Lightning football

Lightning football is a shortened variation of Australian rules football, often played at half of the duration of a full match.

Lightning football is typically used as a means to accommodate a small tournament inside a single day or weekend, particularly at junior or amateur level; these tournaments are generally known as lightning premierships or lightning carnivals. At the top level of Australian rules football, lightning matches have most recently been staged as part of the Australian Football League pre-season competition.

Lightning football is distinct from AFLX, a different shortened variation of Australian rules football. Lightning football is not significantly different from standard Australian rules football other than the length of its games, while AFLX is a heavily modified variant played with on a smaller field with fewer players.

Name

The use of the word lightning, as a synonym for "fast", to describe an Australian rules football tournament appears to have originated with the first lightning carnival staged by the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) in 1940.[1] The term may have been adopted from its use in chess, which had used the word lightning in the same context for many years: "lightning chess" tournaments were seen in Australia from as early as 1909, and were played under modified rules in which players were allowed at most ten seconds to make each move, allowing an entire tournament to be completed in just a few hours.[2]

In a preview of the 1940 SANFL Lightning Carnival, the Advertiser journalist Jim Handby discussed the suitability of the name; while he surmised that the choice of name was primarily due to the short time over which the premiership was decided, he speculated that the shortened matches could lead to a particularly high-paced style of gameplay.[1]

The term "lightning premiership/carnival" has generally entered the Australian vernacular for a condensed carnival of shortened matches in any game or sport. The term was, for example, attributed to a 1945 South Australian seven-a-side rugby union tournament, long before the sport of rugby sevens was formally codified.[3]

Rules

Unlike other abbreviated sports, such as Twenty20 cricket, rugby sevens or Australian rules football's AFLX, lightning football is not a strictly codified sport in its own right. In many cases, the length of the game is the only difference in the rules between the full and lightning versions of the game; in other cases, some rules are modified for lightning matches.

Most commonly, lightning matches are played at half of the length of a regulation game. In the most recent lightning matches in the Australian Football League (AFL) pre-season competition, lightning matches are played over two halves, each lasting 20 minutes with time on, compared with the normal match length of four quarters each lasting 20 minutes with time-on.[4] However, this varies from tournament to tournament, and the length is often simply adjusted based on the number of games required to be played and the time available to play them in.

In more recent incarnations of lightning football organised by the AFL, several experimental rules, many designed to speed up the game, have been trialled. The most notable variation was the introduction of a free kick paid against the last player to touch the ball before it goes out of bounds (except from a spoil or smother), rather than restarting play with a boundary throw-in; this rule was used in the AFL's 1996 and 2011 lightning matches,[5] and as revised in 2012 to penalise a player only if the last touch was a kick, handpass, or crossing the line while in possession of the ball.[6]

History

Early history

The concept of holding a one-day tournament of shortened Australian rules football matches dates as early as the 19th century. During a weekend's break in the 1896 VFA premiership season, a Charity Cup event was held in which four clubs – Essendon, Collingwood, South Melbourne and Port Melbourne – contested a knock-out tournament of shortened matches; as is the case in modern lightning premierships, new rules were trialled during the event.[7]

World War II

Lightning premierships saw an increase in frequency around World War II, when many such events were staged as wartime fundraisers. The first occurred during 1940, the first football season following the outbreak of World War II. On 13 July 1940, the SANFL staged its "Lightning Football Carnival" at the Adelaide Oval, attracting a crowd of almost 17,500 people, with Sturt victorious; the carnival was an eight-team knock-out tournament, with each match played over two periods of 14 minutes each.[8] The Victorian Football League then staged its version, known as the "Patriotic Premiership", on 3 August 1940, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, attracting more than 30,000 people, and won by St Kilda; this was a twelve-team knock-out tournament, with each match lasting a single period of 20 minutes.[9] Both tournaments were considered great successes, and both leagues held further wartime Lightning Premierships in 1941 and 1943.

