Archive for the ‘boxing’ Tag

District Development

A new proposal for the development of a historic treasure of the city is receiving a lot of attention recently. Uline Arena, built in 1941, has long been in poor condition, you can still see the bleachers in areas along with the broken glass and old press box and concession stand.

Uline was one of the first places in DC to become desegregated along a long fight by national and local community groups in 1948. It hosted some great boxing and wrestling matches and was the home of Washington’s first NBA team during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It hosted the city’s only American Basketball Association team during 1969-1970.

A new article on the development appears below:

Uline Arena, get ready for your next phase

RACHEL KAUFMAN | TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2013
1964: The Beatles play the arena just two days after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. This ticket sold by Heritage Auctions in 2011 for $1500

1964: The Beatles play the arena just two days after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. This ticket sold by Heritage Auctions in 2011 for $1500

2008

COURTESY JOSH HOWELL
Uline Arena is making a comeback.Douglas Development, known in the Washington region for buying and holding onto properties for years, a few months ago began selective demolition at the site in preparation to turn the fabled arena, now a parking lot, into a 200,000-square-foot mixed-use property.

And fabled it was. It was built by ice supplier Miguel Uline to capitalize on the popularity of skating rinks in the 1940s, says historian Brett Abrams, author of “Capital Sporting Grounds: A History of Stadium and Ballpark Construction in Washington, DC.” But it also hosted the Beatles’ first U.S. concert ever, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan, served as home court for the Washington Capitols, led by legendary coach Red Auerbach (and the team that drafted Earl Lloyd, the first African-American basketball player).

Pro boxers fought in the arena, some of the only events African-Americans were allowed to attend in the early years of the stadium. “Uline said, ‘Why should I be the pioneer? I’m a businessman,'” Abrams says. Eventually, after intense protests from the African-American community, the arena was integrated.

In the 70s, the arena hosted roller derby. In the ’80s, go-go bands rocked the house.

In the ’90s, it became a trash transfer station. Now, it’s a parking lot—ironic, Abrams says, because a 1970’s basketball team failed when it couldn’t attract crowds, partially due to a lack of parking.

That was the end of the arena’s legacy. But for a while, “It was Washington’s location,” Abrams says. “It allowed Washington entry into professional sports.”

In 2011, the coliseum became the venue for a theatre production called Swampoodle!, by contemporary Irish arts companies Solas Nua (based here) and The Performance Corporation (based outside Dublin). The play’s short run arguably did more to catapult the Uline Arena back into modern D.C.’s consciousness than much else.

It also exposed Washingtonians to a building many didn’t even realize was still standing. Swampoodle! actor Jason McCool perhaps said it best  on the play’s blog: “I believe the first three words I spoke in the place, even after having spent a week studying it, were ‘No. Effing. Way.’ (Seriously, folks, you have never been in a building like this. It’s like being in the Titanic without the danger of drowning.)”

Union Station, less than a mile away, reopened in 1988, and the NoMa metro station opened in 2004. The rapid development in the area has brought thousands of new residents and a stunning appreciation in property values for those lucky enough to have owned buildings.

Douglas Development has owned Uline since 2003, when city records show the company paid $6,000,000 for it. Representatives from the company did not return repeated requests to comment by press time, but according to the developer’s website, current plans call for the building to be renamed “The Coliseum” and include over 50,000 square feet of retail and 150,000 square feet of office space. There will be a 175-car parking garage. And the building will keep its iconic shape.

For historian Abrams, that’s enough. “I like the proposal,” he says. “It keeps some of the–if not literally the same material, it keeps some of the resonance of it.”

Below: see our photo gallery of Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum’s past, present, and future.
1941: Architect’s sketch of Uline Arena

1948: Picket signs protesting the segregation at Uline
1964: The Beatles play the arena just two days after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. This ticket sold by Heritage Auctions in 2011 for $1500
20082011: Solas Nua and The Performance Corporation put on Swampoodle! in the arenaPresent day: seen better daysFuture: The Coliseum will become offices and retail
Future: The Coliseum references the famed Beatles concert
Do you remember Uline in its glory days? Tell us in the comments.

