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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Sports Memorabilia: A Good Investment? And Why?

Are Sports Autographs a Good Investment?
All purchases can be a great investments, when buying low and selling high. With sports memorabilia, it helps to pick the right player, at the right time. Then choose the players who will have long-term name recognition.
Potential Appreciation
If you have "the" player's autograph on their piece of equipment, then, sports memorabilia can be a great investment. For example, a rare, mint-condition tobacco card sold in 1992 for $451,000. It sold again in 2008 for $2.8 million, an increase of 521%, in approx. 13 years.
Memorabilia Vs. Collectibles
The difference between sports memorabilia, and sports collectibles: Sports memorabilia have been authenticated by a reputable dealer, who certifies that the autograph is legitimate. It is a $5 billion global market, in which millions of collectors participate, by buying and selling photos, cards, jerseys, balls, and other related sports items. Anything else containing a sports autograph is considered a collectible, that is wonderful to own for personal reasons, not for financial gain.
Keys to Success
According to U.S. News and World Report, to be a successful sports memorabilia investor you should have a talent for correctly predicting which of today's players will be in high demand in the future. You also need the ability to spot the difference between players, who will be temporarily popular, and those whose popularity will continue to make their memorabilia items appreciate well into the future.
The memorabilia market is vast, in what is considered collectible. The largest markets are sports and entertainment, and the most popular trading is done through auction houses, and specialty dealers. Because memorabilia are not traded on an organized, formal exchange, it is hard to pin down the exact size of the business, but it certainly is, a multi-billion-dollar one.
If you're considering bumping your collection up a notch, or adding memorabilia to your investment portfolio, here are some rules to keep in mind:
- The law of supply and demand is in effect.
If there is a limited number of a particular item, it will be worth a whole lot more.
- To get top dollar on an item. It has to be in "pristine" condition.
- No matter whom you deal with, make sure they are reputable. It is easy to have frauds, particularly when you have signatures which are easily replicable. It is vital to deal with an expert. They do the research for you, when they know what they are looking for.
- Prices fluctuate. For example, if a player wins a championship, a signed photo will go up in immensely in value. It is estimated that Michael Jackson's memorabilia went up about 40 percent in value, in the days following his death. Nelson Mandela's signature has gone up 558% in the past decade, and had a massive jump when he passed away.
In many cases, particularly with goods signed by the older legends - the item is bound to be an appreciating asset. Ali, Pele and Maradona. are some of the best there ever have been, and as they will not always be available to sign items. These kinds of goods are bound to be a fantastic investment! For example, a very rare gown signed by the great Muhammad Ali, just has to be an unbelievable investment. A signed glove was worth about $600 ten years ago, yet now he can't as easily sign any more goods, is worth $4500. if there is a limited number to a special signing, then this figure would triple.
Purchase because you admire the Sportsman, and look after it. It most certainly will appreciate in value over time.

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Basic Playground Safety Guidelines and Maintenance Issues

The information stated below should be used as a guideline to minimize injuries associated with playground equipment. However, it is believed that these recommendations, along with the technical information in the ASTM Standards for Public Playgrounds will contribute to greater playground safety.
What is a Public Playground?
A public playground refers to one intended to be used by children ages 6 months through 12 years in commercial child care facilities, institutions, multiple family dwellings, parks, restaurants, resorts and schools.
Information in this Article:
  • General playground safety considerations
  • Playground materials and surfacing
  • Identifying specific playground hazards and how to prevent them
  • Proper steps needed to maintain a playground and its' equipment
  • The use of platforms, guardrails and protective barriers to minimize accidental falls
There are 7 key factors you should keep in mind when laying out your playground:
  • Accessibility: The surface material needs to allow access to the equipment for children with disabilities.

  • Age Separation: Areas for different age groups should be separated by a buffer zone. This zone will reduce the chance of injury by children of varying activity levels running into each other.

  • Age Group: Different playgrounds are structured for different age groups. The safety requirements differ with each age group. Be mindful of the age group that will be using the playground and purchase accordingly.

  • Conflicting Activities: The playground should be organized into sections to prevent injury from overlapping activities. Be sure to place swings and merry-go-rounds toward a corner, side or edge of a play area. Slides should not be placed in a congested area.

  • Sight Lines: Visual barriers should be minimized so that caregivers, parents or supervisors can keep track of children using the playground. Benches placed around the outside of the structure allow onlookers a place to sit while they watch the children.

