comments to the YouTube video lay it out with raw truth:

What am I on? EPO, steroids, human growth hormone, transfused blood… The question is, what aren’t I on?

This is my body, I can do whatever I want to it. I can dope it, inject it, fill it with some extra blood I have saved in Tyler’s freezer. What am I on? F#$k man, I’m on all kinds of mad sh%#!

With the release of the Usada report, Lance has been crushed under a mountain of evidence. He has been shown to be a cheat, a liar, a hypocrite, and a bully. I wish I could have back all those hours I spent rooting for him in the Tour. Once upon a time, I was a fan and I believed the guy. I loved this commercial, and I figured the Frenchies were just pissed off at Lance because he kept winning their Big Race. Of course, now I know better. I was a sucker.

Lance Armstrong is a symbol of everything that’s wrong with our modern world

At the end of the day, Lance Armstrong was more than just a serial liar, cheater, doper and ringleader of a massive international conspiracy. He was more than just a receiver of millions of dollars from big corporate sponsors like NIKE. He was the guy who told the world the way to rise to the top was to be honest and work hard. His victory was made out of pure dedication, integrity and a “just do it” attitude. That was his formula, he told us. And if we worked hard, followed the rules, and had the same kind of dedication that Armstrong did, we could achieve great things too, we were promised.

And yet, it was all a cruel lie. Armstrong didn’t get to the top through hard work and high integrity. He got there with a needle in his arm, a bully lawyer behind his back, and a network of wealthy corporate sponsors who winked and nodded and kept the cash flowing.

He won his victories by cheating, lying and intimidating others. He’s the mafia boss of cycling; the Satan of sport. He’s the guy who charmed everybody into a state of trust and even celebrity worship, while in the back room he was smacking a vein to find a ready injection point for another needle full of illegal chemicals.

Lance Armstrong, it turns out, is the anti-hero… and a despicable human being, to boot. He not only lied to the world, he has now crushed the hopes and dreams in the minds of millions of people who literally worshipped the guy. He has betrayed not merely his teammates, his fans and his sport, he has betrayed the very thing that gives us hope in a troubled world: the idea that a regular guy can achieve something great if he just dedicates himself to a goal and pursues it with honesty and effort.

And yet, Armstrong’s fakery isn’t unique. Much of the world around us is living in a dream state, believing countless other fictions like “the national debt doesn’t matter” or “vaccines are safe even though they still contain mercury, formaldehyde and MSG.” Or even the NIKE fiction of, “You’ll be cool and popular if you wear these tennis shoes made by low-wage workers sweating it out somewhere in Asia.”

Much of the world we see is a fiction… pure fakery and marketing hype. And so Lance Armstrong, being a man of hype and deception, may actually still be the perfect spokesperson for the corporations that dominate our world. The fact that he was lying to the world only makes him even more aligned with the corporations, it turns out. Maybe NIKE should change its slogan to, “Just Lie” and put Lance Armstrong back on contract.

Just Lie like Lance Armstrong, and you too can win Olympic medals and world sporting events. Just Lie and you too can receive millions of dollars in sponsorship contracts. Just Lie and you can be worshipped as a hero by millions, even as you are betraying them all with despicable dishonesty.

Just Lie… and you can follow in the footsteps of Lance Armstrong, a scammer and a cheat who fooled the world for more than a decade but ultimately destroyed himself out of sheer greed, arrogance and denial.

London Cheer Permeates Men’s Triathlon

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LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain, Javier Gomez of Spain and Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain compete in the Men’s Triathlon on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Hyde Park on August 7, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Which sport warrants more recognition?

TRIATHLON!

Triathletes train excessively hard in swimming, cycling and running – yet the mainstream media pays far more attention to footballers.  Imagine training 35-40 hours a week in these three arduous endurance events and not getting recognised. For example, we bumped into women’s triathlon gold medalist Nicola Spirig at Heathrow Airport and noticed that no one recognised her. Her meekly demeanor eclipsed the fact her carry on luggage comprised a beautiful gold medal, which she kindly showed us.

Triathlon fascinates me!  This challenging sport recently captivated my heart. For this reason, I faced the immensely huge crowd in Hyde Park to watch the sport given to us by the French in the 1920s.

London cheer permeated the Olympic triathlon atmosphere on day 11 of the Olympic games. The contagious enthusiasm spread to even the grumpiest of men, so it’s no wonder  weirdos now sell empty bottles of “London Olympic atmosphere” on E-bay.

Yorkshire brothers: Alistair Brownlee, 24, and Jonathan Brownlee, 22

Spain’s Javier Gomez, 29

South African Richard Murray, 23

Viewing the race with a professional triathlete took the guesswork out of the gruelling 34-mile event. It truly made the race more exciting! We wanted the South African “dark horse” Richard Murray to win the race, but nevertheless we were still very excited to see Alistair Brownlee win gold, Spain’s Javier Gomez take silver, and Jonathan Brownlee win bronze.

The remaining 51 competitors proved no match to the fabulous Brownlee brothers and Javier Gomez.

Thanks to Alistair Brownlee – Britain’s received its first ever Olympic gold medal in triathlon.  Now prepare yourselves for their autobiography, which they’ve already completed with the help of ghostwriter Tom Fordyce. I’m sure there will be a bidding war among interested publishers over the rights to distribute the Brownlee’s autobiography.

These boys may be triathlon’s ticket to make the sport even more popular. Triathlon’s red hot right now.

V xx

Javier Gomez, Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee