Local golf notebook: Local academy founder Leonard recognized by US Kids Golf – Montgomery Advertiser


Quincy Leonard, Leo Golf Academy founder at Gateway Golf Course, has received honorable mention recognition from U.S. Kids Golf for its annual Top 50 Kids Teacher Award.

The Award recognizes the world?s most outstanding youth golf instructors, and Leonard is part of a select group that earned honorable mention accolades among more than 500 applicants.

Since 2004, U.S. Kids Golf has honored the best youth golf teachers with the Top 50 Kids Teacher Award. Applicants complete an online survey and winners are chosen based on their contributions to youth golf.

The Top 50 Kids Teachers of 2017 includes golf professionals from 22 states, Canada and Costa Rica. Each year, award recipients include teachers who work at public, private, resort and municipal courses.

The Top 50 Kids Teacher Award is administered by the U.S. Kids Golf Coaches Institute, a division of the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation.

Speaking of U.S. Kids Golf, the Montgomery Local Tour?s spring season is set to tee off Feb. 24 at Aroostook.

Registration for all events is underway. Tournament dates and deadlines are:

? Feb. 24 at Aroostook; last day to register: Feb. 19

? March 3 at Lakewood (Phenix City); last day to register: Feb. 26

? March 10 at Arrowhead; last day to register: March 5

? March 17 at Wynlakes; last day to register: March 12

? April 21 at Cottonwood; last day to register: April 16

? April 28 at Quail Walk; last day to register: April 23

? May 5 at Lagoon (Tour Championship); last day to register: April 30

For more information or to register for an event, contact Quincy Leonard at 334-721-4536; or email him at quincyleonard@leogolfacademy.com.

NOTEBOOK

? Online registration for Drive, Chip and Putt qualifying is underway.

Alabama golfers can qualify at sites outside the state, but there are four local qualifiers in Alabama: June 2 at Silver Lakes (Glencoe); June 5 at Bent Brook (Bessemer); June 10 at Hampton Cove (Owens Cross Roads); and June 16 at Magnolia Grove (Mobile).

Those in Alabama who advance through local qualifiers will compete in a subregional at Capitol Hill in Prattville on Aug. 5

Drive, Chip and Putt is a free youth golf development initiative open to boys and girls ages 7-15. Local qualifying will take place throughout all 50 states during the months of May, June, July and August.

Top performers at the local level will advance through subregional and regional qualifiers in July/August and September, respectively. The top 80 performers ? 40 boys and 40 girls ? will earn an invitation to the National Finals at Augusta National on Sunday, April 7, the eve of the 2019 Masters.

DOGFIGHTS

? Orelia Turner, at plus-7, won the Montgomery Women?s Golf Association dogfight at The Pines in Millbrook on Thursday. Sandi Parrish and Phyllis Akers were next at plus-6, followed by Sharon Mills and Margaret Weldon at plus-5.

Play this Thursday will be at Quail Walk in Wetumpka.

? The team of Frank Guidas, Carl Stevenson, George Walker and James Massey combined for a minus-7 to win the Montgomery Golf Association?s dogfight at Prattville Country Club on Jan. 29; 25 played.

Massey was most over at plus-4. Second place, at minus-12, went to the team of David Vogelgesang, Ed Collier, Don Hatcher and Ernest Pattillo.

On Feb. 1 at Quail Walk, the team of Stevenson, Wayne Baggett, Del Goebel and James Bruner combined for a plus-25 to take first place; 22 played.

Massey, Pattillo, Hugh Garrett and Randy Smith combined for a plus-23 to take second place. Goebel and Ken Love were most over at plus-11 each.

The MGA also played Monday at Cambrian Ridge. MGA next plays Thursday, Feb. 15, at The Pines; Monday, Feb. 19, at Timberline; Monday, Feb. 26, at Troy Country Club; and Monday, March 1, at Grand National.

? The Central Alabama Golf Association had a disappointing turnout Jan. 29 at RTJ Grand National in Opelika, due in large part to the three-plus inches of rain the previous day. First place at plus-12 went Ben Woods and JD Davis, with second place, at plus-7, going to Howard Green and Mike Hudson. There was a two-way tie for third place at minus-1 between the teams of Perry Williams/Robert Griffith and John Robinson/Eric Kost.

