Tony Le Mon went to his first New Orleans Saints game in 1967. At seven years old, he was so hooked, he started mowing neighbors' lawns so he could buy tickets to every home game. His South American father and German mother didn't understand football, so he has his uncle to thank for introducing him to his beloved football team.

Now, Le Mon is 52, and he's not happy about what's going on with his favorite team.This has been the spring of discontent for the New Orleans Saints, who are heading into the 2012 season tainted with Bountygate penalties and missing their beloved coach. Add the fact that quarterback and local hero Drew Brees has refused to sign a one-year franchise tag in hopes of securing a longer, more lucrative contract, and Le Mon and his fellow fans have been feeling pretty gloomy.

But Le Mon isn't sitting and waiting anymore. This week, he launched a website called FansStepUp.com seeking donations to give Brees a bonus -- straight from the fans' wallets.

"I kept thinking, there must be a way for our fans to feel empowered. We have a large stake in this team," Le Mon says, adding that the economic and emotional impact of the Saints success has been invaluable to New Orleans' recovery after Hurricane Katrina. As the offensive player of the year, Brees in undoubtedly a champion on the field, but off the field, he could probably win the Louisiana governor's seat without showing up to a debate.

Le Mon says it doesn't matter if fans can contribute $1 or $100. What matters is sending a message to the quarterback that the fans want to keep him. So far, he's raised just over $1,000.

"The Saints may have a salary cap, but there's nothing to stop the fans from creating a bonus to thank Drew for everything he's done for us," Le Mon says.

Yeah, the thought of regular people digging into their wallets for a millionaire quarterback -- one who stands to make $16 million if he does sign the one-year contract -- might sound a little crazy. But Le Mon is pretty confident that Brees won't accept the money. If that's the case, he promises to donate all of it to the Brees Dream Foundation, which raises money for cancer research and support. Backing Brees is a big part of Le Mon's mission, but that's not all.

"The idea is really to draw some attention to the situation and get the parties talking again, get to them to finalize this deal," Le Mon says. "Whether the money goes to Brees or to his charity, it's a no-lose."

Le Mon, an attorney, Ironman triathlete and known philanthropist in the New Orleans area, has appeared on every New Orleans TV news show, and locals are talking about Fans Step Up at lunch and on the street.

"This is about rogue fans saying, 'If you can't come to terms for Brees, we'll add a little lagniappe on our own.'"

It looks like Le Mon never let go of that determined young Saints fan, the one once armed with only a lawnmower.

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By Jeff Neuman
RealClearSports

It's the ultimate question in sports. It's arguably the reason sports exist in the first place.

What makes a winner?

Who can stand up to pressure? Who has the guts? Whom would we want to have as our warrior, our representative in single combat for the fate of our families, our city-state, our country?

At a recent press conference, two of the finest commentators the world of fun and games has ever known kicked around the question of what sets a winner apart.

DAN JENKINS: I believe that the athletic heart can transfer eras. It can move from one decade to the other. You don't know what's inside -- [Lee] Trevino said this better than anybody. You never know what's in a guy's heart. How big a winner is he going to be? I don't know because I don't know what's in his heart ... . The great champions are those who absolutely despise the idea of losing, and I think that's what Ben Hogan had. I think that's what Arnold [Palmer] had. Jack [Nicklaus] certainly had it.

PETER ALLISS: I think Billie Jean King summed it up at this year's Wimbledon talking about great players, and she said, the nearly players are frightened of winning and the great players are frightened of losing, and that summed it up.

There's a very useful Latin phrase that encapsulates this philosophy neatly.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Loosely translated for this context: Tell me who won, and I'll tell you who's a winner.

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The 20x20 workspace hidden away in an auxiliary room situated within the $515 million expanse of Miami's Marlins Park isn't much.

There's room for a barber's chair, a mirror, a small workstation and enough free space for a couple of waiting customers.

But considering where Hugo Tandron started cutting hair when he was a young, street-wise know-it-all and considering the title that no one else in his line of work can lay claim to, his minimalist ballpark office, designated by the laminated piece of advertising affixed to the door, works just fine.

Next to the door, a small silver placard, reads "Barbershop."

Tandron's client list reads like a baseball version of Who's Who.

He has styled the hair of Hall of Famers like Hank Aaron, Tony Perez and Reggie Jackson and has bonded teams with matching hairstyles that inspired World Series championships.

More recently, Tandron created his version of a "Major League" Charlie Sheen-inspired cut for Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who sports a Mohawk with stripes shaved into the back.

He concocted the "D-Double S" (David Samson Special) in honor of the no-fuss, clean-cut look he fashioned for the Marlins team president.

But in that 20x20 room that's similar to the space he has worked out of in the 14 years he's been the official barber of the Florida-turned-Miami Marlins, Tandron has carved out a life he never imagined.

He is the only officially sanctioned barber in the major leagues, cutting hair for a hometown team he proclaims matter-of-factly that saved his life. To suggest that a professional sports franchise could make such an impact on a 42-year-old man who never expected to live to see 23 seems like hyperbole.

Except in Tandron's case, it's not.

