Sports & Fitness Finds for October

Check out the gear I showcased on XETV’s San Diego Living TV program today – that Mark is a funny guy!

Click HERE to watch the segment video footage.

Advertisements

Ron Artest’s Return Key to Lakers Turnaround?

With the return of “Metta World Peace,” AKA Ron Artest, the Los Angeles Lakers look to secure a defensive-minded forward on a team that is vying for a playoff position this year.

In his last stint with the team, which spanned over a four year period, Artest etched his name in the history books for both good and bad reasons. For one, World Peace will definitely be remembered for his on-court antics. Reflecting on the past, World Peace helped secure Los Angeles’ 2010 NBA Championship by knocking down a clutch three pointer in the closing seconds of game seven. However, he also carries notoriety throughout the league due to a controversial play in which he elbowed then Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard James Harden in the face. This is a risky move for an organization who is looking only to improve.

That is exactly what general manager Mitch Kupchak believes World Peace can deliver to the organization: improvement. “Personally, I think [there’s] a lot of things he brings to the table…” Kupchak said. For the past month, World Peace has reportedly been training at the Lakers’ facility, while also mentoring young players such as Julius Randle—a sophomore forward who was injured in his rookie debut last season.

The main motivation Kupchak seemingly has in bringing World Peace to the team is his leadership. The 35 year old veteran clearly has an influence in the locker room, and with such a young squad, he’s reportedly held his own in the practices. However, since his departure from the New York Knicks in 2014, World Peace hasn’t played in an NBA game but rather logged playing time in the Chinese and Italian basketball leagues.

Could World Peace be the missing link the Lakers’ need? He has some steep competition in order to make the team, having received a non-guaranteed, one-year deal in which he will battle for one of three open roster spots against young talent that will pose new challenges all on their own. If he does make the team, he just may get the bench to provide extra defensive mentality in what seems to be shaping up as a turnaround season for the Lakers.

High School Sprinter Breaks Track and Field Record

It’s always my pleasure to cite record-breaking news items of note. Here’s an item pertaining to high school girls’ track and field that isn’t confined to a specific school or state record, but rather a national-level achievement.

In Albany, New York, Rush-Henrietta High School sophomore, Sammy Watson, has set the second fastest 400 meter dash sprint time in the nation…and with no starting blocks! Usually, before a race begins, the runners take their stance on a pair of running blocks intended to help get the runner get off to a good start. However, in a previous race in which Watson used the blocks, she didn’t post a time she wanted, and therefore decided to approach this subsequent race with no blocks whatsoever.

As the starting gun sounded, Watson propelled herself from a standing start, and eventually won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division I girls 400 final in 52.69 seconds, reflecting a meet record. With that performance, Watson moved up the leaderboard, raising up from a third place position to second place nationwide. This was reportedly the first time Watson had won a state championship, and, in doing so, she also lowered the Section V record she had also notably reset during sectionals the month prior.

Maybe someday we’ll all be watching Watson represent The United States in the Olympics. Only time will tell, but she seems to be sprinting in the right direction!

Source: http://usatodayhss.com/2015/sammy-watson-track-400-starting-blocks-new-york

High School Athlete Breaks Female Weightlifting Record

Anyone who thinks girls aren’t super-strong need only read this story to gain a new mindset.

 

Juliette Chang-Fane, a 15 year old attendee of Edgewood High School in Merritt Island, Florida, broke the American Youth 14-15 weightlifting record for the Clean and Jerk event in very memorable fashion. She ended up lifting a bar full of weights that totaled 175 pounds over her head! She also broke the record for lifting the most amount of weight for a person of her body weight—125 pounds.

 

Juliette’s trainer attributes her success to how she approaches to new challenges and a given task at hand, citing that her mentality is to analyze everything scientifically. Juliette reportedly even films all of her weightlifting sessions so that she can critique herself later on.

