All Cleats Are Not The Same

While you are new to the games, you don’t digest the idea of cleats of different kinds of different sports. Cleats are external attachments to the lower end of the shoe sole. They are present to improve traction to the kind of ground the sport is being played on. They come in varieties like detachable or fixed to choose from. The three typical types of studs are bladed, rounded/conical and hard grounded. The materials used to make them are rubber, plastic or metal-tipped.

Depending on the sport you opt for, the shoes with cleats change. The combination of materials and types differ from the surface of play for traction.

For Baseball:

Most of the shoes the professionals prefer for baseball have front cleats to dig into the soil and help for a quick acceleration. Improving the force needed to catch a ball or make a run, the baseball shoe’s design help maneuver the feet and pump with the right traction. These are also designed as such, as the sport doesn’t involve ant stepping between the players.

For Football:

For this very particular sport, the cleats are longer than usual. This helps the feet to make easy cuts and turns by swift digging into the grass and soil. Moreover, the leather on them is thicker than the rest to protect the feet when stepped upon. They come in three heights; low cuts, for swift positionings like that of receivers and cornerbacks; mid cuts for the running backs and quarterbacks and finally high cuts, for less mobile positions like defensive line of players.

Generally heavier in overall construction, these shoes are typically made up of leather or synthetic materials. The quality is designed to withstand heavy usage even in dirt, rain, mud or snow.

For Lacrosse:

Might think it to be similar to that of the football, but no they are similar to that of baseball providing toe cleat for quick side movements and stability. Its weight is similar to that of soccer cleats. Moreover, these have mid-level cuts to offer appropriate ankle support. For the dig into the dirt or turf, the top-quality makers usually install eight to ten nubs on the bottom. As ankle rotation or high impact blow is common in lacrosse injuries, these are designed to provide maximum protection.

For Soccer:

Made mainly for running, these are very versatile in its design. The soccer cleats can be worn in other sports, but no vice versa so you should choose wisely. It is not at all safe to wear lacrosse and baseball shoes on the soccer field, because of their front toe cleats. For soccer, it’s always a low cut, evidently because of the rapid movements needed to drive the ball with complete stability. It’s interesting to know that, these are the lightest among all the categorical sports as they are usually made of rubber polyurethane outsole. To keep the center of gravity of a player’s feet, these shoes do not have midsoles. The upper is either leather or synthetic.

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Stuck With Smelly Soccer Cleats? What You Can Do To Resolve The Issue

Running under heat can lead to sweating of the feet leaving behind moisture and odors in your soccer cleats. The fact that you need to be in soccer socks for comfort increases the chances of being stuck with smelly soccer cleats. It gets even worse when you leave them in your bag instead of airing them. The odors can be quite strong and unbearable, but fortunately it is not impossible to get rid of them.

Just like anything else, it is best to start by taking prevention measures to keep the odors at bay. If you want to eliminate the chances of this smelly problem, you should:

· Clean them after every practice or game and allowing them to air dry; the cleaning should be consistent

· Choose K-leather over synthetic materials because leather is breathable and does not therefore keep the odors trapped in.

· Immediately remove them after the game and place fabric softener sheet in them before placing them in the bag; you can then stuff them with dry newspaper upon reaching home to absorb any moisture and liquid present.

· Air dry them in a shaded dry area outdoors instead of in direct sunlight that can be damaging.

· Ensure the soccer cleats are completely dry after washing or cleaning before wearing them again to your game

· Find appropriate soccer socks; absorbent socks are better and they should be of the right thickness to avoid excessive sweating during play

· Consider getting more than one pair; alternating between games gives the soccer cleats time to air, hence fighting bacteria and keeping odors on the bay

· Ensure your feet are clean and dry every time you wear your soccer cleats and socks; it is also of importance not to reuse socks before washing

If it is too late to prevent the odors and you already have smelly soccer cleats to deal with, you can use the following tips to get rid of the smell.

· Use manufacturer recommendations to wash your soccer cleats; most only need liquid dish soap, water and soft cloth to wash thoroughly

· After washing, rinse properly to get rid of all soap residue and wipe if necessary before then allowing them to completely air-dry

· After drying them, sprinkle baking soda into each of them so it can absorb the odor. The soda should be left for 24 hours or even 72 hours for best results. You can also consider using foot odor removing powder of your choice and then use a hand held vacuum to remove the powder

· Use good quality fabric mist to neutralize odor by killing all bacteria; there are odor products that can absorb moisture, eliminate odors and prevent bacteria so find a good one for your soccer cleats

There are is no reason as to why you should be stuck with smelly soccer cleats. Simple preventative measures can keep the issue out of the way and you can use simple removal measures too when the issue is already existing.

