This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup. (Image: Ocean Conservancy)Brand South Africa has partnered with Plastics SA on this year’s Clean-Up & Recycle campaign. It runs in conjunction with Clean-up South Africa Week, which takes place from 14 to 19 September. Tied into the campaign are Recycling Day South Africa on 18 September and International Coastal Clean-up Day on 19 September.Recycling Day aims to raise awareness by educating people about the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling. During the coastal clean-up, volunteers remove debris from all bodies of water. The clean-up allows officials to collect valuable information about the rubbish that is dumped; it also heightens public awareness of the causes of litter and debris.The first coastal clean-up took place along the coast of Texas, in the US, in 1986, with 2 800 volunteers. Today, the campaign includes all bodies of water, such as inland lakes, rivers, streams and underwater sites, and approximately half-a-million people in more than 100 countries volunteer for the cause.Help Ocean Conservancy to keep our beaches and waterways cleanBrand South Africa will run a competition to find 10 of the best volunteers during the campaign. To enter, users need to add #CleanUpSA in their posts on social media.The top five users on Twitter as well as the top five Facebook users will each receive a Play Your Part hamper. These include memory banks and sticks, scarves, books, peak caps and pens.The hamper will consist of the following items.Other organisations participating in the events include: National Recycling Forum, Tuffy, Glass Recycling Company, Petco, Collect a Can, Southern African Vinyls Association, TetraPak, Polystyrene Packaging Council, Department of Environmental Affairs, Ocean Conservancy, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Trust, and Astrapak Group.
A Lithuanian man and his wife have won the world ‘wife carrying’ title, leaping over timber and wading through waist-high water to beat dozens of other couples for a second year running. The prize is the wife’s weight in beer.Vytautas Kirkliauskas and his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene cleared a grueling 253.5 meter (278-yard) obstacle course in 1 minute 6.72 seconds Saturday. That was just a tenth of a second ahead of former six-time world champion, Finland’s Taisto Miettinen and his new partner Katja Kovanen.”After the second obstacle I thought I wouldn’t make, but it’s a great result” Kirkliauskas said, adding “my wife, she is the best.”Couples from over a dozen countries, including Australia, France and Germany, took part in the annual race in the central Finnish municipality of Sonkajarvi, 300 miles (480 kilometers) north of Helsinki, the capital.The rules stipulate that the woman must be over 17 years of age and weigh at least 49 kilograms (108 pounds). Despite the event’s name, couples don’t have to be married, and organizers say male contestants could “steal a neighbor’s wife” if they don’t have a female companion. Couples from over a dozen countries, including Australia, France and Germany, took part in the annual race. (Photo: Associated Press)The event is inspired by a Finnish legend, “Ronkainen the Robber.” In the 19th century tale, a gang pillages villages and steals the women. The length of the obstacle course is said to be the distance needed to avoid being shot by pursuers.While the sport might have its origins in a dark legend, for participants it’s just lighthearted fun and the women can seem as enthusiastic as the men.advertisementRevived in 1992, the tradition now has men carry their teammate in various ways, though a popular method is for the woman to hang upside-down on the back on the male contestant with her legs around his shoulders.The popularity of wife carrying races has spread outside Finnish borders, with national competitions held in Australia, Poland, England and the United States. Even China has announced it will be organising its first national edition in August with the winners traveling to Finland to compete in the world championships in 2020.Finland has established itself as a prime venue for unusual events that include the air guitar world championship, swamp soccer and a new addition this year with a heavy metal knitting competition.”It’s summertime and we just want to have some fun together,” said Eero Pitkanen, the competition’s founder. “It’s great to see our small town put on the map because of this.”The rules stipulate that participants must have fun during the race, but that doesn’t stop them taking the race very seriously.Along with the pride that comes from being crowned world champions, the couple also returns home with the wife’s weight in beer.”The heavier the wife, the more beer for them,” said Pitkanen.ALSO READ | Top 5 bizarre festivals around the worldALSO READ | Canadian flight attendant gives safety instructions in most hilarious manner. Seen viral video yet?
