Coping During COVID-19
New York Knicks Gaming ‘KNX’ NBA2K Season Begins Alexis Jones Undeterred and Raising the Bar
Mar/Apr - May/Jun 2020
Formula E Goes Virtual for the 2020 NYC ePrix Champion Boxer Takes on the Governor Keeping Active While Social Distancing Product Review Urbanista Wireless Earbuds Designed for Life in Motion
March - June 2020
4 Alexis Jones - Undeterred and Raising the Bar The COVID closure of her gym will not deter this scholar-athlete 13 New York Knicks Gaming The New York Knicks eSports team opens the 2020 NBA2K season 19 FIA Formula E Formula E professional drivers go up against professional Sim racers as COVID closes Brooklyn track 26 Champion Boxer Takes On NY Governor Cuomo Former Golden Gloves Champion starts the Liberate N.Y. movement 30 Urbanista Earbuds Review MetroSports Magazine reviews the Urbanista Athlens Sport Earbuds 11 Keeping Active During COVID 12 T raining moves online 25
Above: The Original Malik of N.Y. Knicks Gaming
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Train Like a Champion. Train with a Champion. MetroSports Magazine’s former Athlete of the Month and cover of our May-June 2015 issue, Keisher “Fire” McLeod, a former NY Golden Gloves Champion, current NYS Flyweight Champion and current WIBA World Flyweight Champion can now be your personal boxing trainer at the world famous Gleason’s Gym.
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MetroSports Magazine (MSM) is published six times a year by the New York Sports Photo Group. MSM is available online and can be downloaded in electronic format for viewing on tablet and hand-held devices, laptop and desktop computers and purchased as full-color print editions. Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Art Director: Warren Rosenberg Publisher: New York Sports Photo Group: nyspg.com Editorial Director / Sales: John Chuhran Writers: John Chuhran, Warren Rosenberg Director of Photography: Clark Thompson Social Media: Clark Thompson Photo Contributors: Clark Thompson, Warren Rosenberg Advertising: For rate card contact email@example.com Please direct all inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit us on the web at: MetroSportsMag.com Cover Photo: Alexis Jones
MetroSports Magazine accepts and welcomes photos, short articles, opinions and letters from our readers. There is no guarantee that unsolicited contributions will be published and MetroSports Magazine assumes no responsibility for failure to publish or for editing published contributions. The Contents of MetroSports Magazine consist of copyrightable and/or copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of the publishers. MetroSports Magazine | 3
Alexis Jones - Undeterred and Raising the Bar by John Chuhran
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread through the northern suburbs of New York City, major sporting arenas were closed, professional, collegiate and high school athletic programs furloughed, and gyms and training facilities were shuttered and locked. This did not deter one fiercely competitive and talented young woman from continuing her training.
ony DeMatteo, head football coach at Somers High School in New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Westchester County, certainly knows a great deal about sports. He completed his 50th year as a high school head coach in 2019 and he has coached sons and even grandsons of his early players. In all that time, DeMatteo has developed some strong rules that have kept his players away from unnecessary risks. One of those rules is that no one other than the players on the team can use the weight room and that they must have adult supervision while they work the weights.
But two years ago, DeMatteo made his first exception to those rules. And his decision caused a few raised eyebrows. One individual was given the privilege of using the weight equipment any time the players on the football team werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t training. That individual was Alexis Jones, now 16 and about to enter her senior year at Somers High. At 5-foot-2 and barely 100 pounds, Jones hardly looked like the typical weightlifter. But she met with DeMatteo and convinced him that she was uniquely qualified to use the Somers weight room.
Above: Downstate Crossfit in Briarcliff Manor, NY, shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic. All photographs credited to Warren Rosenberg
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“Don’t be afraid or intimidated by what those around you might say. A lot of people questioned me or ridiculed me in the beginning and I used it as fuel to motivate me. Now, those same doubters are the first to congratulate me. I get a rush from knowing I’m helping to change percep tions.” -Alexis Jones
Above: Alexis Jones in her home garage training facility.
