Brad Keselowski Earns Penske Team Its 1st Sprint Cup

Brad Keselowski, sent out a Twitter messages from his car during the Daytona 500 this year. That’s how committed — or addicted — he is to social media. But he left the phone behind in Sunday’s final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.Too much was on the line — the Sprint Cup championship that would bring the famed Penske team its first title in 40 years of NASCAR success. But when Jeff Gordon won the event and Keselowski crossed the finish line, it meant Keselowski had beaten Jimmie Johnson to ascend to the top of racing.And before he exited his championship car, he retrieved his phone so he could tweet.That’s how it is for Keselowski, who is as normal a guy as you will find. He just so happens to be an amazing racer.Keselowski brought Roger Penske his first Sprint Cup championship 40 years after his first stock car race, beating five-time champion Johnson of mighty Hendrick Motorsports while delivering the crown that fills a glaring hole on Penske’s otherwise sterling racing resume.Penske is considered the gold standard of open-wheel racing – he has 15 Indianapolis 500 wins – and his empire makes him one of the most successful businessmen in America. But until Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his NASCAR program was never more than average.”Personally, I feel amazing that I’ve been able to achieve this in racing,” Penske said. ”I think it took guts for me to stay in the sport. We could have thought, ‘Well, we won the Indy 500 15 times and we’re a big deal.’ But I’ll tell you one thing … I think I just woke up here tonight, and it’s a big thrill.”As always, Penske credited the entire program.But the program really turned behind Keselowski, a blue collar, Michigan native, who chugged sponsor Miller Lite’s product, donned goggles to douse the Blue Deuce crew with champagne, and imagined how his life will change as NASCAR’s champion. At 28, he’s the eighth youngest champion in NASCAR history and proud he doesn’t have a date for the Nov. 30 champions banquet in Las Vegas.”I’ve always wanted to date a celebrity,” Keselowski said. ”I’m just throwing that out there. That would be really cool, don’t you think?”Penske could only shake his head.”Maybe I am conservative, but I like to have a little fun, too,” Penske said. ”And I think when you’ve won the NASCAR championship, the driver, you can kind of give him a little wider path, and he’s certainly taken it side to side. I think it’s all good.” read more

The Warriors Are Making The Cavs Beat Themselves

The Cavs aren’t alone: Golden State’s playoff opponents have shot a combined 34 percent on open and wide-open looks from 3. Attempting to keep pace with the Warriors up and down the court seems to take so much out of teams that making the easy ones isn’t so easy.That shouldn’t be a comforting thought for the Cavs, because slowing the pace isn’t exactly a great alternative. Golden State has the best half-court defense in the league; it gave up just 88.3 points per 100 plays in the regular season, according to Synergy Sports Technology, and has given up 88.1 in the postseason, both No. 1 in the league. There are tactics Cleveland could explore, such as forcing Curry to defend pick-and-rolls on every half-court possession, a technique the Cavs got away from in Game 2, but the Warriors are better prepared for that than they have been in the past.It’s possible that a shift back to Cleveland will help the Cavs recover some of their form, but the team actually shot slightly better on the road than at home on its open looks this season, so it’s not like the Cavs turn on the aimbot once they get back to Quicken Loans Arena.Simple as it sounds, the Cavs probably just have to hope their shooters find a second wind, tired legs or not. Coming into the series, Love had been 35-for-69 (51 percent) on open or wide-open 3s in the playoffs; Smith had been 16-for-36 (44 percent). In the Finals, Love is down to 2-for-9 and Smith is 1-for-2. Even Kyle Korver is shooting just 1-for-5 on these looks, though his playoffs have been more uneven than Smith or Love’s. Eleven Cavaliers are shooting 35 percent or better from 3-point range in the playoffs, but James, Love and Kyrie Irving are the only Cavs who’ve made more than one open or wide-open 3 in the Finals.Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said Tuesday that Smith will get the start over Shumpert in Game 3, but it’s unlikely there will be drastic lineup changes. The Cavaliers need to play better, not different. Thompson must find a way to insinuate himself into a game he’s been schemed out of, LeBron must find a way to ration his energy so he has something in reserve late in the game, and the Cavs as a whole must do something about all these missed shots. They have the shooters, and they have the open looks. They just need make them. Two games into the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers face a set of seemingly unsolvable problems. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are scoring at will, key role players like J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson have been erased from the series, and the pace of play has been so frenzied that even LeBron James seems to be tiring. Other teams have had similar issues with the Warriors in these playoffs, and none came up with a remedy. But there’s one thing Cleveland can do that may be a start: Hit the open shots.The Cavs are missing the gimmies. They’re generating 14 “open” 3-point shots1Meaning the nearest defender is between 4 and 6 feet away. per game and hitting just 32 percent of them. When they get “wide open” 3s,2Nearest defender more than 6 feet away. they’re even worse, shooting 22 percent on nine attempts per game. Both percentages have fallen off steeply from the Cavs’ playoff numbers on these shots before this series (42 percent and 49 percent, respectively, on a similar number of attempts per game) and from their less spectacular but still very good regular-season figures (37 percent and 42 percent). In a series in which every missed Cavaliers shot seems to bring the end of the season one possession nearer, and in which long rebounds from missed jump shots summon the deadly Golden State fast break into existence, these are shots the Cavs really can’t afford to miss.But it’s not as though these percentages are being pulled out of a random-number generator. The shots may be designated as “open,” but in context against the Warriors, they take on a far different meaning. Other teams aren’t as capable of relentlessly attacking Kevin Love on pick-and-rolls, robbing him of the energy he brings at the beginnings of quarters. Other teams can’t field a scorer like Durant to overwhelm Smith and Iman Shumpert and force LeBron to anchor the defense in addition to the the offense. And other teams can’t chase the Cavs over off-ball flare screens so easily, forcing extra passes instead of in-rhythm shots. Simply put, other teams can’t run the Cavs so ragged, and ragged legs miss jumpers.VIDEO: How the Cavs can push back in Game 3 read more