Jim Kelly NFL DraftJim Kelly, former Miami Hurricane and Buffalo Bill great, has just stolen the show at the NFL Draft – and for good reason. Friday night, Kelly, who has battled squamous cell carcinoma (a form of jaw cancer) the past few years, made his way to stage to announce the 50th overall pick in place of commissioner Roger Goodell. Before he announced Buffalo’s selection of Ronald Darby, he received a standing ovation and was serenaded with chants of his last name. It was incredibly heartwarming.If the above clip doesn’t work, click here to view it on YouTube.It’s great to see Kelly back on his feet, cancer-free. Let’s hope it stays that way.
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.
OSU redshirt senior Shea Murray is switching positions from pitcher to outfield for the 2017 season. Credit: Courtesy of OSUChanging positions in baseball is often just part of the game. But it is rare a position change occurs in a player’s final year of eligibility. It is even more rare still that the change is from the mound to the outfield.But that is the transition coming for redshirt senior outfielder Shea Murray ahead of the 2017 season. The former pitcher will be taking his talents to the outfield where he hopes to compete for a starting spot in his final season with the Ohio State baseball team.The decision to make such a drastic position change came toward the end of the 2016 season. The coaching staff sat down with Murray and discussed a way for the 23-year-old player to have an impact on the team after three years of limited playing time.“My mechanics were not great — I couldn’t locate the ball like I at one time could and basically coming into my fifth year, I just wanted to have an opportunity to get on the field any way that I could,” Murray said. “And we lost a lot of the lineup from last year: two of the outfielders (Ronnie Dawson and Troy Montgomery) and a lot of the hitters. I felt like if there was any opportunity to make that transition, it was this year.”The decision to join OSU as a pitcher initially was not his alone. After graduating from Defiance High School, Murray spoke with baseball coach Tom Held who recommended he try to walk on as a pitcher due to his size and projectability.“He’s just a guy who’s got a lot of God-given ability, that I always knew if we convinced him that he could throw 90 miles per hour as a pitcher, he could walk on,” Held said. “I said, ‘you throw 90 at 6-foot-5 the way you are, they’ll keep you as a walk-on and that’s what he did.”Held – who has sent four pitchers to professional baseball, including Jon Niese and Chad Billingsley, as well as five pitchers to Division I college baseball – believed if there was ever a player who could make this transition, it was Murray.“We have a little idea to compare Shea with all those guys,” Held said. “Shea’s more athletic than any of them. That doesn’t mean he’s a better pitcher, but he’s more athletic.”Murray opted to redshirt his true-freshman season. That year he appeared in five games with little success, posting a 30.38 ERA across 2.2 innings. The following year, he made six appearances, but again failed to find much success as he produced a 7.04 ERA in 7.2 innings of work.Despite the struggles, Murray attracted big-league attention. After the 2015 season, Murray was drafted by the Texas Rangers when they selected him in the 39th round of the draft, 1158th overall.Some might find it strange to draft someone with only 10.1 innings of collegiate experience, but former Chicago Cubs scout and Cincinnati Reds’ interim general manager Brad Kullman said that is a typical pick for teams late in drafts given the upside that comes with Murray’s profile.“There is an old saying in baseball that you can teach a kid off-speed pitches, and you can work with his mechanics (to improve control), but can’t teach arm strength,” Kullman said. “The Rangers scout must have had a theory that they could work with his mechanics and try to harness his power. If he truly has not just a good arm, but two-plus pitches for a 39th rounder, it’s not an unreasonable gamble to try to catch lightning in a bottle.”Despite the offer to play professionally, Murray opted to return to OSU to prove to himself he could improve his value and still contribute to the team’s success.“I felt I could up my draft stock coming back and playing for another year,” Murray said. “I felt like I had unfinished business here at Ohio State, that was before we had won the Big Ten Championship. That was before I really had very much playing time and also, I hadn’t finished my degree yet, so it was a combination of things that was why I wanted to come back.”The 2016 campaign yielded better results for Murray as he logged 2.0 innings in two appearances and a 0.00 ERA with four strikeouts. The season also saw him log an inning in center field and register his first at-bat as a college player.After the season ended, OSU baseball coach Greg Beals saw practice in the outfield as a chance for Murray to reset his mechanics and get back to basics. But Beals was impressed enough by what he saw in Murray’s defensive ability and potential offensive upside that he now believes Murray might have a chance to stick in the outfield as a starter this season.“Shea’s a great athlete, I mean (he) can really run and throw; he’s a big, physical kid with great tools to play outfield defense,” Beals said. “He’s taken to playing the outfield extremely well and we’ve left him in that position, because we think he’s got a significant opportunity to contribute to our ball club this year.”For Murray, this transition has required spending many hours in the batting cages and shagging fly balls out in the field. His summer was spent improving his swing and defensive ability in the field with coach Beals and former MLB outfielder Matt Angle.Held believes Murray’s dedication to the baseball following a high-school career as a three-sport athlete has helped him make this transition by providing him with confidence in his ability and a strong work ethic.“He went to work that day (he made the position change) and has continued to put himself in a position maybe to put himself on the field and I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Held said. “Most guys wouldn’t do that. They wouldn’t even take on that challenge.”