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“Weightlifting makes me feel very empowered to show that it’s not just a sport for boys. It’s also introduced me to people from all over the world who share the same love and passion for the sport.” -Alexis Jones Alexis Jones - Then and Now. Above and Below in 2016 at the “War of Westchester” competition. Facing Page in 2020 working out in her home garage during the pandemic - her parents’ competition bibs and medals on the wall.
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I’ve always enjoyed training but during normal times I’m only able to get to Coach Swistak twice a week due to school and other activities. The coronavirus pandemic has given me the opportunity to really lock in and train five days a week. It’s also a nice escape from the worries of quarantine.” -Alexis Jones
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Despite her petite size, Jones has the experience to justify DeMatteo’s faith. She is one of the nation’s leading youth weightlifters and has been using weights since she was 11. “I love lifting,” Alexis said. “There was something about it that just appealed to me.” Alexis became exposed to weight training through her parents, Chris and Lisa Jones. Both were active athletes who tried to lead by example in exposing Alexis and her younger brother, A.J., to the joy of sports. Both parents believed in the value of CrossFit training to help them become better at sports like Taekwando and baseball, so they brought the children along when they went to weight training.
Above: Keeping track of her at-home quarrantine training program.
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“I remember watching through the glass of the ‘kiddie room’ as my mom and dad lifted weights at Downstate CrossFit [in Briarcliff Manor, NY]. I was fascinated with lifting when I was 11. I told them ‘I want to do this.’ I kept saying that every time we all went to Downstate CrossFit and my parents mentioned it to Coach Steve, who eventually decided to start a program for kids. “I was so excited when I could go and try it myself -- even though that first day I did not have the range of motion to squat a broomstick!” Coach Steve is Steve Swistak, who was co-owner of Downstate CrossFit before deciding to focus more on coaching and building the Swistak Weightlifting brand.
Above: Alexis training in her garage in her Swistak Olympic Weightlifting sweatshirt.
“My experience and success as a weightlifter and CrossFit Games athlete has given me an opportunity not only to share my passion for weightlifting,” Swistak said. “Now I get to show how the Snatch and Clean & Jerk help build strength, movement stability and explosiveness for other sports and fitness programs. “Alexis was one of my first youth athletes and, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, we were training on Monday nights and Saturday mornings as a team. In addition, my athletes receive a weekly program that they can do on their own time to get more work in, outside the gym.
“The youth/junior program has evolved over the years from a program that was built strictly on weightlifting to now being a program that leverages the Olympic Lifts to help athletes be as prepared for their main sports as possible. “Movement efficiency is a priority before strength building and I try to emphasize the importance of being able to transfer what they learn in the gym to whatever other sports they play. This transfer has allowed the program to grow, and a majority of the kids end up falling in love with the sport of weightlifting anyway. Alexis is one of those athletes.”
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“The program started with just one youth lifter 6 years ago and has flourished to over 20 that I personally coach. The program is designed for athletes that can showcase a level of maturity and won’t distract all of the other athletes on the team during training. I have kids as young as 8 years old starting in the program, but it always comes down to maturity, not age.” -Steve Swistak
While most of the other youngsters used the weightlifting to help improve performance in other sports, Alexis focussed on the two basic Olympic lifts: the Snatch (the act of lifting the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion and then standing erect), and the Clean & Jerk (lifting the bar from the floor to overhead in two motions -- raising the barbell from floor to shoulders, pausing, and then using the arms to “jerk” it over head and locking the elbows to hold it there). To date, Alexis’ personal best in the Snatch is 56 kilograms (123.46 pounds) and her best lift in the Clean & Jerk has been 67 kilos (147.71 pounds). “I still have to work on my consistency,” Alexis said. “Being able to lift target weights and then increase those weights is not something that progresses in a straight line. I have to work on improving that.” To help Alexis continue to train, father Chris turned the garage of their house into a gym. Her relentless focus on her sport has enabled Alexis to earn invitations to the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Youth Championships for the last five years. For the last two years, she has been invited to train and work on her technique at the Olympic Training Center in Columbus, Ohio. While the athletic achievements are significant, Chris Jones is even prouder of the transformation he has seen in his daughter. “As Alexis has continued to increase her weights, her confidence has increased and she has become much more extroverted. Before she started lifting, she really lacked social interaction. She didn’t really enjoy team sports and she was quite introverted. That all changed as she reached and exceeded her goals in lifting. She was always a good student, but the lifting seemed to help her excel in other areas and still get excellent grades.” 10 | March - June 2020
Above: Coach Steve Swistak with coaching a young competitor, Allison Shurak.