Ronald Acuna Is Quietly Getting Better And Thats Scary

When the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Atlanta Braves for a three-game series starting tonight, all eyes will be on a precocious young star who’s taken his game to the next level early this season. We are, of course, talking about L.A.’s Cody Bellinger … right? Certainly Bellinger has been great so far, and he was just named the National League’s player of the month for April. But “precocious young star” could also fit Bellinger’s counterpart on the Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuña’s ongoing development as a superstar hasn’t gotten as much attention as Bellinger’s, particularly during his recent slump and injury absence over the weekend, but Atlanta’s 21-year-old left fielder is showing important signs of improvement, too, despite surface-level numbers that can’t match those of his Dodger rival.Acuña’s 2018 rookie season already put him in the history books. After being held down in Triple-A until April 25, he posted the 10th-best adjusted on-base plus slugging (OPS+) of any player age 20 or younger in a season since 1901,1Minimum 450 plate appearances. edging out fellow NL East outfielder Juan Soto in the process, and he had the 14th-most wins above replacement2Averaging together the WAR versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. per game3Minimum 100 games. of any 20-or-under hitter over the same span, besting Bryce Harper, Ken Griffey Jr. and Willie Mays. 20Vada Pinson195920129Mel Ott192819.032 Min. 450 plate appearances for OPS+ leaders and 100 games for WAR/G leadersSources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs 18Tony Conigliaro196520133Bryce Harper201320.033 1Mike Trout201220168Mike Trout201220.074 12Frank Robinson195620143Manny Machado201320.037 3Mel Ott192920165Mel Ott192920.051 15Ken Griffey Jr.199020136Bryce Harper201219.034 10Ronald Acuña Jr.201820145Jason Heyward201020.039 6Alex Rodriguez199620161Mickey Mantle195220.046 9Jimmie Foxx192820148Jimmie Foxx192820.040 5Mickey Mantle195220162Ted Williams193920.046 7Ted Williams193920160Ty Cobb190720.046 Adj. on-base plus sluggingWins above replacement per game 4Al Kaline195520162Al Kaline195520.051 11Juan Soto201819143Vada Pinson195920.038 14Mel Ott192819139Ronald Acuña Jr.201820.035 Ronald Acuña Jr.’s rookie year was historicFor MLB hitters age 20 or younger in a season since 1901, greatest adjusted on-base plus slugging and wins above replacement per game At a glance, Acuña’s early 2019 numbers actually represent a slight downgrade from that stellar rookie campaign. His OPS+ has dipped from 145 to 134, thanks to a big decline in slugging percentage (.552 to .487). Relatedly, Acuña is hitting home runs less frequently, and his isolated power is down nearly 70 points. It looks sure like a mild sophomore slump — albeit one we should all be so lucky to have.Under the surface, however, Acuña has made some impressive strides this year in two important areas: plate discipline and defense.Acuña’s 2018 walk rate of 9.2 percent was already better than league average — particularly impressive considering the whole “20-year-old rookie” factor — but his 2019 rate is up to 12.7 percent, which ranks 35th in baseball. He’s seeing more pitches (4.61 per plate appearance, second-most in baseball) and consistently getting into good hitter’s counts more often than he did a year ago. At the same time, Acuña has been whiffing a lot less so far in 2019. He struck out in 25.3 percent of his plate appearances last season, which ranked him around the bottom quarter of MLB hitters, but this year that rate is down to 21.8 percent, comfortably in the top half of the league.Those changes give Acuña an overall strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.72, which is the second-lowest in baseball for a hitter his age. Since a player’s batting eye is a core leading indicator for his underlying hitting skills, Acuña’s improved strike-zone judgment is a great sign of his ongoing development at the plate.The other area in which Acuña has improved is defense. We combined the Ultimate Zone Rating figures found at FanGraphs and the Defensive Runs Saved numbers at Baseball-Reference.com and found that Acuña was no better than an average outfielder last season. (And he might have been worse than that — another prominent metric, Michael Humphreys’ Defensive Regression Analysis, considered him to be 3 runs below average.) This season, Acuña’s numbers are up no matter which source you consult; he’s on pace to have improved by about 10 runs — or 1 entire win — if he ends up playing the same number of innings as in 2018.4Which probably undersells his potential improvement, because Acuña was limited to 111 games last year between injuries and Atlanta’s service-time chicanery.The advanced fielding stats may just be catching up with what the eye test already knew about Acuña’s defensive potential. FanGraphs’ annual poll of fan fielding assessments had already judged Acuña to be one of the most talented left fielders in the game last season, thanks to his tremendous first step and speed to the ball off the bat. But now that he’s putting those skills to use in the metrics, Acuña’s potential value looks even greater: Per 162 team games, he’s tracking for 7.0 WAR this season, which basically matches what Ken Griffey Jr. and Albert Pujols had at the same age.Acuña’s dip in power this year is a bit puzzling, particularly since his Statcast hitting metrics — including exit velocity, hard-hit ball rate and “barrels” (balls hit with the ideal velocity and launch angle) — are also down across the board. Some of that might come down to the injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game: “It’s been on and off,” Acuña told reporters through an interpreter after picking up four hits but exiting Saturday’s game early. “I’ve felt it for a while, so it wasn’t today. Today, it just kind of grabbed at me after I had a quick swing like that and got out of the box pretty quickly. That’s when I felt it. But I felt good coming into today, as always.”But assuming his back isn’t an ongoing issue, Acuña should get plenty more pitches to crush as the season goes on, given his improved willingness to wait out favorable counts. Acuña may not be launching balls out of the park left and right like Bellinger at the moment — he hasn’t homered since April 16, in fact — but the foundation of his game still has superstardom stamped into it as much as ever. 2Ty Cobb190720167Alex Rodriguez199620.064 19Jason Heyward201020131Willie Mays195120.032 17Bryce Harper201320133Ken Griffey Jr.199020.033 16Sherry Magee190520134Sherry Magee190520.034 13Dick Hoblitzell190920143Rogers Hornsby191620.037 PlayerYearAgeOPS+PlayerYearAgeWAR/G 8Rogers Hornsby191620151Frank Robinson195620.041 read more

Our NCAA Bracket Will Update Live But Heres Where You Can Find

With so much parity in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tournament this year, one game has the potential to affect everyone else’s odds of advancing. For instance, Dayton’s upset Thursday of Ohio State gives Syracuse an easier potential opponent in the second round and raises the odds the Orange will make a deep run.The FiveThirtyEight NCAA tournament projections will update shortly after the conclusion of each game. The forecasts will also update if there are significant new injuries during the tournament.These updates do, however, create problems with transparency. Shouldn’t you be able to see how our original predictions did? After all, you don’t get to change your bracket after the tournament is underway.We have a solution. If you want to see original numbers — as of Tuesday afternoon before the first “play-in” games in Dayton, Ohio — you can find them in this CSV file at GitHub.We’ll be posting a complete archive of our updates at GitHub. The numbers included in the name of the files indicate how far through the tournament the update took place. For example, the file labeled bracket-05.csv will show our data after the conclusion of the first five games (counting Tuesday and Wednesday’s play-in matchups). read more

