Sports Divas

I saw that your great leader Greg Hardy changed (and quickly deleted) his Twitter profile bio, levitra I thought ‘good for him.’ I’m sure he teamed up with his high-powered attorney, his therapist and the communications team at your storied organization to figure out the exact message he wanted to send. Of course, that message would be one of equality. Respect. Dignity. And remorse.

What did he do instead?

There is so much happening here that I hardly know where to begin. But we will start with the fact that Greg “Perfection” Hardy isn’t innocent. The police report and the case file both spell out in great detail what he did that night. And the reason why this essentially went away is because he probably, allegedly paid this woman a nice sum of money to keep her mouth shut. This does not make you innocent. It makes you privileged. And he was afforded that privilege because he is a member of the National Football League.

Which brings me to his next point, that he’s being discriminated against. Wow. Someone needs to school him – hey, maybe it could be someone from your staff – on what discrimination actually means. Discrimination isn’t brutalizing another human being and still getting a potential $13.1 million dollar contract to play in the NFL (which, by the way, is a privilege in and of itself). Discrimination is not paying off said human and having that record expunged because you have enough money get away with anything short of murder.

Discrimination is not being allowed in a private club because of your race. It’s being screened out of a job because you are a woman. Discrimination, quite literally, is treating someone as inferior based on their race, sex, national origin, age or other characteristics. What ‘other characteristic’ does he fall into in this instance? Because being black, a man, American or in his twenties has nothing to do with the backlash that’s happening to him. Being a domestic abuser, however…

It’s obvious that he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand what it is to respect the position that he is in or, more importantly, to respect women. He doesn’t get that it’s not okay to blame ‘ignorance and lack of information’ on what is happening to him right now. Because what’s happening to him right now isn’t even a portion of the physical, mental and emotional trauma that he put on his ex-girlfriend that night.

He threw her into a bathtub, dragged her out of it by her hair, slammed her onto a futon filled with assault rifles, and then called the police on her to cover his tracks. He had his friend hold her back while he made up a story about her assaulting him. He called her crazy and terrified her to the point of running from the police who where actually there to help her. And now, when he’s had ample chances to apologize for his actions that night, he chooses to make comments about opponents’ wives, say phrases like “come out guns blazin’ and (briefly, cowardly) change his social media profile to reflect the agony, the anguish that I’m sure he feels is unfairly lashed at him.

What does that sound like to you? Does that sound like a person who wants to change right now? Does this sound like a remorseful, reflective young man who has seen the error in his ways and is ready to tackle whatever demons lingering in his psyche?

No. He sounds like a guy who is doing all the wrong things with his behaviors being reinforced by the man who signs his checks. You, Dallas Cowboys, are better than being willfully and unapologetically guilty of encouraging this vile behavior.

So please, I’m begging you: cut ties with Greg Hardy. Give him whatever dollar amount the NFL Players’ Association says he “deserves”, and wipe your hands of that narcissistic, disrespectful piece of trash who has no business representing a historic franchise such as yours.

You bill yourselves as America’s Team. Which America are you referring to? The one that was built on lethal injustices and bows only to the Almighty Dollar? Or the America that fights for equality and stands together against anything that comes up against it? So far, you’ve been on the wrong side of this scale.

Do better.

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Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

While many of us spend the majority of the regular season cheering on our favorite teams, there it’s usually around playoff time that the media really begins to take notice that our numbers are growing and that we are, in fact, a committed, aware and savvy group of fans that just happen to be female.

Our friends over at FOX 32 News Chicago recently produced a story regarding the growing numbers of female Blackhawks fans in Chicago. Our Blackhawks lead writer, Victoria Kendzierski had the opportunity to weigh in (check out above video).

We’ve heard some recent stats that roughly 40% of the Blackhawks fan base is made up of women. Is anyone surprised? With two Stanley Cups in the last four years and a loaded international roster of young, incredible talent (that just happen to be easy on the eyes) and you’ve got the perfect marketing mix. Throw in the 24-hour media coverage that includes every outlet scrambling to out-perform the other and the addition of BlackhawksTV, the Hawks in-house media company and production facility, and we’ve never had better access to the guys and the game.

It doesn’t hurt that the the team, the players (and their WAGs) are pretty active on social media. Thanks to Twitter and Instagram, we get to see what players and their WAGs do on the weekends, where they vacation, where they dine, their pets, their families, their homes. What used to be ‘off-limits’ is now publicly shared by members of the teams and adorned by fans.

Add to the mix the already booming Chicago sports charity scene that the Blackhawks are slowly beginning to join. Bryan and Amanda Bickell are probably the most active with their work in the community that promotes Pit Bull awareness through the Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation. They host events monthly and just a few weeks ago a very pregnant Amanda hosted Pints for Pits at Durkin’s  (read our full review here). This fall, Duncan Keith hosted the Duncan Keith Relief concert and Brent Seabrook has been active the last few years with the ICE Bowl.

SDI'S Monica Gostkiewicz and Amanda Bickell

SDI’S Monica Gostkiewicz and Amanda Bickell at a “Fetching Affair”

Yep, we’ve been to all of these fun events and so have loads of other women. After all, who digs parties, red carpets, giving back to the community, the opportunity to get decked out and hit a hot spot with celebrity athletes? Hmmm…women?!

So while the media begins to take better notice of our growing numbers and Blackhawks fever peaks again, we can only hope that marketers also start paying better attention. How many more dumb blonde beer commercials must we endure before certain brands realize that we are an educated, sophisticated, feminine and aware bunch and are just as avid and aware as our male counterparts? Why teams, leagues and brands haven’t taken a more serious approach to marketing towards women still puzzles me.

After all, carefully converting a woman into an educated and aware fan only benefits the teams, leagues and their vendors. Women lead all purchasing decisions in the household. If a woman is a fan in her single years, the likelihood of her being a passionate fan when she’s a wife and mother is sure thing. It’s her that supports splurging on jerseys for the kids for Christmas and she’s the one that ultimately approves the thousands of dollars that go towards the season tickets each year. Yet, we still see only a fraction of sports marketing even remotely targeted to this incredibly under-served and lucrative demographic.


Women shell out the same amount of cash to go to games, purchase Hawks merchandise and drink the $12 beers at the UC. While some marketers (and media) have improved their delivery acknowledging our growing and aware fan base, many still fall short assuming we that we only attend games because we are dragged along, prefer pink jerseys, cannot pronounce “Toews” and prefer to watch fake-breasted women with pin-up credentials give us the ‘insider’ access to the players that we crave and desire (yes, we’re talking to you Comcast SportsNet).

So, the more women that tune-in, pay attention, know their stuff and can appreciate the benefits of being an educated and aware fan in our sports-blessed city, the more likliehood we’ll see better merchandise, more deserving and qualified women on the sidelines, better marketing from the networks, teams, and media, and an all-around greater respect for the female fan. And that my lady friends, is a win-win.

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Mary Krosnjar in Caché Orange Lace Sheath Dress

Mary Krosnjar in Caché Orange Lace Sheath Dress in the stables of Arlington Park

For as much as we celebrate sport and fashion here at SDI, cialis sale you can imagine how pumped we get each year when the Derby rolls around.

After all, buy what other sporting event warrants a smart new dress, sales a colorful wide-brimmed hat and the chance to cocktail in such a sophisticated manner?

I’ve been very fortunate and have attended several impressive sporting events in my life: the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Final Four..to name a few, but none of them compare to the atmosphere and energy that I found at the Kentucky Derby. From the magnificent Churchill Downs, to the incredible display of diverse ladylike fashion, to the amazing energy that is unleashed during those two minutes of the final race of the day, there’s something magical and timeless about the Derby.

Turn heads in the must-have color and fabric this spring: bold orange lace

Turn heads in the must-have color and fabric this spring: bold orange lace, Caché

If landing those coveted Clubhouse Derby Day tickets and a trip down to Louisville just aren’t in the books this year, you’ll find plenty of impressive Derby Day options right here in Chicago. Our city never shies away from the chance to throw a party around a sporting event and the opportunity to start boozing early on a Saturday. If your Derby Day plans aren’t yet confirmed, check out our list of recommendations on where to go this Saturday.

