Mercedes–Benz Junior Golf Championships kick off this month

Mercedes–Benz Junior Golf Championships kick off this month

first_imgThe 11th Mercedes-Benz Junior Golf Championships, which start this month will continue the trend of promoting both golfing skills and educational excellence.  This season, golfers will be awarded extra bonus points for educational grades. The winners from the Masters Final will go to on compete in an international junior golf tournament overseas, except for those in the 23 year and under class, where the winners will compete in a Thailand PGA Tour event.The first qualifying round of the Championship will be held on 15-16 September at Royal Hills, Nakorn Nayok.  There are a total of 4 age categories for boys and girls; 12 years and under, 14 years and under, 17 years and under and 23 years and under.For a full list of the scheduled dates and courses or for more information, contact Pentangle Promotions Co., Ltd. on 02-311-3414-5 or go to website www. pentanglepromotions.com.last_img read more

Jacket a perfect fit for Kevin

Jacket a perfect fit for Kevin

first_imgThe fairways have benefitted from recent rains and, in fact, it was no carts on fairways for many fairways, but not all. The greens played well, but there were some tricky pin placements.The weather was certainly very warm but without the odd relieving breeze that we have had other days.It has been almost three weeks since Kevin LaBar wore the Green Jacket. He has taken a liking to it as he showed again today how perfectly it fits him. Kevin’s score of 40 points had him in front, but close behind were two players on 39 points.Francis McGuigan, in a rare visit to Links, won that countback from another who we have not seen for some time, Gabriel Enright.George Mueller sat on his own at the 34 points mark for fourth place, followed by another countback for fifth and sixth.This was a three-way contest with all on 33 points, where Bill Stewart had the best back nine to beat Mike Firkin, while Rowan Lucas, in his last game this trip, was unlucky to miss out.Bryan Barrell and Iain Craigen both expected some headwear, just which way around. Bryan wore the “silly hat” for 9 points on a nine and Iain had his favourite “wig” for lowest score.Regular readers may wonder why six places!At Links, the organizers are usually able to breeze through the day, all systems work. BUT there are some days where people cannot fall into line. Late nights, no phone calls, yes, I am, no I’m not etc. Maurice changed the envelopes five times between 7.00 am and 8.44 am. Two flights, no, one flight, no…In the end “just do six places, phew!” Normal calm will resume tomorrow.Near pins: Bill Copeland (A flight), Tip Briney x 2 (B flight), and once again one “A’ flight pin went begging.Winners at Green Valley1st Place – Kevin LaBar (12) – 40 pts2nd Place – Francis McGuigan (16) – 39 pts c/back3rd Place – Gabriel Enright (17) – 39 pts4th Place – George Mueller (15) – 34 pts5th Place – Bill Stewart (20) – 33 pts c/back6th Place – Mike Firkin (24) – 33 pts c/backBest Front Nine (non-winners) Wayne Peppernell 19 ptsBest Back Nine (non-winners) Andrew Purdie 20 pts Winner, Kevin LaBar with Bryan Barrell (L) and Iain Craigen (R).Pattaya Links Golf SocietyRayong Green Valley Wednesday. Oct. 2 StablefordWhen Pattaya Links Golf Society went to Green Valley a month ago for the first time in a long time, it was being prepared for a Singha Competition and was in very good shape.Happy to say now, that standard has been kept up and the course is looking very good.last_img read more

4 Thai windsurfers head to Asian Games

4 Thai windsurfers head to Asian Games

first_imgThai windsurfers Eak Boonsawat (left) and Siriporn Kaewduang-ngam (right) will lead the quest for gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games.Four Pattaya-based windsurfers will go for gold at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta this month.Olympian Siriporn Kaewduang-ngam will lead Thailand’s contingent at the Aug. 18-Sept. 2 competition in Indonesia, competing in the RSX competition in which she had medaled in the Southeast Asian games and countless other windsurfing contests.She will be joined by Nattapong Bhonopparat, who faces stiff competition from China in the male RSX race, and newcomers Boonyarit Sung-ngern and Cholchayacha Chunthong­lang competing in the RS One Mix (Under 22) bracket.Speaking at Suvarnabhumi International Airport before the team’s flight Aug. 1, trainer Eak Boonsawat said the athletes said all the athletes were completely ready and totally healthy.last_img read more

