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In 1993, Wisconsin football head coach Barry Alvarez was fresh off three losing seasons. Those tumultuous three years were his first at UW, as Badger fans were anxious for a return to prominence. Wisconsin hadn’t won a Big Ten title in over 30 years, and the picture wasn’t look any brighter under Alvarez.Ten wins later, the Badgers not only had that conference title they were desperately yearning for, but also a precious Rose Bowl win. Under Alvarez’s calm, collected leadership, Wisconsin defeated UCLA 21-16 in Pasadena and the coach’s legacy was born. The rest, they say, was history.Joe Rudolph was part of Alvarez’ first UW recruiting class, and he quickly became the latest in a long line of standout Wisconsin offensive linemen. The season after the Rose Bowl win, Rudolph was a team captain. Now, he’s tight end coach under Bret Bielema, and very few remember the birth of Alvarez’s legend.“He’s created a very strong tradition now,” Rudolph said. “Once the first team went there and won, I think it was the second team felt that same pressure, and it was on their shoulders now to keep that alive and rolling, and they were able to do so. Then onto the third, and now onto us. I think that’s any bowl game; you want to do that. Again, all the focus was within the preparation and the everyday work. It doesn’t happen by magic, you’ve got to work your tail off and make it happen.”The second Rose Bowl team Rudolph referred to came in 1998, and the third was the following year. Now, the 2010 Wisconsin Badgers are Pasadena bound. Alvarez has passed the coaching reins on to Bret Bielema, and he now serves as UW’s athletic director. Between Alvarez, Rudolph and the rest of Wisconsin, this year’s Badgers definitely don’t lack for Rose Bowl inspiration.“I was way too young for the ’93, but I remember watching highlights,” said center Peter Konz, a native of Neenah. “There’s just one picture I always remember, and everybody thinks it’s Ron Dayne, but it’s Brent Moss. I have a Brent Moss uniform in my closet, and I think I wore it in middle school; it’s really tight, so I thought I looked big in it. I tried to act like a running back, but I was always a lineman.“I always just remember the scene of Barry Alvarez in the end of the game, the lights, the roses, the team just kind of holdings its hands up. That’s what always sticks with me; that, and how hard the offense worked is impressive, just to see them work.”Clearly, Konz holds the Granddaddy of Them All in high regard. In Wisconsin, you’re essentially born with reverence for Alvarez and UW’s Rose Bowl years. After those glorious ’98 and ’99 teams, though, the Badgers have been relegated to middle-of-the-run bowls like the Outback, Capital One and Champs Sports Bowls for the past decade. So while some like Konz can talk fondly for days of their rosy memories, there’s a strong sense of urgency for many others.“To really know what a Rose Bowl means to us, you probably only have to be here one or two days in the program to get that feeling,” said defensive end Louis Nzegwu, a native of Platteville.Short, sweet and to the point. Yesterday’s Badgers blazed the path to Pasadena, and today’s can’t possibly run along it any faster. Yet, for all the desperation to return to Rose Bowl glory, this year’s Wisconsin squad boats a significant number of out-of-staters that have played crucial roles in the team’s success.“I think I didn’t understand until I got here,” said defensive back Antonio Fenelus, a native of Boca Raton, Fla. “Growing up, watching the Miami Hurricanes playing, it’s always either the national championship … or the Orange Bowl. I really didn’t pay too much attention to the Rose Bowl. But coming here, and playing, I understand how serious it is.”Perhaps that’s the best word to describe it – serious. Getting back to the Rose Bowl is serious. Wisconsinites were born with that mentality, and outsiders like Fenelus, Jay Valai, Niles Brinkley, John Moffitt and Culmer St. Jean quickly adopted it. Bielema’s mantra is 1-0; each game is its own season, take each one at a time. But no matter who it is, these Badgers can only push the “it’s the same as any other game” coachspeak so long.“When it’s business time, yeah,” said defensive tackle Jordan Kohout, a native of Waupun. “But when you step back, and you kind of realize, ‘Wow, this is the Rose Bowl,’ this is something that you’re going to remember for the rest of your life.”Indeed. After Wisconsin’s regular season-ending 70-23 trouncing of Northwestern, Alvarez spoke in the locker room of the monumental reward coming the Badgers’ way. He lauded all the hard work, all the little things; the “focus” Rudolph alluded to in expressing his congratulations for this year’s Rose Bowl participants. But as quickly as Alvarez was there to acknowledge what the team has accomplished, he rushed to address what the Badgers haven’t done.They haven’t won it yet.“As a kid, I remember watching the Rose Bowl games, and I’ve dreamt about going there,” said left tackle Gabe Carimi of Cottage Grove. “To make that a reality has been unbelievable. I can’t wait to prepare well and play well. I remember watching [Alvarez] when I was a fan and a kid, and now I get an opportunity to go out there myself and try to win a Rose Bowl.”
