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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    Fantasy sports are a relatively new age genre of online sports in which many imaginary or virtual teams that are based entirely on a real sport played by real players are assembled. Currently, fantasy sports are hugely trending, and they constitute an industry that is worth several billions of dollars and rapidly growing.

    Fantasy sports have their origin in a tradition known as rotisseries, which trace back to the second World War. Fantasy golf is reported to have first been developed in the 1950s, and the first reported fantasy football game being played at Oakland in 1962. This was closely followed by the initiation of the first fantasy baseball league in 1963.

    The arrival of the internet era significantly contributed to the mushrooming interest in fantasy sports with even well-known sites such as Yahoo offering its users a chance to play fantasy sports free of cost.

    In fantasy sports, be it football, baseball, or any other such competitive sport online, the virtual teams and players mirror the statistics achieved by the actual teams and players. The performance of each competing team and player is then converted into a standardized system of points that are tallied and managed by a fantasy league commissioner. Just as players are recruited, traded, and cut off in the actual games, players in the fantasy sports are also recruited, traded, and cut off.

    Significantly, over 58 million people in the country are known to be avid players of fantasy sports, with the industry continuing to boom in leaps and bounds.

    Many fantasy sports players are of the opinion that the drafting process is the most exciting part of the online gaming trend, where each team owner takes turns to fill up his roster with the names, statistics, and profiles of the actual players and teams.

    The American Fantasy Sports Trade Association has research evidence that indicates that each online player of fantasy sports spends upwards of $450 on these online fantasy sports, with interest being typically divided between football and baseball. These fantasy sports are closely followed by auto racing and basketball.

    A shorter, accelerated version of the regular fantasy sports are the daily fantasy sports, in which the virtual game is conducted over the span of a single day or a few days, as opposed to virtual play that mirrors the actual play that goes on for the entire length of a season.

    Today, there are literally hundreds of websites and apps that offer fantasy sports, and a huge proportion of Americans state that they commonly play fantasy sports on their smartphones, especially while commuting by public transport.

    While some people play simply because it offers a sense of connection to others who share a passion, there are many who are addicted to fantasy sports for the sheer thrill of competition.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    Gone are the days when we went in search of travel agents and tour guides to take us on holiday trips. The FIT traveler is considered the “in thing.” Of course, apart from the precondition that a leisure traveler is fit and healthy, the abbreviation FIT herein refers to a Fully Independent Traveler.

    Like most sports or industries have their own common terms or abbreviations, the term FIT is frequently used in the tourism industry. For promoting tourism locales, hotels or resorts, and transport options for traveling, the term FIT is not just relevant but significant as well.

    The FIT, i.e., a Fully Independent Traveler, refers normally to single, individual travelers who do not take the help of any agency or tour guide for their travel needs and instead plan their own itinerary or route and staying options. Fully Independent Travelers do not have any set plans and, more importantly, are not part of any large tourist groups at all. They might come as singles, couples, or as a small family, and their ages can range anywhere between 18 and 81 years. They could be young and just before stepping into college they might want to explore the world outside their homes, or they could be retirees who have not lost the enthusiasm to travel independently and enjoy new experiences in life, and everyone else in between these two sets of people. Although the advancement of internet technologies has played a major role in boosting this segment of travelers now, they did not originate recently or with the boom of available online technology or with interactive tourism. The internet is being used by Fully Independent Travelers to research and find a holiday destination of their choice, arrange for their travel to and within this place, and maybe even find hotels, resorts, or home stays that cater to their personal preferences and budgets.

    Fully Independent Travelers have enough money, are self sufficient, and can afford to spend comfortably on all their travel expenses. Taking the time to go on vacation to places that kindle their interests, be it locally or internationally, the Fully Independent Traveler can be of two kinds. FITs could either have specific interests in mind, such as wanting to test or develop their own physical and mental stamina on adventure trips such as hiking in the wilderness, or across deserts, or might want to fulfill their ambitions to study and research ancient ruins or the exhilarating world underwater. On the other hand, they could be without any particular agenda and be open to experiencing new foods, cultures, architecture, and history that are entirely alien to what they are accustomed to at home. Non traditional and unconventional are terms that are more suited for the tastes of Fully Independent Travelers in general.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    What better activity to occupy oneself with on a lovely sunny day, especially when you have the access to a lake that is abundant with freshwater wish, than fly fishing?

