Thursday, May 31, 2012

U.S. field hockey captain shows others the way to success

Rachel Dawson, a former North Carolina All-American and college player of the year, will be in London this summer as captain of the U.S. women's field hockey team, hoping to help her team win its first medal since a bronze in Los Angeles in 1984. This week, however, Dawson took time out for the U.S. Olympic Comittee's Team for Tomorrow program to help youngsters fuel their dreams for future success. My story for the website:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Triathlete Laura Bennett eager for next shot at an Olympic medal

Last year, American triathlete Laura Bennett failed to qualify for this summer's London Olympics. Now, she says perhaps it was the best thing that could have happened. She changed her training focus to incorporate more emphasis on the bike, and now she believes that makes her stronger. She grabbed the final spot on the U.S. Olympic triathlon team recently at an event in San Diego, and now is eager to better her fourth-place finish at the 2008 Games in Beijing. My story on Bennett for the U.S. Olympic website:

A long journey for this judoka

Nick Delpopolo, the top-ranked American judo player in his weight class, had to earn his ticket for the London Olympics the hard way, through a winner-take-all match with a longtime rival that went to a best-of-three, one-day series. Delpopolo says he can't wait to represent his country, which gave him so much opportunity after his parents adopted him from Montenegro as a baby. His story for the U.S. Olympic website:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

After years of planning, former Army sergeant has his dream restaurant

Landre Malone knew he wanted to someday open a sports-themed restaurant and bar, so he started collecting sports memorabilia in 1996. Now, after years of collecting and learning while working his way through the restaurant business, he and his wife are making Landre's Sports Bar and Grill in Santee work -- though work is the key component. What are 80- to 100-hour weeks when you're fulfilling a dream? My profile of Malone for the On the Job series for Santee Patch:

Five guys and a goat hope to crack Cubs' curse

Since February, five guys and a little Nigerian goat named Wrigley have been marching from Arizona through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois on a quest to break the long curse of the Billy Goat on their beloved Cubs, while also raising money to fight cancer. Now, with Wrigley Field almost in their sights, the Sore Six are eager to cross the finish line but happy to have done something special. My story for's Playbook section:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pirates' Harrison marches to his brother's beat

Pittsburgh infielder Josh Harrison walks up to the plate at PNC Park with his brother's tunes accompanying him. His brother, Shaun, has been writing and performing his walk-up music since Josh played in college at Cincinnati. It's nice, he says, knowing no one else in the big leagues is using the same music. My story for's Playbook section:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A sad legacy for a special Chargers team

The 1994 Chargers were a close-knit group, overcoming more talented teams to advance to the 1995 Super Bowl. But as the years have slipped by, and one player after another has died, the team's remaining players can't help but wonder what's going on. Shawn Lee, Chris Mims, Lew Bush, Junior Seau ... eight players off the 53-man roster have died in the their 20s, 30s or 40s. The latest, Seau's suicide at age 43, shocked San Diego, the Chargers franchise and all of pro football. My story for on the tragedies that have befallen that once-blessed group of super Chargers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Experts in car design are helping athletes be more efficient

Swimmer Ricky Berens is an Olympic champion, but he knows he should pick up a few hundredths of a second on his turns to be more competitive for the London Games this summer. Now he's getting help from BMW technicians, who are developing systems to measure athletic efficiency for USA Swimming and USA Track and Field athletes. Already, decathlete Bryan Clay has tested systems for long jumpers, and Berens has been tested in the pool. My story for the U.S. Olympic website:

Fowl ball! The Chicken is still clucking along in 39th year

Ted Giannoulas had no idea that when he put on a chicken suit 39 years ago in San Diego that it would turn into a lifelong profession, or that he would become the most famous performing mascot in professional sports. But here he is, at age 58, still clad in feathers and making people laugh, traveling the country and enjoying what he does. The Famous Chicken isn't about to roost anytime soon. My story for's Playbook section:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Passion for food, cooking fuel desire to teach

Robert Wood and Sal Gagliardi always have loved to cook. Now the two chefs help others learn skills to become better in the kitchen at their cooking school at Sur La Table in Carlsbad. My story for the "On the Job" series in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

In a galaxy that spans baseball, "Star Wars" nights are a hit

Baseball and "Star Wars": the perfect combination? For years, minor and major-league sports teams have hit paydirt by combining a pop culture hit on the field (or arena) with baseball, hockey and hoops. My story for's Playbook section:

This band's been keeping the Lakers in tempo

For 33 years, these musicians have set the beat for the Lakers experience at games in Los Angeles. The Lakers Band, the only band of its kind in the NBA, is filled with high-quality musicians. My story for's Playbook section:

Jeopardy for ESPN May 4

Who was the last pick in the NFL draft of 1967 -- and the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft the same year? My Jeopardy for May 4 on's Playbook page: