America’s Cutest Competition

One of the greatest highlights of Super Bowl Sunday is putting everyone’s differences aside, gathering in front of the TV, and watching a bunch of puppies run around a tiny football field. While some may enjoy watching actual humans play football, others choose to watch the canine version, known as the Puppy Bowl. The Puppy Bowl began in 2005 and was originally conceived to be like the Yule Log, filming puppies playing around with dog toys in a small football field for twelve straight hours. However, the program garnered an unexpected 5.8 million viewers. Since then, the Puppy Bowl went from a simple program to a full-on annual event, and went through many changes. For example, the Puppy Bowl is still aired on Animal Planet for twelve hours, but much of that time is spent on the pregame or on replaying the Bowl. It is initially aired from 3 to 5 p.m. so that it does not conflict with the Super Bowl. Many new features have been added throughout the years, such as the Kitten Halftime Show, a Dairy Queen-sponsored Kiss Cam, animal cheerleaders (such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and chickens), a live-tweeting bird named Meep, and competition between Teams Ruff and Fluff, which has been in place for three years so far. It is also sponsored by many companies, from Geico to Subaru to Pedigree. The Bowl is pre-recorded three months in advance and shot for two full days, so what viewers see on television is only the best of what happened during the shoot. Nowadays, the event often gets over ten million viewers each year and is one of Animal Planet’s most-watched events.

Teams Ruff and Fluff compete in the Puppy Bowl XIII.

This year, the Puppy Bowl made significant history in many ways. Team Fluff ended Team Ruff’s two-year winning streak, beating them for the first time with an unprecedented ninety-three points. Tucker, an Australian Shepherd mix and the captain of Team Fluff, took home the Lombarky Trophy, one of the many new additions of this year’s Bowl. Some other new features included mascots for each of the teams (a screech owl for Ruff and a chinchilla for Fluff) and the inclusion of three dogs with special needs: Winston, a hearing and sight impaired Australian Shepherd; Doobert, a deaf English Pointer; and Lucky, a three-legged terrier who was also the recipient of the Underdog Award. A Cocker Spaniel/Bichon Frise mix named Nikita also made history by becoming the first dog to use the referee’s flag to score a touchdown, and she also scored two other touchdowns and one field goal. She was a strong contender for MVP (Most Valuable Pup), yet lost to a Poodle mix named Rory who scored three touchdowns early on in the game.

All of the puppies that participate in the Puppy Bowl are living in either shelters or foster homes and are seeking a “forever home.” The ultimate goal is to get all of the participating puppies adopted every year, and oftentimes this goal has been achieved. This year, Animal Planet has brought attention to dogs with special needs, reminding viewers that they are no less worthy of adoption than their able-bodied peers. Although most of the dogs who compete have already been adopted before the Bowl airs, people can still adopt their siblings if they are still available for adoption. But overall, adopting any puppy from a shelter is important. When Animal Planet puts adorable, adoptable puppies on the small screen, it raises awareness of animal adoption and prompts people to adopt dogs in need of a loving home.

The Fight of the Century

As many of you probably know, one of the biggest boxing fights happened last Saturday, May 2nd.

imageThe competitors were Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr and Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao.

It was held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and tickets cost between 3,500 and 25,000 dollars depending in the various seating arrangements in the arena.

Or an everyday boxing enthusiasts could stay at home and watch it on Pay-Per-View for 100 dollars.

It was a twelve round fight, and spectators say it was an average fight in terms of content.

Floyd Mayweather won the fight, upholding his unbeatable streak, and he walked away with 190 million dollars.

While Manny Pacquiao did not bring home the championship, he didn’t really lose because he left with 120 million dollars and without major harm.

He however did sustain a shoulder injury before the fight that did not get to a painful stage until after the fight.

Nascar Origins

Nascar started in the early 1920s by bootleggers who souped up their cars to be faster than the police cruisers, but boys will be boys, and soon souping up cars turned into full-blown highway races. After racing on the highways, Big Bill France came up with the great idea of putting these cars on a timagerack, and so the sport of Nascar was born. Big Bill France organized the meetings of the drivers on the race days. In 1959, the first ever Daytona 500 was held, which was won by Lee Petty- not to be confused with the singer Tom Petty, of course.

Now, the Daytona 500 is the first race of every Nascar season. Throughout the 1950s, 60s, and 70s the types of cars have changed. Cars like Plymouth Superbirds, Dodge Chargers, Chevy Camaros, and Ford Mustangs, are used, which if you ask me, is the pinnacle of cool. Both the 1970 Plymouth Superbird and the 1969 Dodge Charger were the one of the fastest cars in that time period, and they weren’t bad looking either. The 1969 Dodge Charger was a two door muscle car that came with a 440 cu In (7.2L) v8 magnum engine. The 440 made 375 hp with 480 lb ft torque. In Generation Three (1981 to 1991), the wheelbase was reduced to 110, and all body panels were purchased from manufactures. Today, Generation Six (2013-) the cars need manufacturing, with unique body panels placed on existing chassis. This design puts the “stock” back in stock car racing.

Rangers Keep the Momentum

By Tyler Plaktsis

Iimagesn Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers upset the Canadians on their home turf in Montreal.

The first goal was scored by Martin St. Louis, The Rangers’ newest power forward, on a quick one trimmer shot aimed right for the back of the net.  The second goal was by Mat Zuccarello.   The Rangers went to beat the Canadians 7-2 with a goal being scored by a different Ranger each time.

