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The Warriors Have Spoken

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The Backstage Beat Team had the pleasure of participating in Warrior Dash 2011, in Mountain City, Georgia. I was the only one from our Tough Mudder team who was crazy enough to have another go at muddy torture. I can’t say I blame them for being over it after that. I thought the 3 mile Warrior Dash would be a piece of cake after slogging through the grueling 14 miles of Tough Mudder.

I wanted to beat my time from last year for Warrior Dash, but little did I know, they upped the ante this year. The course set-up didn’t allow for much recovery between obstacles. The road run in the beginning allows for runners to find their place in the pack, before the obstacles begin. Next we had to go through water that was varying depths. Chest high called for a bit of swimming, but there were shallow spots throughout, which made it hard to come up with any consistent method of getting across…swim, crawl, run through water…it was tiring after running on the pavement. Now that we were weighed down by water, it was time for the dreaded tires obstacle. They kicked my butt last year, and this year had the added difficulty of junk cars to scale, between 2 tire courses. I wiped out coming down off of a car onto the tires, but hopped up and kept going. Instead of the series of short walls next, this year they had an over/under obstacle—alternating walls to climb, with barbed wire to go under between the walls. More running followed, giving us a short break from obstacles. Next up was a 20 foot vertical wall with a rope to climb, immediately followed by another tire course to climb up a steep embankment. Man, I was winded at this point! A nice trail run for a bit, then 3 obstacles in the woods…a horizontal cargo net, 30 feet long, elevated 5 feet in the air. Next up was a wide, dark tunnel to crawl through. I managed to bonk my head on the way through. A black tarp curtain made it impossible to see anything. More trail running followed, then a spiderweb made of bungees to navigate through. This one slowed me down more than it should have. It became a community effort, otherwise it would have been just plain rude. More running, then finally a fun part! The water slide was the highlight of the course. Whee! :) 3 more obstacles to go, back to back. Crawl through the mud under barbed wire (thankfully deeper and less gravel than last year), rinse off some mud while going over logs and barrels in the water, and then the end was in sight! Leap over 2 sets of flames and sprint(ha!) to the finish. The announcer cheered me on ( Come on princess, finish strong! ) and I managed just enough energy to get over the flames(some coals were kicked, I must admit… a dramatic shower of sparks, thanks to fatigue.) and I mustered my last bit of energy to run across the finish line.

After I ran in the 8:30 wave, then my hubby and friends ran at 9:30. I was so proud of all of them! They all made it injury free and finished strong. Congrats to Clif Wilson, Torrey Waterson, and the Shannon Clan (Jon, Mel, Jason, and Kathleen Shannon).Our group did well, but I will train harder for next year. I had hoped to place in the top 3 within my age group…49th out of 690 women in my age group still isn’t too shabby. There were over 3000 women from all age groups, and I placed 272 among them. There were a total of 7,842 participants on Saturday.

So now that you’ve heard about the course and the run, let’s move on to the
good stuff…Party Time, Warriors!

The people are what really make this event so much fun. There was such a spirit of camaraderie and support for fellow Warriors. Admiring the chiseled Adonises and the goddesses as well, proved to be as enjoyable as rooting for the underdogs who might have started the Couch to 5K program that very day. I spoke with one girl who confirmed that last year’s event was the catalyst for weight loss and a change of lifestyle for her. We swapped transformation stories and it reaffirmed my belief that challenging yourself is essential to getting out of a rut. I need those things to make me feel alive, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Thousands of people stated that in their participation this weekend. We are Warriors, and we can do anything!

The costumes were the icing on the cake. Everywhere I looked, it brought a smile to my face. Add some beer for the crowd, and it was Christmas and Mardi Gras rolled into one. Everyone was there to have a good time, and that mission was accomplished, I do believe. We came, we saw, we conquered…and we had a fantastic time doing so. We conquered our fears, our self-imposed limitations, we got out there, and we saw some carnivalesque sights thanks to some clever, unique individuals. We are a rare breed. We kick butt, know how to party, and have a sense of community…we shrugged off the rat race for a day, and it was glorious!

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TBB Sports

Nuclear Cowboyz!

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Nuclear Cowboyz®, the only high octane-fueled freestyle motocross touring production in North America, came to Philips Arena on Saturday, March 2nd and Sunday, March 3rd, 2013. The action-packed narrative is themed around the legend of two powerful freestyle motocross tribes whose survival in their futuristic world is told through an amassed compilation of fearless freestyle aerial feats, gravity-defying stunts, and electrifying pyrotechnic and laser displays synchronized to an energizing soundtrack.

