If Sports Figures Were Spongebob Characters, Who Would Be Who?

I want to let everybody in on a little secret. For the last 12 weeks or so, I’ve been flooding your social media feeds with my articles. It has been for a class, and it’s been an awesome experience. Thinking … Continue reading

The Best Moments of the NCAA Tournament

With another national champion team crowned, the 2013-2014 NCAA tournament has come to an end. Another year of exciting upsets and devastating losses, basketball fans around the country must resort to NBA or wait until next October for more college basketball. This year’s tournament was by far one of the hardest to predict, with many brackets instantly being busted with early upsets. Regardless, it was a great tournament with some amazing moments. Here’s my top 5.

1. Dayton Beats Ohio State – As a fan of the Big Ten, it was easy to cheer on Ohio State in the tournament, but it was evosuen easier to watch them lose in the first round of the tournament, by Dayton. To add to the fact of OSU losing, they lost by one point, which makes it even harder of a concept for the Buckeyes. No one predicted this upset and Dayton had every right to celebrate after beating a local rivalry.

2. Stephen F. Austen beats VCU in OT – This year, there were quite a few games that went into overtime, but this one is my favorite. VCU has had great tournament success the last few season and there were favored again to make a run this year. VCU was up by four points in the last seconds, until they fouled Steven F. Austin’s three-point shooter. The basket was counted and Stephen F. Austin made the four-point play to take the game into overtime.

 

3. Mercer Celebratory Dance – With most of the hip-hop songs, comes some sort of dance to it. The “Nae Naemerceruk” made an appearance in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, after Mercer defeated top ranked Duke. Mercer had every right to celebrate after this huge victory and the dance caught even more attention to the headline.

 

4. Aaron Harrison – Although I am far from a UK fan, you got to give it to Aaron Harrison’s clutch last minute three-point plays. With 2.3 seconds left, Harrison knocked down an NBA-range shot to beat Michigan. A repeat occurred when he hit another game winning three against Wisconsin, to take UK into the Finals.

5. UConn Defeats UK – That’s pretty much all I have to say about that one. The Wildcats never had a lead in the entire game, and they didn’t win the National Championship. All is well in college basketball, especially for Hoosiers.

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Today marks the start of the 2014 Masters Tournament

It is officially Masters week. Today marked the start of the best week of the year for many avid golf fans. This is a busy week for Augusta National, with tournament play beginning on Thursday for the 91 professionals and 6 amateurs.

Lets take a look at the top 5 stories of the 2014 Masters.

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Craig Stadler (left) and son Kevin Stadler (right) talk to media

#5. 2014 is the first Masters that both a father and son have been in the field. Over the 77 years of Masters play, there have been many father and son duos to compete in the tournaments but never in the same year. This year the 1982 Champion, Craig Stadler, will return to the field, thanks to a life time exemption, and will be joined by his 34 year old son Kevin, whose win at the Phoenix Open in February secured his spot for this years Masters.

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The famous Eisenhower Tree

#4. The 17th hole at Augusta has a new look; the 65 foot high loblolly tree, a little over 200 years from the tee, is no longer there. The “Eisenhower Tree” was damaged in a February ice storm causing it to be removed from the fairway; the absence of the tree remarkably changes the look of the par four.

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Adam Scott, 2013 Masters Champion

#3. Can Adam Scott win the green jacket for consecutive years? Only 3 players, Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90), and Tiger Woods (2001-02) have been able to maintain the green jacket for two years in a row. After making history last year, becoming the first Australian to win the Masters, could he become the fourth player to win back-to-back green jackets?

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Adam Scott (left) shakes hands with Henrik Stenson (right)

#2. The race to emerge from the weekend with the title “The World’s Best Golfer” is on. Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson could become the No. 1 in the world based on their finishes at Augusta. Scott needs to finish at a two-way tie for third or better, while Stenson needs at least a two-way tie for second, to have any shot at becoming No. 1.

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Tiger Woods

#1. No Tiger Woods, but the show must go on. Tiger set the stage for excellence at Augusta National winning the 1997 Masters by a huge margin for his first of 4 green jackets. It won’t be the same this year, thanks to recent surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back, Tiger has to miss his first Masters since he started back in 1994.

