Blood, Sweat and Tears: Overused Clichés in Sports

If you watch sports, you’ve heard the same phrases for years. It happens every single draft when a quarterback is “can’t miss,” and “on everyone’s radar.” Clichés have become all too common in the sports industry. It’s hard to think of the last time I watched a commentator during any televised event not use a cliché. It is something we have come to expect in sports.

This past weekend a few of my friends and I were sitting around my house and eating dinner. One of them turned on the television and Rocky was playing (Don’t ask me which one, there are too many).

Ten minutes in and it was clear this was one of those movies – One of those movies where sports clichés were hidden in every aspect. It started with a surprising rise to stardom, moved to the training montage, the opponent introduction, the motivational and so on.

Rocky embodies the hope and dream that one can come from nothing and end up with everything. In the beginning of the film, we see Rocky’s current situation of fighting in cheap clubs in the shantytowns of Philadelphia before being given an improbable shot at the heavyweight boxing title. Rocky’s heart, determination, and incredible work ethic led him to finishing a fight that many thought he would not. He is willing to give whatever it takes, clearly illustrated through his grueling trainings. The triumph of an underdog is a common cliché throughout sports movies.

Another common cliché seen in Rocky is how everything leads up to the big fight, which happens to be on the bicentennial. In Rocky, this match means more than just winning. He wants to show everyone that he is someone and that he can be as successful as anyone else. The battle comes at a turning point, while on the books Rocky does not win, in his mind he does. Rocky “went the distance” with Apollo Creed, which no boxer had done before.

Love is blind, yet another cliché which found its way into Rocky. Adrian is a timid 30-year-old woman who works in a pet shop, Rocky does not care what she looks like or what job she has, he loves her no matter what. When you really love someone, you don’t care what they look like, or what mistakes they may happen to make, you just love them. At the end of the film Rocky and Adrian are calling back and forth to each other, even though Rocky lost and looks gruesome Adrian does not care because love is blind and in the end, love conquers all.

At the end of the day, clichés will always be around. Heck, we have the utmost respect for them.

How the Ed O’Bannon Case, Ended NCAA Video Games

In June 2014, United States District Federal Judge, Claudia Wilken ruled in favor of  former athletes, Ed O’Bannon and Sam Keller whose names were used in an National Collegiate Athletic Association video game without their consent to do so.

O’Bannon, University of California at Los Angeles, stated that the league violated several anti-trust laws that blocked the collegiate athletes from making money on their images and names being used in tv/video broadcasts, jerseys and other profitable revenue streams.

Judge Wilken in a 99-page decision, stated that the league cannot prevent players from selling their name and making part of the profits. Her proposal set a cap on the amount of money that a division one football and basketball program would have to owe the players, and that the limit can not be less or exceed $5,000.  The money that the players would have received, would go into a trust fund until they leave for college – so a freshman could make up to $20,000 if he decides to stay for four years. 

“The court finds that the challenged NCAA rules unreasonably restrain trade in the market for certain educational and athletic opportunities offered by NCAA Division I schools.” Wilken stated in her decision. 

O’Bannon noted that college football players spend majority of their time either in the weight room, game film study, practice or are traveling to games. Most players that testified in court, said that it made it even more difficult to have a normal schedule like the other non-athletic full-time students. O’Bannon and the other past and present student-athletes viewed playing collegiate sports as a occupation and not so much as an extracurricular activity.

The  case was updated three months later when the NCAA took the lawsuit to the United States Supreme Court. The Ninth Court who were overseeing the case, overruled Wilken’s ruling to keep the league’s initial amateurism rule that was already in place – where schools have the option to cover athletes scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance. 

“We cannot agree that a rule permitting schools to pay students pure cash compensation and a rule forbidding them from paying NIL compensation are both equally effective in promoting amateurism and preserving consumer demand,” The three judge panel said in a statement. “Both we and the district court agree that the NCAA’s amateurism rule has pro-competitive benefits. The district court ignored that not paying student-athletes is precisely what makes them amateurs.

