Terps Rugby 7s

As you guys know from my ‘About Me’ page, which none of you have probably read, I am on the men’s rugby team at the University of Maryland. This summer, May 31st-June 1st, we have been invited to participate in the Collegiate Rugby Championship at PPL Park in Philadelphia, PA. The CRCs is a rugby 7s tournament that twenty college programs from all over the country participate in. It’s a huge event and a great opportunity for Terps rugby, as well as the Univeristy of Maryland, because it will be broadcasted on NBC and NBC sports. Rugby 7s is a different variation of rugby that only uses seven players on the field for each team as opposed to 15 each. The halves are only seven minutes long as opposed to forty minutes. It’s a faster paced game with bigger individual tackles and more scoring. The variation has just recently been picked up for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. The CRCs was created in 2010 to promote the sport in America in anticipation of the Olympics. It is also used as a talent pool to help find players for America’s team.

 

This will be the second time the Terps rugby team participates in the tournament. We played in the tournament back in 2012 and did alright. Day one wasn’t exactly anything to write home about as we lost all three games to Florida(7-19), Darthmouth (7-31), and Delaware (18-34). However, we turned it around and put together a great day two performance to redeem ourselves. In our first game, we won a nail biter against Penn State 28-26 on a last second try (which is like a touchdown) by me to stay alive. I’m somewhat of hero. We then went on to smoke Oklahoma 34-12 in game 2. In that game, I got completely steamrolled by a big ol’ farm boy on national TV. A hero falls. In game 3, we lost again to Florida 20-14 and our tournament ended. We were led by senior Trevor Tanifum, an English speedster, who led the whole tournament with 10 tries. He was named to the All-Tournament team and went on to be selected to 2012 All-American 7s team. It was a great opportunity back in 2012 and we can’t wait to get back there and build on our first performance.

The team has been training hard this spring to put on an even better performance this summer. We have participated in three tournaments and have been successfully building on each performance. The first tournament was in our backyard and was composed of six teams (Kutztown, Maryland, University of Virginia (UVA), Navy, Virgina Tech (VT), & North Carolina State (NC ST)). We finished in fifth place. It was our first tournament of the year and a lot of the teams had a couple tournaments under their belts already. We were still trying to find the the right combinations of players to use as well as still working out the kinks in our game plan. The constant rain didn’t help, but hey, the other teams had to play in it too. The first tournament, although a disappointment, gave us a good base of where we were and where we knew we needed to be.

The second tournament of the year took place at Viriginia Tech. It was also composed of six teams (VT, UVA, North Carolina (UNC), Radford, UMD, & Wake Forest). In this tournament, we finished third out of the the six teams, but the tournament was, in a way, more of a disappointment than the first.  Our defense was lackluster and played a roll in two close losses to UVA and VT, the two teams who played for the final. We were missing tackles that should have been made and leaving gaps all over the field for teams to run through. Our fitness wasn’t exactly where it needed to be and we were having difficulty holding on to the ball. Rugby 7s is all about possession. The games are only fourteen minutes long and it’s difficult for the other team to score, if they don’t have the ball. We’re not the biggest team in the country and we found ourselves going into contact way too much. Once in contact, we had a tendency to lose the ball in the tackle. We found ourselves playing way too much defense on the weekend and you can’t win tournaments if you’re only playing defense. We left that tournament knowing we had two big things to work on for the Atlantic Coast Rugby League 7s Tournament in Greensboro, NC. We had to lock down on our defense and focus on keeping the ball in hand.

The boys after 2nd Tournament in Viginia Tech

The boys after 2nd Tournament in Viginia Tech

With two weeks to prepare for Greensboro, we put in a lot of work to prepare ourselves for the two day, eight team tournament. Who would of thought, but the hard work did actually pay off. I guess our coaches, parents, and teachers aren’t just blowing smoke up our asses. On day one, we played NC State, UVA, and Clemson. We came out a little shaky and nervous for our first game against the Wolfpack. NC State is always a tough team with some big boys and hard runners. However, we managed to tire them out by stretching the field and running around them. We won 24-10. Our next game was against UVA, who had beaten us twice by small margins in the past two tournaments, and we were determined to get the victory. I noticed early that four of their best players were suited up, but standing on the sideline. If they didn’t want to play their best, we were going to make sure they regretted it. That game was the best rugby we played all year. We kept possession for almost the entire game and they crossed midfield on attack maybe once. We were winning our restarts, moving the ball from sideline to sideline and scoring when the holes opened up. The final score was 22-0. Our third and last game of the day came against the Clemson tigers. We were riding high on our defeat of UVA and played the same exact game against Clemson. We won 29-5. We finished the day 3-0 and in second place overall, behind Virgina Tech, who had scored more points on the day.