CAGA played again on Thursday at Arrowhead with much better attendance, but not without incident. A major 18-wheeler accident on I-85 southbound prevented many players from the Auburn and Tallassee areas from getting to the course.

There was a two-way tie for first place at plus-15 between the teams of Johnny Hassett, Perry Williams, Tom Watson and Mike Powers, and Ken Nelson, Bob Rocheleau, Melvin Leonard and Roy Collins. Third place, one point back at plus-14, went to the team of Ricky Brooks, Bobby Pruit, Turner Clem and John Bricken.

CAGA plays this Thursday at Indian Pines in Auburn.?The 2018 schedule is available at?www.CAGAGolf.com.?Players interested in joining CAGA can contact the CAGA administrator at caga.dogfight@gmail.com for additional information.

? To submit items for this golf notes column, email the information to tank4265@yahoo.com or to sports@montgomeryadvertiser.com.



'Devil-may-care, we're going to go play': The fellowship and thrill of blind hockey – Washington Post


The Washington Wheelers hope that blind hockey continues to spread throughout North America and officially become an event at the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games (Billy Tucker/The Washington Post)

The skate-safe rubber-matted hallway at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington fills quickly on a Sunday morning in January. People hurry in carrying hockey sticks; bulging bags of gear line the walls. At first glance, it looks like any other weekend at an ice rink. But there are harnessed guide dogs calmly navigating through the crowd, some skaters are wearing sunglasses or making their way with white canes, and people are including their names in greetings: ?Hi, it?s Matt.? ?Hi, it?s Karen.? They?re all here to try, or help others try, a sport new to the Washington region, and to the country: blind hockey.

Emily Molchan skates with her service dog, Remington, during a blind hockey event at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in January. (Essdras M Suarez /For The Washington Post)

The Washington Wheelers Blind Hockey Club is hosting today?s event, which includes a group skate and a demonstration game, to increase awareness and recruit players. Once everyone has the right gear, Wheelers players and several volunteers join about 20 newcomers of all ages on the ice. Some tentative skaters take the right-angled arms or gloved hands proffered to them; others carry canes into the rink and tap the wall as they go. Club co-founder Craig Fitzpatrick, 41, wearing a Wheelers jacket and a USA Hockey baseball cap, stops next to a boy in orange snow pants standing uncertainly near the door. ?Come on the ice with me,? Fitzpatrick says, swiveling backward and reaching out, so the boy can hold his hands. He pushes off, gently gaining speed until the boy?s strides grow longer and more confident. Player Emily Molchan, 24, skates with Remington, her 4-year-old Labrador retriever, who slides around the ice wearing protective bootees.

Tina Butera, a pediatric ophthalmologist and club co-founder, watches in a white Wheelers sweatshirt. ?There?s a blind person skating with their seeing-eye dog,? she muses aloud to no one in particular. ?What?s your excuse today??


Kevin Brown, a member of the Washington Wheelers blind hockey team, gives last-minute instructions to a group at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in December. (Essdras M Suarez /For The Washington Post)

Canadians have played organized blind hockey for over 40 years; in French, it?s called ?hockey sonore,? meaning hockey played by sound. But blind hockey ? players range from legally blind (or 20/200 corrected vision) to entirely blind ? has been officially organized in the United States only since 2014. Kevin Shanley, of New Paltz, N.Y., a 39-year-old engineering professor who has been legally blind since age 6, co-founded the first organization, the New York Nightshade, four years ago; Fitzpatrick calls him ?our George Washington.?

Matt Morrow, sport director for the International Blind Ice Hockey Federation as well as the executive director of the Canadian Blind Hockey Association, estimates there are about 100 players in the States, about 50 of whom are still learning, but the game is growing quickly here. According to Morrow, there are now nine American groups: the Wheelers, established in February 2016; a newer D.C.-area group, the Washington Elite, which is run by the Blinded Veterans Association; two teams in New York; and teams in Pittsburgh, Chicago, St.?Louis, Hartford, Conn., and, as of last month, Denver. (The Wheelers partnered with the BVA during the 2016-17 season, but they are now separate organizations. The Elite, which receives some funding from a Department of Veterans Affairs grant, practices in Alexandria at the Mount Vernon RECenter and, like the Wheelers, hosts introductory programs and regional events.) Canada, by comparison, has about 125 players and seven programs, according to Morrow; names include the Calgary Seeing Ice Dogs and the Vancouver Eclipse.