In addition to the sport's two biggest leagues, the Tasmanian Australian National Football League (TANFL) held two wartime Lightning Premierships, both in 1941,[10] and many smaller leagues also held events. Most notably, the Broken Hill Football League, staged a "Patriotic Premiership" on 6 July 1940, one week before the inaugural SANFL event, which consisted of a four-team knock-out tournament, with matches played at just under half-length (two periods of twenty minutes without time-on).[11]

Post World War II

In the ten years following World War II, most of the major Australian rules football leagues sporadically held lightning premierships. Although there was no longer a war to fund, the events were still held as charity fundraisers. The SANFL was the most active proponent of lightning football, staging four post-war carnivals between 1946 and 1950;[12] the VFL staged lightning premierships on public holidays in 1951 (Jubilee Day), 1952 (Empire Day) and 1953 (Coronation Day); and post-war lightning premierships were also staged by the Victorian Football Association (1946),[13] the North Western Football Union (1951)[14] and the TANFL (1953).[15]

Since the 1950s, lightning football has been seen only occasionally at the top levels of the sport. Specific events have included:

  • 1971: the Rothmans Channel 7 Cup, an eight-team knockout tournament of half-length games played over one weekend in October 1971. The tournament was staged in Perth as a testimonial to Polly Farmer, and featured four West Australian Football League teams and two teams each from the SANFL and VFL.[16]
  • 1972 – 1979: the VFA staged a post-season lightning premiership among teams from both divisions that failed to reach the finals. The shortened matches were played as curtain-raisers to the finals, rather than as a condensed tournament.[17]
  • 1996: the AFL staged a pre-season lightning premiership over a weekend in February 1996 to celebrate the league's Centenary Season. Matches were played over two halves of 17.5 minutes duration, and this was the first Lightning Premiership to trial some of the more experimental rules currently associated with the lightning format.
  • 2011 to 2013: the AFL staged lightning matches in the first round of the annual pre-season competition. The league's eighteen teams competed in six separate rounds robin of three teams each, with each set of three matches played consecutively at one venue. In 2011, the lightning round was used to eliminate ten of the eighteen teams from the competition; in 2012, the lightning matches counted as two of each team's four scheduled pre-season competition matches.
  • 2011: at the 2011 Australian Football International Cup, a round of lightning matches (in the form of six rounds robin of three teams each) was staged at the start of the tournament, and the results were used to separate the twelve stronger countries and the six weaker countries into separate divisions for the remainder of the tournament.[18]

Lightning football at lower levels

Among the more notable senior lightning football events around Australia are:

  • The Ngurratjuta Lightning Carnival, which has been held every year since the 1980s over the Easter long weekend in Alice Springs. The Ngurratjuta Lightning Carnival attracts teams from all over the Northern Territory, including from remote indigenous communities, and is the biggest football event in the Red Centre.[19]
  • The Boag's Draught Pre-season Invitational, which is a pre-season lightning premiership played among the previous year's premiers from each of Greater Melbourne's eight metropolitan football leagues (the EFL, EDFL, GFL, NFL, RDFL, SFL, VAFA and WRFL). First staged in 2011.[20]

Annual lightning carnivals have become common in many junior leagues and school competitions. This is not limited to Australian rules football, with many other sports contested under a lightning premiership format.

Top level lightning premiership winners

This table lists winners of stand-alone lightning premiership series played in the major Australian state leagues.

Year League Winner
1896 VFA Essendon[21]
1940 SANFL Sturt[22]
VFL St Kilda
1941 SANFL South Adelaide[22]
TANFL Cananore (July)
North Hobart (September)
VFL Collingwood
1943 SANFL West Adelaide/Glenelg[22]
Combined WWII team
VFL Essendon
1946 SANFL Sturt[23]
VFA Williamstown[13]
1947 SANFL Sturt[23]
1948 SANFL Port Adelaide[24]
1950 SANFL Sturt[23]
1951 NWFU Ulverstone[14]
VFL Collingwood
1952 VFL Melbourne
1953 TANFL New Norfolk
VFL Richmond
1971 Rothmans Cup Hawthorn
1972 VFA Coburg[25]
1973 VFA Geelong West[26]
1974 VFA Preston[27]
1975 VFA Prahran[28]
1976 VFA Coburg[29]
1977 VFA Caulfield[30]
1978 VFA Werribee[31]
1979 VFA Sandringham[32]
1996 AFL Essendon

