The U.S. Hockey Goalie Who Stood Up To Hitler At The 1936 Olympics (via WBUR)

walletphotoolympicteam1936Francis Baker attended Hamilton College in upstate New York during the mid-1930s. He studied the German language, among other things, and he was the goalie for the hockey team. Hamilton head coach Albert Prettyman was selected to lead the U.S. Olympic ice hockey team. In early February 1936, on the eve of the Winter Games at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Coach Prettyman had a problem to solve, according to hockey historian Stan Fischler.

“The regular goalie had taken sick before they left to take the boat across to the Continent,” Fischler says. “And when that happened, Prettyman got hold of his backup goalie, Francis Baker.”

Baker agreed to join the team.

“And they arrived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen only three days before the Winter Games officially began,” Hood says.

Baker practiced with the team as they prepared to compete amid a political climate in which U.S.-German relations were rocky at best.

“Well, they weren’t cordial,” Fischler says. “Certainly by that time, even though the United States under President Roosevelt was still an isolationist country, the dislike for what was going on in Germany was pretty widespread in the States.”

That dislike found its way into the opening ceremonies on Feb. 6, 1936.

Following Hitler’s declaration before a crowd of 40,000 that the 1936 Winter Games were officially open, delegations from 28 nations marched into an open-air stadium. It was a typical display of Olympic pageantry, except for the ubiquitous Nazi flags.

Hitler had told the IOC of his demand to have athletes from all nations salute him in the customary Nazi fashion, with right arms extended and rigid.

“And the American team did not do that,” Hood says. “Their arms were to the sides.”

“They didn’t acknowledge the ‘Führer,’ ” Fischler says. “And the ‘Führer’ responded by being furious. So we had a furious ‘Führer.’ ”

“And that’s what triggered Hitler to come down into the locker room,” Hood says. … Read More

(via WBUR)

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US defeats Germany to advance to World Cup finals

Last night in Montreal, the United States defeated Germany 2-0 to advance to the finals of the 2015 World Cup, which will take place on Sunday and pit the Americans against either England or Japan. Behind goalie Hope Solo and a staunch defensive back line, the team is riding a 513-minute shutout streak, and last night’s win makes the United States the first country to reach four Women’s World Cup finals.

I enjoyed watching the (second half of the) game last night, and I realized I probably enjoy watching the women’s team better than the men’s national team (the only other soccer-watching I do).

Pros:

  • The women seem tougher than their male counterparts. Result? Less flopping. Get that garbage outta here.
  • The USWNT is more successful against its competition than the USMNT. Result? More winning. Americans love a winner, and I’m no exception.

Con:

  • Smaller fan base, for whatever reason. Result? Less exciting viewing atmosphere. Watching every U.S. Men’s World Cup game last year was a broadly public, electrically focused experience. Here’s hoping folks come out to support the women this weekend.

In light of the fact that the number of soccer games I’ve watched in the last two years is in the single digits, further comment would overburden my limited experience with the sport. Instead, I’ll just be keeping an eye on Japan and England’s match tonight and rooting for an American victory on Sunday.

ALDLAND Podcast

There hasn’t been much going on in sports lately but that does not mean that ALDLAND doesn’t have things to talk about. We talk peeing on graves, we talk invading countries to take their sports stars, as well as more normal sports topics like soccer and baseball. It’s all here in the ALDLAND podcast.

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ALDLAND Podcast

Even the ALDLAND Podcast is not immune from Lebron discussion, and so we start off the episode with that very topic. Where will he go? Why will he go there? All these questions and more are discussed. But don’t worry, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, we haven’t forgot about you and also predict your landing destinations. Not to be left out, soccer makes its presence felt in this edition of the ALDLAND Podcast as the World Cup final gets a healthy preview.

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Before the Flood: USA men’s soccer attempts to break through

Recife, Brazil, site of today’s final group-stage match between the United States and Germany, is under water. I’ll leave the real soccer talk to Brendan and Marcus (and Chris)– here’s the latest episode of the ALDLAND Podcast— and proceed with the essential information.

If the Americans beat or tie Germany, they’re into the knockout round. If the U.S. loses, though, they’ll need one of a few different outcomes in the Ghana-Portugal match, which will be played simultaneously. This chart from FiveThirtyEight summarizes what Ghana-Portugal outcomes will allow the U.S. to advance despite a loss to Germany:

Both matches begin at noon Eastern.

ALDLAND Podcast

It’s World Cup time, and ALDLAND is here to bring you coverage of the big event down in Brazil (although not live coverage, because our request for travel funds was denied). We talk surprises, not surprises, the United States of America, and how the United States of America is the most awesome country in the world. We also discuss at length how you should be ashamed of yourself if you were born in the US and root for another country over your nation of birth.

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