Alexis, who is the Junior class representative on the Somers High School Student Council, also carries a 4.66 grade point average thanks to taking advanced placement courses. She is also co-Chairman of the Somers High School Junior Prom Committee and participates in the school’s chamber choir, which performed last winter in Quebec, Canada. These other activities help her keep her lifting in perspective “I’m not really following an Olympic (team) trajectory,” she said, “but I do see myself coaching other girls in the future. That’s really important to me. I want to be a role model for others and show younger girls that they can do anything if they focus and work their hardest to achieve what they want.”
Remote Basketball Skills Training with Faith & Grind Coach Mike Buffalo
Coach Mike Buffalo takes his popular Faith & Grind basketball and life skills training program online during the COVID-19 stay-at-home period. As conditions began to ease, he moved his training back outside being sure to respect face covering and social distancing. Coach Buffaloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Faith & Grind program was featured in the March-April 2019 issue of MetroSports Magazine.
Above: Coach Mike Buffalo with Kobe Bryant
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‘Fight for Freedom’ Remote Fitness for A Social Cause Brooklyn based boxer Sabrina Slattery, previously featured in MetroSports Magazine, goes online as part of Strength City’s (@strengthcityfit) fitness fundraiser, Fight for Freedom. This series of five, remotely delivered fitness training sessions, raised funds to support ‘Color of Change’ (colorofchange.org). Color of Change is a progressive nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization in the United States. It was formed in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in order to use online resources to strengthen the political voice of African Americans. Sabrina dedicated her boxing session to the memory of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers, in her own home, on March 13th of this year.
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The NY Knicks Start the Covid Delayed NBA2K 2020 Season With a Win might think that, under the Gover S ome norâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imposed New York State Corona-
virus Pause, the New York Metro area is a sports ghost town. Yes, the N.Y. Knicks season was postponed exactly two months ago on March 13th and the Nets on March 12th, the Yankees and Mets season failed to open as scheduled on March 26th, the NY Islanders and Rangers have been on hiatus since March 12th and 14th respectively, the Ringmasters boxing tournament was postponed and there have been no spring collegiate sports including the scheduled Big East basketball championships at the Garden. But on Wednesday, May 13th, a different kind of sport, an exciting game of basketball played not on the hardwood court but on a court of electrons and photons, had New York sports fans excited and cheering for a professional league home team. The NBA2K league had kicked off its COVIDdelayed 2020 season on March 11 with the New York Knicks franchise, the KNX, taking to the ether in their season opener on Wednesday, May 13th.
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Above: It’s a virtual full-house as Knicks Gaming takes on the Miami Heat Check
In front of a packed house of both virtual fans (above) and live viewers watching the action via streaming video on Twitch, the Knicks got off to a quick start and never looked back taking the season opener by the final score of 66 - 56. The high scorer for the game was the Knicks player, Duck, with 28 points, tied for that honor with the Heat’s GlennRatty. The Knicks had three players in double digits as opposed to the Heat’s two, with OriginalMalik pumping in 20 for the KNX the appropriately named CantGuardRob sinking in 10. The Knicks also out-rebounded the Heat with CantGuardRob pulling in 17, high for the game, and HazzaUK snatching 7 away from Miami.The night progressed in this opening two game series. the Knicks again bested the Heat Check with a dominant 84-62 win in game two, sweeping the season opening series. 14 | March - June 2020
This was MetroSports Magazine’s first experience covering the growing phenomenon of eSports and we found this to be a much more engaging and exciting experience than we expected. To get a more informed opinion, MetroSports asked fellow sportswriter and social media site owner, Kurt Social Network, @Kurt_Social_Network, for his thoughts. Kurt’s take on this is that, “The NBA2K is not only the best NBA video Game, it’s also an NBA virtual experience. Why I love it so much is that it’s the closest thing to the actual real live NBA. With no live NBA at the moment, this will be something close to realistic to watch in their season. I think they have some good talented players on the team, Malik averaging 15 points per game and shooting 47% last season and HazzaUK, averaging 9 points per game and shooting the ball at 54% last season.”
