Monday, June 04, 2007

And we're back...

Now that Senior Week and graduation is over, we can get back to business.

And what exactly is business? Great question. How do we proceed with this general blog? Fairfield sports are done and I am done with Fairfield. Perhaps some alumni commentary in the future. It is too specific to turn this into an NHL or New York Rangers blog. Though perhaps this could come in the future.

So I will take ideas via posts, comments, and emails. However, in the meantime this will continue to be some random musings and the life of a post-college grad in search of meaning. Until then something to ponder: "We don't choose our beginning, but we do choose our end." Life is what you do with it.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring allergies...

Yes I have them. I didn't until I got to college, but then again there are a lot of things I never did or had before college. (Take that for what you will) Anyway, fresh off a thrilling loss for my New York Rangers against the Buffalo Sabres (good season boys), I am gearing up for the final few days of my collegiate career. While many of my classmates are dreading the real world, the next step, or whatever cliche you prefer to characterize it as, I am not.

True, I have enjoyed my years and made some special relationships, but at the same time there is something to be said for being productive with your time. Unfortunately, I don't feel as if I learned enough academically to warrant my degree, but the outside lessons were certainly important.

Where was my flaw? Perhaps, my choice of school. Perhaps, limiting myself my freshman year and not immersing myself right away. Nonetheless, I feel wiser, but not smarter and are forced to question whether it was really worth it?

I come away with an established piece of paper, that is true. That paper will of course take me through life, but I have aspirations of going into business for myself. How will that help me? Would I not have been better in a work environment gaining experience?

The liberal arts agenda claims that they want to make you a more well-rounded individual and thinker, yet I have never met more closed minded people. That may be partially attributed to the lack of diversity on-campus, but I find it interesting that most liberal arts schools are in fact private religiously-based institutions. Seems odd to educate someone on becoming an open thinker in a closed-minded setting.

Amidst my complaining though there is of course a bright side. I did learn a work ethic, though I definitely broke it more than followed it, and I did learn to associate with a group of people that I hadn't been exposed to, albeit a homogeneous group.

Can I give advice on your collegiate choices? Maybe. Be thorough, be prepared, but don't be fooled. College is a business and there will come a point when the cost certainly outweighs the benefit and there is still something to be said for entrepreneurship.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Changing it up...

With graduation around the corner and the allergy season in full swing, the everyday tasks I have done for the previous four years has become even more difficult to achieve. Nonetheless, the NHL playoffs are heating up, the NBA playoffs are going on, and baseball still has 160 games remaining. Back to a quote of the day:

"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position, and be bruised in a new place." - Washington Irving

In Sports Today: With the NFL draft this weekend, there is a lot of potential for movement as many teams can find valuable assets in the top ten picks. The question will be whether to stay the course or change your thinking for a quick fix.

In News Today: The VA Tech students returned to class today following last week's massacre. With their lives changed forever, we are left to ponder how this will affect their futures as well as future instances in colleges.

At Fairfield Today: As the senior class prepares to move on, there will be a changing of the guard. However, the future of Fairfield will be vastly different for the upcoming and future classes with housing, tuition, and class size all changing drastically.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chicken wings, Tar Heels, and Rain

So perhaps that is the most random of all titles, but connected nonetheless. Not excusing my recent absence of posts, I took today to the wet flood-filled streets of Fairfield in search of lunch.

I arrived at Archie Moore's, which is my too usual destination, and sat down for their delectable chicken wings and a sesame chicken salad. Both, by the way, held up to standard.

However, what I was intrigued most by was the abundance of UNC fans, players, and possible assistant coaches. Given the men's lacrosse game, that was understandable, but I was shocked by the sheer number of people that traveled from North Carolina. Especially given the weather!

There was one particular table of about 15 parents, kids, etc. that were completely obnoxious. They made disparaging remarks about people walking by, poked constant fun about their "Tar Heels" in athletic comparison to the Stags, and were in the most unusual outfits, including rubber outfits that made them seem as if they were the first mate of a fishing boat rather than at a lacrosse game.

Although the Stags lost, I still feel Fairfield was the victor. Why? Every one of the UNC fans could not get enough of the chicken wings. In the end is that not what it is all about, who has the better chicken wings?

For if you can't enjoy a hot wing on a cold wet day, what is the point of living?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Time to get serious...

I am not going to beat the dead Imus horse, I saved Mirror Sports 3 x 5 this week for that, however I am going to address this growing issue of racism in sports. The main problem: This is not a growing problem. It has been a problem forever and it stems from issues way beyond sports.

In the midst of graduation and finishing up courses, I don't have time to cite historical racism throughout this country and sports. Besides, most of you are well aware.