On day two, you had to play three games to win and that’s exactly what we did. We started the day off against Wake Forest and much like our first game against NC State, we came out a little shaky. After an early score by Wake Forest, we settled into the game, found our groove and pulled out the victory. The score was 29-12. That victory set us up to play recent Atlantic Coast Conference addition, Notre Dame, in the semi-final match. Notre Dame has a great team with a lot of big boys. Defense and hustle is what won this match for us. They threatened us a number of times with a lot of big runs, but we never gave in and always managed to make that one tackle before they could find the try-line. We won the game 19-7. It was a huge match for us because it showed us that we could gut it out and win the slow, physical games that big teams like to play. Offensively, we stuck to our game plan of keeping possession and staying out of a lot of contact. We moved the ball around the field to where the space was and capitalized on the defensive mistakes of Notre Dame. It was a great game and set up a rematch with UVA for the championship. UVA graciously decided to bless us with their starters’ presence in the championship match, which is two 10-minute halves. We opened the game with two quick scores and never looked back. We stuck to our game plan of just maintaining possession and striking when the gaps opened up. We hit them in the mouth from the opening kickoff and I think they were a little shocked by that. They never really got themselves back into the game. They did have a good majority of possession too, but we played great contained defense. We didn’t give up any holes in the middle and we didn’t let them run around us on the edges. We made our tackles and converted our opportunities. It was a great and well-deserved 40-7 victory. Two notable players on the weekend were MIke Messina, the blazing, fast winger, and Matt Sarna, the athletic prop, who led the team in tries with eight and seven, respectively.

2014 ACRL 7s Champions

2014 ACRL 7s Champions

 

Captain Matias Cima with the chip

Captain Matias Cima with the chip

One of the stars on the day, Matt Sarna, getting properly hydrated

One of the stars on the day, Matt Sarna, getting properly hydrated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a little less than three weeks to prepare for the CRCs in Philly. We are working hard both on the field and in the classroom. Right now we’re doing four training sessions a week with an added film session. Sessions will start to be everyday as finals come to an end. The team is looking good and we’re definitely in a better position going into this tournament now than we were two years ago.We have five players on the team who played in the 2012 tournament. That kind of experience and knowledge of what it takes to perform at this level is vital for a team. If you combine that with the new guys on the squad, all knowledgeable and athletic rugby players, we have a chance to do pretty well. We have a tough pool that includes Temple, Drexel and 2013 CRC Champions and rugby power house, University of California, Berkeley. We are definitely up for the challenge and could use the support of both the University of Maryland and local rugby community. So if you can, please buy tickets through us at this link. It’s $35 for a two day pass and $25 for just one day. If you can’t attend the actual tournament, just think of it as a friendly donation. We would really appreciate and we hope to see a lot Terps fans out in Philly this summer. Also, check your local listings to see when we play on TV.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!!! Spread the word. See you in Philly.

 

 

Food and Baseball

Food and sports go together hand in hand. Eating food is a major part of both playing sports and watching them. Granted, the types of foods that fans and athletes eat are quiet different. Fans are often depicted with stains all over their shirts scarfing down wings and beer while athletes load up on chicken breasts and fish in order to keep their bodies in tip top shape. However, no matter what you are, a fan or an athlete, the right food is crucial to the overall experience of the game. Frankly, I think we can all relate more to the foods the fans eat because a hot dog is just simply more entertaining and delicious than a slice of grilled chicken accompanied by some sorts of nuts and a couple of pieces of asparagus. I don’t know where the nuts come into play, but the words are flowing right now. I didn’t choose the blog life, the blog life chose me. Anyway, moving on, lets get to the meat of the subject matter shall we. Which sport is food one of the most crucial parts of the viewing experience for fans? The answer is baseball. There is no better sport to watch live than America’s national pastime and part of the reason for that is all the delicious foods one can consume for a small fortune. With this post, I’m going to break down the best foods to eat when at a baseball game and at what point they should be eaten.