Where Cheerleading Ranks in Safety Among High School Sports

Cheerleading falls in the middle of the pack. The total concussion rate across all girls sports is 41 concussions per 100,000 competition athlete exposures; cheerleading has a rate that’s about three-tenths of that.But when we factor in concussions accumulated in practice, we see something interesting. In every sport except cheerleading, the rate drops steeply — concussions in practice happen about one-sixth as often as concussions in competition. Cheerleading was the only sport of the 20 surveyed that had a higher risk of concussion in practice (14 per 100,000) than in competition (12 per 100,000).“When we delve into the data more closely, we can actually find out where practice-related concussions are occurring,” Comstock said. “With cheerleading, they’re occurring all over the place. They’re occurring on asphalt, on grass, on tile. And if you think about it, if cheerleading isn’t considered a sport, [it] may not be afforded the same resources — even for practice — as other sports.”Here’s Comstock’s theory on why the injury rate is higher during practice: If cheerleading isn’t officially designated as a sport at a school, there are better odds that the team isn’t practicing on athletic mats and instead setting up in, say, a parking lot or school cafeteria. In competition, however, the students are likely to be on proper mats and therefore less likely to be at risk for getting a concussion. The reports from the 2011 catastrophic injury study at UNC seem to back this up; a high number of the injuries seem to occur both during practice and also as a result of contact with a hard surface.What does that mean? “Recognizing cheerleading as a sport may actually make the sport safer because they should then be given a designated space to practice,” Comstock said. Official sport status means that money, equipment and resources come from schools, not necessarily from the cheerleaders themselves or alternative sources.Is there a difference in concussion and injury rates between the 35 states that have made cheerleading a sport and the 15 that haven’t? We don’t know, because the data doesn’t exist for that kind of determination yet. But Comstock’s team is working on it.Although the raw-injury count in cheerleading may tell a headline-grabbing story, it’s important to look at those numbers in context. Yes, catastrophic injuries happen, as do concussions. But keeping in mind that a lot of kids are cheerleading — and that every day we may take risks that have even grimmer statistics — we can get a better picture of the actual risks involved. Think of a dangerous high school sport, and football is probably the first that comes to mind. You might not think of those students in uniform on the sidelines, cheering for the players.And yet cheerleading isn’t as safe as you might think, which was one of the reasons New York State — following 34 other states and Washington, D.C. — reclassified it as an official school sport last month.Media coverage of the New York decision largely focused on athlete safety — in some cases referring to cheerleading as one of the most dangerous sports. The raw statistic that cheerleading accounts for two-thirds of all catastrophic injuries among female high school athletes was repeated by news outlets across New York.1Consider: New York’s CBS Local, The Buffalo News, the New York State Sportswriters Association, The Wall Street Journal, MyFoxNY, The Suffolk Times, The Daily Gazette, the Times Union, etc. Some, like The Wall Street Journal here, showed an iteration of a chart similar to this:The data for this chart was pulled from the 29th annual report from the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, an independent research body at the University of North Carolina.2This 2011 report, written by Frederick O. Muller of UNC and Robert C. Cantu of Emerson Hospital in Massachusetts, contains a section on cheerleading. The center classifies catastrophic injuries as either “serious,” “nonfatal” or “fatal.” An injury is considered serious when it’s severe but has no ongoing functional disability. For example, a 17-year-old cheerleader in 1998 attempted a back flip, slipped on wet artificial turf and landed on her head, shocking her spinal cord and causing temporary paralysis. Nonfatal injuries lead to permanent disabilities. Fatal injuries need no explanation.But it’s not the raw numbers that should scare people. (These numbers are misleading, as I’ll explain in a bit.) Rather, it’s how these cheerleaders are getting injured that should warrant concern.Cheerleading is different from every other high school sport (for which there is injury-tracking data) in one critical way: More cheerleaders are getting injured during practice than in competition. And that’s why cheerleading’s official designation as a sport could go a long way toward reducing the number of injuries that make it risky.The earliest incarnation of high school cheerleading — think girls in school-letter sweaters and thick skirts encouraging a football team — has morphed into a hypercompetitive and acrobatic institution. And all the flips, throws, jumps and human pyramids have resulted in more injuries. A lot more injuries. That’s why it has been seductive for media organizations to report raw numbers.But it’s the rate of injury that matters.3To determine the rate, we can divide the number of injuries in a given period by the number of participants in that given period, and multiply by 100,000 to determine the injury rate per 100,000 participants.A rate makes a world of difference in how people interpret dangers and risks. For example, if I told you there were 179 unprovoked shark attacks in the U.S. from 2006 to 2010, you might get frightened. But when I turn that into a rate — by factoring in that 200 million people visit beaches every year, and they visit multiple times — it shows that the probability of being attacked by a shark is one in 11.5 million. That’s much less frightening.Similarly, when we factor in how many high-schoolers are participating in cheerleading, we get a different perspective on “the most dangerous sport” narrative.4Finding participation numbers for cheerleading isn’t easy, especially because for decades, it wasn’t considered a sport (and still isn’t in many states) and thus keeping a tally on athletes wasn’t necessarily required. The authors of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research report admitted difficulty in finding an accurate number of competitive cheerleaders, which is crucial for determining a rate.The authors of the report I referred to earlier cited two participation numbers in cheerleading. A 2009 news release by the National Federation of State High School Associations said there were 400,000 high school cheerleaders in the U.S. (The number, however, didn’t distinguish between competitive and noncompetitive cheerleaders.) A 2010-11 high school participation survey showed significantly lower participation: 96,718 girls and 2,846 boys for a total of nearly 100,000 participants in competitive cheerleading squads.The authors decided to go with the 100,000 count in estimating the rate of injury. Because there was one catastrophic injury that school year, they said the effective rate was one catastrophic injury per 100,000 participants. Had they gone with the more inclusive estimate, they would get 0.25 catastrophic injuries per 100,000 participants. A couple of years earlier, study co-author Frederick Mueller told The Washington Post that he estimated the rate from 1982 to 2007 to be 2.68 catastrophic injuries per 100,000 high school participants, a figure derived by dividing the 67 known catastrophic injuries by an estimate of 2.5 million high school cheerleaders over the 25 years. Compare those rates with these other high school sports:It’s crucial to get perspective on these numbers. Let’s assume that Mueller’s estimate — 2.68 catastrophic injuries for every 100,000 high school cheerleaders — is accurate. In comparison, each year 17.9 of every 100,000 New York state residents are hospitalized for traffic-related pedestrian injuries — nearly seven times higher than the upper-bound catastrophic-injury rate for high school cheerleaders. So, even if cheerleading is the most dangerous high school sport, it might be less dangerous than walking to work.But what about more common, non-catastrophic injuries, like concussions?Dawn Comstock, a professor at the Colorado School of Public Health in Denver, runs High School RIO, a national database that has monitored 20 high school sports since 2005. She referred me to a 2012 paper published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. The paper, based on High School RIO data, looked at concussions among high school athletes — where they occurred (in practice or competition) and in what sport — as well as participation rates during the 2008-10 school years. The finding?“Cheerleading is not nearly as dangerous a sport as some of the previous research painted it to be,” Comstock said. “It has the 10th-highest concussion rate of the 20.”Concussions are a compelling data set for tracking the dangers of a sport because they’re relatively common, and yet they’re severe enough to be reported (as opposed to, say, sprains and strains). But they often don’t have long-term impact. Here are the competition concussion rates per 100,000 athlete exposures:5An athlete exposure is defined as one athlete participating in one game or practice. Boys Volleyball was not included in the chart because no concussions were reported. read more