What I offer is a unique perspective as a man who has a diverse background.

I was not raised under a formal religion as each of my grandparents are a different affiliation. Lutheran, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish are all a part of my family and my life. While I have a general and basic knowledge of each religion, I don't feel close enough to any religion to consider myself a part of it or defined by it.

Similarly, I grew up in a fairly diverse school district. Racism was certainly present, but it was widespread and amongst all groups. While this may have seemed ass-backwards, it in fact gave everyone a sense of equality. Nobody was above or below anyone else because everyone ripped on each other, equally.

When I came to Fairfield, I was given a culture shock like no other.

While many kids broaden their horizons and branch out, I had to become introverted. I met kids who knew their parents by credit card statements, have never seen a Jewish person, and gave the fabled "there was one black family in my town, but they came in high school." This really bothered me. Could people be this naiive and sheltered? Is it possible in modern day to have this ignorance? After four years, the answer is a resounding yes.

This, in effect, is the issue with this continued racism coming to the fore-front of sports and the media. While the comments of people, and I use the term "people" loosely, such as Don Imus and Michael Ray Richardson are heinous and racist, the sentiments are unfortunately widespread.

It is more than true that these comments have no place in sports, let alone anywhere. At the same time, there is more racism then merely their ignorant comments.

At what point do we attack the greater whole, not just the individual offender?

I pose an alternative view. Last night on Scarborough Country, an African American screenwriter (whose name I sheepishly don't recall) put the entire Imus situation in perspective. Imus, like Richardson, is a crotchety old man who is old school, racist, and isn't going to change. This is a definite truth, but as he continued, his argument became more unique. While he was offended by the comments, the other side is that you can go to BET or MTV and see videos in which African - American women are being portrayed in this way.

As he said, is there no shame in the culture? At what point do we draw the line and stop people from portraying these stereotypes and start moving forward with cultures?

I found this profound and an exact representation of the problems within this country, and world.

Everyone hates stereotypes, but not enough people respect their cultures to cease playing into them. For instance, Jewish comedy is as self-depricating as it comes. Funny, but often asking for anti-Semitism. Rappers like 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg play into the ganster stereotype. The racism is not right, but it is almost justified.

Finally, the argument (which yesterday Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser supported) that cultures can be racist toward themselves does not hold water. You can't be offended by words such as "nigger" when you use it ceaselessly. It is an awful word with an awful connotation and it is not justified, by anyone.

Cultures need to gain a maturity that wrong is wrong, not wrong is only wrong if you say it.

Either that or as Carlos Mencia says, hate everyone equally.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Spring Rebirth

Perhaps the best part of the spring is that it is a great opportunity to start anew. Not to say that everyone has something to start new from, but whether it's the extra holiday pounds or a few too many missed classes, spring has a tendency to rejuvenate and give people an opportunity to be reborn.

It's like a natural baptism.

For college students, the end of the year is in sight. For young students, the year is drawing to a close and a summer off is ahead. For adults, the holiday rushes are over and the credit card bills are finally starting to get back to even.

Whether people choose to make something of this time or not is in their hands, but at least nature is giving you the opportunity. The grass is green, the birds are chirping, the coat is in the closet and the rest is yours to handle.

For me, I have a limited time in college left and I will make the most of it. Take that for what you will!

Friday, April 06, 2007

The eternal question...

What is the meaning of li...oh nevermind. More importantly, playoff beard or no playoff beard? If you go to the official NHL PlayoffBeard guru, then it should be no question now that my team, the New York Rangers, have clinched a post season berth. However, my knowledge should be deeper.

According to the ever-accurate Wikipedia, the playoff beard began in the 1980s with the New York Islanders dynasty. The idea was that players would not shave from the time they entered the playoffs until their team was eliminated. Since then, it has spread into all other pro leagues.

However, George Steinbrenner of the Yankees completely disallows the use of any facial hair, let alone playoff beards.

One interesting hockey tidbit came from the first Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup in the 1983-84 season. Before the final game, Wayne Gretzky walked into the dressing room and said to shave off everyone's beards because "Stanley Cup champions need to be clean cut." They went on to win, without the elusive help of the playoff beard.

Comment Below: Should fans do the playoff beard?

Did that really happen?

"Truth will always be truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief or ignorance." - W. Clement Stone

Diversions, bells, whistles, and any other mask can not hide the plain truth. While sometimes it is overlooked, the truth is always blatant and simple though many people often hope to not believe it.

In Sports Today:
The NHL is in it's final two days of regular season and both conferences will have integral positions be decided in the final game or two. The truth is that no league in recent memory have ever been this close or exciting.