2nd/3rd Inning

Picture this, you just entered the ball park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for a marquee match up between your hometown heroes and their cross state rivals. 75 degrees outside, not a cloud in the sky, the field is beautifully groomed, and their is a perfect breeze preventing you from uncontrollably sweating (My friend has a problem). First pitch is at 1:05 pm, just around chow time. You can’t go in the 1st inning because you got to see both pitchers start the game. The perfect time to go is in between the bottom of the 2nd and the top of the 3rd. What do you get? Well, this is where you go with your main course of the day. You need something to give you a solid base and keep you full for most of the game. You have two obvious choices here. You can get Babe Ruth’s favorite piece of meat, the hotdog, or you can go with the bratwurst. Now just getting a hot dog or a bratwurst isn’t enough. The most important part of these two wieners is the toppings and condiments that are used. For the hot dog, don’t be the person that just gets ketchup. Listen, no one cares what you do in the privacy of your own home, but when you’re out in public at the ball game, you got to get the works. I’m talking ketchup, relish, mustard. If your feeling dangerous, throw some onions on there. Hell, at Camden Yards once, I got a hot dog with crabs and macaroni and cheese on it. I don’t even like crabs, but i couldn’t let the whole stadium know that. I had to get it just for the experience. For the bratwurst, you got to throw some peppers and onions on there. Maybe some chilli. The fact of the matter is, unless you’re a 5-year-old child, just ketchup on your hot dog or bratwurst is simply not an option.

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Ignore the hot dog on the bottom left Image Source: kiddiescornerdeals.com

5th/6th Inning

It’s the bottom of the 5th, you’ve been at the game for probably an hour and half now. You start to hear your stomach make some weird noises, but you don’t necessarily have the bones to shell out for another loaded hot dog or sausage. This is where the snack game comes into play. The beauty of the snack game is you have an infinite amount of choices. You can go with the classics like peanuts and cracker jacks. You also have the option to load up on sunflower seeds. There is nothing more entertaining than packing a cheek full of sunflower seeds and just mercilessly spitting shells all over the place. There’s something about baseball that just makes me want to spit. Can’t control it. Don’t want to. That’s the magic of baseball. Now stick with me here because I’m about to throw a curve ball at you guys. A great snack at both baseball games and all other sporting events is………drum roll please……………………..Twizzlers. The chewy ropes of strawberry deliciousness are a perfect snack to much on at sporting events. They keep you full and they provide a great way to simply stay busy as the innings drag on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7th/8th Inning

Going into the 8th Inning, it’s about time you get some dessert. Now when you think of dessert at a baseball game, you think of cotton candy right? Well, I’m here to get you to stop thinking so foolishly. Cotton candy might be the most overrated snack/dessert/food/candy in the world. I mean, it doesn’t really taste like anything, it disintegrates in your mouth, so you don’t feel like your eating anything, and it’s just plain sticky. It gets all over your fingers and makes your mouth feel weird. Not to mention, it’s just expensive. So what should you get? Minute Maid frozen lemonade. Boom! Next question. Why should you get it? Let me paint another picture for you. You’ve been sitting in the hot sun all day, you’ve been chattering non-stop to your team, you’re exhausted from standing up and doing the wave 10000 times, and you need something to quench your thirst and cool you down. You see the vendor coming your way with the Minute Maid logo and your mouth begins to water. It doesn’t matter if it costs five dollars or fifty, you’re getting some damn frozen lemonade. You flag him down and make the purchase. What’s your first move? You rub the bottle over your face to cool you down. After that, you open the sucker up and take that first bite and you’ve been reborn!! With that first bite, all is right in the world. Whether or not your team wins or loses, you can leave that baseball game on high note and that’s all that matters.

Image Source: shopwell.com

Image Source: shopwell.com

Baseball fans aren’t the only ones to indulge in the fine cuisine that the ball park has to offer. Some baseball players themselves have been caught eating not the healthiest of foods. Terry Francona, former manager of the Red Sox, basically got fired from his job because the front office thought he lost control of his players. How did he loose control? His pitching staff enjoyed a little too much fried chicken and beer. Personally, I don’t see the issue, but than again I’m not the owner of a professional baseball team. In 2011, C.C. Sabathia lost 25 pounds because he dropped Cap’n Crunch from his diet. You couldn’t pay me to stop eating Cap’n Crunch. Period.That brings me to Bartolo Colon, a pitcher for the New York Mets. I don’t really have a story about him, but a picture is worth a 1000 words.

This mans had a couple of hot dogs washed down with some twizzlers Image Source: nyc.barstoolsports.com

This man’s had a couple of hot dogs washed down with some Twizzlers
Image Source: nyc.barstoolsports.com

Baseball, whether you’re a fan or a player, is all about the grub. So make sure you catch a game or two this summer. No other sporting experience like it.

Don’t Quit.

