Why do people carve Halloween pumpkins?

Traditions have always played a big part in what defines any holiday. Christmas brings unique traditions like putting up a tree and singing carols for strangers. Thanksgiving typically involves football and more food than should be consumed in one sitting. Independence Day is all about fireworks and backyard cookouts. But Halloween may be richer in tradition than any other holiday. Children dress up in costumes and go house to house, asking for candy handouts with the familiar cry of “trick or treat.” There’s another Halloween tradition from Ireland that you can spot on porches all over the United States on Oct. 31 — the jack-o’-lantern.
Like most folklore, the history of the jack-o’-lantern varies a little bit depending on who’s telling the story. But all stories involve a clever drunkard that pulls one over on the devil. Legend has it, in 18th-century Ireland, a foul-mouthed drunk and disreputable miser named Stingy Jack asked the devil to go have a drink with him. The devil obliged and when the bill came, there was that awkward moment that we’re all so familiar with. Jack expected the devil to take care of things, and the devil thought Jack should pony up. Seeing as how Jack had no money anyway, he convinced the devil to turn himself into a six pence coin to pay the bill. The devil fell for it and Jack skipped on the bill and kept the devil at bay by sliding the coin into his pocket to lay at rest beside a silver cross.
The devil was stuck in Jack’s pocket, trapped by the cross, but Jack decided to be a good egg and let him out, providing that the devil wouldn’t come after Jack for a period of one to 10 years, depending on who you ask. The devil had no choice but to agree and once the coin was removed, he turned himself back into the devil and went on his not-so-merry way. At the end of the agreed upon timeframe, the devil found Jack for a little payback. Somehow, Jack convinced him to climb a tree in search of an apple for Jack before they set off for hell. The horned one once again obliged, only to see Jack carve a cross into the tree trunk, and leaving the beast stranded again.
Jack must have felt bad, because he agreed to let the devil down if he promised to never claim his soul for Hell. The devil was caught between a rock and hard place once again, so he agreed. When Jack died, St. Peter rejected him at the pearly gates because of his suspect credentials. The devil wouldn’t and couldn’t let Jack in to hell, per their agreement at the tree. In the end, Jack was given a lump of burning coal by the devil to light his way through purgatory. Jack carried the coal inside a hollowed out turnip.
Irish families told the tale and began to put carved out turnips in their windows to prevent Stingy Jack and other ghouls from entering the home. Some had scary faces carved into them to frighten away any comers. Once the tradition hit the United States, Irish immigrants soon realized that the pumpkin, native to the states, was an ideal fruit for carving. That’s why you see jack-o’-lanterns on porches around Halloween.
Carving pumpkins are usually different than cooking pumpkins. So although you can bake the seeds of a carving pumpkin and eat them, you shouldn’t try to make a pumpkin pie out of it.

How to Improve My Football Dribbling Skills

Skillful dribbling enables you to control a soccer ball¡¯s movement so as to maintain the advantage over an opponent. The skill is used to do several things in a game, including outmaneuvering a defender, handling a ball in a tight space or moving forward at top speed on an open field. Various drills performed solo or with partners can help you to perfect your dribbling.
The more skilled you are at using different regions of your foot — sole, instep, ball or outer edges ¨C the more control you can exert over the ball while dribbling. Perform a drill in which you “dance” with a ball. For example, continuously tap or touch the top of the ball with the bottoms of your toes or the ball of your foot. Alternate your feet while tapping, making the ball roll in different directions. As you move, try and develop a rhythm. Extend your arms to the sides to maintain balance. To advance the drill, form patterns with the ball’s movements, for example, a square, triangle or even your own initials.
Perform drills that can help you to develop the kind of nimble dribbling that Lionel Messi of Argentina does to overtake his opponents. For example, pair up with another player after placing six to eight cones on a field and spacing them two yards apart in a line. While your partner jogs in place, begin at the first cone and dribble in and out of the cones in a zigzag pattern as fast as possible. When you finish the run, pass the ball to your partner. Continue taking turns until each of you completes 20 reps. If you knock down a cone, consider the fumble as an error. Score one point for each run performed without an error. To increase the difficulty, narrow the distance between the cones to one yard or arrange the cones in a random pattern.
Work with a partner to hone your ability to shield the ball as well as dribble under pressure and head to open space. For example, create a 20-by-30-yard grid. On your own or with your coach¡¯s call-out, try and keep possession of the ball while your partner attempts to steal it away from you. Envision a match of keep-away. If your partner manages to steal the ball or the ball moves out of bounds, reverse roles. Change your pace often and dribble towards open space to evade your partner. Play five to 10 rounds, each lasting for 30 seconds, and rest for 30 seconds in between each round. To boost the difficulty, extend the duration of a round to one minute.
Speed dribbling is a key skill, enabling you to create an attacking advantage on the field. Partner with two other players to perform a speed drill, which is structured like a relay race. Have one player begin with you at the goal line while the third player stands on the edge of the 18-yard line, or penalty zone. Begin by dribbling as fast as possible to the third player on the 18-yard line. Pass the ball to the third player and remain in his spot. He should dribble back to the second player who is standing at the goal line. The second player then has to dribble the ball to the 18-yard line to finish the first cycle. Continue this cycle until all three of you have dribbled 20 lengths. If you lose control of the ball while dribbling or passing the ball to another player, count it as an error. For every length dribbled without an error, score one point. To raise the difficulty level, increase the distance of each leg of the race to 30 yards or boost the number of cycles you dribble.

