Bite my Picasso: Art museums drawn into Super Bowl rivalry

BOSTON (AP) — Careful about picking sides in the Super Bowl — one of these world-class art museums may tell you where to Van Gogh.
As Sunday’s showdown between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams draws near, Boston’s prestigious Museum of Fine Arts and Los Angeles’ venerable J. Paul Getty Museum are engaging in a little trash talk.
Wagers and good-natured insults between mayors, governors and celebrities are commonplace around Super Bowls. But clashes between purveyors of the fine arts? Not so much.
Even so, the elegant MFA in the capital of Patriots Nation is throwing down.
“We’re all super fans here,” said museum spokeswoman Karen Frascona. Like other MFA employees, she was decked out in Patriots garb Friday to show her allegiance — and then promptly stoked the rivalry on Twitter, using the hashtag #MuseumBowl.
First up: a video of the MFA’s mascot, a spirited Weimaraner dog named Riley, sporting a Patriots coat while chasing after foam footballs.
“Why stop with the politicians? Get the art folks involved, too,” MFA information technology worker Jonathan DelGaizo said as he waved a cardboard cutout of Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman.
The genteel tradition began in 2015, when the Boston art museum engaged in a little friendly taunting with the Seattle Art Museum ahead of the Patriots’ victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.
It continued in 2017 with Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, before New England’s improbable come-from-behind Super Bowl win against the Falcons in overtime.
Then last year, in the run-up to the Eagles’ championship victory over the Patriots, the MFA tangled with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
“We love to trash talk, but it’s all in good fun,” Frascona said. “It’s a way to collaborate with another museum. It connects us to people who maybe didn’t think of us in this way. And it’s been a lot of great camaraderie.”
For its part, the Getty Museum — home to masterpieces by Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne and other luminaries — says it’s up to the challenge of “sharing the joy and joining the celebration.”
Last year, the Getty played a little ball with Boston when the Dodgers and the Red Sox battled it out in baseball’s World Series — a clash that ultimately favored Beantown over the City of Angels. Starting Friday, museum vice president Lisa Lapin said, it plans to mine its vast collections for artworks that depict rams.
“We’re avid fans like everyone else,” she said. “And yes, art museums have a sense of humor, too.”

10th anniversary of pond hockey tournament celebrated

MEREDITH, N.H. (AP) — Nearly 2,300 hockey players are braving the cold for the 10th anniversary of the Labatt Blue New England Pond Hockey Classic in New Hampshire.
More than 275 teams are competing across 11 divisions. The tournament started Friday at Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith and runs through the weekend.
In addition to over 600 hockey games, there’s entertainment and a party celebrating the event’s 10th anniversary.

Super Bowl super fan can’t stop because Patriots won’t stop

KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — One of the handful of fans who has seen every single Super Bowl is keeping the streak alive as he prepares to cheer for his New England Patriots.
Donald Crisman, of Kennebunk, Maine, said he’s happy to feel well enough to go to Atlanta for his 53rd consecutive Super Bowl. Just like the Patriots battled back from setbacks, so did the 82-year-old football fan, who had a bout of ulcerative colitis that caused him to lose 30 pounds and landed him in the hospital.
“Really, I didn’t think (the Patriots) would get this far,” Crisman told the Portland Press Herald. “But here we are. I just hope they bring home trophy No. 6.”
The streak began when a friend was given tickets to the first Super Bowl in 1967. Over the years, Crisman kept on attending, traveling via train and plane, and battling ice and snow.
He was part of a Never-Missed-A-Super-Bowl club that was featured in a 2010 Visa commercial. The original group, which began with five, is down to Crisman and Tom Henschel of Pittsburgh. Another fan, Gregory Eaton of Michigan, also has attended each Super Bowl.
Crisman told WCSH-TV the ticket for the first Super Bowl was $12 and that two college marching bands provided the halftime entertainment.
After the first 20 Super Bowls, his group thought of milestones they’d hit so they could stop.
“I kind of made a plan to drop out after number 30 but the Patriots got into 31, and I gotta go,” Crisman said. “Then at Super Bowl 50, I said, ‘I’m going to go, then that’s it,’ and the Patriots get in again, and again, and again.”
If the Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams at the Super Bowl LIII, it will be their sixth big game victory — tying the record for most victories with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL awarding more than $35 million to brain injury studies

By BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is awarding more than $35 million in funding to five organizations conducting research into diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries.
Through its Scientific Advisory Board established as part of its “Play Smart. Play Safe” initiative, the NFL is awarding grants to investigative teams focusing on concussions and associated conditions, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Receiving the funding will be:
—Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, led by Dr. William P. Meehan III, $14,698,132 to “A Prospective, LONGitudinal and Translational Study for Former National Football League Players.”
—The University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, $6,070,384 to its “Prevalence of Brain Health versus Neurodegeneration in Professional Football Retirees” work.
—The University of Calgary, led by Dr. Carolyn Emery, $9,438,473 to “Surveillance in High Schools to Reduce Concussions in Youth.”
—The University of California-San Francisco, led by Dr. Geoff Manley, $3,454,080 to “Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI Longitudinal).”
—The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Harvard Medical School, led by Dr. Grant Iverson, $1,583,138 to “The Spectrum of Concussion: Predictors of Clinical Recovery, Treatment and Rehabilitation, and Possible Long-Term Effects.”
Having awarded $35 million of the NFL’s $40 million commitment made in 2016, the league has allocated the remaining $5 million to further medical research focused on player health and safety. The funds will be distributed under the guidance of SAB Chairman Gen. Peter Chiarelli, a retired U.S. Army general who led the Department of Defense efforts on post-traumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and suicide prevention.
“We saw their translational values,” Chiarelli said Thursday. “They supplemented ongoing research that already showed great promise. We were focused on the patient, and of the eight that we asked to come back and brief us for 30 minutes and answer questions, these five had the greatest opportunity to help patients, and to help understand and prevent injury in the future. That was our unified goal in picking the final five.”
Col. Sidney Hinds, an SAB Member and program coordinator for brain health research at the Department of Defense, praised the transparency of the search for grantees as well as the long-range effects their research can have.
“The traumatic brain community is relatively small when you look at other disease processes in comparison,” Hinds said. “Many of these groups are collaborating already, but I do believe through this SAB process, the future steps will offer another opportunity to collaborate and share information.
“I really look forward to further work and to the results these researchers will have, and to underscore the efforts they are undertaking. The results they get will not only impact professional sports but the broader general public to understand and take care of and treat concussions in the future.”
The five honorees will present evidence of making headway to the SAB in about one year. Chiarelli is optimistic their progress will be obvious.
“We felt it was important to ask each one of them that they provide deliverables at different stages in their research timeline,” he said. “We asked that we would get together and see how their research is progressing. We hope not only they get to something that will help the patient, but increase the collaboration in the field, and I think this is something that will happen with this.
“We hope to come back a year from now and see how they have been able to meet the deliverables they laid out. It’s very exciting.”
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Biggio leads New Hampshire over Reading 7-2

READING, Pa. (AP) — Cavan Biggio had three hits and three RBI as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats beat the Reading Fightin Phils 7-2 on Wednesday.
New Hampshire started the scoring in the first inning when Biggio hit a two-run double.
The Fisher Cats later added runs in four additional innings to secure the victory.
New Hampshire right-hander T.J. Zeuch (1-2) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing two runs on eight hits over seven innings. Opposing starter Harold Arauz (3-2) took the loss in the Eastern League game after a rough outing in which he allowed six runs and five hits over five innings.
Deivi Grullon singled three times for the Fightin Phils.
With the win, New Hampshire improved to 6-2 against Reading this season.
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This story was generated by Automated Insights ( http://www.automatedinsights.com ) using data from and in cooperation with MLB Advanced Media and Minor League Baseball, http://www.milb.com

Kyrie Irving says Boston is ‘a real, live sports city’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Boston star Kyrie Irving has added more spice to the Celtics-Cleveland season opener.
Irving, who asked to be traded out of Cleveland and wound up with the Celtics this summer after three straight NBA Finals trips with LeBron James and the Cavaliers, says he sees “a vast difference” between the cities.
“Boston, I’m driving in and (thinking), ‘I’m really playing in a real, live sports city?'” Irving told reporters Wednesday, in comments published by The Charlotte Observer.
“A lot of different cultures, food and people. You get it all, especially in Boston,” Irving also said. “You would go to Cleveland, and it would be at nighttime, and things would be going on, but you just see a vast difference.”
Remember, Irving and the Celtics open in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

Vermont beats New Hampshire 74-41 in America East semis

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Anthony Lamb shot 9 of 14 from the field, made a career-high six 3-pointers and finished with 24 points and three steals to help Vermont beat New Hampshire 74-41 on Monday night in the American East Tournament.
Payton Henson added 14 points and Dre Wills scored 12 for No. 1 seed Vermont, which has won 20 in a row. The Catamounts will face second-seed Stony Brook or No. 3 seed Albany in the championship game on Saturday.
Vermont (28-5) never trailed and Lamb hit back-to-back 3s to make it 12-4 with 11 minutes left in the half. Lamb hit two more 3-pointers during a 13-2 run that pushed the lead to 19 points before a layup by New Hampshire’s Jaleen Smith made it 37-20 at the break. The Wildcats, who made just 6 of 24 first-half shots, went five-plus minutes without a field goal during that stretch.
Smith scored 13 points and Luke Rosinski added 12 for No. 4 seed New Hampshire (20-12), which had its six-game win streak snapped. The Wildcats set season lows for field-goal percentage (28), 3-point percentage (seven) and made 3s (one).

Vermont beats New Hampshire 74-41 in America East semis

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Anthony Lamb shot 9 of 14 from the field, made a career-high six 3-pointers and finished with 24 points and three steals to help Vermont beat New Hampshire 74-41 on Monday night in the American East Tournament.
Payton Henson added 14 points and Dre Wills scored 12 for No. 1 seed Vermont, which has won 20 in a row. The Catamounts will face second-seed Stony Brook or No. 3 seed Albany in the championship game on Saturday.
Vermont (28-5) never trailed and Lamb hit back-to-back 3s to make it 12-4 with 11 minutes left in the half. Lamb hit two more 3-pointers during a 13-2 run that pushed the lead to 19 points before a layup by New Hampshire’s Jaleen Smith made it 37-20 at the break. The Wildcats, who made just 6 of 24 first-half shots, went five-plus minutes without a field goal during that stretch.
Smith scored 13 points and Luke Rosinski added 12 for No. 4 seed New Hampshire (20-12), which had its six-game win streak snapped. The Wildcats set season lows for field-goal percentage (28), 3-point percentage (seven) and made 3s (one).