The conversation between student athletes and compensation will likely continue in the forthcoming years. However for college football fans, due to the severity of the lawsuits, the league decided to discontinue the making of NCAA video games.

A Field Day for Kids with Exceptionalities

It’s amazing to think how just a couple of different sports being played in one arena can change the lives of so many. During my senior year of high school, I was given the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than my peers and myself ever imagined. Just three of my closest friends and I were asked to think of a creative event for the special education students we worked with. Out of the five, three of them were immobilized and were in a wheelchair permanently. We wanted them to feel normal so we thought of something that they normally wouldn’t experience.

Every high school student has the chance to experience at least one high school dance. My friends and I wanted to give them that chance. After talking to our principal she allowed us to proceed with our event as it would be on school property during daytime hours. As we began setting up the event, the special education classes from our middle and elementary schools asked if they could come. They were allowed of course because they were in the same school district. Soon after we received phone calls from the surrounding districts asking us if they could come to our special daytime ball. As if overnight, we went from setting up something for just 13 kids to over 80.

Every high school student has the chance to experience at least one high school dance. My friends and I wanted to give them that chance. After talking to our principal she allowed us to proceed with our event as it would be on school property during daytime hours. As we began setting up the event, the special education classes from our middle and elementary schools asked if they could come. They were allowed of course because they were in the same school district. Soon after we received phone calls from the surrounding districts asking us if they could come to our special daytime ball. As if overnight, we went from setting up something for just 13 kids to over 80.

The aides from the other districts were just happy their students could get out of the classroom and get together to have a day full of fun. The only problem with this was with so many kids we ran out of space and decided to set everything up outside instead of in our gym. After talking between the four of us, the decision was made to cancel the dance and have a field day instead.

With roughly nine school districts coming to our stadium there was a concern for liability, so we had to get approval from the board. Getting the okay from them was just the beginning for us. Brainstorming the multiple events and games as well as where they would be set up around the field was a challenge for us because we wanted to pick games that wouldn’t leave anyone out.   As the day came closer everyone became more excited every day and were even more ecstatic when our final plan had been accepted by

As the day came closer everyone became more excited every day and were even more ecstatic when our final plan had been accepted by the administration. We spent months on this day and wanted everything to go perfectly. Some people were skeptical because it was just myself and three of my friends, we were just young high school kids. But on that morning, it just felt right.

The day went just as planned and the kids couldn’t have been happier. Even some of the kids that never cracked a grin couldn’t stop smiling as soon as they got off the bus. The four of us just walked around and spent time with the kids that came from all over the area to an event that we created for them. With help from just two teachers, we did it all and it was all for the kids and that was all we wanted.

With the day coming to an end, it was time for a medal ceremony. I built a podium with a ramp on both sides to that the kids in wheelchairs could have their time to shine on the podium. As gratitude, the four of us were the only ones putting the first place medal on each and every kid as they walked up by themselves. I thought my day had ended and that I couldn’t possibly learn anything more from these wonderful students, but I was wrong.

Dalton was a student at a school not far from ours and didn’t have much to say when I met him earlier. I was putting the medal around him and admiring his achievements that day and he whispered something to me. I didn’t hear him at first so I asked him to repeat himself once more. Leaning in I saw a look in his eyes of complete happiness as if he never experienced it before. He repeated, “I’ve never been a winner before.” With just those six words, he changed my life in seconds.

Dalton had no idea what he had done to my future but I dropped out of Pitt shortly after to pursue a degree in special education instead of a degree in engineering. I was going a new direction in life because of him and owe him for that. A day filled with different games was something so simple to think of but drastically impacted so many of these kids in a good way. Sports can change lives whether it consists of playing the sport or just spectating.

Don’t let laziness get the best of you

Ever since I was a young kid, my mom would always express the importance of not being lazy. Whether it was me saying, “I’ll take out the trash later” or if I was just putting something off until later, she would always yell at me. She tried to engrave it into my mind at a young age and now, 21 years later, I wish I would have understand her lesson of not being lazy.