References

  1. ^ a b Handby, Jim (12 July 1940). "Prospects in Lightning Premiership". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. p. 14.
  2. ^ "Chess and Draughts: gathering of players an interesting function". The West Australian. Perth, WA. 15 July 1909. p. 9.
  3. ^ Half, Scrum (10 August 1945). "Seven-a-side Rugby Lightning Premiership Tomorrow". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. p. 11.
  4. ^ "NAB Cup Fixture Released". Port Adelaide Football Club. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  5. ^ "NAB Cup 2011 new rule trials". World Footy News. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  6. ^ "New rules for NAB Cup". Australian Football League. 24 November 2011. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Football". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 2 June 1896. p. 3.
  8. ^ Rover (15 July 1940). "Lightning Football Carnival raises more than £1000 for patriotic and charitable funds". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. p. 7.
  9. ^ Taylor, Percy (2 August 1940). "Unique competition". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. p. 14.
  10. ^ "Second Lightning Premiership in South". Examiner. Launceston, TAS. 8 September 1941. p. 7.
  11. ^ "Carnival success at Western Oval". The Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW. 6 July 1940. p. 1.
  12. ^ "Lightning Premiership". Williamstown Chronicle. Williamstown, VIC. p. 3.
  13. ^ a b "Williamstown win lightning premiership". Williamstown Chronicle. Williamstown, VIC. 5 July 1946. p. 2.
  14. ^ a b "Lightning Premiership Won By Ulverstone". The Mercury. Hobart, TAS. 2 July 1951. p. 15.
  15. ^ "Lightning N.T.F.A. Premiership". Examiner. Launceston, TAS. 17 March 1953. p. 15.
  16. ^ Devaney, John. "1971 Rothmans Channel 7 Cup". Fullpointsfooty. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  17. ^ "History of the VFL 1877 - 2009". Sportingpulse. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  18. ^ "Australian Football International Cups". World Footy News. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  19. ^ Edmund, Sam (30 April 2011). "Red heart's stronger pulse". Herald Sun. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  20. ^ O'Meara, Patrick (1 March 2011). "Riddell forced to take on favourites". Sunbury Leader. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  21. ^ Observer (8 June 1896). "Football – The charity matches". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. p. 6.
  22. ^ a b c "Lightning Premiership Carnival". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. 7 June 1946. p. 5.
  23. ^ a b c Kneebone, Harry (26 June 1950). "Sturt wins Fourth Lightning Premiership". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. p. 6.
  24. ^ Kneebone, Harry (7 June 1948). "Port Adelaide Win in Lightning Carnival". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA. p. 4.
  25. ^ Geoffrey Fithall (25 September 1972). "'Big Bob' retires as player". The Age. Melbourne, VIC.
  26. ^ John Holland (24 September 1973). "Prahran by 35 points". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 22.
  27. ^ Tom Jacob (23 September 1974). "Vintage Port – here's cheers". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 21.
  28. ^ Ken Piesse (22 September 1975). "Roosters unruffled". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 27.
  29. ^ Marc Fiddian (20 September 1976). "Cook all heart in Port win". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 31.
  30. ^ Marc Fiddian (26 September 1977). "Port's cup full". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 31.
  31. ^ Marc Fiddian (25 September 1978). "Prahran steps on the Bullants". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 27.
  32. ^ Marc Fiddian (24 September 1979). "At last the Lions roar". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 29.
1940 VFL Lightning Premiership

The 1940 VFL Lightning Premiership (known at the time as the Patriotic Premiership) was an Australian rules football knockout competition played entirely on Saturday, 3 August 1940, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). It was played during a week's break of the Victorian Football Leagues's 1940 season between Rounds 14 and 15. It was contested by the 12 teams who competed in the 1940 VFL season. A total of 30,407 witnessed the day's matches. St Kilda won the lighting premiership competition, defeating Richmond in the final by 24 points. It was the first premiership of any kind at any grade that the St Kilda Football Club had won in its history.

