Local soccer player trains in neighborhood park, Kent Trails for chance at pros (via The Rapidian)

dsc6106It’s an overcast February day at Clemente Park. The late winter thaw has melted the snow revealing the dull, listless grass. A young man in sweats pulls up in a faded black Nissan Sentra and begins to pull some gear out of the back seat. Ernesto Pulido is tall and lean with flowing wavy hair, cut close on the sides and in the beard. He pulls out some ragged pink Nikes and meticulously laces them up. “I really don’t like to change shoes,” he explains. Typical of many athletes, he’s particular about keeping his gear unchanged.

Pulido is here for his solitary training session. He trains for an hour in the morning, and then again in afternoon. But there’s no team, no school, and no job. This not by bad luck or laziness. No, Pulido has made a tough decision to leave his engineering program at Ferris State University to travel to Mexico to accept an invitation from a professional Mexican team, and follow the unlikely dream of a career in professional soccer. … Read More

(via The Rapidian)


Playing chicken on skates: The Predators and Red Wings pull the goalies in Detroit

We are headed back to Hockeytown this weekend to watch the Red Wings host the Nashville Predators on Saturday night. My first time at Joe Louis Arena, one year ago, was so great, and I can’t wait for this next visit.

Detroit and Nashville used to see a lot of each other when both played in the Western Conference’s stacked central division. They have fewer opportunities to square off since Detroit’s move to the Eastern Conference this year, though, so each meeting takes on greater importance.    Continue reading

The voice of West Michigan sports moves on

Even though I no longer live in the listening area, I still tune in to WBBL– “West Michigan’s Sports Leader”– from time to time when I want a dose of local perspective on Michigan-based teams, and I did so this morning, expecting to hear “Bakita & Bentley,” the station’s usual morning show. I heard Ray Bentley, but the other voice was one I didn’t recognize. At first, I assumed it was someone filling in for the show’s usual lead, Bret Bakita, but as the conversation between Bentley and “Doc” continued, I began to get the feeling that the two were working on developing a more lasting rapport between each other and with the listening audience. Bakita was never mentioned as being out sick or on vacation. Before leaving for work,  I found this story, which confirmed that Bakita had left the show and the station.

This isn’t the death of Pat Summerall— the voice of the NFL, along with John Madden, for a generation– or even the departure of Paul Finebaum from WJOX— the temporary silencing of the voice of the SEC– but Bret Bakita was WBBL, and WBBL was West Michigan sports radio. He joined the station in early 1994, and he was the most prominent on-air voice across the station’s programming for the nineteen-year period that ended in late February of this year.  Keep reading…

The next Floyd Mayweather?

Yes, Floyd’s still doing his thing, although his thing seems to be less and less about boxing these days. Mayweather is thirty-five years old and still undefeated, the pound-for-pound champion of the sport, the self-proclaimed face of boxing. His mix of wealth and outspokenness keeps him relevant even as, for a variety of reasons, he fights less frequently. Juan Manuel Marquez’s knockout of Manny Pacquiao earlier this month only serves to complicate the question of whether Pacquiao and Mayweather ever will fight.

Meanwhile, Grantland has the story of Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, a young fighter who, like Mayweather, has Grand Rapids roots, preaches a gospel of hard work and dedication, and doesn’t lose:

(Here‘s the original post.)

Detroit Sports Report: West-Side Edition, feat. hockey, superdrunkenness, and teletubbies

I didn’t think Detroit sports could leave me speechless twice in one week, but then I saw this story. From MLive.com:

Detroit Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan had a blood-alcohol content of .30 – nearly four times the legal limit and nearly double the threshold for the “super-drunk’ charge he faces following his arrest in late October by Grand Rapids Police.

Sheahan, 20, who plays for the Grand Rapids Griffins, was wearing the costume of a purple Teletubby, also known as Tinky Winky, when he was pulled over by police on Oct. 29.

He also was charged with providing false information. He was carrying the Michigan driver’s license of Brendan Smith when he was pulled over by police on Ottawa Avenue NW in downtown Grand Rapids.

Sheahan, who is from St. Catharines, Ontario, is teammates on the Griffins with Smith, also a touted Red Wings prospect.

Full story here: http://mobile.mlive.com/advannarbor/pm_115751/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=Vv3ROLss

Based on the information I’ve seen online, police arrested Sheahan right outside an office building in which I used to work.

(HT: Laura)

The Rev. Al Green reminds us why a prophet is not accepted in his hometown

Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” – Luke 4:23-24.

Legendary soul singer Al Green was born in Arkansas, and he’s an ordained pastor at a Memphis church, but Grand Rapids, Michigan is his hometown. He grew up here from a young age, and he attended the same now-defunct high school as Gerald Ford.

But when Rev. Green returned to GR for the first time in over ten years, he mailed in his homecoming. After starting more than an hour and fifteen minutes late, Green played for not more than an hour and offered no encore, though after a brief, mostly flat performance, the disappointed audience’s request for an encore was pretty tepid.

Yes, Green still has his vocal range, if not a youthful stamina, and his twelve-piece band was fine. He sang “Let’s Stay Together,” and he did a disjointed medley of Motown snippets, but his brief set left the audience wanting a lot more. That may be an appropriate strategy for an up-and-coming act playing small clubs and building a following. It really isn’t an appropriate strategy for an established stars playing to a sold-out crowd, each of whom ended up paying more than a dollar a minute for Green to coast through his light performance.

While the, “It sure is great to be here in [fill in the blank city]!” is a throwaway line musicians use at every stop on a tour, it is a meaningful ritual because the audience really does love it, and because observing its execution can offer insight into the performer’s commitment to the individual performance. Whatever its value, Green didn’t make it easy to definitively answer the question, “does he know where he is?”, scattering his geographical shout-outs across the state. Although a tally of municipal mentions upon review of the concert transcript (those exist, right??) likely favored Grand Rapids, Green acknowledged Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Muskegon, and other locales during his time on stage. The number of Michigan cities he named may have outpaced the number of songs he performed, which actually might sort of be a backhanded compliment to the Michigander audience in light of the state’s inferiority complex. Green sufficiently resolved whatever uncertainty existed in the fans’ minds when he sent us off with, “Good night Pontiac!”, though. Regardless of whether he knew where he was, he didn’t care, and that was illustrative of his approach to the night as a whole.


Hang out at the Hangout
ALDLAND’s 2011 live music reviews