World Cup Having a Rio Good Time

During the past month, 32 teams from around the globe came together in Brazil to thrill sports fans worldwide in the 20th FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. And today, it comes down to the final match between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro. The two teams are no strangers to World Cup victories, with five wins between them.

Following the host country’s crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-final, one may find it hard to believe that Brazil, with five championships, has won more World Cup titles than any other nation since the tournament’s inception in 1930. Spain, the champions of the last Cup in 2010, didn’t fare well at all this go-round, failing to advance beyond the 32-team round-robin.

The World Cup is the most widely watch sporting event on Earth, exceeding the viewership of the Olympics, the World Series, and even the Super Bowl. Although Team U.S.A. advanced only as far as the round of 16, their performance has resulted in a surge of the sport’s popularity in our country. Viewing parties in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia drew crowds beyond organizers’ dreams. Major League Soccer games have seen a bump in attendance following enthusiasm over the Cup.

The game, of course, has been popular with the nation’s youth for decades. Training techniques have advanced, meaning the U.S. should be a contender in future World Cups to come. If your family includes young future soccer stars who show a unique gift for playing the game, The Ball Returning Soccer Trainer is a two-in-one net that lets a player spend more time perfecting his or her game and less time retrieving balls. When a ball is kicked into the center area, it follows an upward arc before it rebounds with spin and height, requiring the player to trap and control the ball before taking the next kick.

For backyard football fun, nothing beats The Giant 40″ Personalized Soccer Ball. At five times the size of a regulation soccer ball, this inflatable ball is suited for players of less gargantuan proportions. It can also be played with in the pool. Personalize it with a 25-character message printed on one of the panels.

Ultimately, in today’s final match the team that combines the unique gifts of scoring prowess and fancy footwork will prevail. And the whole world will be watching.

Feel the Thrill of Victory When You Find Unique Gifts for Dad

On this day in 1961, ABC’s Wide World of Sports premiered its debut broadcast. Through its 45-year run, many a Saturday afternoon was whiled away with Dad savoring the thrill of victory and grimacing over the agony of defeat.

The show’s first broadcast featured two track and field events, the Penn Relay in Philadelphia, PA, and the Drake Relay from Des Moines, IA. These events helped define the format of the program, which was to showcase sports that usually did not get television coverage in the pre-ESPN days, with a diverse list of events including surfing, curling, badminton and even cliff diving.

Initially intended to be a summer fill-in program until the fall football season began, Wide World of Sports became unexpectedly popular. The show was the first to televise events that are widely watched today, such as the Indianapolis 500 and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.Instant Badminton Court

Today, Dads are just as likely to participate in many of the Wide World-worthy sports as they are to be the armchair athlete. So, as Father’s Day approaches and you ponder unique gift ideas for dad, know that Hammacher.com is spanning the globe to find unique gifts for him.

For the marathon man, The Runner’s Speaker Vest features built-in speakers that allow runners and walkers alike to listen to music while staying aware of their surroundings. A front pocket accommodates a smartphone or music player. The nylon mesh vest includes reflective fluorescent strips on the front and back to alert drivers to your presence making this a safety minded unique gift for dad.

Badminton is a sport that can be fiercely competitive or slow-paced and gentle enough to be enjoyed by almost all ages. The Instant Badminton Court lets a spontaneous game break out on a whim. The easy-to-set-up, freestanding net creates an instant court on a lawn, driveway, beach or any flat surface. This unique gift for dad includes four rackets and two shuttlecocks.

And for the road warrior who won’t let a busy travel schedule get in the way of getting in shape, The Briefcase Fitness Center is the portable gym that provides a rigorous, full-body workout yet folds to the size of a briefcase. A Hammacher exclusive, the compact gym makes a great unique gift for dad. It’s small enough to fit in an airplane’s overhead bin or store under a bed but contains everything needed for intense aerobic, strength, and circuit training. The all-in-one gym includes access to an online fitness community for sharing tips, participating in live sessions with personal trainers, and tracking goals and progress.