Muhammad Ali planned details of funeral himself, spokesman says

first_imgMuhammad Ali began crafting details of his own funeral years ago, insisting on an open and inclusive service, a family spokesman said Tuesday.”This began with ‘The Champ’ a decade ago,” spokesman Bob Gunnell told reporters at a news conference. “As he convened the meeting, he said, ‘This is what I would like to see, this is the type of program that I would like to see, that is inclusive of everyone, where we give as many people an opportunity that want to pay their respects to me.’ “Ali also said it was important that the memorials be conducted in the Muslim tradition, Gunnell said.The three-time heavyweight champion died Friday night at age 74 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.The planning for the memorials involved many people in the Louisville, Kentucky, area who were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements, Gunnell said.The plans will begin to play out Wednesday in a series of events expected to draw thousands of friends and fans of the late boxer to his hometown of Louisville as well as reporters and dignitaries from around the world. While organizers say they will not release a full list of dignitaries attending Friday’s memorial service — the cornerstone event — they have said that former President Bill Clinton, actor and comedian Billy Crystal and journalist Bryant Gumbel are among those scheduled to give eulogies.Actor Will Smith, who played the title role in the 2001 film “Ali,” and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis will be among eight pallbearers, according to organizers.Here’s a schedule of the planned events:Wednesday: ‘I Am Ali’ festivalThe city-sponsored festival Wednesday will “celebrate Ali’s life journey and fierce determination,” according to the city of Louisville. In addition to arts, entertainment and education offerings, “there will also be a wall where children can write what they want to be the greatest in.” Thursday: Islamic funeral prayer programA brief program of prayer, called a jenazah, will be held Thursday at the north wing of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, with an overflow crowd allowed in Freedom Hall, where Ali’s last fight in Louisville was held in 1961. Imam Zaid Shakir, a Muslim scholar and co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, will lead the service.”To be properly prepared for burial, prayed over and then buried is a right owed to every single Muslim,” Shakir said in a statement provided by organizers. “If no one fulfills those rights, then the entire community has fallen into sin. In the case of someone of Muhammad Ali’s stature, to leave any of those rights unfulfilled would be a crime.”Friday: Funeral procession and private burialAli’s funeral procession will travel along the street named for him, Muhammad Ali Boulevard, and past his boyhood home before heading to Cave Hill Cemetery, where he will be buried. City officials are encouraging residents to line the streets to greet the procession as it passes. Memorial serviceThis service will be the main public celebration of Ali’s life, to be held Friday afternoon at the 22,000-seat KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. The event will feature readings from the Quran, remarks from leaders from other faiths, eulogies from Crystal, Gumbel and Clinton and a poetry reading by Attallah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s eldest daughter.Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, also will read a statement from the President. Obama cannot attend, because the service conflicts with his daughter Malia’s high school graduation, Gunnell said.Ali’s widow, Lonnie, has spoken with Obama on the phone, and she “has appreciated his kind words and condolences,” Gunnell said.The city is largely giving itself over to the memorial service, offering free bus rides to ticketholders, urging downtown businesses to use common sense when deciding whether to open and imploring residents to offer a heaping slice of Southern hospitality to the throngs of out-of-towners. The police department is calling on some off-duty personnel to help, and the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau has lined up about 1,000 volunteers, its director said.last_img read more

Van Slyke’s walk-off home run lifts Dodgers over Diamondbacks in latest late-night celebration