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The Tea Ceremony Around the Globe

2737BC. The passage of time from 2737BC to 2014 is almost incomprehensible to me. The change, the modernisation, the evolution. What is the significance of this date?

This is the year tea was discovered.

Yes, in 2737BC, in China, the Chinese emperor stumbled across a mysterious potion after leaves from the camellia sinensis plant accidentally fell into the water his servant was boiling for him to drink. As a herbalist, he embraced the opportunity to try a new concoction, sipped the delicate liqueur and immediately fell in love; a love that has been shared by billions of people since.

But it is mind blowing to think that tea has been consumed by people for over 4000 years. And perhaps even stranger to think that in Britain, we have only been drinking tea (our saviour, our comfort, our ‘pack-your-kettle-last-so-it’s-the-first-thing-out-the-lorry’) for a short 400 years.

Even so, this is an incredible amount of time to develop the traditions and conventions associated with drinking it, and the tea drinking ritual is one steeped in cultural customs.

It is perhaps a generalisation, but when we think of tea drinking rituals, it is the Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies that immediately spring to mind: formality, silence, connections to nature, tea as a gift, a way of offering thanks or apologies to a relative.

Rule-governed and purposeful tea drinking? The officialism appears alien to us.

On reflection though, perhaps there is ritualism in our own tea consumption. Doesn’t tea follow meal times, help calm our nerves, welcome us home after work, or welcome friends over (imagine not offering a friend a brew after knocking on your door. Ultimate social faux pas), lift our spirits and console us? Although we do not wear robes or kneel down, tea does have significance: comfort, safety, friendship. If this isn’t our tradition, then I don’t know what is.

Tea is not just enjoyed in the countries mentioned above. Tea has successfully bewitched people in every continent across the globe, which has led to it being branded as the second most widely consumed beverage on the planet after water. Tea’s ability to permeate cultures has arguably enabled it to survive these 4000 years, each bringing their own traditions and quirks in which to celebrate this distinctive liquid.

And this is what we will here explore; how tea drinking traditions differ in some of the top tea drinking regions of the world.

China

As mentioned above, in China the consumption of tea is ceremonial. Not only do the Chinese people celebrate tea, but they use tea to formally celebrate or consolidate occasions, such as serving tea at family gatherings, as a symbol of formal apology and as a way of politely addressing and thanking parents for the giving and receiving of partners at weddings.

It is the tastes and aromas of the tea which are at the heart of the ritual. Each utensil is carefully washed or cleansed using the first infusion of the green tea leaves to ensure that the second infusion’s taste is not coloured by any foreign bodies, like dust particles, so the tea is pure.

Importantly as well is the way the tea is poured; slowly, in one motion, across all cups (which are small clay pots) and only half full. The other half of the cup is said to be filled with friendship and affection; therefore binding host and guest in their tea drinking experience.

Japan

In Japan, the tea ceremony centres around the making of Japanese Matcha tea; a green tea ground to a fine powder which is world renowned for its excellent healing powers, high concentration of antioxidants and rather bitter taste.

The ceremony is named Chanoyu and focuses on the aesthetics of tea making rather than the taste or smells, making the experience more of a choreographed performance than a quenching of thirst.

The ceremony’s composition dates back to the twelfth century and involves the host’s serving of the tea, as well as the presentation of the utensils and ceramics used to prepare it, the arrangement of flowers in the space and calligraphy. These items can all be modified by the host to best fit the occasion for which the tea is served. It is also the host’s task to have considered their guests’ view of the tea at every angle in the space, to ensure that their experience will be one of purity, serenity and tranquility: a weighty responsibility.

The thoughtful consideration that is required for a successful ceremony often ensures that the bonds of friendship between the hosts and their guests are strengthened after the experience is concluded.

India.

In India, tea is served on the streets by Chai Wallahs, or ‘tea makers’, who blend their spicy chai tea on their stalls at train stations, bus stations and on every street corner.