Photo credits, in order: DCPL, Washingtoniana Division; Henderson Family Collection;Heritage Auctions; Josh Howell;Solas Nua; Jennifer Reid; Jennifer Reid; Douglas Development/Antunovich Associates; Douglas Development/Antunovich Associates.

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is a tech, business and science journalist passionate about her adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. She lives in Brookland.

 

Advertisements

Hollywood Oscars 2013

Since the nominations for the awards came out, I’ve been trying to see as many of the movies as possible. Last night, Silver Linings Playbook was sold out at the first theater I went to so I rode my bike across the city to a much smaller cinema and had a great time.

The critics and audiences have loved this movie. Stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence received nominations. So did Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver for their supporting roles. David O. Russell got a nod for best director too.  The movie is a romance for our times.

It’s great to see a movie that features working-class people and does not make fun of them. Usually diseases and mental instability are in a Lifetime, movie of the week problem film, or the ill person is a killer or sociopath. This movie tries to deal with the struggles honestly. I don’t think his being bi-polar would have manifested itself as it did in the movie but that’s a minor issue. I also thought Lawrence was a little young for a woman with the amount of experience in life that her character was supposed to have.

What intrigued me the most is how the characters acted out on their issues. Cooper’s character expresses violence, a culturally acceptable behavior for males when expressed in certain environments, like a boxing ring or football field. Lawrence’s character has sex with people, attempting to get them to like or at least accept her. In both cases, the character is acting out of frustration and their actions only enhance their frustration and alienation.

 

Boxer Comes Out Gay

Of all the sports where a male athlete who is currently competing would come out as gay would you think the first one would be boxing?

Yes, that’s right. Orlando Cruz, one the eve of a title bout, announces he is gay!

http://network.yardbarker.com/all_sports/article_external/boxer_orlando_cruz_reveals_he_is_gay/11877619

More Olympic Boxing Insanity

The London 2012  Games Boxing fiascos continue. Another mysterious win by a boxer who throws phantom punches and gets the points needed to outpoint their opponent.

The US Olympic Boxing Committee had enough! They registered a protest after the last of their boxers, welterweight Errol Spence, lost 13-11 to a man who spent most of the third and last round of the fight, holding on, grabbing his opponent, and committing other rule infractions.

The amateur committee overturned the decision against Spence. He now advances on to the next round.

 

A few hours after the U.S. men’s boxing team thought it was done at the Olympics, amateur boxing’s governing body decided Errol Spence deserved to fight on.

AIBA overturned Spence’s loss to Indian welterweight Krishan Vikas late Friday night, five hours after the defense-minded Vikas had apparently clutched and grabbed his way to a 13-11 victory.

After the American team protested the result, AIBA’s competition jury reviewed the bout and ruled Vikas had committed nine holding fouls in the third round alone. He also intentionally spit out his mouthpiece in the second round, which should have resulted in at least four points of deductions.

 

[+] EnlargeErrol Spence

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY SportsWelterweight Errol Spence, left, lost Friday, but after the American squad protested the result officials ruled that Spence should have won. Spence will stay in the tournament.

 

Spence advanced into the quarterfinals to face Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy on Tuesday. If he wins, the American men’s team will avoid leaving the Olympics with no medals for the first time ever.

“I am obviously thrilled that the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win,” Spence said late Friday night. “I am going to make the most of this second chance that I’ve been given. I can’t wait to get back in that ring on Tuesday.”

India’s veteran boxing coach says he accepts the decision.

Gurbankhsh Singh Sandhu was disappointed, but he says “a rule is a rule.”

Spence felt he had won the bout afterward, expecting his hand to be raised in the ring, but wasn’t terribly surprised when Vikas got the nod. The welterweight from Dallas already was the last U.S. man standing after his eight male teammates lost in the previous five days, including three-time Olympian Rau’shee Warren’s 19-18 loss to France’s Nordine Oubaali an hour earlier.