"It makes me sick when I see a guy watch it go out of bounds."-Larry Bird Image Credit: Mangninphotogrophy.net

“It makes me sick when I see a guy watch it go out of bounds.”-Larry Bird
Image Credit: Mangninphotography.net

The other day I was perusing the established sporting magazine, Sports Illustrated, and skipped to the usually enjoyable last article of the magazine. The article, written by Steve Rushin, was entitled “I Can Quit You Baby” and it discussed the issue of quitting in sports. My response to quitting is a pretty simple one. You just don’t do it. The fact that there is an article that even asks the question is absurd to me. Buy hey, 1st Amendment baby!! You can talk about whatever you want. Let’s take a look at the last couple of lines of the article, shall we? I think they sum up the ridiculousness of the article perfectly.  “If you’ve never quit anything, you really ought to try. And if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Don’t give up until you’ve given up. It just might set you free”. Hey kids, having some tough luck in your sport? Quit. Do you seem to be in a slump? Oh it’s okay, just quit. You’ve lost 3 games in a row? Try one more time and if you can’t get the win after the fourth game, than you can quit. “Don’t give up until you’ve given up. It just might set you free”. This guy gets paid to write? What does this line even mean? I think he took Philosophy 100 a little too seriously in college. I’m going to talk about quitting from a team sport standpoint because that’s what I know best. Quitting doesn’t set you free. Whether you participate in a team sport or compete on your own, quitting is the act of letting yourself or your teammates down because you’re afraid of not obtaining personal success. It’s a selfish act used to put yourself above both teammates and opponents. Growing up, I got two important pieces of advice from two different men. The first was from my high school rugby coach. He said, “go out there and give it everything you got and if you get hurt, no worries, we’ll carry you off on your shield”. This always stuck with me. You don’t come off that field unless you physically can’t play anymore. You sacrifice your body for the 14 other guys on the field with you and the 7 guys on the bench waiting for their opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you’re up by two, trying to hold on to the lead, or you’re down by 35 and the outcome doesn’t look good. No matter what you compete in, you give everything you’ve got every time you’re out there because you made a commitment when you signed up. There is no shame in getting hurt and being “carried off on your shield”, but there is shame on just walking off the field because you’re too tired or just not playing well. There is no freedom in quitting and that line is starting to piss me off more and more.This brings me to the second piece of advice I got from my Dad and I’ll admit, I still have to be reminded of it from time to time. He told me, “you got to play the game the right way”. It sounds so simple and broad, but it’s so important. It means you hustle every play, you respect your opponent, if you’re struggling in one aspect of the game, you don’t feel bad for yourself, but you sack up and find a different way to help the team win. Everyone has lost and everyone has had their share of struggles, but it’s those struggles that make you stronger. They create a stronger bond with teammates, they make you a stronger competitor, and they make victory that much sweeter. I know I’m speaking as the mayor of ‘Cliche City’ right now, but it’s really that simple. No one has ever gained anything from quitting. But John, the author of the article made a great point about Wally Amos quitting his job and becoming successful in selling chocolate chip cookies. One, Famous Amos cookies suck. Two, I don’t know how his editor didn’t throw this article away as soon as he saw that line and three, did i mention Famous Amos cookies suck? Don’t quit kids, it’s not a good look. I don’t even want to know what Jimmy V would say if he read this article.

5 Best Female Athletes From Film

It’s ladies week here at the Practice Heroes’ office, so what better way to honor all my beloved female readers than to rank the top 5 female athletes that they grew up watching in both fictional and non-fictional works of cinema. (Spoiler: These athletes are all pretty much not real; however, their stories and acts of triumphs are no less important.) These five females inspired girls AND boys growing up in the 90’s to believe in themselves, dig deep, and do things they could never imagine. They broke down barriers and kicked ass while doing it. Tears and blood were shed while both physical and mental strength were tested, however, these girls prevailed and showed us all what it takes to be a champion. So without further ado, I present the 5 best female athletes of film:

5. Heather and Heidi Burge from Double Teamed

Love conquers all.

Love conquers all.

I’m starting off the list with the real life twin sisters we often forget. This is my first of two shout outs to Disney Channel Original Movies. Heather and Heidi Burge were two sisters who didn’t grow up playing basketball. Basketball found them and the rest of the world is thankful for it. The two tall sisters were convinced to play by their high school coach. Heather was the natural star, but Heidi had her moments as well. As usual with sisters, jealousy came between them. However, as champions do, the girls put their petty arguments aside and teamed up to win a championship. With fancy footwork and sweet hook shots, these girls changed the face of women’s basketball. They took a simple jab step move and rode it all the way to the WNBA. And to think, they never played basketball before high school. Their story gives hope to every kid who’s never picked up a basketball before age 14. Truly unbelievable.