  • Signage and/or Labeling: Signs should be provided to give the users guidance as to the age appropriateness of the equipment, as well as how to properly use the equipment.

  • Supervision: Make sure the supervisor is aware of the basic safety guidelines of the equipment.
When choosing a site for a playground, there are a few factors that are important to take into consideration:
  • Travel patterns to and from the playground: Are there any hazards in the way? If so, clear the hazards.

  • Nearby accessibility hazards (traffic, bodies of water, steep hills, etc.): Could a child inadvertently or intentionally run into a nearby hazard? If so, provide a method to contain children within the playground (fence, hedge). Be aware that the fence or hedge should still allow observation by supervisors.

  • Sun exposure: Is the sun's heat sufficient enough to heat metal parts, slides, platforms, steps or surfacing enough to burn children? Will users be exposed to the sun during the most intense part of the day? If so, consider positioning it so the bare metal is shaded. Provide warnings that the equipment will be hot in the sunlight. Consider shading the playground with a shade structure.

  • Slope and drainage: Will loose fill material wash away in the rain? If so, consider proper drainage to prevent wash outs.
When installing a playground, use equipment and hardware approved by the manufacturer. Follow the instructions EXTREMELY carefully or hire a playground installer. Remember to keep all materials from the manufacturer and start a meticulous record of all inspections and maintenance. Thoroughly inspect the equipment before the first use, including the hardware.
  • Creosote-treated wood (railroad ties, telephone poles, etc) and coatings that contain pesticides should not be used.
  • Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) was an old chemical that was used to treat wood, including wooden playgrounds. Since 2001, this treatment is no longer safe it is known to corrode certain materials faster than others.
Avoid using bare metal for platforms, slides or steps. In direct sunlight, bare metal can become extremely hot and cause contact burn injuries. Use plastic coated metal, plastic or wood. Covering the playground with a shelter is always the best option. When coating existing bare metal or using plastic coated metal, consider:
  • Manufacturer should ensure that users cannot ingest, inhale or absorb potentially hazardous amounts of preservative chemicals as a result of contact.
  • All paints should meet the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) regulation for lead paint.
  • Painted surfaces should be maintained regularly to prevent rust and corrosion.
Things to check regarding hardware:
  • All fasteners, connectors and coverings should not be removable without the use of tools.
  • All exposed hardware should be smooth to the user to prevent lacerations, penetrations, or cloth entanglement hazards.
  • Hardware in moving joints should be secured against unintentional or unauthorized loosening.
  • All hardware should be corrosive resistant.
  • Bearings or bushings used in moving joints should be self-lubricating or easy to lubricate.
  • All S-hooks and C-hooks should be closed (no gap or space greater than 0.04").
A proper playground surface is one of the most important factors in reducing injuries that occur when kids fall from equipment. The surface under the playground equipment should be soft enough and thick enough to soften the impact of a child's fall. Grass and dirt are not recommended for surfacing material because of water and natural weathering which can occur at a drastic rate. There are two kinds of surfacing material: unitary and loose-fill.
Unitary materials are generally ASTM tested rubber mats or a pour-in-place energy absorbing material. These kinds of surfacing options are great for toddlers and handicap accessible playgrounds and are usually more expensive than loose-fill materials.
CCA treated wood mulch, gravel or dirt are not acceptable forms of loose-fill material.
Loose fill materials will compress at least 25% over time due to use and weathering so it is a good idea to fill the use zone with more than the recommended fill level. For example, if the playground will require 9 inches of wood chips then the initial fill level should be 12 inches.
Appropriate Surfacing:
  • Any material tested to ASTM F1292, including unitary surfaces, engineered wood fiber, etc.
  • Pea gravel
  • Sand
  • Shredded/recycled rubber mulch
  • Wood mulch (not CCA-treated)
  • Wood chips
Inappropriate Surfacing:
  • Asphalt
  • Carpet
  • Concrete
  • Dirt
  • Grass
  • CCA-treated wood
When choosing playground equipment, it is important that you keep in mind what the intended age group will be. Children of different ages and stages of development have different needs and abilities. Playgrounds are designed to encourage a child's imagination while developing new skills. If you are selecting a playground for a school or public park, you should check your state's guidelines on integrating handicap accessible play structures in the playground.
Some equipment is not recommended for public playgrounds including: trampolines, swinging gates, giant strides, climbing ropes that are not secured at both ends, rope swings or heavy metal swings. Equipment such as platforms, stepped platforms, guardrails and barriers, handrails, and means to access and egress from play equipment have different guidelines for the different age groups (toddlers, preschool, and school age). It is important to understand that guardrails are not intended for toddlers as it is easy for them to crawl through.
It is easier for a child to climb up than it is for them to climb down. Remember to provide various methods to access and egress from the play structure so different skill levels will feel comfortable using the equipment.
There are 6 main categories of playground hazards:
  • Crush and Shear Points: Crush and shear points can be caused by parts moving relative to each other, or to a fixed part, during a normal use cycle, such as with a seesaw. To determine if there is a crush or shear point, consider: the likelihood a child could get a body part inside the point and the closing force around the point.

  • Entanglement and Impalement: Drawstrings on hoods of jackets, sweatshirts, and other upper body clothing can become entangled in playground equipment, and can cause death by strangulation. To avoid this, remove any ropes, dog leashes, or similar objects attached to playground equipment and avoid equipment with ropes that are not secured at both ends. Projections on playground equipment should not be able to entangle children's clothing nor should they be large enough to impale.

  • Entrapment: Head entrapment can occur feet first or head first. Openings can present an entrapment hazard if the distance between any interior opposing surfaces is greater than 3.5 inches and less than 9 inches. Children can become entrapped by partially bound openings, such as those formed by two or more playground parts. To minimize entrapment hazards of stepped platforms, infill should be used to reduce the space between stepped platforms.

  • Sharp Points, Corners and Edges: Any sharp edge or point can cause serious lacerations. To avoid the risk of injury make sure that wood parts are smooth and not splintering, all corners are rounded and all metal edges are rolled or have rounded capping.

  • Suspended Hazards: Suspended components should be placed away from high traffic areas, brightly colored and should not loop back on themselves.

  • Tripping: Playgrounds should be free from any tripping hazards such as rapid changes in elevation, anchoring devices and containment walls for loose-fill surfacing.
All playground areas should be inspected for excessive wear, deterioration and any potential hazards. For each piece of equipment, the frequency of thorough inspections will depend on the type and age of the equipment, the amount of use and the local climate. To help ensure your loose-fill surfacing level stays sufficient and is not displaced, it should be checked frequently and raked back into its proper place if necessary. When inspecting loose-fill surfacing materials, pay particular attention to areas under swings and at slide exits, pooled water on mulch surfacing and areas of frozen surfacing.
Records of the following should always be retained:
  1. Maintenance inspections
  2. Repairs
  3. Accidents or injuries
Platforms should be generally flat with openings that allow for drainage. A stepped platform must have an access component if the difference between platforms is 12" for toddlers or 18" for school-age users. Access to platforms over 6 feet high (except for free standing slides) should provide an intermediate standing surface so that the child can pause and make a decision to keep going or find another way down.
Guardrails and protective barriers are used to minimize the likelihood of accidental falls from elevated platforms, however; protective barriers provide greater protection for children. Guardrails should be tall enough to protect the tallest child from falling over the top and low enough that the smallest child cannot walk under it. Barriers are not needed if it will interfere with the intended use of the equipment, such as climbing equipment.
Guardrails or protective barriers should be provided on the following:
  1. Elevated platforms
  2. Walkways
  3. Landings
  4. Stairways
  5. Transitional surfaces
There are several factors to consider when choosing the perfect playground for any outdoor area. The above information are the basic safety regulations to help children travel to and from the playground, to identify any potential hazards near your play area and what barriers on the unit will interrupt the line of sight of those supervising the children at play.
ParknPool Corp. is the leading online distributor of commercial site amenities such as playgrounds, bleachers, picnic tables, park benches, and trash receptacles. For additional information concerning the safety of specific playground equipment please contact ParknPool at 877.777.3700. We have made sure our units have what children want, and parents need. When it comes to kids, safety and fun have to play nice with each other!

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Why Try A Sumo Suit Hire?