Tennis Is Growing Old With Federer Nadal And The Williams Sisters

Today’s tennis fans are spoiled. They have watched Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, four of the best tennis players of all time, dominate the sport for a decade, winning a combined total of 60 majors in their careers. Now the four are old by the sport’s historical standards — all are at least 30, and only Nadal is under 35 — but instead of fading away like their predecessors, they’ve dragged the sport along with them. This weekend’s Australian Open finals are Grand Slam showcases of their longevity: Williams vs. Williams IX on Saturday and Federer vs. Nadal IX on Sunday. The mid-30s is past closing time for most tennis greats, and all four have declined. Combined they’ve won just one title at the last five majors. But they’ve remained remarkably competitive, regularly beating their younger peers and threatening to go all the way once more. Two of them will do so this weekend. Federer and Nadal benefited from early exits by No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 2 Novak Djokovic but also knocked out five of the top 10 seeds themselves. The Williams sisters had easier paths to the final, after many of their inconsistent younger rivals lost early. All four have looked like their best selves for long stretches at this tournament, outplaying and outlasting younger opponents.Now Serena Williams will go for an Open-era record 23rd major title, while Venus will seek her eighth, and her first since 2008. Federer will try to extend his lead over Nadal in the career major title count to four; Nadal will try to narrow it to two.By historical standards, what Nadal is doing is remarkable; what the other three are doing is almost unheard of. Federer is the oldest men’s Grand Slam finalist since Ken Rosewall more than 40 years ago. Whichever Williams sister wins will be the oldest woman to do so in the Open era, surpassing Serena’s record, first set at Wimbledon in 2015 and extended in last year’s Wimbledon.How are they defying the laws of aging? Partly, the sport has aged around them. Veterans have gotten smarter about diet, conditioning, practice and scheduling. Their biggest rivals (Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova, Murray and Djokovic) are themselves 29. None of them made the semifinals in Australia (Sharapova is serving a doping suspension that ends in April), but two of the other four players who did are in their 30s; the other two are 25. The next generation of players hasn’t broken through.But in large part, the four greats are the reason tennis has aged. When they were young, they dominated, and tennis seemed young. Now they’re old — and tennis is, too. All-time greats, even after they’ve been diminished by age, often remain great, as did Peyton Manning, Wilt Chamberlain and Hank Aaron. Tennis’s oldsters remain four of the main faces of the sport. Federer by himself has accomplished about as much at majors since turning 32 as has every man 27 and younger combined. By contrast, the average age of men’s major semifinalists was under 27 each year from 1987 to 2011.Andy Roddick provides an instructive contrast. He’s a year younger than Federer and has 16 fewer Grand Slams, yet he retired more than four years ago, unable to continue competing at the very top of the sport. At a press conference in Australia this week about his induction into the sport’s hall of fame, Roddick marveled that his peers were still going. “What Roger’s doing and maintaining at 35 years old, what Venus and Serena are still doing …,” Roddick said. “Everyone here is going to talk about it in every story they write for the rest of this tournament, and I still don’t know if that’s enough. It’s pretty amazing.”There’s no guarantee that this will last. No one can spot the last hurrah in advance. Rod Laver won all four majors in 1969, the year he turned 31 — and then never reached another major semifinal. Andre Agassi, at age 35, led Federer in the 2005 U.S. Open final and then never reached another major fourth round and retired a year later. Martina Navratilova reached the 1994 Wimbledon final at age 37 and then played just two more majors in a brief comeback bid a decade later. But there isn’t much sense in writing off any of this weekend’s finalists. Others have done so before and turned out to be way premature.After clinching her spot in the final, Venus Williams said aging has been good for the sport, which gets to keep its headliners headlining finals for longer. “I think people realize this is an amazing job, so it’s best to keep it,” she said at a press conference. “I think this generation is going to inspire the rest of the generations to, obviously, play a schedule that’s achievable, sustainable, and that you can play Grand Slam tennis for a long time. This is beautiful for the game because it will be able to retain its stars for a long time, which is a great business model.” After all, no matchups are easier to market than Williams vs. Williams and Federer vs. Nadal. read more

Beside The Points For Thursday April 5 2018

geoff:oofHow surprising is this?kyletotally contradicts what celtics had said about it; team doctors are all fired after this season; the same team doctors who let this whole isaiah mess happen See more NBA predictions Predictions NBA Things That Caught My EyeVillanova team one of the best everVillanova defeated Michigan to win the NCAA Men’s tournament Monday evening and in doing so cemented a legendary tournament run for the ages. On average their margin of victory was 17.7 above their opponents — we’d expect only a +7.9 points for that figure — which makes them the fifth-best tourney winners by margin of victory. [FiveThirtyEight]Sergio donates golf equipment to Georgia pondDefending Masters champion Sergio Garcia — who recently named his newborn daughter Azalea after the trademark flowers of Augusta National — did his best to erase any fond memories he has of the iconic golf course on Thursday. At a respectable 2-over par to start the 15th hole, the Spaniard hit his second shot into the water that protects the par-5 green. He took a drop and hit his next shot into the water. Then he did it again. And again. And again. He eventually carded a 13 on the hole — tied for the worst score on any hole in Masters history — on his way to finishing a gruesome 9-over par. [ESPN]Frozen Four coming upThe college men’s hockey championship starts tonight in Minnesota. If you’re looking for the future of the U.S. game, it’s there; while the NHL is 45 percent Canadian and 27 percent American, the Frozen Four teams are 81 percent U.S.-born. Namely, it’s Minnesotans; of the 88 Americans, 26 are from Minnesota. [ESPN]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?You can gamble on the draftThe lines are out for what goes down at the 2018 NFL Draft. The over/under for Alabama players selected in the first round of the NFL draft is set at 4, which is oddly higher than the over/under line for running backs (1.5) and wide receivers (2.5) in the first round. [ESPN]Chaos at UFC 223Conor McGregor is being stripped of his UFC title because he hasn’t bothered to compete at a UFC event since November 2016. He isn’t taking this well; McGregor and a group of about 20 others allegedly entered the UFC 223 arena area and attacked a bus, and several fighters were injured. [ESPN]In other ridiculous fighting newsWrestlemania is this Sunday, a seven hour time slot full of 13 scheduled fights (and purportedly an additional fight between the Undertaker and John Cena). If that last fight does occur, it’s interesting because despite being two of the top draws for the brand, Cena and the Undertaker have not in fact faced one another in a singles match in more than 11 years. [Deadspin]42 points over the second bananaTaylor Hall is a one-man offense, and in NHL history since 1951 ranks 30th when it comes to the gap between the number of points that the top scorer on the team racked up (93 for Hall) and the second-place scorer on the team (in the Devils’ case, 51 points), at +42. Hilariously, Wayne Gretzky is 10 of those 29 people. [FiveThirtyEight]Big Number(s)26 percentKyrie Irving is hurt and will miss the playoffs. This is devastating for the Celtics’ chances of a title. Their shot of beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in a seven-game series drop from 41 percent with Irving to 26 percent if Irving is replaced with a -1.0 Real Plus/Minus player. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slackkyle: All newsletters Oh, and don’t forgetUgly helmets in vogue We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe read more