Of course, half the fun of Derby Day is dolling up for the big occasion. No other sporting event offers such an opportunity to make such a bold fashion statement while unleashing your inner southern belle.

The #1 Derby accessory: the perfect hat

The #1 Derby accessory: the perfect hat

But pulling together the perfect Derby Day look can be trickier than expected. After all, we’re still thawing out from Chiberia and haven’t seen temps push past 65 yet this season. Pulling together an impressive Derby Day dress, with accompanying hat and accessories can be quite daunting for the Chicago girl, who is still considering a permanent west-coast escape as she prevails through unpredictable May.

If a quick dose of Derby fashion inspiration is what you need in order to get out there and hunt down your perfect Derby look for Saturday, then you’re in luck. Regular SDI contributor, and one of Chicago’s rising fashion-blogger stars, Mary Krosnjar, a.k.a, “the Sportsanista” traveled to our #1 recommended destination, Arlington Park, this past weekend, for the perfect backdrop for some of this season’s most wanted Derby looks.

Mary Krosnjar in Floral Placement Halter Dress from Caché

Mary Krosnjar in Floral Placement Halter Dress from Caché, fascinator: Nordstrom 

We partnered with Caché for these Derby looks, the ideal place to check out the next time you are in the market for a dress – not just for the Derby, but for weddings, holidays, romantic vacations and that go-to staple for GNO. 

 Caché coupon

With a store in the 900 N. Michigan Shops as well as a huge selection on-line, Caché is offering SDI readers $25 off your purchase of $150 or more or $50 off your purchase of $250 or more. Use code 8128757 when checking out or simply print off this coupon and bring it in store. Hurry, promotion ends Monday, May 5th.

What's more appropriate for the Derby than a Mint Julep? A bright floral dress.

What’s more appropriate for the Derby than a Mint Julep? A bright floral dress, Caché

 

Be bold in an unconventional lace pantsuit paired off with a fascinator

Be bold in an unconventional lace pantsuit paired off with a fascinator: Embroidered Lace Wrap Jumpsuit, Caché, Fascinator: Nordstrom 

IMG_2189 (1)

Guaranteed to turn heads, the traditional black & white takes a twist with lace in a sexy and smart embroidered jumpsuit: Caché, Fascinator: Nordstrom 

Model:  Mary Krosnjar (check out Mary’s blog for additional photos and inspiration)

Dresses & pantsuit: Caché

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Bick's Pit of the Month, <a href=

viagra sale Deke” src=”http://sportsdivasinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Deke-768×1024.jpg” width=”245″ height=”327″ /> Bick’s Pit of the Month, Deke

As the Blackhawks prepare to defend the Stanley Cup and face the St. Louis Blues in their latest return to the playoffs, the loyal and lovely wives of the men in red and black have been very busy in the community giving back, driving awareness to charitable causes, and preparing to bring babies into the world (more on that later).

Last Saturday (yes, the one that was 65 degrees) I had the chance to attend the latest fundraiser hosted by the the Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation, a foundation devoted to raising awareness around Pit Bulls.  Hosted at legendary Lakeview pub, Durkins, fans were encouraged to bring along their pups and to come out to watch to Blackhawks take the ice in the Music City against the Nashville Predators.

My friend Margaret and I made our way to Durkins around 7:00 p.m. (dog-less) and were immediately surprised by how many guests had brought their dogs out with them. Throughout the night around 100 guests and 20 or so pups gathered to watch the Blackhawks in their final game of the regular season. The $40 cover included an open bar and yummy treats from Duffys down the street. Our furry friends also received Pup WOOFers, delectable peanut butter and oatmeal doggy cookies for them to munch on during the game.

Pit Bull Love

Pit Bull Love

Much to my surprise, all of the pups in attendance were so well behaved, and many were decked in their favorite Blackhawks gear, along with their owners. The tail-waggin’ attendees were so incredibly friendly, and seemed very excited to be out on the town as they greeted guests passing by with a kiss or nudge.

One of the main guests of honor was Deke, the featured Bick Pit of the month who was just adopted this week and is going home to a loving family! The bubbly pup was enjoying all the attention, but still graced his presence to pose for a great photo with me.

There was plenty of swag to purchase with proceeds benefitting the Foundation: Bick’s Pits t-shirts were on sale for $25, and the event’s special pint glass for $10 or a pair for $18. The popular Bick’s Pits calendars, that feature members of the Blackhawks alongside Pit Bulls, were available for purchase as well.  And what would a fundraiser be without a raffle table?  Ranging in prizes from a wine lover’s dream basket, to a Bryan Bickell autographed hockey stick, to a special doggy basket, there was something for everyone. Doggyloot sponsored the raffle and goody bag donations.20140412_192415

Fans were also put to test with a fun photo contest. Participants had to use their doggy knowledge to pick out which dogs on the sheet were true Pit Bulls, and out of the whole bar, only six fans correctly answered each question, demonstrating just how important it is to raise awareness about the lovable breed, which is Amanda Bickell’s number one priority.

SDI's Monica with the beautiful hosts Alicia and Amanda

SDI’s Monica with the beautiful hosts Alicia and Amanda

I had the chance to talk to Amanda, who looked just stunning, baby bump and all (Amanda and Bryan are expecting their first child, a girl, on August 16). Amanda mentioned that the biggest challenge the foundation faces is spreading the word about the Pit Bull breed, and educating people on how lovable and loyal these dogs are.

Many people already have pre-conceived opinions about Pit Bulls based on what they hear in the media, and from the public stories of Pit Bulls attacking humans.  We often don’t consider the fact that other dogs cause harm too. For example, last year a Chihuahua and a Cocker Spaniel both harmed young children but never caught the attention of the media. Amanda stressed that we have to be open minded, and understand how compassionate Pit Bulls truly are, something that was clearly visible at the event. Each pup was so lovable that I almost took little C.T. home with me because he was just so precious.

The magnetic little pup, C.T.

The magnetic little pup, C.T.

Since it’s inception, the Bryan and Amanda Bickell Foundation has helped roughly 20 Pit Bulls find a place to call home and become a part of a loving family with seven of those pups being the featured Pit Bulls models in Bick’s Pits calendar. Yet, despite the impressive strides the Bickells have made, there is so much work to do. Volunteers are always needed. If interested in volunteering, contact the Bickell Foundation at info@bickellfounation.org to learn how you can help give these pups a voice. The Foundation will continue to create programs to drive awareness and fundraising for Pit Bulls with their next initiative, Paws for Strength, coming soon. To learn more about the organization, and their current programs, visit the BickellFoundation.org.

Puppy Kisses

Puppy Kisses

Despite the outcome of the game (the Hawks lost, 7-5) Pints for Pits event was a success, from the cheerful fans to the adorable pups, everyone had a great time while driving awareness to a formidable cause and generating money throughout the night from ticket sales, merchandise, and the raffle.

Hats off to Amanda and Bryan for their continued success in driving awareness to a cause so near and dear to their hearts, and for giving fans the unique opportunity to come together with their four-legged friends. We a-PAW-laud (sorry, had to) the gracious hosts and all those who continue to donate their time to help make the Bickell Foundation events such a success. Follow the Foundation on Facebook to stay on top of all the upcoming events as well as adoption opportunities and general Pit Bull awareness. We’ll see you at the next one. Until then, go HAWKS!

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SDI was back at the annual Cubs Convention this year talking to fans and taking in the sites and sessions, viagra but this time we were specifically hunting for the best – and most unique dressed Cubs fans.

SDI Founder Monica Murphy Vargas combed the halls of the Sheraton hunting down fashion and handing out coupons to local retailer, ed Clark Street Sports.  Nothing seemed to be off-limits this year as fans came out in full force and interesting fashion. In addition to the unique jerseys, try vintage tees, pins and bags, we witnessed a resurgence of zumba pants and Cubs onesies.