Who did you pick to win this years Masters tournament?

Repeating History: Oscar Pistorius

Source AP

Source AP

In 1994, the United States stood back and took note as one of its greatest athletes, Orenthal James Simpson, took the stand to defend himself against the claim that he had murdered his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her associate, Ronald Goldman. The case drew so much attention from the public, because OJ Simpson was the cream of crop in the NFL. He swept up the hearts of sports fans all across the world, only to shatter them with his murder accusations. However, history has a bad habit of repeating itself, especially when the figure is held to such a high regard in the public eye.

This era of sports fans has Oscar Pistorius to destroy their child-like innocence, and just like The Juice, the innocence is gone no matter if he is found guilty or not. This morning in Pretoria, South Africa- Pistorius took the stand for the first time, giving an emotional rendition of his side of the story to the court room; defending himself against the claim that the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was premeditated murder.
Many know Oscar Pistorius from his triumphant run in the 2012 London Olympic Games, where he became the first double amputee to compete at the games. In the 400m dash- noted as one of the most grueling distances in racing- Pistorius reached the semifinal heat, becoming an inspiration for the handicapped community and the world alike.

Source AP

Source AP

Since this is an ongoing case, I will start by stating the facts. On the morning of February 14 of last year, Pistorius discharged four rounds of his firearm through a toilet stall door- shooting Steenkamp in the head, arm, and hip- thus killing the woman in the athlete’s home. Local residents claimed to have heard screaming from the home after the shots were fired. It is also important to note that the area were the double amputee lived with his girlfriend does have common occurrences of burglary along with other, deadly crimes.

Emphasizing the last fact, Oscar Pistorius claimed that when he shot his girlfriend, he believed her to be an intruder who was seeking to hurt the occupants of the home. During his time on the stand, Pistorius was extremely emotional, stifling tears and mentioning the mental anguish that comes with waking up each morning. The athlete claimed that he was only trying to protect Steenkamp from the trespasser, but the prosecution had a different story to tell.

The family of Reeva Steenkamp is making the claim that Pistorius knew that she was in the stall, and killed her out of anger from an altercation that the two had had the previous night. Prosecutors say that the morning following the argument, the athlete shot his girlfriend to death to ensure that she would not slander his name on the world stage; painting him as a hothead with an undeserved sense of entitlement and an obsession with firearms. This accusation may have some validity as Pistorius is also involved with a couple different accidental discharge charges, paired with his excess of firearms, an infatuation with guns is evident.

Unfortunately, the next 25 years of a man’s life hangs in the balance of a he said she said case, and it seems that it is too early for anyone to tell who is telling the truth. Various reports have tried to claim different timelines than the one Oscar Pistorius reported the day of the crime, however there has been no evidence giving validity to the alternate claims. Overall, it seems that history is truly repeating itself; and no matter if Oscar Pistorius is found guilty or not, the world has lost one of its most inspirational athletes.

NBA Player Supports Marijuana Use

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This past Friday, Milwaukee Buck’s Center, Larry Sanders, was suspended five games because advocating the use of marijuana. Sanders has been studying the drug and its benefits. With that being said, he believes it’s not as bad as everyone builds it up to be. He wishes to use it as a pain reliever/relaxer.

Sanders is not the only person in professional sports who supports marijuana use. The cornerback from the New York Jets, Antonio Cromartie suggested a few weeks before the Super Bowl in February that the NFL has been wasting its time on banning marijuana, even though that Cromartie doesn’t use it. Also, head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll, believes that the NFL should do an investigation in medical marijuana and see if it can help players progress though injuries.

For those of you who don’t know much about marijuana, here are some facts. It is legal for recreational use in the states of Colorado and Washington and the medicinal use is also legal in 20 more states.

Early on Friday, Sander was told to make a statement to be soon to be released by the team. This statement said: “Larry Sander has a responsibility to every person in our organization and our fan. We are all disappointed by the news of his suspension.”

After that, Sanders apologized for everything that he did.

Sanders is already out for the whole season due to being injured to Houston Rockets’ James Harden while being elbowed in the eye while both of them were going for a rebound. After that he was ordered to have surgery for a fractured right orbital bone.