This was the first time a lightning premiership had been contested in the VFL. The tournament was played to raise money for the Patriotic Fund during World War II; similar tournaments were held in other leagues, including the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), around the same time.

AFL Coaches Association

The AFL Coaches Association (AFLCA) is the representative body for Australian Football League coaches.

AFL Umpires Association

The AFL Umpires Association (AFLUA) is the representative body for Australian Football League umpires.

Aoyama Gakuin Lightning football

The Aoyama Gakuin Lightning football program represents the Aoyama Gakuin University in college football. They are members of the Kantoh Collegiate American Football Association.

Australian rules football

Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, or simply called Aussie rules, football or footy, is a contact sport played between two teams of eighteen players on an oval-shaped field, often a modified cricket ground. Points are scored by kicking the oval-shaped ball between goal posts (worth six points) or between behind posts (worth one point).

During general play, players may position themselves anywhere on the field and use any part of their bodies to move the ball. The primary methods are kicking, handballing and running with the ball. There are rules on how the ball can be handled: for example, players running with the ball must intermittently bounce or touch it on the ground. Throwing the ball is not allowed and players must not get caught holding the ball. A distinctive feature of the game is the mark, where players anywhere on the field who catch the ball from a kick (with specific conditions) are awarded possession. Possession of the ball is in dispute at all times except when a free kick or mark is paid. Players can tackle using their hands or use their whole body to obstruct opponents. Dangerous physical contact (such as pushing an opponent in the back), interference when marking and deliberately slowing the play are discouraged with free kicks, distance penalties or suspension for a certain number of matches, depending on the seriousness of the infringement. The game features frequent physical contests, spectacular marking, fast movement of both players and the ball and high scoring.

The sport's origins can be traced to football matches played in Melbourne, Victoria in 1858, inspired by English public school football games. Seeking to develop a game more suited to adults and Australian conditions, the Melbourne Football Club published the first laws of Australian football in May 1859, making it the oldest of the world's major football codes.Australian football has the highest spectator attendance and television viewership of all sports in Australia, while the Australian Football League (AFL), the sport's only fully professional competition, is the nation's wealthiest sporting body. The AFL Grand Final, held annually at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, is the highest attended club championship event in the world. The sport is also played at amateur level in many countries and in several variations. Its rules are governed by the AFL Commission with the advice of the AFL's Laws of the Game Committee.

Australian rules football during the World Wars

Australian rules football was heavily affected by both World War I and World War II. Hundreds of leading players served their country abroad, and many lost their lives. On the home front, competitions like the Victorian Football League (VFL) went ahead during these wars, but faced many restrictions.

Great Missenden

Great Missenden is a village with approximately 2,000 residents in the Misbourne Valley in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, England, situated between the towns of Amersham and Wendover, with direct rail connections to London Marylebone. It closely adjoins the villages of Little Kingshill, Little Missenden and the larger village Prestwood. The narrow and historic High Street is bypassed by the main A413 London to Aylesbury Road. It is located in the heart of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The source of the Misbourne is to be found just north of the village, although the upper reach of the river runs only in winter and the perennial head is in Little Missenden. The village is now best known as home to the late Roald Dahl, the world-famous author.In 2011, The Guardian featured an article referring to how the village has been "prime stockbroker belt for over a century" and remarked favourably on its "ancient churches, beech woods, deep valleys, rolling Chiltern Hills, higgledy-piggledy streets. That's why Dahl chose to live here." The paper also mentions its "grand piles tucked away in the folds of the Chilterns, all paddocks, ponies and leafy lanes, such as Dahl's, Martinsend Lane, or Nags Head Lane." The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, lists Great Missenden in its "List of Britain's richest villages." The Telegraph also ranked the village #4 in its "Best Places to Raise a Family in the UK" 2015 survey, describing it as a "gem of a town."