In both countries, the local organizations offer training and scrimmages but don?t usually compete against one another. Players, however, can attend regional and national tournaments in either country. National events in the United States include the USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival, scheduled for April in West Dundee, Ill., and the Blind Hockey Summit, which took place last fall near Pittsburgh. And Canadian and American organizers are working toward a four-nation tournament by 2020.

Anderson Ayala, 15, of Boonsboro, Md., who is visually impaired, and Leslie Saenz, 5, who is sighted, try ice skating in January. (Essdras M Suarez /For The Washington Post)

Blind hockey looks a lot like standard hockey: Players swoosh down the ice, passing a puck with the goal of slinging it into a net. But it sounds very different. The adapted puck ? a hollow metal canister filled with ball bearings, which is nearly twice the size of a regular rubber puck ? rattles across the surface, clanging like a bunch of cowbells when a hard shot sends it into the boards. Skaters find the puck by listening for it. ?It?s loud!? Butera says. ?It?s so simple, it?s genius.?

Before play begins, teammates guide goalies ? who typically have the least vision on the team ? to their nets, which are about a foot lower than regulation to minimize high shots goalies can?t hear coming (the puck doesn?t make much noise in the air). Players have to complete one pass before taking shots on net, which helps alert the goalie and other defenders to an approaching puck. A referee also uses a special electronic whistle to signal when the pass has been completed and the team is eligible to score. Jerseys are in bright, high-contrast colors so those with contrast sensitivities can differentiate teams (white jerseys are not permitted because they blend in too easily with the ice). No checking is allowed.

?People don?t understand how blind people can play hockey,? says Wheelers Coach Nick Albicocco, 35, who is sighted. It?s the sound, he says, that helps players adapt: ?The game of hockey by its nature is a confined space. Because you have boards and you have glass, it already confines the sound. You?re not in the wide open, you?re not losing sound.?

?It?s when the puck stops that I don?t know where it is,? says goalie Doug Goist, 49, of Alexandria, who lost his vision completely to retinitis pigmentosa. ?All I hear are the skates sloshing around ? shh, shh, shh ? so I know roughly where [the skaters are], on the left side or right side or in front of me. And I can hear people whacking their sticks on the ice, which means pass it to me.?

Kevin Brown describes how sound helps him as a defensive player. ?When the goalie talks, he?s focused on that one place, in the crease, all the time. He?s always my 6 o?clock. So, if I think I am going northeast but I?m going east-west, and the goalie chirps, then I?m thinking, ?Oh! That wall?s coming up faster than I thought.???

When those unfamiliar with ice hockey hear about blind players, they?re often surprised. ?People think it?s a dangerous sport to begin with, so it?s not something they think blind people can do,? says Eileen Brown, Kevin?s wife. But players like to prove doubters wrong. ?When I told my eye doctor I was thinking about playing hockey, he said, ?Absolutely not,??? Fitzpatrick says. ?And I said, ?I am absolutely going to do it after you said that.???

The Wheelers? logo nods slyly at the perception of danger. It features a man on a motorcycle, wearing a helmet with a solid visor. His hockey stick is behind him while his seeing-eye dog perches in the sidecar. Fitzpatrick ? an Air Force veteran and CEO of a technology company whose vision loss stems from Stargardt disease, a form of macular degeneration ? calls it an inside joke. ?Low-vision people tend to have a wicked sense of humor about our lot in life,? he says. ?Devil-may-care, we?re going to go play.?

Diana McCown?s preteen sons, Nate and Aiden, both have albinism, often associated with vision loss. They have been playing with the Wheelers for a little over a year, and they fly around the ice during the group skate until their mother calls them off. How do they feel out there? ?Happy,? says Nate. ?Happy,? agrees Aiden. ?I like ice.?