Larry Sanders also has been out for about two months earlier this season due to tearing a ligament in his right thumb during a fight at a Milwaukee night club.

So once he is active to play, Sander will then have to serve his five game suspension.

The Return of the Big Ten

bigLast year, the Big Ten conference hands down was the best and most powerful conference in college basketball. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the Big Ten had seven teams, six of them having seeds higher than 10. Even with the top seeds in the tournament being Big Ten teams, many people doubted the Big Ten and thought the conference was overrated. With all the talk and hype of the Big Ten, only two teams made it to the Elite 8, one to the Final Four and Finals.

This year, again, talk of the Big Ten conference began to hype up during the regular 2014 basketball season. Top teams from last year started strong but slowly began to fall during conference play. As usual, they were some upsets and shocking games, including Indiana being the underdogs as they finally became victorious when they played against Wisconsin, beating them for the first time under the Crean era.

Many fans were slowly losing hope in the Big Ten as teams everywhere seemed to fall apart. Heading into March Madness, it was unsure what teams would be ranked highest and whether or not a number one seed from the year before, Indiana, would even return to the Big Dance. This year, six teams were in the tournament representing the Big Ten, but only four of them were ranked higher than tenth. People began to talk more about how overrated the Big Ten is and how the teams are not all that great.

Ohio State lost in their first round of play, but after that the remaining teams stuck around as late as the Elite 8. Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Michigan were all left in the tournament representing the power house of the Big Ten. Unexpectedly, the Big Ten had more representation in the NCAA this year than it did last year when almost all of the teams were stronger than ever.

Now, the Big Ten conference is all relying on Wisconsin, who is the remaining competitor for the conference. As a bitter Indiana fan, I was ashamed that Indiana couldn’t even make it into the NCAA tournament, let alone the NIT. Meanwhile, Michigan and Wisconsin, two teams who Indiana had both beaten earlier in the season, were about to make it to the Final Four. Unfortunately, only Wisconsin survived, which doesn’t necessarily make me feel any better.

Anyways, people can talk all the crap they want to about a conference and whether they are overrated or not, but the true test is the NCAA tournament. Teams are made in March, and players strive in March. Honestly, when I’m picking my bracket during March Madness, seeds mean almost nothing to me, but anything is possible. Every year, people always claim that “this is the best March Madness yet,” but every year it keeps getting better. You can’t generalize one conference because of the way they’ve played as a whole during the regular season. It’s about what they do during the tournament. The tough keep getting tougher and the weak teams show as they are quickly eliminated.

The Pacers’ Plummet

AP Photo

AP Photo

At the start of the season, the Indiana Pacers were the hottest team in the NBA, bolstering the league’s best record and its’ next emerging superstar, Paul George; not to mention to development of Lance Stephenson into a perennial triple-double machine.

However, the season progressed and reality caught up the Pacers. The trade for Evan Turner didn’t seem to be panning out like it was supposed to, revived former All-Star Andrew Bynum once again was out due to knee problems, and the team lost its top spot in the East. The Pacers have lost 10 of their last 21 games, at a time when the playoffs seem to be close enough to touch.

In this slide, the entire roster has not nearly played to the bar they set for themselves when they owned the top spot in the Eastern Conference; a position that was taken by the Miami Heat, a team that the Pacers just beat and will be playing again on April 11th. In recent games, the bench has had its production crippled by the injury of C.J. Watson, the drop-off of Luis Scola, and the lack of production from Evan Turner. However, the major problems seem to be with the starters.

Since before the All-Star Break, the starting five did not seem to be clicking like they had been, and the situation reached a peak after Friday’s loss to the Washington Wizards. While answering questions after the game, Center Roy Hibbert had some harsh words about his teammates: “Some selfish dudes in here…I’m really trying hard not to spaz out right now, but I don’t know. We’ve been talking about it for a month.” (For Full Quote)

AP Photo

AP Photo

One can only guess that Hibbert’s comments are referring to Paul George and Lance Stephenson, who seem to be handling the ball most often when the team is on offense. And it is true, during their recent rough patch, attempts by George and Stephenson have stayed significantly higher than Hibbert’s. Not to mention the numerous rebounds that Stephenson has stolen from the center, which has to be extremely obnoxious coming from a teammate.

