Entries in General (127)
We've done dozens of reviews in 2012 and tried out some phenomenal products. Now, its come to that time of year when we review what we've reviewed and bring you our favorites. Below, in no particular order, our top five products from 2012:
Professional quality ice wraps, without the wet, sloppy crushed ice. The tiny waffle pockets contain a water-based solution so you get all of the benefits of real ice therapy, without the mess. If you, or someone you know is an athlete or just occasionally overdoes it, this should be in your freezer. Read our review here.
Their pop-up baseball net is just one of dozens of terrific products they carry. Jugs combines innovation with old-fashioned service and commitment to quality, which earns them a spot in our top five. Read our review here.
This one wins the award for biggest surprise of the year. We didn't think we'd be that impressed or excited when we first heard of them. A few custom-designed samples later and we were hooked, (no pun intended). These little souvenir jewelry pieces make a perfect gift for moms, dads, and athletes alike. Read our review here.
If your kids are serious about their baseball, you need to get them the best available. Sometimes that means spending hundreds of dollars. Not with J-Bands. You get top-of-the line quality at a fair and moderate price point. Read our review here.
They look cool. They feel great. They sound awesome. There's another brand of headphones that's gained a lot of popularity recently, but if you want to hear music the way it is supposed to sound and support your favorite team doing it, nothing “beats” SOL. Read our review here.
We look forward to bringing you many more cool and exciting new products in 2013. Thank you for your patronage to SPR and Happy New Year!
Who would have guessed that something as basic as frozen water could have so much science and technology behind it. But after a few minutes speaking with Dan, the owner of Pro Ice, you'll want to ice yourself even if you don't have any pain.
They sent us a kit, containing several of their ice wraps. This is a company more people should know about, and one certain to make our list of top products of the year. The wraps beat traditional ice or gel hands down, and the competition isn't even close.
We've seen high priced ice therapy products that looked fancy and cost a ton, but the big drawback is that they don't work without adding crushed ice. That makes them really no more convenient than an old-fashioned zip lock baggie. You still need to have a cooler of crushed ice at the game or practice to use them.
Pro-Ice is different. First, there's the kit. Looking sort of like a large neoprene lunch box, it holds multiple wraps and sports a convenient carry strap. Toss the entire thing loaded in the freezer, and you can remove wraps one by one, as needed, all ice cold, ready to go. This is perfect for athletic trainers, who can now care for the team by simply having a few kits on hand. No more lugging that heavy cooler and wasting water, time and electricity at the ice machine.
But the real magic is in the wrap itself. The cold comes from inside the multiple pockets in the window pane-format cryoblanket. What's inside that gets cold? Each pocket is filled with distilled water, paraffin, and trace amounts of glycol. Essentially, it's like wrapping yourself with dozens of flexible ice cubes. But unlike ice cubes, these can be re-used over and over for years.
Unlike gel ice packs, Pro Ice provides consistent temperature, which is what gives most effective results. Pro Ice holds at a steady 27 degrees for up to an hour and will not melt, meaning there’s no condensation, no water dripping down the sleeve or pants leg and no puddle left behind.
And since icing works best when paired with compression, Pro Ice’s compression straps keep the ice right where it hurts, allowing the cold to penetrate deep into the muscle. The strap not only consistently applies pressure on the affected body part, it also allows the user to remain mobile. No more sitting propped up for an hour.
Pro Ice is designed for multiple uses, making it more economical than single-use icing. The nylon net is naturally anti-microbial, lessening odor and health risks. Plus it provides a small cushion to lessen initial cold reaction while the giving the cold time to reach anesthetic levels gradually. This additional comfort means an athlete who is averse to the initial shock of cold is more likely to use the product therapeutically. Athletes who regularly ice after practices and games – even in the absence of pain – are less likely to sustain serious injuries down the road.
