All Star Mania – The Best of The Best, With Some Worst Thrown In

“It’s all about the All Stars.”

It’s the sort of proclamation you’d expect to hear from Fox Sports baseball announcers Jack Buck or Tim McCarver during their coverage of the MLB All Star game. Each year around this same time in early July, baseball mania reaches a fever pitch, as the best baseball players – arguably, in the world – come together for two days to entertain fans with 450 ft. home runs, 100 mph fastballs and two dream teams comprised of the brightest young stars of the future playing alongside the biggest names of the past 20 years.

The All Star baseball stage is a unique one in all of professional sports, if for no other reason than it’s the only venue which gets to enjoy the sports spotlight in the absence of any other competing sports events. With basketball and hockey seasons mothballed for the summer, and football still several weeks shy of training camp, All Star baseball is the only professional game in town for sports enthusiasts in early July. Even Major League Baseball itself shuts down for almost a full week to acknowledge and shine a light on its own event. Thus for this brief period each year, it truly is all about the All Stars. But that’s not where I heard that statement.

Little Leagues, Big Expectations

If you’ve ever coached Little League baseball, as I have for many years, you’d be familiar with the annual process of “drafting” teams. Before the beginning of each season a group of presumably well-intentioned volunteer coaches – aka parents – meet at their local recreation hall after work and pick team rosters from a general list of enrolled players. I have found that it can be a stressful experience since I’ve usually entered this meeting with a few personal goals in mind: 1) I need to draft my kid’s best friend, 2) I need to make sure I remember to draft my own kid, 3) I need to draft a kid whose dad is known to help out, 4) I need to avoid drafting the rambunctious kid, 5) I need to avoid drafting the kid whose parents are jerks, and 6) It would be nice to draft at least one kid capable of throwing a few strikes. The game is less painful when we keep walks-per-inning under 10.

Fortunately, my own personal experience with “draft night” hasn’t been all that bad. I’ve seen the occasional disagreement over the selection of players (e.g., “Mrs. Smith asked me to pick Johnny, so we can car pool together.” Oh, are you sure it has nothing to do with Johnny being 5’11” and throwing 72 mph fastballs?). But for the most part the meetings were uneventful and just terribly long.

But I remember one specific draft night, which was attended and coordinated by one of our town’s Little League Committee members. At the end of the three-hour meeting, as we were exiting the conference room and still joking about who had picked whom, this committee member leaned over to me and whispered, “These regular season drafts don’t mean anything anyway. It’s all about the All Stars.” Bingo.

The Boys of Summer

As big as the MLB All Star extravaganza is, the Little League All Star season creates a mania that’s, quite literally, in a league all its own. The media attention and commercialism surrounding the Little League All Stars is unrivaled in youth sports. The Little League website even termed it, “one of the summer’s most popular sporting events.” And they may be justified in stoking the publicity with that claim. After all, Little League and ESPN are in the 6th year of an 8-year contract that will televise 66 games on either ESPN or ABC in August. Those are pretty big stakes, especially for a bunch of 11-and-12-year-old kids playing America’s pastime.

So it’s no wonder that in small towns and hamlets all across America, the mania begins in earnest several months earlier when some of the more overzealous “coaches” – dads – are already entertaining visions of ESPN grandeur even before the first child has been assigned to a roster for the regular season; a roster, by the way, that’s filled predominantly with kids who will never even think about their town’s All Star teams, let alone play on one.

If any of your town’s youth sports organizations are managed by a mentality that believes “it’s all about the All Stars,” or that equivalent thinking, then it’s time to advocate a change in that group’s leadership. To say “it’s all about the All Stars” is to say it’s all about a few kids, and not all of the kids. And this flies in the face of what the experts and prevailing wisdom on youth sports suggest, which is that below age 14, it should be all about inclusion and fun.

Two All Star Games – One Blowout, One Blowup

This year’s MLB All Star game was played in Kansas City on July 10th. That game ended in a blowout with the National League winning 8 to 0. Ironically, on that very same day, another All Star game was played in Columbus, Georgia between two Little League teams vying to advance in the tournament. That game ended with parents arguing, then starting a fistfight, and then two dads being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. I guess to them, it was truly “all about the All Stars.” A little too much so.

The lesson for us all here should speak for itself. No, the majority of us are not so overzealous and unrestrained that we end up punching out the opponent’s parents at a Little League All Star game. But even the most restrained of us is probably dangerously close to losing perspective as we try and enjoy our child’s participation in youth sports. So just remember, even when you’re watching the Little League World series on ABC this August, youth sports should never be “all about the All Stars.”

Free Online Slot – Play With a Difference

World today is moving at a quick space and so is the style of various gambling options you have. Today online gambling is become a topic of interest to the age old gamblers who found pleasure gambling at clubs and casinos. Change is the only aspect constant in life and so the change in gambling is most welcomed. Slots are basically casino gambling machines with three or more reels that spin when a button is pressed. They have a variety of names such as slot machine, poker machine or else fruit machines all mean the same. They constitute to almost 70% of the income of the casinos on a whole. The latest editions of the online slot machines are available on various websites. Online poker gambling at casinos and poker rooms is one of the fastest growing forms of wagering on the Internet.

Gambling is no longer just about the bright lighting and elite class peoples gathering. With the arrival of the Internet, thousands of online casinos have cropped up offering a new gambling experience to casino goers around the globe who are interested to play with a difference. Many online websites today have invented the option of free online slots which many are trying their hand at. And why not go for something new? A little new ideology is always appreciated than the older options. Various free online slots are available today which saves the gambler the time of travel and which can have access to when he wishes.