Watch the video above to find out who won SDI’s best and most unique dressed fans at this year’s convention. And for all of your Cubs merchandise needs, check out the huge selection of Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks…and White Sox gear at Chicago’s very own, Clark Street Sports.

Chicago Cubs Logo Womens Royal Tri-Blend T-Shirt, Clark Street Sports: $29.99

Keep an eye out for the Fashion Fan Cam in the weeks to come and remember ladies, it doesn’t have to be game day to work the game day look.

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This time of year kind of sucks and here’s why: it’s like two days before garbage pickup where you have bags of smelly trash just idling on your landing but you can’t get rid of it yet because if you do you’ll get a ticket from the city for putting your garbage can out two days early. And in the the Legends division, ailment there’s some trash that just needs to go. Now. Here it goes.

Northwestern, medicine you are a representative of not just the Big Ten (that has twelve teams and will go up to fourteen next year does this not bother anyone else?!), but of the Chicagoland area as a whole. I have friends who are proud graduates of your law school. I know real journalists who went through your prestigious graduate program at Medill (who now work in marketing….?). And I know a couple of your MBA alums who are climbing the corporate ladder at the same speed that you went from 4-0 to 4-6.

I need you guys to find a way to win two games. Sure, you only have two games left. And

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald. All you need is two games, homie.

yes, one of them is a definite win because it’s against my alma mater Illinois which is awful. The other? Well, you’re just going to have to dig deep and find a way. And that brings us to our game of the week.

No. 13 Michigan State at Northwestern, 11:00am on ESPN

Northwestern is bad. Michigan State is good. And there’s only so many superlatives I can use to describe these two teams before you (and I) get bored. So I’m going to change it up. Michigan State has sewed up the division and is headed for a matchup with The Ohio State University in the B1G Championship game in Indianapolis. So let’s go a bit deeper into what exactly makes the Spartans so special.

The defense: Michigan State is the number one defense in the nation. They allow under 240 yards per game (first nationwide) and rank fourth in points allowed. But they’re kryptonite is giving up the occasional big play.

Last week against Nebraska, the Spartans allowed Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. to complete a 38-yard pass to Kenny Bell in the end zone. They also gave up plays for 51 and 32 yards. In the end, they defeated the Cornhuskers and all-but guaranteed their Dec. 7 matchup with the Buckeyes. But these sorts of mistakes can’t happen if they want to hang with Ohio State.

The Spartans admit that they have room to grow, though they are getting the national exposure that a defense as elite as theirs deserves. Multiple players are receiving All-

Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen. Photo credit: roberthendricks.net

American consideration including linebacker Denicos Allen and defensive end Shilique Calhoun. Both agreed that the win over Nebraska was an eye-opener, and they now have more to improve upon – especially with Ohio State very likely in their future – heading into this weekend’s matchup against the Wildcats.

My take: Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter believes that since they moved the ball on Michigan State last year, they can do it again this year. Ah the optimism of youth. If only life were that simple. State wins big.

 

Around the division

No. 19 Wisconsin at No. 25 Minnesota, 2:30 on ESPN

Holy whaaaaat??? Is that Minnesota ranked?! Congrats Gopher fans. Your team has mastered peaking at the right time. Hopefully the game lives up to the rankings. Be sure to check out Kristin’s preview for all the details!

Michigan at Iowa, 11:00am on Big Ten Network

Bleacher Report gave coaches grades this week. Brady Hoke got a C-. The positive? Three other coaches got worse grades than him….unfortunately those were Tim Beckman (Illinois), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern) and Darrell Hazell (Purdue). For what it’s worth, Kirk Ferentz(Iowa) ranked just above Hoke. He got a C.

MSU Boatneck Top in Dark Green, Meesh & Mia: $45.00

Nebraska at Penn State, 2:30pm on Big Ten Network

Both are bowl eligible and Nebraska technically still has a chance to win the division. Look for Nebraska to fight hard for this win; they want a piece of Ohio State as bad as the Spartans do and they still have a shot at it.

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