Kī-o-rahi

Kī-o-rahi is a ball sport played in New Zealand with a small round ball called a 'kī'. It is a fast-paced game incorporating skills similar to rugby union, netball and touch. Two teams of seven players play on a circular field divided into zones, and score points by touching the 'pou' (boundary markers) and hitting a central 'tupu' or target. The game is played with varying rules (e.g. number of people, size of field, tag ripping rules etc.) depending on the geographic area it is played in. A process called Tatu, before the game, determines which rules the two teams will use.

In 2005 kī-o-rahi was chosen to represent New Zealand by global fast-food chain McDonald's as part of its 'Passport to Play' programme to teach physical play activities in 31,000 American schools.

The programme will give instruction in 15 ethnic games to seven million primary school children.The New Zealand kī-o-rahi representative organisation, Kī-o-Rahi Akotanga Iho, formed with men's and women's national teams, completed a 14 match tour of Europe in September and October 2010. The men's team included 22-test All Black veteran Wayne Shelford who led the team to a 57–10 test win against Kī-o-Rahi Dieppe Organisation, the French Kī-o-Rahi federation.

Shelford's kī-o-rahi test jersey made him the first kī-o-rahi/rugby double international for NZ. The women's team coached by Andrea Cameron (Head of PE at Tikipunga High School) also won by 33–0. These were the first historic test matches between NZ and France.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Lancaster County locally , (Pennsylvania German: Lengeschder Kaundi) sometimes nicknamed the Garden Spot of America or Pennsylvania Dutch Country, is a county located in the south central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 519,445. Its county seat is Lancaster.Lancaster County comprises the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Statistical Area and is a part of Philadelphia's Designated Media Market.

The County of Lancaster is a popular tourist destination, with its Amish community a major attraction. The "Dutch" of Pennsylvania Dutch is the English form of Düütsch, the Low German cognate of Standard German Deutsch and Pennsylvania Dutch Deitsch. (Historically, the terms "German" and "Dutch" were used interchangeably to describe all of the Germanic peoples living within the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire.) The ancestors of the Amish began to immigrate to colonial Pennsylvania in the early 18th century to take advantage of the religious freedom offered by William Penn. They were also attracted by the area's rich soil and mild climate. Also attracted to promises of religious freedom, French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution settled this area in 1710. There were also significant numbers of English, Welsh and Ulster Scots (also known as the Scotch-Irish in the colonies).

List of soccer clubs in Australia

This is a list of soccer clubs in Australia. The Australian soccer league system consists of a national league — A-League (men) and W-League (women) — a state/territory-based second tier National Premier Leagues (NPL) structure and other state-based leagues. Promotion and relegation exists in some states between NPL and state leagues, however not between the A-League and the NPL. Included are all clubs playing in state (or territory)-wide leagues, or where states are split into two separate leagues.

Logan Lightning FC

Logan Lightning FC is an Australian football (soccer) club based in Shailer Park, a suburb of Logan City, Queensland, Australia. The club's history commenced in 1979, the year of establishment for both the Beenleigh and Loganholme soccer clubs which merged in late 2011 to form the current club. The club currently competes in the Brisbane Premier League. In May 2017, Football Queensland announced Logan Lightning FC were among the 14 clubs accepted to form the Football Queensland Premier League for its initial season in 2018.

Nick Kristock

Nicholas Christopher "Nick" Kristock (born March 1, 1991) is an American soccer player at Oakland University. He won the 2013 Senior CLASS Award for Men's Soccer as the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer.Kristock has earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Oakland University and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Business Administration from Oakland University. He has earned several major awards at Oakland University including the CSA Student Leader of the Year Award and the Human Relations Award given to an outstanding senior in community service (the first student athlete to win this award). Kristock is the Co-Founder of Gigs For Good Inc., a Christian non-profit organization that funds Christian missionaries around the world.

