The AB Extra: March 27

Ab Extra1

Editor's note: Today we're introducing a new feature to, The AB Extra. Each Friday this space will feature news, notes and interesting articles from around the web in a quick, concise format. We hope you enjoy this first edition of the The AB Extra.

Heads Up Play: Maryland Prioritizes Player Safety Over Winning

Melo Trimble ResizeAlthough Maryland's men's basketball team was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by West Virginia in the round of 32, the team is receiving a great deal of praise for how they handled the head injury of star point guard Melo Trimble. 

After being accidentally kicked in the head by one of his own teammates in the second half, a clearly shaken Trimble made his way to the bench, and following a medical evaluation, was pulled out for the rest of the game. 

Pulling Trimble from the game hurt the Terps' chances of beating West Virginia, however the coaches and medical staff are being hailed for recognizing the danger of players reentering a game with a concussion, and for valuing Trimble's health over the team's success. Maryland went on to lose the game 69-59.

Super Bowl Field Moved to Local High School
Super Bowl Sod Resize2Tolleson Unified High School in Tolleson, Ariz. was the lucky recipient of the sod used for Superbowl XLIX in Glendale. 90,000-square feet of sod was donated by the Arizona
Cardinals and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee to the school. 

The new sod replaces the old field at Tolleson, which was well-maintained but was too hard and not slotted correctly. In order to receive the turf, Tolleson had to demonstrate that they had the ability to maintain it and came up with a plan involving aeration, fertilization, and how the grass will be cut. 

According to Ernie Molina, the principal of Tolleson Unified High School, the players are all incredibly excited about their new playing surface. 

"Our kids are convinced they are going to play at another level because of the grass underneath their feet."

Dedicated Indoor Pickleball Facility 
Pickleball ResizeThe Marinette Center in Sun City, Ariz. recently added 20 pickleball courts to the recreation center, eight indoors and 12 more outdoors. The new addition to the center has been popular for members, with almost 100 people on the courts only 20 minutes after the facility opened at 8am. 

The covered courts are the only ones for pickle ball in the Northwest Valley and are just one of several in the greater Phoenix area. The courts offer the opportunity for events such as local tournaments, as well as tournaments for those across the southwest U.S. 

Wendy Shackley, a pickleball enthusiast, commented on the new courts saying, "The playing surface is awesome; the bounce of the ball is really good...It's state-of-the-art; this is just wonderful."

Sun City boasts its own pickle ball club with about 425 members. President of the Sun City Pickleball Club David Sinclair said, "I think we'll have more play year-round. It's become a real draw." 

San Jose's MLS Stadium Makes Its Debut 
Avayastadium2The San Jose Earthquakes recently played their debut game at the $100 million Avaya Stadium. About 18,000 fans were in the stands for the first official game at the stadium and fans had high praise for its design. 

Sunnyvale resident Kim Hall said, "We've been coming to games for a while, and it leaves the other stadium in the dust." 

The stadium was designed with steep seating so that fans got a better view of the game and felt closer to the action. 

"It's got a very European style to it. We sat behind the goalie, and we could see great, but I think anywhere you sit you'll have a good view of the field," said Annabel Menendez of Burlingame. 

With hundreds of young soccer players in the stands, the team didn't disappoint, beating the Chicago Fire 2-1. 

Get Paid for Working Out? 
Fitcoin ResizeThe idea of cryptocurrency became a reality with the launch of Bitcoin. Now a development studio in Austin, Texas designed an app called FitCoin, which uses data from fitness tracking devices such as Mio, Atlas, and the Jawbone 3 to mine for currency. 

As an example, Grant Nicol, a FitCoin designer, wore a Mio band and ran on the treadmill for 40 seconds. During that time, his smartphone mined about five cents. 

The developer of the app, Chaotic Moon, says that users should not expect to become rich from the app but to think of it in pocket money standards. They hope that with a few modifications the app could be used to deliver lower health insurance rates to those who continue to stay active, as well as generate money for users to buy products from sports organizations if the organizations agree to that concept.  

'Hamburglar Helpers' Not Wanted at Ottawa Senators Games
Andrew Hammond HamburgerFans of the Ottawa Senators have started a tradition at home games and team officials want it to stop. Due to the success of the Senators' goalie Andrew "The Hamburglar" Hammond, it has become common for many of the attendees to throw wrapped hamburgers onto the ice, which not only creates a mess, but typically delays the game and is also a violation of NHL policy.

According to Brian Morris, the team's director of communications, "There will be zero tolerance for any items thrown onto the ice during play." The team has also taped a message that will be played before the start of the games asking fans to refrain from throwing items onto the ice. 

The Senators are not the only ones that want the hamburger throwing to end. Local food banks argue that it is a waste of food and money that could be helping others who have little to nothing to eat.  

Denise Herbert, administrator at the Osgoode Community Food Cupboard, said about the ritual, "They are paying so much for (burgers). And if the money was donated to the food banks there's so much we could buy with it. So it's a lot of money wasted."

Cubs Say Wrigley Reno Could Take an Extra Year
Wrigley RenoCubs chairman Tom Ricketts announced that renovations at Wrigley Field are going to take longer than planned. The $375 million project has four phases that will all be completed during the offseason and was slated to be finished by 2018. Ricketts now estimates that renovations will take an extra year to finish. 

Phase one began in the fall of 2014 and consists of structural steel and concrete work, bleacher restoration and new restrooms and was supposed to be done by the team's opening day on April 5th. However, construction crews have experienced significant delays due to inclement winter weather. As of now, the Cubs don't expect the bleachers to be ready until June.

While this situation is not ideal for the team or for fans, it has to be done, according to Ricketts. 

"Obviously it's not our intent to inconvenience anyone," he said. "But, that said, once every 100 years someone fixes the park, and we want to make sure we do it right. At this point that has to be our priority."

NCAA Issues Statement on New Indiana Bill
Ncaa Logo2On Thursday, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed a controversial bill into law that allows business owners to refuse to serve same-sex couples on the basis of religious beliefs. This has raised concerns with the NCAA because the Final Four of the men's basketball tournament are set to take place in Indianapolis next week.

NCAA president Mark Emmert issued a statement saying that the NCAA will make sure that players and fans traveling to Indiana for the games would not be adversely affected by the law.

"We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week's Men's Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill." 

Following the passing of the bill, The LGBT Sports Coalition voiced its support to move all major sporting events out of Indiana. An online petition has also been created that calls for the Big Ten conference's championship football game to be relocated. 

Emmett says that the NCAA will "closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events." 

UNC's Dean Smith Remembers Players in Will
Dean SmithDean Smith impacted many players during his time as the men's basketball coach at North Carolina, and even following his death, he's still finding a way to do so. In his will, Smith left $200 to every letter winner who played for him throughout his 36 seasons as a coach, a total of almost 180 players. 

Serge Zwikker, who played for Dean from 1993-1997, was touched by the gesture. 

"Even after he passed, he was still all about the players," Zwikkler said. 

In addition to the checks, Smith's trust sent a letter to all of the players on behalf of the coach, telling them among other things to "enjoy a dinner out compliments of Coach Dean Smith." 


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