In News Today: Ruth Ann Stoneburner of Amanda, Ohio was recently fired as a kindergarten teacher. Why? She used clothespins to quiet children. The truth is, the woman should receive a much deeper penalty then simply not working in the district again.

At Fairfield Today: With the Easter Break in swing, there isn't much to report. However, as reported in The Mirror, a Rider student died of alcohol poisoning and Rider is going to investigate hazing. The truth? Students are going to drink regardless and hazing is nothing new, and every student, parent, and administrator knows it. However, athletics bring money therefore they put up with it. How else could a certain basketball player merely be suspended for "undisclosed reasons" when he probably should have been kicked out of school?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Despicable acts...

"It is not human nature we should accuse, but the despicable conventions that pervert it." - Denis Diderot

The horrendous and uncouth acts that occur so often in life can not always be excused for one's environment, upbringing, or situation. We are all born with a choice and the ability to rationalize right from wrong.

In Sports Today:With all of the despicable acts that athletes, both current and former, have taken part in over the past two years, it is time for the major leagues to enact stricter and more harsh penalties for those who don't conduct themselves as professionals.

In News Today: A 33 year old Michigan woman agreed to sell her 7 year old daughter for sexual photos and acts. The despicable act was caught by an undercover investigator and the woman has pleaded not guilty, but held for $1 million bail.

At Fairfield Today:
A lighter note - the turkey mating season has begun and the on-campus fowls have taken to lewd and despicable acts along with aggressive behavior to students, each other, and even vehicles!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

But not why you think. True, Spring is in the air and the vast majority of America is ready for home runs, hot dogs, and the push for October. However, it is also a much more exciting and overlooked time in sports,the NHL playoffs.

Now I know what you are all saying, it is a Canadian sport, I can't see the puck on T.V. and I don't understand the game, but if I can convert Southern Nascar and baseball enthusiast Chris Simmons, then I can make a believer out of anyone. Where to begin?

How about the argument of visualizing the puck. Do you see the baseball? No. Especially on the pitch. Besides, how a ball flies is inconsequential as is following the puck in hockey. The hits, speed, and goal scoring is what is important.

Next, there is more parody in hockey then any other sport right now. For instance, take the Eastern Conference. With 6 or so games remaining on the entire 82 game season, only two teams were eliminated from contention. In fact, sixth place through twelfth were separated by a mere six points.

The parody has made the final twenty games have playoff atmosphere, rocking fans, close games, overtime and shootout thrillers. The uncertainty leads to drama and passion both on the ice and in the stands.

Teams will be playing their final games of the season to determine their playoff lives! Win or go home. It is as thrilling as any sporting event.

More to come as the NHL gears up for the playoffs, but if you don't get involved you are missing out on something special!

Comment below:
Will you watch the NHL playoffs?

Friday, March 30, 2007

The unfortunate ignorance...

"We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders." - Maya Angelou

Despite our human instinct toward networking and connection, there is still a prominent amount of ignorance that leads us in areas of segregation, prejudice, and overall separation. However, if man can learn to overcome his ignorance, the foundation for unity is already present.

In Sports Today: Another unfortunate blemish for professional basketball as former NBA star Micheal Ray Richardson made anti-Semitic comments while coaching for Albany in the CBA. His ignorance earned him a season long suspension. Earlier in his career, he was banned from the NBA for drug use.

In News Today: The continued ignorance in Middle East relations took another hit today as detained Briton Faye Turney exclaimed she was sacrificed by British and U.S. policies and pleaded for the withdrawl of troops from Iraq.

At Fairfield Today: A recent study showed an increase in substance abuse amongst college students throughout the country. While Fairfield has seen this, their ignorance continues as they continue and fail to provide desireable alternatives to these activities. For further commentary see last week's The Ak Attack in print.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Triptophan in chicken wings

I have no idea what it is, but when I embark on our weekly Archie Moore's Happy Hour, regardless of the amount of $2.50 specials or wings, I always end up sleepy.

Why is that?

I can handle my beer so let us not think it is some sort of inability to maintain my manhood. The problem is if I have a social one or a one helluva week three or four, the result is the same. Within minutes, I am yawning, lightheaded, and inevitably fall asleep. Perhaps the biggest kicker: it may last up to five hours!

If I sleep the night before or not is irrelevant and the results remain the same. Some less than qualified scientists have chimed in. My housemate wisely said that if the only thing I was consuming all day was that, the effect would be explainable. I agreed and decided to start my day earlier and have some decent food before Happy Hour. The result?

The same. Yawning and passed out by 7:30 pm.

A family member suggested it was merely my relaxed state. Perhaps. There are few times in a man's life that he can truly sit back, relax, enjoy a tasty beverage and a free chicken wing and not be in heaven. Well maybe if a Swedish supermodel was accompanying you.

