Deja vu for Spain, Mexico and Cameroon out to ride their luck

first_imgBy Neil Maidment, Nick Mulvenney and Rex GowarSpain will be lifted by a reminder of the glory of four years ago as the defence of their World Cup crown begins against 2010 finalists the Netherlands in Salvador on Friday in a standout Group B opener.Spain, also 2008 and 2012 European Championship winners, arrive in Brazil with 16 players retained from the squad that triumphed in South Africa, the most returned at the following World Cup by any world champion, with many still bearing the scars of a bruising encounter with the Dutch in 2010.Spain dominated possession in Johannesburg and took a barrage of heavy tackles by a fierce Dutch defensive guard, but fans streaming to the Fonte Nova arena will be hoping for a more attacking treat this time around as Xavi, Andres Iniesta and David Silva’s superb passing game comes up against a Dutch counter attack possessing Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie.Vincent Del Bosque’s La Roja, bolstered this time by the prolific Brazilian-born Diego Costa, begin among the favourites for the tournament in Brazil, where success would see them become the first Europeans to win the World Cup in the Americas.The Dutch tactics under coach Louis van Gaal have been hotly debated in the Brazil build-up after he opted to ditch a traditional 4-3-3 approach in favour of a 5-3-2, after losing midfield king pin Kevin Strootman to long-term injury and favouring a more pressing approach.“I don’t think at the moment we are capable of playing tika taka,” Arjen Robben, told Dutch team website Ons Oranje. “The counter is a very dangerous weapon that we will be certainly using at this tournament.”Mexico and Cameroon meanwhile would be prime contenders for the title of most fortunate qualifiers for the World Cup but both will fancy their chances of progressing from Group A if they can win their opening encounter on Friday.Hosts Brazil and Croatia round out the group so traditional early tournament caution could be thrown to the wind at the Dunas arena with both teams knowing that a draw is unlikely to much help their cause.CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico just scraped through to a playoff only courtesy of a dramatic last gasp victory by the United States over Panama last year before overwhelming New Zealand to secure their place at a sixth successive World Cup.Cameroon’s Lions likewise looked anything but indomitable in their qualifying campaign and they needed the reversal of a 2-0 defeat to Togo after their West African rivals fielded a suspended player to get to a playoff.They thumped Tunisia 4-1 on aggregate to reach a seventh successive World Cup finals, however, and a 2-2 draw against Germany in a friendly last week offered some hope that Volker Finke’s team were starting to click.If Australia’s World Cup warm-up against Ecuador in London in March is anything to go by, their opening Group B clash with Chile at the Pantanal Arena in Friday’s final game could be a thriller.Australia, who took a shock three-goal lead against the Ecuadoreans before being over-run in the second half and losing 4-3, like to hit opponents with fast breaks and if they are to do anything of note in Brazil they must beat Chile.Chile like to play in their opponents’ half with a fast and furious pressing game based on as much possession as possible.The South Americans, third in their region’s qualifying group, are favourites against an Australian team in transition with the 2015 Asian Cup a far more realistic goal.Chile are playing on their own continent but the muggy conditions in Cuiaba deep in the Mato Grosso swampland are not necessarily an advantage for them because the country has a more European climate.last_img read more

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Messi uncertainty does not affect Madrid ‘Clasico’ plans

first_imgReal Madrid coach Santiago Solari hopes Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is fit to face his side in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg for the good of the game – but he added that the Argentine’s presence would not affect his game plan.It is unclear whether Messi, the all-time top scorer in Spanish football as well as in the ‘Clasico’, will be fit for the game after ending Barca’s 2-2 draw with Valencia on Saturday with a knock. His club have not given an injury update on him.“It’s always good when the best players get to play every game, but whether or not he plays will not influence the way we prepare for the game at all,” Solari told a news conference on Tuesday.Messi was out with a broken arm the last time Spain’s two biggest clubs met, back in October. But Barca barely missed their talismanic forward, thrashing Real 5-1 in what proved to be Julen Lopetegui’s last game in charge before Solari took over.Real, who are third in the La Liga standings but cut their gap behind leaders Barca to eight points after beating Alaves on Sunday, are looking to end Barcelona’s run of four consecutive Copa del Rey triumphs and reach the final of the competition for the first time since 2014, when they beat the Catalans 2-1.Barca’s French forward Ousmane Dembele is unlikely to be fit for the game, as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.Solari meanwhile has practically a full squad at his disposal, with only little-used defender Jesus Vallejo unavailable.“It’s harder to pick a team when everyone is available, but the important thing is that every player puts their talent, ability and effort at the service of the team,” added the coach.last_img read more