Basketball was my passion since I was in 5th grade. I would attempt to play as many times during the day that I could and even would let up my pap’s construction lights out in the drive way so I could see late at night. Basketball was that one thing I considered my stress reliever. Any time I would be upset or mad, I would go to the gym and just put up 1,000 shots. My dreams were always to play basketball in college for a successful basketball program. I could have had that opportunity, but I will never know.

I became very lazy when looking at colleges because I knew that almost ever college had a basketball team. My mom mentioned Elizabethtown College so I applied, got excepted, and then decided I would go there and not look into any other schools. Elizabethtown was interested in me playing for them so I was happy. I knew nothing about the program at all but was thrilled I was going to be able to be playing basketball at the next level.

I began going to open gyms and lifting with the team and never really liked the vibe. I tried to continue going to the workouts and pick-up games but began hating it more every time. I went to one official practice and ended up quitting. I did not like the coaching and didn’t feel like my time was worth playing. I was so disappointed in myself

To this day, I regret not looking into colleges more seriously and more into basketball programs. I wish I could go back in time and make the right decisions, or at least give it a better attempt. I miss playing basketball so much. I play intramurals with friends but that is not the same competitive level that I enjoy playing at. I always thought about transferring but the friendships that I had made my first year of college were too valuable.

I take that bad decision I made back when I was 17 into my everyday life today. Whenever I just don’t feel like doing anything or try to push things off to a later date, I always remind me of that feeling I get not playing basketball and I immediately get myself into gear. That decision scares me every day and I really wish that I didn’t let laziness get the best of me.

Sports On The Big Screen

I have never been a big sports movie fan, every time I see one I am very indifferent about it. But over the years, I have found some movies that really made an impact on the sports world and how I look at the sports world after watching the movies.

The first movie is Field of Dreams. I thought this movie was an amazing movie that touched on the old legendary players of baseball. For anyone who doesn’t watch baseball or don’t know anything about it, this movie is still for them. After a farmer in Iowa, Ray, hears voices in his head to build a baseball field in his backyard. Ray builds the field and attracts some of the ghosts of the best players in the game. This wild baseball adventure starts and ends in Ray’s backyard. All Ray wanted was to have one last catch with his father who is dead and luckily, he got the chance at the end of the movie. I think this is such a big addition to the sports film industry because of how likable the characters were and that the movie doesn’t only appeal to the sports fans but it can appeal to the people who typically aren’t big fans of sports movies.

The second movie on my list of great sports movies is Slapshot. A story about a bad hockey team turned good. The city of Charlestown is going south with its economy and to make it worse, the Minor League Hockey team, the Charlestown Chiefs are beyond sub-par and was about to be disbanded. The team decides to bring in three brothers to finish out the season. To the team’s surprise, these players bring hope and smiles back to the citizens of Charlestown. This movie is on my list because it is a classic comedy that focuses on teamwork and comradery between the town and the team.

The third movie that I think belongs on the best sports movie list is Jerry Maguire. This is a story about a baseball agent who got fired from his old firm. Maguire was still eager to stay in the business so he started his own firm and tried to keep all his clients. I believe this is one of the best sports movies because like all the other movies, Jerry Maguire tugs on the heart strings and has some comedy scattered around the movie. While also focusing on football and the troubles of being a little fish in a big pond of Sports Agents.

My last movie to be in my list of favorite sports movies is A League of Their Own. This movie is about what happened to baseball during WWII. Since the men had to go overseas to fight for the country, Women stepped up and played America’s favorite past time. Tom Hanks stars in this movie as a disapproving coach who eventually comes around to the idea of having females play the sport while the men fight overseas. This movie does a lot for both the movie industry and history. A League of Their Own tells a story about how women prevailed and proved to the world they can play baseball as much as guys can.

This is a list that I believe could represent the real top sports movies list. While it is an opinion on which movies belong on the list and which don’t, I do believe all of these movies should be on each list out there.

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Citizen Journalism