NBA Headbands Are A Thing Again

So how does this year’s playoffs stack up to the last decade?Thirteen starters in the opening round of the 2019 playoffs were headband apostles. That’s the most of any opening round since 2009, which is even more impressive when you consider that LeBron and Carmelo Anthony, two of the most recognizable headbanders of all time, weren’t part of the field.5The 2018-19 postseason was the first since 2002-03 that didn’t feature either LeBron or Carmelo. The 2018-19 NBA season will be remembered as the year of the comeback. Of headbands.It began on opening night, when a black bandana-clad Kyrie Irving freelanced as an estranged Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It continued when the Philadelphia 76ers underwent the most comprehensive makeover of any team, leading to the formation of a headband club that head coach Brett Brown credited with helping his backcourt bond. It seems the entire league is enamored with an outmoded 2-inch strip of fabric originally designed to keep sweat out of the eyes. Just as shooting sleeves, compression leggings and knee-high socks once captured the zeitgeist, the headband — in both its traditional and “Karate Kid” form — is again the latest fad.During the regular season and these playoffs, the rebirth of the headband has been on display nearly every night. And since stats on Headband Usage Rate (HUR) are not regularly available on NBA.com or even Second Spectrum, we decided to document the rise of the headband ourselves, counting them by watching video from every single game.1For the 2017-18 and 2018-19 regular seasons, we watched the opening tip of every game for every team, noting any headband users and recording their status as starters or bench players. We also watched the opening tip of every playoff game since 2000. We don’t get out much.About 16 percent of the 530 players who saw at least one minute of action sported either a traditional or ninja-style headband — from 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas to 7-foot Joel Embiid, and all sizes in between. Sixteen players this season even had their official photos taken in one. This isn’t a trend reserved for bench mobs, either: According to our count, 73 of the 394 players who started at least one regular-season game wore a headband in that start, nearly twice as many as last season.“When you wear a headband,” Jimmy Butler said, “you’ve got to do something extra special.” Indeed, the unassuming textile has appeared in some of this season’s most memorable games. James Harden put one on and dropped 54 points. Klay Thompson set an NBA record for 3-pointers made. After getting elbowed in the head, Joe Ingles effectively made a headband out of gauze and drilled a game-winning shot, which excited the entire roster.As was the case when Wilt Chamberlain spearheaded the headband movement during the late 1960s, there’s been an impact on the league’s bottom line. Global sales of Nike headbands are up 50 percent over last season, an NBA spokesperson told me. That’s in no small part because the new wrinkle has been co-signed by some of the league’s most marketable standouts. All three finalists for the most improved player award consistently wore headbands. Eight of this season’s All-Stars wore one at least once, including the bearded MVP candidate.2Giannis Antetokounmpo, the other primary MVP candidate, wore a headband on the sidelines but never officially played in one.The decorative cloth hasn’t always been so warmly embraced. Less than two decades ago, Chicago Bulls head coach Tim Floyd described headband-wearers as “soft,” and at least four teams prohibited its use.3The media helped amplify that message: “Headbands are threatening to turn the playoffs into That ’70s Show,” wrote Orlando Sentinel columnist David Whitley in 2001. Even as the league began to move past its antiquated ways, it maintained that the voluntary accessory must be worn a certain way. When Rajon Rondo attempted to wear one upside-down, commissioner David Stern stepped in and banned the practice.4It’s worth remembering that Stern was the architect of a dress code with unsubtle racist undercurrents, including a ban on do-rags.Though headband use has certainly rebounded, its popularly doesn’t seem to have reached the craze of the mid-2000s. ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst, who has covered the NBA since 2003, pointed to Allen Iverson as the premier trailblazer, an opinion shared by LeBron James. But headbands did seem to disappear for a while: Even LeBron, probably the most prominent headband-wearer of all time, largely stopped the practice when he left Miami.But this season, the headband returned in a big way at the Staples Center — and even James took part. The Los Angeles Lakers saw a league-leading nine different starters wear a headband — three times as many as those who wore one in the previous season. Over the past four postseasons, there were a combined four starters who wore headbands in the conference finals. This season had two, in Portland’s Maurice Harkless and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam.6Though Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe loved his headband so much he had his official picture taken in it, he wasn’t wearing it by the time the playoffs rolled around.When we get to the NBA Finals, the headband has largely not been a factor since the turn of the century — excluding LeBron.7Who arguably had the most impressive game of his finals career when he cast it aside. Of the 210 players to start a game in the finals since 2000, just 25, or 0.7 per team, wore a headband. We’ll get at least one this season: First-year headband enthusiast and FiveThirtyEight favorite Siakam helped bring the Toronto Raptors to the finals. And Siakam could have headband-wearing company on the sport’s biggest stage when the games start on Thursday: If DeMarcus Cousins returns for the Warriors, he’ll likely bring his headband with him. The last time the finals featured a headband starter on each team was before the turn of the century.Over the course of the season, we’ve witnessed a stunning comeback of a once-lost accessory. The headband’s rebirth is a proxy for personal expression — and there’s no league more zeroed-in on marketability than the NBA.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Healthy Buckeyes seek revenge

Injuries are never beneficial to any team. At times, however, they can have a funny effect.In the case of the Ohio State men’s basketball team, injuries, both this season and last, have allowed the Buckeyes to come together in times of despair. It has also allowed players who usually wouldn’t get playing opportunities to gain experience.With a highly anticipated matchup against No. 11 West Virginia on Saturday, the Buckeyes remember the beat down they received from the Mountaineers last season.One difference, however, is that OSU faced injuries shortly before last year’s matchup with West Virginia. This season, it appears they have successfully come back from one.The Buckeyes started 9-0 last season before losing forward David Lighty to a foot injury against Jacksonville.Reeling from his injury, and trying to find players to replace him, OSU staggered into the matchup with WVU and was pounded, 76-48.For this season’s matchup, OSU is finally healthy, and these injuries might have given the Buckeyes their best chance at revenge against their boarding opponent.When Lighty went down with a broken foot, the Buckeyes were in desperate need of a leader.Insert Evan Turner.The guard quickly became the team’s most prolific player and hasn’t stopped since. Having to lead the Buckeyes made Turner grow up fast under fire. As for the void in playing time, that was filled by freshman guard William Buford.Buford used his extended playing time to have a promising first season.Coach Thad Matta seems to share the sentiment that even in traumatic situations, a team can get better and grow.“I use William [Buford] as a good example,” Matta said. “When David [Lighty] went down, it was the situation of, ‘Hey Will, you just went from playing 20 minutes to 35 minutes whether you like it or not,’ and I thought he had a great freshman year. Really across the board I thought we’ve done a really good job.”After three consecutive wins in conference, it looks as if the Buckeyes have hit their stride as they prepare for a rematch with the Mountaineers.Matta said OSU is clearly deeper, and guys such as seniors P.J. Hill and Jeremie Simmons add depth and experience this season, since they started last year.“Obviously we would have loved having Evan [Turner] all the games this year,” junior guard Jon Diebler said. “It forces guys to elevate their game especially in aspects that maybe they aren’t used to doing.“But now that he’s back, to keep playing at the level we’re at and adding a guy who is one of the best players in the country … you know it’s just a good feeling.”Getting Turner back and having him play at such a high level again is a bonus for an Ohio State team that has quickly positioned itself back in the thick of the Big Ten.Things seem to finally be falling back into place for the Buckeyes. Luckily, their most important games are still ahead of them.“I think we obviously had to step up our game,” junior center Dallas Lauderdale said. “I don’t think we wanted to fall back and be complacent. We wanted to keep our game at a high level.” read more

