Posts Tagged ‘Emily Phung’

A look at NASCAR from Emily’s view

October 1st, 2013 by Emily Phung | 1 Comment | Filed in General, Sports, TalkSportsPhilly

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I had the pleasure of going to the second biggest televised sports in the US after football, which was a NASCAR race this past month. To give you a bit of background, it is a globally televised event with over 75 million fans that involves stock car and truck racing. NASCAR started back in 1947 by William France, Sr in Daytona, Florida. Daytona Beach is home to NASCAR headquarters, because in the past, it was an area where speed records were held since the highways there are long and straight, which allowed for optimal racing conditions. Many elite and well recognized companies sponsor the races such as Walmart, Home Depot, and Target to name just a few. NASCAR holds three series of races, which are the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the most recognizable of all the 3 series of races. It consists of 36 races over 10 months and the Chase for the Cup is when the top 12 drivers compete to be eligible for the championship. A winner of each race wins 43 points and the hierarchy of points falls afterwards. The winner gets a sizable monetary award as well as other fringe benefits. The Nationwide Series has fewer races than the Sprint Series and also has less award money and has less prestige. The Camping World Truck Series uses pickup trucks that are modified from their regular use into speed machines.

My experience at the race

I arrived in Dover, Delaware for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and could see for miles that people were camping out and tailgating right next to the stadium. It was fun to walk through the tailgating sections to see how fans decorated or how elaborate their food selection was. Before walking into the main event, there were trailers decorated with the race car drivers where you can buy their promotional and marketing gear. A lot of the sponsors also bring in their own cars to show them off or give out samples of their products to try. Before the race, they have a few trucks riding around with jet dryers (the ones from commercial airplanes) to clean off the track to ensure a clean race. Afterwards is when the fun starts.

The drivers are introduced and then they head into their racecars to begin the race. They do a few laps following a safety car (a car that leads the racecars in the beginning of a race or when there is a cautionary flag) and then once the safety car drives into the pit area, the racing begins or resumes. At this particular race, it was called the Monster Miles, which is stated to be the World’s Fastest one mile oval. The  drivers had to do 400 laps to finish the race. It was quite a loud race since they are going more than 175-200 mph so wearing headphones or earplugs is highly recommended. I especially loved watching the speed of the pit crew changing tires when the drivers needed some maintenance on their racecars. Overall, it was a warm sunny day and perfect driving conditions for the drivers. It took about a little over 3 hours, and in the end, Jimmie Johnson,who won 5 titles previously for the NASCAR Sprint Series, won the race.

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Game 2 Preview: Chargers vs. Eagles Match-Up Breakdown

September 12th, 2013 by Emily Phung | 1 Comment | Filed in Eagles, Football, TalkSportsPhilly

The second game of the season for the Birds is coming up this Sunday versus the Chargers at 1 pm. This match-up is highly anticipated due to the close similarities that both teams have. Here’s why:

  • New Coaches
    • Both coaches debut as the newest blood for these struggling football dynasties. Both Mike McCoy and Chip Kelly have already infused new life and character into the team, which was apparent from last MNF’s games. The teams’ new dynamic was a welcome surprise for fans of both teams.

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The Curse of the Phillies BIG Contracts and Renewals

April 28th, 2013 by Emily Phung | Comments Off on The Curse of the Phillies BIG Contracts and Renewals | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

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by Emily Phung

I have always been an avid Philadelphia sports fan, but my frustration began in 2000 when I could not understand why the Philly teams were not winning any games especially the Phillies. That’s when I learned about the curse of Billy Penn. The gist of the story is that when Liberty Place was built in ’87, no Philly sports team won a championship from that point forward. The theory was that the losses were associated with the William Penn statue (which is affixed on top of City Hall). The statue was no longer the tallest object in the Philly skyline. In spring 2007, I decided to take matters into my own hands (what true sports fan wouldn’t?) and try to reverse the curse by setting up an incense-filled shrine filled with all my Philly sports bobbleheads, figurines, jerseys, and autographed pictures to rid of the bad demons that this curse held. That year, the Phils won the NL East after a 14 year draught! I was over joyous so I continued burning incense and building a Philly themed sports shrine the next few years. Coincidentally, for the following 4 years, the Phils continued to clinch the NL East division with one World Series win. I honestly think that the William Penn statue atop the Comcast Center did not reverse the curse, but I did (so I may be a bit biased). 2012 was a busy year personally so I never had the opportunity to hold this annual ritual. To my dismay, the Phils did not continue their winning streak. However, one thing is certain since 2012; the Phillies players have been struggling individually after renewal or extension of a bigger contract. Is the Curse of Billy Penn back?