Don Bland tames Rayong Green Valley

Don Bland tames Rayong Green Valley

first_imgPSC Golf from The Golf Club Sports Bar & GrillMonday, August 1, Rayong Green Valley – Stableford1st Don Bland (4) 41 pts 2nd John Emmerson (9) 39 pts (cb)3rd Dan Avon (14) 39 pts4th Noel Pittard (4) 37 pts Our regular Monday fixture was populated with 18 of Pattaya’s finest clubbers, which for low season was a decent turnout. The skies above were “fontoc boy-boy” as the locals say and by the time we got to the course it had turned out beautiful. Right now, Green Valley is in tip-top shape so there should be no excuses for not shooting well here.The Australians were out here in full force and being the tough competitors they are, we were in for a battle royal as Noel, Don, Steve and resident Sugar Ray were our mates representing the Southern Hemisphere.Don Bland.As it turned out, Don Bland was anything but and turned in his card with a big 41 circled at the top. Well played Don – and also good luck to you and Noel up in Siam Reap as well.John Emmerson beat Don Avon on count back with 39 as Noel Pittard just missed out with his 37, good but not quite enough Noel!Wednesday, August 3, Phoenix – Stableford1st Peter Fagerlund (23) 40 pts2nd Chris Parr (19) 35 pts3rd Roger Verville (12) 33 ptsIt is so nice to hop over to a course in less than 30 minutes and that is one huge benefit of Phoenix. After the recent rains and wind the course was a little leafy but the greens-keeping staff were out taking care of the carnage. The heat was a factor today and my fellow walkers were starting to question the decision to go cartless on the day. We survived, but next time a buggy would be in order for sure.Scandie visitor Peter Fagerlund was sensible and took the cart option and maybe it helped him to score the 40 points to be our winner on the day. Peter is a big lad and his game should improve quickly with a few lessons, so watch out!Chris Parr is a regular visitor to Pattaya from upcountry and a recent addition to The Golf Club gang and we are glad to have Chris on board.  Chris was kind enough to get in a round of drinks before heading out to the airport. We quickly headed back to The Golf Club for our Wednesday Steak Night and a few bevvies, of course.Friday, August 5, Treasure Hill – Stableford1st Steve Grant (9) 35 pts2nd Henry O’Brien (19) 32 pts3rd David Shelton (7) 27 ptsAfter last month’s PSC Monthly Medal here we just had to come back. Apparently the Saha Group recently bought the course and we observed a great deal of work being done by several dozen staff. There are lots of new but mature tree plantings, improved or new cart paths and decorative features as well being attended to. The only thing I would attack straight away is the 18th green. Get your approach shot close to the pin and it won’t be an issue! I am sure this repair is on their agenda, so be patient, it will be worth the wait.There is great camaraderie on a trip like this one to Soi Dao.The course was designed by Yoshikazu Kato who also designed the legendary Blue Canyon in Phuket and Kabinburi Sport Club where we will be on our road trip in early September. Treasure Hill is a great track and if you have not played here you really should put it on your list.You can’t make many mistakes on this course and expect to win, and Steve Grant did little wrong on the day. The greens proved faster than they looked but not a problem for Mr. Grant.Someone who shall go unmentioned took a choked down driver on the 215yd 2nd par 3 and stuck it to 8 feet, then sunk the birdie putt only to find out we did not have a 2’s comp on the day.  No, it wasn’t Seamless this time, he was up at Soi Dao.We returned Friday afternoon to The Golf Club in a mere 40 minutes door-to-door, well worth the trip and good luck to Treasure Hill in their improvements to this great course.August 2 – 4, Soi Dao Highlands Road TripIt was a busy week for The Golf Club as in addition to our Pattaya schedule, we also ventured out once again to Soi Dao for the monthly road trip. Teacher Jez was the main instigator for this outing and had to get another trip in before school starts. It turned out to be a good idea.Timing is everything and after loads of rain last week, the ground was moist and springy but not a drop touched a head on the trip as the clouds lifted to a beautiful week in the mountains. The hills were so alive you could almost hear Julie Andrews!There is great camaraderie on a trip like this and everyone pitches in with wine and cheese, nibbles for après golf, and a few litres of quality spirits.It was so good to see Papa Mikey Craighead back with us to show Soi Dao rookie Dale Shier the lay of the land on this Dennis Griffiths (Phoenix, Thai C.C.) designed layout. Soi Dao is a special place and this trip was very special for Roger Kohler and Bob Newell as they glided along over the three day tour with some of their best golf seen recently to demolish the competition. Well played lads!Tour Tip: Soi Dao Highlands has a low season special of 2,200 baht for a single golfer that includes 2 days unlimited golf green fees from check-in and 1 night hotel room with breakfast, a great deal at a great course.Thanks to all for participating in this week’s fixtures, and don’t forget to check us out on facebook/golfclubpattaya for updates, musings, and scandals in general.The Golf Club is located on Soi LK Metro, off Soi Buakhao and Soi Diana junction. We can be reached on 085 434 3377 or pattaya4golf@gmail.com and our is www.golfclubpattaya.com.last_img read more