"Working for the Florida Marlins has changed my life," Tandron says. "Completely."

***

Of the more than 100 tattoos that permanently cover Tandron's body, one stands out.

All of the ink creations have meaning, Tandron says, each representing a piece of who he is. There's the barber pole and the pair of cutting shears that speak to the craft he's made a living at since he was 22. His childhood nickname, Juice, is printed on the side of his neck.

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Think, for a moment, about your most impressive athletic accomplishment or your greatest feat of strength. It's a point of pride, right? Well, just imagine if you could pull of what Tendai Mtawarira pulls off every night, and then mix in an incredible moment like the one below.

You've heard of "The Hulk," but Mtawarira is nicknamed "The Beast" for unbelievable body power and strength. Born in Zimbabwe, but representing South Africa in International competitions, the nickname has stuck to the 25-year-old for a long time. And it's easy to see why. This happened in a match the other night in the Super Rugby league between the Sharks (Mtawarira's team) and the Stormers. For reference, the man he is lifting is 247-pound teammate Anton Bresler. Mtawarira weighs 256 pounds.

It's not even that he holds Bresler up. That alone, is not the most impressive part. It's that with momentum for each guy going in different directions, Mtawarira is able to control himself while holding up his massive teammate, and then get mauled by crowd.

The Sharks wound up beating the league-leading Stormers 25-20. It's good to have the Beast on your side.

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The best part about the conference baseball tournaments that come before the NCAA tournament is the sheer amount of games and the possibilities they create. Over the weekend, one of the rarest of plays in baseball was pulled off by the Vanderbilt Commodores in an 8-6 victory over the Florida Gators in the SEC tournament.

Anthony Gomez singled in the go-ahead run, then stole second and third. Then, with the bases loaded, he kicked off the unthinkable when he started sprinting toward home while Florida's Austin Maddox was in mid-delivery.

A triple steal, and it happened as part of a five-run ninth inning, no less. The play by itself is gutsy enough as it is, but to do it with so much on the line just elevates the moment an entire level. The amount of confidence the Commodores have showed up in the postgame interviews.

"It was, 'Why not?'" Gomez told the AP. "Just try to push them as much as we can."

He added that the steal of home "kind of happened, spur of the moment."

Perhaps the best moment in the video is just after the steal, when the camera pans the crowd and an old Vanderbilt fan is mocking Florida with a Gator chomp clap. Priceless.

Sadly, the momentum didn't carry over into the SEC title game, where Vanderbilt lost 3-0 to Mississippi State. But be on the lookout if Gomez reaches third in the NCAA regionals this week.

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Endless numbers of blog posts, words and videos have been devoted to interest in millionaire athletes' trucks, cars and bikes. Though, we can't say we know where you'd classify this ride of Ben Wallace's. Seems like it could be a motorcycle, also seems like it could almost be called a car. Apparently, it's specifically called a "trike," and there are people that love them. So stop making fun, you jerks.

It also seems like something that was stolen off the set of a Batman movie.

The vehicle is actually called a T-Rex, and it's made by Campagna Motors. The picture was taken by Evan Dunlap, the intrepid managing editor of SB Nation's Orlando Pinstriped Post blog. Well done, sir. Splendid snag.

We're not exactly sure what the allure of the vehicle is, even after watching the promotional video. Seems like something worth a spin or two through an empty airfield for race track, but do you really want to be sitting at the exhaust level of every other vehicle on the road? Apparently, there are more than a few people that dig these little bad boys.

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Most of us wouldn't complain if "Super Bowl Monday" was added to the national holiday list. Admit it -- leftover pizza and the sofa are far more appealing the day after the big game than a stale bagel from the conference room and your cubicle.

But would you be surprised to find that Americans are far less likely to call in sick the day of or after sports events like Super Bowl or World Series than sports fans in China or India? A new poll says it's true.

According to MSNBC, a poll by Harris Interactive found that only 11 percent of Americans called in sick to watch a sports event in the past year, and only seven percent of the nearly 1,200 surveyed called in sick the day after an event to recover from the hangover...errr...excitement. Looks like America has both worth ethic and sports fandom down to an art.

Compare that to China, where 58 percent of those surveyed have played hooky to watch a game. In India, that number is 48 percent and in the United Kingdom, 24 percent. Even our hockey-loving neighbors to the north were slightly more likely to take a recovery day after a sports event. And we think we're true fans. We don't even put in the necessary amount of work to skip work.

The only country ranking lower than the U.S. in terms of hooky frequency? The French. Although many Americans love to portray the French as lackadaisical winos always taking holidays in the Riviera, it turns out they pretty much never fake sick days to watch or recover from a sports event. Perhaps the hangover from a nice Bordeaux has less of a sting than that from American light beer? Je ne sais quoi.

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In the martial arts world, "warriors" have nearly superhuman skills. They can jump over an average person's head. They can break bricks. They have a ferocious training style, determination and Zen-like focus. If you can cultivate the heart of a warrior, you will redefine what it means to be strong, fit, and healthy. (Want to discover how celebrities strong, fit, and healthy? Check out The Best Summmer Bodies of 2012.)