4. Julie “Cat” Gaffney from D2: The Mighty Ducks

Stone face Gaffney

Stone face Gaffney

Julie Gaffney, aka “The Cat”, is the quick glove hand goalie who joins the Ducks in the second movie for the National Junior Goodwill Games. Cat’s one of those girls who doesn’t lack self confidence. She’s got a fast glove hand and can stop pretty much every puck that comes her way. Unfortunately, she came into a team that already had a strong goalie in the formidable Goldberg. As a result, Cat anxiously sat on the bench waiting for her opportunity to strike. We can all learn a valuable lesson from Cat here, people. She could have easily sunk her head and given up on the season because she wasn’t starting. However, Cat always trusted herself and what do you know, she got her chance. In the championship match, she’s called on for the last shot of the 5 shot shoot-out and does what champions do:

Goosebumps. Cat trusted herself and did what heroes do. Always be ready, baby!!

3. Anne Marie from Blue Crush

Just stupid fit....

Just stupid fit….

Anne Marie is a special talent. The girl can flat out shred the knar. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. She has the physical aspects it takes to compete against the mighty, brutal ocean. She’s got tone arms and legs to paddle against the surf and a strong core to keep her balanced on the board. However, it’s her mental strength that separates her from the rest. As a professional body surfer, I know the toll the waves can take on your body. After a gnarly wipe out, you start second guessing yourself and begin to wonder if it’s all worth it. It’s a constant mind game with the ocean. A horrific wipe out kept Ann Marie from participating in competition for quite some time. But as any good rags to riches story goes, Ann Marie gets back in the ring looking for sponsors to get herself and her sister out of the slums. She wipes out a number of times before settling down and conquering the best wave of the day. Words can’t describe it, so let me show you. (Start at the 2:35 mark. The stuff before is just bonus footage of her killing it.)

Ann Marie demonstrates the mental strength it takes to succeed and shows all young athletes the benefit of just getting out of your own way. Truly legendary stuff.

2. Andrea “Andy” Carson from Motocrossed

Andy or Andrea? Stud regardless

Andy or Andrea? Stud regardless

Andrea Carson is just an inspiration. She cuts off all her hair to pretend to be her brother so that she can win a sponsorship for her family. She’s out their racing dirt bikes with the big boys. Dirt bikes people. She’s controlling a 215 pound bike going 60 mph around hard turns and bumpy terrain. These guys are killers out there as they try to cut each other off to get the lead. Andrea easily could have been out muscled and tossed off her bike at any moment. But, c’mon, everyone knows Andrea has muscles on her muscle.  Excuse my expression here, but the chick’s got balls. I tried driving a moped once and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Not only is she a talented racer (She goes on to win the sponsorship for her family. Was there ever a doubt?), but she is a pioneer for women athletes everywhere. I mean, I haven’t seen this kind of courage since Kathrine Switzer decided to run the Boston Marathon in 1967. Love it. Stick it to the dudes. Talent is talent. Run your race ladies, run your race.

1. Becky “Icebox” O’Shea from Little Giants

Don't let the smile fool ya. Killer

Don’t let the smile fool ya. Killer

Topping off the list at numero uno is my girl Becky O’Shea. Becky is number one for two simple reasons. First of all, she’s a bad ass, bone shattering linebacker. Secondly, her nickname is Icebox. That is hands down the best nickname in the history of nicknames. Growing up my nicknames were “Four Eyes” and “JD”. You could tell from a young age, I was destined for great things. Now your probably wondering why they call her Icebox. It’s simple, when she hits you, you die and your remains are frozen like the Red Sox legend Teddy “Ballgame” Williams. That’s just star athlete material. I feel like I don’t have to say anymore. She’s the best. In the championship victory, she put that 3rd person speaking, meat head Spike in the dirt. Icebox is at the top and everyone else is just looking up.

The punk never stood a chance. What kind of name is Spike?

The punk never stood a chance. What kind of name is Spike?

Bonus Feature:

This is the stuff that movies are made of. I can see it now. They’ll call it Takedown: From Toddler to Teenager. It’s a story of two rival girls growing up on separate sides of the neighborhood. One a rich, popular girl, and the other is a poor girl fighting for her family. Both battle for respect and that one boy they have their eye on. Every movie is a love story people, if you remember nothing from me, remember that. Their story will inspire the next generation of young athletes all over the world. Shout out to all my ladies. Keep doing your thing. Keep turning the sporting world on it’s head. Much love.

