Blackhawks

Surfing to be official HS sport in Hawaii

552182.jpg

Surfing to be official HS sport in Hawaii

From Comcast SportsNet
HONOLULU (AP) -- Football wears the crown in Hawaii, but the real sport of kings is surfing. Hawaiian chiefs and royalty used to glide across the Pacific centuries ago as form of expression, to show courage and to compete. Today, it's big business and people ride waves across the world. "Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. "From Duke Kahanamoku to the thousands of residents and visitors who surf both recreationally and competitively, the sport is rooted in our culture and way of life." Abercrombie's comments come as Hawaii prepares to become the first state in the nation to make surfing an official high school sport, joining the likes of football, basketball, volleyball and swimming, starting as early as spring 2013. "It's quite clear, when you think of Hawaii, you think of surfing," said Abercrombie, with Waikiki beach behind him. The news conference was held near the statue of Kahanamoku, an island icon and Olympic gold medal swimmer known as the father of modern surfing. The Aloha State is known for its world-class surf breaks and competitions. It is home to many pro surfers and has produced several world champions including Hawaii's Carissa Moore, who this summer became the youngest world champion at 18. "I think it's awesome, and it will open doors for kids," said Moore, who welcomed the announcement. She said the sport taught her many life lessons growing up, such as hard work, perseverance, and time management. "Surfing and riding a wave is so much like life. You fall down over and over again, but you keep picking yourself back up until you ride one all the way to the beach," Moore said. "I know that's kind of cheesy, but I think surfing is definitely a really good outlet for a lot of teens and young kids. It's a way to channel a lot of energy into something positive. It's just really awesome." Hawaii has the only statewide public school district in the nation, which means surfing will be offered as a sanctioned prep sport in schools across the islands. Moore said it's "overdue." "I went through high school without it being a part the sports curriculum," she said. "It definitely was hard trying to find my own path and trying to convince my teachers that this is something that's really important to me and trying to find time and all that." The state Department of Education is working with the newly appointed Board of Education on developing a plan to implement surfing. Judging will be done similar to pro surf meets and there will be an individual boys and girls champions, as well as team champions, similar to golfing, said education board member Keith Amemiya, former head of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association. The board approved surfing in May 2004, but funding, safety concerns, liability and other challenges prevented the sport from becoming sanctioned. Amemiya said surfing often attracts athletes that may not be interested in traditional sports like football, baseball and soccer. "In our view, the more students that engage in athletics and other afterschool activities, the higher our student achievement rates will become," he said. With the addition of surfing, students in Hawaii public schools will have 19 different sports, believed to be the most of the nation -- from air riflery to bowling -- producing 44 state champions every year. Amemiya said the estimated cost of surfing in the first year about 150,000, with 50,000 already committed through private sources. "Because of these lean fiscal times, none of the DOE funding will be used to run the events," he said. "We're counting on the private sector and the public." The financially-strapped state is confident it will receive the necessary funding gauging from the interest from the community and corporate sponsors.

Blackhawks deal Michael Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick

michal-kempny-0420.jpg
USA TODAY

Blackhawks deal Michael Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick

The Blackhawks dealt defenseman Michael Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick. Kempny had seven points in 31 games this season.

Kempny, 27, recorded 15 points in 81 career games for the Blackhawks. He tallied an assist in Saturday's 7-1 victory over the Capitals.

Kempny signed a one-year extension through the end of this season back in May.

Anthony Rizzo declines role as an activist, says trip to Florida 'was the hardest thing I've ever had to do'

Anthony Rizzo declines role as an activist, says trip to Florida 'was the hardest thing I've ever had to do'

MESA, Ariz. — Anthony Rizzo’s gone above and beyond for his community in the wake of one of the worst mass shootings in United States history, when 17 people lost their lives last week at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, Rizzo’s alma mater.

His actions and words have carried plenty of weight in the last week, but Rizzo’s comments upon returning to Arizona were more focused on the general need for change rather than specific actions related to the issue of gun violence in America.