    Fly fishing is a very popular pastime activity among many adults, mostly among men, and uses an artificially designed bait that resembles a fly to lure the fish. The major difference between fly fishing and regular fishing is that the fly is designed to be really lightweight and, hence, cannot be used to propel the hook. The fly may be synthetic or made using some light wire and a few feathers. The reason the fly is made so light is to allow it to gently skim the surface of the water like real insects do.

    Since it is a sport that does take a decent amount of time to fully master, here are some useful tips when you go out on a fly fishing trip.

    • You must buy an adequate number of lines so that you can get the fly to whichever level underwater that you wish.
    • It might be a good idea to invest in a good pair of waders so that you can make your way through shallow waters and that you are as near as possible to the fish.
    • You will require a variety of flies in different sizes and of different appearances. Owing to the lightness of the fly, there is a probability of the fly being damaged when it is caught between the teeth of a trout or any other fish.
    • You must remember to keep a plastic bag or a covered bucket with you to store your catch. If you intend to travel long distance to fish, you might also want to pack a cooler filled with ice so that your catch doesn’t spoil.
    • You must also keep protective clothing with you especially when fishing in cold weather, and remember that even when your fishing spot is not very deep, it is advisable to use a safety vest.
    • When casting your line, you must remember that casting too far may cause your lines to get tangled up.

    When it comes to fly fishing, the simplest and basic fishing equipment work as well as the more expensive one. Especially if you are an amateur at fly fishing, it is not a great idea to invest in expensive fishing rods.

    When you choose your leader lines, do not opt for the heavier versions. A leader line that weighs 4 to 5 lbs would serve you better.

    The hardest aspect of fly fishing is that it requires patience so that you do not frighten away an approaching fish. The more your fly looks and behaves as a real fly would, the more likely you are to attract a fish towards you.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    If you are one of those people who were constantly found fidgeting with a ball from when you were very young, then any sport that uses a ball would attract your interest incredibly. American Football is a very popular sport that is played on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end by two teams of eleven players each with an oval shaped football.

    If you have been associated with football in your youth, in high school, as well as in college and have shown tremendous passion, stamina, and talent on the field, then the first step to becoming a professional footballer has been already passed. Professional coaches scout the best college football teams for their best players to sign them on and prepare them for the next level of their potential career.

    Following your favorite team or player as well as making sure you get a spot with them is the next logical step. Being a part of as many competitions, big or small as they may be, would help improve your game. Playing as a team with a professional team coach would help highlight your strengths and the areas of improvement you need to work on. Grooming and training at the club level is significant for advance further in your career. Train, train, train, train, train, and train even more everyday because unless you are the best of the best, and in your best form for every match in the beginning of your dream path, then the chances of even being chosen by a professional coach for training would be minimal.

    Being open and good at communicating your desires and dreams of becoming a professional at football with the right people as well as doing your best to be seen at the right places and at the appropriate tournaments would provide more chances of you being recruited by a scout. It does not stop with putting in the right effort, it also pays well to be confident about your talents and humble about your weaknesses as well as being a team player. This is because football is a team sport and professionals play fair games. In addition to having a flair for the game of football, having strength as well as talent in playing the game and an admirable attitude would take you places in your career.

    The drive to play football professionally and the love for kicking the ball should never slump. On the other hand, it should not become an obsession either because being in the limelight as a good player comes with the responsibility to behave well on and off the field. Working hard everyday is not an option, it is the only way to becoming a pro footballer or, for that matter, to excel in just about everything in life.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    Supposedly originating half way across the world, beyond the Atlantic Ocean in Scotland, in the closest form as it is played today (in the 18 hole format), golf is a hugely popular sport across the country. There are sufficient statistics to prove its popularity in the country.