 

Spring Madness

Spring break brings on two extremely different types of madness for the college world. The first is the complete anarchy that is a college kid’s week away at some distant beach with a whole lot of booze and zero physical activity. Unless of course, you count drunk body surfing as a physical activity. Now coming from a self proclaimed master of sport, drunk body surfing is no walk in the park, but that’s neither here nor there. The second of the two types is, in my opinion, the greatest sporting event of the year: March Madness. This 64 team, single elimination basketball tournament is the epitome of physical excellence as players dive for loose balls, bang it out in the post, and give everything they got just for the chance to move on to play one more game. It’s a tournament where regular season records are erased and the only thing that matters is the will to win. My anonymous blogger friend, Let’s Grab A Drink, can talk to you about the madness of college kids drinking from sun up til sun down for seven days straight, while I quickly break down what has happened so far in the greatest tournament in sports.

A bunch of drunk college kids. Image credit: springbreakguide.com

A bunch of drunk college kids. Image credit: springbreakguide.com

VS

Big Bad Kevin Love. Meanest White Dude since Larry Bird

Big Bad Kevin Love. Meanest white dude since Larry Bird. Image credit: officialtwolves.tumblr.com

Let’s start off with the game that a brought a smile to everybody’s face. Duke lost to Mercer in the first round. Say it with me, #3 DUKE LOST TO #14 MERCER. The final score was 78-71. It was practically a blow out. Mercer started 5 seniors while Coach K, the wizard/weasel of basketball, only started one. The boys of Mercer took experience and shoved it in the most experienced college basketball coach’s face. They proved that a strong core of veterans who believe in each other and their system can take down Darth Vader and his evil empire of freshman and sophomore babies just using college basketball as their ticket to NBA contracts. Its the classic backyard match-up of the dads vs the kids. The kids got all the youth and all the moves, but the dads always find a way to will their way to the bucket with sharp elbows and some silky hook shots. A great win for Mercer, but in classic Duke fashion, Coach K steals the spotlight. He immediately runs into the Mercer locker room to shout his praises. I mean seriously, Coach K brings the definition of brown-noser to a whole different level. The man’s the damn teacher, for god’s sake. Shit, this is exactly what he wants. Anyway, GREAT win for Mercer. Always love to see the Dukies lose.

I've Never Been More Happy To See A Kid Cry

I’ve never been more happy to see a kid cry. Image credit: kentuckysportsradio.com

Another big loss in the 1st round was #6 Ohio State to #11 Dayton. It was a nail-biter as the Fllyers pulled out the win 60-59. I wouldn’t necessarily have called this an in-state rivalry before, but now I will.  The game went down to the wire and there were 15 lead changes, but Dayton’s Vee Sanford put in a lay up with about four seconds left to put the nail in the coffin. Not even Ohio State’s hero, Aaron Craft,could save them as he just missed a floater with time expiring. This now brings me to the extreme joy I felt when the floater clanked off the rim. I was at a restaurant, responsibly drinking some adult sodas with my friends when he missed the shot. I jumped out of my seat, did a little fist pump and didn’t even care that I looked like a complete douche. Craft is that kid at practice who dives for loose balls, fouls way too aggressively on defense, and just plays so hard so that coaches will love him. Why do I hate Aaron Craft? Because in pick up hoops, I play aggressive defense, I talk too much, I dive for loose balls, and I take a loss way too seriously. But am I going to the NBA? No. That should be me, but instead I’ll most likely be a world renowned blogger of useless issues. However, it brings a smile to my face to know that right now he’s probably sulking about how life’s unfair and it should have been him for his senior year. Aaron, pull up a chair because for the next couple of weeks your just like us.

I Was Flashing The Same Pose Last Week On The Beach

I was flashing the same pose last week on the beach. Image credit: sbnation.com

Those were the top moments of the first round. Everything else was, to put simply, irrelevant.But sitting here, I’m starting to realize I take a lot of comfort in the defeat of people who have no relation to me. I’m starting to feel like a member of the Capitol in The Hunger Games.

The second round brought some great surprises as well. The most notable was that #10 Dayton kept the train rolling and beat #3 Syracuse. Dayton won another close game, 55-53, as Syracuse missed a shot to win at the end of the game. The key to this game? The long ball baby. If you live by the three, you die by the three. As a 5’11 white kid, I love the long ball and have been known to chuck it up every once and a while. But when it’s not falling, I get the message pretty quickly. If only I was the coach of a Syracuse. The Orange did not hit one three pointer for the entire game. You do the math. 0 for 10 behind the arc equals loss with a capitol L. Got to love the spirit of these Dayton Flyers. They’re just staying in these close games and pulling out W’s. The beauty of it is that nobody knows who these guys are. I’m pretty sure only a handful of Dayton students can name the starting line-up. Who cares, LET’S RIOT!!!!!!!