Pilates 101

Health and exercise fads constantly fall in and out of favor. The latest patented fitness system is frequently left to gather dust in the corner as a new machine or routine replaces it. However, some exercise methods withstand the test of time and gain loyal adherents. Pilates, a fitness system developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, has been gaining ground since the 1980s. But what is Pilates and why is it so effective?
?Pilates is a system of exercises that engage the body and mind through a series of controlled movements. These controlled movements incorporate the idea of dynamic tension, or self-resistance. Dynamic tension describes the act of exercising muscle against muscle — a mode of exercise promoted by the fitness guru Charles Atlas, a contemporary of Joseph Pilates. Pilates employs dynamic tension and allows movements to flow together simultaneously.
Joseph Pilates wanted to increase adherent’s flexibility and strength but also realized that a healthy mind and body are interrelated and dependent. Today, the physical trainer’s methods have supplanted traditional weight-lifting exercise as an effective way to tone muscle and build strength.?
In this article, we’ll learn about Joseph Pilates, the Pilates method and how it became a mainstream and popular exercise system.? ?
Pilates’ popularity led to new instruction standards and the emergence of a fitness equipment industry. Suddenly, the exercises system’s name was everywhere.?
In 1992, Sean Gallagher, an equipment retailer and owner of Pilates studios, received trademark registrations for Pilates and Pilates Studio. He began to pursue parties using the Pilates name without certification or permission. But when Gallagher challenged Balanced Body, a manufacturer of Pilates equipment since 1976, a judge ruled that Pilates had lost its trademark significance and hadn’t done “anything to prevent others from using their name to describe what they taught” [source: Wilson].

Mononucleosis & Exercise

Mononucleosis is an illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Mononucleosis is referred to as the kissing disease because it can spread easily, especially through close personal contact. Mononucleosis has flu-like symptoms and can make you feel very ill. If you exercise regularly or are an athlete, you may wish to continue your normal exercise routine even though you are not feeling well.
When you first contract mononucleosis, you may feel like you are coming down with a really bad cold or flu. Symptoms start off with weakness, rash, enlarged spleen, headache, swollen glands, night sweats, sore throat and a high fever. If symptoms remain or worsen after a couple of days, you should see your doctor for an affirmative diagnosis. One of the most prominent symptoms of mononucleosis is extreme fatigue. It isn’t uncommon to sleep for several hours straight when you have mononucleosis. Extreme fatigue can make it impossible to exercise, especially when you are really sick.
If you only have slight side effects with your mononucleosis, you may be able to engage in physical activity. It is important to take it slow, especially if you are still recovering. While you should get 30 minutes of exercise up to five days a week, if you have had mononucleosis symptoms, you should start off slowly until you regain strength. Exercise in small amounts throughout the day may be able to boost your immunity and help with the overall recovery process.
Exercise may be able to keep you from contracting mononucleosis, particularly if someone close to you has it. Incorporate a mixture of aerobic activity and stretch exercises along with strength training in order to get the most out of your workout. Some of the benefits of getting regular exercise to prevent mono include improving energy levels, relieving stress and boosting your metabolism. If you are in good shape both physically and mentally, your immune system stays healthy and you may ward off mononucleosis.
When you get mononucleosis, your spleen can be affected and become enlarged. This puts you at a greater risk for rupturing your spleen, which can be a serious medical issue. You should avoid strenuous exercise, physical activities and contact sports such as football and soccer. Your immune system may be compromised, which could lead to dehydration and exhaustion if you overwork your body.

What Is a Pancake Block in Football?