Nonetheless it remains a mystery and the only food combination that has this effect on me.

I ask you readers: what is the deal?!? Comment below!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The role of an athlete...

In a break from the daily quotes, (don't worry they'll continue tomorrow) I sit next to candlelight getting ready for an evening of work before tomorrow's class. However, there was something pressing as I continue to read about the distasteful acts of some of professional athlete's most prominent figures.

While I in no way would ever condone the actions of someone like Tony LaRussa , recently arrested for DUI, or half of the Baltimore Ravens for their scandalous acts, the fault does not lie with the athlete as much as it does with the fan.

I, like many in this country, pay exorbitant amounts to see a hockey game, baseball game, the occasional football and basketball game, and frequently for concerts. However, I am in the wrong for doing so.

While these entertainers are certainly in the limelight, they are not role models and are nothing more than average humans who have a unique talent. That is it.

True their actions are unacceptable and certainly worthy of criticism, parents, kids, and fans should not view them as role models as so many do. Even further, people should in no way continue and pay these athletes to continue and justify their actions. Should I pay hundreds of dollars to contribute to drug addictions, lawyer fees, or bail money? The answer should be a collective "no."

Unfortunately, this will most likely never change, but hopefully the perception of them will in time. I think the first step was perhaps Mark McGwire not getting the Hall of Fame induction. Is this a turning point? Hopefully. However, it is going to take a unanimous smack across the faces of these athletes by the American people to put them in their place and recognize that they are nothing more than entertainers.

What's with the weather?

"Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get." - Mark Twain

In light of today's radical temperature change, a little something about what we expect and reality. There is only so much predictability in life and the unexpected is the only thing we can expect.

In Sports Today:
With the Final Four set, can Florida whether the storm from UCLA and become the first team in 15 years to win back to back championships? Time will tell.

In News Today:
Despite a weathering of opposing votes, the Democratic-led Senate narrowly voted to keep the Iraq withdrawl deadline of next March. Who knows whether it will happen.

At Fairfield Today:
Baseball weather Niagara this weekend to sweep their first MAAC series. Men's LAX couldn't weather the play of Penn State's Drew Adams.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Facing adversity and contention...

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mohandas Ghandi.

In the face of adversity or opposition, shying away from violence or aggression is difficult, but a valuable ability. We often find ourselves quick to jump, attack, or making impatient and emotional decisions. Taking a breath and thinking rationally about a situation should be valued.

In Sports Today: The Pittsburgh Penguins ,in the face of adversity all season, moved into first place in the Atlantic Division defeatinig the Boston Bruins 5-0, despite being the second youngest team in the league.

In News Today: The United Nations find themselves in the face of adversity with Iran and their growing nuclear capabilities. The U.N. will have to decide whether to be active and aggressive or diplomatic with the contentious Iranian government.

At Fairfield Today: The University will continue and face adversity as further issues continue to arise with housing and student affairs. The University will have to be tactful in dealing with a growing contentious student body.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Some character...

"I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying." - Michael Jordan

The path of least resistance is always the easiest to take, but often the least successful. Reaching a potential or going down fighting builds character, yet is too often sacrificed for the sake of comfort and ease.

In Sports Today: Another off the field football incident, Dolphins' Joey Porter hitting Bengals' Levi Jones at a Las Vegas casino, is just a continuing trend of ignorance and disrespect for the game. If you are going to fail yourself, fine, but don't bring down the fans or the city you represent. The NFL players have shown a total lack of class and character.

In News Today: A convicted child molestor and his parents were indicted after the molestation and murder of a 6 year old neighbor. While the culprits are lacking in any sort of humanity and character, the real problem is the continued failure of the legal system. Prior to the latest incident, the molestor George David Edenfield has a prior molestation conviction. Until we start locking up those who commit crimes that lend themselves to repeat offenses, particularly rape, there will still be victims of some of the most heinous crimes.

At Fairfield Today: The aftermath of former women's basketball Head Coach Dianne Nolan is settling down. In her 28 years with the University, her ability to persevere and become a staple and face of Fairfield showed great strength and character. Her presence will sorely be missed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A bit of inevitability...

"Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time." - George Carlin

We often forget that life comes with certain inevitabilities. There are countless small facets and actions that in the end contribute to the greater whole.

In Sports Today:
The NHL is currently seeing major infractions and handing out suspensions, such as NY Islanders' Chris Simon for 25 games and his infamous stick swinging incident. However, if you give grown men sticks and don't allow them to protect themselves or each other (namely due to the instigator penalty), these penalties will inevitably occur.
In News Today: As gas prices continue to rise, the greater question lies in when the American people will just stop giving in? If people continue and pay for the exorbitantly priced gas, then it is inevitable that prices will not stop rising.
At Fairfield: With the current housing changes and issues, students are further forced to occupy themselves on an overly boring campus and town. If you don't provide students a decent alternative to illegal or questionable acts, it is inevitable that problems will arise.