Steelers slammed 30-17 by hated Ravens in wild card

Steelers slammed 30-17 by hated Ravens in wild card

first_imgBaltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) celebrates after intercepting a pass by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) in the fourth quarter of an NFL wildcard playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ben Roethlisberger was helped to his feet and walked slowly to the sideline, trying to clear his head from a hard hit and a night that didn’t go his way.Postseasons don’t usually end at Heinz Field. Not like this. Not to hated Baltimore.Without injured All-Pro back Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers were one-dimensional on offense and didn’t do nearly enough to stop the Ravens, who snapped a three-game playoff losing streak against their bitter rivals with a 30-17 victory on Saturday night in the AFC wild-card game.The Steelers (11-6), who had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns in the first half, closed within 20-15 in the fourth quarter but gave up 10 straight points. Roethlisberger, forced from the game for a few plays with a neck injury after he was sacked with Pittsburgh down by 15 and desperately driving, threw an interception in the end zone with 2:57 left to seal the Steelers’ fate.Roethlisberger finished 31 of 45 for 334 yards and threw two interceptions. He was sacked five times by the Ravens, who were in his face for four quarters and finally got to leave Pittsburgh victorious following three agonizing playoff losses.Following the game, Roethlisberger slowly dressed at his locker, grimacing as he pulled his short over a large wrap around his right hand.The black and gold were black and blue.With Bell sidelined by a hyperextended right knee, the Steelers only rushed for 68 yards and weren’t able to keep Baltimore’s defense from pinning back its ears and going after Big Ben.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more

Funniest New Orleans Saints memes after beating Atlanta Falcons

Funniest New Orleans Saints memes after beating Atlanta Falcons

first_imgWith the Falcons storming out to a 5-0 record and their bitter archrival New Orleans Saints sputtering like an old car to a 1-4 record, most sports pundits predicted a massacre on the Mississippi River, where the Louisiana Superdome sits.The pundits and Falcons fans forgot — and the Falcons team as well — that Drew Brees and the Saints sports a sterling record at their playing quarters near Canal Street, and that includes multiple convincing beatdowns of the Falcons the last several years.But the Saints entered the game with a record of 1-4. They were 8-13 since the start of last season. They were coming off an ugly, 22-point defeat at Philadelphia on Sunday.However, the Falcons literally fumbled the game away — committing three fumbles — while Brees found his quarterback stroke again, connecting on 30 of 39 passes for 312 yards and a touchdown.Meanwhile, the Falcons defense need a compass and a map to find veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, who was continuously wide open all night. Watson did a pretty good impersonation of Jimmy Graham, the once-prolific pass catcher traded to the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason. Watson had 10 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.The result was a convincing 31-21 win that wasn’t even that close, and the memes that came were even more innovative and funny. Take a look:last_img read more

Hope Solo reiterates concerns over Zika at the Olympics

Hope Solo reiterates concerns over Zika at the Olympics

first_imgIn this Oct. 20, 2013, file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo pauses on the field during the second half of an international friendly women’s soccer match against Australia in San Antonio.(AP Photo/Darren Abate, File)FRISCO, Texas (AP) _ U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo asserted that if the Olympics were held today, she would not go out of concern about the Zika virus.Solo’s apprehension about the Rio Games this summer was first reported by Sports Illustrated this week. She reiterated those comments following the U.S. team’s 5-0 victory over Costa Rica on Wednesday night to open the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.“All I can do is speak for myself. If the Olympics were today, I would not go,” she said. “Fortunately, the Olympics are six months away. So, I believe we have some time to get our doubts and questions answered.”Zika virus has spread rapidly in Latin America. Transmitted by mosquitoes, most people have few symptoms. But it is suspected of causing microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head. Pregnant women are urged to avoid travel to affected areas.Rio organizers have maintained that the August event will not be canceled. The Olympics will also be held in Brazil’s winter, when colder temperatures should reduce the mosquito population.The U.S. national team has already held one briefing on the virus, and another is set for Thursday.On Wednesday night U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun sent a letter Wednesday to all possible Olympians, acknowledging the growing worries.“I know that the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil is of concern to many of you,” Blackmun wrote. “I want to emphasize that it is to us, as well, and that your well-being in Rio this summer is our highest priority.”The USOC will hire two infectious disease specialists to advise potential Olympians who are worried about the Zika outbreak in Brazil.“We have a little bit of time to figure things out,” Solo said. “Our team hasn’t said we’re not going unless this happens. Hopefully, there are some things that can be done.”last_img read more