Also competitions at land based casinos are becoming so well-liked that people are being turned away, with waits, some lasting for many hours to get a table on Saturdays and Sundays .That’s the time people are free and get out to gamble. With the huge piles of money that people can win, more and more are getting into the game of poker especially the online ones. It is a big huge flourishing industry. Particularly free online slots that have been in huge demand recently with many gamblers taking prime interest in it. However, never assume that just because you have played a game in a casino, you know how to play the game at an online casino. It is not the same as land based casinos. Be sure to read the terms and conditions pertaining to any gambling you plan to partake in. Some online casinos base their rules on European guidelines and such guidelines may differ slightly to what you’re familiar with. There is something that any gambler is looking for.

So if you haven’t checked out an online casino, especially the free slots go for it, what are you waiting for? Many players are shouting the praises of online casinos and online gambling as being a new way for people to enjoy gambling without the necessity of being at a land casino and that too for free. So no more waiting now is there a need? Visit an online casino and find out what the excitement is all about and it will surely be an enthralling experience.

E- Games- The New Age Entertainment Sports

In the age of Internet, E-Games is an irresistible attraction amongst all age groups. The desire to play games has turned children to be more techno savvy these days. E-Games are flexible and intuitive, it’s easy to use so you can spend your time creating games instead of programming them.

You can increase business effectiveness by easily adding more motivation and challenge to your learning programs. With the advent of E-Learning, even Training Games are transforming. Indeed, because Computer Games and Arcades are commonplace, instructional games may be the perfect candidate for e-learning events.

Trainers understand the value of a good game for engaging participants in the learning process, whether as pre-course materials, self-teaching tools, or content reviews. Most games draw on traditional game-show styles such as Jeopardy, or popular boardgames, including Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly. The question-and-answer format of those games proves ideal for self-assessment and memory building. When played in groups, games promote teambuilding and team spirit. More importantly, games alleviate learners’ anxiety about being evaluated.

A sophisticated programmed E-Game usually includes the following features:

· Easy, intuitive authoring interfaces.

· An array of different game types.

· Detailed Help files, sample games, and demonstrations.

· Cross-platform playback using the Flash web player.

· No messy software downloads or installation requirements.

· Options to create games from your web browser.

· You can choose from several skins for your games, including a custom skin that allows you to modify the colors.

· Full customization for any of the game types.

· Your own online Arcade system that allows you to group your games into custom multi-player arcades and invite players to compete.

The average age of an E-Game Player is 29 years and ninety two percent of all games are purchased by adults over the age of 18. 39% E-Game players are women. Computer and video game software sales grew 8% in 2003 to $ 7 billion in the following years and are expected to hike more. However, when compared to the movie industry this segment is still a small player.

In fiscal 2004, ended June 30, E-Games’ sales rose 11% to $8 million, and profit increased 9%, to $1.7 million, from a year earlier. It did have a loss of $184,000 in its 2005 fiscal first quarter, after sales were hurt when Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reduced shelf space it allocates to low-price PC games, E-Games says.

Some very sought after E-Games are as follows:

1. AirXonix: This is a 3-dimensional remake of the Xonix game. In the Xonix game you have to control a device, which is moving over the playing field whilst several monster-balls are wandering inside. The objective is to isolate the balls away from as much spare playing field as possible.

2. Buzzing Cars: Buzzing Cars is a totally crazy racing game where you’ll not only need to be fast but also smart. You must carry out various missions such as drive robots around, chase flying saucers, electrocute aliens and of course race against the clock. You can buy seven different cars with various properties. In every crash, the cars begin to lose parts, until eventually after enough is lost they completely fall apart.

3. Cross & Word Games: A compilation of three simple puzzle games previously released by E-Games in their early RomTech days. Crossword Mania is a set of 110 crossword puzzles and Word Search Mania has 222 word searches. Both of these pencil and paper to keyboard and monitor translations also have basic design tools for constructing your own puzzles. Word Connect Special Edition is a one board demo of a Scrabble clone where players try to form interlocking words on a board with lettered tiles.

4. Mahjongg Master: Enjoy the classic Chinese game of strategy with this full-featured version! You’ll find 18 original tile sets — everything from classic MahJongg tiles to all new designs! You can also choose from among 70 beautiful backgrounds including scenics, animals, textures, and much more. Plus great music, too! MahJongg Master is one of E-Games best-selling titles. There are millions of players around the world.

5. Marble Blast: In this arcade action game from independent publisher Garage Games, players take the control of marbles. The objective of the game is to race the marble through the 72 levels each containing moving platforms, dangerous hazards, sparkling treasures and power up enhancements, and complete it in record time.

6. Miniverse Minigolf: Two 9 hole mini golf courses for 1-4 players. One course is set on “Earth” and features putting through locations such as a construction site, a war zone, and a casino. The other course is set in space and includes a variety of science fiction obstacles like tele-porters and laser shields. Players can choose to control their putter by pushing or pulling the mouse and can select one of several different colors for their golf ball.

7. Pinball: E-Games’ Pinball is a 3D pinball simulation with three tables. 3D acceleration is used for all sorts of realistic effects like table glass, light halos, shadows, reflections of the ball on the table, and more. Standard pinball game play applies; knock down targets to light up bonuses, which can be further increased by multipliers.

8. Word Search Mania: A computerized version of the standard pencil and paper word search. Word Search Mania is a collection of 222 assorted puzzles with a variety of strange topics in varying degrees of difficulty. It also contains a tool for building puzzles from your own lists of words.