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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