McCown, 44, of Takoma Park saw information about a blind hockey event on a D.C.-based albinism-focused online group. ?I really thought it was going to be a one-time thing,? she says. But after the first practice, she says, Nate told her, ???Mom, I?m going to go to school tomorrow and I?m going to tell all my friends I?m a hockey player.? And it takes your breath away, right? And one of the pieces I try to build in my kids is try to own who they are, and if they want to go play ice hockey and they can?t see a darn thing, then let them go play hockey.?

Other young Wheelers include another player with albinism, Tyrese Springer, 17, a high school wrestler who travels to practices from Catonsville, Md., near Baltimore, and Caleigh Griffiths, 19, of Chesapeake, Va., who attends Old Dominion University. An experienced skater who grew up playing with sighted teammates, Griffiths has familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, which causes progressive vision loss. She says blind hockey is easier ?because everyone else is pretty much at the same sighted level that I am, so it?s not like I?m fighting to be where everyone else is.? Predicts Shanley, who is also the blind hockey representative for USA Hockey: ?Give it five years, and we are going to have a bunch of kids? teams.?

But even players who didn?t come early to the sport love it. Goist, who is a program manager for IT services projects at National Industries for the Blind, met Fitzpatrick in a bar one evening. ?He started mentioning blind hockey and I just started laughing for like two minutes. Because it was beyond my understanding of how that would work,? Goist says. Though he agreed to come to an introductory event, he had no intention of participating. ?I just wanted to see what it was about and support it,? he says. Nevertheless, he found himself in goal, wearing pads and skates. He?s still there.

Brown, who is 46 and from Falls Church, had played and coached many sports ? including soccer, basketball and football ? but had no ice hockey experience before he started skating with the Wheelers. The director of marketing for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Brown has cone-rod dystrophy, a degenerative condition, and now only has light perception. His vision had worsened in 2016, around the same time he found out about the Wheelers. ?My philosophy in life is, I?m not afraid to fail, I?m afraid not to try,? he says. ?So, coming out was exciting, and I did a little skating, and the next morning they said, ?You want to come out and play in a hockey practice?? And I said, ?Hey, there must be a higher power telling me to come out here.? And I?ve loved it ever since.?

Kettler and Arlington County donate ice time to the Wheelers, and a nonprofit called Leveling the Playing Field offers gear ? so players don?t have to pay to participate unless they travel to competitions. Fitzpatrick?s goal for the Wheelers, which is also a nonprofit, is to raise money to hold more events, buy supplemental gear and support travel. ?The only real way to experience the whole blind hockey deal is to be part of these competitions also,? he says. ?Otherwise, you?re just practicing every week.? Brown traveled to the Blind Hockey Summit in 2017, playing in six games in a weekend. ?It was a blast,? he says. ?So personally motivating and humbling at the same time.?

At the Wheelers? weekly practices, there are usually seven to 10 blind players of varying ages and skill levels. This means that during scrimmages, sighted players often fill in for still-developing blind skaters; Fitzpatrick would like the program to grow enough for scrimmages to consistently be five-on-five, and blind on blind. ?That?s kind of the benchmark for when you realize that your program has grown and become sustainable,? he says.

Mainly, though, Fitzpatrick wants more visually impaired people to experience what hockey has to offer. ?It?s turned me around, big time,? he says, a sentiment echoed by other players.

?I can?t get enough of it,? says Brown. ?You get a lot of people that have similar challenges, and for an hour and a half on the ice you forget all those challenges.?

Playing hockey upends assumptions about blindness, says Molchan, who has Stargardt disease. ?People think that blind people can?t do things, but they really can,? she says. ?There?s nothing a blind person can?t do. Except maybe see.?

It?s time for the demonstration game, and the new skaters and their families line the bleachers, listening attentively as an announcer reads the rules over the loudspeaker. Emily Molchan?s dog waits with her at the door, tail wagging, apparently ready to head back onto the ice. She hands his harness to Diana McCown, and skates out, wearing a red Wheelers jersey.