My baseball-playing sons love the shoulder-elbow combo after they throw. My soccer daughter's sprained ankle healed much quicker than it would have had she iced conventionally. And my lower back, which seems like it should belong to an eighty year-old man after I play basketball, feels like it's been anesthetized after an hour in the wrap. The next day I'm hardly stiff at all.
If you or your children are athletes, if you coach, if you're an athletic trainer, if there's any remote chance at all you might ever need to apply ice to an injury, do yourself a favor and throw a Pro Ice wrap in the freezer. Don't be surprised if you find yourself looking for any old reason to strap it on.
Source: Pro Ice
By the time you read this post, it will likely be obsolete. Rutgers and Maryland are joining the Big Ten. Louisville is going to dash in and take Maryland's spot in the ACC. San Diego State students will look out over the Pacific Ocean ready to play in the Big East. You like March Madness? This is arch madness.
It's a travesty. It's a shame. And someone should do something about it. If the NCAA doesn't have the temerity to step in and put a halt to all of the conference re-shuffling, then maybe a higher power should. If Congress felt it needed to get involved with baseball over steroids, surely this could be on their radar screen as well.
From a fan's perspective, it's a disaster. We love conference rivalry and tradition. It's what makes college sports so special. Remember when Texas – Texas A&M played every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving? Not anymore. Florida – Miami is gone as is Pitt – West Virginia. And maybe the biggest rivalry game lost so far, Nebraska – Oklahoma. And that's just in football. And that's just for now. Who knows how long it will be before Ohio State bolts for greener (as in dollars) pastures and we lose the annual Michigan game. Before USC joins the SEC and bids adieu to the UCLA game. Before Oregon turns pro. The rivalries that made college sports what they are are vanishing fast. And the NCAA better be careful because enough shuffling and confusion, and soon no one will care about their product.
Aside from bemoaning the loss of tradition, there's the moral aspect of it all. A study showed that Missouri's move to the SEC would add $750,000 - $1,000,000 to the university travel budget. This is because what were bus rides are now plane flights and extra night's stays in hotels. Who will foot the bill for this expense? Average students already over-extended on student loans who get hit with tuition fee increases to cover athletic program costs.
And how about the carbon impact of all of this extra travel? In this economy, with the global impact of greenhouse gas emissions already contributing to never-before-seen climate change, can we just sit back and accept that schools are going to be regularly putting over 100 members of a football team on a plane for an away game that ten years ago would have been a two-hour bus ride?
My son, Cade, came up with a solution that we ought to take seriously. He's a baseball player in college, and we've been interested in the Little League World Series since he was ten. He asked, “Why can't the college conferences be like the Little League regions?” i.e. Northwest; Southeast; Great Lakes, etc. He sat down and mapped them out, and here's how it looks:
Stanford, USC, UCLA, Cal, Nevada, Fresno St., San Diego St., Hawaii, UNLV, and San Jose St.
Oregon, Oregon St. Washington, Washington St., Idaho, Boise St., Utah, BYU, Utah St.
Great Plains (8)
Arizona, Arizona St., New Mexico, New Mexico St., Colorado, Colorado St., Wyoming, Air Force
SMU, Houston, Texas Tech, TCU, North Texas, Texas, Texas A&M, Rice, Baylor, UTEP
Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Kansas St., Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Iowa St., Arkansas, Tulsa
Great Lakes (10)
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Michigan St. Toledo, Bowling Green
Illinois, Indiana, Ball State, Purdue, Ohio State, Ohio, Cincinnati, Miami (OH), Marshall, Bowling Green
Gulf Coast (10)
LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, Louisiana Tech, Alabama, Auburn, Louisiana-Monroe, Troy, Mississippi, Mississippi State
Appalachian Valley (9)
Memphis, Arkansas St., Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee St., Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Louisville, Kentucky
Florida, Florida State, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Clemson
North Carolina, North Carolina St., Wake Forest, Duke, Eastern Carolina, Virginia, Navy, Maryland, Temple
Akron, Kent St., Syracuse, Army, Connecticut, Boston College, Penn State, Pittsburgh
Interesting, isn't it? It's not perfect. For starters, this only applies to FBS schools. And he might have missed one or two, (sorry Old Dominion, Buffalo, Charlotte, UAB and anyone else excluded). And, of course, some conferences appear much weaker than others. But isn't that the way it is now? And might that not change from decade to decade? Plus, if a school like Northern Illinois or Toledo can now say that it will be playing the likes of Michigan, Wisconsin and Notre Dame each year, might they not have a better chance of landing some four-star recruits and turning into powerhouses themselves? Yes, many traditional rivalries are torn up here, but schools have already proven they don't care about this. And if teams like Ohio State and Michigan still want to play each other, even though they're no longer in the same league, that's what the non-conference schedule is for.