Wrestling is indeed a fascinating sport to watch, be it theatrical wrestling (as we see on TV) or real wrestling (as we see in school meets). Throw in the idea of seemingly obese men in what look to be thongs grappling, about to overpower each other, and you just amp up the fascination. Not a lot of people get to experience being a sumo wrestler. You know you don't simply have a defeatist attitude when you tell yourself there's no way you're ever going to be one, and it doesn't even have anything to do about not being Japanese; there's the weight factor as well, of course. I doubt regular folks would be willing to gain all that weight just to pursue sumo wrestling as a career choice.
Unless you have a similar body type, you can't even experience trying it out for a day. This used to be all true until someone came up with the idea of doing a sumo suit hire. Parties, team building sessions, and other events can now be more happening with a sumo suit hire. You know you have an option of good, clean fun with a sumo wrestling hire.
Basically, this involves a wrestling mat and a pair of inflatable suits designed to make participants look like sumo wrestlers, from the body bulk to the hairdo. To set it up, you need to find a flat surface free of any sticks, sharp objects, protruding objects, or anything else that could poke holes into the suits. To allow for spectators, you need to choose a place that measures at least about eight square metres. Once you've found the right spot, unroll the mat in the middle and place the suits on it. To don the suit, you need to step into it a leg at a time with the Velcro side ending up on your back.
After this, you add the neck brace, helmet, and gloves to safeguard against possible injuries. Of course, pretend sumo wrestlers can't just go at it willy-nilly; there should be rules to prevent any untoward incidents. For starters, participants need to be a certain height (over 150 cms tall) and age (at least 13 years old) to be able to join. They have to remove all accessories before putting on the suits.
There must also be a spotter as they put on or get out of their suits as it's possible for them to fall over and be unable to get up. Besides sharp objects, sticky and wet substances should also be removed from the chosen area. Wrestling in inflatable sumo suits is definitely a very unique entertainment option. It's a barrel of laughs to do or even just to watch. If you want your next shindig to be extra memorable, try letting your guests experience sumo wrestling in this super fun way. Click here to know more.

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The Sports and Hobbies of Mozambique

Mozambicans are quite passionate about their sports; with a firm focus on soccer and to a lesser extent other sports. There are lots of opportunities for hobbies and recreational activities, but as these can be quite costly at times you will find most Mozambican's aren't able to partake. As with most other facets of this beautiful country, the lack infrastructure combined with the poverty levels have had a profound effect on the development of sports and hobbies through the entire land.

As a result of this, many of the most popular sports are those that don't require much money to play.
Soccer, sometimes known as football due to the Portuguese influence, is hugely popular in Mozambique as in other African nations. You will often come across both children and adults having an informal game whenever possible, especially on weekends. The structure for proper club soccer is not as good as in other countries due to infrastructure challenges, but there are still some professional clubs about. There is a lot of exchange between Portugal and Mozambique in soccer terms, with players and teams from each country regularly playing with and against each other.
Athletics is a sport that is not a widely practiced as it should be, given the relative ease of getting involved. Mozambican does at times punch above its weight in this field of sport, having won a gold medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics proving that they can compete at the highest level.
Unlike most other southern African nations, Basketball is a very popular sport in Mozambique. While being internationally recognized since 1978, the Mozambican national team has yet to win any notable championships. This of course hasn't dampened the enthusiasm for the sport and it is still quite widespread.
The martial art sport of Capoeira is starting to take off in Mozambique, with the popularity growing at a rapid pace.
Stadiums and sporting facilities in Mozambique are in short supply, with some world class facilities recently being constructed with foreign investment. The outlying areas tend to have little to no facilities, while the soccer clubs seem to attract all the investment. The newest and best stadium is the Estadio do Zimpeto which was opened in 2011 and is able to seat up to 42,000 people. While being touted as a multi-use stadium, it is almost exclusively used for soccer matches.
The types of hobbies available in Mozambique are generally all of the physical, outdoor variety. The more popular hobbies include:
  • Fishing: With a substantial coast line, Mozambique is well known for fishing. This takes the form of both subsistence and recreational fishing. The country is well known for game fishing and is largely unspoiled, making it a firm favorite with both local and international visitors.

  • Watersports: Any sort of sport involving the water, whether it is sailing, diving or even just swimming, is quite popular due to the warm weather and water.

  • Sand boarding: Being quite an easy sport to learn and not always needing lots of equipment, sand boarding is a relatively new hobby that is starting to become quite popular.
Thinking of living, holidaying or buying in Mozambique?
Click here to read about living in or visiting Mozambique
Click here to read about buying real estate in Mozambique
James Harrison has lived on four continents with his family and is now the founder of PropDom:
PropDom - the worldwide property domain for all things regarding holidaying, buying a second home, investing in property and retiring abroad.
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