 

What’s additionally impressive is that, prior to competing, Juliette had only trained in the sport of weightlifting for 9 months, mainly using the CrossFit method, whereas most of the other youth competing the day she broke the record had trained much of their lives. She had overcome other obstacles as well, including numerous doubters who believed that weight-lifting was a “man’s sport” and that women should stick to more traditional roles. However, Chang-Fane seeks to break that stereotype and prove that female athletes are capable of anything. She hopes to be an inspiration to all the young girls out there to be exactly whoever and whatever to be. Her message is apparently resonating. Juliette has, already accumulated over 9,500 followers on the Instagram social media platform, alone.

 

This high school student reportedly has her eye on making a run at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Tokyo. She seems to be well on her way.

Mason Kern, Youth Sports Watchdog - Photo Copyright SportsWurlz(tm)
Mason Kern, Youth Sports Watchdog – Photo Copyright SportsWurlz(tm)

Source: http://usatodayhss.com/2015/juliette-chang-fane-of-edgewood-fla-sets-national-youth-weightlifting-record

Los Angeles High School Basketball Team Assists the Homeless

Want a feel-good sports report? This is a downright heartwarming story about a high school basketball team in Los Angeles, California that spent the Sunday before this past Father’s Day giving assistance to the homeless around their community.

This act of team generosity was spearheaded by their coach, Harvey Kitani, who, throughout his tenure as the Fairfax High School boys’ varsity basketball coach, has experienced many players with family issues. In one case, one of his players was actually homeless for a short period of time! His 2015 team, which won the Los Angeles City Section title the year prior (finishing with 32 wins and 3 losses), gave assistance to those in need in Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row area, which has the city’s largest homeless population. The event was organized by the Family Bridge Foundation in collaboration with the Intellect-Mercy-Love Foundation and The Senegalese Association of Los Angeles—a support-system for West Africa’s Senegalese Community in the Los Angeles Region. Most of the food was reportedly cooked by a group of Senegalese natives! Additionally, during the event water bottles and dental supplies were doled out to the homeless as well.

The impact this charitable and selfless experience had on the players cannot be understated. After the team completed the day, two players decided to promote the spirit of generosity at their school in a more formal way, and started a club on campus known as the Fairfax Closet, whereby students take to the streets of Los Angeles to provide clothing and other support for the homeless in their community.

This is a fantastic example of team-based athletes using their power in numbers and their social skills to achieve a greater good. Well played, team.

Source: http://usatodayhss.com/2015/fairfax-basketball-team-spends-day-feeding-homeless-on-skid-row-in-los-angeles

My Top 5 Experiences at WJMC

Throughout the course of the Washington Journalism and Media Conference, us National Youth Correspondents have experienced a multitude of speeches, monuments, and new friendships. The top five that stand out to me are the events that impacted me the most thus far on my trip, and will last with me for the rest of my life, they are as follows.

1. My favorite activity on the trip so far has been the speech given to us by Kevin McCarthy, an entertainment reporter, because it was a Skype call that he took the time to make from Spain! He was very enthusiastic when speaking to us, and we could tell that he was very passionate about what he does. We also ended up creating our own “hashtag” in #nerdtears.

2. Next up on my list would be our adventure to the global headquarters of National Geographic, where we heard another speech by Susan Goldberg, the first female editor-in-chief for the corporation. She was very moving and powerful in how she made her way to the top, and gave great advice to us aspiring journalists in the future. After her speech we had the opportunity to also visit two exhibits inside the building which were the Indian Jones exhibit, and the Monster Fish exhibit.

3. Third on my everlasting list of exciting adventures we have partaken in here at WJMC is the Newseum. This was a great opportunity to see first-hand the evolution of news through time, and get a better sense of what to expect up ahead in the future. There was a multitude of fun games, and a simulator that allowed us to act as a live news reporter, which was very exciting!

4. Number four on my list would be our trip to the National Press Club, where we heard a number of speeches by some of the most powerful journalists in the industry. The one that stood out the most to me was given by Sonya Ross, a Race and Ethnicity reporter for the Associated Press. She really related to all of us and encouraged us to strive for our best because journalism is a life long career, and I really appreciated that extra boost of confidence.

5. Lastly, number five on my list would be our Twilight Monument Tour, in which we went to some of the most major monuments in the Washington DC area. It was very inspiring to read all of the various quotes in each memorial, and to see some of the most influential people in America’s history be glorified forever in such a “monumental” fashion.