New happenings...

Since I have struggled a bit to decide how to theme this blog (everything from general sports to Fairfield to life) I have decided to include a bit of each, but with a new twist. Those who know me best are aware of my infatuation with quotes and lyrics. Why? Maybe I wish I could write like that? Maybe I just wish I could impact someone with words the way songs and writers do. Who knows. Either way, each day or so I will have a new quote and a bit of how it applies to the day for sports, life, news, and of course Fairfield. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

All's well that ended not well

What can be said about the seasons for men and women's basketball? Well, quite a bit. Overall each had a solid regular season. The women were expected to compete, and did. The men were certainly not favored for a first round-bye, but got it and went on a nice streak in the mid season. However, there are certain fundamental flaws in both teams that perhaps can come with change from the top to the bottom.

Coach Nolan's fate will be decided in the coming days. Chances are she will stay, though I personally think she should move on, for her sake as well as the program's. She has done a fine job, particularly this season, and came within two points of probably solidifying her job. However, what continues to plague women's basketball is the lack of depth as well as the inability to shoot.

As we saw, Sabra Wrice is the heart, soul, and defines the basketball team. However, there are not enough players to complement her. The drop off is too steep from top player to next best. Perhaps Baendu Lowenthal and Meka Wertz can pick up where their potential had them, but if not who will step up? Stephanie Geehan certainly showed flair as a freshmen, but can she establish herself?

Who is to blame for an inability to execute the fundamentals? College players should be able to hit shots from the outside, both the men and women failed and it ultimately led to their demise. However, should the Coach put greater emphasis on foul shooting and outside shooting? As both teams lost by a mere possession, it would seem that there should be more attention paid to it. Besides, systems are integral, but only effective and less obvious when teams have to defend outside as well as down low.

Coach Cooley, did an outstanding job this season with a group of recruits he had little to do with. As he made it known throughout the season, these are not his kind of guys. Other than Van Schaick, there is not much distinction amongst the rest of the players. As he put it, it's Shake and a bunch of role players. While this is true to a degree, each player did not play up to their potential down the stretch or in the tournament. Jon Han and Marty O' Sullivan needed to be better. Did Cooley have to stress more to them, or were we as fans just hoping for more than these players actually have to offer.

Overall, it is very difficult to advance in the tournament as this year had a lot of parity. At the same time, the program needs to be reinvented and revived. Coach Cooley has been the first step for the men, and either a good recruit or new Coach will have to happen for the women.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NHL Trade Deadline

It's that time again as the waning moments of the NHL Trade Deadline is upon us. I have done some prior analysis on the NHL Pro Sports Blog, including buyers and sellers as well as rumor links. Today however is the big day and I will be at it from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with all the results and analysis. Yes I am just a fan, but I do have a couple of insiders that have provided some unique information to this point as well as predicted some moves already. For a total list of trades to this point visit: Trade Tracker

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Distinguishing college sports from pro

Preface: I was criticized by a certain fellow sports writer nicknamed Casper, that I am getting less hits than him. Though this is true and in his defense he has done some more writing lately, I still refuse to write about NASCAR and sports picks. Yes I love hits (who doesn't?), but I don't want to encourage sports gamblers etc. to visit my site. So I am going to continue and write for the general public about general sports and the occasional random musings. So in that light here's a little something to chew on:

One of the more difficult parts of being a college newspaper sports editor is where to draw the line between being a professional (like the NY Times or Boston Globe) and being a collegian. Let me clarify.

In pro sports, it is the duty of the media to ask the tough questions, be cut throat and realize that these are paid athletes who have a job to deal with the media. Win or lose, you have to capture the emotion and do it objectively.

However, in college sports this is a little fuzzier. Some feel that college athletes should be as succeptible and responsible to the media as pro athletes. Others feel that they should not be as responsible since they are kids and are not paid.

This paradox is incredibly difficult to approach when leading a staff. For instance, last year's Mirror Sports Editor Ben Doody felt very strongly that we should act as if they were professional athletes. He certainly has a point and the writing was very strong, objective, and in-depth. This is also why he has been such a successful writer.

I tend to lean the other way. Since these are students , as I am, I don't feel that I should treat them significantly different one way or another. True, we should act as professionals and be able to ask the right questions, but there should be boundaries. These athletes are still kids who are looking to just compete, not being paid.

Though I have a responsibility to the readership and the University, I feel that certain situations don't warrant my prodding and questioning. For instance, last season when Men's Soccer lost to Marist in the finals, I refused to run onto the field and ask questions while students are crying and seniors are realizing that their careers are over.

In defense of the situation, a professional approach would have been to stay and ask those questions. I decided that since my article was not due until the next day, I would catch up with the team the following day. This was obviously a conflict between myself and my editor.

A similar instance occurred following men's soccer's loss this season. During the post game press conference, a fellow writer felt uncomfortable asking questions to Coach Rees and seniors Mike Troy and Alex Cunliffe due to their tears and emotions.

It is obviously a very difficult decision.

Where do the ethics of college writing differ from professional writing?

It is a debatable point, but as we move forward I feel that there is a greater need for understanding the roles of the college athlete in regards to the media and the media in regards to the college athlete. Most of these kids will not play professionally and their commitments year round are for the sake of competing for their University and their teammates.

While they must respect our need to cover them, we must respect what they go through and that ultimately they still are students who are playing a sport for the love of the game.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

After a short hiatus...

OK I know, this should be much more frequently updated. However, more importantly I didn't have much to say. So here's a little bit of insight into some recent Fairfield Stag basketball:
- Men's Basketball has been on a bit of a tear and while most would like them to continue and win out, I have a different perspective. As long as they finish in the top four and receive their first round bye, their spot doesn't much matter. As is very often exhibited in sports, the hot teams going into the playoffs RARELY succeed. Take the Red Sox in baseball, the Rangers in hockey, and the Patriots in the NFL. Each were hot running into the playoffs, but couldn't keep that intensity. This leads me to...
- Women's Basketball. They have been a bit up and down of late, but that happens throughout long seasons. Right now the women need a spark and that may have to come from Sabra Wrice. Why? Although she has played well, she has dominating potential and skill and just hasn't captured that form this season. If she can get going, the Stags are sitting pretty in the MAAC.

Non-Fairfield related news:
- the NHL continues to tighten up, look for analysis on the pro sports blog.
- the NBA is set for the All-Star break, but does anyone care?
- Has anyone realized that the Pro Bowl is completely pointless?
- Nascar drama...oxymoron?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Could this be the season?

In getting back from my stray thoughts on life, we focus again on sports. As this year's sports editor for The Mirror, I have had the privilege of some of Fairfield's greatest sports moments this season. From men's soccer to the streaking basketball teams, positive coverage has been incredibly easy. Unlike in year's past where it was tough to talk Stag sports, everyone from players to coaches and everyone in between have been up for talking sports around campus.

One of the biggest questions that has remained in my short tenure here is the lack of student participation in the athletics. This is not another column on addressing attendance (I did that last semester), instead I am looking at this as the potential turning point for Fairfield University.

I think it is uncontested that athletics has a tendency to make or break a University or College. Where Fairfield can compete academically with some of the best, the success of their athletic programs have been few and far between. However, this year has the potential to set up a large draw toward Fairfield.

In the fall, we had our first NCAA victory as men's soccer defeated UConn. Not only does this draw decent press (we try) but it also gives legitimacy to Fairfield's athletic programs. Sure this is great for fan support, but more importantly it becomes a more attractive program for recruits and potential athletes.

The same can be said for men's lacrosse. Last season they took on the ECAC and fared well with a still young team. As they continue to succeed on one of the highest national levels, better players will come and thus further success is imminent.

Most alumni and Fairfield students agree that basketball is our largest draw or staple sport. However, we have had limited success in the past. This year is different.

The men's team is riding a five game winning streak and have made a tremendous turnaround under first year Head Coach Ed Cooley.

Perhaps even a bigger story is the women's basketball team. In what seemed destined to be a controversial season because of the past failures of the program, the team is a top competitor in the MAAC and has a legitimate shot at going far in the tournament.

Even more so, both programs are infused with great youth. These players have already had an impact and are sure to be staples of the programs for years to come.

So what does this all mean? If the basketball teams continue to succeed and the spring sports live up to their expectations or capabilities, Stag sports will grow substantially.

Who knows, maybe a couple years from now we can look back and say: The Ak Attack called the turning point.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Take Ten Seconds: Part 1

I know it may seem strange to read something not having to do with the New York Rangers, Brian Leetch, or any sports in general on this blog. While I certainly try and keep a theme for anyone who feels my crap is worth reading, there have been a few turning points as this senior nears graduation that warrant discussing. I am going to entitle this part one, so as to not allow myself to ramble on.

Take ten seconds and answer this question: if you could know one thing from the future what would it be? Essentially, if you could ask a psychic (to 100% accuracy) anything, what would it be?


I recently asked a few friends, about 10, that . 80% said the same thing, who I am going to spend my life with.

