Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling – / 21 Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   Was is it worth it Daryl?As Darnell Dockett laid on the ground, I couldn’t help but think about that question.Carson Palmer immediately went to Dockett as he laid on the ground. Calais Campbell stood above his fallen defensive linemate hoping what he was seeing was a messed up dream. One by one, different players tapped Dockett before moving the 11-on-11 drill 15 yards away from Darnell’s torn ACL. One player who didn’t approach Dockett was Daryl Washington because he believed violating the league’s substance abuse policy was more worthwhile than being there for Dockett. Sure, you can argue Washington wasn’t thinking his Pro-Bowl defensive end that protects him, allowing him to run free, would tear his ACL in practice. I would argue that the sentence can stop with “Washington wasn’t thinking.” At the first chance the defense had during practice, they took a knee to pray for Dockett. Washington was not there. Only the defensive players that can be counted on attended the impromptu prayer session. The Cardinals need Washington, now more than ever, and he’s not there while serving his 16-game suspension.Docket was the definition of dependability. Washington is known for the exact opposite. Starting next year, Washington will have missed an average of almost five games a year in his NFL career. Dockett has averaged one missed game every five years of his NFL career. Steve Keim planned on a defense led by Todd Bowles with Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and Daryl Washington. Five players that either are or could develop into NFL stars. They’re now down to three.In order for Washington to have been suspended for 16 games, he must have tested positive at least three times since he was never convicted of a drug-related crime. If Washington was playing well this preseason, the Dockett loss would have been difficult to swallow but not devastating. Instead, neither man is playing. One man because he never quit on his teammates and another man because he never wanted to quit. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Hes playing as high a level right now as anybody

first_img“He’s playing as high a level right now as anybody I’ve ever coached,” Arians said.Keep in mind, the former offensive coordinator has seen his fair share of very good quarterbacks. Arians has coached Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck at the beginning of their careers, and hosts Vince Marotta and Craig Grialou pointed that out.Then, Arians dropped another quarterback who, in his mind, Palmer is comparatively outplaying.“Throw Peyton in there, too,” Arians volunteered. “He’s playing at a level that is very rare.”Yes, Arians was also an Indianapolis Colts assistant when Peyton Manning began his historic run there.While Palmer is easily the most veteran quarterback of those names, the stats back Arians’ assessment.With the Colts from 1998-2000, Arians coached Manning for his first three seasons. After Manning’s difficult rookie year, he led Indy to 13- and 10-win seasons while throwing a combined 59 touchdowns to 30 picks, completing 62 percent of his passes and owning a passer rating between 91 and 94.Statistically, Manning peaked in 2004 when he threw 49 touchdowns — one in every 10 of his 497 passes that year — to 10 interceptions for a passer rating of 121. But that happened after Arians had already departed. Comments   Share   Carson Palmer’s 2015 is still a small sample size. It may not be realistic for him to keep this up.This is a passer rating of 124.4 through two games, a completion percentage of 64, a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 7:1 and a touchdown rate (the percentage of touchdowns per passes thrown) of 12.5. Still, when Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians visited the Bickley and Marotta show on Arizona Sports 98.7 Monday, the compliments were impressive. Arians left Indianapolis in 2000 for Cleveland then arrived in Pittsburgh as its wide receivers coach for the 2004 season, Roethlisberger’s rookie year. After becoming offensive coordinator in 2007, he helped Big Ben thrive until 2011. Roethlisberger arguably had the best full season for a quarterback under Arians’ command. He put up passer ratings of 104 in 2007 and 101 in 2009.Then, Arians headed to Indianapolis, where he acted as offensive coordinator and then interim coach for Luck’s rookie season in 2012. For the first time in a long time, Arians, after being hired by the Cardinals, found himself beginning anew with a veteran quarterback in Palmer. Even if Palmer becomes victim to the law of averages in his third year in Arians’ system, he’s well on his way to producing one of the best Arians-coached seasons by a quarterback.“He’s playing at a high, high level,” Arians said. “He worked his body over extremely hard, but he worked over in the mind and our offense, and didn’t take any time off, was there all spring ready to roll.“Even now, we’ve streamlined some things talking to him in the offseason, and made it even simpler so we can play even faster.” LISTEN: Bruce Arians, Cardinals head coach Top Stories – / 44 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) scrambles away from Chicago Bears defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins (96) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Your browser does not support the audio element. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelolast_img read more

Even though I think EarlThomas is a better pure

first_imgEven though I think @Earl_Thomas is a better pure safety than me, I’ll take the nod.— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) July 21, 2016Eight out of 19 voters named Mathieu as the best safety in the game.Here’s a sampling of what some of Mathieu’s supporters had to say:Elliot Harrison: “This year, the Seahawks will have two All-Pro safeties … but one of them will have to accept second-team honors. Honey Badger = Defensive Player of the Year.”Michael Robinson: “Mathieu plays nearly every position in the secondary and is the key piece to the Cardinals’ D.”Marcas Grant: “Mathieu is arguably the glue that holds together one of the league’s best defenses.”Solomon Wilcots: “Honey Badger’s overall versatility makes him the most useful safety in the league.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact What position does Tyrann Mathieu play exactly?Good question, and one that is being considered heavily as the Arizona Cardinals continue to work on a new contract for their stud fourth-year defensive back.While position may have a huge impact on future earnings for the “Honey Badger,” it’s immaterial when it comes to the game. Mathieu is a force no matter where he lines up in Arizona’s defense. is conducting its NFL Summer Games, in which a panel of experts votes for their gold, silver and bronze medal winners at each position (in a nod to the upcoming Rio Olympics), and Mathieu won the gold medal in the safeties competition, beating out Seattle’s Earl Thomas and Minnesota’s Harrison Smith. Dave Dameshek: “Move over, “QB League”: The NFL is now about hybrid players — and the Honey Badger is the best of the bunch.”Ike Taylor: “Mathieu’s versatility makes him the best safety in the game, and he’s close to cracking the lineup as a corner, as well — especially since he took more than 60 percent of snaps at slot corner.”Eric Davis: “Honey Badger can line up anywhere on the field, across from any player. ”Jamie Dukes: “Mathieu is a special player. And what I appreciate most about him is how he rebuilt himself as the gold standard — as a player and person. ”Mathieu was a strong contender for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year last season before a knee injury suffered in Week 15 against Philadelphia sidelined him for the rest of the campaign. The former LSU star had 90 total tackles — good for second-most on the team — with one sack and five interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown in a Week 3 win over San Francisco.Other safeties who were mentioned in the voting were Kansas City’s Eric Berry, Seattle’s Kam Chancellor, Miami’s Reshad Jones, Philadelphia’s Malcolm Jenkins, free agent Will Hill and New England’s Devin McCourty. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 0 Comments   Share   Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) intercepts a pass for a touchdown as San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) misses the catch during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)last_img read more

