All posts by Mary Kondash

To Juice, or Not… You Be The Judge

From 1986-1998 Barry Bonds has numbers that are undeniably in favor of his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF). All of his achievements may be under a cloud of doubt and accusation, but he has been on the shortlist for being inducted for many years now. There are many varying opinions about whether or not he or any player who has used any forms of steroids should be allowed into the Hall of Fame.

Since sports has been around, the competitive nature of athletes has continually been pushed to the brink and, at times, even further. As the game has evolved, so has the need for the players to continually outdo their personal bests. Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are widely considered to be “cheating” in the world of sports. Most people consider cheating “un-American” which might pose a problem for the sport that is considered to be America’s pastime. This leads to the question should players who have been caught using steroids be allowed into the Baseball HOF?

According to Baseballhall.org, Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) members earn a Hall of Fame vote from its organization, which is independent of the Hall of Fame, by maintaining 10 consecutive years on a baseball beat. Those Hall of Fame eligible voters are required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct.

Some are not sure the same conclusion can be reached for people during the steroids era of Major League Baseball. The period has been deemed the start of being a known problem in 1991. This was the year when commissioner Fay Vincent sent a memo to all teams in the league saying that steroid use was now against the rules. Although this memo was out, there was no official rule change. Although this is considered the start of the era, steroids have been used as a performance-enhancer since to beginning of the major leagues. According to Robert Smith from National Public Radio, back in 1889, players would use a testosterone supplement that was derived from animal testicles for a better performance. ­

It is utterly impossible to know precisely what percentage of MLB players have used any form of performance-enhancing substance. Steroids didn’t make the baseball banned substance list until 1991, and testing didn’t start until the 2003 season. Apparently, something caused the MLB to have a clear and definite stand on steroids and that they are no longer being tolerated by the league.

Players who are well known to both baseball novice and aficionados alike, for example, Ken Caminiti, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodrigues. Sadly, the list is extensive.

One has to question, if steroids have been around for such a long time, and used in the major leagues, why the sudden attention? Instead of removing these players from the Hall of Fame running or the game altogether. What if there are two separate leagues and voting. There could be a league where all the players are like Barry Bonds, and A-Rod (great idea, isn’t it?) and then another league where everyone plays fair. It would be the same with the Hall of Fame voting, there can be a specific section of the Hall of Fame, dedicated to those who were great due to their use of steroids, and then the original HOF.

Everyone’s happy, right? You would be wrong. Of course, there are people who have a very strong opinion on players who have been tested and are known steroids users being allowed to be inducted in the HOF, there are also very strong opinions on the opposite end of it as well. There are also some voters who need a more varying opinion. “Well, I think it’s more complicated than a single answer; I think you have to take it on a case by case basis,” said Joe Posnanski, national columnist for MLB.com. “Clearly, I think you have to take a positive drug test into account. Does it automatically disqualify the player from the Hall of Fame? In my opinion, it should not. It really depends.” He is not alone in thinking that these needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Evan Grant sports columnist for the Dallas News, has just recently thought of a different way to think about this controversial issue, when filling out his ballot. “To simply put it, I am as close as I have ever been, I think everyone has their inherent biases, and their inherent personal feelings that they may never be able to completely shed, but I think that when I was willing to vote for Bonds and Clemens, I was able to make peace in my mind that I am as close as I have been to just let the statistics speak for my ballot.”

For the first time, Joe Morgan vice chairman of the HOF sent out and email to all voting members of the BBWAA urging them to not vote for players who are known to be steroids consumers. In his letter, Morgan wrote, “I think the Hall of Fame is special.  There is a sanctity to being elected to the Hall. It is revered.  It is the hardest Hall of Fame to enter, of any sport in America. But times change, and a day we all knew was coming has now arrived.  Players who played during the steroid era have become eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame.”

This letter received quite a buzz not only with the voting members, but also in the sporting world in general. This is the first time anything like this has ever been brought the full attention of the voters. Many voters are now abstaining from their vote because they do not believe that the HOF should be able to make a stance on this topic.  “No. I don’t. I think there are some in the BBWAA who feel the same way, many who do not, and a majority who might share some of his feelings but not others,” Posnanski said. “But I do think many Hall of Famers agree with him.