REVEALED: Eriksen DID give Tottenham teammate Vertonghen black eyeby Paul Vegas22 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChristian Eriksen did manage to give Tottenham teammate Jan Vertonghen a black eye – but the incident was a training accident.Eriksen rubbished rumours circulating on social media that Vertonghen had been involved in an affair with his wife Sabrina Kvist Jensen. An image of Vertonghen with a black eye had accompanied some of the posts, suggesting it was related to the unfounded speculation.The Mirror says Eriksen was to blame for the injury in an accidental training-ground clash.Both Eriksen and Vertonghen were involved on Tuesday night as Spurs were humbled 7-2 by Bayern Munich.It was the first time in Tottenham’s history they had shipped seven goals on home soil and extended their indifferent start to the campaign. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
SYDNEY, N.S. — His message to laid off Cape Breton call centre workers is straightforward.But the Iowa-based businessman’s words resonate like gospel in this hardscrabble region plunged into economic uncertainty earlier this month.“Things are going to stay the same or get better,” says Anthony Marlowe, a self-made telecommunications mogul who himself started as a telemarketer at 18 and quickly rose through the ranks before breaking out on his own.“We’ve committed to hiring every employee back plus some,” he says, adding he’ll honour pre-bankruptcy wages and offer retention sign-on bonuses for returning workers.They’re big promises that have earned the entrepreneur near messianic status on the Nova Scotia island.ServiCom Canada abruptly closed its Sydney call centre on Dec. 6, laying off hundreds of workers weeks before Christmas.“It was an emotional moment,” says Marlowe, who was in the process of buying the call centre. “Although those weren’t our people yet, they were potentially soon to be.”With more than two decades in the call centre industry, it wasn’t the first round of layoffs to touch Marlowe personally.“I have some extra sympathy for the workers,” he says, describing the “travesty and devastation” of seeing workers lose their livelihoods after bankruptcy proceedings closed call centres in the U.S. in the early 2000s.Marlowe grew up in La Grange, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, and moved to Iowa for university in his late teens.“My brother was there, I was living with him and my mom said, ‘Get a job,’” he says.“I took a job as a telemarketer for a telecommunications company and the next thing I knew I was a skyrocketing up the company and then I wanted to start my own contact centre telemarketing operation.”The 39-year-old says the Cape Breton call centre will be his ninth operation when it reopens, likely by the first week of January, as the Sydney Call Centre Inc.“There were a lot of tears, hugs and Christmas spirit,” Marlowe says of a meeting he held at a Sydney legion last week updating workers on plans to reopen the call centre.“It’s obviously a humbling thing to have someone say, ‘You’re our Christmas miracle,’” he says.“We never really wanted it to be about the company or me performing any miracles. Those workers performed at such a high level with such competency, tenure and aptitude that they deserved a miracle regardless of what holiday it was near.”Marlowe Companies Inc. (MCI) had expressed interest in the Sydney call centre several weeks before it closed, and was in the process of negotiating a deal.The closure forced MCI’s leadership to work feverishly behind the scenes to acquire the call centre.“It was like a melting ice cube at that point,” says Marlowe, chief executive officer of MCI.The concern was that ServiCom’s clients — such as OnStar Corp., a subsidiary of General Motors, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, AT&T Inc. and Allstate Insurance company — would start to look for new suppliers to provide customer support if the call centre did not reopen quickly.But he says while it appears ServiCom’s value was in its contracts with big name clients, Marlowe says “those contracts have no value if there are no employees to perform them.”“Time was absolutely of the essence,” Marlowe says, regarding his desire to retain as many of the 515 or so workers on the payroll when the Sydney call centre closed.In the end, MCI outbid two other buyers for the assets of ServiCom for $1.5-million during an auction at bankruptcy court in New Haven, Conn., last week.He says the competing bids “drove up our initial offer by a factor of four.”“They were successful at attracting other bidders, which wasn’t a surprise to us because when you myopically looked at just the contracts and just the Canadian operation, all of a sudden that became a more appealing value proposition,” Marlowe says.The Sydney facility is expected to reopen by Jan. 7, although it could open as early as Jan. 2, he says. The company has asked workers to complete paperwork this Friday and Saturday.“We’re working very hard through the holidays to turn the lights back on.”— By Brett Bundale in HalifaxThe Canadian Press
