Monday, July 30, 2012

Watch Out For Camila!

At the Olympic Games of London, individually, watch out for Ana Camila Vargas Palomo, who is competing in women’s rowing single sculls representing El Salvador.
She already advanced to the quarterfinals through the repechage stage with a time of 7:53:38, which will take place on Tuesday 31, 2012.
This twenty-six-year-old energetic, dedicated, experienced and ambitious athlete has participated at high-level competitions and tournaments, such as:
-          2008 Beijing Olympic Games
-          Andalucía’s League 2008. 1st Place in women’s single sculls 1000mts.
-          Pan-American Games 2007 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 3rd Place women’s single sculls.
-          Uruguayan Championship 2005, Colonia, Uruguay. 1st Place in women’s single sculls 2000mts, and 1st Place women’s single sculls 500mts.
-          Spain Cup 2005 Xochimilco, México. 1st Place in women’s quadruple sculls, and 4th Place in women’s four sculls.
-          Argentinian Championship 2004, Tigre, Argentina. 1st Place in women’s double sculls rookie level.
-          Among many others.
Curiously, Camila was born in Falcón, Venezuela, but was nationalized Salvadorian because there is where she was introduced and did sailing for the first time, and also her mother is from El Salvador. Camila resides and trains in Seville, Spain, and is known for having unbelievable and admirable will power, which helps her row against the best female rowers of the world.
Best luck to Camila. Keep making us proud!

- Y gracias por no fumar!
Ana Camila Vargas Palomo honored to be carrying
the Olympic torch. Picture from her on website

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Preview Of The Olympic Games

London 2012 is right around the corner, so it is time for a first analysis. Regularly, the Olympics have over 35 sports disciplines. However, the one that is creating the most expectation is soccer with the under 23-national teams of Mexico, Brazil and Spain.
The ‘tri’ arrives to the tournament with no pressure, but with a lot of hope, knowing that they are going to have to battle real hard to win the Olympic gold medal. This squad has high-caliber young players who understand what it is to work as a team and believe in the philosophy of the team.
The ‘verde-amarela’ will put its team’s potential to the test in this competition, previous to its own FIFA World Cup in 2014. The ‘canarinha’ squad possesses many talented players who are eager to play and win. And, like in every soccer tournament, Brazil is one of the favorite team to come out victorious of this tournament, regardless of the way that they are playing. Neymar, who is the leader and star of this team already said “we are not coming to London just to have fun”
These U-23 players who represent ‘La Furia Roja’ have just won the European Cup of their age’s level. The team has excellent players like Juan Mata of Chelsea FC, the new Barcelona FC’s defender and EuroCup’s sensation Jordi Alba, and the multi-positions Javi Martinez of Athletic Club Bilbao.  As a whole, the squad is carrying great momentum, and although they had just won a title, they are still hungry for more achievements.
Another discipline that is raising the expectation of the public is basketball.
Undoubtedly, Team USA is the team to beat at the Olympics, as they are loaded with skillful and powerful NBA stars, such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
However, while the American team almost already has the gold medal around its neck before the beginning of the Olympics, the Spanish basketball team is practicing quietly, yet with a lot of energy, simply hoping to have the chance to play Team USA and beat them in order for Spain to astonish the world, by accomplishing what seems to be impossible to so many people.
And, as a matter of fact, Spain possesses a brilliant team with names like Pau and Mark Gasol, the Congolis nationalized Spanish Sergi Ibaka, Jose Calderon and Rudy Fernandez. Without a doubt, these players provide class and big expectations to the team, which is one of the couple of teams that can make live hard to the American team, in my opinion.

- Y gracias por no fumar!
2012 London Olympic Games logo. Picture from

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Ballplayer: Pelotero" [A Must Watch]

I had the honor to be invited by El Mundo Newspaper to the world premiere of the film “Ballplayer: Pelotero” this past Wednesday at the Coolidge Corner Movie Theater, which included the presence of Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine.
"It is amazing that an island that is home to around ten million people and is shared with Haiti, has about 20% of its baseball players currently playing in the big leagues," said Bobby Valentine when he presented the film to the audience.
What most struck me about the film "Ballplayer: Pelotero" was how the Dominican youth has become so greedy. Many prospects are willing to lie to their agents, to falsify birth certificates and to take illegal substances not only to fulfill their dreams of reaching the big leagues, but also to sign a contract for an amount too high and unnecessary, honestly. These are guys who have nothing and still reject contracts worth $500,000 simply because they want even more money.
Personally, I remember that when I was a kid, I always played sports just for the fun of it. And this is where the film draws the line that separates the players who really play for the love of the sport and those who do it for the money.
The film is very informative for all types of people. Through the journey of Jean Carlos Batista, I learned that July 2 is the date when sixteen year old Dominican players can sign their multimillion dollar contracts with the MLB teams. Curiously, this is something that Jean Carlos heard for the first time when he was ten years old, but I had no idea about until the day I saw the movie.
From the unfortunate experience lived by Miguel Ángel Sanó, who at the time was Dominican Republic’s number one prospect, I realized how important it is to have family support and an experienced agent who knows all the rules of law and acts in the absolute benefit of his/her client when it is time to sign a professional contract. Because, unfortunately, there are people like Rene Gayo, who use all their influences and dirty tricks of the business to fool people and acquire the services of the most valuable prospects.
I also found very interesting the active investigation performed by the MLB with many of these prospects, as the league is aware that the vast majority of them are put under a lot of pressure, since they have to make important decisions about their futures in order to make their dreams come true and to provide a better life for their families.
Without a doubt, the film "Ballplayer: Pelotero" is extremely informative and revealing, and I highly recommend it.

- Y gracias por no fumar!

Poster of the movie "Ballplayer: Pelotero".
Picture from

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Traitor Land

“Really? Why? No, no way… I must be dreaming! He would never do this to us… I cannot believe it!”, I thought when I heard the news.

The signing of Ray Allen with the NBA Champions Miami Heat has everyone in Boston heartbroken, confused and upset. It is not only that he chose to join our biggest and most hated rival, it is that he decided to “take his talent to South Beach” even though the Heat Organization offered him half the salary the Celtics did. By doing this, Allen pretty much said “Celtics I am leaving you because I do not believe in your organization’s plans for next year, in the talent of the players I am surrounded here by, and in having a chance to win another ring”.
We all were aware of the possibility of losing Ray Allen to another team, but we never thought he would actually even consider the Miami Heat out of respect for the Celtics’ fans and his understanding of the rivalry between this two teams. Out of all the teams he could have gone to, that was simply the only place he could not. Now that this is a reality… a cruel one, this stinks even more than when Johnny Damon decided to sign for the New York Yankees. At least, Damon did it for the money, but Ray Allen did it because he did not think he would have a shot at next year’s title with the Boston Celtics.
Nevertheless, I try to look at the positive side and think that Ray Allen did not only quit on us, but also on himself. He knew he was a loved super star in Boston and that we were counting on his continuation on the team… especially, after Kevin Garnett agreed to a 3-year deal with Boston, recently. But, by avoiding the challenge of working hard in Boston for another ring and taking the ‘easy road’ with the Heat, he is sort of stating that he does not even trust his skills and abilities as much as he used to.
I understand that he did great things for the Celtics and that he is the NBA all-time 3-point leading scorer, but I wish him nothing but absolutely no success in Miami and hope that he never wins another title. He betrayed the Celtics and its fans in the worst and most hurtful possible way for the cocky and unbearable Miami Heat, and I will never forgive him for it. If you think about it, in a way, Miami is starting to become the “Traitor Land” of America in basketball, first with Lebron James and Chris Bosh, and now with Ray Allen… this is simply disappointing and pathetic. Shame on all of them!
But, do not worry Celtics fans. Be sure of one thing… just like the Red Sox did after Damon left, we will build another very talented team, come back stronger than before and win the championship again very soon!

- Y gracias por no fumar!
Ray Allen at a press conference. Picture from

Monday, July 2, 2012

What A Show: Euro Cup '12

The 2012 Euro Cup just ended and it certainly left a lot to talk about. Firstly, Spain showed the world why they are the World and European Champions. “La Furia Roja” gave no chance to Italy in the final match, or any other contestant throughout the tournament by being true believers in their system of play. As usual, Spain displayed great ball possession and domination of the game, which led them to history, as they now are the only team ever to win three consecutive major tournaments (Euro Cup 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro Cup 2012).
Though, Italy was the loser of the final match, the team showed great progress, smart coaching and astonishing leadership and guidance by Andrea Pirlo. The midfielder proved to be one of the best in the game, as he has it all: talent, intelligence and experience.
The biggest disappointment of the tournament, without a doubt, was the poor performance of The Netherlands. A squad that had it all to win, and came in as one of the favorites to take the tournament home, simply did not deliver. Overcome by the selfishness of some of the players and the vague decisions of its coach, this Dutch team never got its engine going and did not even get a single point out of the competition.
The greatest acknowledgement of the Euro Cup was that FIFA President Joseph Blatter finally understood and gave in, admitting that the goal-line technology has to be implemented in the game of soccer, as wrong goal calls keep happening even with assistant referees by the goal line of each net.
Three strikers who caught my eye on the positive side were Andriy Shevchenko, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano. Shevchenko had a wonderful impact on game one of the Euro Cup for his Ukrainian team that was trailing 0-1, but because of his two headed goals, Ukraine ended up winning the game 2-1. And after his team got disqualified the 35-year-old striker announced his retirement of the national team. Ibrahimovic, showed the world why he is one of the most lethal strikers in the game by scoring the best goal of the tournament against France side kicking the soccer ball in the air. And, Cassano’s performance on the pitch after having heart surgery about nine months ago was just beautiful to watch. The Italian striker made a statement of his own, proving to be 100% recovered from his surgery and showing that he still has a lot left in the tank to play at the top competitive level.
I must clarify that Jordi Alba was the surprise of the tournament to whoever does not follow Valencia F.C. and/or the Spanish League (La Liga), because this 23-year-old left footer defender has been playing in La Liga the same way he did at this 2012 Euro Cup for the past two years, at least. He has been making those runs down the line and having a great input defensively and offensively for Valencia F.C. for a while now. Lastly, I want to add that even though Spain came out victorious of the competition, I believe that Roberto Soldado should have been called to play for the Spanish national team at this Euro Cup. He deserved it, as he worked hard all season long and was actually the Spanish forward in the 2011-2012 La Liga, along with Fernando Llorente, with the most goals scored (17 goals). I think that if Soldado had been called up, Spain would have performed better at the Euro Cup, and coach Vicente Del Bosque, would have had a better line-up counting with a true number 9 on the team, who is currently going through a really good phase in his professional soccer career.

- Y gracias por no fumar!
Spain celebrating its 2012 Euro Cup title. Picture from