These were only five out of the numerous other activities planned out for all of us National Youth Correspondents here at WJMC, all of the information that I have gathered through our speeches, and group meetings will stick with me forever, as I try to make my mark on the world of journalism. As this experience nears its end, I reflect on all of the knowledge I have gained, and am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the Washington Journalism and Media Conference.

My Top 5 Quotes Through the First 3 Days of WJMC

Throughout the entirety of the Washington Journalism and Media Conference so far, I have been witness to many great speeches by very powerful people in the business. I have received a new outlook on journalism as a whole, and how to look at things in a different viewpoint in not just journalism, but all that I do. These are my favorite quotes of the conference so far that I have been affected by the most, said by some great role models.

1.  “You all have a place in this vast industry of journalism, because this country craves information.” -Sonya Ross a Race and Ethnicity Editor for the Associated Press

2. “Ask critical, not cynical questions.” -Nicole Livas, a news anchor for WAVY-TV

3. “Follow the boss, not the job.” -Jamie Smith, a White House Correspondent

4. “Access is everything.” -Michael Shearm, a White House Correspondent for the Washington Post

5. “It’s going to be a lot better when there aren’t that many “firsts” for women.” -Susan Goldberg, the first female editor for National Geographic

As you can see these are very powerful messages conveyed by some of the most prolific journalists on the block. I feel so honored that I was able to listen to great advice by these wonderful people, and through these speeches I feel much more prepared for what my career and life have for me ahead. Stay tuned, because this isn’t the last time you’ll be hearing from me.

The First Official Day of the WJMC

It was a restless night full of twisting and turning but, when I did finally wake up, I knew the first official day of the conference was finally here. Although anticipation caused me to lose a little sleep, I hustled out of bed in excitement, got dressed and practically ran out of the dorm as I scrambled to make my way to the dining hall on the George Mason University campus.

When I entered the room, there was an array of dining booths set up to accommodate the abundance of students participating at the WJMC. All of the National Youth Correspondents mingled and ate amongst ourselves, taking advantage of being able to socialize outside of our assigned “color groups.” This gave me a better idea of the type of people, my peers, who are also attending the conference. Once I finished my meal,  I started off towards the buses along with the rest of the group. Today we were to head to the Newseum–a historic building in Washington DC containing various news industry memorabilia, with some highlighting the evolution of media throughout the years. We proceeded through all of the exhibits, participating in various games that tested our skills and abilities as a journalist, as well as a fully automated news cast simulator that allowed us to act as a real field reporter covering a specific story for a news station. Once we finished our expedition through the history of news-making, we headed off toward the White House. It was hard to contain my excitement!

However, that excitement took a bit of a left turn as, once we arrived at the White House entrance, security and police pushed all citizens (including our group) away from the premises due to a motorcade entering the area. So, unfortunately, we were unable to take our group picture today.  However, another opportunity to visit the White House may present so hopefully that photograph will appear in a blog post later this week.

After that minor itinerary shift at the White House, we headed off to hear presentations from Jamie Smith, an Executive VP of Media Strategies for Edelman, and Michael Shear, a White House Correspondent for the New York Times. They educated the group about various journalism techniques and strategies commonly utilized in the White House. Their speeches were very insightful, and I learned how to decipher the “good” jobs from the “bad,” as well as the ability to leverage my interests to my professional advantage.

Courtesy of Mason Kern
Copyright Mason Kern

After the presentations, we headed off to dinner at Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant that serves meals family style. Today happened to be my 16th birthday, so all of my peers banned together and sang me “Happy Birthday,” which was a really special and unexpected moment. After dinner, our last outing of the evening led to a Twilight Monument Tour through which we viewed several different monuments scattered across Washington DC. I gazed upon the likes of the: World War Two Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Each monument employed various quotes to spur an emotional response felt in the hearts of all who read them, most certainly including me.

After a long and productive day, and on my 16th birthday, I have reflected on much about myself and my future career choice of broadcast journalism. While I learned a great deal today, ringing in my ears are the words of Michael Shear from his presentation earlier on, when he said “access is everything.” Today was a good day. A very good day indeed.