Harry Hurst, playing under the name HazzaUK, the Knicks center hails from Reading, England and is currently the only European player in the NBA2K league. He was picked up by the Knicks in the 4th round of the 2019 NBA2K draft. MetroSports Magazine spoke with HazzaUk who told us that, “being part of the Knicks is really special, living in the greatest city in the world, playing for a team with a championship already under their belt. I’m enjoying every minute out here so far and hope to have great success within the following months”. The Knicks KNX Gaming team brought the NBA2K inaugural season championship to New York in 2018 and is looking to repeat in this, the league and the team’s third season. MetroSports will surely be there to provide more coverage as the season unfolds.
When the NBA2K announced that they would be restarting the COVID-19 suspended season, the posted the schedule for onlt the first six weeks of competition, not knowing how the pandemic would play out. As MetroSports went to press on June 12th, Knicks Gaming had broken through the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 5-4 record and the benefit of a 3-game winning streak. Standing atop the league is the Raptors Uprising GC with a perfect 7-0 record, followed by the Warriors Gaming Squad and the Wizards District Gaming. The league has also just announced that the schedule for the next five weeks, through July 11th, at which time additional games may be announced.
Above: The N.Y. Knicks Gaming eSports Team
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Above and Below: Knicks Gaming players at work during competition.
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Above: Game action webcast.
Westchester County New York’s Youngest Social Sports Network!!!! “KSN” is for everybody. It features a diverse level of player profiles, more sporting related events, recordings, a spotlight of any Ceremonial events, and more !
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Formula E NYC ePrix Goes Virtual in 2020 With the Brooklyn road course closed for use as a COVID testing center, Formula E moves online.
n the previous article, MetroSports Magazine reported on the NBA2K League’s New York Knicks professional eSports team, Knicks Gaming, competing in the NBA’s virtual 2020 season. With the Covid-19 pandemic hitting the New York metropolitan area hard, and with major league, collegiate and amateur sports all on hold, eSports gaming has stepped in to fill the void. Although the FIA recently announced the cancellation of the scheduled July 11th Formula E NYC ePrix due to the unavailability of the Red Hook Brooklyn race course, a group of professional Formula E drivers along with world-class video gamers took to racing on the 14 turn Brooklyn waterfront championship race course. The ABB FIA Formula E Championship electric racing series was scheduled to make its fourth annual appearance on the specially built temporary road course at the Red Hook Brooklyn Cruise Ship Terminal on July 11th, the 12th stop on the 14 race series held in cities around the world. MetroSports Magazine has been on hand for each of the prior three years providing full coverage of the events. With the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic suspending most of this year’s scheduled races, the FIA and the race sponsor introduced the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge, a 9-week
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series of eSports competitions featuring all the teams and drivers from the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, as well as a selection of top gamers. Partnering with UNICEF, the series has allowed the entire Formula E community of teams, manufacturers, partners, drivers and fans to be a part of live online races while raising funds for UNICEF to keep children around the world healthy, safe and learning during the coronavirus crisis. The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge will feature two separate race grids running in parallel, one comprised of drivers from the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and the other one filled by some of the fastest gamers and influencers. The winning gamer will make the transition from the gaming world to secure real-life track time on a Formula E circuit during a race weekend.
tion scoring races beginning on April 25th. Points are accumulated over consecutive race weekends contributing to the overall standings as the online series heads to the Grand Final on June 7. Coming off a strong performance in race 5 held on the virtual road course at Templehof airport in Berlin, video gamer Kevin Siggy was the Brooklyn race favorite and he did not disappoint, scoring his third win of the series on the Red Hook road course. Siggy is a 22 year-old college student majoring in Game Design, born in Slovenia and now living in the Netherlands. He has been a professional Sim racer since the age of 13, holds ten championships, and races on a number of platforms including rfactor 2, RaceRoom, and Assetto Corsa.