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error It’s unclear whether Scott Van Slyke or Edinson Volquez can carve out roles for themselves on the postseason roster for the Dodgers, but they made cases for themselves on Tuesday night.Van Slyke’s two-run walk-off home run in the 11th inning lifted the Dodgers to a 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks and touched off another late-night celebration at Dodger Stadium.In the 11th inning, Mark Ellis had a one-out single to right field off Arizona reliever Josh Collmenter, then Van Slyke came off the bench to hit a two-run home run to left field on a 1-0 change-up to win it. It was Van Slyke’s seventh home run of the year for the Dodgers and it left the yard in a hurry.Van Slyke has been up and down from the majors to the minors this season, and was not taking anything for granted leading up to the at-bat. “Being Scotty, he asked me if I wanted him to swing if a runner was on,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Typical Scott. I was running out of guys, No. 1. We thought Collmenter was a good matchup for him. He leaves balls up in the strike zone.”If Volquez is auditioning for a role in the playoffs, even if it’s as a reliever, he may have done enough to turn some heads in the Dodgers organization.Volquez pitched six solid innings, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts in 80 pitches.The Dodgers bullpen was stellar leading up to bottom of the 11th inning. Paco Rodriguez, Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen each threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Dodgers. Jansen had two strikeouts in the ninth inning and now has 102 on the season, tops in the major leagues, one ahead of Aroldis Chapman of the Reds.In extra innings, J.P. Howell and Chris Withrow pitched effectively until Van Slyke struck to end it.center_img The Dodgers (85-59) moved to 13 games ahead of the second-place Diamondbacks (72-72) in the National League West with 18 games remaining. The magic number is six for the Dodgers.It marked Volquez’s second start as a Dodger. He was more effective than in his first start, when he threw four innings, allowing four runs on six hits in taking the loss against Colorado last Wednesday. But that was at Coors Field.“This is a lot better park to pitch in,” Mattingly said. “Tonight, he was sharper. He kept the ball down more tonight. I thought he bounced back after giving up the home run to (Didi) Gregorius. He was positive.”Volquez (9-11) entered the game with an ERA over six on the season. He was designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres on Aug. 25, released two days later, then signed by the Dodgers on Aug. 30 as a free agent.Volquez was the Padres’ opening-day starter for the second straight year, but struggled with San Diego this season, going 9-10 with a 6.01 ERA. Volquez was an all-star and a 17-game winner with the Cincinnati Reds in 2008, and the Dodgers took a gamble on him, hoping he can return to form.The Dodgers gave Volquez a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Juan Uribe led off with a walk and took second on wild pitch. When Mark Ellis blooped a single into right field, Uribe rounded third hard but put on the breaks when right fielder Gerardo Parra was quick to the ball. Then Volquez put down a sacrifice bunt in front of the plate. Catcher Miguel Montero fielded the ball and threw in the dirt to second base, and the ball skipped into the outfield, allowing Uribe to score and Ellis to advance to third. Ellis scored on a Yasiel Puig’s fielder’s choice groundout to give the Dodgers the early lead on a pair of unearned runs. Arizona got one run back in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single by Montero, then took a 3-2 lead in the fifth after a two-run home run by Gregorius that sailed halfway up the right-field pavilion. The Dodgers responded by tying the score in the bottom of the fifth. After Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez each drew two-out walks, Andre Ethier delivered a double down the right-field line on a 1-1 change-up from Trevor Cahill, scoring Ramirez.Cahill (6-10) has struggled at times this season, but has been sharp of late, going 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in his last four outings before Tuesday night. Cahill, who grew up in Vista, just north of San Diego, entered Tuesday’s game 5-0 with a 2.10 ERA against the Dodgers in eight career starts. The Oceanside resident hurled six innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits and four walks with two strikeouts.The Dodgers threatened in the 10th inning, when Adrian Gonzalez had a two-out single off Collmenter. Dee Gordon came in to pinch run for Gonzalez after there was a 2-0 count on Ethier. Gordon stole second on a 3-0 strike to Ethier, who then was intentionally walked to bring up Juan Uribe. A wild pitch put runners on second and third. But Uribe, who slammed three home runs on Monday night, struck out swinging to end the threat.The Dodgers had good strategy against National League MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt — make him come to the plate with the bases empty in each at-bat. Goldschmidt still went 2 for 5 with a double and a run scored. With the Dodgers having clinched yet another series victory – the team has lost only two series in its last 24 – it’s almost like Cincinnati didn’t happen. The Dodgers never seemed fazed by getting swept by the Reds. They came home, snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating Arizona 8-1 on Monday night, then triumphed again on Tuesday night. The Dodgers have won five in a row against Arizona and moved to an even 7-7 against the Diamondbacks this season. last_img read more