To this writer, it all comes down to winning basketball games. When a team can put a check in the win column, chemistry problems seem to fade away. Every athlete is a competitor down to their core, and losing exacerbates negative feelings that would normally not be strong enough to voice to the media. If George can rise back to his MVP status and Stephenson can flirt with a triple-double every night, I feel like Hibbert would not have the urge to make such a comment.

Most NBA analysts are quick to hop off the Pacer’s band wagon, but I will always keep some faith in a team that can beat the Heat. Lebron James refuses to lose, especially when it comes to the Pacers, so the win proves that there is still some drive in the roster. During their third match-up, both teams admitted to the impact of the game to their momentum, both experiencing their own version of a skid; and the Pacers pulled out a win, temporarily holding off the Heat from the coveted one-seed.

What I learned from that game is that the Pacers do have the ability to pull it all together and win, even against talent like Miami. But, if the Pacers do continue to play like they are, who knows if the Pacers will even get to face the Heat come playoff time. Getting crushed by double digits on a consistent basis does not bode well for a team that was expected to fly through a weak East and beat Miami to get over that hump.

 

There will be no green jacket for Tiger Woods this year

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I am writing this post while tears well up in my eyes, knowing that the best time of the year for me, as a golfer, just took a turn for the worst. With only 8 days until the eve of the first round of the Masters Tournament an upsetting announcement was made stating that Tiger Woods will not be playing in the 2014 Masters due to a back injury.

This will be Tigers first time missing the Masters since that start of his career back in 1994. He is a four-time Masters Champion winning his first Masters during his first year as a professional by an incredible margin of 12 shots marking it his first of fourteen major championships.

Tiger Woods underwent back surgery on Monday to fix a pinched nerve in his lower back that has been hurting him for some time. The microdiscectomy was performed by neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Rich in Park City, Utah. Woods will begin “intensive rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment” within a week, and the goal is for him to return to competition “sometime this summer.”

In a statement Tiger was quoted saying, “After attempting to get ready for the Masters and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided, in consultation with my doctors, to have this procedure done. I’d like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters. It’s a week that’s very special to me. It also looks like I’ll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy.”

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It is unclear as if Tiger will even be ready for the third major of the year, The Open Championship, which will be held at the Royal Liverpool July 17-20.

After multiple injuries causing him to miss all 4 majors now, Tiger still remains positive about the future. Tiger said in a statement, “It’s tough right now, but I’m absolutely optimistic about the future. There are a couple [of] records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I’ve said many times, Sam (Snead) and Jack (Nicklaus) reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.”

The Masters begin on April 10, and the field will not be the same without Tiger Woods. All we can do now is hope that the headlines next year read, The 2015 Masters Champion: Tiger Woods!!

Brewers Find A New Mascot

ImageThe Milwaukee Brewers have found a new mascot, Hank, which was found at their spring training site in Phoenix, Ariz. Well it looks like Ryan Braun is no longer the “top dog” of the Brewers anymore.

Hank, a stray dog, was wandering around their spring training facility and the players and fans fell in love with him everyday. This is also something that the Brewers would think that can distract the public from Ryan Braun’s suspension from last year. Also something that can help attract more fans to the games.

According to the Brewers’ Twitter page, this Bichon Frise mix was put to a contract to become their mascot. Over the past ten years, the “Brew Crew” have only made the playoffs twice and still haven’t won a World Series. Well maybe this pup can change it all for them.

Hank has brought so much buzz to this team that he already has his own bobblehead night. This is going to be on Sept. 13, and the Brewers are going to be hosting the Cincinnati Reds that game. Also, the proceeds at the gate of that game will be given to the Milwaukee Humane Society for the care of stray animals just like Hank was.

I won’t be surprised if that game will also be “bring your pet to the ballgame” day. Before the game, there’s going to be an adopt-a-pet event for local pets that are looking for homes in the Milwaukee area.

So by adding a dog to be the mascot of the Brewers can really help a great cause. This may get other teams to have dogs or evens other animals as their mascots in the future.