Authentic chai is milky, sweet and spicy, made from thick buffalo milk, Assam tea, cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon and often what seems like a ton of sugar. The ingredients can vary, but the ritual of serving generally stays the same: the Chai Wallah brews up all of the ingredients in a large metal pot over open coals which are placed on the stone ground. Once simmering, he pours the liquid through a sieve into a teakettle, then pours the chai into small terracotta pots from a great height. The drinking cups are only used once; consumers throwing them to the ground once they have finished, smashing them to pieces, to allow the clay to get trampled back into the ground.

Chai’s popularity in the UK has steadily grown in the past year (it’s one if our best sellers!) and it’s easy to see why. Chai tea is delicious; warming, spicy, soothing, it’s like Christmas in a cup and yet I drink it all year round! OK, we like to have it our way- we tend to brew Chai with hot water rather than in hot milk and individual consumers choose whether to sweeten delicately with honey- but the resulting comfort is the same.

Equally, much of India’s tea is renowned for its medicinal properties, mainly because of the strong ties to Hinduism and Ayurvedic tradition: a system that inspires us to live by alternative medicine, ultimately governed through a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Tea blends are therefore steeped in a philosophy that inspires the ‘art of living wisely’.

Russia

Rather like the UK, Russia was introduced to tea in the mid-1600s, but whereas we strove to steal the idea from China, the Russian Tsar was given tea as a gift from the Chinese ambassador to Moscow. Of course, he loved it (who doesn’t), and quickly a line of trade was organised between the two countries.

Tea in Russia is not just about the liquid itself but about the heat that brewing the tea gives rise to, and the warmth felt through consumption (Russia can get a little chilly at times). Russia’s tea ceremony is therefore centred around the use of a samovar; a large metal tea urn with decorative handles and a spout.

Typically, the samovar has more than one layer to it. Simple samovars have a bottom layer housing the hot water, which is actually heated by filling the small soldered pipe that runs through the centre of the urn with hot coals. Above this sits a small metal teapot, often of the same metal material, and a concentrated form of brewed tea, zavarka, is made here before being diluted by the hot water from the urn.

Russian Caravan tea (so named as a result of the camel trains that first brought tea to Russia) must be mentioned here. It is the perfect blend to brew in a samovar as the teas used have strong, dark flavours: Chinese Keemun and Formosa Oolong tea, sometimes with hints of Indian black teas like Assam to add a maltiness to the blend.

Morocco

Inshas Allah, ‘with god willing, all good things come with time.’ This is the proverb by which Moroccan people brew their tea and signifies the respect they show to the timely process of making the perfect cup.

Morocco is famous for its Moroccan Mint tea; a blend of Chinese green tea, fresh mint leaves and a lot of sugar (often five times the amount of sugar to the amount of tea!)

The tea making ritual is one of leisure in Morocco and if invited to assist in making the tea, you are honoured. Incense is lit and those who are taking part in the serving wash their hands in orange blossom water before they begin.

Firstly, loose green tea leaves are placed in a round bellied teapot with a conical top and long curved spout, and hot water added. Much like in China, the first infusion (left to brew for just one minute, before being poured into a tall glass) is used as a cleanser, this time for the leaves rather than the flasks, to rid any impurities the leaves may have picked up through travel. After this, the loose tea is brewed before adding the sugar and mint.

The spout is one of importance to the teapot. Curvature to the spout allows for the server to pour the tea from a height of around half a metre into the small glasses below, to create a frothy foam on the tea’s surface.

Tea is served often in Morocco: after each mealtime, when entering some shops, to welcome guests in the home and even to mark business deals.

Iran

Tea is also the national beverage in Iran, with tea drinkers enjoying mainly green tea and black tea to quench their thirst or as a comfort, respectively. No occasion can take place without tea being served and, in many regions of Iran, light coloured tea is a marker of disrespect from the host to the receiver. Principally, Iranians like it strong.

Perhaps it is the liking for a keen strength to tea that has led the people of Iran to discount the water as a part of the tea. Through the use of a samovar, Iranians heat the water and simply use and see it as a way of extracting the aromas and flavours thickly from the leaves.

Typically, tea is drunk from glassware and this is held by the rim of the glass between the thumb and forefinger with the pinkie used to balance. Often, held in the other hand, is a large pipe connected to a hookah, or qalyoon as it’s locally known; a tall, ornate smoking device that uses hot flavoured tobacco and water. In the absence of alcohol, tea houses, where tea and the qalyoon are served hand-in-hand, act as a social hub where young Iranian people can relax and socialise, much like us westerners would do in our local pub.

