Postgame beer celebration adds to status of Alli Alberts as one of coolest athletes in female sport

As one of the most popular players for the Chicago Bliss, Alli Alberts only added to her legend. In the aftermath of a 49-0 whitewash of the Omaha Heart, she was bestowed the recognition of the game’s Most Valuable Player. Running to the 50-yard line, Alberts cracked open a beer and started chugging.

With a rousing roar of approval from the hometown fans on-hand at Toyota Park, Alberts’ antics made news throughout the round of sports media outlets, while fans went to social media with their approval. A jubilant Alberts thanked her fans via social media for their support.

Donning number 1 with the Bliss, Alberts is certainly on her way to becoming the top-draw in indoor female football. While it would surprise casual fans to know that she is a dentist (her patient list is bound to increase), her girl-next-door looks and winning smile are complemented by a remarkable series of athletic talents that led her to being a Western Conference All-Star selection in 2014.

Along with quarterback Heather “Rockstar” Furr, the two are known on social media as “The Blonde Terminators.” Considering that both are the only members of the Chicago Bliss that play both offense and defense, these iron women are building the momentum towards the Bliss claiming a third consecutive league title.

As a side note, Furr had her own beer experience during a match against the now defunct Green Bay Chill back in July 2014. In celebration of a touchdown, a fan handed her a beer. Sipping it with helmet on, the event would be covered by the New York Daily News. As a side note, Furr also works as a bartender at Murphy’s Bleachers, the Wrigleytown bar.

Meanwhile, Alberts’ jubilation is only adding to the Omaha Heart’s desolation. After suffering a 79-0 blowout loss to the Atlanta Steam, the Heart’s early postseason hopes are quickly being dashed with another trouncing defeat. Taking into account that the Bliss have now moved to the Eastern Conference this season, the thought of playing them two more times is not an appealing thought for the Heart.

While the consumption of alcohol may never be seen on an NFL field, Alberts’ celebratory drink reminded fans that sport is meant to be about enjoyment and celebration. For Canadian sports fans, it brought back memories of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, when Canadian women’s ice hockey players took to the ice after their gold medal win.

Considering how many male athletes have been featured in beer commercials, Alberts definitely is worthy of such consideration. The website brobible.com made the excellent suggestion that her consumption of beer on the field could make for an interesting marketing idea. As female football fans (and players) are quickly becoming the fastest growing segment of the game, Alberts proves that she is more than just a heart throb, but just one of the guys as well.

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Admirable performance for Brooke Henderson at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

While world number one ranked golfer Lydia Ko ended up with the win at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, ascending to the top of the LPGA Tour’s winnings list, the real star of the show was teenaged phenom Brooke Henderson. Hailing from the suburbs of Ottawa, Canada, Henderson held the lead going into the final day of the event.

Although it was Ko and Morgan Pressel who would compete in the playoff to determine the tournament winner, Henderson showed that the future of women’s golf is in very good hand. Attempting to become the third woman in the history of the LPGA Tour to win a tournament before turning 18, Henderson actually held the lead for two rounds of play.

Rookie jitters were evident on the final day of play. The opening tee shot went to the right, landing behind the trees and resulting in a bogey. While established veterans Ko and Pressel managed to catch up to the ambitious Henderson, she remained in contention as late as the 18th hole. Missing a 25-foot birdie attempt on the 18th jeopardized any chance of a title win.

As the former top-ranked amateur in the world, Henderson’s gutsy performance at the Swinging Skirts was nothing short of admirable. At one time, she led the event by as much as five shots. Despite the desolation of relinquishing her lead, there is jubilation in the fact that she was able to hold her own against some of the most accomplished female golfers in the world.

Having passed on a scholarship to the University of Florida in order to pursue her dreams of professional golf, Henderson is forced to go from week to week, hoping to qualify for the next LPGA event. Last December, she was denied an opportunity to attend the LPGA’s Qualifying School, due to the fact that she was under 18.

Despite her top-10 finish at the Swinging Skirts, she still needs to qualify for events because she is not an actual LPGA member. Denied a waiver in 2014 because she did not meet the minimum age requirement of 18, a win would have ensured membership. While LPGA commissioner Mike Whan would likely grant a two-year exemption for Henderson if she can win an event this season, there is no question that Henderson is one to watch.