    • Approximately 45% of all golf courses in the world, which is close to 15,300 courses, are found in the United States.
    • Florida tops the list with more than a 1000 golf courses within its state boundaries.
    • However, it is in Minnesota that most citizens play golf, which amounts to almost 25% of the locals there.
    • There are a total number of about 29,000,000 golfers in the United States, which is close to 10% of the total population of the country.
    • As it is commonly perceived, golf is a sport for those who have money or come from an affluent family background. Data shows that golfers usually have an annual income of over $100,000.
    • It is a fact that golf was played on the moon, yes, you heard me right, on the Moon – on February 6, 1971, by Alan Shepard.
    • However, right here in the United States, there are some exceptional golf courses,
      • the Pine Valley Golf Club in Camden County, New Jersey,
      • the Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, California, and
      • the Augusta National Golf Club, located in Augusta, Georgia. These are just three of the many courses that attract golfers of all kinds: the serious players, the champions of the game, and the ones who play as a hobby.
    • Furthermore, best of all, it is heartening to know that walking around an 18 hole golf course is equal to walking approximately four miles. The longest of them is the International Golf Club in Massachusetts.
    • The list of American celebrities, both men and women, who enjoy playing golf includes musicians, Presidents, authors, sportspersons (who are world champions in other games), movie stars, and businessmen. Some examples are Humphrey Bogart, Andrew Carnegie, Winston Churchill, Holly Sonders, Bill Clinton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Michael Jordan, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Chris Berman, John D. Rockefeller, and Vera Wang amongst hundreds of others.
    • Two of the greatest American golfers of all time are:
      • Jack Nicklaus: He won 18 Major Championships and has 73 PGA Tour victories to his credit. Nicklaus is the all-time greatest and is unbeaten in his records even today. Nicklaus became the first player to complete double and triple career slams of golf’s four major professional championships.
      • Tiger Woods: He won 14 Major Championships and has 79 PGA Tour victories to his credit. He’s one of only five golfers to achieve a modern-day grand slam three times and the only player in the modern era to win four modern-day majors in succession, dubbed the Tiger Slam.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    Hiking is a bit like life: “The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…again and again and again. And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.”

    This line is all that one need to get inspired. The written words sounded so simple, yet so profound. Moreover, they not only motivate one to act but to act immediately. North America offers some of the best hiking trails in the world, and the fact that one does not have to spend a lot of time or money traveling very far away gives more encouragement and excitement to those who wish to embark on the journey immediately.

    This list is available for other fellow hikers to benefit from. Irrespective of whether one is an amateur or an expert hiker, whether one is looking to go on a short and simple one day hike or looking to get away for a couple of weeks, there are many hiking trails possible. From canyons that stretch across snow capped mountains to untouched gleaming glaciers and pristine lakes, intriguing volcanoes, dramatic dunes, and clean coasts, there is so much diversity in nature, and some of the trails in this collection are surely exhilarating.

    • One such little known landscape in Utah is the Snow Canyon State Park. For beginners who want to go on a short half day hike, there are incredible sand dunes and lava fields to explore here.
    • A one day hike along the coast of California, submerging in the beauty of the Big Sur and frolicking in isolated beaches in the McWay Waterfalls trail would include scenic cliffs as well as abandoned creeks.
    • For expert hikers, the phenomenal views of fresh glaciers, many waterfalls big and small, and alpine meadows in the Grinnell Glacier trail in Montana is a strenuous but thrilling adventure nevertheless. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats give company while hiking on narrow ledges with steep drop-offs.
    • Another good hike is the Angels Landing trail in Zion National Park, which is also for brave hearts. While most of the trail is not physically demanding, the finishing leg is for those who are not afraid of heights as it can be extremely abrupt and steep.
    • For history buffs, the Paint Mines Trail winds through canyons and colored clay in Colorado. Moreover, there is human history that is at least nine thousand years old to discover. It is a moderately difficult trail with some inclined land, but the effort is worth it for grabbing some panoramic views.

    Let us wander around for a little peace and solitude. On nature hikes, where is no WiFi, we can form a better connection, especially with ourselves.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    Both field hockey and ice hockey as a form of sport were not invented, but imported from other countries into the United States. However, that has not stopped them from becoming extremely popular sports. Currently, there are 24 ice hockey teams from the country that are a part of the professional ice hockey league, which is called the NHL (National Hockey League), along with seven teams from Canada. Moreover, that does say something about the game’s recognition and why winning the Stanley Cup, which is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is considered the most prestigious victory in professional ice hockey.

