Sports, Uncategorized

Passion for the Game!

As the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Gold State Warriors finish the Semi’s of the NBA playoffs with sweeps I cannot help but find myself agreeing with Stephen A. Smith. There is a little too much arrogance going around.  So both teams are holding summer clinics in the playoffs.  Still at some point it could just bite them. Yes, both teams want to fast forward to the finals.  But Com’on what’s the NBA motto! THIS IS WHY WE PLAY? Or is it? 

I’ve grown tired of the banter of who is better, the Crystal Ball analysis and the Warriors will win the finals all before the conference finals have even begun.  

How about the conversation about LeBron James vs Michael Jordan. Let me end it for you. 

Every generation has the once in a life time player. Jordan was special. 6 NBA Championships and holds umteen records that James is zeroing on but the Championship wins. Look Jordan is Jordan! Done! James is James! Done!

If LeBron wants to take on Jordan then bring the passion with it. That’s right bring the passion! Most may know what I mean. The guy we saw swipe a beer. Smiling at the crowd and giving the love when he dunks. James wants a challenge then stop treating these games like a job. Yes he puts a lot into his excellence as did many of the greats.  How about the emotion, and  the chalk dust in the air. The wryly smile when he got away with a hold or bump.  

Now we can see his disappointment when not enough is being done by his supporting cast.  Jordan just shrugged it off or said his peace.  Now where does LeBron excell-simple his basketball high IQ!   This may be questioned by some. Yet, LeBron’s knowledge and lighting fast numbers of recall on stats makes every mathematician and engineers drool! For the casual fan um no. 

 Jordan believed basketball was his love. He was never the highest paid player. What he didn’t get paid for on the court he earned in endorsements from hotdogs to underwear.  That was what he call his business.  

So what did that mean for him? 

He never worried about a contract,  he knew his teammates were going to get paid because there wasn’t an issue with salary cap. Jordan didn’t have to demonstrate his knowledge he understood the primary reason he was doing all the things he dreamed of. He remembered what it was like to be cut from his highschool team when all he wanted to do was play ball.  That right there came out everyday of his professional career. James didn’t have that setback.  

Look it’s simple James is the best right now! And those of us, who watched Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird thought nothing was going to top them- well Michael Jordan came along and after a long slump when it seemed no one great would come along -Kobe arrive and on his heels came the King.  But NBA also became a very serious business. Maybe that’s why every sport analyst wants to quote stats and figures of days gone by because it wasn’t as serious. It also wasn’t Harlem Globetrotters fun either but it wasn’t as serious as it is now. 

I love watching milestones being reached, records being broken and heart pounding action. THIS WHY WE WATCH.  However if you are a Cleveland sports fan you truly want a blow out because there isn’t enough anxiety medication available.  I know because I have been a Cleveland fan since birth. Breathing during a nail bitter is a luxury. I have witness too many oh so close but yet so far moments until last year. 

But arrogance is not a replacement for the passion.

At that looks a little like:

 Jumping out of bed racing  to practice earlier, the smell of disinfectant before the lockeroom is filled with aroma of sweat from a hard work out. The incredible sensation as the first drops of water hit you from the shower as you wash off the days work. It’s taking those practices to the thundering sound of the fans as you leave the tunnel and the feeling  as that lastest tweak on your jumper takes hold with the louder still sound of swoosh that comes with nothing but net.  And that modest smile that sums up all your hard work as the buzzer sounds and you swept your opponents to move on.  

Don’t take it for granted.  LeBron said himself -in Northeast Ohio nothing is given.  So be like Mike and take it to heart. 

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Cleveland Cavaliers VS Golden State Warriors Preview

Looking ahead at the NBA Finals it is hard for anyone not to be objective. Both teams have a need and a want to achieve the elusive title that rankles and ails each franchise. Cavs and Warriors have MVPs, rookie coaches, each have beaten the other at home and have squads made up of inexperienced players except for one. And that one player may just be the variable in tipping the nearly equally balanced scales going into the NBA Finals.