Like many, I have had positive and negative experiences from relationships, however as many of us move forward with our lives, this seems to be a pressing issue. Will we find someone? Where will we find them? Where do I meet people after college?

My personal favorite anecdote, "I don't want to meet Mommy in a bar or townhouse basement." (That's copyrighted so you need to attribute to me ;))

However, with the questions as to how we will provide for ourselves or our future families looming, they are seemingly not on our minds. Why is this? When you can know how long you have to live, how you will make your living, or how long you have with a family member: we choose to know what fate has in store for love.

I am not going to pretend that I am any different. I justify it in my mind as saying that a relationship is the foundation for other things to build from. Even further, that my life will be defined and decided by who I marry, such as job, location, etc.

At the same time, there is such a small demographic that doesn't find love or marriage (depending how you view either), is it reasonable to even worry about it? Older people or couples would say no, they answer that your education and happiness is more important; to enjoy your youth and work hard and the rest will fall into place. However, we all refuse to accept this.

Does the fear of rejection overshadow our priorities? Does the fear of the unknown make us jump into unwarranted decisions? Does lonliness act as the root of all unhappiness?

Perhaps this is more observatory then anything. Perhaps this was merely written to try and find these answers for myself. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Super Bowl is set!

Miami will be ripe with the smell of Bears and Colts...on the football field that is. In a thrilling victory over the New England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning will take to the Super Bowl against the Chicago Bears. The teams match up well, but here's a few key comparisons:

Defense: The Colts can't stop the run, but the Bears have struggled with the long pass. Peyton is tops in the league when it comes to passing, but Brian Urlacher will be a key to holding him back. The Bears running back Thomas Jones has been dominant in the playoffs and will have to contend with Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders.
The crucial defensive matchup:
Colts - Freeney and Sanders
Bears - Urlacher and Ogunleye
Edge: Colts - Urlacher is definitely the most dominant player on either defense, but the Colts do have a quicker unit which will help get to Rex Grossman as it did to get to Tom Brady.

Offense: This is strictly a passing game versus the running game scenario. Manning will lead an incredible passing game while Grossman excels in the flats and utilizing the run.
The key matchup:
Colts - Manning and Rhodes
Bears - Grossman and Jones
Edge: Bears - Though I think Manning could be the difference in the game, a good running game always defeats a good passing game in Super Bowls. If you can dominate the run then you can dominate the clock and time of possession. Keep Manning off the field and he can't get a rhythm.

Stay tuned for more analysis and picks in next weeks Mirror!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A few snowflakes and musings...

As we prepare for the first Mirror Thursday of the new semester, perhaps it is symmetrical with the first snow fall I have at least seen. As it has been said for about a week now, Mirror Sports is going to be seeing a major overhaul. Well, maybe that is tooting our own horn, but to say the least we will be banging out a lot more coverage then ever before. So stay tuned!

A couple of other random notes:
NHL All Star Game: Next Wednesday from Dallas! See the new sleek Reebok Jerseys unveiled.

Tyson's Chicken: At what point will this guy just grow up? More drug charges? A whimpering plea of apology? Get over yourself! The fact that the media still covers you as a washed up fighter is astonishing.

K-Fed over B.S: The Nationwide Super Bowl commercial with Kevin Federline was chosed over a commercial with Britney Spears. Well, I guess we know who wore the too big, too far down past the ass, pants in the family.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way back from the Garden...

Ok here's a great story:
During last night's Ranger vs. Bruins game at Madison Square Garden, there was a penalty shot awarded to the NYR's Jed Ortmeyer with the Rangers up 2-1, but on the penalty kill with just over two minutes left. A fan favorite, and pivotal point in the game, the sellout crowd rose to its' feet. My youngest brother and I did the same.

As Ortmeyer scored, the crowd erupted. It was at this point of exuberence I saw a flying elbow and a see of blurry and blood. My brother, in exhaltation, had actually elbowed me and broke my nose.

Hilarious? For everyone, but myself. After crudely popping my nose back into place, my authentic Prucha jersey was covered in blood. After about 15 minutes of in-seat surgery with whatever napkins I could find, I made my way out. (Woosy to say the least!)

Why tell all of you this? Well...if you can't laugh at yourself.

(The solace came in the 3-1 victory)

Friday, January 12, 2007

NHL Midseason Report

After another disheartening loss by my New York Rangers, let's take a look at some midseason reports:

Biggest Surprise Team: Anaheim Mighty Ducks - Teemu is back in full form and the Ducks are tops in the west and alternating with the Buffalo Sabres for best in show. They have also dealt with some huge injuries, such as both goalies and top defenseman Chris Pronger. So all in all, biggest surprise.