Both professional Formula E drivers and video gamers will compete using rFactor 2 simulator software in a number of online events taking place over a nine-week period from the safety of their own homes.
With a qualifying lap time of 1:11.040, Siggy secured another pole position ahead of Lucas Mueller. The top real-world driver in the starting order was Indian racer Kush Maini in seventh, with the British F3 driver doing an impressive job in his drive for DS Techeetah.
Races are staged each Saturday beginning with a pre-season test event on April 18th, with competi-
At the drop of the green flag Siggy, in control of the #28 BMW iFE.20 and driving for Team Red-
Facing Page Top: Sim Formula E racecars navigate turn 14 on the virtual NYC ePrix track at the Red Hook Cruise Ship Terminal on the Brooklyn waterfront with virtual track workers standing by. Photo courtesy FIA Formula E Facing Page Bottom: Actual turn 14 photographed at a prior yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s NYC ePrix. Photo courtesy Warren Rosenberg, New York Sports Photo Group www.nyspg.com
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View from the drivers seat, Above - actual Formula E cockpit; Below - Sim Racer cockpit view
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line, jumped out ahead of the pack, taking the lead. After claiming his third win of the Race at Home Challenge, Siggy said: “The race was just about managing the pace and getting the fastest lap out of the way. I just pushed to the end to see how far I could go and fortunately, it all worked out in the end. Everything really did go perfectly. Fortunately, at the start I got away well from pole position, which meant I didn’t get caught up in the huge crash in the first turn. From that point on, I drove a few fast laps to pull away from the others quickly. That worked really well, and I was able to bring the win home safely in the end.”
pate, or watch the real drivers go head-to-head in something they are not all that used to.”
“People might think it would be an easy transition going from a real-life race car to getting behind the wheel of a sim, but it’s harder than it looks. I love to drive by the seat of my pants! I feel the car move with me and feel the weight transfer, so when I get in the sim I really have to change and rely on visual feedback. The sense of speed and braking depth can be a bit of a tough one. I don’t expect to be at the top of the leaderboard at all, I just want the chance to race with the best sim racers around and see if I can hold my own. I am especially thrilled as it’s a charity event for UNICEF, racing for a The New York City race introduced us to another new good cause.” Since launching the coronavirus appeal, Sim racer, the 45 year old Chinese-American woman funds raised by UNICEF have been used to ship over Verena Mei, a former model and a race car driver who 6.4 million protective gloves, 1.2 million face masks, was the first woman to compete in Formula Drift and 270,000 respirators and 250,000 gowns worldwide. Redline Team Attack, and the first woman to win a class championship in the series. Mei has also been a profesUnfortunately, Mei completed only two laps, finishing sional stunt car driver having movie credits in ‘The Fast the race in 24th place. And, what did Verena Mei do the and The Furious: Tokyo Drift’. day following the New York City race? She got married. Entering the male dominated sport of professional racing in 2012 wasn’t easy for Mei. “The biggest challenge I had to face was the constant feeling of having to prove myself over and over again. People were saying they don’t care where they finish as long as they beat me. They saw me as a threat when I started performing. In the end, I just focused and chased my dream. I knew what I had to do and I was determined to accomplish it.” Mei leveraged her on-track racing skills and long-held passion for video gaming to become a professional Sim racer, a passion she is delighted to now call “work.” “My driving and rallying led me into gaming. As a kid, I loved video games and my parents stopped me playing back then! They didn’t like it and they didn’t see it as being productive! I am super happy it has become something I can do for a job.” “I feel like the Race at Home Challenge has brought people and motorsport enthusiasts together all over the world,” said Mei. “Whether that’s being able to particiMetroSports Magazine | 23