LeBron James will be a major factor heading to the Oracle Arena. One reason is that he did not play against the Warriors at the Oracle.  The rumor and record state how hard it is as a visitor to win there but the same can be said about the Q.  Home court advantage proved to have little impact on the Cavs against the Hawks taking both Games in Phillips Arena, and truthfully I have the impression the Cavs would rather travel first and then come home.  On the road is where LeBron makes the bigger difference.

His ability to keep the rest of the Cavaliers on point and the eye on the prize is something that the coaches, and players on both teams truly lack. Take LeBron out of the equation and another team faces the Warriors in the Finals. To be fair Steve Kerr has played on the big stage but he is now on the side lines. The Warriors are pack jammed with talent but championship experience is a valuable asset they don’t have.  LeBron is the Field Commander of the hardwood and he will carry out the game plan designed by Blatt and his coaching staff, with excellence and use his basketball IQ to adjust on the court of battle.  This edge changes the dynamics in a point percentage way.  His weakened jump shot has transferred over to his assists and has led to an increase in points there.  Come game time on June 4th the jumpshot may start landing again, and in addition to that his Magic Johnson and Larry Bird like skills will be more ammunition in his already packed arsenal, which gives an added advantage to be combined with his championship wisdom.

He is not just the best player in the world, he is the complete player. You can not compare him to Jordan, Kobe, Magic, or Bird because he possess all of their abilities.  He also coaches, teaches, encourages, and cheers the team on.  He has realized over the years his natural abilities like Peyton Manning did, isn’t enough.  Study the film, study the game plan, first one in, last one out, be dedicated and lead by example.  He had to open his eyes to view the whole court, train his mind to trust lesser skilled players, play decoy to attract a double team and  pass it to the open man all while instilling his confidence in each teammate. When they miss a pass given with pin point precision they now have the ability to adjust and as sure as it can snow in May in Cleveland they won’t miss it again.

This all leads to why he is the greatest player who ever played the game.

The Warriors will bring the finesse of the Splash Brothers and the lightening quick ball movement. Steph Curry has floor presents, the crown prince of the 3 pointers, but in grand comparison his build is slight, and his IQ on the court as high as it is, may not be enough for a King and his Knights who are on a mission greater and bigger then the game itself.

It is the very reason that LeBron left the sunny beaches for the hardcore, Alberta Clipping frozen winds of Northeast Ohio. Anyone who doesn’t believe that makes a difference has never felt the 50 year stigma or the pain of going somewhere and answering the question “where are you from?” only to hear a resounding laugh.  Followed by the harsh words of ‘even LeBron bailed on Cleveland.’ He knows this and like a great leader he has come back and admitted he missed his old stomping grounds and returned wanting this for the area he calls home, without making any promises of a championship. His action let it be known from the home opener to the dramtic overtime conclusion of game game 3 in the Eastern Conference Finals how deeply he is immersed and dedicated to doing whatever it takes to bring a championship home. 

Should anyone have doubt if this a real factor or just a great way to spin a bias. Then I present into argument a powerful example; what did coming home do for Urban Meyers, he quit coaching altogether because of his heart and the stress of coaching. He returned back to the place he loved brought his collective wisdom and made history and perhaps one of the most amazing stories in college football.  

The Cavaliers and Warriors both sit on that edge.  Their journeys are very similar right down to Kerr having David Griffin with him in Arizona and wanting Blatt as his assistant head coach.  Griffin is GM in Cleveland and hired Blatt. 

It goes with out saying the Golden State fans have the deep rooted passion like Clevelanders but they simply don’t have players with that deep of passion well not yet any ways.  Warriors are fun to watch, easy to cheer for and who couldn’t just hug Steph’s daughter to pieces!! Yet, they are predictable and are starting to show signs of wear. If your the Field Commander of the hardwood with his avid film watching, he is already aware of this.  

Still this is going to be (at least we all hope) one adrenalin packed, heart pounding series with two teams that earned their way in and did it with their own brand of style and skill. 

The real championship however, will come down to basketball fundamentals and will be won on the boards.  The team with the most rebounds on both sides of the court will win the NBA Championship.  This advantage goes to the Cavs.