Steelers take linebacker T.J. Watt with 30th pick in draft

Steelers take linebacker T.J. Watt with 30th pick in draft

first_imgIn this Dec. 3, 2016, file photo, Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt celebrates after recovering a fumble during the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Penn State in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File) PITTSBURGH (AP) — T.J. Watt spent his childhood playing in the considerable shadow of older brothers J.J. and Derek.The neophyte linebacker still very much in the embryonic stage of his career will get his chance to step into his own with the Pittsburgh Steelers.The reigning AFC North champions selected Watt with the 30th overall pick in the draft on Thursday, won over by the 22-year-old’s energy and the raw materials they covet: namely speed, potential and an ability to get to the quarterback as often as possible.Watt started just one season at Wisconsin but made it count, picking up 11 1/2 sacks for the Badgers. Not bad for a player who arrived at Wisconsin in 2013 as a tight end and didn’t switch to defense until 2015. By last fall he was a linchpin on one a team that went 11-3 and beat Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl.In a way, Watt views his inexperience as a selling point.“I was a first or second team All-American after 18 months of playing defense,” he said. “I’m scratching the surface of what I can do.”Watt joins a team that fell one win short of the Super Bowl after getting carved up by New England’s Tom Brady in the AFC championship. The Steelers struggled to generate any kind of consistent pressure on Brady, something they know they need to change if they want to end the Patriots’ vice grip on the conference.While cautioning that Watt still has plenty to learn, his new bosses didn’t exactly shy away from expectations.“To do that in his first year at the position is really amazing,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “You expect natural growth against better competition … There’s no reason why he can’t contribute and be a significant player, but he’ll be a young player.”The 6-foot-4, 252-pound Watt joins an outside linebacker group that includes James Harrison, who turns 39 next week, and 2015 first-round pick Bud Dupree. Pittsburgh let Jarvis Jones, the franchise’s top pick in the 2013 draft, walk in free agency after four underwhelming seasons.Enter Watt, who flipped from tight end to defense in 2015, though the transition was slowed after he injured his right knee in spring practice. Finally healthy last fall, he was a dominant force, a trait that runs in the family.Watt’s selection gives his family three players in the league. J.J. Watt is a perennial All-Pro defensive end for the Houston Texans. Derek Watt appeared in all 16 games last season for the Chargers as a fullback. T.J. and J.J. will meet on the field as opponents for the first time when Pittsburgh visits Houston on Dec. 25.“It’ll be weird to be on the same field as J.J. in shoulder pads,” Watt said. “I played with him in the backyard a bunch, but we’ve never been on the same field competitively before.”It’s a dream Watt held onto throughout his sluggish start at Wisconsin, and he played so well in 2016 that Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst — who previously coached at Pitt — reached out Colbert and asked him to gauge Watt’s potential as an early entrant in the draft. When the Colbert’s evaluation projected Watt as a potential first rounder, Watt joined the fray.Now he finds himself in a league where T.J. — a three-time defensive player of the year — is one of the brightest stars. Sure, there’s pressure. Then again, without spending his life watching J.J. do his thing, Watt understands he might not even be here.“People don’t know the work ethic, the countless hours of film study,” he said. “I was treating myself like a professional athlete while still in college. I learned so much from J.J. … I don’t think people know who I am at this point because I’ve been in such a big shadow.”The time to emerge from it will begin on Friday when he arrives in Pittsburgh, poses in a black-and-yellow jersey and tries to live up to the legacy of both the name on the front and the name on the back.“I wouldn’t be shocked if he tries to outdo everything his family has done to this point,” Colbert said.Their biggest need met, the Steelers will have three picks during the second and third round to address depth concerns in the secondary.___For more AP NFL coverage: http://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more