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is another of the world’s biggest tea-drinking countries, with its tradition once again being rooted in the giving and receiving of tea as an act of welcoming and politeness. Guests are offered tea on arrival into a host’s home and it is considered impolite to refuse the beverage.

Kazakhs are known, much like the Russians and Turks, to use samovars to brew and serve the tea; however, differently to the Russians, the server only fills the kasirs (which are small, wide-mouthed saucers), to around half full. This ensures that the tea is always served hot: no one likes a cold cuppa (unless it’s iced, of course).

The guests to the ceremony are then required to pass their empty kasirs back to the female host as a way if thanking her and showing her respect for that which they have received. She then ‘re-half-fills’ the cups and passes them to her guests once more; a process which continues, creating a graceful, rhythmic and visual ceremony, beauteous to behold.

Britain

In Britain, (one might have known!) our tea traditions involve food. These customs were developed in the early 19th century, first by the upper classes who championed Afternoon Tea as a way of bridging the gap between lunch, at 12 o clock, and dinner at 8 o clock. Tea was served at around 4 o clock in the afternoon along with small sandwiches, scones and cakes. Heaven.

High Tea is different, although sometimes (incorrectly) the terms are used interchangeably.

In industrial Britain, workers home from the factories and mines would require immediate sustenance after a day of physical hard labour, and so a substantial meal would be served to them accompanied by a cup of strong, sweet tea at around 5 o clock. This became known as ‘tea’ (which us northerners still to this day sometimes use), and the ‘high’ aspect is a reference to high backed chairs and higher table the lower classes would sit at to enjoy their tea (whereas the upper classes would be seated in low lounge chairs and have their tea served on smaller, occasional tables.)

Taking time to enjoy tea has always been important in this country regardless of class, right up until the invention of the teabag. When the teabag was born, a dip in quality occurred. Beautiful unfurling leaves slowly releasing layers of flavour no longer existed: a throwaway pouch of powdery black dust, bitter to taste and quick-to-brew lay in its place. We are committed to changing that. Lovers of loose leaf, we are promoting taking time out from your day to enjoy the perfect cup of tea, slowly brewed from high quality leaves. We are bringing back the ‘good old days’.

Predicting the World Cup 2010 Winner

What does predicting the economy got to do with predicting the World Cup winner? A lot if you listen to Swiss Bank UBS.

In the World Cup 2006, the economists and analysts at the Wealth Management Research at UBS used the statistical model that enabled them to predict market trends and investment decisions and applied it to predict the World Cup winner.

They correctly predicted that Italy would be the champion. They also succeeded in getting six of the eight quarter-finalists correct. Their track record also included correctly forecasting three of the four semi-finalists.

UBS’s model is a purely quantitative analysis and the criteria used are past performance, home advantage and teams’ strength. Now let’s discuss the model:

For past performance, so far seven nations have won the championship. (Brazil five times, Italy four times, Germany three times, Argentina and Uruguay two times, France and England one time each). So according to UBS, if you pick one of these seven teams, it appears to be a safe bet.

As for the home advantage, a third of the past world cups was won by the host country. Now:

# The weather is mild winter in South Africa and it appears that the host nation may not have the climate advantage. This applies similarly to the African nations in the finals.

# Some matches will be played at venues at high altitude. This is a clear advantage to the host and the South American teams like Brazil.

# In every tournament, there is speculation of referees favoring the Home team. Will there be many controversial calls helping the host?

# This being Africa’s World Cup, there are many who wonder if an African nation will advance past the group stage into the quarter-finals for the first time. In every tournament, there will always be a team which will be the surprise package. Will this team come from Africa?

# And lastly, there is this «outside-of-Europe» syndrome. So far every World Cup had been won by either an European team or a South American side. No European team has won outside the comfort of their own continent. Now in South Africa, many pundits believe that the South American teams will have so-called ground advantage.

Regarding the strength of the teams, UBS took into consideration the FIFA ranking and the bookmakers’ odds.

So which team has UBS picked to be WC 2010 champion? Brazil.

Well, your guess is as good as mine on which team will win. My trusted crystal ball tells me it is Spain.

In every World Cup, betting wise, it is a true challenge. The tournament is held every four years and qualification ends months before the ball is kicked in the first game of the finals. During this time, a lot can change in the football world.

World Cup means patriotic fervor comes into play. We all have passionate feelings for a certain team or a certain player which will determine our decision.

There are 32 teams in the finals so technically there are 32 potential winners. It is interesting to note some characteristics of these teams:

* Some teams have a good striking department with tons of firepower, but lacking everywhere else.