Prediction:  Cavs in 6.

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Sports

Together 

Are you from Cleveland? The Northeast Ohio area? Did you grow up there in the last 50 years? If the answer is yes then you will feel the words printed. If not then you may just shrug it off.  OR you may just hear what is posted on my blog!


Dreams in Cleveland are cut from the iron ore that once rested on the shores of Lake Erie. Those dreams can easily be shattered by the frigid winds that clip across the Northcoast with the fury of a stealth bomber. Faster than the speed of light and quieter than a ninja warrior closing in on the target.

Growing up here meant having a great sense of humor, the ability to dust yourself off and try again and facing the fact your dreams may need to take on a different direction.  Yet never to be abandon.

So many times the city has been on the brink of greatness and the brink of destruction. Still some how, some way she moves herself back to center to try again.

During the harsh winters it’s easy to dream of warm sunny beaches while shoveling mounds of glistening frozen precipitation that only Elsa and Olaf would relish in. It’s hard on the commute to work, harsher on the skin and can beat you down after a few months of it.  A late snow in April or May can cause a critical case of Springfever.

The long harsh winter in sports for Cleveland has a deep critical case of the fever and much needed cure of the sunlight of a want and hope of the ever elusive championship. For the excitement of a banner in a town that has not waivered in it’s moniker of Believeland is the dream that not even the winds of the great Lake Erie can diminish.

Other cities can have their pride but Clevelanders cannot have theirs. Why? Feel bad for Detroit but still stick it to Cleveland. Again why? Are we as Clevelanders not part of this country too? Did we suddenly become Canadian? Um no or is it something bigger?  Like, oh maybe, we never give in, never quit believing and can annoy those haters like Dellavedova going for a 50/50 ball on the floor.

Cleveland stands on the center stage during the Eastern Conference Finals not only fills the faithful but fuels the words quoted by LeBron himself on his return to Cleveland:

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.  I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home

Back in October I told a friend of mine that The Ohio State would win the National Championship. He laughed and said have you not seen the polls? Your boys aren’t even in the top ten. And the outcome was……lets just say I enjoyed saying “I told you so!”

LeBron was at that game. Criticized for it, but what do you think he took away from their victory?

Play your heart out! Play for the love of the game! Inspire each other! The team that wants it most and plays with every ounce of their heart can come back and win it all!

King James’ Knights of the round table do not shine like Lancelot but more like the Bad News Bears. Their gritty scrappers who are following his majesty into the arena of the machete reeling national spotlight and showing what “Together” can do.

Like his powerful Nike commercial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6S1JoCSVNU&sns=em

1-2-3 Hardwork 4-5-6 Together, 1-2-3 Hardwork 4-5-6 Together!

Together for a city that is the keeper of iron ore dreams and a belief stronger than the Man of Steel, will help all to move past the differences that ail, the years of “oh so close”,  and bring back the golden rays of the brighten spring flare that illuminates over the residue of the long harsh winter sky.

Together we believe, enough of others beating a city down that doesn’t deserve it. Together we believe on any given day those who rise to face the challenges of life can overcome all odds against them!

Together we know when you let your heart be seen anything is possible. Together we are Cleveland.

Update!!!! Cleveland Sweeps Atlanta!! 

Together we are finals bound!!  

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Sports, Uncategorized

From Cleveland with Love, Thanks LeBron

ClevelandCleveland, Ohio– 41° 29′ 57″ N / 81° 41′ 44″ W ,  Area code 216

On the shores of Lake Erie, County seat of Cuyahoga.

 

Being from Cleveland has been the greatest experience of my life.  It’s the city of my birth, the firsts of just about everything that has made me, well me. But like many of us moving away from home is a part of being a Clevelander. And we take Cleveland in our hearts where ever we go, it’s just how it is. So to LeBron, this is from Cleveland with love.

Since the beginning of 2014 a strange event has been happening– the winds of change have finally hit the North Coast rolling up on to the shores of Lake Erie.  For nearly 50 years Cleveland has been starved for a return to greatness.  Anyone from here, no matter where they live now are the loyalist of a city that has seen more ups and downs from every aspect that life can throw faster than a Heater from Van Meter, a Bob Feller’s fastball.

People from outside of the area do not understand and sit in shock over the announcement from LeBron James. For those born after 1964 in the city will not remember the great days, nor do they care to study the fact that Rockefeller and Standard Oil were founded in Cleveland, or for that matter anything that is great about Cleveland, they only know the sorrows.  All any of us know is if it can happen it will happen in Cleveland.  The Shot, The Drive, The Move, and so on and so forth.

 

 

AHHHHH but this year a funny thing happened on the way to the road of disappointment.  It didn’t happen, The Draft, The Convention and now The Decision.  Did everyone in Cleveland finally read the-secret_124018 ?  It’s time to be positive, take risks and roll the dice, just ask Johnny Football, he wanted to come to Cleveland and he’s rolling some dice right?

 

However, LeBron did something that many of us from Northeast Ohio feel everyday.  The urge to go home, the want to be around the place that makes the most sense and proudly admitted how he felt.  Fore go fame, power and major markets, going home is the strongest feeling that all of us have inside us.  Being amongst people who know us, speak the language, and the familiarity of place, and love.  He acted on his urge, where many of us because of jobs, else where have yet to take the chance to go home and feel the summer sun and the those cold winds of winter whipping off of Lake Erie.  Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio is a calling and not for the faint of heart.  And above everything LeBron put his sentiment, his love and his passion in writing.

by LeBron James (as told to Lee Jenkins)

Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

 

leBron

Going home is magical, rewarding and can be all family consuming for those of us who head home during the holidays.  There is a lingering in the air for weeks after our return, that we wish secretly we could just move home.  When you are from Cleveland, and the masses of the country are wishing that us those lovable underdogs have their day, well we smile and think next year.  We wish in the back half of our minds we had some kind of talent that would bring respect, pride and joy back to the City, the area and to the people; some who were lucky enough to stick out, keep their jobs and proudly could ride out the storms.  Even if it has been 50 years.

LeBron would be the first with those larger than life talents. He quietly chose to return home and invest himself, his image, and his belief of bringing Northeast Ohio back to a time he only ever heard about.

I think back many years ago to an old ‘Good Morning America’ where actor Tim Conway did a piece in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  At the end in his voice over he speaks without hesitation.

“They say you can never go home again. I think a part of you never left to begin with”

For all us of from Northeast Ohio, those words are truer than any words I could think of.  LeBron I can say I’m jealous of you and I have a great desire to apply The Secret, think positive and get my talents together and bring them home to Cleveland.

For those of you who have never been away from home, think about it a second.  You go on vacation and you finally return to what is familiar to you….imagine that and multiply by a one hundred thousand.

Then think of the difference between South Beach and Cleveland.  Sorry we didn’t grow up with tans, beaches and sand everywhere. We grew up with Four Seasons each one just as beautiful as the next.  Cities that had grit, history and lacked of pink flamingoes.  People, who believe in the impossible and are passionate about pretty much everything, from sports, to food to giving a hand up and cheering louder than the decibels from a heavy metal rock concert. if it has Cleveland attached to it we are all in, just don’t mess with the Shoreway or the 480 bridge.

Be at ever so humble, no matter where I roam, there is no place like Cleveland, my home.

Thank you LeBron for showing the world the power of your heart and the home you truly missed.

 

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Sports, Uncategorized

The Debate Wages On with PolitiJim! Join in if You Dare!

Oh Yes PolitiJim and I have a debate going! Join in the discussion if you dare!

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Yes. The debate DOES continue.

Clearly some of the Fukushima radiation has made it to the Louisiana coast and become a glowing garnish for your gumbo. Now hang on, I don’t want you to fall off of your stiletto sneakers, but here is my rebuttal to your rebuttal to my rebuttal.

First, you didn’t address the core of my argument. Previous Triple Crown winners WON! Many against even worse situations. (like Seabiscuit) IT IS WHAT MADE THEM GREAT. Lowering standards so that more can win is a principle that is far beneath a woman of class and intelligence such as yourself.

Second, the “rules” interference, drug testing and blocking are not being put in place so that a “favored” horse can win. They are put in place so that all have a fair chance to win. They are (mostly) for the safety of the jockey and horse, and secondly to prohibit unfair advantage against any individual horse. Under your logic, the “Cali Chrome” rule would hurt horses who have every bit as much right to race in the Preakness as others. Why do you feel it is unjust for Tonalist to race when it didn’t qualify for the Derby? So what? As the article I mentioned referenced – this has been standard practice for YEARS. Yes, I understand that there may have been a “gentleman’s agreement” years back, but the same could be said of 19th Century warfare where you line up in front of the opposing army and let them shoot at you without taking cover. Honor is not quite so glamorous when you intentionally decimate your own forces.

And THAT is my key point. Do we ask the NBA to disallow the San Antonio Spurs to play Kawhi Leonard (or any new member that wasn’t on their Finals team last year) so that King James and Klowns can Three-Peat? No. Of course not.

Winners want to win against the BEST competition available. …..Just like I have in my argument against you. :))))

Love always,

PolitiJim

California Chrome has something to say

Darling Birdie take a sip of coffee,

You have been a Cubs fan too long even Wrigley’s Field added lights so hopefully I can shed light for you!

Seabiscuit NEVER ran in the Triple Crown. His success started when he was four and he was the King of the match races. At Pimlico at almost 6 years old he would defeat the unbeatable War Admiral both sired by (in my opinion the second greatest horse) Man o’War.

The reason for the Derby qualifiers came down to the track and race rules had a first come first serve to get your horse in the race and anyone with a thoroughbred could enter. To insure a better quality field a point system was inaugurated in 1986 due in fact the old system was too confusing. The actual field for qualification is limited to 24 with 4 on the bubble. Each owner is required to pay 25k like an application fee and another 25k to start plus the actual race fee.

What makes the Derby qualifier so unique is that there are 34 stake races (reduced from the 36 (hmmm change)) that begins when the thoroughbred is racing in their 2-year old season. Which is known as the Kentucky Derby Prep Season with 17 races on dirt or synthetic surfaces and a distance of at least 1 mile.

The Kentucky Derby Championship Series works the same way. A filly is required to run in the same races as colts and geldings.

Under the old system there were 185 graded stake races worldwide. Do I see another change?

So green mean birdie, you didn’t answer my question on all the races that other horses ran. Tonalist ran one in 2013 finishing 4th and a his 3 year old maiden race at Gulf Stream he lost. But finally won the Peter Pan. How is racing in a total of just 4 races fair to the rest of those horses that raced in 10 or more?

My point is if there is a fair field then a thoroughbred should have competed in one of the Derby Series. To have a horse that didn’t compete in either series is like entering a team in the Super Bowl without playing a single game in the season or playoffs.

As I said Chrome still wouldn’t have won the Belmont because General A Rod placed 3rd in the Belmont and like I said on twitter he was due.

By the plumage way General A Rod ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown. Oh slam dunk for me!

Much love and care,
Beth

thCTEG9IP5

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Wagering on The Rules of The Triple Crown Will Change? Don’t Be a Dumb A**!

My good friend PolitiJim response to my blog Rust on the Chrome, All or Nothing!
Now I don’t normally post like this and I hope PolitiJim is cool with it. The point is that these debates or discussions will end in dead heat.

PolitiJim’s comments:

I’m of a differing opinion. As it turns out there are more horses that qualified for the Derby racing these past years than in era’s before. When Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978, he faced four horses in the Preakness that had not run in the Derby.

Affirmed faced two horses in the Belmont that skipped the Preakness, one of which didn’t run in the Derby either.

Since when did horse racing suddenly get kindergarten self-esteem syndrome? You know the one that says we have to give everyone a medal so they feel good. The corrosion of the value of merit.

Isn’t one of the most special things about the Derby and the two following races the fact it is RARE? If it becomes common for owners like Coburn to win because “they are America’s horse”, why then is the Triple Crown so special. And why should they suddenly achieve the level of recognition that the Seattle Slew’s and Secretariat’s earned by lowering standards? Next we’ll be giving Nobel Peace Prizes to heads of state not based on accomplishment, but on popularity….oh… wait.

Anyway, John Clay (Kentucky.com) had it right. If you change the rules – it’s no longer the Triple Crown: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/06/08/3282227/john-clay-change-the-rules-and.html#storylink=cpy

My response:

Hey My Favorite Green Birdie!

Tonalist didn’t even qualify for the Derby. There are more horses than just 20 that run in qualifying Derby races. He ran just four races and didn’t win with exception of the Peter Pan. Tonalist was not mature enough or well enough to handle a packed field of 20.

The rules change whether we are aware of it or not. Horses were always drug tested but later they added the jockeys. In the 80′s the interference rule was added. That boxing out move is illegal if any contact was made.
It was an unofficial rule or the gentlemen’s agreement to not run a fresh horse in the Belmont. 73 only 4 horses ran. Smaller fields also ran in 77 and 78. However, Affirmed and Alydar were as much of a match race as Secretariat and Sham. The match races were a major drawn in themselves so owners not wanting to interfere held horses or ran horses in other stake races.

Somewhere after the 70′s the gentlemen’s rule evaporated and fresh horses (15 since 79)have entered the Belmont. With this current loss 12 horses lost to a fresher horse.

Each track and Racing association create their own rules. The Belmont has always differed from the Triple Crown because once upon a time the Belmont was the elitist race for the sport of Kings. While the bourbon drinking and beer chugging went with the Derby and The Preakness. Once being referred to as the every man’s race letting distillery workers use the infield of Churchill Downs as their gathering place.

Change has happened over time. The Belmont used to run first then moved to the middle and finally at the end. The Triple Crown didn’t exist until the 1900′s and horses and jockeys were later being tested for performance enhancing drugs. Further the unofficial gentlemen’s rule was monitored because of a threat to conspire. Two owners cannot conspire to mark a race and split the winnings. That said a a racing team can strategically plan to set pace.

Coburn’s biggest issue was Tonalist didn’t have hardly any points compared to all the horses. Check the 3 year old racing cards of Affirmed. Check all the other races from that point up and see how much racing the winners have done right up to the Belmont.

The Triple Crown has made changes. Last point if Commissioner, Medal Count and Tonalist (I had General A Rod did run all three and would have won the Belmont anyway) had not run, it was still a dead heat between Wicked Strong and California Chrome and there is no know precedence if Chrome would have the Crown for not being the sole victor.

Change happens and just because a rule might change it doesn’t change the length of Big Sandy and it is a hard race to flat out win. Why do you think it was move to the last race?

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Icing it Down: Kings and Rangers Square Off for Game Three.

Hey Hockey Fans, if tonight’s game 3 is anything like game two, then you better make sure your Kuerig has espresso in it for the morning! Because the excitement of the Kings coming from behind and forcing  not one but two overtimes is going to leave your Tuesday feeling more like hump day.

The momentum rests with the Kings. However, one day off, a 3 hour time difference and the fiercely vocal New York fans from the Burroughs of the city that doesn’t sleep forces the Rangers to have to make it there or it will be next to possible for a come back being down 0-3.

The Rangers will have to limit the penalties and relax knowing they may hold an advantage of not having a game ending call that has allowed them to be with this deficit.

The Kings will need to focus, tune in and own the ice, exactly how they have all season. The concern is always being ahead 2 games and the relaxed notion of just another game isn’t going to hold on melted ice. They must play with the same intensity and keep the pressure on the Rangers.

How late will you be up tonight? Well New York never sleeps so does it matter? This a match up worth losing shut eye for.

Update: Talk about Iced!! The question is what are the Kings having in their morning coffee? I don’t like sweeps unless it is one of my kids sweeping the kitchen. Game 4- I hope the Rangers show up for it.

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