In the other event of the virtual racing series, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship drivers race against one another remotely using the same software, but in a simulator provided by Playseat®, wheels and pedals from Fanatec and the latest gaming PCs, monitors, headphones and other peripherals by Asus. In this, Round 6 of the series on the Red Hook Brooklyn race course, Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne captured both the pole position and the race victory in his Mercedes Benz EQ. “It has taken a while before getting here to win a race” said Vandoorne. “Today was a perfect result; pole position, race win, and also the fastest lap, so it has been a good day at the office.” Other notable Formula E racers who competed were Oliver Roland, finishing 3rd, Sebastien Buemi, finishing 8th, Alexander Sims, finishing 14th, Jean-Eric Vergne finishing 18th, Lucas DiGrassi finishing 22nd, and Sam Bird finishing last in 23rd place. Bird was the 2017 Race winner when the Formula E series held its actual NYC ePrix race in Brooklyn. Absent from the race was professional driver Daniel Abt, a participant in the previous actual
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races in Brooklyn who has been fired from the Formula E ABT Schaeffler Audi racing team for having cheated in Round 4 by having professional Sim race driver, Lorenz Hoerzing, do his driving for him. Acknowledging his error in judgement, Abt said “I would like to apologize to Formula E, all of the fans, my team and my fellow drivers for having called in outside help during the race on Saturday. “I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. I’m especially sorry about this because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organization. I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention.” Fans are able to watch two live races each weekend, as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship drivers and gamers line-up separately during a single 90-minute broadcast. The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge will be available live globally across Formula E’s social media platforms including on the official YouTube channel, Facebook page and Facebook Gaming site, Twitch channel and via @FIAFormulaE on Twitter.
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Champion Boxer and Fitness Celebrity Goes Toe-to-Toe with Governor Cuomo Cara Castronuova’s ‘Liberate New York’ advocates to protect the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers In mid-march when the region’s NBA and NHL professional sports teams should have been headed towards their championships, and as major league baseball teams should have been gearing-up for their spring training, the 25,000 seats of Madison Square Garden’s main arena and Hulu theater sat empty. So did the 19,000 seats of the Barclay’s Center, 47,000 seats of Yankee Stadium, 42,000 seats of Citi Field, and 24,000 seats of the Arthur Ashe Stadium national tennis center. Also closed were all schools and colleges, Broadway theaters, movie houses, restaurants and bars, retail stores, barber shops and nail salons. All by dictate of the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. On March 7th, the governor declared a State of Emergency in response to the growing incidence of Coronovirus infections which, at that point had reached a total of 76. On March 12th he ordered closed all venues that seated more than 500 people. On May 1st he announced that schools and colleges would close and that all school sports operating under the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) would be cancelled. Lost in these closures was the NYPD Boxing Championship scheduled for March 12th, and the Ring Masters Championship amateur boxing tournament scheduled for April 10th, both at the shuttered Madison Square Garden. Scheduled to be present at ringside was a New York State Athletic Commission certified boxing coach, ringside reporter, Empire State Games Champion, two-time New York Golden Gloves Champion, former #2 ranked female boxer, and t.v.’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ season 11 head trainer, Cara Castronuova.