While Brooks opinion of Rosens fit in the Cardin

first_imgWhile Brooks’ opinion of Rosen’s fit in the Cardinals’ new offense might be up for debate, what’s more unanimously agreed upon is Rosen’s talent compared to the 2019 quarterback draft class.With that in mind, I believe a team in need of a QB1 would certainly opt for Rosen over one of the signal-callers available in the 2019 draft. You could make a reasonable argument that Rosen would be the best passer in the class or cherry pick the top five and slot him in where he fits. I would rank Rosen no lower than third among the passers in this class, with the Cardinals QB slotted ahead of Missouri’s Drew Lock and Duke’s Daniel Jones. Although each is viewed as a better athlete and playmaker, Rosen is a more refined passer with a game that easily fits into a traditional pro-style offense.Most of that is probably true. And regardless of Arizona’s opinion of Rosen or Murray, the potential for the Cardinals to select Murray outside of their walls could give them more insight to the rest of the drafting field. That’s never a bad thing. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Josh Rosen climbs the pocket, avoids pressure, and delivers a strike to Larry Fitzgerald for a— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) November 25, 2018“We always used to say they’re going to be seven to 10 times a game where the quarterback is going to have to move around. It’s probably more than that now,” said new Cardinals pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. “Those are things he did better than I expected.” As much as the Arizona Cardinals have downplayed any thought of trading quarterback Josh Rosen this offseason, the narrative tying them to prospect Kyler Murray will linger until they deny that selecting Murray is an option with the No. 1 pick.General manager Steve Keim can chuckle at the October soundbite of then-Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury wishing he could draft then-Oklahoma QB Murray first in the ensuing draft. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellingcenter_img At the least, the noise is entertaining. At the most, it could build a trade market for Arizona’s No. 1 pick.What the Cardinals have done is express support for Rosen, who after a rocky rookie season can find stability working under Kingsbury.Related LinksCardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury on QB talk: ‘It comes with the territory’Why an NFL mock draft has the Cardinals picking QB Kyler MurrayCardinals’ Kingsbury downplays Kyler Murray draft talk: ‘Josh is our guy’The Kliff Kingsbury-loves-Kyler Murray narrative growsPair of ESPN writers feel ‘perfect fit’ for Kyler Murray is with Cardinals“Our feelings toward Josh haven’t waned or changed or anything,” the first-year Cardinals head coach said last week. “I get we have the first pick and there’s going to be a million scenarios over the next three months that are going to come up. No — Josh is our guy. Kyler is a tremendous player. I said that, was being very complementary before playing an opponent. I understand the soundbite.”But despite all that, the occasional pro-Murray, anti-Rosen opinions will continue to emerge. The latest is draft analyst Bucky Brooks, who believes that Kingsbury’s October comments about Murray’s talent weren’t just about buttering up an opponent of Kingsbury’s Red Raiders.I would love to believe the Cardinals’ coach, but Murray’s skills are a perfect match for the team’s new system. At Texas Tech, Kingsbury unleashed a mobile playmaker in Patrick Mahomes with outstanding success. He could create a similar scenario in Arizona with Murray running the show. Although I’m not putting Murray in the same class as Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP, I do believe the Cardinals should make him the top pick and wave goodbye to Rosen.I know the thought of moving on from a first-round quarterback seems ridiculous after one season, but how often do you get to land a five-star talent who perfectly matches your system? Moreover, do you believe a franchise quarterback ideally suited for your offense is worth the price of giving up a top-10 pick and some cash (Rosen made about $11.3 million in signing bonus and base salary in 2018)?Brooks believes the Cardinals could trade Rosen, the No. 10 selection in last year’s draft, for a mid-round pick. 196 Comments   Share   It’s explaining that where we see Brooks views Rosen as more of a poor fit for Kingsbury’s Air Raid system than Kingsbury’s staff does.Although his rookie numbers were greatly affected by instability at the offensive coordinator position and a subpar offensive line, Rosen connected on 55.2 percent of his passes with an 11:14 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Those numbers aren’t bad for a classic pocket passer with limited mobility playing behind a shaky offensive line that failed to protect him.Rosen’s offensive line was shaky.He fits the profile of a classic pocket passer in many ways, but it’s Brooks discussing Rosen’s mobility that might be the red flag when considering if the Cardinals would agree with the analyst.Is Rosen really that bad of a fit for Kingsbury’s offense? He’s no rushing threat, but quarterbacks like Jared Goff, Nick Foles and even Mahomes made zone-read plays possible without being frequent runners.In fact, Arizona’s coaching staff under former coach Steve Wilks and its new one under Kingsbury loved Rosen’s mobility. Top Stories Cardinals QB Josh Rosen, left, and Oklahoma prospect Kyler Murray, right. (AP photos)last_img read more