But the thing is, if you want to achieve warriorlike fitness, it takes more than just heart. You need to know the moves inside and out. You need to execute them perfectly. Sure, you can stumble through moves like jab/cross/hook/uppercut/knee/front kick and still burn calories, still get some great cardiovascular benefits, but if you nail it just right, you'll push your body further, work your core with more intensity, and give your stabilizer muscles some serious play. In short, you'll Crush It! You'll burn more fat and build an internal foundation that allows you to push bigger, sexier muscles, like your glutes, lats, and pecs, all the harder. 



My new ebook, CRUSH IT!, is enhanced with 26 exercise videos that show you exactly how to master the key moves in my ultra-extreme Warrior's Workout. Give this sampler below a shot. Do these three explosive exercises as a mini circuit, 20 to 30 reps each, moving from one exercise to another without rest. Try to do three circuits, resting for a minute or so in between. Or add these moves to your next bodyweight metabolic workout. You can buy Crush It! on AppleiBooks or on Amazon Kindle.

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By now, Kellen Moore knows the drill.

The promising young quarterback with staggering, mind-boggling statistics enters a new phase of his football career only to be defined by the fact that, at the end of the day, he still only stands 6 feet tall.

Don't bother asking Moore if he figures things would be different if he had a couple extra inches of height at his disposal -- if he were only 6-2 or 6-3 -- would that make a difference?

Doesn't matter, he'd say, falling back on a line that he tends to revert to when he's asked all of that what-if type of questions.

It is what it is.

But before you cast Kellen Moore into the "what you see is what you get" category, forget about the fact that he's a 6-foot NFL rookie trying to make a go of it in a league in which nearly all of his quarterbacking counterparts are literally head and shoulders above where the former Boise State star stands.

Just forget about it -- because Moore did a long time ago.

"It's not some shocking new thing," Moore says, standing in front of his locker at the Detroit Lions' training facility.

***

That's right. Kellen Moore has been here before.

Before Moore traveled from his hometown of Prosser, Wash., to Boise State, where he established a new NCAA record with 50 career victories and where he threw for 14,677 yards and 142 touchdowns while winning all but three of the games he started in four years, he was passed over.

His lone offers came from Idaho and Eastern Washington. He was offered a tryout at Oregon State only to learn after he had driven 278 miles that the Beavers were only interested in quarterbacks that stood 6-foot-2 or taller.
Moore took another tryout -- this one at Boise State -- where the characteristics that are often linked to him began to overshadow the fact he is undersized. Coaches called him cerebral and smart. They liked the way he prepared and the way he could absorb hits.

Moore quickly converted doubters to believers.

"As far as quarterbacks go, he's the toughest one I've ever been around. The kid has taken some hits and he bounces right back up," former Boise State quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin told the Detroit Free Press.

"You're just thinking there's no way in hell he's going to survive that, he's going to come out, and he's right back in the game."

So perhaps, that's why when Moore was overlooked again -- this time in last month's NFL Draft, the episode didn't unravel the 6-foot over-achiever.
Kellen Moore has been here before.

***

Moore watched the draft at his parents' home back in Prosser. Despite the 50-3 record, despite the 24 straight wins he strung together with the Broncos and despite remaining in the Heisman Trophy conversation for four straight years, Moore wasn't expected to pop up on a lot of team's radars.

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Last Thursday, 21-year-old Christopher Gilmore put aside his allegiance for one day. At 2K Sports' first ever eight-man single-elimination live MLB 2K12 tournament, the Red Sox fan chose the Yankees as his designated team.

Was it worth it?

Talk to the $1 million check.

Gilmore, a Brevard Community College student from Melbourne, Fla., had the third choice of team at the tournament in New York City. After the first two players picked the Tigers and Rangers, Gilmore pulled the Yankees off the board.

"I had to pick them," he told Florida Today. "It's about strategy."

Donning a pinstriped Yankee jersey, Gilmore rode the Bronx Bombers to three straight victories. He trailed only once, down 6-3 in the fourth inning of his first game, but a 10-run outburst ended the scare. In the final, Gilmore defeated No. 1 seed 25-year-old Charlie Bates of Conway, Ark., (insert Mighty Ducks joke here), 10-1.

Ironically, Gilmore earned the trip to New York by defeating the Red Sox. To qualify for the tournament, players needed to record not just a perfect game, but the most "points" during that perfect game. Points are earned based on the talent of the pitcher, the talent of the opposing team and the pitcher's performance. According to Forbes, 2K sports used an algorithm in which individual perfect games were ranked on degree of difficulty (opposing team's offensive skill and pitcher's skill) and level of perfection (number strikeouts and pitching efficiency).

Gilmore won by sending Kyle Drabek of the Blue Jays to the hill against the Red Sox. "I had to do it, but I am still a big fan," Gilmore said.

Drabek's gem posted a total of 800 points. It was one of Gilmore's four recorded perfect games during the qualifying phase. Note: In his one outing against the Red Sox in 2012 on April 10, Drabek tossed 5.1 innings and allowed one earned run for a win.

Gilmore's point total gave him the third seed at the event, thus the reason for getting the third choice of team.

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