There are 24 players, including 10 sighted players who will fill in but won?t take shots. Teams wear yellow and red. Goist is in one net. In the other is Ian Cohen, 28, a sighted volunteer and client services director of Leveling the Playing Field; he pulls a knit stocking cap over his helmet to act as a blindfold.

Albicocco, serving as referee, hoists the puck and rattles it. The McCown brothers, starting at center for opposing teams, face each other as the puck drops, clattering onto the ice. Immediately, the air is filled with sound. Sticks clack, skates shoosh, and the puck clanks into the boards, creating a racket that echoes. When players make long passes, the puck doesn?t jangle as much, but then ? wham! ? Springer knocks it, and it rattles across the ice. Players shout at each other ? ?Here!? or ?Center!? ? and Albicocco?s electronic whistle trills, signaling that a pass has been completed. Cohen, in net, gets ready for a shot.

Aiden McCown, wearing No. 4 for the yellow team, scores. His teammates crowd around, embracing him and cheering. The crowd cheers, too. But the celebration lasts only a moment. Then, the rattle of the puck cracks the air. It?s time to play on.

After the game, the players, cheeks ruddy, file out past a clapping audience. Brown, who scored to help propel the yellow team to a 2-0 victory, reflects on the day. ?The fact that I scored a goal is so infrequent, and it doesn?t happen a lot with a blind defenseman,? he says. ?But the highlight of the day was when we were taking the picture. Craig and I were standing in the front and there was a young man behind us, probably early teens. And he said, ?Mom, Dad, this is so much fun. I want to do it again.???

Eliza McGraw, a freelance writer in Washington, last wrote for the magazine about community service at Gonzaga College High School.



England rugby legend Brian Moore drops drinking game phrases into BBC commentary during Six Nations match – Mirror.co.uk


Brian Moore’s commentary took on a whole new level of relevance during the weekend’s match between France and Ireland.

The England rugby legend, on duty for the BBC’s coverage of the first weekend of the Six Nations Championship, dropped some curious phrases into his analysis.

And fans are certain they know why – they reckon it was all part of a Six Nations drinking game made popular on social media, as WalesOnline reports.

Twitter celebrity Welsh Dalai Lama’s version of rugby bingo with booze often crops up at this time of year.

The latest edition includes the usual forfeits such as having one drink every time Jonathan Davies’ favourite “Numbers” come up in commentary.

BBC pundit and England rugby legend Brian Moore

It also involves some more obscure rules like two drinks for a badly choreographed try celebration or three drinks for “fake news” being spouted out in a post-match interview.

With rules like that, it’s little wonder the game is so popular – and it seems that it has caught the attention of Moore.

The former England hooker seemingly did his best to work his way through Dai Lama’s list of commentary cliches – some likelier than others – in an effort to get viewers at home suitably merry.

Moore’s bizarre reference to France prop Rabah Slimani caught the attention of twitter users

Having worked through the usual run-of-the-mill cliches included in the game, such as “post-Lions fatigue”, Moore took things to another level when he managed to shoehorn ‘covfefe’ into his comments.

The nonsense word made up by US President Donald Trump meant players of the game had to down their whole drink.

The tweet that baffled Twitter users

Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton and Bundee Aki celebrate their narrow 15-13 win over France

Describing the new laws about less chatting back to the referee, Moore knowingly mused: “So [France prop Rabah] Slimani’s comments to Wayne Barnes (would no longer be acceptable) – perhaps they were discussing Donald Trump’s version of ‘Covfefe’ and whatever that meant, I don’t know.”

And Moore’s awkward shoehorning did not go unnoticed on Twitter.



Todd McShay's 2018 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 – ESPN


A lot has changed in the NFL since we published our first 2018 mock draft in mid-December. The deadline for underclassmen to declare has officially passed, and the full draft order is nearly set after the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Sunday.

With NFL evaluators digging more into college tape — and several players having breakout performances at the Senior Bowl a few weeks ago — our Mock Draft 2.0 has a very different look.

Here is our second projection of the 32 first-round picks in the 2018 NFL draft.

Note: All underclassmen are noted with an asterisk.

** The 49ers and Raiders are tied at Nos. 9 and 10, and the picks will be decided by a coin flip at the combine. For the purposes of this projection, we’ll say San Francisco wins the toss.

Quick links: McShay’s Mock 1.0 | McShay’s Top 32 | Kiper’s Mock 1.0


Sam Darnold, QB, USC*

I still believe the Browns need to address the QB position here, and any of the top four quarterbacks are in play now that Darnold and Josh Rosen have officially declared for the draft. This pick obviously changes (or is up for grabs via trade) if Cleveland lands Kirk Cousins in free agency. Between off-field issues for Rosen and his tools and intangibles on the field, Darnold should be the pick. I understand why Kiper went with Josh Allen in his first mock, but Darnold is a little safer. He’s the best of the bunch at this point.



Park Avenue Tennis Club in Huntington sold for $3.2 million – Newsday


The new owners plan to keep running Park Avenue Tennis Club in Huntington as a tennis facility. Photo Credit: NAI Long Island

The Park Avenue Tennis Club in Huntington has been sold for $3.2 million.

The 30,000-square-foot facility, which has four indoor tennis courts, had been operated by Michael and Deborah Bustamante for 25 years. The 2.5-acre property, at 100 Partridge Lane, was sold to Huntington residents Karen and Phil Cadorette of Peyton Capital Partners LLC.

The couple plans to continue running the…

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How the brains of woodpeckers might help American football players – USA TODAY


Conor Dillon, Deutsche Welle
Published 5:56 a.m. ET Feb. 6, 2018 | Updated 7:49 a.m. ET Feb. 6, 2018

No one knows just how many American football players walk away from the sport with a permanent type of brain damage known as CTE. But new research on woodpeckers could lead to long-term prevention therapies.

It would be a cruel trick of evolution if woodpeckers could develop brain damage just by pecking wood.

But new research from the U.S. shows that the high-force impacts do cause a potentially harmful protein to build up inside brains of downy woodpeckers.

That protein is a type of “tau,” and it is the same kind found inside the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. It is also found inside the brains of some athletes who played high-impact sports like American football, rugby or hockey.

In woodpeckers, the presence of this tau protein is odd because it would seem to suggest that the bird’s own body has not evolved to protect itself from a daily routine???chipping a hole into a tree ? which it does to forage for food, a nest or sexual advantage.

A study in 15 birds

For their study, scientists at Boston University examined the brains of ten downy woodpeckers and compared them to the brains of five control birds that don’t engage in any comparable high-impact pecking behavior, in this case red-winged black birds.

Under the microscope, zero of the five control birds showed tau “stains” indicating brain damage.

When the downy woodpeckers were examined, eight out of ten did.

That suggests the forceful decelerations of their skull against a tree are causing real damage to their brains ? or at the very least is leading to the creation of a potentially harmful protein.

More: New Boston University study links repetitive hits to head, not concussions, to CTE

The presence of these tau clumps has opened the question as to whether they’re pathological in the birds or whether they are neutral or even protective in nature.

Answering that question could be relevant toward preventing or treating Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, which develops after multiple head injuries and can lead to behavioral changes and long-term dementia. Boston University researchers recently found CTE lesions in the brains of 110 of 111 deceased former NFL players, but such lesions are also suspected to occur in other high-impact sports.

And since the tau stains were also discovered in a juvenile woodpecker, the researchers suspect that age may be a less relevant factor than repetitive impact trauma to the brain.

The study published in PLOS ONE is the first of its kind to look at the potential existence of neurotrauma in woodpeckers. With their thick necks and unique skulls, the birds had previously been considered so evolutionarily adapted to pecking that they were used as models for safety equipment such as American football helmets and neck collars.

The research also lends a bit of prescience to the 1979 poem “Woodpecker” by English poet and children’s writer Ted Hughes:

Woodpecker is rubber-necked
But has a nose of steel.
He bangs his head against the wall
And cannot even feel.

When Woodpecker?s jack-hammer head
Starts up its dreadful din
Knocking the dead bough double dead
How do his eyes stay in?

Pity the poor dead oak that cries
In terrors and in pains.
But pity more Woodpecker?s eyes
And bouncing rubber brains.

This article was originally published on DW.com. Its content is created separately from USA TODAY.

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