Kristock was named All-Horizon League second team and 2013 Horizon League All-Tournament Team. As captain of the Golden Grizzlies, he started every game in the 2013 season, logging over 1700 minutes on the year.Kristock played for FC Sparta in the National Premier Soccer League, an American Soccer League recognized as the fourth tier league in the United States.Kristock now plays for the Loganholme Lightning Football Club of the Trophy Superstore Premier League, formerly called the Brisbane Premier League, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He was voted 2014 Senior Player of the Year by the club in October 2014.

Quidditch (sport)

Quidditch is a sport of two teams of seven players each mounted on broomsticks played on a hockey rink-sized pitch. It is based on a fictional game of the same name invented by author J. K. Rowling, which is featured in the Harry Potter series of novels and related media.[3] The game is also sometimes referred to as muggle quidditch to distinguish it from the fictional game, which involves magical elements such as flying broomsticks and enchanted balls. In the Harry Potter universe, a "muggle" is a person without the power to use magic.

The pitch is rectangular with rounded corners 55 meters (60 yards) by 33 meters (36 yards) with three hoops of varying heights at either end.[4] The sport was created in 2005 and is therefore still quite young. However, quidditch is played around the world and actively growing.[5] The ultimate goal is to have more points than the other team by the time the snitch, a tennis ball inside a long sock hanging from the shorts of an impartial official dressed in yellow, is caught. Rules of the sport are governed by the International Quidditch Association, or the IQA, and events are sanctioned by either the IQA or that nation's governing body.

To score points, chasers or keepers must get the quaffle, a slightly deflated volleyball, into one of three of the opposing hoops which scores the team 10 points.[6] To impede the quaffle from advancing down the pitch, chasers and keepers are able to tackle opposing chasers and keepers at the same time as beaters using their bludgers—dodgeballs—to take out opposing players. Once a player is hit by an opposing bludger, that player must dismount their broom, drop any ball being held, and return to and touch their hoops before being allowed back into play.[7] The game is ended once the snitch is caught by one of the seekers, awarding that team 30 points.[8]A team consists of minimum seven (maximum 21) players, of which six are always on the pitch, those being the three chasers, one keeper, and two beaters. Besides the seeker who is off-pitch, the six players are required to abide by the gender rule, which states that a team may have a maximum of four players who identify as the same gender, making quidditch one of the few sports that not only offers a co-ed environment but an open community to those who do not identify with the gender binary.[10] Matches or games often run about 30 to 40 minutes but tend to be subject to varying lengths of time due to the unpredictable nature of the snitch catch. If the score at the end of the match including the 30 point snitch catch is tied (such that the team that caught the snitch was 30 points behind the other), the game moves to overtime where the snitch is constrained to the pitch's dimensions and the game ends after five minutes or when the snitch is legally caught.

Sports in Detroit

The U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan is home to four professional U.S. sports teams; it is one of twelve cities in the United States to have teams from the four major North American sports. Since 2017, it is the only U.S. city to have its MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL teams play within its downtown district (broadly defined) and one of only four U.S. cities to have said teams play within the city limits of their namesake.

All four teams compete within the city of Detroit. There are three active major sports venues within the city: 41,782-seat Comerica Park (home of the Detroit Tigers), 65,000-seat Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions), and Little Caesars Arena (home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons). Detroit is known for its avid hockey fans. Interest in the sport has given the city the moniker "Hockeytown." In 2008, the Tigers reported 3.2 million visitors with a 98.6 percent attendance rate.In college sports, the University of Detroit Mercy and Oakland University have National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I programs. Wayne State University has a Division II program, and once had Division I teams in men's and women's ice hockey but has since dropped both sports. The NCAA football Quick Lane Bowl is held at Ford Field each December. In addition, the sports teams of the University of Michigan are located in Ann Arbor, within an hour's drive of much of the Detroit metropolitan area.