The reasoning behind Com 370

Sports has always been a big part of my life, both watching NFL games with my family as well as participating in a lot of various sports as a kid. It took me a few years at Elizabethtown to realize that you can make a living in the sports industry, without being the professional athlete. I don’t know why I never thought of this before, of course, someone has to be running the behind the scenes of the organizations. For some odd reason, the thought never came to my mind that I could make a living in a world of sports.

That was until I saw in our course catalog that Digital Sports Journalism was going to be offered the next semester, which would be Fall of 2017, the start of my Senior year. I saw the word sports and immediately got excited, even though I had no idea what the class was going to entail, to be honest… I didn’t care. I signed up as soon as my time slot was, just to make sure I received a seat in the class. I even tried to bribe my best friend to take the course with me, even though she hates sports.

The first day of the class rolls around, and I felt uneasy. Up to this point, I have only had Com professors as my teachers in this department, and I was now about to have an adjunct teacher who has never taught this course before. Of course, I got to class early that day to see who was in my class and to know if I would know/ like the people I was about to spend a whole semester with. Wasn’t too bad of a course, I knew almost everyone in it and had multiple classes with them. I got to check that source of anxiousness off my list, next came the professor.

It became very apparent that Professor Connolly was not like our usual professors. He was going to treat us like we were in the real world, not just in a college class. To be honest… this terrified me. My whole life up to this point has been academic learning, besides the summer internships throughout college. Was I ready to be so harshly judged?

After the second class, I realized that this course was going to be a lot more than I had initially anticipated, and it was going to be a lot of work… and not just busy work (although we did have those moments as well) but work I needed to put the effort forth for. After realizing this, I went to the office of records and registration and got a Pass, no Pass form for that course. I held on to the way for a little bit, continually going back and forth in my mind if this was something I should do. I decided against it because I wanted to push myself and see if I could do this.

I can’t tell you if that was the right or the wrong decision. There have been times where I think that I screwed myself and should have just taken the class pass, no pass. But then there are other times where I know that if I had made the class like that, where I would not have tried as hard as I did.

Was this class harder than most of the Comm classes I have taken up to this point… Did professor Connolly push us every time we would hand in written work to do better and that we were all still making dumb mistakes, YES! But would I change taking this class, never?

Com 370 is the reason that I found out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Will, I can get there, well that is still waiting to be seen? But I have a firmer grasp on it now.

Some of the other students have written that if you have the opportunity to take this class, they recommend it, I am behind their statement 100 percent.

Charitable acts in the Pros

You are in the ridiculously long line at your local chain coffee shop, as you start getting annoyed that it is taking too long for you to get to the front of the line, only a few people are standing between you and your Peppermint Mocha. You get to the front of the line, a little-pissed off, you order, and to your surprise, your coffee was already paid. Someone earlier in the day bought a gift card with a large sum on it, and the barista who is working the register was told to use it throughout the day until it was all gone. An instant smile comes to your face, and you decide to do the same to help make others day a little bit better.

A small act like this throughout the holiday season to let others know that they are all unique there are a few athletes who do charitable actions to the extreme.

Ronda Rousey, who had just recently come to the spotlight for her excellence in sports. Although she lost in UFC 193, she did not fall out of the spotlight. Rousey is a significant figure in charitable actions. Her foundation donates money to Didi Hirsch 501c3; they are committed to helping fund non-profits who deal with mental health services.

Michael Phelps not only known in the realm of swimming and for his many Olympic gold medals. Phelps received a $1 million bonus from his sponsors that allowed him to create his foundation, the Michael Phelps Foundation, which promotes water safety, healthy living and the pursuit of dreams. Along with his foundation, he also works alongside All Charities-count.
Russell Willson is next on the list. Willson is a national ambassador for the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association. He also spends a great deal of his time visiting children at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Miami Dolphins lineman Ndamukong Suh has donated ridiculous sums of money to his old alma mater, in 2011 Suh gave $2.6 million to Nebraska he also donated $250,000 to his high school in 2013. Suh isn’t just throwing money around, he also has a foundation that helps provide children with various needed school supplies, offers scholarships and assists students with an attendance program.
Serena Williams has listened to 12 different charities and countless causes on Look at the Stars; I was exhausted just reading the amount of work she does for all of these organizations. Williams is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; she helps schools in Africa, she also helps promote access to education for children in Asia through UNICEF. She has even fought against breast cancer.
Of course, these professional athletes receive a lot of money for what they do, and in this holiday season one should not do out and go bankrupt trying to help others. But I do believe that there are little things that everyone can do. Clean out your overflowing closet, and donate anything you are never going to wear. Those coats that either don’t fit or you just don’t like anymore give them away as well! Someone would be ecstatic to have a warm winter coat. It’s the little things every day that make a difference; they don’t all have to be millions of dollars in donations.