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Thompson on top in Rabat – Richards sets national shot put record

first_imgRabat, Morocco: ON a night when there were mixed results for Jamaican athletes here on the 10th leg of the IAAF Diamond League, the very dependable Elaine Thompson shone the brightest as she stretched her 100m wins to 14 in a row, capturing another Diamond League event in a new meet record of 10.87 seconds to erase her one year-old-mark of 11.02. Thompson was the only Jamaican to win on the night where there were second-place finishes for Janieve Russell, Kimberly Williams and O’Dayne Richards. Thompson warmed up for the World Championships in fine style, getting a good start and, despite a persistent challenge from the improved Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, had too much top-end speed in the end to turn back her main rival, who finished second in a season-best 10.90 seconds. Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye finished third in 11.02 seconds. Jura Levy, 11.18, and Christania Williams, the other Jamaicans in the race, finished down the track in seventh and ninth, respectively. Thompson was happy with another victory on the circuit. “I am very pleased with the win and the time, as I came out to execute as usual, and getting a meet record, it is a wonderful feeling. This win puts me in good stead for the World Championships and I am now in a position where I want to be,” said Thompson, who stated that she was looking forward to her second World Championships. Jamaica’s best female 400m hurdler this season, Russell, who failed to make the World Championships team after finishing fourth at the National Championships, was the country’s next best athlete on the track, after finishing second in the women’s 400m hurdles. Russell ran on strongly in the closing stages of the event to finish second in 54.36 seconds, just behind the Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hejnova, who won in a season best 54.22 seconds with third going to Eilidh Doyle of Great Britain in 54.92 seconds. It was disappointment for national champion Rhonda Whyte on her first time competing in Europe. The 26-year-old was never in the hunt as she finished eighth in 56.00 seconds and 11th overall. Ristananna Tracey, who won the B race in 55.18 seconds, and her sister, Nikita, who was third in 55.50 seconds, ended fourth and eighth overall respectively. Recovering from an early-season injury, triple jumper Kimberly Williams got her season back on track after producing a season best of 14.31m to finish second in the women’s triple jump, behind winner Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia with 14.51m. Both Novlene Williams-Mills and Shericka Jackson finished out of the top three in the women’s 400m. Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo was too good for the field, clocking her third sub-50 seconds this season. Running out of lane six, she covered her two rivals going very fast over the first 200m, then maintained her form well to win easily in a new meet record of 49.80 seconds. The American pair of Natasha Hastings, 50.86, and Quanera Hayes, 51.08 seconds, finished second and third. Williams-Mills was fourth in 51.18 seconds, while Jackson was fifth in 51.20 seconds. Richards was the best performer among the Jamaican males. He finished second in the men’s shot put to set a national record with 21.96m, as the United States’ Ryan Crouser won with a new meet record of 22.47m. Crouser’s teammate Ryan Whiting came in third with 21.26m. Richards was very happy with his performance. “This is a very good result for me, as I didn’t expect this result today (yesterday), but this is a good sign going to the World Championships and I am hoping to go over the 22m barrier in London,” said Richards. It was disappointment for the other males for Jamaica at the meet as both Rasheed Dwyer and Warren Weir struggled in the men’s 200m, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in 20.43 and 20.48 seconds. Canadian AndrÈ DeGrasse won the event in 20.03 seconds, ahead of Ameer Webb of the United States, second in 20.18 seconds, and Zharnell Hughes of Great Britain, third in a season-best 20.22 seconds, running out of lane one. Making his Diamond League debut, long jumper Tajay Gayle, out of the University of Technology, finished ninth with 7.41m. WONDERFUL FEELINGlast_img read more