With the pressure of being one of Canada’s finest golfers (male or female), there is an expectation that comes with such status, one that Henderson has grown with. Her talents and resiliency will shine through, making her a sentimental favorite to win a tournament this year. Once she eventually gains membership in the LPGA, fans can expect to hear more from the very promising Henderson in the near future.

Paula Creamer fighting the good fight for sporting equality

As one of the world’s most popular and accomplished golfers, Paula Creamer is utilizing that status in an effort towards sporting equality. While Augusta National has allowed female members since 2012, chairman Billy Payne has not mentioned the possibility of the LPGA playing there in the near future.

Creamer has come forward with the suggestion that a women’s version of the Masters could follow the week after. While the LPGA boasts five major tournaments, including the US Women’s Open, Women’s PGA Championship, Women’s British Open, ANA Inspiration and the Evian Championship, the prestige of Augusta National could certainly lead to a Women’s Masters.

Sadly, there remains a dinosaur mentality about such a concept. Another site went as far as to state that Billy Payne pays more respect to a dead tree than a women’s tournament. Stating that a very short member season (a duration of only seven months), compounded by the time required for preparation would make it difficult to host another tournament may be perceived as a weak argument. Although Payne has definitely made contributions to the growth of the game in other parts of the world, along with the excellent Drive, Chip and Putt contest, a Women’s Masters would be the moral thing to do.

Creamer also counters Payne’s argument about prep work for the Masters by bringing up the current scenario with Pinehurst No. 2. Of note, the course has hosted the US Open, plus the US Women’s Open in consecutive weeks. Taking into account the success involved with staging consecutive majors, it can be done elsewhere. Perhaps Payne could compromise and make the Women’s Masters a bi-annual event, thus reducing any potential strain that could be caused to Augusta National by having it yearly.

As women’s sports continues to grow, the impact of Augusta would only add to the momentum of the female game. Considering that the Masters always generates high ratings, it would certainly carry over to a women’s edition. The women of the LPGA are doing just as much to generate interest in the game as their counterparts in the PGA.

This is definitely one area where top-ranked members of the PGA could speak up on the topic. For an individual like the legendary Tiger Woods, who was once discriminated against at golf clubs because of his skin color, this should definitely be a cause for him to champion. Even if some are afraid to “rock the boat”, there are enough members of the Senior PGA tour who have done enough for the game, that they can speak without reproach. If Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus supported Creamer, it would carry significant weight.

Although the LPGA could attempt to sway sponsors of the Masters, or even try to lobby the state government of Georgia, the important aspect is that Creamer has gotten the conversation started. Hopefully, it will be a conversation that builds momentum as the day that female golfers can wear the green jacket, the Masters shall truly be an event worthy of prestige.

Return to Seattle Mist brings career of Danika Brace full circle

In the aftermath of the 2014 season, Danika Brace provided an emotional and powerful farewell speech in the Las Vegas Sin locker room. Valiantly holding back tears, Brace, whose competitive spirit represented a sincere love of the game, always provided leadership by example. Of note, her farewell address was actually introduced by the commissioner of the football league.

Praising her skills on and off the field, the commissioner continued by stating that football comes and goes, but the people are what matter. With that in mind, Brace’s impact on the gridiron certainly mattered. While she was infamous among rival players for her trash talking, it sent a message to opposing teams that Brace was not to be taken lightly.

Known as the league’s premier trash talker, the only kind of talk she addressed to the Sin locker room with was one of encouragement. Her endorsement of Sindy Cummings and Markie Henderson as future superstars was definitely credible, as their first season with the Sin represented Brace’s last.

Her strong leadership with many of the Sin’s younger players included the ability to call out a player on an error. Like a playing coach, she brought acumen to the gridiron, helping nascent players grow into veteran roles. Her presence provided the Sin with that competitive edge, proving that any win against them would be hard-earned.

One remark from the commissioner did provide fans with a glimmer of hope, as he believed that she might come back one day. Such words were coincidental foreshadowing, as indoor football fans got their wish. After a stint playing football in Melbourne, Australia as one of several US import players, her competitive fire has been rekindled.

Suiting up for the Seattle Mist in 2015, it brings her career full circle. Having started her football journey with the club (winning the inaugural Pacific Cup), the experience acquired since then may yield positive dividends. Despite some difficult seasons for the Sin, Brace’s strong knowledge of Western Conference opponents makes her an invaluable resource for a determined Mist franchise looking to capture its elusive championship.