Azhar hopes confidence can confound predictions

first_imgPakistan had to wait a week following victory over England at The Oval to have their rise to the No. 1 Test ranking confirmed and they will get only a couple of days to enjoy the accolade before walking out at the Ageas Bowl, on the ring-road-and-retail-park outskirts of Southampton, with the slightly less awe-inspiring billing of ninth-best ODI side in the world.That’s life in the tightly scheduled world of international cricket, as Frank Sinatra didn’t quite sing: “Riding high in August, shot down in August.” Azhar Ali, Pakistan’s ODI captain, played his part in the Test side’s success, spanking the six that effectively took them to No. 1 (once the elements had nixed India’s chances of a 3-0 win in the Caribbean) and he is hopeful that some of the positivity engendered by the first leg of the tour will bleed through into the rest.Misbah-ul-Haq has been rightly hailed for his leadership in Tests but even he had his struggles with Pakistan’s 50-over cricket and since handing over to Azhar after the last World Cup results in ODIs have continued to be indifferent. They managed to hold off West Indies as Bangladesh surged through to make the Champions Trophy cut-off last year but now sit outside the top eight, with qualification for the World Cup at stake.Nevertheless, Azhar was able to enjoy the south-coast sunshine and bask briefly in a little reflected success before turning his attention to the challenge ahead in the five-match series against England.”Confidence is very high and belief is there, obviously coming in from the Test series, we had a very good couple of months here. We take that confidence into the one-day internationals as well,” Azhar said.”It is a massive boost and a proud moment for Pakistan cricket and the whole nation is very happy about it, as players the team is really happy about it. It’s definitely a good thing for us, our one-day ranking is not great right now but we will take the opportunity the way the team is performing, hopefully we can convert it into ODIs as well.”He could also point to the low expectations people had of Pakistan’s chances of Test success in England – where they had not played in six years – when the team turned up to make the Ageas Bowl their base for a preparatory camp two months ago. “No one rated us very highly [when we arrived] – a few people said we would be competitive but there were doubts if we could win the Test matches here. The boys really believed in the Test matches so here also, we believe we can do it.”Pakistan were handed a 3-1 defeat by Eoin Morgan’s side in the more familiar environs of the UAE last winter but this series will take on greater significance, with the next two ICC 50-over trophies to be contested in England. Azhar described it as “a good opportunity for us to keep in touch with the conditions” and was also hopeful of ending a personal run of 12 innings and more than a year without passing 50 in ODIs.”When you play international cricket, pressure is always there,” he said. “I’ve had a few starts in recent months but I didn’t convert into big scores so I will focus on that. As a batsman I need to score some big runs.”Morgan would doubtless concur about the twin demands of captaincy and scoring heavily. He has not played for a month, after chipping a bone in his finger while playing for Middlesex, but proclaimed that a lack of matches “doesn’t bother me at all”. His last half-century in either limited-overs format came in the UAE last November but he did find some form with an unbeaten 47 when England last played at the Ageas Bowl – an eight-wicket T20 win against Sri Lanka – and it is a ground where he averages 65.85, with two hundreds, in ODIs.Morgan’s style of captaincy has largely been free of prescriptions, preferring to grant his side the freedom to play in the way that suits them best, and he is also wary of predictions. England’s No. 5 ranking in part reflects how far they had slipped by the time of the World Cup (when they did even worse than Pakistan), as well as their inconsistency despite a year of record-breaking performances, and Morgan was grateful that the ECB’s professed commitment to the one-day game extended to providing him with a full-strength side at the end of long summer.Ben Stokes is set to return after suffering a calf tear in the second Test against Pakistan, initially only as a batsman, while Mark Wood should make his first international appearance since the UAE tour, having recovered from ankle surgery. Alex Hales, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes have all been included after playing in the majority of England’s fixtures across this season.”Yes, delighted,” Morgan said of selection. “I think it’s hugely important playing against Pakistan who are flying high at the minute, in Test cricket, but that rubs off on any side doing well. Also when teams tour places they don’t come to that often they get better as they go along, so that’s another challenge … With the way we’ve been performing we’d like to think we are progressing nicely but we have a tough series ahead and a tough winter.”Azhar praises ‘sacrifices’ to reach No. 1Azhar Ali hailed the spirit of the Test side, which has seen them rise to No. 1 in the world despite not being able to play games in Pakistan. As well as meaning the players have to spend time away from home while playing in the UAE, the loss of international cricket has made it harder for fans to follow the team.”It’s a big achievement, for the nation and for the players,” he said. “People in Pakistan they don’t see their stars playing in front of them, there’s a lack of interest sometimes. The kids really want to see the players they look up to but they don’t see it in front of them, they just watch the TV. For the players also, they have been away all the time, they can’t spend much time with their families, also.”There are a lot of sacrifices the players have done but hats off to the guys, they have been working so hard, so committed. When we go inside the ground we really want to do something very good for our country because we know people are looking up to us for some happiness and we want to provide that.”last_img read more

Huskies set to hold try-outs this Weekend

first_imgHockey season is just around the corner and the Fort St John Huskies are gearing up for a campaign that they hope will go one step further than last year.After losing the NWJHL championship finals to the Whitecourt Wolverines the Huskies will have revenge on their minds this season. If you want to be a part of the drive for the NWJHL title it all starts this week with try-outs.The Huskies will be holding try-outs Friday, September 11th at 7pm, Saturday, the 12th at 7, and Sunday, the 13th at 1pm. Registration will be held at 6pm on Friday before the try-out begins.- Advertisement -The cost to players will be $50, which includes the ice-time for all three days of tryouts.**** This story originally said the registration session would be on Thursday night.  Please note the change.last_img read more