Ohio is useless, but it's colleges' know how to party

The state of Ohio is useless, but Dayton knows how to party. Image Credit: brobible.com

Another huge upset was #10 Stanford beating #2 Kansas. The wannabe Ivy league school from the West beat the Jayhawks by 3 points (60-57). The loss is a surprising one since the first coach of Kansas was Dr. James Naismith. Who’s that? Oh I don’t know, just the guy who created basketball. They’ve gone on to have legendary coaches like Dean Smith, Larry Brown, and Roy Williams. They’ve been to the big dance 25 times, the final four 14 times and they’ve won the whole thing 3 times. They’re always a solid pick to go to the Elite Eight, but not this year. Kansas’ one and done superstar, Andrew Wiggins, shot an abysmal 1 for 6 from the field. Good luck in the NBA when you can’t even beat the mighty Stanford Tree. The primarily football school shook the birds out of their nest (Oh man that was bad). The nerds from Stanford shot a better percentage from the field and out rebounded the Jayhawks. No magic secrets, just hard-nosed basketball. Even though they won, Stanford better watch out for the chainsaw that is the Dayton Flyers.

The second round brought some close games as #3 Iowa St held off #6 North Carolina (85-83) and #8 Kentucky upset #1 Wichita St (78-76). Kentucky and Wichita St. went back and forth with three ball after three ball, but the Wildcats proved to be too athletic as they gained the lead and Wichita St couldn’t hit the shot to stay in the hunt. It was a great game, but I knew Kentucky was going to win so no surprise upset for me. The round also brought some blow outs as #1 Arizona wiped the floor with the usually strong #8 Gonzaga (84-61) and #6 Baylor upset #3 Creighton (85-55) who just couldn’t get anything going. The ACC has one team left and that’s the Virgina Cavaliers. I don’t like them, so I’m not going to talk about them. Some great basketball has been played and we got a lot more left to watch. Grab a seat, crack a brew or a sprite, and enjoy. GO FLYERS!!!

 

Rugby: its all about the look

Rugby is a grueling sport that demands the athlete to be strong, smart, fast and physically fit. One must be able to break tackles, make tackles, sprint and think throughout an entire 80 minute period. Now, what do you think determines how good someone is at the game? Their ability to perform in the 70th minute as if it was the 10th minute? Their ability to read the defense and find the open space/man? Their ability to play well on both sides of the ball, which requires them to make hits and drop dimes? While all of these factors play a role, success on the pitch comes down to one simple line: “Look good, play good“. What better way to illustrate this point than to break down my own appearance? So, for the sake of science, I’m willing to put myself out there and prove it’s all about the look. Let’s break this down.

Sophomore in HS: Scrub City

Sophomore in HS: Scrub City

Cleats: My first pair of cleats? Football cleats. Total rookie mistake. It’s similar to running with two cement blocks tied to your feet. Those cleats are probably the sole reason I’m running perpendicular to the field (for those who don’t know, your suppose to run straight up and down the field). Just no control over my own two feet. Luckily the kid behind me was wearing the same cleats and I was just a superior athlete. Now, were they great for ankle support? You bet your sweet ass they were. However, two bad ankles is just the price you have to pay to look good.

Compression Shorts: I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, this is tough for me to look at. Just the definition of insecurity. Nothing more than a 15 yr old pale, Irish squid afraid to show a little leg.Terrible. Rugby is played with short-shorts for a reason. Show off those tree trunks baby! Also, in rugby, it’s crucial to keep your hips square. That way you keep the defender on his toes and make him commit to you. Once he commits, you can dish the ball to a teammate running on to it or you can just run the defender over. Dealer’s choice. But as you can see from the above picture, my hips are completely open and everyone who was at that game knew I was going to pass. Its simple arithmetic: Long compression shorts=telegraphing every move. To all new rugby players, be proud of your body and show some leg. That way you won’t telegraph your moves and get absolutely destroyed like the lad pictured below.

Wonder why South African winger, Bryan Habana got leveled?

I wonder why South African winger, Bryan Habana, got leveled? Image credit: Supersport

Socks: Now I don’t want to brag, but I’ve had sock swag since day one. Perfect length. Mid Calf city. Don’t pull them all the way up to the knee and don’t roll them all the way down. Perfect mixture of old and new school. Somethings, you were just born with.