America’s oldest pro ballpark needs our help

America’s oldest pro ballpark needs our help

first_imgIn this June 24, 2015, file photo, Mo’ne Davis, of the Anderson Monarchs, gets ready to bat against the Willie Mays RBI Birmingham team at Rickwood Field, in Birmingham, Ala. The field is the oldest ballpark in America but it requires at least a half-million dollars in repairs to get it back in playing shape. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)An elderly friend needs our help.Birmingham’s Rickwood Field is the oldest professional ballpark in America _ yep, it’s been around even longer than Fenway Park and Wrigley Field _ but it’s really starting to show its age.A couple of months ago, city officials shut it down. Major structural repairs are needed, not surprising for a stadium that’s approaching its 107th birthday.It’s going to take money _ a lot of money _ to get the gates open again.That would be money well spent.Rickwood Field is a virtual time machine, an irreplaceable link to a bygone era when America’s pastime was the only game in town.Since its opening on Aug. 18, 1910, more than 100 Hall of Famers have swung a bat or thrown a ball at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 12th Street on the west side of Alabama’s largest city, everyone from Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb to Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron.This was not only the longtime home of the Birmingham Barons, a minor-league team, but the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro League, a powerhouse squad from the ugly era of Jim Crow that included Satchel Paige and Willie Mays among its alumni.“Rickwood filled a role as kind of the cultural center for both the Caucasian and the African-American communities in Birmingham,” said David Brewer, executive director of a nonprofit organization that manages the park, Friends of Rickwood. “That’s significant in terms of American social history.”The Black Barons ceased operations in 1960, and Rickwood’s days seemed numbered when the Barons left 27 years later for a shiny new stadium in the suburbs.I certainly didn’t expect it to last much longer when I visited for the first time in 1991 .The green paint was peeling. The roof was leaky and worn out. Weeds sprouted between the seats. There were two scoreboards _ one for baseball, the other for football games that were also played there _ but neither worked. Surely, I thought, this stately little park would soon go the way of Forbes Field and Shibe Park and the Polo Grounds.But, somehow, Rickwood survived.City officials managed to stave off the wrecking ball, with help from a determined group of volunteers tirelessly raising money to address an ever-evolving list of repairs. Before long, Rickwood was as busy as it had ever been, with colleges and high schools taking the field in the late winter and spring, followed by a full slate of various adult and youth league tournaments through the summer and into fall. In all, it was used about 175 days a year.The Barons even returned, albeit for only one game a season. They called it the Rickwood Classic, a true throwback game played in the daylight, complete with fans in period clothing, umpires wearing bow ties, the lineups written in chalk on a board beneath the stands, and two teams decked out in old-timey uniforms.“It’s important not to be America’s oldest empty ballpark,” Brewer said. “We view the playing of baseball here as essential to the continued success of the ballpark.”There was no Rickwood Classic this season. After the ballpark was shuttered on April 7, the Barons substituted a “Turn Back The Clock” game, which was held Wednesday at their latest home, 4-year-old Regions Field in downtown Birmingham.A nice gesture.But not the same.The Barons hope to return to Rickwood in 2018, but that’s going to take a major financial commitment.Mayor William Bell told al.com the city is willing to spend a half-million dollars on needed repairs, but quickly added that “any other help we get is appreciated.” The Friends of Rickwood have a donation link on their web site and also set up a GoFundMe account that hopes to raise $25,000.As of late Friday afternoon, just under $2,000 had been donated.“It’s a very challenging project,” Brewer said. “Communities are wrestling with what to do with these old parks. Is it worth doing it? Is the money available? These are tough questions. You have to make both a cultural and economic rationale for doing this.”Until its most recent setback, Rickwood served as a de facto museum for fans who wanted to see what the game like at the turn of the last century. The park was open at least five days a week to anyone who wanted to take a look around. Brewer said he’s welcomed visitors from all over this country, and other countries as well.“People say very nice things in the guest book, beyond things like, `Boy, the grass looks great’ and `This place sure looks clean.’ They say things like, `This place is amazing. We traveled across the country and it was worth every minute to get here,”’ he related. “That tells us this is a project worth doing.”So, if you’re an avid baseball fan, or someone who appreciates American history, or maybe you’re just miffed that we inexplicably tore down true landmarks such as Yankee Stadium and Comiskey Park, consider making a donation to save the oldest ballpark we’ve got left. It’s at least as worthy as spending billions on all these shiny new stadiums.I’ll leave the last word to Bob Veale, from the story I wrote 26 years ago when I ran into the former major league pitcher on my visit to Rickwood.“It’s still a part of this neighborhood,” he said, the words as relevant now as they were then. “It’s a part of America.”___Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry___For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseballlast_img
Column: Dark cloud lingers over football as season begins