Mayfields selection last year gave Oklahoma four

first_imgMayfield’s selection last year gave Oklahoma four, so if the Cardinals do indeed take Murray, the Sooners would move into a tie for first.7When the Cardinals make their pick on Thursday, it will be the fifth time they have done so in franchise history, and the first since moving to Arizona in 1988.This is not the most in NFL history, though, as the Colts and Rams both share that honor with seven apiece.The Colts’ most recent No. 1 pick came in 2012 when they chose Andrew Luck out of Stanford, and the Rams last selected there in 2016 when they traded up to take Jared Goff out of Cal.63The occasional bust does occur, but in the history of the draft, being selected with the first pick has been a pretty good indicator of success.Since the Pro Bowl was established for a brief four-year period in 1939 and then re-established for good in 1951, 53 of the 84 No. 1 picks that were eligible for the game were selected, which is good for a 63% clip.In recent times, being the first pick has almost been an express invitation to the Pro Bowl in the future, as 14 of the 19 No. 1 picks since 2000 have made at least one Pro Bowl in their career. This number could potentially grow as well. Mayfield flashed Pro Bowl potential during his rookie season despite not making it in. 1 Comments   Share   Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium after the Cleveland Browns selected Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield as their pick during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires From Jay Berwanger in 1936 to Baker Mayfield in 2018, here is the history behind the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, by the numbers:Related LinksCardinals still have teams guessing days out from NFL DraftCards on the Clock: 98.7 FM’s NFL Draft week special coverageWhat they said about new Cardinals QB Kyler Murray before NFL DraftArizona Sports NFL Mock Draft Tracker: Who’s next for the Cards at No. 1?35The Cardinals have been widely rumored to be interested in Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the top pick this year, which would continue a very notable trend in draft history. Quarterbacks have been taken with the first pick 35 times since the draft’s inception, which is the most at a single position by a good amount.A quarterback going No. 1 overall seems like a foregone conclusion nowadays, as 15 of the last 21 top picks have been signal callers. It hasn’t always been like this, however, as the first eight drafts all featured non-quarterbacks with the top pick.In fact, the first-ever draft in 1936 didn’t have a single quarterback taken in 81 picks. This is a far cry from last year, where four quarterbacks were taken in the top-10 alone.50The draft has seen a pretty diverse group of colleges featured at the top pick, as players from 50 different schools have been taken No. 1 overall.Notre Dame and USC are tied for the most No. 1 picks in history with five, but the Fighting Irish haven’t had one since 1972. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 9In certain cases, the teams picking No. 1 overall have gotten even more than they bargained for with their selection.Nine players drafted in the top spot have later gone on to win the MVP award or the AFL Player of the Year award, with the most recent of which being Cam Newton back in 2016.Other players to accomplish this feat include legends such as Peyton Manning, John Elway, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath.15The No. 1 pick has produced a total of 15 Hall of Famers in its existence, which is the most by any singular pick in the history of the draft.The first top pick to be inducted into the Hall of Fame was Bill Dudley, who was drafted in 1942 and later enshrined in 1966. The most recent example is former Rams offensive lineman Orlando Pace, who was inducted in 2016.This number will more than likely not hold for long, though, as Manning looks to be a lock for the Hall of Fame when eligible in a few years. On Thursday, the Arizona Cardinals will officially be on the clock with the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.This is a pretty rare scenario for the Cardinals, as this is their first time picking No. 1 overall since all the way back in 1958, when they were still based out of Chicago.The decision with the top pick will likely be one of the most important decisions that the Cardinals have made in a long time, so it might be worthwhile to look back at the underlying figures behind the top pick.last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter The South African dr

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >The South African dream has come true for 10 lucky agents who were whisked away on a trip of a lifetime thanks to South Africa Tourism and South African Airways after winning their spot on the famil at South Africa’s Road Show events last October.The 10 agents from varying agencies across Australia and New Zealand were treated to a 13-day trip visiting some of the most scenic and inspiring locations on offer in South Africa.The group arrived in trendy Johannesburg at The Maslow before setting off on a quest to spot the Big Five at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge. Cape Town put on a spectacular show with the group getting an aerial view of the Mother City via a helicopter ride, followed by a guided city tour including Green Market Square, Bo-Kaap and Long Street before finishing their day with a stay at the luxurious Table Bay Hotel.One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve where the group had an exhilarating experience coming face to face with a Great White Shark for the first time after taking part in a Shark Cage Dive operated by White Shark Projects.Lalie Ngozi, GM Australasia, South African Tourism, said it’s always great to have travel agents experiencing South Africa for themselves.“We were very proud to be able to host this talented group of industry professionals and showcase South Africa’s diversity so they can see first-hand why it is a world-class tourism product. It is first-hand experiences like these that allow people to truly appreciate the beauty and warmth of our country,” said Lalie Ngozi.“This trip is all part of our ongoing commitment to our valued partners and I was pleased to hear that for many of the agents this was their first South African experience. It was also pleasing to hear that the overall consensus was that South Africa has amazing value for money and incredible food and culture,” continued Ms Ngozi.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Uniworld has confirmed

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterUniworld has confirmed it has abandoned a dedicated 2019 French river cruise season on the Seine for U by Uniworld, with The B instead being repositioned to operate in Central Europe in 2020.U by Uniworld was initially conceived as a river cruise line for a millennial-focused audience. Operating two ships, The A and The B (formerly Uniworld’s River Ambassador and River Baroness), the program was later opened up to a “new generation of adult travellers”.Late last week, citing increasing demand for Central Europe where The A operates a series of sailings, Uniworld revealed that The B will cease operation on the Seine river and resume cruising in the 2020 season with brand-new itineraries in Central Europe.During 2019, The B will be relocated to Europe, where she and her crew will be prepared for new itineraries.The B Cocoon“Being the first means that we’re not only inventing an entirely new sector of the industry, but we’re quite literally in ‘unchartered waters’. As a brand, U will always stay true to its ethos as a sexy, fun, never-before-seen cruise experience, but we also want to remain open to consumer trends and feedback. That is how brands move from concepts to success stories,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of U.“As we look forward, the demand is, overwhelmingly, pointing towards Central Europe, where guests can experience a new city – and sometimes a different country – each day, which simply isn’t feasible on the Seine. And for a generation that may be new to the concept, that’s really the essence and beauty of river cruising. Our first year was met with unprecedented buzz, media accolades and consumer engagement and we’re looking forward to continuing the momentum as we welcome The B to Central Europe for her second season.”The strategy will see The B rested for the entire 2019 season, as U by Uniworld was unable to secure docking space in the “best cities” this year, a spokesperson for the company explained to LATTE.“In order to offer our U guests the best and most appealing itineraries, we need to wait until the right docking space is available to us, which isn’t until 2020,” the spokesperson said.Guests who have booked on The B for the 2019 season are being contacted and will be moved onto The A or be offered a full refund. Those guests who choose to cancel will receive a Future Cruise Credit of $325 per person to use on another U by Uniworld departure this year or next.Guests who change to one of the alternate programs will be given $100 per person shipboard credit, price protection on any 2019 U by Uniworld sailing on The A, and coverage for air-change fees of up to $400 per person for economy and $600 per person for business class (with proof of incurred costs).In 2020, The B will sail from Brussels to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Frankfurt, while The A will sail from Nuremberg to Vienna and Vienna to Belgrade. Additional details for the new 2020 itineraries will be announced in the coming weeks.Go back to the enewsletterlast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Adventure travel specia

