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Report from Abroad: Chewing Tobacco and Sports in Europe; Snus in Sports

First off, I would love to congratulate Blake on his recent renewal of the beloved ODC. Second, I would like to say that I’m currently going to school in England, which has been a bit of a weird experience sports-wise. Out are the days of constant hockey, baseball, football, and basketball coverage. My sporting life in now dominated by watching obscure football (soccer) highlights on BBC or Sky Sports in a local pub.

Aside from leaving me with no viable sport to play here in a team setting (I’m big on baseball), it has also given me some insight and a new perspective on sports that don’t make too much noise in North America. As such, I hope to produce a few reports on the main cultural differences in sporting experience from a Canadian fan’s perspective.

The first topic is very dear to my heart…the extreme lack of chewing tobacco in European sporting experiences.
More after the jump!

America’s Favorite Tag Team - Baseball and Tobacco

This article has been submiteed by Michael Cascone.

America’s favorite pastime has always held a certain level of intrigue. There are a number of nuances in the game that you won’t find in any other professional sport that has been heavily commercialized, anything from the lack of video replay to ridiculous bench-clearing brawls.

However, I’m talking about a different type of intrigue. The kind of intrigue that fathers won’t explain to their sons while watching a game; the kind of intrigue that makes every game that much more enjoyable. That’s right: dip.

Tobacco consumption during games is considered completely taboo in most, if not all, major sports across the world. Except for baseball. It is so engrained in baseball culture that it would be rare to not see a massive first baseman struggling with a chew, and weird to not see a starting pitcher with a lipper packed. How did this seemingly familial bond first emerge, you ask?
More after the jump!

The Round of 16: Your Soccer Lesson Part 2

TottiThis article has been submitted by GMIL highlight Michael Cascone You can find part one here.

Last Wednesday, the Champions League Round of 16 continued with a few surprises and some fantastic soccer. Here’s Part 2 of your Champions League lesson…

AS Roma (Italian Serie A) 4 – Real Madrid (Spanish Primiera) 2
In a well fought matchup, Roma overcame Spanish opponents Real Madrid with 2-1 wins at home and away. I won’t lie and tell you that I’m not biased towards the Roma side, but they deserved to win both games. They outhustled Real in the first match and were rewarded with the victory.
More after the jump!

The Champions League Round of 16: Your Soccer Lesson Part 1

soccerThis article has been submitted by the debuting Michael Cascone. Italians do love their soccer.

In the exhausting UEFA Champions League journey, the Round of 16 represents the finish line somewhere on the horizon. After emerging successfully from numerous rounds of qualifying and a pressure-filled group stage, the European club teams remaining in the competition were set in a number of elite matchups.

For those of you who don’t fully understand the Champions League system (and even if you do, you know that it’s ridiculously intricate), club teams are selected from their respective national leagues based on last year’s record. Each domestic league sends a certain amount of top teams through to the group stage automatically, while many more are sent to compete in qualifying rounds for the remaining group stage spots. While this ensures that the best teams will compete, it is an exhaustive process that takes away from a club team’s national schedule. Kind of like that friend who always wants to get sauced…and you fail your midterm.

The Round of 16 is a two leg (home and away) series in which the team with the higher aggregate score moves on. In the Round of 16, the stakes are raised and many teams get to face their first true challenge. Perhaps the most intriguing round, this year’s 16 featured traditional powerhouses as well as surprise performers, giving everyone someone to cheer for. Here’s a little review of the action you may have missed so far (given the shoddy TV coverage, there’s a good chance you did…unless you were in Cuba over reading week, in which case it was fantastic):
More after the jump!

About Michael Cascone

Name: Michael Cascone
Role: Writer (Baseball from a guido’s perspective, Soccer)
E-Mail: [email protected]
Aliases: Twotone, Coner
OnDeckCircle Debut: March 5, 2008
I intend to write: when I get all hot and bothered
School & Program: Queen’s University BAH Political Studies, Londong School of Economics MSc candidate in Comparative Political Economy, 2009
Favorite Writer: JD Salinger overall, for sports: Rick Reilly
Favorite Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, obscure National League teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, AS Roma, Arsenal Gunners
Favorite Sports Movie: Bull Durham, hands down
Favorite Topic: small town Canadian baseball
Most Likely Non-Sports Topic: Business Ethics
Favorite Athletes: Ken Griffey Jr., Roberto Clemente, Alessandro del Piero
Claim to Fame: Former Queen’s Golden Gael center fielder, New Market Hawks Senior AAA outfielder
Favorite Quote: “If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.”

Click here for Michael’s Archive.