No matter how talented your are as a running back in football, you won’t be able to help your team much if the offensive line doesn’t open holes along the line of scrimmage for you to exploit. When blocking for the running game, offensive linemen have to be very aggressive to knock defensive linemen and linebackers backwards or flat on their back.
The pancake block is a term that is used by offensive line coach and offensive linemen in football to describe a block that leaves a defensive player flat on his back as the running back goes through the hole. It represents a dominating victory by the offensive lineman over the defensive lineman or linebacker in order to open a sizable hole for the running back to exploit.
A pancake block is not an official statistic in high school, college or professional football. The term was first used by the Pittsburgh Panthers to describe All-America offensive tackle Bill Fralic’s blocking prowess in 1983 and ’84. As Fralic’s propensity for knocking opponents onto their back became known throughout the college football world, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff counted the number of times Fralic registered these type of blocks in a given game. The Pittsburgh media relations department labeled these blocks as “pancakes” and the term stuck. Nebraska started to use the term in association with its offensive line. When Ohio State offensive lineman Orlando Pace became the dominant blocker in the Big Ten, the team’s media relations department sent out magnetic pancakes to remind college football award voters of Pace’s remarkable talent.
Football is often statistically driven. Quarterbacks are lionized by their yardage totals and touchdown passes. Running backs are known for how much yardage they run and the average yards gained per attempt. Receivers are revered for their reception total. Offensive linemen have no official stats. As a result, publicizing the number of pancake blocks an offensive lineman records gives those underpublicized players a chance for some recognition.
The pancake block is always achieved on running plays. Offensive linemen with power, speed, agility and aggressiveness have a chance to put their opponent flat on their back. At the snap of the ball, the offensive lineman must fire out of his stance and hit the defensive lineman with a hard two-hand punch to the upper body. This must knock the defensive lineman off balance so that the offensive lineman can drive with his legs and put his opponent on the ground.

How Long Before a Workout Should I Take Protein?

You need protein for muscle growth, so it seems logical to get some protein into your system before a workout. But muscle building happens after your workout, during the recovery stage, so the best time to take in some protein is 30 to 60 minutes after exercising. That doesn’t mean pre-workout protein is off limits, but the timing of when to take it before exercise depends on the form of protein you eat.
The more digestible the protein is, the less amount of time you’ll need before you can hit the gym. Because protein in liquid form digests fairly quickly, personal trainer Matt Siaperas recommends clients drink protein shakes 30 to 60 minutes before exercising. Doctors agree. In an article for the American Council on Exercise, Natalie Digate Muth, MD, recommends a light snack containing both protein and carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes before a workout.
If you prefer your protein comes from a chicken breast, a steak or a fish fillet as part of a healthy, full meal, you should eat it two to three hours before your workout. That’s because your digestive system needs blood flow for proper digestion, and exercising pulls blood away from your stomach. If you eat a large or protein-heavy meal before working out, give your body the two to three hours necessary to empty your stomach and thoroughly digest the nutrients, so they’re available for your system to use.
If you find it difficult to draw the line between enough protein to get you through your workout and too much, err on the side of not quite enough. Your body really needs carbohydrates more than protein before working out. An excerpt on Human Kinetics from the 2013 book “Power Eating” by Susan Kleiner and Maggie Greenwood-Robinson advises that your pre-workout protein shouldn’t exceed 14 grams — that’s a mere 56 calories. That may be only half of a protein bar, depending on the protein content, or just a bit more than one half of a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Whey is one of the best types of protein to take if you want to get your protein before a workout. Mixed as a shake, it’s quickly digested, so it’s immediately available for your body to use during and after your workout, according to fitness expert Mackie Shilstone’s 2007 book “Lean and Hard.” Additionally, whey is a source of just about all of the essential and nonessential amino acids, necessary during your workout and for recovery afterward. Shilstone’s recommendation is to drink a whey shake 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.

The Average Score of College Basketball Games

On average, NCAA Division I men’s teams manage 67.875 points in a game. NCAA Division I women’s teams score an average of 60.937 points each game. These figures are calculated by adding 16 teams’ point totals together on a particular night and dividing that number by 16. The Best Basketball Tips website points out that scores are typically in the 60s or 70s. NCAA basketball games are generally lower scoring than professional games, and several factors contribute to the difference in scoring.
NCAA men’s Division I games consist of two halves, each 20 minutes long. An NBA game is four quarters, each 12 minutes in length. NBA players have more time to generate a greater number of points, resulting in higher scores. Also, NCAA players are allowed only five personal fouls in a game before they are ejected. An NBA player is allowed to commit six before disqualification. If an elite NBA player, responsible for the majority of his team’s scoring, has committed five personal fouls but not six, he can remain in the game and continue to rack up points.
College basketball emphasizes team play more than the NBA does. The NBA focuses more on one-on-one matchups, such as Lebron James vs. Kobe Bryant. NBA coaches design plays specifically for their superstars to showcase their abilities. A college basketball team with skills inferior to those of its opponent may use a strong defensive game plan to limit its opponent’s scoring abilities. This type of strategy will result in a lower-scoring game. Another factor that contributes to lower scoring in NCAA play is the 35-second shot clock. The NBA uses a 24-second shot clock, which forces professional players to make shots more quickly and more often, leading to higher point totals.
On average, NBA players have greater strength and athletic ability than college players. Several NBA players were once college superstars and several of them may play on one NBA team. This skill level results in greater point totals. Since NCAA players are younger, between the ages of 18 and 23, they are also more prone to miss three-point shots and tend to give the ball away more often than NBA players. Also, NCAA players must attend school and worry about academics. NBA players can spend all of their free time perfecting their skills on the basketball court.
The NCAA has no limits on what type of zone defense you can play. Players can cover whatever area they wish, making it more difficult to score. In zone defense in the NBA, players can stay in a specific lane for a maximum of three seconds. This type of game play would open up more room for defensive breakdowns in the NBA, leading to higher point totals. Until the 2001-02 season, zone defense was completely illegal.