Terms have changed Tressel retires not resigns

Aside from the self-imposed punishments issued by the school Friday, Ohio State has changed the terms in which former head coach Jim Tressel left the university. In a seven-page document released Friday by OSU, signed by both Tressel and President E. Gordon Gee, the terms of Tressel’s departure were changed from resignation to retirement.  “Coach Tressel will retire from The Ohio State University effective June 30, 2011,” the document states. Tressel will receive his base pay as well as health benefits through June 30, which amounts to $52,250. Additionally, he will receive a lump sum payment for unused vacation time within 15 days of the agreement going into effect. “I am grateful for this opportunity to retire from the university that I so deeply respect and that I will continue to support,” Tressel said in a statement released Friday. Furthermore, the agreement exempts Tressel from paying the $250,000 fine that was imposed by the school on March 8. “OSU agrees that upon execution of this Agreement it releases, extinguishes, and discharges any rights or claims that it has, may have, or may have had arising out of Coach Tressel’s employment with The Ohio State University,” the document stated.  Tressel’s attorney, Rex Elliot, told the Columbus Dispatch that Tressel argued he had paid enough. “Stepping down after 10 years as the Buckeyes’ head coach will cost him far more than $250,000,” Elliott said. According to Tressel’s contract, which ran through 2015, he would have received around $3.6 million for the upcoming season. Also, for the first time since Tressel’s resignation, it was revealed that the consistent public support for Tressel by Gee and athletic director Gene Smith may not have been completely accurate. Smith told the Dispatch on Thursday that he asked Tressel to step down in a meeting on May 29. This is the first time that either Smith or Gee has admitted to making such a request. The Dispatch reported that “Smith admitted that his support had wavered ‘long before’ he asked for Tressel’s resignation.” It was then clarified by Smith that “long before” meant days, not weeks. A statement in OSU’s response to the NCAA, released Friday, seem to support the revelations made by Smith. “The University eventually determined that it was in the best interest of the University and Tressel for Tressel to resign, and he agreed to do so,” the response document said. Tressel submitted his resignation letter the morning of May 30. At the time, statements in the letter as well as comments by Smith that day implied the decision was made primarily, if not entirely, by Tressel. “I (made) this decision for the greater good of our school,” Tressel wrote. Smith said in the video released May 30 that “it was at that time that (Tressel) decided to resign.” Smith was referring to meeting with Tressel the night before. Gee, Smith and Tressel were not able to be immediately available for comment. read more

Ohio State players Carlos Hyde Bradley Roby named in separate incidents reported

Lantern file photoOhio State senior running back Carlos Hyde is a “person of interest” in the reported assault of a woman at a Columbus bar July 20, according to a Columbus Division of Police report, while redshirtjunior cornerback Bradley Roby was charged with battery resulting in bodily injury in Monroe County, Ind., on July 21, according to Monroe County Court Records.The incident involving Hyde reportedly occurred at about 2 a.m. Saturday at the Sugar Bar 2, located at 303 S. Front Street, according to the report.The woman told police she did not know the suspect who allegedly assaulted her but could identify him, according to the report posted on the blog Eleven Warriors.Roby was arrested at about 2:40 a.m. Sunday at the Dunkirk Bar in Bloomington, Ind., according to a press release from Bloomington Police. He had been removed from the bar after attempting to start a fight with another patron, then attempted to re-enter the bar but was stopped by security guards. He then struck one of the security guards in the chest, according to the press release. Roby was then wrestled to the ground and detained until police arrived.Hyde, Roby and representatives from OSU Athletics did not immediately return requests for comment Monday morning, but OSU officials are expected to provide more information later Monday.A meeting was called Monday morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, and OSU will release information on the situation later today, according to reports.Roby was scheduled to appear in Monroe County Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. Monday.These two incidents are not the first involving OSU football coach Urban Meyer’s players this summer. Former linebacker David Perkins was arrested in Bowling Green May 25, a few days before the announcement that Perkins will no longer be part of the OSU football program, and on July 14, freshman tight end Marcus Baughwas arrested for underage consumption.Some of Meyer’s former players have been arrested as well – former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who played under Meyer for three seasons at University of Florida, was charged June 26 with murdering semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.Hyde finished second on the team in rushing during the OSU undefeated 2012 season. He had 970 yards and 17 touchdowns during his 10 games played.Hyde was named to the 2013 preseason Doak Walker Award watch list, an award given to the top college football running back.Roby was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, and a second-team AP All-American last season. Roby was recently named to watch lists for the Thorpe Award, Walter Camp Award, Nagurski Award and Bednarik Award. read more

Mens Volleyball No 7 Ohio State loses second straight to No 11

Junior setter Sanil Thomas sets the ball during the second set of No. 3 Ohio State’s match against No. 8 Penn State on Jan. 28, 2018 in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions in straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-17) to pick up their fifth win of the season. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Senior ReporterThe No. 7 Ohio State men’s volleyball team (2-2) lost its second-straight match against No. 11 Stanford (4-0) on Saturday.The Buckeyes were, once again, plagued by service errors, committing 26 in total, doubling Stanford’s match total.Senior setter Sanil Thomas had one kill and two errors on three attacks, but provided 41 assists and his serve to begin the match was an ace.Redshirt sophomore opposite hitter Jake Hanes led the Buckeyes with 24 kills and two aces, also committing a team-high seven service errors.Losing a close first set, 25-22, in which Hanes tallied nine kills and a service ace, Ohio State came back to win an even closer second set, 26-24, in large part because of three kills and two blocks by redshirt senior middle blocker Blake Leeson.The Buckeyes jumped out to a quick three-point lead in the third set, but couldn’t maintain it as two blocks and two aces from Stanford and eight Ohio State service errors put the set away for the Cardinal.Beginning the fourth set, Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson chose to replace junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss with sophomore Kyle Skinner. The decision came after Devilbiss committed a team-high five errors and managed only a .095 hitting percentage through three sets.In his one set of play, Skinner had two kills, one block assist, and a .250 hitting percentage.After falling behind 14-8 in the fourth set, a few Stanford attack errors, decisive kills by Hanes and sophomore outside hitter Martin Lallemand and a Lallemand service ace set up the Buckeyes to a two-point deficit.But three service errors by three different Buckeyes in the final seven points quashed any brewing comeback for Ohio State.The Buckeyes will return to action at home on Friday against George Mason at 7 p.m. and then on Saturday against Erskine at 7 p.m. read more