Nuclear Cowboyz 2013 has the greatest cast of freestyle motocross, trials and quad riders ever assembled, including recent X Games 2012 medalists Ronnie Faisst, Taka Higashino, Mike Mason, Javier Villegas and Winter X Games gold and silver medalist Colten Moore. The tour also includes former gold medalists Matt Buyten and Adam Jones as well as award-winning freestylers Geoff Aaron, Wes Agee, Nick Dunne, Julian Dusseau, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Derek Garland, Marco Picado, Brody Wilson and Keith Wineland in this action-packed freestyle performance of pure danger and raw combat.

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WWE Raw!

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WWE returned to Atlanta for the first time in February when the Road to Wrestlemania 29 rolled into Philips Arena!

Just one week after F5’ing Mr. McMahon, Brock Lesnar returned to Raw and made his first Atlanta appearance is over 12 years!

Huge tag team main event with John Cena & The Unstoppable Ryback vs. CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler! See your favorite RAW & Smackdown superstars including Sheamus, The Big Show, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, The Miz, Kane, Daniel Bryan, the Divas, and many more! Check out these exclusive TBB pics by John Adams!

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©2013 John Adams

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Bobby Valentine Has Got to Go

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The Red Sox have had their fair share of woes this season, and now that it’s gone public that the players had a meeting with the front office in order to air grievances about manager Bobby Valentine, there’s another one to add on the pile. The players, it seems, feel as if Valentine doesn’t have their collective backs, a feeling exacerbated by his leaving Jon Lester in for a 4 inning, 11 run disaster of a start late last month in Toronto. The Red Sox front office, however, stands behind Valentine as their man, purportedly due to his strategic savvy. But how much effect does a manager really have on his team?

The media narrative of a manager as some kind of general locked in a battle of wits with the opposing manager is a tremendous exaggeration; for the most part, the only way a manager is going to make a significant impact on his team is in a distinctly negative fashion. Very rarely will a manager like Earl Weaver take the stage and effectively utilize platoons and defensive shifts to the team’s advantage, most managers don’t do much more than setting lineups, making pitching changes to a bullpen where the relievers have hard roles and occasionally pulling a shift on a lefty pull hitter. In that manner, Valentine hasn’t hurt the Red Sox, but I also imagine that most managers not named Ron Washington would avoid screwing that up; the Sox have a strong order and a solid, deep bullpen, two things that are unlikely to be done wrong barring a manager that knows almost nothing of baseball. A good portion of managers don’t even make the defensive shifts or call pitches, those tend to be handled by the bench coach and pitching coach, respectively, though there are some catchers that call pitches instead.

You may be wondering that, if managers do so little, what is their actual job? And it’s much simpler than people tend to want to admit: managers are meant to keep their players happy, that’s it. Terry Francona was good at this, Bobby Valentine is not. A team that gets along works as one cohesive unit and will avoid throwing any one member under the bus, even if getting along won’t make them play better. When there is such a tremendous breakdown of communication that the players are almost unified in their dislike of the manager, the manager has completely failed at his job and has totally lost control, and therefore the front office has no business continuing his employment. Rarely a team will come together where everyone hates each other but has incredible success in spite of that, akin to the Yankees teams of the mid to late 1970s. But, should it fail and the team plays less than spectacularly, expect the season to turn into a whirling maelstrom of distraction and drama, much as this one has.

To take this back specifically to Valentine, it’s worth mentioning that he was so regarded as a caustic, unapproachable manager that he was more or less exiled from the MLB after his stint with the Mets, forced to take a job in Japan, where managers are expected to take critical attitudes towards players that they don’t think are giving their all. Valentine’s manner of criticism, using the Youkilis incident from earlier this year, seems to be less about lighting a fire under an underachieving player and seems to be more about saving his own skin. Hence, the Red Sox players aren’t being divas, primadonnas, or whatever negative adjective one wishes to assign to them, they’re merely trying to protect themselves from a manager who has no qualms with openly trashing them in the media and putting a magnifying glass on their disappointing performance in order to take the magnifying glass off of his job. He has no concern for his players’ well-being, and as such they should have none for his.

So, should Valentine get fired? Almost certainly, when the manager has failed at keeping his team together, there’s no reason behind him keeping his job other than to spite the players. But will he get fired? Most likely not, since the front office, including Larry Lucchino, team president and general manager in all but name, seems to have cast their lots with him. He’ll continue being the manager until the fire starts creeping towards the front office guys, and just as quick as they sided with him, they’ll turn him into the villain. But until then, they’ll keep alienating the players in order to prove their point.

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