I honestly think it is back and behind that curse is Rubén Amaro, the general manager responsible for those Phillies contracts. Bold statement you say, well let’s break down the circumstantial evidence in regards to the curse of the Big Phillies contract (aka version of the Curse of Billy Penn). First up is Ryan Howard, the Phillies home run king. 2004 he entered into the Philadelphia scene as a young promising player. He certainly was one of the best rookies that came into the Philly scene. After ’04, Howard began to be on ‘fire’. He was Rookie of the Year in ’05. Then MVP in ’06, contributing to the Phillies World Series in ’08, but after ’10 it seems like downhill. Ironically, 2010 was the year that Howard signed his extension. A whopping $125 million contract was rewarded to Howard, which many claim is too much for a continuously injured-hampered athlete (Achilles heel to groin injuries). Howard is not as an effective power hitter as before and that may be due to his recovery from prior injuries. Amaro threw down a big contract down to keep him, and now he’s stuck with Howard for a while. Is Amaro a bit upset? One might think so since Howard hasn’t had a long of game time and that means Amaro is not getting his money’s worth. It’s unfortunate, but that is the truth at the end of the day. Howard is a great player all around, but that big payday may be haunting Amaro.

The most recent of all contracts is this past summer’s resigning of World Series MVP, Cole Hamels. He has a 6 year contract with an average of $24 million dollars. That is the second highest in baseball after Yankees’ Sabitha. Amaro definitely found a rewarding way to thank Hamels for posting up some great pitching stats during the World Series playoff games. After Hamels signed on for a few more seasons, terrible pitching started to hinder him resulting in many surrendered runs and major game losses. Can Hamels dig himself out of this pitching deficit? I believe so, because it is still early in the season. Hamels is young and still has time to rebound back to his recognizable pitching self.

Cliff Lee was the hottest pitcher at the end of baseball season 2010. The Rangers and Yankees made lucrative contract offers to tempt Cliff to join on board. However, Cliff was ‘PHaith’ful to the Phillies nation, and came back to in December ’12 with a $120 million contract thanks to Amaro. After signing his contract, Lee began swallowing his pride a little bit since he was not posting up the results as prior years. Eventually, Lee got back to his momentum, but one must wonder was he cursed just a bit by signing Amaro’s big contract.

After his contract extension in ’10, it has been somewhat a quick decline for Roy Halladay. Halladay, known as the overachieving double Cy Young winner and pitcher of the perfect game in ‘10, is not pitching like he used due to a shoulder ridden pain that occurred last year. He used to throw ‘fastballs’ and now can barely pitch faster than 90 mph. Roy even claims to be tired and worn out and admits that his strength is not where it used to be. Thankfully, other teammates such as Ruiz has been helping Halladay make some great defensive plays off the pitching mound. Halladay’s age may be showing, and Amaro has to make a decision if to keep Halladay after this season or it’s time to let him go.

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In the action at the Philadelphia Soul Home Opener- A TalkSportsPhilly exclusive

April 22nd, 2013 by Emily Phung | Comments Off on In the action at the Philadelphia Soul Home Opener- A TalkSportsPhilly exclusive | Filed in General, Soul, TalkSportsPhilly
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Soul Home Opener

by Emily Phung

What’s it like being at a Soul game? Here’s a follow-up from the article, “Is your “Soul” missing football?” I was fortunate to attend the Philadelphia Soul home opener versus the Cleveland Gladiators at the Wells Fargo Center. I had a great seat, which was located in the field zone next to the pads right by the end zones. The action is literally in your face. Footballs are thrown towards you since this is where the touchdowns happen so thankfully there was some netting right above to risk from being hurt. If you were below the netted area or in the surrounding stands on the side, you had the opportunity to pick up an in-play football.

025The Soul certainly makes it entertaining to attend. To go with the ‘Soul theme”, they have a Soul Man mascot (similar to the Blues Brothers) running around, dancing, and high-fiving you. He’s fittingly dressed in the Soul’s color of blue and has some sweet Ray Ban type sunglasses to rock out in. Quite sharp dresser I have to say for a mascot. The Soul invited marching bands to play at the home opener, which really got the crowd dancing and swaying to the wonderful beats during time-outs and media breaks. The nineteen Soul cheerleaders known as the Soulmates also brought up the spirit of the team and crowds by doing acrobatic cheer moves to entertaining us with some great dance numbers.

The Soulmates could be strategically found in various sections along the spectators if they were not in the field and were quite approachable when it came to picture-taking. During breaks, time-outs, and halftime, the Soul staff put on various side shows of entertainment.  Little kids from the audience were invited to participate in fun events such as catching parachuting bags in a bucket & throwing on different parts of a construction outfit as they raced down the football field, which was quite amusing.

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Is your “SOUL” missing Football?

April 19th, 2013 by Emily Phung | Comments Off on Is your “SOUL” missing Football? | Filed in Football, General, Soul, TalkSportsPhilly

soulparxlogoby Emily Phung

After the Super Bowl ends, it seems like an eternity until fall rolls around for another football season. However, there is a temporary solution for you come spring and summer that will ease your football ‘yearnings’. The answer is arena football! Luckily, Philadelphia has one of the best arena football teams in the country! The Philadelphia Soul won their first ArenaBowl in 2008 and has been a contender since. What makes indoor football unique is that the field is a lot smaller (half the size of a regulation football field to be exact) so that means lots of plays and high scoring games. The fast pace feel makes it quite enjoyable for those who love lots of action in a short period of time. A typical game comprises of 4 15-minute quarters so it is not a whole day affair unlike other sporting events.

In the summer, when it gets to unbearable to even be at a baseball game, it’s a great sporting venue to go to. It’s indoor and always comfortably air-conditioned since it is played on ice hockey or basketball venues. The Philadelphia Soul play at the Wells Fargo Center, which is home to the Philadelphia Flyers and Sixers. To prepare for the games, they pad up the sides since the arena is smaller and the likelihood of an injury is higher. The unique thing is that even when a ball bounces off the padded walls, it is considered to be part of active play and is not out-of-bounds unless the player steps out or is thrown out-of-bounds. It’s a small roster as you would expect due to the games being shorter and the field being smaller. 20 men compose a team and 8 of these players are always active on the field. In the game, one substitution is allowed each quarter for each position. As a result of fewer playing options than regular football, the coach must make important decisions when substituting players. There are 3 time-outs per half and halftime is 15 minutes.

Another great reason to go to a Philadelphia Soul game is that it is reasonably priced. Arena football tickets are a lot cheaper than the regular football tickets. What you would spend on one regular season football ticket could equate to a few Soul game tickets along with food and drinks. That’s a bargain especially if you want to get friends together or take a family out for some exciting entertainment. The Philadelphia Soul also is known to have lots of free post game entertainment (mainly concerts), which is a great personal touch since it’s their way of showing appreciation that you attended. Drop by the Philadelphia Soul’s home opener versus the Cleveland Gladiators on Saturday, April 20th at 7 pm to see what this talented team holds and to get your football fix!

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A Flyers Fan in Montreal Canadiens territory

April 3rd, 2013 by Emily Phung | Comments Off on A Flyers Fan in Montreal Canadiens territory | Filed in Flyers, General, Hockey, NHL, TalkSportsPhilly

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by Emily Phung

April 3rd is yet another big game day for the Flyers. The Flyers are due to play one of the current top NHL teams, which happen to be one of our biggest rivals. The team in reference is the Montreal Canadiens. Reflecting back from a recent trip, I thought it would be a great time to share a recent experience on how a Flyers fan fares in Montreal.

As a fan, I always enjoyed traveling to different cities to support my home team. However, I have never been to another country for a sporting event nor have been to a country where the fans were just as or more passionate than those in my home territory. I decided to take a trip to visit Montreal where hockey is the main attraction. I was curious to see how the fans were and how would they treat a foreigner from a rival team.