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LAPD set to launch illegal firework crackdown

first_img Last year, nearly 6,000 reports of loud fireworks were made and about 1,700 calls citywide for shots fired. Los Angeles police are preparing for their summertime crackdown on illegal fireworks, officials said during a Police Commission meeting today at Parker Center downtown. Last year more than 2,000 service calls related to loud fireworks were made in the San Fernando Valley between June 16 and July 16, draining precious police resources, according to a police commission report released today. The LAPD is launching a fireworks reduction program, alerting its Bomb Squad to the regular influx of handmade fireworks, illegally imported ones and other devices seized during the Fourth of July season. It has also put together a special plan for storing and seizing the devices. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Real Madrid news: Ronaldo criticises team-mates after 1-0 defeat to Atletico

first_img Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo launched an astonishing criticism of his team-mates after Real Madrid lost 1-0 to local rivals Atletico, claiming: “If we were all at my level maybe we would be leaders.”Antoine Griezmann hit the only goal of the game in the 53rd minute to give Atletico a third consecutive league win at the Bernabeu, strengthening his side’s grip on second place in the Primera Division table and stretching their lead over their local rivals to four points.Speaking to reporters in the mixed zone after the game, Ronaldo criticised the performance of his team-mates and lamented the absence of injured players Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Pepe and Karim Benzema, the Frenchman forced off at half-time with a hip problem.“If we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders,” Ronaldo said, quoted in Marca.“I don’t want to disrespect anyone, but when the best players aren’t available it’s harder to win. I like to play with Karim, with Bale, with Marcelo.“I’m not saying the others like Lucas [Vazquez], Jese and [Mateo] Kovacic are not good players – they are very good players – but it’s not the same.”The forward also hit out at the assembled journalists for their perceived criticism of his form, declaring: “For all you guys it seems I am s***, but I don’t listen to what the press say. The statistics and numbers don’t lie.” 1last_img read more

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Pioneer High superheroes to join fundraiser

first_img• Photo Gallery: Super Heroes Save Titan City WEST WHITTIER – Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a staffer from Pioneer High School, dressed up in a superhero costume! That’s right – nearly two dozen teachers, school staff and administrators from Pioneer High will don tights and muscle-baring costumes to face their biggest critics this week in an annual spoof that raises thousands of dollars for the school’s drama department. “It’s really remarkable,” said Pioneer drama teacher Leticia Cervantes-Lopez, 50, who began planning months ago for “Super Heroes Save Titan City,” which takes place 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the school’s cafeteria. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings“It can be really hard to get staff to put aside time to do something like this,” Cervantes-Lopez said. “But our staff does it – in fact, 50 percent of the cast is always in it every year, like (teachers) Javier Gonzalez, Babak Eskandari and (administrator) Victoria Cuevas. “And I really appreciate that they do this for us.” The fundraiser, which in previous years has spoofed fairy tales and the musical “Grease,” usually sells out and brings in an additional $1,800-$2,200 for the school’s drama department, Cervantes-Lopez said. That’s just one of the benefits of being involved in the production, said Gonzalez, 43, a math teacher who plays Superman. “It also gives the students an opportunity to see us in a different setting, where they can laugh at us and enjoy us impersonating these characters,” he said. “And it also brings us closer together as a staff.” Even second-year Principal Alex Flores will get in on the fun as Titan City’s mayor – which is fitting, given that his new school privilege system was the inspiration for the superhero play. “He brought in this system of the four Ps: performance, preparedness, punctuality and participation,” Cervantes-Lopez said. “The bad guys in the story want to know why Titan City is so successful, and they want to find the secret of its success but they’re too busy fighting with each other,” Cervantes-Lopez said. “But in the end, they find out the secret is the four Ps. That’s what we’re trying to teach the kids.” The fundraiser also acts as good training for advanced drama students, who act as the play’s producers and set designers. “This gives them a real project to work on,” Cervantes-Lopez said. “They do the ticket sales, publicity, they build the stage – it serves as part of their curriculum” and prepares them for the school’s big spring musical. “I think more schools should do something like this,” said senior Jazzmin Martinez, 17. “I mean, sometimes we think, `Oh I hate that teacher, he’s mean, gives us too much homework, she’s too strict,” the teen added. “So it’s nice to see them on stage acting silly every year.” Tickets are $5 and are available in advance at the school. For information call (562) 698-8121, Ext. 5000. tracy.garcia@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
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Residents growing upset about thicket