Spence stopped the eight-fight skid, but must beat Zamkovoy to save the most successful team in Olympic boxing history from its first medal shutout and its worst showing at any games — although three U.S. women are still alive in their first Olympic tournament, which begins Sunday.

Spence’s late reprieve was surreal for a team that appeared headed home with nothing. Spence struggled to penetrate Vikas’ technical, plodding style despite showing superior power and entertainment value.

“We did a lot of work, got a lot of coaching, but it’s the judges that we feel we’re going against most of the time,” Warren said.

The 2008 U.S. team won only one bronze medal in Beijing, the worst showing so far — but at least that team won six total fights, one more than the London team. The American men have won only one gold medal in the last three Olympics, by Andre Ward in Athens in 2004.

The vaunted American team has claimed at least one boxing medal in every modern Olympics where boxing was a sport except the boycotted Moscow Games, and many of the men who won them are among the giants of the sweet science.

Cassius Clay, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Floyd Patterson, Oscar De La Hoya, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr. all won medals for U.S. teams, leading generations of boxing talent the world couldn’t match.

 

[+] EnlargeRaushee Warren

Chuck Myers/MCT via Getty ImagesAmerican flyweight Rau’shee Warren, right, lands a punch on France’s Nordine Oubaali during the third round of Friday’s bout.

 

The Americans’ 48 gold medals and 108 total medals are easily the most in Olympic boxing history, with 45 more medals than second-place Cuba.

The London team actually won its first four fights last weekend, but then the losses piled up with alarming speed. The Americans’ poor performance caps a two-decade struggle to adapt to changes in the amateur sport, with steadily declining medal counts ever since boxing went to a computerized scoring system that rewards a style with stark differences from pro boxing.

The U.S. seemed headed for a better showing last week. The 4-0 start showed its improved team chemistry after the Beijing team squabbled and argued its way to a dismal showing.

The current U.S. team has a strong relationship with coach Basheer Abdullah and his staff, even though Abdullah only had about six weeks to prepare as a late hire by USA Boxing. None of the fighters blamed the coaching-staff turmoil for his performance, but the string of losses was stark: Three fighters lost on Wednesday, followed by two more on Thursday before Warren’s defeat.

After Spence’s apparent loss, Abdullah came close to suggesting the judges might have been biased against some American fighters, although he also believes U.S. boxers need years of training in the amateur sport to compete at its highest levels. Amateur boxing features five ringside judges who award points only when they believe a punch lands, rather than traditional scoring systems that evaluate skill, style, technique and aggression.

The amateur sport moved to a computerized scoring system after Jones’ infamous loss at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, when three judges awarded a decision to South Korea’s Park Hi-sun after Jones dominated their fight.

“I don’t blame any (scoring) systems,” Abdullah said. “I blame the people that operate them. I’m disappointed in some of the things I’m seeing.”

Spence knew the feeling after three rounds of trying to break through the passive guard of Vikas, who fights a rigid amateur style emphasizing defense and tactical aggression. India’s amateur boxing scene has surged in popularity in the four years since Vijender Singh won his nation’s first Olympic medal in Beijing, with thousands of prospective Olympians training in the amateur style with no intention of ever turning pro.

“I thought I won the fight,” said Spence, a talented puncher who intends to turn pro this fall, along with most of his teammates. “I thought I threw more punches and landed more shots. I thought I was the more aggressive boxer. It was kind of frustrating, but he’s fighting to the computer system.”

Warren’s loss was particularly heartbreaking. The undersized dynamo nicknamed “Nuke” twice passed on a pro career and a chance to provide financially for his growing family to take another shot at hanging a gold medal around the neck of his mother, Paulette.

He waited well over a decade for this moment, climbing the amateur ranks in his native Cincinnati and avoiding the pitfalls that put two of his three brothers in prison. He got to the top of the amateur sport — and then stumbled at the three biggest moments of his career.