Game Two, played on Monday, May 19th, saw The Rangers win again with a final score of  3-1.  The Rangers goals were scored by  Martin St.Louis, Rick Nash, and Ryan McDonagh.

Game Three will be played tonight, Thursday, May 22nd, at Madison Square Garden, where The Rangers will attempt to stick a knife in the Canadiens by increasing their series lead to 3-0.

LGR!

The Captain’s Final Season

By Eric Bernstein

Derek Jeter, The Captain.

Derek Jeter, The Captain.

Derek Jeter, all-star shortstop for the New York Yankees, has announced his retirement at the end of the 2014 season. Being that it’s Derek’s last year, Yankees fans are expecting big things from The Captain.

With the loss of Robinson Cano still in the minds of the fans, they are expecting some rookies to step up and so far, they have. Yangervis Solarte (Yankees rookie 3rd baseman) has stepped up big time these first few games, and being a 28 year- old rookie, this much was definitely not expected of him. But, it seems being in the minors for so long really helped him prepare for this level of competition.

Masahiro Tanaka (rookie starting pitcher for the Yankees) is already feeling at home having won his first game of the 2014 season against the Toronto Blue Jays. Big things are expected of the Yankees this year, and all are looking to The Captain to make it happen.

In his press conference the day he announced his retirement, Derek Jeter remarked, “The great thing about being a Yankee is that you’re always a Yankee.”

And that’s exactly how he will always be remembered.

Great Neck North Baseball: Breaking New Ground

Interview by Christopher Helms

At the beginning of the baseball season, I was given the opportunity to speak with Coach Bailin, Great Neck North’s varsity baseball coach about his expectations for his team this year.

Coach

Coach Bailin is at the helm of The Blazer’s baseball team.

1. What is your biggest focus this season?

Biggest focus this season? Probably getting these guys to work even harder this season; the end goal is to get into the play-offs.

2.  How do you expect to do this season?

A lot better than we have the last two years. We’re getting a lot more talent, we’re stronger top to bottom, we have a good pitcher, we’re going to play a good defense and there’s a lot of experience… a lot of varsity experience. We have a lot of young guys who are now juniors who have two years of varsity experience. They don’t fear this level of play now.

3. What are your teams greatest weaknesses and their greatest strengths?

Our greatest weakness I think, is that we don’t know how to win yet. Because we haven’t done any of it– in two years. I think that in itself, when we figure out how to win games, will be really beneficial down the road. I think that’s our greatest weakness, right now. We’ve played in a lot of good games, a lot of close games, in the past two years. Especially last year. But, we didn’t win those games. Our biggest strength, I mentioned, is our experience. We have a lot of guys who have multiple years of varsity experience even though they’re juniors. We have a sophomore catcher who played every inning of every game last year. So, even that, he’s a tenth grader now and he’s young, he has a lot of experience at this level.

4. What makes baseball special?

Uhh, boy, I’ve never been asked that before. It’s a unique game, that there’s no time limit. I do like the game to move quick, but, it’s very much a game of strategy, a lot of cat and mouse; and I enjoy the coaching aspect of it from a strategy standpoint, which as a player, I didn’t appreciate as much. And, I know these guys don’t fully understand it because they’re not in the position I’m in now. But you know, I enjoy the strategy part of it.

5. What advice do you wish everyone would follow?

Never stop working hard. Because the only way you get anything in this game is to just try and work harder than everybody else.

Their hard work is paying off.  Currently, The Blazers’ record is 2-2, an outstanding improvement from the last two years!

The Knicks’ Struggles

By: Jacob Tal

It’s no secret the New York Knicks season has been a huge disappointment with a current 20-32 record. Metta World Peace, one of the Knicks’ forwards, still believes that his team can make the playoffs, “We are good enough to make the playoffs. I believe the team has what it takes”, he recently said.

Some fans are blaming the losses on Mike Woodson, the Head Coach. Asked about whether or not he thinks he will be the coach next season, Woodson said, “Sure I do. Sure I expect to be coaching [the Knicks],” Woodson said Sunday. “Absolutely…The coach, yeah he plays a major role but at the end of the day the players have to be together to play at a high level.”

However, despite the positivity from players and the coach, injuries may keep the Knicks from making the playoffs. Bargnani (elbow) and Kenyon Martin (ankle) remain sidelined for the Knicks and JR Smith, the shooting guard, recently sustained a small fracture in his cheekbone and had to wear a mask during Wednesday’s game.

What to Watch for in Sochi

By: Eric Bernstein

Norway is known for their "ugly" competition pants.

Norway is known for their “ugly” competition pants.

High Fashion: They said plaid was good for curling, but I didn’t think they were serious! These plaid pants are a pretty bold statement for such a worldwide event. The Norwegian curling team has been known for some crazy uniforms in the past, but you guys definitely need to watch for these.

Better Together: Skating together since they were kids, the team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White is the frontrunner in the figure skating competition.  They will be attempting to win the first gold for America. Their biggest rivals are the defending gold medalists from Canada, with the team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The Under Dogs:  American skiers Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso are former olympic medalists, but this year, they have tough competition in each of their events, so though they still have a strong chance of reaching the podiums in their events, they aren’t quite the favorites they always were.  Figure skater Jeremy Abbott has a decent shot at a medal if he skates some clean programs.  Americans also have never won a medal in the men’s biathlon, but Team USA  believes they have a great shot in Sochi (no pun intended.)