So let's take a long, hard look at conference re-alignment. Not in today's insane, jump from one burning ship to another world, but in a way that makes geographic and financial sense. But who am I kidding? Cade's just a dumb twenty-one year old kid who doesn't understand the way the real world works. The experienced athletic directors, college presidents and conference commissioners making back room deals worth millions of dollars know what's best. And we've got a huge, disgusting mess to show for it.
It's the time of year to start thinking about that perfect holiday gift. You know if you stroll through the huge, warehouse discount store, anything you find will be forgotten a week later. But if you truly want to give your sports fan a gift they'll remember and treasure forever, stroll instead through Olde Master Originals.
They make all kinds of wood products, custom engraved for the most personal touch. They specialize in wood golf putters, but also make souvenir baseball bats, humidors, picture frames and much more. They can make any occasion, such as retirement or graduation, special.
Olde Master buys exotic lumber from wood brokers all around the country for their putters. We're not talking run of the mill (literally), but wood such as “Pink Ivory,” so rare and expensive it is sold by the ounce. The wood is then lathed, finished by hand, laser-engraved and covered with multiple coats of sports polyurethane to give it a lasting beauty and durability. They will fashion nearly anything you can imagine, and make it unique and unforgettable.
So you have a choice this holiday season. You can fight the crowds at the department store and pick up another sweater or power saw, or you can contact Olde Master and let the friendly craftsmen there create something you can't wait to give. There's a masterpiece just waiting to be born, with your name on it.
Source: Olde Master
Is there a rabid college sports fan or student on your holiday gift list? It would be hard to imagine coming up with something they'd like more than a pair of SOL REPUBLIC Collegiate Series Tracks. The company sent us a set of their new licensed college-themed headphones, and we couldn't have been more impressed.
Here's the technical stuff: The sound flows from what they call V8 Sound Engines, which deliver deep bass and clear highs. They're built from SOL REPUBLIC's proprietary new polymer called FlexTech, making Sound Track headbands virtually indestructible. You can twist, bend and even chuck them on the ground when your team misses the game-winning field goal. And just like that school you're pulling for, they'll bounce back ready for next week. SOL REPUBLIC's innovative 90-degree angle plug adds to their exceptional durability. For the ultimate in comfort, Tracks ear cushions are designed to be extra-wide and lightweight. This allows users to enjoy unprecedented luxury because the larger surface area reduces the pressure on the ear, adding to comfort and ensuring the perfect fit. SOL REPUBLIC¹s Sound Engines feature a unique tension mechanism that allows them to easily slide up and down the Sound Track headbands so they can be ideally positioned on anyone.
Here's the not-so-technical stuff: They sound fantastic. Have you ever flown first class? Its not much fun going back to coach after that. Well, one listen to these made our old headphones sound like holding two transistor radios to the ears. There's no way to enjoy music from those again after hearing the SOL's depth and clarity.
And, their style sets them apart. Any student would be thrilled and proud to stroll through campus donning a set of these. And what fan wouldn't enjoy all the envious looks in the stadium as he listened to the play-by-play while watching the game? Its hard to say if they look great and sound even better, or vise versa. But one thing's for certain: Even if your team is losing, your SOL REPUBLIC headphones will make you feel like a winner.
Source: SOL REPUBLIC