first_imgWOODLAND HILLS – First grew the weeds, taller than a man, within a mile-long median of upscale Mulholland Drive. Then came the weeks of complaints to City Hall about blight – and potential traffic accidents.Finally came the reported reply from a representative of City Councilman Dennis Zine.“He said, `We don’t have time to research it,”‘ said Alex Meade, 61, of Woodland Hills, quoting a Zine field deputy after two weeks of requests that the city trim its weeds. “I hate those weeds,” said another motorist, June Stanton, 82. “I’ve been here 46 years and I’m tired of them. I had a near-accident when a child just came out of those weeds – there was no way I could see.”In the past decade, residents say, one motorcyclist was killed because he failed to see a car through towering weeds. After that, the weeds were cut every year – until now.City fire inspectors, who fanned out this week to investigate brush fire hazards, said weeds along roadways must by shorn to 3 inches.“We’re out there now; people should be compliant,” said Inspector Patrick Crowley of the Los Angeles Fire Department Brush Unit. “I’ll give (this issue) over to the regional inspector.”Meade said he also has contacted Zine’s office for the past two weeks, to no avail. He said he was repeatedly told, “We’ll look into it,” but never got a return call.He said Zine’s office acknowledged receiving five to 15 complaints about the Mulholland weeds.Finally, he said, field representative Octaviano Rios told him to contact his neighborhood council about raising taxes for better service.“It reminds me of Scotland, walking through the heather of the Highlands,” said Meade, a retired engineer from Scotland. “The bottom line is, they’ve done nothing. It’s dangerous. We’re all concerned. It’s terrible.”Zine was vacationing in Ireland on Friday and could not be reached for comment.Rios’ office referred calls to Zine’s chief of staff, Sharon Sandow, who said the weeds on Mulholland create a serious liability.“It is definitely a liability concern,” she said, “which is why we’ve asked the head of tree services to get out there ASAP and cut down the weeds.”Sandow said the city normally does not trim weeds on Mulholland because the median is not irrigated. Instead, she said, the weeding is contracted out to Clean and Green volunteers, a California Conservation Corps agency.Residents began complaining of the weeds April 10, she said, and Clean and Green was scheduled to trim the median April 28.But because of spring break and a backlog of weeding, the work was delayed.Sandow also defended Rios’ comments to residents, but said there may have been a misunderstanding.“We have actually asked residents to contact the Woodland Hills Neighborhood Council because they do really good beautification projects,” she said. “We thought this would make a good community project.”Meanwhile, residents ponder putting on their garden gloves.“I have been concerned for about a month,” said Diane Haggerty, 67, of Woodland Hills. “My God, we’re going to have an accident because of all that brush.“I’m going to have to go out there with a pair of shears and cut it down myself. It’s not safe.” dana.bartholomew@dailynews.com(818) 713-3730160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“He said, `You can go to your neighborhood council, they can recommend a reassessment of your property taxes – and we can cut the weeds more often.”‘Residents who live along Mulholland Drive are pricklier than thistles about their median mess.Flanked by million-dollar homes between Spielberg Drive and Flamingo Street, the 30-foot-wide median has numerous intersections choked with weeds as tall as 7 feet.To cross the four-lane thoroughfare, residents crane their necks to see oncoming cars through the forest of weeds.“This is ridiculous,” said motorist Lisa Stewart, 40, of Woodland Hills. “In the spring, it’s hazardous – and it happens every year.”last_img
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LISTEN: Liverpool can put Man United out of the title race – Jamie Carragher