Least Surprising Team: Buffalo Sabres - Who didn't see this one coming? A bunch of quick young guys who work hard under coach Lindy Ruff? Clutch to success. They also have stellar goaltending from American all-star Ryan Miller. They do lack size, but in the current NHL that is not a problem.

Best Offseason Acquisition: Brendan Shannahan and the New York Rangers - One of the most exciting old time hockey players to watch. He has stepped in and played an important leadership role in an all too soft European hockey team.

Biggest Offseason Bust: Todd Bertuzzi and the Florida Panthers - At the heart of the Luongo trade, Bertuzzi has seldom played and been plagued by injuries all season. The Panthers continue to be bottom dwellers and lack leadership.

Most Likely Blockbuster Move: If the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning fall back off the wagon, wait for some big names to be moved from there. Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier are all suceptible to a move.

Least Likely Blockbuster Move: Don't expect the San Jose Sharks to be as likely as some reports to move a goalie. Neither Nabokov nor Toskala have truly established themselves as the number one and until that happens, they are in a similar spot to Buffalo.

Craziest Deadline Team: The Philadelphia Flyers continue to be an anomaly and depending on how bad their slide is, don't be surprised to see captain Peter Forsberg and co. to be moved at the deadline.

Most outrageous prediction for 2008: It's bold thinking ahead, but you heard it here first: Sidney Crosby will be a New York Ranger after next season. Why? How? Well I have a scenario. Crosby is a bright kid, and realizes the Penguins are not a stable franchise. Additionally, he can truly show his skills in a big market like New York, not Pittsburgh. And if the Pens move? He is not going to go to Kansas City or Portland! The Rangers can max their offer to him after next season when he is a restricted free agent.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Rangers win 4 straight, Colts lead, and predictions

Ok here's some random thoughts in a mind-cluttered day after 22nd birthday. (By the by, anyone who was near NYC last night had to hear or see my group of unruly friends)
- Rangers make it 4 straight: Streaky much? Following a 7 game losing streak, the Rangers defeated Montreal this afternoon 4-3. Matt Cullen scored twice in an impressive showing and Henrik Lundqvist played well. The Rangers face the Islanders at the Garden on Tuesday.
- Colts as predicted: Ok so I didn't get the prediction up in time, but I am taking Indy over KC 21-6.
Other Predictions:
Pats over Jets 26-17.
Giants over Eagles 21-10.
Seattle over Cowboys 31-24.

More later...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stags, Rags, and the Icelanders

A few notes before bed:
- Fairfield basketball fell tonight (men and women alike): The men lost at Rider 58-55 while the women lost to St. Francis (NY) 64-60. See Tom Cleary and Chris Simmons' pieces for game stories, but the women are beginning to lose focus and the men continue to struggle for a clutch shooter. Will the real Jon Han please stand up?
- Rangers win in SO: The Rangers defeated the Devils 3-2 in a shootout in one of the more entertaining games this season. Marcel Hossa scored the final Rangers' goal while Lundqvist stopped rookie Zajac to seal the deal. Despite blowing a 2-1 third period lead on terrible penalties by Nylander and Pock, they got the job done and hopefully will send the Rangers on a role.
- Islanders lose 4 straight- After falling behind 3-0 in the third, the Isles tried to stage a comback but ended up losing 3-2 to the last place Flyers. Now dealing with the loss of Radek Martinek and an overworked DiPietro, the Isles need to refocus and get back to the form they were playing with in the first half of the season.

We're back kids

Hopefully everyone enjoyed their holidays and new year. It was a rousing good time as usual. However, it didn't leave much blog time so much to catch up on:
- M.T. and Snow: My favorite red-headed sports editor has suffered some of the worst snow storms of all time in Denver over the past month. So I wish her well. However, perhaps you could send some snow this way? It's kinda boring without it.
- Fairfield Basketball: So the women continue to shine. The men don't. That's ok, there are still positives. By the by, what will it take for a potential women's national ranking...
- Hockey news: The Rangers broke their horrendous skid of 7 winless in one of the best games this season, a 4-1 win over Washington. Though the Caps were decimated by injury and the flu, the Rangers showed heart and an amazing fight between Brashear and Shannahan. Also, tonight marks the return of the heart beat of the Rangers, Jed Ortmeyer. Though he will probably see limited ice time in his first NHL game since suffering a pulmonary embollism, he should provide a nice jump and bit of energy.
- Roids, ya know the kind: Invasion of privacy? Maybe. But then again, call the major leaguers potential terror threats and you can do what you want under the Patriot Act.
- NY Football: Here's a bold prediction: The hot Jets lose by a field goal while the reeling Giants make it to the Super Bowl. You heard it here first.

Back to work, more later.

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