It is only fitting that a return to the franchise represents the potential for such glorious ambitions. Should Brace end the season with the championship held proudly in her hands, there is no question it shall be dedicated to her sister, Amanda.

Of note, she was introduced to the game by her sister, setting the foundation for her accomplished career. Under her sister’s mentorship, she understood the need to be competitive yet available to younger players.

Although the early aspects of her career were frustrated by the all-too encompassing realities of career and financial obligations (a common predicament among so many women in modern sport), her love of the game could not be extinguished. While her return to football in 2015 may not be classified as a comeback, a welcoming group of loyal and proud fans in Seattle are ready for another chance to appreciate one of the game’s gladiators.

Final hockey season with St. FX for Alex Normore one to remember

An offensive catalyst that raised the level of play for those around her, Alex Normore of the St. Francis Xavier X-Women transformed the game in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) by a quantum leap. The 2014-15 season could best be described as her farewell tour with the X-Women, one last chance to appreciate her greatness and absorb what she meant to the growth of AUS hockey.

Once again, her talents brought her to the top of the CIS statistical charts. Ranking third in CIS play with 22 assists, while her 32 points tied for fifth in the nation with York Lions forward Lisa Stathopoulos, she would also log her 197th career point, surpassing Brayden Ferguson as the all-time leading scorer in program history. It also made her the second all-time leading scorer in AUS history, behind Marieve Provost, formerly of Les Aigles Bleues de Moncton.

Her final season would open with an eleven-game scoring streak that culminated in 18 points. During said streak, St. FX emerged with a 10-0-0 record, testament to Normore’s dominance. A three-point performance on November 1 against the St. Mary’s Huskies in a 6-1 victory would be her finest through those 11 games.

Another streak would begin on November 29, an eight-game stretch that would last until January 25. Once again, her prominence on the ice reflected in the wins column for the X-Women. Enjoying an undefeated mark during those eight games, Normore collected 17 points, along with a pair of superlative four-point performances.

Of note, the first occurred on December 18 against the St. Thomas Tommies, which saw Normore factor in every X-Women goal for a 4-2 victory. Exactly one week later, she would duplicate the feat as she gained assists on every X-Women goal in a hard-fought 4-3 road win against Mount Allison.

In the 21 out of 23 games played for the X-Women, Normore registered at least one point as her presence translated into a sterling won-loss mark of 20-1-0. The only loss took place on October 17 against UPEI. As a side note, the two games where she was held pointless involved a November 16 contest with Moncton and a January 28 meeting against St. Mary’s.

An even more revealing number is the fact that when Normore did not suit up for the X-Women, the squad went 1-5-0, compounded by a three-game losing streak to finish the season. That was attributed to the fact that she earned the call to compete for Canada’s national team in a silver medal effort at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain.

The aftermath of the regular season saw Normore and the X-Women earn another trip to the CIS Nationals. Qualifying for the bronze medal game, emotions ran high. Competing against the Montreal Carabins (who claimed the silver medal at the 2014 edition of the Nationals), it would prove to be the final match in her remarkable career. With Carabins leader Elizabeth Mantha (who was one of Normore’s teammates at the Winter Universiade) also appearing in her final CIS game, both teams were eager to help their teammates end their careers with a podium finish.

Facing a 2-0 setback after two periods of play, Normore and Schyler Campbell earned the assist on a goal scored by Kara Power at 11:21 in the third. Although it would prove to be the only goal that Montreal would allow in the high-stakes contest, it was only fitting that Normore was able to register a point in her final game, representing a valiant effort.

Although the future of her playing career will be subject to venues such as Europe and the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, what she has accomplished with the X-Women is the culmination of a sensational career that truly makes her a once-in-a-lifetime player. Her greatest legacy will be the fact that she brought an electricity to the ice, a newfound importance to AUS women’s ice hockey, bringing into the national championship picture. While the game at the AUS level will definitely not be the same without her presence, she helped develop a great foundation for future generations of Maritime competitors to emulate and build upon.

AJ Lee’s retirement from WWE shrouded in controversy

As one of the most successful WWE Divas of the last decade, the retirement of AJ Lee is another black-eye for the world’s leader in sports-entertainment. Leaving after Wrestle Mania 31, it was a significant loss for the Divas division.