Daughter of a combat-wounded United States Marine, this competitive athlete posted on her social media site the following heart-felt concern over the Governor’s action: “My dad and many others not only died but SUFFERED terribly for this country and bore a physical and mental burden that most of us will never understand. These soldiers fought for our rights and for our freedom and some live in pain their whole lives for it, while we enjoy the benefits and barely think twice about it. This is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about the issues going on right now in this country, because it’s personal. NO I WILL NOT give up my Freedoms and First Amendment Rights and hide out in my bed under the covers watching Netflix because a state governor unconstitutionality says so. We can’t be complacent. If we are then these men and their families suffered in vain and that is unacceptable to me. I hope all of you can understand that. Recognize that many of the people out there protesting are risking being arrested, blackballed and socially ostracized and are doing it from the bottom of their heart and soul because they feel it is the right thing to do- standing up for the freedoms our vets fought for. Please try to respect and empathize with that and understand the good place many protesters to the shutdown come from.” So moved was she by what she saw as a governmental overreach, Cara started the Liberate New York movement along with fellow championship boxer, Vanessa Greco, boxing trainer Lee Shabaka, and her brother, Carmine. “I am tired and sick of the way the politicians have been messing everything up. Especially in New York”, Cara told us. Siding with the
Facing Page: Photograph from the Facebook Page of Cara Castronuova Courtesy of Cara Castronuova
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politicians, business owners, and citizens who have been demanding a relaxation of the governor’s imposed restrictions, Cara told MetroSports Magazine, perhaps as an exclusive, that, “I definitely would like to get more involved with politics and run for local office soon.” With respect to her Liberate New York co-founders, three-time New York Golden Gloves Champion Vanessa Greco and boxing coach Lee Shabaka, Cara refleted on their association which goes back more than a decade. “Vanessa and I fought each other in the ring 15 years ago. After that fight we won each other’s respect and became teammates under the tutelage of Lee Shabaka. We traveled the country and State winning multiple championships and spent much time together on the Continued on next page
Above: Cara Castronuova ringside. Photo:Warren Rosenberg
Liberate New York co-Founder, Lee Shabaka, interviewed by Cara Castronuova and Vanessa Greco for ‘Let Freedom Ring’ (04/20/2020) “I have a very personal issue, especially me, being African American, I have relatives, two grandfathers that fought in World War II, in a segregated Army, they had to come back home to a fu-ked up nation, I had uncles who fought in the Korean War, and Vietnam, for our so-called rights. They fought for me, and then, for me to wake up one morning and see my rights being taken away – what have they fought for? It’s time for people to wake up and understand what’s really going on – it’s going to affect you if you don’t stand up and do something about it now – it’s got to be done now, you can’t wait. In the last presidential election I voted for Hilary. I’m pretty liberal. I’ll put it to you like this – I wasn’t a Trump supporter but I’m a Trump supported now. He showed me something when this happened, I was really surprised at his response. Really, you want the country open? “ “I won’t vote for (Governor Andrew) Cuomo. I think he’s up to no good, he’s being a typical politician. I honestly feel like he’s sold the City out – he sold New Yorkers out. This shutdown, to this degree, is not necessary. Freedom of assembly is important, because when people get together as citizens they can find solutions that work for them, as citizens. My message for Governor Cuomo, Open the City!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw-kEtzGoWs
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road. Fast forward over a decade later and we are all back on the road together again, this time as the leaders of Liberate New York. We are still on a mission to fight, but this time not in the ring with our fists. We are fighting in the political spectrum with our voices for our Constitutional Rights and civil liberties. We are fighting for the state of New York against opponents like Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. These are formidable and evasive opponents and definitely the toughest we have faced yet. It is almost like David vs. Goliath. When I get discouraged, I take myself back to what I figured out from my boxing days in the ring. No matter how bad the situation was, you always have to dig deep within a part of yourself and keep fighting no matter what. Thats what we intend to do with our mission for Liberate New York. This is OUR state. We will keep fighting for our cause and know in the end we will be victorious if we never give up.” As a participant of a highly regulated and rulesbased sport, we asked Cara how she can comfortably embrace the dictates of organizations such as USA Boxing and regulations of the New York State Athletic Commission yet contest the governor’s actions. She firmly and clearly told us that, “when I signed up for boxing I VOLUNTARILY accepted any rules and regulations. That is my right. When it comes to what is going on right now in the state of New York and with the whole lock down, these rules and regulations were imposed on me illegally and unconstitutionally against my consent. I did not voluntarily sign up for that and Cuomo has completely overstepped his authority. The PEOPLE run the state, not him. We make our own decisions when it comes to these issues at hand. He needs to be replaced immediately.” Continued on next page
Above - From the Liberate New York Facebook Group
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The Liberate New York movement has gained much press coverage for its advocacy which included a demonstration outside the State Capitol in Albany on May 1st. Interviewed by the Albany Times Union Cara stated that, “The state should be educating, they should not be controlling and mandating.” She aired her concerns on the Fox and Friends Weekend show to a positive reception. Her actions were also noted by someone in another government capitol, President Trump, who tweeted to Cara after her Fox and Friends appearance, “Great Rally and fantastic job on @ffweekend this morning. It is all happening! #MAGA”. Cara described to MetroSports Magazine her feelings after meeting with President Trump at his International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida, saying, “President Trump was great. We talked about boxing and wrestling - he is a huge fan of both! He gives you that feeling like you’ve known him a long time. Sort of like a kind uncle.”