Column: Dark cloud lingers over football as season begins

first_imgIn this Thursday, June 15, 2017, photo, Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis attends a football game in Ramat Hasharon, near Tel Aviv, Israel. Bettis said that the NFL had taken advantage of its players by not sharing with them all the information it had about the risk of concussions. After viewing an innovation expo in Jerusalem that included a presentation from ElMindA, an Israeli neuro-technology company that is helping the NFL diagnose concussions, Bettis said he was encouraged by the progress but still perplexed about how transparent the league has been over the years. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)ByFLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) _ It all sounded so familiar, even comforting, this rite of fall that comes in the midst of summer.The quarterback barking out the call. The grunts and thuds of giant men running into each other. The screams from the defensive side when one of their own picks off a deflected pass.An NFL training camp _ in this case, it’s the Super Bowl runner-up Atlanta Falcons _ provides a reassuring symphony to those who cherish America’s real national pastime.But a dark cloud continues to linger over the league and all of football, really, as we begin a new season.How long can this gladiatorial sport survive when former players are suffering and dying from damage they took on the field?Should it survive?Roughly coinciding with the start of training camps around the country, from high schools to colleges to the NFL, we got perhaps the most disturbing report yet confirming what we already knew.Football is really, really bad for your health.“Any player who tells you they haven’t put some sort of thought into it, they’re not being truthful with you,” said San Francisco 49ers running back Kyle Juszczyk. “It was a scary statistic.”Certainly, it was impossible to ignore the startling research from Boston University on 202 former football players , sampling everyone from preps to pros, that showed nearly all of them suffered from a brain disease linked to repeated head blows.Even more compelling, The Associated Press released a heartbreaking series detailing the enormous human toll that CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) has on families when their loved ones became mere shells of themselves, grappling in the latter years of their increasingly diminished lives with memory loss, mood swings, depression and erratic behavior.One has to wonder if the trickle of players who have walked away so far, most notably promising young linebacker Chris Borland, will turn into a flood at some point.We’re not there yet.Not even close, really.Football players are some of the toughest people on the planet, accustomed to dealing with the pain and hardship that their sport demands. Many of them, having grown up in hardscrabble circumstances, turned to football as a conduit to a college education and a prosperous life they wouldn’t have had otherwise. They’re appreciative of what it has done for them, and they’re not about to turn their backs on it, no matter how damning the research.“In this life, everything comes with pros and cons,” Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams said. “I mean, my daddy worked on cars for 30 years and he got a bad back, bad knees and arthritis in his joints. So standing up on concrete working that long is going to have its effects on you. But you have to feed your family, so you’ve got to make decisions.”He then turned to his chosen profession.“When you’re blessed to play something that you love and get paid handsomely for it, you can’t expect everything to be all peaches and cream,” Williams continued. “So if that’s what comes with it, that’s what comes with it.”Nothing wrong with that. As long as he’s fully aware of the risks and knows what it could mean later in life, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be allowed to play, no reason we can’t cheer for his exploits.But there are indications that more and more players are paying attention to the tell-tale signs of trouble down the road.Receiver Andrew Hawkins, who had just signed with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in May, announced his retirement at age 31 before he even got to training camp. He said his body “just didn’t respond and wasn’t feeling the way it should.” It came out that he has pledged his brain to CTE research.Baltimore Ravens linemen John Urschel also announced his retirement right about the time this latest study came out. Only 26, he didn’t reveal his reasons for quitting, and it very well could be because he’s got a full life beyond football _ an accomplished mathematician, he’s pursuing his doctorate from MIT. But Urschel had previously written an essay revealing his mother never wanted him to play football and that he envied Borland for walking away rather than endangering his long-term health.Falcons coach Dan Quinn says he actually thinks football has turned a corner, recognizing the effects of repeated head shots and taking major steps to protect the athletes, from stressing proper tackling techniques to limiting practice time.“I think you can be tough as hell and still shoulder tackle,” Quinn said. “We try to keep the head out of the contact.”Indeed, you can make football safer.But you can never make it safe, not in its current form.One can’t help but be reminded of Winston Churchill’s words after a tide-turning battle in World War II: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”That’s what it feels like for football.It would be foolish to predict its imminent demise.But it’s possible to see, far off in the distance, an end for America’s national pastime.___Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry___AP Sports Writers Stephen Whyno in Washington and Josh Dubow in San Francisco contributed to this report.___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more