Fancy a new job The National Trust is looking for someone to

first_imgGwen Potter, National Trust countryside manager for the Northumberland Coast, said: “This job isn’t the normal nine to five. Being good with PowerPoint isn’t a priority.“We’re looking for someone with a passion for wildlife and conservation – and who wants to share that passion with others.    Bored of working in an office? Tired of your commute? The National Trust is looking for someone to look after wildlife on the Farne Islands. Working on a remote island could be someone’s dream job; surrounded by seal pups and beautiful birds, the successful applicant will have a one-minute commute.The Farne Islands ranger will have some very important jobs to do, including counting the 200 seal pups born on the islands each year, surveying the 37,000 pairs of puffins and sometimes even saving the lives of soaked Arctic tern chicks using a hairdryer. The job doesn’t come without its risks. Rangers on the islands must brave dive-bombing attacks from Arctic terns, no running water and harsh spring storms that can see them marooned on the islands for weeks at a time.However, quality of life on the islands, which lie off the coast of Northumberland and have been looked after by the National Trust since 1925, seems high.The islands, which have been protected for 189 years and are one of Britain’s oldest nature reserves, boast gorgeous sunrises and one of England’s largest seal colonies. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise. “Living here you truly feel like you’re on the edge of the world. It’s a wildlife-lover’s paradise: open the curtains in the morning and you’re greeted with crowds of fluffy seal pups or scampering Arctic tern chicks. “As a ranger you’ll be in charge of monitoring the wildlife and seals on the islands – as well as assisting with scientific research. “Rangers have been based on the Farne Islands for almost 190 years, with scientists carrying out research here for decades. Last year a Springwatch-backed study found that a Farne Islands Arctic tern had made a record-breaking migration, flying 96,000km to Antarctica and back. “Every season is different and you’ll be doing everything from carrying out repairs and counting cute seal pups in October to blow-drying sickly Arctic terns or handling puffin chicks during our five-yearly count of the colourful birds.“But it’s not a job for the faint-hearted. All our water on the island has to be brought in by boat – and we’ve not got a washing machine. Rangers can end up marooned in their cottage during the seal mating season and the island’s thousands of Arctic terns are known for diving at people’s heads in a bid to defend their chicks.”The islands attract 50,000 visitors a year and are managed by a close-knit team. Could you be on it?Applications for the job, which pays £17,934 per annum including accommodation on the islands, close on February 7. You can apply here. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

A quarter of parents do not help children with homework for fear

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A quarter of British parents do not help their children with homework, a survey has found, as experts say they are put off for fear of embarrassment.A poll of over 27,000 parents in 29 different countries found that just over one in 10 UK mothers and fathers spend the equivalent of at least an hour a day assisting their children with their school work.Meanwhile, parents from India, Vietnam, Colombia and Malaysia were the most likely to spend seven hours a week helping their children with homework, according to a survey published by the Varkey Foundation, a global education charity.On average, British parents spend 3.6 hours a week helping their youngsters, the poll calculates.Chris McGovern, chairman of Campaign for Real Education, said that while middle class parents might hire private tutors to guide their children through the homework, deprived families may lack the wherewithal to do the same. “It is a tragic situation where children are not getting the right support,” he said. “Children who suffer the most are ones whose parents can’t help them. We need an adult literacy and numeracy programme.“Some parents are not able to help their children even if they want to, they are ashamed and embarrassed that they can’t read.” A quarter of British parents do not help their children with homework, a survey has foundcenter_img A quarter of British parents do not help their children with homework, a survey has found A 2013 study by the publisher Pearson found that more than half lacked the confidence to help children with simple sums in the home.Just one in 20 respondents could correctly answer a full list of questions suitable for pupils aged 11 and under. The study found that 30 per cent of parents “don’t feel confident enough in their own maths skills to help their children with their primary school maths homework”.Meanwhile, some 53 per cent insisted they struggled to understand the new maths teaching methods used in modern classrooms.last_img read more

Prince Harry reveals Meghan Markle will take on Commonwealth role

first_imgThe Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) is intended as an “opportunity for the young people of the Commonwealth to build cross-cultural connections and networks, debate the challenges facing its young people, and agree youth-led initiatives to influence decision makers and ensure young people have a voice in its future”.The 2018 Youth Forum’s theme is “Powering Our Common Future”, with an agenda set by young representatives.The Commonwealth’s 53 member countries have a combined population of more than 2 billion, of which more than 60 per cent are under 30 years of age. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to undertake overseas tours of the Commonwealth Credit:Samir Hussein /WireImage  Prince Harry opened his speech with a tribute to his grandmother, saying: “When I was reflecting on how to make the biggest impact with this new role, I turned to the ultimate source of guidance on all things Commonwealth: the words of The Queen herself. Prince Harry and Theresa May The speeches were delivered on the first day of forums leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. Arriving at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre on Monday morning , the Prince was joined by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, to meet 18 youth delegates from the Commonwealth. Prince Harry And Meghan Markle “On the day of her 21st birthday, the then Princess Elizabeth gave an extraordinary radio address from Cape Town. With an eye on the future, and an already unflinching sense of duty, she made a commitment. “She said that whether her life be long or short, it would be dedicated to the service of the people of The Commonwealth. All of us here today can be grateful that it is a long life The Queen is still enjoying. “Her Majesty’s commitment has meant that The Commonwealth is a thriving family of nations, a common link between nearly two and a half billion people, and a defender of democracy, justice, and peace.” Prince Harry told the group their generation had “inspired” him, after seeing their hard work and passion during his travels throughout the Commonwealth, adding his saw his role as to “support them, listen to them and make sure they are heard”. The Prince concluded: “In my new role, I will work to support The Queen, my father The Prince of Wales, and my brother William, all of whom know that young people are the answer to the challenges of today. “I am also incredibly grateful that the woman I am about to marry, Meghan, will be joining me in this work, of which she too is hugely excited to take part in.”Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, later said the Queen could have given no “greater gift” than her grandson to champion the youth of the Commonwealth. Meghan Markle is to join her future husband in his work as youth ambassador to the Commonwealth, Prince Harry has revealed, as he says she is “hugely excited” to help young people’s voices be heard.The Prince, delivering his first speech since being appointed as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, said he was “incredibly grateful” that the “woman I am about to marry” will be joining him in his new job. In a heartfelt speech that included tributes to both his grandmother, the Queen, and his father, the Prince of Wales, Harry told a room of Commonwealth youth representatives that he would strive to “listen” to their concerns and ideas.Adding that he is now planning his first year in the job, he joked: “I know that serving as an ambassador to young people I am going to have to try to keep up with you.”Prince Harry and Ms Markle are now expected to undertake overseas tours of the Commonwealth as well as convening young people to hear their ideas on how to give them a bigger platform. Theresa May and Prince Harry Telling a hall full of young people that they would be the ones to change the world, Prince Harry said: “As I travel around the Commonwealth in my work on behalf of The Royal Family, it is striking to see just how different today’s generation of young adults are.“You are connected. You have made positive use of technology to build relationships within your communities, nations and across the globe.“You care. You want your nations to be cleaner, your planet to be greener, your friends and neighbours to be treated fairly and with respect, no matter their ethnicity, their religion, or their status.“You are optimistic. The complicated challenges we face – climate change, inequality, conflict – they do not discourage you. Rather, they inspire you to persevere and effect change.”center_img Prince Harry is joined by Theresa May at the Commonwealth youth meetingCredit:SIMON DAWSON /Reuters Prince Harry delivering his speech on Monday morningCredit:SIMON DAWSON /REUTERS Prince Harry gave his first speech since being appointed as Commonwealth Youth AmbassadorCredit:SIMON DAWSON /Reuters Prince Harry attending a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Youth Forum in London He also made reference to the Prince of Wales as he pledged to listen to concerns about climate change, explaining: “The young adults I have met across the Commonwealth have shown me time and again that your generation understands something very important: that to tackle a big challenge, you need to focus on the root causes, not the symptoms – something my father has believed for years, yet something society still struggles with.” The role of youth ambassador is considered particularly important because of the Commonwealth’s demographic, with 60 per cent of the population of its 53 member nations being under the age of 30. In a meeting room, they greeted elected Youth Council representatives from Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Kenya, Namibia, India, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and members of the International Youth Taskforce from all five regions of the Commonwealth.Prince Harry asked each of them how long they had been part of the council, whether they enjoyed the role, and what they hoped to get out of the Commonwealth forums this week.“Do you feel like people are listening to your generation?” he asked.After shaking hands, the group moved to a roundtable meeting led by Kishva Ambigapathy, Commonwealth Youth Council chairman, where they spent around half an hour in discussion with delegates. “I wanted to make sure youth and young people are a priority at this meeting.,” Mrs May told them. “You are the future of the Commonwealth and it’s meant that we listen to you, we hear your ideas.“You have already shaped the agenda with the issues you want to be discussed, whether that’s youth unemployment or the environment.” Prince Harry Prince Harry and Theresa May meet delegates at the forumCredit:SIMON DAWSON /REUTERS Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Funny book prize not awarded for the first time in its history

