Fast Break - May 2007

Up in Flames; Guy Talk

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May 2007
Fast News
Up in Flames
photo by Dalasie
Large swaths of the nation's largest urban park were laid to waste this week as a wildfire swept through 817 acres of Los Angeles' Griffith Park. The fire forced the evacuation of Griffith Park's landmark zoo and recently renovated observatory, as well as the homes of several hundred residents who live near the 4,200-acre park, which is nestled in the hills between Hollywood and San Fernando Valley.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fire began on May 8 around 1:30 p.m. Pacific time - a day on which the temperature in Los Angeles hit a record 97 degrees Fahrenheit, 23 degrees above normal. (This spring season's unusually dry and hot weather have made the park's dense vegetation - some of which hadn't burned in more than a decade - all the more susceptible to fire.) By late afternoon, it appeared that the more than 500 firefighters responding to the blaze from the air and ground had it under control. But shortly after dusk, a wind shift scattered embers, igniting several small flare-ups in hard-to-reach hills and canyons. Local authorities had yet to determine the cause of the blaze by Thursday morning, but did say that the fire started about a half-mile east of the Griffith Park Observatory. The fire was 75 percent contained by Wednesday evening, and was expected to be fully contained by the end of Thursday.

Although officials suggested that this week's brush fire is Griffith Park's largest in at least 45 years, it isn't the most devastating. In 1933, the city's deadliest fire on record occurred there, killing 29 firefighters and injuring 150. As of May 10, this week's blaze reportedly had taken no toll on human life, but some wild animals perished. In addition, 14 percent of their natural habitat was destroyed.

Guy Talk The locker room has long been popularized as providing men a place of refuge, a place where they can freely engage in - well, locker room talk. But a Raleigh, N.C.-based company seeks to expand the boundaries of men's traditional free-speech zone with a new online social club.

Launched earlier this month, is aimed at members of the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, offering them a MySpace-like forum to discuss and debate current hot-button issues on topics such as sports, gear, entertainment, activism, business, sex and health. This week's sports section focused on whether the Golden State Warriors' first-round NBA playoff ouster of the heavily favored Dallas Mavericks represented the greatest playoff upset in league history.

To stimulate content submission and voting,'s launch was accompanied by a series of "Triple Crown" contests, in honor of Major League Baseball's Opening Day. Prizes include airline tickets to Cooperstown, N.Y., to celebrate Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr.'s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, a Nintendo Wii baseball bundle, and a baseball getaway pack for two with tickets to games at Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium.

In the Field
Company News
  • DecoTurf and Plexipave have been named the official tennis surfaces of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
  • The National Recreation and Park Association was selected by the National Association for Health and Fitness as a recipient of the 2007 National Exemplary Health and Fitness Leadership Award.
  • Body Bar Systems Inc. announced that its Body Bar Flex earned an ION Personal Training Aid of the Year award.
  • The American Bicycle Association signed a multi-year agreement to host national bicycle motocross race events at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.
  • The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association joined the "Don't Take My Bat Away" coalition of coaches, players, youth baseball enthusiasts and batmakers to promote consumer choice in the debate over non-wood bats in baseball and softball.
  • announced that it has formed a partnership with the Companions in Courage Foundation, a charity aiming to raise awareness and funds for children and families who are overcoming illness and life-threatening obstacles.

Want to see your name in lights? Send press releases and news to our Web Editor for consideration: [email protected]

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It's Show Time
Striving for Excellence Athletic Business and the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) announce that organizations can now apply for the prestigious Excellence in Youth Sports Award, and earn thousands of dollars in cash and services to go toward enhancing their youth sports programs.

The Excellence in Youth Sports Awards, first presented in 2000, honor programs that do superior jobs of conducting diverse activities with a focus on providing safe and positive experiences for all participants - including children, parents and coaches.

Each winning community will receive a financial award and in-kind contributions valued up to $5,000 to be used for the support and enhancement of the winning entrant's youth sports program; national, state and local recognition, including in the publications of Athletic Business and NAYS; a custom award to be displayed in the home facility; and one complimentary registration for the International Youth Sports Congress held in conjunction with the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in Orlando, Nov. 28-Dec. 1.

This year's awards are being sponsored in part by BSN Sports, Musco Lighting, TSS Photography and Forcefield Protective Headbands.

Applications may be obtained by downloading a PDF on or; requesting a Word document via e-mail at [email protected]; or by calling NAYS at 800-688-KIDS. The deadline for entries is Aug. 1, 2007.

Athletic Business Conference fee: Cost is just $395 for the first person, $340 per person for the second and third person from the same organization, and $160 per person for each additional person (4th and beyond) from the same organization.

Fast Job
The Ashburn Village Sports Pavilion (Ashburn, Va.) is seeking an aquatics program coordinator to create and implement all swim lesson programs, hire and oversee swim instructors, and manage swim team administration.
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