Worcester World Cup is where city’s melting pot truly bubbles over

The Worcester World Cup, now approaching its 12th iteration, has evolved from a novel idea into a force to be reckoned with.

Organized by Cultural Exchange Through Soccer, a neighborhood-based soccer program at Elm Park Community School, Worcester World Cup was established in 2006 to bring youth together and to promote good health and understanding in the community.

For Worcester, a hub for immigrants and refugees from all over the world, this volunteer-driven initiative has become a vital component in the city’s ongoing development and its efforts to break down walls between the myriad cultures it has welcomed over the years.

“The Worcester World Cup, as the name suggests, was created specially to bring people together. We wanted everyone to come together,” said Adam Maarij, a volunteer and 2017 graduate of South High Community School.

Worcester Weekly: ‘Evita,’ Redcoats and Creative Hub Kick-Off, Aug. 6-12

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Road trip!

Sunday, Aug. 6 — Redcoats & Rebels, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge  Am I the only one who thinks President Trump would be super-confused by OSV? It all seems so real. Does the Mass Pike get us back to 2017?! Get me a flux capacitor for The Beast, stat! Being so close to the drug-infested dens of New Hampshire, though, maybe he’ll just think he’s hallucinating off a contact high.

Casey Stengel and Worcester’s Baseball Hall of Fame connections

The most enduring name connecting Worcester to the National Baseball Hall of Fame is turn-of-the-century star Jesse Burkett, a two-time .400 hitter with a .338 career batting average whose namesake Little League on the city’s West Side became a part of hardball history itself by advancing to the 2002 Little League World Series.

Burkett, who married the former Ellen G. McGrath after his first season in Worcester and settled in the city until his death in 1953 — less than two weeks before the devastating Worcester Tornado killed 94 and injured more than 1,000 — is not alone on the Worcester-to-Cooperstown ledger.

Wikimedia Commons / The Sporting News / Charles M. Conlon

Jesse Burkett was a coach for the New York Giants in the early 1920s.

Indeed, there are three other enshrined stars whose careers brought them to Worcester — more on two of them and other luminaries later — but the most endearing and unforgettable character to share the lineage is the indefatigable and incomparable Casey Stengel, manager of the Mickey Mantle-era New York Yankees.

If you didn’t remember — or ever know — that the irrepressible Stengel’s famed managerial career got its start in Worcester, and included a complicated transaction that would live in baseball lore, you can surely be forgiven.

As the Hall of Fame inducts its newest class today, it seems a fitting time to take a dusty and mostly monochromatic trip down memory lane through the early days of Burkett, Stengel and baseball in Worcester.

Sina-cism: A bevy of beach options for bibliophiles

It’s the height of summer, and before the long days, beach retreats and campground sojourns pass us completely by, I am — as I did last summer — offering nine suggestions for your vacation reading. The first eight are books I’ve read between June and September in years gone by.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

It takes optimism to push reading.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Time Use Survey, Americans in 2016 spent an average of about 17 minutes per day reading. On the brighter side, at least we’re still buying books. Nielsen BookScan reported in January that sales of print books rose 3.3 percent in 2016 over the previous year.

Check out: Last year’s summer reading list

My purpose isn’t to induce you to read eight books. If you read just one of the following, or even enjoy and derive value from one chapter or even a single page of any of these, my goal will have been met.

Last year I avoided being too serious, but I think 2017 demands seriousness. If you’re looking for light beach reading, I cannot help. If you want books to engage your political sensibilities, improve your mental health and make you think, read on.

Worcester Weekly: #Worcester100, Lobsta Laughs + more, July 30-Aug. 5

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Quick note: Worcester Restaurant Week — which is actually two weeks long, because, y’know, math’s not our strong suit here in the Heart of the Commonwealth — begins Monday. If you didn’t know that already, you should probably just make it official and move to Springfield.

Tuesday, Aug. 1 — Medicinal Flora of Massachusetts exhibit, 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Lamar Soutter Library, UMass Medical School, 55 Lake Ave. North  Boy, those doctors and scientists and researchers sure are clever. Excellent timing, too. Just as Gov. Charlie Baker finally signed the divisive and much-anticipated legal marijuana bill late last week, the smartypants down at UMass aim to highlight lesser-known herbal remedies that can be found among the Bay State’s greenery.

Worcester Weekly: Helping refugees, Canal District veggies + more, July 23-29

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Road trip!

Sunday, July 23 — 2017 DockDogs Day, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Klem’s, 117 W. Main St., Spencer  Tommy used to work on the docks. Guess you could say, he’s been down on his luck — especially since the union went on strike. And without Tommy — or Bon Jovi — around the docks, well, they’ve gone to the dogs. It’s tough.

Paris Cinema

Editorial: Take us to the movies, developers

We’ll always have Paris? Not in Worcester, we won’t.

The old Paris Cinema saw the end credits roll 11 years ago, and now the building itself has bowed out of downtown. Demolition crews arrived on Franklin Street last week to make way for a beer garden on that spot.

One thing that hasn’t changed: There’s still no full-time movie theater downtown.

The Brew Garden will be a huge plus, bringing diners and other diversion-seekers to an airy, attractive space. But the Paris Cinema — and Showcase Cinemas (which closed 19 years ago), the Bijou Cinema (13 years gone), and predecessors — had the right idea in their heydays.

Worcester Weekly: Mercantile Center beer festival + more, July 16-22

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Tuesday, July 18 — “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” 7-9 p.m., Sprinkler Factory, 38 Harlow St.  Never among Shakespeare’s blockbusters — it was among his first-known plays — “Verona” nonetheless endures as a popular staple for the scores of summer performers who worship at the altar of the Bard.

The Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford’s Alumni Co. adds a “1980’s romantic comedy twist” to the story of “four lovers’ lives thrown into a chaos filled with passionate love, heartbreak, betrayal and forgiveness. And, let’s not forget, an insane amount of laughs.” Suggested donation is $5.

Anchors away: Worcester’s ABA basketball team has new name, home court

In hopes of solidifying a permanent home in Worcester, the city’s lone professional basketball team is making major changes to its branding by paying homage to an infamous winter storm and partnering with a celebrated nonprofit for a true home court advantage.

Known as the New England Anchors during its tenuous first year (2016-17) in the revamped ABA basketball league, the team will re-introduce itself next season as the Worcester 78’s — a tribute to the Blizzard of ’78 — in an attempt to make a nostalgic connection across the region while also better defining, team officials believe, its market for supporters and fans.

“It didn’t make a lot of sense to have a New England-based brand without any real ties to Worcester where we play,” owner and president Tom Marino said in a recent interview. “With this change, we are sending the message that we are here and we aren’t planning on going anywhere.”

Editorial: Ensuring safe play should be priority for Worcester leaders

We’re used to the thump-thump of basketballs in summer. If there’s a hoop to aim at, kids all over the city will shoot layups and jump shots to sharpen skills and kill some free time.

No one would have expected — and no one should accept — the sound heard by a Worcester teenager at Holland Rink Playground on June 30.

Kadisha Evans had been practicing free throws at the little-known city park on Lincoln Street when the backboard and its heavy steel support structure crashed to the pavement.

“It was so scary,” she told the Telegram & Gazette. “What if it fell on me? It was really, really loud, to the point I didn’t even know what was going on.”

The city should count its lucky stars the structure didn’t fall on her — and should react as decisively as if it had.