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterAdventure travel specialist G Adventures have introduced a new Scottish land-based itinerary as an optional addition to three of its Norwegian expedition adventures for 2020. The new three-day itineraries include two days in Edinburgh and one in the Scottish Highlands, offering travellers a taste of Scotland in addition to their Norway Expedition.The new Scottish itinerary will include a guided walking tour of Edinburgh, taking in the sites of the Scottish Capital, including Edinburgh Castle and the National War Museum and a day trip to the Scottish Highlands. Travellers will explore the old town of Stirling, visit Wallace Monument and learn about the infamous battle of Bannockburn before visiting Deanston Distillery to taste real single malt scotch whiskey.The three new itineraries for 2020 include:Explore the Norwegian Fjords and Scottish Highlands: This 16-day adventure offers a taste of real Scotland before heading into the Norwegian Sea to explore the otherworldly fjords of Norway. Taking in UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Standing Stones of Stenness and the mystical Ring of Brodgar, this expedition travels as far north as Tromsø, known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”.Departures start 2 May 2020. Prices from AU$7,399 per person*.Cruise the Norwegian Fjords with Scottish Highlands: Setting sail from Tromsø aboard the G Expedition, this 16-day adventure journeys south along the icy cold waters of the Norwegian coastline and fjords. With experts on board, travellers will learn about wildlife and marine conservation along the way before enjoying a warm Scottish welcome and the opportunity to explore Edinburgh and the Highlands. Departures from 17 May 2020. Prices from AU$6,799 per person*.Norwegian Arctic and Scottish Highlands Encompassed: Scotland’s bustling capital city and stunning highlands kick off this 18-day adventure. Travellers will find their sea legs cruising along the Norwegian fjords to Tromsø before heading further north to the Arctic regions of Bjørnøya, Hornsund and Svalbard. Wildlife enthusiasts will revel in this Arctic region, which is home to walruses, reindeer, Arctic foxes, whales and the infamous polar bear.Departures from 26 May 2020. Prices from AU$9,399 per person*.*Prices based on shared cabins and are excluding flights.Go back to the enewsletterlast_img read more

Related British Airways and Iberia merger approved

first_img RelatedBritish Airways and Iberia merger approved by ECBritish Airways and Iberia merger approved by ECBA sees increased demand for premium flightsBA sees increased demand for premium flightsBA launches joint business with Iberia and AAA new trilateral relationship between British Airways (BA), Iberia and American Airlines (AA) The proposed merger between British Airways (BA) and Iberia, Spain’s flag carrier, would be welcome news for customers.This is according to ABTA – The Travel Association’s Frances Tuke, who said that the synergy of having the two airlines together can only be a “good thing” for passengers.”The whole point of the merger is to develop a more successful airline company, so with that in mind they will have to be competitive in order to do that,” she explained.The merger, which has yet to receive approval from the European Commission, would see BA become the dominant holder with a 55 percent stake in the company.Iberia would hold the remaining 45 percent, which would make the airline the world’s third largest international carrier.A previous stumbling block in discussions, namely the £2.6 billion pensions benefit thought to be owed to trustees by BA, has since been resolved.The merger is expected to receive regulatory backing and be concluded by the end of next year.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Maplast_img read more

John Boyega talks Last Jedi personal parallels

first_imgJohn Boyega talks ‘Last Jedi,’ personal parallels with Finn by Sandy Cohen, The Associated Press Posted Dec 7, 2017 7:24 am PDT Last Updated Dec 7, 2017 at 8:00 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LOS ANGELES, Calif. – John Boyega may have a lot in common with Finn, the character he plays in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” but a trip to a London toy store left the actor floored.Boyega said one of the most surprising experiences he had while making the film was seeing his own larger-than-life likeness at the Toys “R” Us store he frequented as a kid. The actor had gone to find a gift for his newborn nephew when he came face to face with a giant cardboard cutout of himself as Finn.“There were toys everywhere, and I was just like, ‘Wow,’” Boyega said in a recent interview. “I’m on the shelf. It’s strange.”While he has gotten more accustomed to his place in the Star Wars universe after making his debut as Finn in “The Force Awakens,” both he and his character remain awed by the scope of that world.A former Stormtrooper who escapes the First Order to join the Resistance, Finn is now emboldened to discover where he fits into the fight, Boyega said.“It creates a very brave Finn and he’s eager to do anything to find out and prove that this is my position,” said Boyega.The 25-year-old actor is poised to do the same in Hollywood: His work in Star Wars has led to other high-profile roles, including a part in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” and in next year’s “Pacific Rim Uprising.”“I feel like during the filming of ‘The Last Jedi,’ we were kind of living parallels to our characters in a sense,” Boyega said. “Because Finn is now well known in the Star Wars universe, and for me, I’m known within the industry and our planet and whatever. Now he has this reputation and it’s hard for him to keep that up while still figuring himself out because he’s been labeled as a hero.”Finn’s onscreen heroics in “The Last Jedi” include an epic battle with Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) that took months of training and preparation.Off-screen, Boyega was a hero to newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose Tico. The two met while she was auditioning for the role, and he has advocated for her ever since.“He’s so generous in terms of being an actor and really kind of teaching me the ropes because I was new to this,” Tran said. “I truly feel like I couldn’t have had a better partner in this whole experience.”As for Boyega, he’s had some time to get used to the idea of seeing himself as an action figure. But that was only the beginning of “The Last Jedi” branding.“I recently went to the grocery store and saw myself on water,” he said. “That’s the biggest it gets for me. Everybody needs water, you know what I mean?”___Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at .center_img This Dec. 3, 2017 photo shows John Boyega posing for a portrait during the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” press junket in Los Angeles Boyega stars as Finn in the latest installment of the “Star Wars” franchise, in theaters on Dec. 15. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) last_img read more