Freshman Carter looks to follow in the footsteps of a legend at wide receiverWith every yard, touchdown and catch, Duron Carter is closer to following in his father’s footsteps. The freshman wide receiver has made an early impact this season and has found himself getting reps in three-wide formations. With a background like his, it is easy to understand how Carter has capitalized on his opportunities. Ohio State has a fine legacy of wide receivers, and like any young recruit, Carter will have to live up to their past achievements. Names like Joey Galloway, Terry Glenn and more recently Ted Ginn Jr. and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes are just some of the past legends to wear scarlet and grey. However, before any of those wideouts made their name at OSU, the Buckeyes’ first great receiver was Duron’s Carter’s father, Cris.When Cris Carter’s career came to an end at OSU after three seasons, he held the all-time record for receptions and was also the Buckeyes’ first All-American at wide receiver. He was so smooth and athletic that some believed he might be the best to ever play the position. The eight-time Pro Bowler finished second in touchdown receptions for his career and is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer. “I remember growing up and always being at my dad’s football games,” Duron Carter said. “I’ve been around football my whole life and always wanted to play. My dad has taught me almost everything he knows and it’s been great having a life full of football.”As a young player trying to improve his game, nothing can be better for Carter than having a father who has practically perfected his position. Using all of the elder Carter’s knowledge of the game could be key in making him the player he wants to be.“He’s taught me the little knowledge things like running routes and getting the shoulders down, little things that make a big difference playing receiver,” Carter said.Both father and son stand 6 feet 3 inches and it is obvious that most will find similarities between the two. However, Carter sees this as one of the few drawbacks in his situation, and said it is difficult being compared to “one of the best players to ever play the game.”Being a Buckeye was a dream come true for Carter, but he was not pushed toward it because of family ties. Interestingly enough, maize and blue were the colors that first attracted his attention.“I came on a visit my sophomore year, and I liked it a lot,” Carter said. “It was the place I wanted to go. It was either between here and the University of Florida, and I felt here would be a better place to develop me as a receiver. “I was a Michigan fan. I used to like Braylon Edwards a lot. He always made the spectacular catch, and that’s always something I wanted to do.”Carter’s impact thus far on his team might have been predicted by him or his coaches, but some believed it was his name that was garnering him attention during the recruiting process, and not his ability. “I thought it was pretty funny,” Carter said. “I remember going into the All-American game, I was like the No. 92 overall receiver, then after, they bumped me up to No. 11. It’s kind of comical what people say when they’ve never seen you play before.”Carter’s high school experience was also a great help to him. St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is a high school powerhouse, and was awarded the 2008 High School National Championship. He was a big part of their success the past two seasons, and is trying to translate what he learned there to the collegiate level.“I really went up against the best competition daily,” Carter said. “There are plenty of cornerbacks from St. Thomas. They’re eventually going to be the top product in the NFL and college football. Just going up against the best and getting reps against the best really prepares you.”Carter’s first touchdown grab came at Indiana on Oct. 3rd. However, it was one of his fierce blocks that caught the attention of his teammates. He said while scoring was great, he really enjoyed his punishing block because he loves to hit and get everyone on his team fired up.Although the name “Carter” will remain the same on the back of his jersey, Duron is determined to make a legacy all his own, and after 18 years, there really isn’t much more his dad can say.“We don’t really talk about football that much,” Carter said about his dad. “There’s really not much to talk about anymore.”