Undershirt/Pads: The white T-shirt popping out of the sleeve is just down right sloppy and I apologize. If we’re being honest, I shouldn’t have been out on the field in such shambles. Now my take on under shirts and pads is you simply don’t wear them. There is absolutely no need for an undershirt. The extra shirt under the tight jersey is uncomfortable and holds you back. Not a huge fan of pads. But, if you got bad shoulders, who am i to judge? Plus, they’re cute for the undersized player. They’ll help him fill out his jersey.

Now lets take a look at my present look on the ol’ pitch.

Senior in College: New look, New man

Senior in College: New look, New man

Cleats:Tell me those cleats don’t look good. I mean, just leaps and bounds better than those crappy ankle weights I used to wear. They have the perfect combination of color with the lime green to represent my favorite drink, Sprite, and the hint of baby blue to match my eyes. Absolutely fierce. Running straight. Arm cocked and ready to meet some face. Everyone and their mother knows what’s about to happen to this poor Navy defender.

G65310_adidas_F50_adizero_TRX_Green_Zest

Stupid fresh. “Obey your thirst”.
Image credit: SoccerPro.com

Compression Shorts: What compression shorts? Is he wearing them? Maybe, maybe not. Just keeping everyone guessing. Every time you line up against a kid who’s showing more than an inch of compression shorts, you already have him beat. Just look across, pull up your shorts a little bit, and BOOM!! You just gave that kid a complete mental beat down.  Then when it comes to the actual game, keep those hips square and go to work. No compression shorts=unpredictability. You can’t argue with science.

Socks: A picture says a 1000 words. When you got it, you got it.

Undershirts/Pads: Don’t need ’em. Don’t want em.

Even if my skills and overall game-play hasn’t really improved since sophomore year of high school, the evidence shows that simply redefining my look has improved my game about 75%. Thus, the overall results indicate that rugby is 5 % mental, 5 % physical, and 90% just looking the part. It’s truly amazing what the right pair of cleats and undergarments can do for one’s sporting ability.

-Dr. Davis

No Man’s Land

Sundays in early March are a strange time for a lot of sports fans. If they’re anything like me, they find themselves in limbo trying to find a decent sporting event to watch in recovery of their own “athletics events” from the past weekend. The problem is that there is no more football, baseball hasn’t started yet, and everyone who watches college hoops is just waiting for tourney time. There is some golf going on, but if their not playing for that dope, green jacket, does it really matter? So that raises the next question. What do sports fans have to look forward to during this horrible time? The simple answer is nothing. The other Sunday, I was flipping through the channels to only find NASCAR and bowling on TV. Hopefully you can read the disappointment in that sentence. Now I don’t know much about NASCAR, but I’m very hesitant to call it sport. Some people would write me off immediately. Cue the peanut gallery: “But John, they’re going so fast and they’re so close to a wall and they could crash at any minute”. I get the danger, but they go around in a circle 500 times people. Its not exactly action packed or heart racing. I don’t think anything matters until lap Number 495 and that might be generous. You want action, lets get NASCAR racers to drift through the streets of Tokyo. Now that’s danger. But seriously, all we need to know about NASCAR is that it ruined Lindsay Lohan’s promising career.

From racing to rehab

From racing to rehab

Unlike NASCAR, I love bowling. Hell, I took a bowling class here at the University of Maryland. But, that does not change the fact that bowling is not a sport. Its a game. Anybody, ranging from a 3 year old child to a 60 year old man, can bowl. There is no strategy other than to knock down all the pins. There is no athleticism required and plus “professional” bowling is so boring because all those guys do is get strikes. Live a little. Spice the game up. Throw behind the back. Close your eyes. Maybe set yourself up with 7-10 splits on purpose to keep the “fans” on the edge of their seats. The only good things to come from bowling are Pete Weber and some fantastic pieces of American cinema.

Pete dripping swagoo with rapper, Ludacris

Pete dripping swagoo with rapper, Ludacris

Bowling has given us such classics as The Big Lebowski, Kingpin, and my personal favorite, Alley Cats Strike.

In terms of sports, I think its a good rule of thumb that if a movie is more entertaining than the actual event, it just isn’t a sport. So, sports fans, the next time you find yourself struggling on a Sunday in early March, don’t bother flipping through the 18 versions of ESPN. Just pop in Days of Thunder (pre-crazy Crusie. Nothing better).

lot of crazy behind those shades now

A lot of crazy behind those shades now