The Cubs’ first baseman, who returned to spring training on Monday after spending several days being with his community in Florida, repeatedly voiced the opinion — though it’s ridiculous to think there’s a counter argument that could actually qualify as someone’s opinion — that these mass shootings need to stop happening with such an incomprehensible amount of frequency.

But he stopped short of taking a full step into the national debate on the issue, clarifying that his comments made on Twitter the day of the shooting were not referencing gun control or that specific debate at all.

“Obviously, there needs to be change,” Rizzo said. “I don’t know what that is, I don’t get paid to make those decisions. I can sit back and give opinions, but you just hope somewhere up the line of command, people are thinking are thinking the same things that a lot of innocent kids are thinking: ‘Why? Why am I scared to go to school? Why am I scared to say goodbye to my son or daughter?’ God forbid someone was in an argument with someone they loved that day, how bad — it’s a bad time right now in the country with what’s going on with all these shootings.

“My opinion is my opinion. I don’t think it’s fair to my teammates and everyone else if I come out and start going one way or the other. I think, my focus is on baseball. My focus is definitely on Parkland and the community there and supporting them and whatever direction that they go. But for me it’s hard enough to hit a baseball, and it’s definitely going to be hard enough to try to be a baseball player and a politician at the same time.”

Rizzo has no more of an obligation to be a spokesman on this issue than any other American does, and his presence at his old school last week, his words at a vigil for the victims of this tragedy were powerful. Rizzo has established himself as a remarkable member of his community in Chicago, and he won the Roberto Clemente Award last season for his charitable efforts off the field. His willingness to leave Arizona and be with members of his community was reflective of the type of person Cubs fans and Chicagoans have gotten to know.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Just going back, you don’t what to say. There’s nothing you can say,” Rizzo said. “When people get shot, you’re grateful that they’re alive. When they pass away, you’re grateful that you knew them, to look at the bright side of things if you can. But just to see how real it is, it’s sad.

“The more I just sat and thought about it, I felt helpless here. That’s where I grew up, in Parkland. I got in trouble there, I succeeded there, I learned how to be who I am because of Parkland, because of Stoneman Douglas. So to be across the country and not be there and then to find out some very close people have lost loved ones, to be there to help them and support them was very important to me.”

Rizzo repeatedly said how proud he is of the students of Stoneman Douglas, who have been outspoken on social media, directing their comments toward the president and other members of the government and sharing their opinions that gun control is necessary for the violence to stop.

But Rizzo refrained from wading into that debate and even chastised those who mischaracterized his Twitter comments as a call for gun regulation.

“To be very clear I did not say the word ‘gun’ one time,” he said. “Anyone out there who wrote gun control, saying I called for gun control, I think is very irresponsible and I did not say that once.

“I don’t know what needs to be done, I don’t know. I don’t know enough about it. I know there are a lot of shootings. I know they are done with a specific make, but I don’t know what needs to be done. But something, some type of change needs to happen for the better because I’m sure people in here have kids. No one right now feels very comfortable on a daily basis sending their kid to school and not knowing if they’re going to see them again.”

That kind of message might not be as declarative as some would have hoped. But it remained a powerful one, showing that even if he wasn’t ready or willing to declare himself an activist, Rizzo shares the feelings of many Americans who are simultaneously numb to the news of these shootings and completely and entirely fed up with their frequency and the lack of action taken to stop them.

“As a human being, probably everyone in here when they first the initial (reports of a) shooter, I took my next golf swing, because that’s how numb this country is to it,” Rizzo said. “Until something crazy happens, when you hear ‘open shooter’ nowadays, it’s like, ‘OK,’ take your next breath and keep going. Then I found out it was at Douglas, you get a little more concerned, ‘OK, what’s going on.’ At first it’s a few people injured, then you found out it was what it was, and it’s just — it’s gut-wrenching. You just go numb.

“I stand behind my community, and I’m really proud of how everyone’s coming together. Obviously I said there needs to be change, I don’t know what the change needs to be. I’m just really proud of those kids and how they’re coming together and becoming one in Parkland. It’s really inspiring to see, and it makes me proud.”