Warren wept in Beijing when he lost his opening bout on a last-minute tactical error. Four years and another one-point loss later, he seemed dulled to the pain of going winless in his unmatched Olympic career.

And he won’t be back for Rio: Warren said he’ll turn pro, probably along with every member of his team.

“It ain’t really no setback for me,” Warren said. “I’ve got big things coming up. This isn’t the end for Rau’shee Warren.”

Oubaali rallied from a first-round deficit with more aggression and precision than the third-seeded Warren, a former world champion. Warren also lost his contact lenses in the opening round and couldn’t size up Oubaali, who mostly controlled the final two rounds.

Warren still thought he might have eked out the decision, but few fans at ExCel seemed surprised when Oubaali got the decision. Abdullah also said he agreed with the decision.

Now 25, Warren says he’s still happy he stuck around to become the first three-time U.S. Olympic boxer — even though he might still turn out to be the biggest disappointment on the least successful American team ever.

“It’s always a good experience,” he said, “to do something people don’t normally do.”

Organize Protest Against Olympic Boxing

I admit it. I get worked up watching sports. I love sports because supposedly the best person or team wins.

That is generally true. It is not the case for boxing in the Olympics. I wonder how other commentators are calling these fights back home to their viewers. The two announcers for CNBC are beside themselves with rage and disgust over winners that have no business being selected.

Teddy Atlas has raised all kinds of questions regarding the judging and rightfully so. As one blogger noted, The reffing and judging in Olympic boxing has been problematic to say the least for the past few games. This year the trend has only gotten worse. Today we had one particularly egregious instance of abysmal reffing and judging result in a fight’s results being overturned.

A fighter gets knocked down six times and not only isn’t TKO’ed, he wins the fight on points. Apparently, you can score points from punches thrown while lying on the ground????

In today’s joke, a Romanian boxer takes it to his Azerbijan opponent for the last two rounds. However, he scores the same number of points as his opponent despite landing double the number of punches.

The only way to get through to the leadership of the sport is to hurt them where it counts. Stop watching and participating in the Olympic sport.

Boycott boxing!!!

Politics and Boxing Not NCAAs

Went to see the play Sucker Punch at the Studio Theater last night instead of watching round one of the NCAAs.

The sports on display is the story of boxing and how it gives underprivileged people the change at making it big. The setting is the politics of Margaret Thatcher in 1980s England. This is the turbulent race riots in cities as the kids of first generation immigrants from over the globe realize they don’t have many opportunities in England. (Not the politics on display in Meryl Streep’s Iron Lady movie).

The audience definitely roots for Leon, one of the lead characters as he begins to box his way out of his circumstances. He seems to be one of two characters capable of empathy. Most of the others believe in offering ultimatums as they struggle controlling lives that have not gone or aren’t going the way they would like. Despite disappointment with the ending, the audience gave the performer Sheldon Best a standing ovation, which he graciously accepted.

The boxing scenes were quite believable, except in the last instance where I wonder if the two guys would be in the same weight class.

Most of the performances were outstanding.

Book Festival Fever

Lines of people carrying red book bags filled the National Mall. A co-worker stood the back of a long line holding the hard cover his grandson wanted signed. Grandma and grandchild luckily sat in the tent listening to the author’s talk.

This Library of Congress National Book Fair draws big name authors in history and biography, poetry and prose, fiction and mystery.

All these police motorcycles stood around the history and biography tent. Men in suits with dark sunglasses and hearing devices stationed around the perimeter, a few giving me odd glances. I reached the entrance and saw a swarm of people. Applause broke out and Lara Bush took the stage.

The tent stretching from 4th to 5th streets had tables filled with hundreds of books for sale. Since I have a book on sports in DC, I was interested in the biography of boxer Ray Robinson and saw a few other baseball and other books that caught my eye.