I looked at the schedule and decided that the February 16th game was the perfect one to go to since it was on an extended weekend. That game happened to fall on President’s Day weekend and considering that I had 3 days off, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to take a leisurely drive up north. It’s a long drive approximately 7-8 hours, but it’s do-able in one day. I went online to purchase tickets for that day. However to my dismay, I found out that all the Montreal Canadiens regular season tickets were all sold out. I then went through a couple of ticket websites similar to Stub Hub and found memily2artyself shocked at how much the prices were for just standing room only. The lowest priced tickets started at $325 Canadian dollars. (The Canadian currency is almost the same as with the US). Knowing that fact, I decided to forgo the tickets, but that did not deter me away from my road trip to Montreal. I was determined to experience the Canadian fan hockey environment and drove up that weekend to witness it all unfold.

My boyfriend and I decided to go to one of the top Montreal sports bars in the city called La Cage aux Sports located in the heart of Montreal. We chose this location specifically to see how true Canadien fans would handle themselves and to experience hockey in true Canadian pub fashion. We sat at the bar, which certainly was a spot where we stood out in our orange and black glory. However, to my surprise, the locals just laughed at us since we had the guts to sport the shirts and were quite accommodating even buying us beers and shots throughout the whole game. We even gained respect from them since we had traveled far to support our team. The locals were surprisingly jovial even when the Flyers scored a goal on a few occasions. In the end, the February 16th game was not fruitful to the Flyers. Although it was a loss hockey wise, I gained a lot of respect for the Canadien fans. I appreciated their passion for their team, their great sports etiquette towards rival fans, and their hospitality to those who came from afar. I would definitely recommend a trip up north to a Flyers fan who always wanted to try out the Canadian hockey experience. From the amazing restaurants to the sports culture, you certainly won’t be disappointed!

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A Family Affair at the Super Bowl

February 1st, 2013 by Emily Phung | Comments Off on A Family Affair at the Super Bowl | Filed in Football, General, Sports

Are you Ready to Rumble!!

It’s the most anticipated time of year for many Americans. It’s officially Super Bowl weekend! This year’s Super Bowl will certainly be one of the most interesting football games to watch! Here’s a quick rundown to the moving factors that will make it more exciting than prior years.

One thing is for certain. It’s definitely a family affair! Both coaches (Jim and John Harbaugh) are brothers with similar football backgrounds. The sporting world has nicknamed this matchup as the ‘Bro Bowl’, which is so fitting. Jim and John both played football in college. Post-college though is where the road splits a bit. Jim Harbaugh was able to excel at the sport, which led him to some NFL time. Ironically, Jim was a player on the Ravens at one point (where John coaches now), and Ray Lewis was his teammate! Funny to know he was on the opposing team at one point and that he may have a bit of the insider scoop to how the Ravens work. John, however, went directly from college football to coaching, specifically special teams for many years. It is apparent that the Ravens benefited from his style of coaching the last few years since the Ravens are more known for their defensive style. John has had a longer tenure of coaching and has been quite successful at it. It will be interesting to see how these two brothers will coach their respective teams on the field: Jim with lots of ‘internal’ playing experience & John with a lot of ‘internal’ coaching experience.

A major factor for a Super Bowl win is the quarterback. The Ravens’ Joe Flacco has a lot of experience in seasoned situations. Flacco is known to be one of their big playmakers. He has broken franchise records since becoming a Raven such as setting passing yards and passing touchdown records. He has brought the Ravens to the playoffs numerous times. Flacco been around for awhile and is known for his consistency. The San Francisco 49ers brought in Colin Kaepernick after Alex Smith got injured, and this decision certainly changed the dynamic of the 49ers around.

Kaepernick has proven from playing just 10 games that he has the momentum to bring the 49ers to a Super Bowl win. He has given new life to the team since he works with them well. He knows where his receivers are and brings it down. His versatility as a quarterback makes him a force to be reckoned with. His dead on accuracy to his speed is something that Flacco seems to lack right now. This matchup will be exciting to witness which is a young amateur quarterback vs. an older experienced quarterback. It shall be interesting how Joe and Colin perform under great pressure since it will be both their first Super Bowl match.

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