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This is not a one dimensional woman. Cara’s other commitments include ‘The Knockout Obesity Foundation’, a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to helping address childhood obesity which she founded and where she serves as Executive Director. A graduate of The Storm King School, Cara was the first girl to join the school’s wrestling team and to compete in softball and soccer and was crowned the school’s Athlete of the Year in 1998. She then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Communications where she also competed as a collegiate wrestler. We expect to see more of her. Expressing her opinion and defending her rights. Ringside when boxing returns. And, no doubt, on the campaign trail when she runs for office.
Product Review Urbanista Athens Wireless Sport Earbuds
As a digital publication catering to people engaged in sports and athletics and centered in one of the world’s major urban areas, it seemed only natural for MetroSports Magazine to review the Urbanista Athens wireless sport earbuds. Pitched by Urbanista as being “Designed For Life In Motion” we gave a pair to a 20 something resident of New York City’s Greenwich Village, a transplant from Nashville, Tennessee, by way of Hoboken, New Jersey, and a fitness enthusiast currently working with a midtown marketing agency. We sent Olivia out for a two-week test drive of the Urbanista Athens Sport. Here is her review. As someone who has spent months looking for true wireless earphones before settling on my current pair, I was excited to try out the Athens earbuds from Urbanista. Having tried out a number of in-ear versions in the past and finding them bulky, uncomfortable, or otherwise unsuitable, I was skeptical of the Athens, but was very pleasantly surprised to find them discreet and easy to wear. Overall I think these are a great option for anyone looking for truly wireless earbuds. Look and Feel The look and feel of the case and the earbuds is a huge plus - both are sleek and soft, and the earbuds sit in your ear with a fairly low profile. Another big plus is the fact that these are water and sweat-proof, making them a good option for workouts. The earbuds come with a charging case and charging cord, although the cord does not come with its own power adapter. I was able to use the adapter from my phone charger, which worked well, but it would be more convenient if these came with their own. The charging case is very sleek and would fit well in a bag or pocket, although it is a bit larger than an Apple Airpod case. MetroSports Magazine | 31
Instructions and Ease Use While the instructions provided were complete and easy to follow, I honestly didn’t need them, as the pairing process was quick and intuitive. The earbuds themselves have great touch functionalities that allow users to control volume and playback directly in-ear. It takes a little getting used to (beware: I somehow had Siri dial a long lost contact from my phone while getting the hang of turning up the volume), but is ultimately a great design feature that prevents you from needing your phone to control music or calls. Comfort and Wearability As mentioned earlier, I’ve tried out some truly uncomfortable, borderline painful, earbuds that pop right out with the slightest motion. However, the Athens were easy to fit into my ear and felt very secure, thanks to the flexible loop holding them in place. The earbuds come with a few different loop sizes, so that everyone can find their best fit. They stayed put through a few running and weight training workouts with no need to adjust, and they don’t shift when toggling the playback
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buttons (which is a big issue on a lot of other earbuds I’ve tried). Sound Quality and Noise Filtering The sound quality, from high treble to low bass, is good and very comparable to the other earbuds I own. My one pitfall with these earbuds came down to a personal preference - noise filtering. I personally prefer little to no noise cancellation, as I like to be very aware of everything around me. With these earbuds, I was able to hear loud or very nearby sounds, but definitely not to the degree that I feel most comfortable with. However, if high noise filtration is your goal, these are a great bet. I’m still looking forward to using these earbuds more, but I may pop one out when running through busy streets. Overall Analysis Again, I think these earbuds are a great option for anyone looking for a true wireless earbud. They’re great for workouts, stay in place, and have a high quality look and feel to them. Compared to other models available, the Athens are well worth the price point.
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