FILE In this Saturday March 26 2017 file photo

first_img FILE – In this Saturday, March 26, 2017 file photo, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins performs at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. A Smashing Pumpkins representative said Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, that the band has tried to include ex-bassist D’arcy Wretzky in its upcoming reunion, although she says frontman Corgan invited her to re-join the group but then rescinded the offer. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File) NEW YORK, N.Y. – A spokesperson for The Smashing Pumpkins said the band has tried to include ex-bassist D’arcy Wretzky in its upcoming reunion though she claims she has been excluded.The representative said Monday that band members Billy Corgan, James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin haven’t played a show with Wretzky in nearly two decades though they’ve reached out to the performer.“In reuniting The Smashing Pumpkins, the band’s dedication remains to its fans and its music. To that, James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlin, and William Corgan haven’t played a show with D’arcy Wretzky for over 18 years. But it’s not for a lack of trying,” read the statement to The Associated Press. “Despite reports, Ms. Wretzky has repeatedly been invited out to play with the group, participate in demo sessions, or at the very least, meet face-to-face, and in each and every instance she always deferred. We wish her all the best, and look forward to reconnecting with you all very soon.”Last month Wretzky told the music website BlastEcho she would not be involved in the reunion. She offered more details in a BlastEcho story posted Sunday, saying Corgan invited her to join the band again but later rescinded.On Saturday, The Smashing Pumpkins posted a countdown clock on its website to end Thursday. Corgan also shared photos of himself, Iha and Chamberlin working in a recording studio on social media.The Grammy-winning band released its debut album in 1991. Its third album, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” sold 10 million albums in the United States and reached diamond status. by Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press Posted Feb 12, 2018 5:42 pm PDT Last Updated Feb 12, 2018 at 9:00 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emailcenter_img Rep: Smashing Pumpkins tried to include bassist in reunionlast_img read more

BERLIN – A city in western Germany said Wednesday

first_img BERLIN – A city in western Germany said Wednesday it is opening an investigation into eight disputed works by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian that have been part of one of its museums’ collections for decades.A spokesman for the city of Krefeld, Christoph Elles, said the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum strongly rejects allegations by lawyers for Mondrian’s heirs that the works’ presence at the museum had been deliberately concealed. He said the museum believes the artist himself donated eight works in 1929, though there is no clear proof for that.A lawyer for the heirs, Gunnar Schnabel, questioned whether the artist ever donated the works to the museum and said it illegally sold four of them.“The fact that Krefeld had eight works from (Mondrian’s) most important creative period … was concealed until the summer of 2016,” Schnabel wrote in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Wednesday.The New York Times first reported about the dispute on Sunday.Mondrian, one of the most important artists of the 20th century, is famous for his abstract compositions of black lines and rectangles filled with bright colours.The museum said eight of his works surfaced there in 1950. While it is not clear how they came there, the museum said it’s possible that the artist himself gave them the works in 1929, for an exhibition that never took place. Mondrian never reclaimed the works and after 1950, the museum swapped four of the artworks for works by other artists, it said. The remaining four Mondrian works are still in the Krefeld museum’s possession.Schnabel, the lawyer for the Mondrian heirs, said it would have been “hopeless” for Mondrian to try to reclaim his works because they were deemed “degenerate art” after the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933. Mondrian himself left Europe for the United States and died in exile in New York in 1944.The museum said it would task an expert with shedding light on the disputed history of the eight works. German museum to probe disputed provenance of Mondrian works by Kirsten Grieshaber, The Associated Press Posted Mar 7, 2018 6:27 am PDT Last Updated Mar 7, 2018 at 7:00 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emaillast_img read more

by The Associated Press Posted Apr 8 2018 83

first_img by The Associated Press Posted Apr 8, 2018 8:33 am PDT Last Updated Apr 8, 2018 at 9:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Chance the Rapper to address Dillard University’s 2018 grads NEW ORLEANS – Grammy Award-winning artist Chance the Rapper will deliver this year’s commencement address to graduates of Dillard University in New Orleans.The school’s 82nd Commencement ceremonies for more than 200 graduates will be held Saturday, May 12, at 8 a.m. on the campus’ historic Avenue of the Oaks.Dillard President Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough says Chance the Rapper, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, is part of a new wave of artists who can openly talk about faith while being in hip hop, balancing the secular and the sacred. In 2017, the 24-year-old’s independent project “Coloring Book” became the first streaming-only album to be nominated and win a Grammy.“He’s not signed but a multiple Grammy winner,” Kimbrough said, noting that Bennett often gives away his music, movie tickets, Jordan-brand tennis shoes and awards to school teachers. “He’s the artist that your grandmother would love.”Kimbrough, who’s known as the Hip-Hop Prez, teaches a class on ethics and hip hop and has sought Bennett to appear on campus for two years.Bennett has been intentional with using his ever growing popularity to give back to his hometown of Chicago, especially the youth who admire him. In 2014, Chance used #savechicago to stop gun-violence for 42 hours and since then, he’s forged ahead. And for three years, whether through hosting monthly high school OpenMike series at Chicago’s Public Libraries, raising over $100,000 to bring sleeping-bags and coats to Chicago’s homeless, or raising over $4 million for his local Chicago Public School System, Bennet makes helping others a priority.Bennett is also the founder and president of SocialWorks, a non-profit created to empower youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement, and it’s his aim to reshape the possibilities through freedom and access for the youth of Chicago and the globe.“The activism is a bonus with Chance,” Kimbrough said. “I thought he made for a great commencement speaker because of his spirit of being entrepreneurial and authentic. But his civic engagement, including encouraging people to vote and willingness to speak out on issues, like his recent opposition to a Heineken ad, are just as paramount.”last_img read more

The Latest George Lucas museum buys Rockwell mas

first_imgThe Latest: George Lucas’ museum buys Rockwell masterpiece by The Associated Press Posted Apr 11, 2018 1:26 pm PDT Last Updated Apr 11, 2018 at 2:01 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Latest on the sale of a Massachusetts’ museum’s artwork, including pieces by Norman Rockwell (all times local):4:15 p.m.The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles says it has bought Norman Rockwell’s “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” from a cash-strapped Massachusetts museum.The museum founded by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas said Wednesday that it has acquired the piece from the Berkshire Museum.“Shuffleton’s Barbershop” is among as many as 40 pieces being sold by the Berkshire Museum, which says it will be forced to close without an influx of cash.The Lucas Museum says it will loan “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where it will be on display into 2020.The Berkshire Museum announced Tuesday that 13 other pieces will be auctioned next month.The Lucas Museum broke ground last month on its billion-dollar museum dedicated to the art of visual storytelling. The museum is expected to open to the public in 2022.___3 p.m.The Massachusetts museum that won a legal battle over its plan to sell dozens of works of art has announced that 13 of those pieces are being auctioned next month.The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield last week received permission from the state’s highest court to sell 39 pieces, including one by Norman Rockwell.That Rockwell piece, “Blacksmith’s Boy-Heel and Toe,” is among those being auctioned by Sotheby’s in May.In a separate transaction, the Rockwell work, “Shuffleton’s Barbershop,” will be sold to another non-profit museum and put on display locally for up to two years.The struggling museum announced the sale last year to raise $55 million so it could stay open and refocus its mission. The museum says it hopes to meet its financial goal without selling all the pieces.last_img read more

NEW ORLEANS – Actor Brad Pitts foundation has sue

first_img NEW ORLEANS – Actor Brad Pitt’s foundation has sued a New Orleans architect, saying defective design work led to leaks and other flaws in homes built for residents of an area that was among the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.The lawsuit filed Tuesday says damages caused by architect John C. Williams could cost Pitt’s Make It Right foundation more than $15 million, news outlets reported. The foundation paid Williams’ firm millions of dollars to produce architectural drawings for more than 100 homes under the program, which was supposed to provide Lower 9th Ward residents with sustainable and affordable new homes.Enlisting award-winning architects, Pitt founded the venture two years after Katrina devastated the city and essentially washed away what would become the Make It Right enclave. Construction began in 2008, working toward replacing the lost housing with 150 avant-garde dwellings that were storm-safe, solar-powered, highly insulated and “green.” But water intrusion began cropping up in the first homes within a year of their completion and construction was discontinued in 2016.The foundation says Williams was responsible for several failures to adequately waterproof the structures, including insufficiently sloped roofs. The lawsuit says Williams’ attempts at repairs were largely a failure and that he kept Make It Right management in the dark about the defects.A derelict 7-year-old home that was so rotted it was demolished at the insistence of neighbours in June. Williams had been granted a permit to replace the flat roof on the leaking home in 2015. He had acknowledged in a June interview that one or two of the Make It Right buildings “may be falling apart.” Williams didn’t immediately return a request for comment, news outlets reported Wednesday.The lawsuit comes after New Orleans attorney Ron Austin brought a class-action lawsuit against Make It Right that accused the charity of building substandard homes that are deteriorating at a rapid pace. On Tuesday, Make It Right blamed the rapid deterioration on the architect they hired.The lawsuit against Williams does not hold him liable for the damages to 39 homes caused by the use of an experimental weatherproof wood product called TimberSIL that was rapidly ruined by the south Louisiana environment. In 2014, Make It Right sued the manufacturer of TimberSIL for $500,000, though it’s unclear if the company was made to pay.In a prepared statement, Make It Right pledged to “continue to work proactively with homeowners in the Lower 9th Ward.” The non-profit organization declined further comment. Brad Pitt’s foundation sues architect over New Orleans homes FILE – This Oct. 9, 2008 file photo shows a home from actor Brad Pitt’s Make It Right rebuilding project in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans. Pitt’s foundation has sued a New Orleans architect for defective design work that led to leaks and other flaws in homes built for residents of an area that was among the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File) center_img by The Associated Press Posted Sep 20, 2018 12:37 pm PDT Last Updated Sep 20, 2018 at 2:20 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emaillast_img read more

NEW YORK NY – CNNs management has taken an agg

first_img NEW YORK, N.Y. – CNN’s management has taken an aggressive stance against attacks from President Donald Trump after the network was sent explosive devices from a man who allegedly targeted Trump’s perceived enemies.Two of the network’s former presidents, Jonathan Klein and Rick Kaplan, both applauded the approach in interviews with The Associated Press on Tuesday.The White House, however, hasn’t backed down on its criticisms of CNN. And one of its biggest media supporters, Sean Hannity, reported on what he called “CNN’s credibility crisis” on his Fox News Channel show on Monday night.It is unusual for a news organization to directly take on a president. by The Associated Press Posted Oct 30, 2018 2:02 pm PDT Last Updated Oct 30, 2018 at 3:01 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email President Donald Trump, right, salutes as he departs Air Force One as he arrives with first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 in Coraopolis, Pa. The Trumps came to Pittsburgh honor the victims of the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Saturday. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) center_img CNN goes after Trump in wake of explosive deviceslast_img read more

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShar

first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A Virginia city’s penalty of jail time for teenage trick-or-treaters has scared up some ridicule and a possible policy change.The Chesapeake City Council is set to vote Tuesday on an amendment to a 50-year-old law that threatens teens with up to six months in jail if they go door-to-door in pursuit of candy on Oct. 31.The Virginian-Pilot reports no teens have ever actually been arrested under the ordinance. But it made news last Halloween, ending up parodied on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”Mayor Rick West says the town’s sudden infamy left him sleepless.The amendment would eliminate the jail penalty. Trick-or-treating past the age of 12 instead would carry fines of up to $250, as would violating the 8 p.m. curfew. The proposed policy mirrors that of neighbouring cities.___Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.comThe Associated Press by The Associated Press Posted Feb 12, 2019 8:35 am PDTcenter_img Haunted by infamy, town rethinks teen trick-or-treat penaltylast_img read more

Champagne Campaign is the latest effort from Maest

first_img Champagne Campaign is the latest effort from Maestro Fresh Wes Summary Maestro Fresh Wes (Source: handout) VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A legendary Canadian hip-hop artist is celebrating three decades in the game. Maestro Fresh Wes is out with Champagne Campaign, his ninth and latest full-length effort.The year was 1989 and the Toronto native helped put our country on the rap map with the hit single “Let Your Backbone Slide” from his breakthrough debut album, Symphony in Effect. Thirty years later, he’s back with new music and plenty to celebrate.“We’re celebrating the fact that a lot of people didn’t think hip hop would make it so far as a genre of music and the fact I’m one of the artists still doing it on this level,” he explains. “That’s why I dropped a brand new album, 12 new songs. I’m happy to still be doing it and I appreciate being appreciated.”Happening now: @jackermann interviews @MaestroFreshWes on his new album and a big anniversary— Simon Druker (@Simon_Druker) March 8, 2019Back in the day, Maestro got his start with the likes of Dream Warriors and Michie Mee. Today, he says Canadian hip hop isn’t in good hands — it’s in great hands, thanks to Drake and others pushing the movement forward.“Because we’re the top of the global food chain when it comes to the world acknowledging us for what we’re doing,” he explains. “I say ‘us’ because, you know, being from Toronto and still being a part of this, and to see what these young brothers are doing is something that is inspiring to me.”Now 50, he shows no signs of slowing down. “I just finished doing a cross-Canada tour with my good homie Classified. We did 28 cities and one of the best shows we did was in Vancouver at the Commodore [Ballroom].”He’s back in Vancouver attending the BC Kidney Gala Friday night. “I’m glad to be a part of it. It’s going to be a beautiful night, raising some money for a great cause.”How cool is this? Got to meet the legendary ⁦@MaestroFreshWes⁩ this morning. He’s got a new album out today and is town for the BC Kidney Gala tonight. Listen for my clips with him this afternoon on @NEWS1130. Thanks to ⁦@ThatEricAlper⁩ for setting this up!— John Ackermann (@jackermann) March 8, 2019Next up for Maestro is presenting at the Juno Awards on March 17th. by John Ackermann Posted Mar 8, 2019 3:37 pm PDT Last Updated Mar 8, 2019 at 3:39 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Canadian hip hop legend celebrates 30 years in music with new album Canada|Champagne Campaign|entertainment|hip hop|maestro fresh weslast_img read more

Cabinet approves implementation of child protection strategy

first_imgThe cabinet on Wednesday gave the nod to a bill for implementing the national strategy for the protection of children from sexual exploitation and abuse.The bill provides for the establishment of a council and a committee tasked with carrying out the strategy.In July 2014 the House passed the passed the Prevention and Combating of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography Law, the provisions of which in essence harmonised Cypriot law with European Directive 2011/93 / EU and the Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as the ‘Lanzarote Convention’.The Lanzarote Convention was formally ratified by the House on June 1, 2015.Now, the new legislation approved by the cabinet seeks to coordinate action among the relevant government services in handling cases of sexually abused minors.The bill also allocates funds to the national strategy’s other pillar – prevention – through public awareness programmes in schools and society at large.According to an often-cited 2014 study by the University of Cyprus, one in four children in Cyprus have suffered some form of sexual abuse, or are expected to fall victim to such abuse by age 18.You May LikeHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsThe Early Signs Of Heart Failure. Search Acute Heart Failure TreatmentHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsUndoSenior Living | Search AdsThe Cost of Senior Living in Rowland Heights Might Surprise YouSenior Living | Search AdsUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Top football captain hanging up her boots

first_imgTHEO PANAYIDES meets the retiring captain of the island’s football team that has been in the Champions League the most times, who has had to fight to follow her sport As you read this in today’s Sunday Mail, Margarita Sophocleous – the 30-year-old football star who could plausibly be described as the most successful player in the local women’s game – may be playing the final match of her career. The season’s almost over; her team, Apollon Ladies, have won the title, as they’ve done for the past nine years. There are two games left, she explains as we sit in the St. Raphael Hotel in Limassol: “This Sunday [i.e. last Sunday] we have a Cup semi-final, and next Sunday [i.e. today] we have the final against either Ayia Napa or Barcelona”. After this she’ll be retiring, her career cut short by a chronic knee injury.So why, if it’s so cut and dried, do I say that Margarita ‘may’ be playing her last game today? Some will assume it’s because, at the time of our interview, she doesn’t know for sure that Apollon Ladies will be in the Cup final – but in fact she seems to take it for granted that her team will prevail over Chrysomilia Agiou Amvrosiou in the semi, as indeed they did a few days later (they won that game 10-0). That opens up a whole other can of worms, of course, raising questions about the strength in depth of the local women’s league – but we’ll get to that later.No, the real reason for that ‘may’ in the sentence is because Margarita’s retirement isn’t absolutely, 100 per cent set in stone. It’s almost set in stone; she’s had problems with her knees for years, and the pain has got much worse in the past few months. Looking at the match report for that 10-0 semi-final victory I note that she only played 45 minutes, getting substituted at half-time (granted, Apollon were already five goals to the good by that point). When the final whistle blows today, she’ll almost certainly hang up her boots – yet the club have been asking whether the retirement is official, so they can throw her a party, and she finds herself unable to give a definitive answer. Margarita has unfinished business, especially in the Champions League.Apollon, as Cyprus champions, have been playing Europe’s finest in the Champions League for the past nine years. As in the men’s game, there’s a group stage followed by knockout rounds – and the team have almost always made it through the group stage, only to stall in the Round of 32. Again and again, she’s faced the frustration of failing to qualify for the last 16, feeling it even more acutely in her position as team captain. (Margarita is the captain of the island’s most successful side – plus a captain of the national team – therefore arguably our most successful player.) Last year was especially galling, since Apollon led Slavia Praha 2-0 in the second leg. The first leg, in Limassol, had finished 1-1, so even a 2-2 result would’ve seen them through on away goals – but Slavia turned the game around, winning 3-2. “After the game, I remember I didn’t want to leave the pitch,” she tells me. “I was way over on the other side of the pitch. Everyone left, I just stayed there”. Teammates came over to try and console her; she was inconsolable. Even then, she knew it was likely to be her last Champions League.This year’s tournament starts in June. In the next few weeks, says Margarita, she plans to go abroad and see a specialist about her knee. If a way can somehow be found to keep her going for another Champions League campaign – not regular first-team football, just the big European games – then she’ll put retirement on hold for a few months and give it one last shot, like a battered-but-unbowed athlete in a Hollywood movie. If she can lead Apollon Ladies to the last 16 (and beyond?), literally with the last few kicks of her career, it’d be a fairytale ending to an already fascinating story.It was hard enough getting into football in the first place. “My parents weren’t in favour of my playing football,” she recalls. “Never mind that I’d started playing at seven years old, growing up in a village with nothing but boys!”. That’s the fascinating part, that she spent her childhood (till the age of 15) in Kato Milos, a tiny village just below Agros on the Limassol side. At the time, there were only 50-60 inhabitants; there was no internet – computers only arrived, sparking much excitement, about a year before she left – and not many kids. “It’s a small village. There weren’t 20 young people, there were literally only 10 of us. Out of the 10, two were my [older] brothers and five were my cousins, plus two other village kids”. Nine of the 10, all except Margarita, happened to be boys; “I grew up” – she hesitates, as if trying to avoid a bad word – “as a tomboy. There’s nothing wrong with that”. Last week they were all in the village for Easter, and her cousin pointed out the church square to his girlfriend: “Look,” he crowed, “that’s where I taught Margarita to play football!”. It’s true, she admits with a shrug. That’s how it happened.It occurs to me later that Margarita has always played in defence (she’s a centre-back, colloquially known as a “stopper”), which must also have come from her childhood. I can see it now, 10 kids split into two teams of five – and of course the boys want to show off and score goals, so Margarita (as the youngest sibling, and the only girl) is told to stay in defence. Easy to imagine her in the open fields around Kato Milos, stubbornly honing her skills day after day like one of those Brazilian street-kids – only to have the last laugh years later, when the boys are all in boring nine-to-five jobs and she alone is a professional footballer.Professional? Well, yes and no. There are “different categories,” she explains diplomatically. About half the team are currently foreign players, from countries like the US and Sweden, and of course those players are fully professional; at the other end of the scale, Cypriot women in the smaller local teams play mostly for “their own satisfaction, that they’re doing something they love”. Margarita is somewhere in between: for the past three years she’s been working in the accounts department of a food-importing company – but she also gets a salary from football, albeit not enough to live on, and her commitment is akin to a professional’s: training every weekday for an hour and a half, starting at 6.30pm (i.e. after the day-job), same again on Saturday morning, then a match on Sunday.Still, as already mentioned, not all local women’s clubs are so organised. Apollon are head-and-shoulders above most of the competition, hence their dominance; looking down their list of recent victories, scores of 10-0 or 11-0 – while unusual – are not unheard-of, much to Margarita’s embarrassment (“We want the game to be competitive,” she insists; “Not just ‘let’s go, win the match and go home’”). Women’s football lags well behind the men’s; if you asked someone which Cypriot team has appeared the most times in the Champions League, they’d say Apoel – and, if you gave the right answer as Apollon Ladies, they’d probably call it a trick question. Even a local derby, like the game between Apollon and Barcelona FA (nothing to do with the ‘other’ Barcelona), attracts about 400 spectators, “which for us is great”; women’s football in the US or France fills entire stadiums.The problem is simple and deep-rooted: many parents – even now – don’t want their daughters to be football players. Margarita’s own family, when she told them of her plans a decade ago (she was nearly 20 when she joined a team, initially Salamina; “I started late”), found it “something – strange, shall we say? Something masculine. Football was masculine. It took years for them to realise that yes, girls play football too, it doesn’t mean that a girl who plays football isn’t a woman”. What we’re skirting around here – partly, at least – is the issue of same-sex attraction. After all, what finally convinced her folks to let her play (not that she needed permission, being already an adult, but she wanted to have their support) may have been that one of Margarita’s female cousins was already at Salamina, “so we’d be hanging out together. Because they were afraid that, by getting into football I’d – you know, all the stuff you hear. That I might – change direction. That kind of thing.”Admittedly she was something of a special case, a village girl with over-protective parents who kept a tight rein on their only daughter. Her dad wouldn’t even let her go to her junior-high graduation party, even though the whole school was going. Even in Limassol – where the family moved in her teens – “I’d tell them ‘I’m going to a club’ and it was ‘Be back at such-and-such a time’, even though I was already 20 or 21!”. Growing up, she had no idea that women’s football teams even existed. “In the village, you grow up differently. You think life is a fairytale,” she muses. “You limit yourself. If I was in the village, I might not want an iPhone,” she notes, indicating the phone on the table between us, “I’d just want a Nokia. I might not want Adidas, I’d just want a shoe to wear. You’re more innocent in the village.” Limassol was only half an hour away, yet her early years in the city came as a shock. “I was very closed-off as a person,” she recalls. “I’d come from a village, I didn’t know anyone. I was very closed-off.”Some of that remains, even now: a composed, self-sufficient quality, a dogged quality that goes best with introverts. She is, after all, a defender, her job being to fend off and close down opponents. Sports have always been her passion (not just football, but athletics and volleyball), and she plays single-mindedly: “The opponent might be out in front, one-on-one with the keeper – but I won’t sit and watch her. I’ll keep running, because I believe I can stop her”. As a person, too, she seems sturdy, as if long since resigned to the fact that she can’t rely on others for validation. There’s an inner core to her, something going on behind the sharp, inquisitive face with its clear eyes and toothy smile. It’s no surprise to learn that she’s devout, or indeed that she does her praying in a way that values privacy and inner communion, heading to a tiny monastery outside Limassol – she dislikes big churches with lots of people – where you can “close your eyes and say what you want to say”.Yet she’s not so closed-off anymore. Football has changed her, being a captain has changed her, life in the city may have changed her, and the years have certainly changed her. She’s candid, accessible, unafraid of the press; we chat together like old friends. “I wasn’t a sociable person,” she recalls, looking back. “Growing older, though, you realise that you meet people, different kinds of people – and it’s nice to meet people, and to give them a chance to meet you”.Apollon Ladies go out together a lot (they also get recognised often, at least in Limassol), “teasing each other, having a laugh” – and Margarita is also discovering a passion for travel, doubtless to compensate for having grown up in a small village. She went to the US in January, and loved every minute: “You see things and just go ‘Wow’… Or, for instance, you see two guys holding hands, walking down the street,” she adds, thinking perhaps of her own early hassles with fearful parents, “and you think ‘Gosh, we [in Cyprus] really live in a bubble sometimes’. And you think, why should I care if these two are together? What a great thing, for everyone to feel free… Freedom is a great thing,” she says, as if casting off three decades of cosy-but-oppressive village life. “A very great thing.”A chapter is ending for Margarita Sophocleous, a new chapter opening. Whether she retires today or somehow keeps going for another few months – even if she caps her career with a famous Champions League triumph – her football years are drawing to a close, and her priorities may be changing too. Turning 30 didn’t depress her (she’s not the type) but it’s made her more determined to enjoy life, possibly in line with her new love of ‘freedom’. “You just realise you’re never coming back,” she muses. “You’re never going to live these things again, so enjoy them now”.At least she won’t have to work at the food-importing firm anymore. Apollon, much to her delight, have offered her a job on the administrative side – and maybe, why not, a sideways move into coaching someday. After all, the local men’s game was moribund for years before taking off; the same thing could happen in the women’s game – but first you need football academies to train young players, which means you need girls coming into the sport. Someone just needs to “explain to parents” that the dangers are overstated, and indeed that football can change a girl’s life for the better. ‘Could that someone be you?’ I ask – and she’s silent, the bright eyes shining.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more