Credit:Reuters Everyman began publishing Wodehouse in 2000 on the 25th anniversary of his death Everyman began publishing Wodehouse in 2000 on the 25th anniversary of his deathCredit:Getty bollinger champagne But the contest isn’t the only competition which is withholding it’s prize this year. It was announced earlier this month that the Swedish Academy has postponed the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature in the wake of a scandal over sexual assault allegations.The crisis centred around the handling of allegations against Jean-Claude Aranaut, the husband of an academy member, and led to her quitting along with the institution’s head and four other members.Arnault has repeatedly denied all the allegations against him; his lawyer saying he has become “the victim of a witch hunt” and that the accusations “may have been made with the sole purpose of harming” him. Whilst it is not known who the 62 entrants were, some of the funniest books which came out last year were You Don’t Look Your Age by Sheila Nevins and Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan.Victoria Carfantan, director of Champagne Bollinger said: “The decision taken by the judges this year is akin to the way we produce Bollinger’s Prestige Champagnes. They are created when the harvest reaches a perfect balance, and only very high quality harvests become a vintage. “We are confident that 2019 will make for an exceptional crop of hilarious submissions and the winner will celebrate with the rollover prize of a methuselah of Bollinger Special Cuvée.” “Despite the submitted books producing many a wry smile amongst the panel during the judging process, we did not feel than any of the books we read this year incited the level of unanimous laughter we have come to expect. We look forward to awarding a larger rollover prize next year to a hilariously funny book.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A prize for the funniest book will not be announced for the first time in its 18 year history as none of the novels made the judges laugh. The prize for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 2018 is being withheld after the judges decided that the 62 submissions for the coveted prize fell short of the the necessary funny-factor.Organisers announced the decision yesterday meaning that the prize is expected to roll over to next year. The judges admitted that whilst many of the entrants provided a chuckle here and there, none of the submissions really made the panel laugh out loud. There will therefore be no one joining the ranks of P G Wodehouse, or the prize’s previous winners, such as Helen Fielding, Michael Frayn, Howard Jacobson, Marina Lewycka, and Alexander McCall Smith.David Campbell, judge and publisher of Everyman’s Library, said: “My fellow judges and I have decided to withhold the prize this year to maintain the extremely high standards of comic fiction that the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize represents.  read more

Two killed and several injured in major M5 collision

Two people have died and four others were taken to hospital after a crash on the M5 on Thursday morning.The collision took place between a lorry and several cars just after 8.30am near junction 24 at Huntworth, Somerset. Emergency services arrived shortly afterwards, and two people were pronounced dead at the scene.Avon and Somerset Police said that as well as the two fatalities, four people were taken to hospital, at least two of whom have serious injuries.A spokesman said: “The road is closed in both directions between junction 24 southbound and junction 25 northbound, Taunton.”All the agencies are working as quickly as possible to reopen the northbound carriageway but the southbound carriageway is expected to remain closed for the foreseeable future while emergency services complete their work at the scene.”We’re deploying well-rehearsed plans to release motorists currently held in the road closure.”It’s important for motorists to remain in their vehicles to avoid further unnecessary delay.” Traffic now moving northbound past the scene of this morning’s M5 crash. Two people were confirmed dead at the scene. The queue behind it stretches back as far as the eye can see. pic.twitter.com/HbNCZKSlir— Andy Howard (@AndyLHoward) September 13, 2018 Kate Pearce wrote: “Currently still on the #M5 since 8.40 this morning after a serious crash just 2 miles from where I am, be safe everyone #iwillbehomesoon thoughts are with all those involved and the 2 people who sadly lost their lives.” The spokeswoman added that police are grateful to motorists for their “patience and understanding”.Motorists said on social media that while they had been stuck on the motorway all day, their thoughts were with the families of those who died.One driver, Amanda, tweeted: “Have had to reschedule my concert today, as I got caught in the tail back on the M5 due to a nasty crash. 5 hours & still stationary… Thoughts with the families who’ve lost a loved one today…” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

The real reason why Camilla is not going to Princess Eugenies wedding

It was revealed earlier this week that the Duchess of Cornwall will not attend Princess Eugenie’s wedding, the only senior member of the royal family to miss the celebrations. Clarence House has said Camilla had a “previous commitment” attending a local school harvest festival near Birkhall, Charles’s home at Balmoral. Two other jobs were also announced this week. The alleged “snub” will fuel rumours that there is a royal rift at the heart of the monarchy. Prince Charles’s wife Camilla and Sarah Ferguson have never seen eye to eye because of Fergie’s loyalty to Princess Diana, while there is also tension between the Prince of Wales and his younger brother Prince Andrew, often referred to as the…–– ADVERTISEMENT –– read more

Eel migration mystery that has puzzled ecologists since Aristotle about to be

Researchers claim the eels spawn and die somewhere in the Sargasso Sea, a vast area off the east coast of the United States and north of the Caribbean. The mystery of eel migration which has puzzled ecologists since Aristotle is about to be solved, the Environment Agency has said as it announced plans to locate their origin. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. As numbers have dropped by 98 per cent since the seventies, experts from the Environment Agency created a method to track European eel migration routes. Three eels were captured in a small river on the island of San Miguel,… The critically endangered species travel some 3,700 miles from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean to spawn – but where exactly remains completely unknown. read more

Ey up Yorkshire dialect lessons offered to asylum seekers in Bradford to

Yet for asylum seekers living in Bradford, not only has learning how to ‘speak Yorkshire’ has become an integral part of English lessons – it may also be the solution to bridging the north-south divide. Chris Baillie, manager at… ‘Ey up duck’ is not a phrase often associated with inhabitants of Jordan, Syria or parts of Africa. Forster College, which is part of Bradford College, is running 12-week courses in Yorkshire dialect for mature students “to improve their spoken English”. ‘Ey up’, ‘ta love’, ‘I’m off t’shops’, and ‘flippin’ ‘eck’, are just some of the words and phrases which are taught to help them understand everyday conversations and to feel like they fit in with the local community. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more