Rampant speculation online has led some to assume that the cause of this retirement is attributed to an ongoing legal battle involving her husband, former champion CM Punk. Of note, the legal issues surround frustrations with one of WWE’s corporate physicians and a misdiagnosis, followed by a subsequent distribution of medication.

The matter that truly compounds such Lee’s retirement is the fact that CM Punk was dismissed from the WWE on their wedding day in June 2014. Although this was stated on a podcast as a coincidence, obviously it was not the easiest situation for Lee to endure. Taking into account that she was never a cast member of WWE’s successful television program, Total Divas, this recent development could certainly lead to speculation as to why she was never involved. Considering the almost three years that WWE invested into developing her character (from Florida Championship Wrestling to NXT), there is almost the feeling that talent is treated as disposable.

In many ways, the suffering endured by Lee and her husband bears many similarities to Bret Hart and the sad turn his career took back in 1997. With family working in the company as well, it led to bad blood as some accompanied him to WCW. Sadly, it placed his brother Owen in a difficult situation as he was still contractually obligated to the company.

A tactic also used in mixed martial arts, the use of the word retirement was perceived as the only way to escape from her contract with WWE. Compounding this decision is the fact that she cannot work elsewhere until the remainder of her contract has expired. With very few other promotions offering a viable alternative, the next stage in Lee’s career may be one filled with frustration.

Messages on social media have already indicated that Lee may be engaging in a new career altogether, with a book deal in the works. Regardless, Lee’s wrestling career should not have faced such an abrupt and somewhat malicious ending. A three-time WWE Divas champion, she was also its longest reigning champion. Unfortunately, politics is an ugly reality in wrestling, and one that does not show much mercy.

Ronda Rousey’s star shines even brighter in 2015

After a meteoric rise in 2014, the popularity of Ronda Rousey shows no signs of slowing down. The first three months of 2015 have resulted in her making an ever deeper impact in popular culture.

Appearing in the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Rousey showed a soft yet sexy side. One photo was stunning yet tasteful, as she was shown lying down topless with a side view of her breast, certainly making hearts pound. Working with iconic photographer Walter Iooss, Jr., she was one of two female athletes featured in the 2015 edition. Joined by Caroline Wozniacki (also photographed by Iooss), both were worthy of consideration for the cover.

Despite the release of the sensational swimsuit photos, Rousey was not showing her soft side in UFC circles. Following the release of the Swimsuit Issue, she was scheduled to fight Cat Zingano at UFC 184 on February 28.

Photo by Walter Iooss, Jr.

Photo by Walter Iooss, Jr.

Any speculation that the publicity over said issue may have altered her focus was poorly perceived. It only took her an astounding 14 seconds to defeat Zingano, the fastest time in UFC championship history. With her next match scheduled for UFC 190 on August 1 against Beth Correia, one cannot help but feel that Correia is nothing more than a sacrificial lamb in Rousey’s championship dominance.

Her in-ring success only complemented the momentum as a pop culture icon. March 2015 saw Rousey’s star shine in two unique very popular entertainment genres. Portraying the role of Kara in The Fast and Furious 7, her acting career is white hot. As the film (released in March) set box office records for the franchise, Rousey may quickly be considered among Hollywood power players as a bankable film star.

Before the month would expire, Rousey would also make an appearance in the squared circle of World Wrestling Entertainment. With a front row seat at Wrestle Mania 31, the annual signature event in sports-entertainment, Rousey would steal the show.

Wrestling icon and film star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in the ring engaging in a verbal battle with third-generation wrestling promoter Stephanie McMahon. Stating that he would not hit a woman after she ordered him out of the ring, The Rock summoned Rousey to come into the ring.

Entering to an approving roar of applause, Rousey hiptossed Triple H, also McMahon’s husband, out of the ring. She would attempt to place McMahon into her trademark armbar but she quickly escaped out of the ring. Specualtion is now running rampant that Rousey and The Rock shall headline Wrestle Mania 32 in an intergender tag team match with McMahon and Triple H. Considering that WWE has always enjoyed the use of celebrities in its Wrestle Mania events (past matches included Lawrence Taylor and Snooki from MTV fame), there is no question that Rousey would generate remarkable interest. For the next nine months, such an interest in all things related to Rousey is bound to only increase.