first_imgMan United v Liverpool betting – get a first scorer boost hereJamie Carragher believes Liverpool can put rivals Manchester United out of the title race with a win at Old Trafford on Sunday.The Reds face Jose Mourinho’s side at the Theatre of Dreams this weekend and currently sit in second place and five points clear of their opponents.And with the possibility of the Red Devils falling 13 points behind league leaders Chelsea, Carragher believes United cannot afford to lose if they want to become champions.Speaking on Drivetime, Carragher said: “I think it would be difficult for them.”“I think this big one would give everyone a lift, with it being against Liverpool, who knows how Chelsea are going to go on the back of the Spurs defeat and playing Leicester away.“Maybe they would leave themselves with a little too much to do. And I just think that if United were to win the league, it would be one of the biggest turnarounds in the Premier League.”United come into the clash on the back of six consecutive league wins, while Liverpool are without a victory in their last three games in all competitions – including a defeat to Southampton in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.The two sides played out a bore 0-0 draw in their last meeting back in October, where Mourinho opted to play a more defensive formation, having watched his side pick up a single win in their previous four games.But Carragher insists that the clash at Old Trafford will bear no resemblance to the soulless encounter on Merseyside.“It’s a completely different Manchester United going into the game. I think they’re confident, [Jose] Mourinho has got his stamp on the team and you sort of know what the team will be.“I think at that stage, there were a lot more Europa League games and Mourinho was chopping and changing trying to find his best team. The team’s results going into that game weren’t great, so the confidence wasn’t great, and they went there to protect themselves – get the 0-0 – and do a job on Liverpool.“I don’t think Jurgen Klopp is the type of manager to change the way he plays whether they play at Anfield or play away from home, so I expect it to be a lot more exciting.”On the back of Liverpool’s winless run and failing to score in their two previous games, critics have suggested that Klopp lacks a Plan B for when his renowned pressing style of football does not have the desired effect.Carragher, however, pointed to Klopp’s impressive record in clashes against the established sides in England and supports his uncompromising approach in terms of his attacking style.“When we played for Liverpool in big European games away from Anfield, you’d do a job similar to what Man United did at Liverpool.“It will be interesting to look at Liverpool next year, when they may be in the Champions League. Last year they got to the Europa League final. You can look at it both ways, how many times do we say a team is negative away from home and they don’t win a game.“Jurgen Klopp plays on the front foot to win games and it’s all about results. I think Liverpool’s away record in big games – particularly under Jurgen Klopp – has been outstanding.”Listen to Jamie Carragher on Drivetime, in full above, as he talks about Loris Karius, a combined Manchester United and Liverpool XI, and much more.last_img read more

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Bruce Arena out as U.S. soccer team coach

first_img “I am proud of how far the organization has come over the last eight years, and I am extremely optimistic about the future of the sport in our country,” Arena said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. “As for me, I am planning to take some time off to weigh my future opportunities.” Juergen Klinsmann, who resigned as coach of Germany on Wednesday after guiding his native country to a third-place finish at the World Cup, has been mentioned as a potential replacement, but said he has no interest. Klinsmann lives in California near the U.S. team’s main training base at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Other possible replacements include Arena’s assistant, Glenn “Mooch” Myernick, as well as Sigi Schmid of the Columbus Crew, Dave Sarachan of the Chicago Fire and Bob Bradley of Chivas USA. Gulati, who was elected president of the U.S. federation in March, said any future coach would need “some knowledge of American soccer, experience, leadership, a track record of success.” “Does Juergen Klinsmann have those qualities? He probably does,” Gulati said. “He’s had success with the German team; he has a much better handle on American soccer scene than someone who hasn’t spent time here; he’s inquisitive. He’s an intelligent guy, multilingual with a lot of very positive qualities.” Before taking over as manager of the United States, Arena also won or shared five NCAA titles as coach of Virginia, won two Major League Soccer championships with D.C. United and also claimed the CONCACAF Champions Cup with D.C. After replacing Steve Sampson following the United States’ last-place finish in the 1998 World Cup, Arena finished with a 71-29-30 record in eight years as coach of the United States, easily surpassing Bora Milutinovic, who went 30-35-31 from 1991-1995. Sampson had a record of 26-22-14 from 1995-1998.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Arena is out as coach of the United States men’s soccer team less than three weeks after the Americans’ first-round exit from the World Cup. U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said Friday that Arena’s contract would not be renewed when it runs out at the end of the year. A search for a replacement will begin immediately, Gulati said, adding that no potential candidates have been contacted. “Bruce expressed a desire to continue. I’m sure he’ll have opportunities. He had a great opportunity before the World Cup, but he didn’t want to be distracted,” said Gulati, who didn’t specify what opportunity Arena had. “No doubt there will be multiple opportunities in the soccer world in the U.S. and outside if he wants them.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2 Arena, who coached the U.S. for eight years, leaves as the most successful coach in the history of the national team, having won more than twice as many games (71) as any of his predecessors. He guided the United States to two CONCACAF Gold Cup titles and two straight appearances in the World Cup. But the latest trip to soccer’s biggest tournament was a disappointment, with the United States being eliminated following a 2-1 loss to Ghana in the first round in Germany. “Eight years is a long period,” Gulati said. “I’m not saying we need to change direction, the direction Bruce set is very positive. But having a fresh approach, after eight years, which is a very long time, is the strongest factor.” Gulati said the U.S. will schedule exhibition games later this year and Arena would be the coach if a replacement is not found. Any potential coach from MLS likely would not be available until after the season, which concludes with the championship game Nov. 12. Gulati praised Arena for his accomplishments and said he had done “an extraordinary job.”last_img read more

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Game raises stakes for Congress watchers

first_imgThe concept is simple enough: Select a team of four senators or 12 House members and pit them against other teams on a virtual legislative gridiron. There are no touchdowns or home runs, per se. Instead, points accumulate based on how much business a legislator gets done. Each member of Congress is awarded five points for introducing a bill, additional points as the legislative process moves forward, and a 50-point bonus if a bill is signed into law. Future plans call for points to be scored for media mentions, and the creators want to allow teams to play in a rotisserie league – once they upgrade to a faster computer server. Generally, Republicans have done better than Democrats for the simple fact they are the majority party, and therefore in control of the legislative process. On the House side, for instance, Republican Dan Young, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, leads the pack with 1,905 points. By contrast, area Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Santa Fe Springs, is tied for last with a mere six points. Szeto says his team, a combination of two upstart rookies and a couple of veterans with staying power, has been relatively successful. The game – initially just a hobby for the four friends – has become something of a phenomenon since the New York Times wrote about it last week. Lee said the number of registered users had jumped to about 15,000, up from 800, and there are now nearly 14,000 teams. The majority of users are college students, the game’s primary target group, but there are also political bloggers, members of political organizations and teachers who sign up their classes. “Students who might otherwise require a lot of prodding to read a book about Congress will eagerly play a game about Congress,” said John J. Pitney, government at Claremont McKenna College. Pitney advised the Fantasy Congress creators and expects to use the game in his course on Congress next semester. “If anything, Fantasy Congress is a testament that young people are watching Congress,” Lee said. “Our hope is that the game will be the Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st century,” a reference to the 1970s-era musical education cartoon. Szeto, who lives in San Marino, said he hopes to recruit his classmates at Poly to join the private league he started. He already posted announcements around campus. Fantasy games have a loyal fan base, and it is not uncommon to see someone juggling three or four fantasy sports teams at one time. Some play to win cash or for bragging rights. Tim Langdell, chair of the media department at National University, said fantasy fanatics often devote hours to their virtual world because it gives them a sense of success and improves their self-esteem. “The average rat race is to get through the day, get through the phone calls or messages,” Langdell said. “The reality is that people get satisfaction from beating other people.” Langdell said Fantasy Congress has the potential to introduce politics to people who normally don’t get too excited by such things as vetoes or signing statements. “Textbooks and endless news – the traditional ways of getting this information – are fairly dry and boring,” Langdell said. That might explain why a topic like politics was given a technological makeover and repackaged as a friendly game – a nontraditional example of getting government policy out to the masses. With Congress in recess until Nov. 9, Szeto, who usually checks his site every evening, won’t be trading any of his players until the election is over. “I just might change some of them,” he said. “I’ll re-evaluate if new people are elected.” professor caroline.an@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“I have Fantasy Congress now,” said Szeto, a self-confessed policy wonk and senior at Polytechnic School in Pasadena. “It’s a whole new opportunity to do something fun.” The fantasy gaming culture has been a staple for fans of professional sports for years. Now, for those more attuned to the accomplishments of Tom Harkin than football quarterback Tom Brady, there is Fantasy Congress, the brainchild of Andrew Lee, a Claremont McKenna College senior, and three of his computer-savvy friends. Lee said his freshman year roommate, who he described as a “fantasy sports nut,” was the inspiration for the game. While his roommate went online to check the status of his fantasy sports teams, Lee would be catching up on the latest political news from such Web sites as the Drudge Report and CNN.com. “It harkened back to the times when I was a nerdy Chinese kid,” he said. When Michael Szeto set out to field his Fantasy Congress team, he drew on his experiences as a Senate page. He was attracted to the intelligence of Sen. Hillary Clinton, saw the potential of Sen. Barack Obama, and found Republican Sen. John Warner to be a man of conviction not easily swayed by the whims of public opinion. The fourth pick was a natural: California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, his page sponsor. Now, even though he is 2,655 miles away, the 17-year-old stays connected with the high-stakes political warfare on Capitol Hill from his home computer. last_img read more

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