C-Span TV covers the event and holds the interviews with authors on its Booktv. The schedule includes:

Laura Bush, Spoken from the Heart

David Remnick, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People

Wil Haygood, Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson

Evan Thomas, The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898

Adele Logan Alexander, Parallel Worlds: The Remarkable Gibbs-Hunts and the Enduring (In)Significance of Melanin

James McGrath Morris, Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power

Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra: A Life

Interesting to me was the fifteen tables where authors signed books at hour intervels. The large number of people who waited up to two hours to get a single signature shows me how strong celebrity culture is in the US.

Sports, The Beatles and History

Housing Complex

Inside the Washington Coliseum with Brett Abrams: If You Can Keep the Whole Building, Keep the Whole Building

Posted by Dave McKenna on Jun. 25, 2009 at 01:51 pm

Brett Abrams is happy. Abrams is a local historian and author of “Capital Sporting Grounds: A History of Stadium and Ballpark Construction in Washington, DC.” Today he’s leading me on a tour of the city’s sports facilities, built and unbuilt, still standing and long gone.

But for a bit of our time together, I get to play tour guide. I take Abrams, who loves old sports buildings as much as I do, over to 3rd and M Streets N.E., to my favorite structure in town, the Washington Coliseum. He knows about its history. But he didn’t know about its present.

So until today he’s never been inside.

“The greatest thing about this building is: It’s still here!” says Abrams, walking among the rows of parked SUVs with a huge smile (pictured above). “That’s really something.”

Here’s the link to the Beatles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BpmLGGpK7k

Yes it is. The Coliseum, built in the 1940s by local icemaker Migiel “Mike” Uline to host shows from touring entertainment troupes like Ringling Brothers circus and the Ice Capades, had been on death row for decades. Its useful life as a sports arena and major concert hall ended when Abe Pollin opened the Capital Centre in Largo in 1973, and in the years since it has been abandoned, hosted occasional Chuck Brown go-gos, used as a trash dump from 1994 to 2003, and, for the last several years, served as a pay parking lot.

There’s water damage all over the place from the years of inattention, and it’s dark as hell inside. But that’s nothing compared to the fact that you can drive or walk over the very floor where so many big, big things happened.

Rocky Marciano, the only heavyweight boxing champ ever to retire undefeated and stay retired, fought at the Coliseum. Red Aeurbach got his legendary pro basketball career started here, coaching the Washington Capitols of the Basketball Association of America, an NBA precursor, from 1946 to 1949. And, most famously, in February 1964, John, Paul, George and Ringo played their first US. show here on their way to taking over the world. A lot of seats from the arena’s heyday remain in the upper levels and corners.

For a building with such a great resume, there’s not much fanfare about the Coliseum. The most obvious sign that this ground is hallowed comes with a stenciled pair of brown beetles somebody painted outside the parking lot’s entrance a few years ago. Most folks in DC don’t even know the building still stands.

The coliseum is now owned by Doug Jemal, who is not only quite aware of his building’s past, but has also said many times that he keeps that past in mind whenever any plans to develop the property are proposed.

You can’t help but feel the history when you walk in the place.

“There’s the walkways!” Abrams says pointing upstairs. “Still here!”

For some folks, including me and Abrams, that’s, as he said, really something.

There is so much more to the old Uline Arena and several efforts are being made to save the place.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Urban Archaeologist

Heading out tomorrow morning to be a sports archaeologist.

The Washington City Paper’s Cheap Seats columnist and I are going to look over the places where Washignton, DC had ball parks and arenas. We know that there are some remaining touches that indicate that a track or stadium once existed in two of these locations. But what else may be at some of these other places?

DC had several old baseball fields on either side of the Capitol Building. They had two fields in neighborhoods. They had a race track near the Canal. They had an arena where pro wrestling really took off as a sport. They had an arena where the Beatles played their first US concert. Have all the places been completely destroyed.

Bulldozing Yankee Stadium

I tried not to watch the last game but how could I not. Tears streamed down during Berra’s, Ford’s, and Williams’ introductions.

What a loss to our culture and what a waste.

Check out the players’ reactions at:

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3600639&name=olney_buster&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fespn%2fblog%2findex%3fentryID%3d3600639%26name%3dolney_buster

then read Bob Ryan at: