Hi folks! So you guys have me delivering the Weekly Wrap this time around. Lucky, lucky you! I feel as though I should just go ahead and apologize in advance for this upcoming pathetic attempt at a “themed” weekly wrap. But today does kick-off day one of the FIFA World Cup, so, obviously I’m inclined to go with a soccer theme. I’m pretty certain I’ll be running out of material rather quickly. But I’ll give it a shot nonetheless. I’m warning you — you should probably keep your expectations pretty low.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the media tends to focus on troubled athletes and regularly ignore the many, many good sports folks out there. Well, guess what? I’m about to highlight some of the good. Read about a bunch of soccer, rugby and cricket players joining together to raise HIV awareness and prevent violence towards women.
The timing of that campaign wasn’t coincidental by any means. Cases of domestic violence nearly tripled during the last World Cup. In an effort to prevent seeing the same trend this year in South Africa, the West Yorkshire Police Department launched “Don’t Let the World Cup Leave its Mark on You.” Ximena Ramirez tells you all about it.
Wow, remarkably, moving right along with the theme … next up is a guest post from Scott James. James is founder of Fair Trade Sports, which offers the world’s first line of Eco-Certified and Fair Trade-Certified sports balls for soccer, football, basketball and more.
Let’s see, any chance Helen Thomas — at any point during her illustrious journalism career — ever covered a World Cup? The first World Cup took place in 1930 when Thomas was just nine years old. There have been 17 tournaments in her lifetime. What do you think the chances are of her having some tie-in? Well, after some hardcore research, I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn that, no, I didn’t find any evidence that the highly respected (up until last week) White House journalist ever spent anytime on a soccer field. Nonetheless, I’m sure you’ve heard of Thomas’ abrupt retirement this week. Well, Erin Polgreen wonders whether a double standard came into play.
Okay, no matter what team you’re rooting for at this year’s Cup, you can be sure global warming is affecting their country. Well, Nancy Roberts explains that whether or not you believe in manmade climate change, being prepared is a good idea. Cities from Da Nang to Boston are looking at ways to help their community survive rising sea levels.
Alright, I’ll admit, that tie-in was lame. Nicole gets a yellow card. (For non-soccer fans, a yellow card is a warning handed down to a player by the referee.)
Okay, so here’s a story certain to make animal-friend — and National Soccer Hall of Famer — Michelle Akers happy. Akers, who in 2002 was voted FIFA’s Woman Player of the Century, dedicates much of her time to rescuing horses. Because she’s a fan of pet adoption, I’m sure she’ll appreciate Angel Flinn’s post about some cities new law to ban pet stores.
A story Akers likely won’t enjoy is this one by Megan Drake. Although California law sees no difference between companion animals and animals raised for food, a Santa Cruz District Attorney still refuses to prosecute abusers of chicks and ducklings at Cal-Cruz Hatcheries. And ironically enough, the soccer superstar, Akers, was born just 30 miles south of Santa Cruz — in Santa Clara, California. I couldn’t make this stuff up, people!
Now, the race for the coveted World Cup pales in comparison to the race to pelicans, sea turtles and other wildlife hit by the gulf oil spill. Rescue teams have seen a sharp increase in the number of animals washing onshore covered in oil and struggling to survive. This acceleration has put wildlife rehabilitation centers and experts from all parts of the country on high alert. Biologists and scientists are ready to move to the Gulf Coast to save every possible animal, as Sharon Seltzer reports.
And sadly, as Beth Buczynski tells us, serious scientific studies have shown that oil-soaked birds have a less than one percent chance of survival, even after they’re rescued and cleaned off. These findings have led an experienced German biologist — and even the World Wildlife Federation — to admit there are some cases in which it’s just better to put these animals out of their misery.
And in even more news out of the Gulf, Suzi Parrasch talks with Food & Water Watch about whether or not BP Atlantis could be another Deepwater Horizon just waiting to happen.
So the US team’s first match is against England on Saturday. Wonder what the Brits think about these fantabulous (sense the sarcasm) mouth-shaped urinals that have been popping up in restrooms all over the world, including Brighton. See what our Robin Marty has to say about these creepy creations.
Hmm, I wonder if Pope Benedict XVI will be glued to ESPN on Monday when defending World Cup champs, Italy, take on Paraguay? Well, regardless of whether or not the Pope is a soccer fan, he’s certainly not a fan of this next story. A middle schooler in Schenectady, NY, was suspended from school for refusing to take off his rosary beads, reports Judy Molland. How blasphemous!
And the dirty “R” word in soccer could maybe refer to the dreaded “red card.” You get a red card and you leave the game. End of story. But this isn’t the dirty “R” word Kristina Chew is referring to in her latest post. Find out what “R” word Kristina is talking about.
Now I’m going out on a limb and guessing Arizona won’t be hosting a World Cup anytime soon. Nonetheless, Jessica Pieklo continues her great coverage of the troubled state and it’s new immigration law. This week she told us why immigration makes cities safer, even in Arizona.
And lastly — only because, for the life of me, I can’t come up with a witty soccer tie-in — Steve Williams informed us that in most states, it’s still legal to deny someone housing or rental services based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Thankfully, and after a long wait, changes are in the making.
Well, there you go, guys, I did it! It may not have been pretty, it may not have good flow, and some of it may not have made a whole lot of sense, but I’m still considering it a success. *Enter image of Nicole patting herself on the back*
If all that awesomeness wasn’t enough to get you pumped for the biggest sporting event in the world, check out my favorite ESPN commercial right now. It stars Landon Donovan — the reigning U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, the U.S.’s all-time leading international goal scorer, and a TOTAL cutey.
thanks to Peaco Todd for the image