    Although it is the Northeast and the upper Midwestern parts of the country that enjoy a cold winter climate, ice hockey has caught on with high intensity and fervor even in the Southeast and Southwestern parts of the country. Developed first in Montreal, Canada, in the year 1875, there are some traditional characteristics of this game that have not been changed even today.

    The most important championship trophy in the game of ice hockey is the Stanley Cup. It is named after Lord Stanley of Preston, who was the Governor General of Canada in 1892, and is annually awarded to the winner of the National Hockey League playoffs. It was awarded the first time to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association in 1893 and is currently held by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In a series of matches that went on for two months, beginning April 12, 2017, the current champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the series against the Nashville Predators.

    The unique thing about the Stanley Cup is that a new one is not made every year. Furthermore, the Cup has undergone a number of design changes, and only in the year 1958 was the current model was brought in. The Stanley Cup has many nicknames such as The Stovepipe Cup, The Cup, Lord Stanley’s Cup, The Holy Grail, and The Lord Stanley’s Mug. Moreover, as you rightly guessed, there are anecdotes behind each of these different names.

    Since the 1914–15 championship hockey season, the Stanley Cup has been won a 101 times. The Detroit Red Wings have won the Cup a record 11 times, the most by any United States based professional National Hockey League team.

    Furthermore, unbelievable as it might sound, the Stanley Cup is always chaperoned by at least one representative of the Hockey Hall of Fame, who is dubbed as the “Keeper of the Cup.” He maintains a record of who is in possession of the Cup everyday. This is because the National Hockey League allots each winning team one hundred off-season days with the Cup, and since the 1994-95 season, the tradition of giving each player one personal day with the Cup during the off-season has been followed.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    There is a strongly held view among many individuals that an athlete cannot be a vegan. In the current day context, when a large number of men and women from varying professions and fields of life are consciously opting for meat and dairy-free food, the question arises about how athletes, especially those who are involved in high-end competitive sports can cope and sustain their performance on a vegan diet.

    Eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese, and cottage cheese are among the most commonly available sources of protein for those who prefer to follow a plant-based diet. However, in the case of vegans,especially the athletes, when even these sources of protein are eliminated from their diet, the best high-protein foods available include grains and nuts, not to mention soy and soy-based products.

    Meat remains one of the few sources of vitamin B12, which is considered essential for everyone. Meat is especially necessary for athletes. Vitamin B12 levels need to be adequate in order to prevent muscle fatigue and enhance the endurance of the athletes. Unfortunately, an entirely plant-based diet would be near devoid of vitamin B12. However, on the plus side, there are now a large number of cereals and vegan food products that are fortified with vitamin B12 so that an athlete gets their daily requirement of vitamin B12.

    A good diet plan requires the inclusion of adequate protein and most athletes require at least 90 to 100 grams of protein intake per day. Merely adding a handful of cereals or sprouts to one’s salad would not have a major impact. Supplementation with vegan high-protein foods is essential for athletes who choose to be vegan. Moreover, one needs to consume a variety of proteins spread throughout the day to ensure the production of all the necessary amino acids. Apart from this, it is also essential that the diet plan of athletes who are vegans includes adequate carbohydrates and both macro and micronutrients to ensure sufficient energy, stamina, and endurance. Although many people fail to give importance to hydration, they must remember that staying hydrated all the time is another significant component.

    High-protein foods that are vegan and plant-based are now increasingly popular and more accessible both at retail stores and online as well. Some of the best high-protein foods that can be included in the daily meal plan of any athlete who is vegan by choice would include the following.

    • Nut, butter, sourced from non-dairy sources such as peanuts, cashew nuts, almonds and so on
    • Non-dairy milk, including soy milk, almond milk, melon seed milk and so on
    • Sprouted whole grain bread can be another source of protein
    • Large servings of tofu and tempeh
    • Spinach, green beans, green peas, and legumes are excellent high-protein foods.
    • Quinoa
    • Kidney beans, pinto beans, and other such beans are also considered as excellent high-protein foods.

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