Flashback to my Childhood

As I sit on the couch after eating way too much food at yet another successful family Thanksgiving, I take a moment before I fall into my post-dinner, pre-dessert coma. As I’m curled into a ball on the couch, I can just hear my mom in the kitchen talking to a younger cousin. As I listen in more carefully, it quickly brings me back to when I was in middle school and high school, and my mom would give me, what she would call a “pep talk” but what I would call a lecture.
I am reasonably sure that my parents put me in sports the moment I took my first steps just to get me out of the house and out of their hair… although I don’t think they would ever agree with that statement. With that being said I could always count on one of them to attend every one of my sporting events.
In Gary Smith’s Eyes of the Storm, he gives the reader insight into Pat Summitt’s coaching style, and frankly how much of a boss she is on and off the court. She was working hours before she gave birth, which isn’t that uncommon now a day. But what is unusual is for someone to fly while she is in labor because she wants to make sure she can have her baby in Tennessee. I am sure there were so many people in her life both in a personal and a career aspect telling her that she shouldn’t be doing this, but she doesn’t listen. This was just the first look that Michelle Marciniak got before this fantastic coach recruited her.
Marciniak accepted the position on the Tennessee team under Summitt’s coaching. Marciniak quickly realizes that Summitt has a pulse on anything and everything that she can when it comes to her players. She knows where they go to the mall, buy new clothes, she will not let her players skip any classes without an excuse. Summitt keeps the standard for her players extremely high.
Even though I never played under a coach like Summitt, I lived with a mom that was like Summitt. I almost feel like most middle school, and high school students think that their parents always know what’s going on. But in my case, it was right! Growing up in a small town, and I mean everyone knows everyone small. I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without someone knowing my last name. Whether it be because of my mom, or my dad. Some people would feel micromanaged, but I guess growing up my whole life with this being my reality… I grew accustomed to it.
I understand, to a degree what Summitts’ players must have felt being under the microscope of their coach and making sure that they did not let their coach down by any means necessary.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner

It’s the time of year where friends get in fights about when the proper time to start playing Christmas music is, the time when you have glorious breaks from school, and when football becomes a weekly occurrence. There is, however, one week in particular where football is relevant to more people than your average week, Thanksgiving has arrived once again.

Thanksgiving is the time where you are supposed to give thanks and relish the joy of being with others. Even if you only see these people once a year.

If you are in the age range of 18-23, you will be asked what you want to do with your life. If you are currently in college and have a major no one knows anything about, be ready to explain what you are doing in school around 500 times, give or take a few. If you are a senior be prepared to be asked where we are applying for jobs. If you have received any offers yet, or what the heck you are doing come May.

Our house revolves around two broadcasts on Thanksgiving, once being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the other being football. Football games involve both college game bowls and the usual NFL game day match-ups.

Since I am in charge of making sure everyone can eat later that day, my morning starts very early. According to my strategically formatted day of timeline, I most likely have to be up around 6 am, to prepare the turkey and allow it to come to room temperature before putting it in the oven to start to roast. I then get to go back to bed until around 9 am when the timeline states my prep work for all my guest’s favorite sides, and appetizers begin. I will most likely be in the kitchen for the next seven hours doing various tasks at once.

Since I have been the one preparing Thanksgiving for the past five years, I have created a rule in our house… well actually there are a few, but the most prominent is that the football game has to be on a screen that I can see while I am in the kitchen. In addition to that, it also states that if the game is boring or a blowout, I reserve the right to change it to the puppy bowl (one of my better ideas).

There will come a time when I am the only one in the kitchen, the time for me to yell at my dad to stop stealing food when he thinks I’m not looking has come to an end. Everyone in the house is starting to get ready for the party. I find this time to be the most relaxing… just me with a 35lb turkey roasting, and task after task being crossed off my list.

Although I might miss more plays and ask what the call was since I wasn’t looking. I know that since I am around people that care about each other, I will always receive an answer.