How to Train for Soccer Tryouts

Soccer tryouts for your school or travel team are the first impression you give to the soccer coaches and impact where you play in the coming season. It is important to prepare properly for your soccer tryouts and give all you have on that day.
Practice with the ball to work on your technique. Dribble full speed using cones or trees as imaginary defenders, practice passing and trapping by hitting a ball against the wall at differing heights and levels of power. The coaches will take notice of your ability to control and pass a ball. Drills and practices with others is also helpful, but the key to improving your technical ability in soccer is to invest time practicing with your foot on the ball.
Exercise three or four days a week in the months leading up to your soccer tryout. Build up your stamina to perform at a high intensity, ideally by playing a mix of league and pickup soccer. The coaches will notice if you have the ability to contribute to attack and also track back on defense. Practicing with a ball can count as your exercise as the running during practice will build stamina.
Eat a healthy diet leading up to your soccer tryout, and especially on the day of the tryout. Eat plenty of carbohydrates, which your body uses for energy. Good foods to eat on game day about three hours before your tryout are potatoes, pasta, rice, whole grains and lean meats. Avoid unhealthy snacks and candy, which will give you a sugar buzz followed by an energy crash.
Drink plenty of fluid on the day of your soccer tryout. Stay fully hydrated with water or sports drinks before, during and after your tryout. Avoid drinking high caffeine drinks or soda before your soccer tryout. These drinks will dehydrate your body and have a negative effect on your performance.
Arrive early to your tryout for a good impression. Adopt a positive attitude on the day of your tryout. Stress and anxiety may be natural, but they can lead to tension and poor performance. Focus on showing your ability. Soccer coaches will notice a player who plays positively and encourages teammates. Negative behavior, such as visibly getting down on yourself and teammates, will reduce your chances of making the team.

How to Play Right Midfield in Soccer

If you are asked to play right midfield in soccer, your team is playing a 4-4-2 formation with four defenders, four midfielders and two attackers. You are playing on the right side of the four attackers. You need good stamina, positional discipline and the ability to pass as well as tackle. You will be required to help the right back in defense duties, but also push forward, support the central attackers, supply crosses into the box, play through balls to forwards and contribute with your fair share of goals.
Stay on the right-hand side of the pitch. You must be tactically astute. At times you may be required to move into a central position to break down an opposition attack or to support your team’s offensive players, but for the majority of the game you must hug the right touchline. Your teammates count on you to offer width to the team.
Find space to offer your teammates an outlet. When somebody on your team is in possession of the ball and looks up to play a pass, you should always be free.
Communicate with your teammates. Shout for the ball when your team is in possession. If your team is losing, boost morale by encouraging teammates.
Run with the ball at defenders when possible. Defenders generally do not like somebody dribbling at them quickly, as they are susceptible to panicking and giving away free kicks, or to letting the attacker past.
Look for through balls. For much of the game, you will be forced to pass sideways or even backward, but the key passes you will play will be to forwards running past the opposition defenders. Try to pass the ball between or over opposition defenders, anticipating the run your teammate has made off the ball.
Cross the ball into the box when possible. You must provide the team with width, and you will often be in possession of the ball in an advanced position on the right-hand side of the pitch. Aim for the head or feet of teammates in the box, generally getting as much pace on the ball as possible.
Shoot if you get a clear sight at goal and none of your teammates is in a better position. When cutting in from the right-hand side, try to shoot across the goalkeeper into the far post area, as goalkeepers cut off the angle and are rarely beaten at their near post areas. Aim for the bottom or top corner of the goal, and shoot as hard as you can because you may cause the goalkeeper to spill the ball, allowing a teammate to score on the rebound.