* Some teams have great talented players but have insane coaches.

* Some are perceived as perennial underachievers like Spain and England who seem to choke on the big stage.

* Some are tournament teams like Germany and Italy who may be underrated before the finals, but know how to grind out the results. Well this is according to past performances.

* Experts have expected Spain to win the last two World Cups – but they never have.

* England are going to win it every time according to the English – but they never do.

And there are some interesting statistics:

# No team has successfully defended the WC for a long while. Would the 2006 winner Italy be the exception? But Italy has an aging squad and may not be expected to last all the way. It is easier to reach the top, but much harder to stay there!

# Only once in the last 21 group games has the WC host lost, so would South Africa be the surprise package?

Why Spain will Win

With one loss in their last 46 matches, Spain arrived at South Africa as one of the best teams. They are the favorites to lift the World Cup on July 11. They are ahead of Brazil in the eyes of the bookmakers and pundits.

Spain (Rank 1) play in Group H against Chile (Rank 17), Switzerland (Rank 18) and Honduras (Rank 38).

They have been dubbed by the media in the past as «perennial underachiever». But the faith of their fans may be justified this time as they have completely turned the corner after winning Euro 2008. They had built on this success and thereafter had won all of their qualifying games for WC 2010, the first team to achieve such a record.

The Talents

Spain is a team with polished gems. They boast the talents of Fernando Torres and David Villa up front, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas in the middle, Carles Puyol and Gerrard Pique at the back, and Iker Casillas in goal. The reigning European champion look a formidable bunch.

They are stacked with players from the elite leagues in Europe like Barcelona and Real Madrid. The squad has so much depth that even the impressive Arsenal captain Fabregas, whom many consider as one of the best midfielders around, has to warm the bench as a substitute.

A well balanced team is needed to have the consistency to get through such a high level tournament. Look at Argentina. The hope of the entire nation rests on the shoulders of young Messi. But Messi does not perform for his country like he does for Barcelona because he does not have the midfield marshals like Xavi and Iniesta behind him to pull the strings. And I shall leave the Argentina manager alone.

The Spanish squad has been largely unchanged from the team that won Euro 2008. Playing together for years can only foster better understanding on the pitch. The Spain of today exude calm and confidence. Wearing the European crown does such things to you.

Injury

Of course injury is a concern but this is the same for every team. Torres and Fabregas missed playing the tail end of the league due to injuries. To look on the bright side, this could actually be a blessing in disguise as they are totally rested for the World Cup.

Spain has a deep squad with comparatively able replacements. They are not a one or two men team like Ivory Coast relying on Drogba.

If injuries are inflicted on play-makers, any team will suffer like Rooney for England, Lucio and Kaka for Brazil, Messi for Argentina, Sneijder for Holland, etc. Serious injuries are a disaster for every team.

Pressure

Being ranked No. 1 and as hot favorites, expectations are high. Will Spain crack under the pressure?

Much was made out of their 2-0 defeat in the Confederations Cup semi-final to USA last June. This ended their 35 match streak without a loss. Some said Spain buckled under the pressure in that match because they wanted so much to break Brazil’s 35 match streak of not suffering a loss. To many this is considered a great weakness to cave in to pressure.

A lot of teams lose matches that they should win. Most important is to learn a lesson from the loss. I believe the Spanish had indeed learned a valuable lesson. From then on, they had not lost again.

Mental Strength

Psychologists often stress that half of the battle is won in the head. Unfortunately, Spain have the unwanted tag of perennial choker on the big stage. In the past when the going gets tough, they have gone missing.

But now all the players pledged that they know their biggest enemy is themselves and they have developed greater self belief.

Complacency

There is a great threat of complacency when facing the likes of Honduras, Chile and Switzerland. I am confident that with an experienced coach in del Bosque, the players will know in no uncertain terms that a place in the second round is not a formality.

Assurance and over-confidence is divided by a very fine line. The last thing they will think is they have already won the match even before the ball is kicked.

How To Beat Spain

Some said the way to beat Spain is to follow the tactics of Jose Mourinho whose Inter Milan succeeded where virtually everybody failed by knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League. The tactic is to have the players defend deep in their own half, soaking up the pressure thrown at them and rely on swift counter-attack to score. Well, I am not sure whether there could be another «Special One’ around.

Conclusion

If Spain keep their heads they will win World Cup 2010. If they don’t, they are simply beaten by themselves.

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