Sports in the United States by state

Sports in the United States are an important part of American culture. American football is the most popular sport to watch in the United States, followed by baseball, basketball, and soccer. Hockey, tennis, golf, wrestling, auto racing, arena football, field lacrosse, box lacrosse and volleyball are also popular sports in the country.

Based on revenue, the four major professional sports leagues in the United States are Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL). The market for professional sports in the United States is roughly $69 billion, roughly 50% larger than that of all of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa combined. All four enjoy wide-ranging domestic media coverage and are considered the preeminent leagues in their respective sports in the world, although American football does not have a substantial following in other nations. Three of those leagues have teams that represent Canadian cities, and all four are the most financially lucrative sports leagues of their sport. Major League Soccer (MLS), which also includes teams based in Canada, is sometimes included in a "top five" of leagues. With an average attendance of over 20,000 per game, MLS has the third highest average attendance of any sports league in the U.S. after the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), and is the seventh highest attended professional soccer league worldwide.Professional teams in all major sports in the United States operate as franchises within a league, meaning that a team may move to a different city if the team's owners believe there would be a financial benefit, but franchise moves are usually subject to some form of league-level approval. All major sports leagues use a similar type of regular-season schedule with a post-season playoff tournament. In addition to the major league–level organizations, several sports also have professional minor leagues, active in smaller cities across the country. As in Canada and Australia, sports leagues in the United States do not practice promotion and relegation, unlike many sports leagues in Europe.

Sports are particularly associated with education in the United States, with most high schools and universities having organized sports, and this is a unique sporting footprint for the U.S. College sports competitions play an important role in the American sporting culture, and college basketball and college football are as popular as professional sports in some parts of the country. The major sanctioning body for college sports is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Unlike most other nations, the United States government does not provide funding for sports nor for the United States Olympic Committee.

Tahj Minniecon

Tahj James Rodney Minniecon (born 13 February 1989) is an Australian soccer player who most recently played for Davao Aguilas FC in Philippines Football League.

Variations of Australian rules football

Variations of Australian rules football are games or activities based on or similar to the game of Australian rules football, in which the player uses common Australian rules football skills. They range in player numbers from 2 (in the case of kick-to-kick) up to the minimum 38 required for a full Australian rules football.

Some are essentially identical to Australian rules football, with only minor rule changes, while others are more distant and arguably not simple variations but distinct games. Others still have adapted to the unavailability of full-sized cricket fields. Other variations include children's games, contests or activities intended to help the player practice or reinforce skills, which may or may not have a competitive aspect.

Most of the variations are played in informal settings, without the presence of umpires and sometimes without strict adherence to official game rules.

West Virginia

West Virginia ( (listen)) is a state located in the Appalachian region in the Southern United States, and is also considered to be a part of the Middle Atlantic States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, and Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area, and is ranked 38th in population. The capital and largest city is Charleston.

West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, at the start of the American Civil War. Delegates from the Unionist counties of northwestern Virginia decided to break away from Virginia, which also included secessionist counties in the new state. West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key border state during the war. West Virginia was the only state to form by separating from a Confederate state, the first to separate from any state since Maine separated from Massachusetts, and was one of two states admitted to the Union during the American Civil War (the other being Nevada). While a portion of its residents held slaves, most of the residents were yeomen farmers, and the delegates provided for gradual abolition of slavery in the new state Constitution.

The Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers classify West Virginia as part of the Southern United States. However the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies West Virginia as a part of the Mid-Atlantic. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio, with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70 miles (110 km) from North Carolina. Huntington in the southwest is close to the states of Ohio and Kentucky, while Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered part of the Washington metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland and Virginia. The unique position of West Virginia means that it is often included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, and the Southeastern United States. It is the only state that is entirely within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission; the area is commonly defined as "Appalachia".The state is noted for its mountains and rolling hills, its historically significant logging and coal mining industries, and its political and labor history. It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and hunting.

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Other sports

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