CHICAGO — An Australian commodities trader has pleaded guilty in Chicago federal court to manipulating market prices by placing orders in the millions of dollars and cancelling them within milliseconds to sell smaller orders at a profit.Jiongsheng “Jim” Zhao pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of spoofing. Prosecutors say the 31-year-old executed trades on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange online from Sydney.His arrest in January was part of what the U.S. Justice Department said at the time was part of “the largest futures-market criminal enforcement action” in department history. At least seven others were charged around the same time.Zhao’s Chicago lawyer, Theodore Poulos, told the judge his client made just $21,000 from the illegal trades. He said he and prosecutors would recommend a one-year prison sentence. Sentencing is July 19.The Associated Press
Mumbai: Actor-singer-songwriter Farhan Akhtar who has released his first solo music album titled “Echoes”, produced by Grammy Award-winning Italian producer Tommaso Colliva, says such collaborations are fruitful for creativity. Sharing his experience of working with an international producer who has worked with British band Muse and Mary Chain among others, Farhan told IANS: “Working with Tommaso was really amazing because his approach was quite different. He wanted to know the story behind each song, and what was my frame of mind when I was writing them. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “The atmosphere was so conducive that as a singer-songwriter I felt really excited to work on it. He wanted to do the production and sound following those written words. It really added value to the album. It was a great learning experience.” Asked if he would like to use the experience to contribute to the independent music scenario in India, where Bollywood music mostly overshadows it, Farhan said: “We are doing a lot of stuff through our movies. If you look at the recent example of ‘Gully Boy’, we have encouraged musicians from the underground scene. We often collaborate with independent musicians. I would love to support and encourage young talent, but look, this is not my full-time job.” Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna “As a creative individual, I want to write more songs, tell more stories and perform with the hope that more people will feel inspired and come out with their creative ideas. I am always open to collaboration and think that’s also a way of supporting other artistes,” said Farhan, son of poet and screenplay writer Javed Akhtar. Farhan took around three years to write the 13 songs of the album “Echoes”, which was released on Friday. He went to Milan for recording of the tracks. Three songs; “Pain or pleasure”, “Why couldn’t it be me” and “Rareview mirror”, from the album were released online earlier. Sharing the core thought behind the album, the “Rock On!!” actor said: “I believe who we are today is the result of our experience in life so far. The emotional journey that we have gone through in life, in love, how we felt lost in love and then desolate.” “The reason why I am calling the album ‘Echoes’ is that somewhere all the emotional experiences are echoing in our mind even though we are not holding on to our past and moving on. This is really an emotional album.” The song titled “Why couldn’t it be me” was the result of the horrifying terrorist attack at the military school in Peshawar in 2014. On the story behind “Pain or pleasure”, Farhan said: “That song came from a personal space. At times in a relationship, feeling love for someone can get toxic. At times we really try to hang on to something that is really not there and you realise that healthy thing is to move on. “But then with the insane highs and terrible lows of a relationship, one has gone through, you want them all. There come the pain and pleasure of it.” Farhan will be seen opposite Priyanka Chopra Jonas in “The Sky Is Pink”, which will release in October.
Kolkata: Kumartuli — the artisan hub of Kolkata — is all set to be transformed into a new avatar with a unique celebration of the artistry of the idol makers for the first time in the history of the city. A two- day carnival titled “Rang Matir Panchali”, will take place on Sunday and Monday to mark the occasion of World Art Day and Poila Baisakh on April 15.Three major lanes will be flanked by installations. Some of them will be in open air while others will be displayed inside several studios. An uneven patch of multiple colours will run from the gate along the ground, thus guiding the visitors along the exhibition trail. Exhibits will include idol-making, installations, paintings, sculptures, photographs, wall graffiti, street art etc. Modern art is blending with the traditional besides keeping Kumartuli’s rustic charm intact. About 30 artistes of Kumartuli are involved in this initiative including women idol makers China Pal and Mala Pal. Well-known theme makers Sushanta Pal and Partha Dasgupta are acting as mentors in the carnival. Three inmates from Pavlov Mental Hospital who have a fetish in art have also been roped in and they are working alongside Nabakumar Pal and Jiten Pal who are associated with the traditional idol making of Bagbazar Sarbojonin for years. “It has been less than a month when we reached with the concept to the idol makers of Kumartuli. They welcomed the suggestion and formed an umbrella body named Kumartuli Art Forum, uniting the three unions for organising the event,” said Sabyasachi Chatterjee who runs a creative agency and is managing the event. A leading paint company that awards “Sharad Samman” to the best Durga Pujas across the city has extended a helping hand in the event. Pictures have been taken of various corners of the hub and of various activities of the idol makers. Their idle afternoons have also been captured through photographs. The two-day carnival will be inaugurated at Banamali Sarkar Street at 3 pm on Sunday.
Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan): Kazakhstan said Tuesday it will host fresh talks on Syria on April 25-26, backed by Iran, Russia and Turkey as they eye an end to the eight-year conflict. Delegations from the Syrian regime and armed opposition groups are expected to participate along with representatives of the three guarantor states, Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry said in a statement. The United Nations and Jordan would attend as observers, it added. The situation on the ground in Idlib will be on the agenda of the talks, as well as “confidence-building measures” and the distribution of humanitarian aid. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe talks will be the first in Astana for the UN’s new Syria envoy Geir Pedersen, who took over from Staffan de Mistura in January. De Mistura seemed frustrated at the most recent Astana talks in November, ruing a “missed opportunity” to move closer towards a political settlement. Pedersen said that talks in Damascus Sunday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem focused on a political settlement had been “substantial.” Russia, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has taken a lead role in diplomatic efforts through the so-called “Astana process” with Iran and Turkey that has largely sidelined UN diplomacy. The talks there began in January 2017. Last month the Kazakh capital changed its name from Astana to Nur-Sultan, although the former name is still being used for the talks.
Madrid: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has said he feels supported by club president Josep Bartomeu and compared the reaction to their Champions League exit to a child having a tantrum. Barca crashed out in the semi-finals on Tuesday after one of the greatest comebacks in the tournament’s history saw them lose 4-0 to Liverpool and throw away a 3-0 advantage from the first leg. The defeat has left Valverde’s future in doubt but, ahead of their penultimate La Liga game of the season at home to Getafe on Sunday, he insists he wants to continue. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju”I’m not thinking about it, not at all,” Valverde said in a press conference on Saturday. “I have the strength to continue, I’m fine, I’m like everyone else, what we want to do is take a step forward and face the situation, not hide under a stone. “I’ve talked to the president and I’ve always felt supported by the club. “I know that when there’s a blow of this kind, everything becomes disjointed. It’s as if you have to burn everything, like when our children have a tantrum, but you have to rebuild.” Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersBarcelona have already been crowned La Liga champions and could make it a domestic double by beating Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey later this month. But even two trophies would not make amends for the collapse against Liverpool, given the Champions League was the one the club really craved this season. “We are hurt, I’m not going to deny it,” Valverde said. “But we have time to recover for ourselves and also with our fans. We’re have to be honest with ourselves. We can lose against Liverpool, they have proved to be a great team. “The problem it’s how we lost, especially in the second half when we did not play well. It was painful because we lost from a very favourable situation. But there is no other way than to look forward.” Barcelona will be without Luis Suarez against Getafe after the Uruguayan had surgery on a knee injury on Thursday night. Suarez is expected to be out for four to six weeks. Ousmane Dembele, Arthur Melo and Rafinha are also injured. Valverde’s side are nine points clear at the top of La Liga with two games left while Getafe are chasing Champions League qualification. They sit fourth, three points ahead of Valencia and Sevilla.
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, by consensus the most talented young position players in baseball, are facing off this week for the first time in their burgeoning careers. (Trout’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim got the best of Harper’s Washington Nationals on Monday night, 4-2.)Few youngsters arrived in the majors with as much buildup as Harper, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16. Luckily for the Nationals, he’s mostly been as good as advertised (and he’s still just 21 years old, a fact that’s often forgotten because he’s been so good). Meanwhile, all Trout did in his first full pair of major-league seasons was turn in two of the 150 or so best position-player seasons in the past 113 years of baseball, making two strong MVP bids in the process.So, yeah, these guys have been really good, really early in their careers.With all the (deserved) hype surrounding Trout and Harper, I was wondering how the duo compares to other concurrent 22-or-under pairs of position players in the history of baseball. To answer that question, I looked at the most productive two non-pitchers age 22 or below in a given season, based on the combined number of wins above replacement they’d generated in the previous two seasons. (We can’t compare Trout/Harper through age 22 because we don’t know what they’ll do in 2014.)By that standard, Trout and Harper are the most productive young duo in baseball history. Here were the seasons featuring the best pairs of budding superstars ever (taking only the best score for duplicate pairs):The majority of those 28.2 combined WAR belong to Trout, author of the aforementioned pair of historically dominant campaigns. Let’s be honest, though: Given Trout’s otherworldly production at such a young age, we could pair him with just about anybody and he’d still be near the top of this list (Trout by himself would rank fifth). But Harper’s numbers to date hardly make him a coattail-rider. As far as No. 2s go, Harper’s 8.6 WAR ranks below only Mel Ott and Eddie Mathews as the third-best second fiddle in the history of promising under-22 duos.If we’re looking to give extra weight to No. 2s, ensuring that both players in a pair have great stats (to safeguard against a situation such as what happened in 1918, when Rogers Hornsby had 97 percent of the WAR in his “duo” with Ross Youngs), perhaps a better way to rank these kinds of pairings is not to sum up all of the WAR generated by a pair, but rather to take the harmonic mean of the two individuals’ WAR totals. If we do that, the following list emerges:By either list, though, Trout-Harper is the best young duo in baseball history. So, savor their matchup this week — you may never again see a pair of position players so good face off at such a young age.