Professor Dan Connolly helped change the perspective of journalism for aspiring sports writers in Com 370.
Despite spelling errors in my blogs, along with posting two minutes before the deadline, Connolly always inspired me to enter the sports industry. He emphasized how serious it was, that misspelled words can leave you out of a job.
His guests, Jeff Lantz and Brittany Ghiroli, work in professional baseball and gave us advice on how to approach jobs after graduation.
So as a thank you to Professor Connolly for his dedication and brutally motivating critiques, here’s a throwback feature story about him, from an alumni luncheon last year.
– Newspapers Could Quickly Vanish Soon, and Migrate To Digital –
, Dan Connolly believes that in the 17 years he has been writing for newspapers, the push for digital tabloids could quickly change global journalism.
Since graduating from Elizabethtown in 1991, Connolly became a baseball reporter for The Baltimore Sun – covering the Baltimore Orioles for ten seasons. Connolly loves his job and says there is nothing else in the world he would rather do besides write – but understands that his medium is rapidly changing.
“I’m in my forties so I still read newspapers,” Connolly said referring to the change between paper and digital tabloids. “Older generations may still be used to a physical paper whereas the younger generation can easily look up an article on their phone or on their computer.”
The Baltimore Sun as well as a majority of newspaper websites, have a paywall on their website that makes the reader pay for a subscription to read a certain amount of articles and if not, you would normally not gain access to the site. The paywall system denotes an example on how newspapers may migrate to the digital age and likely costing consumers more to read online than to receive a physical copy.
Readers of online media has access to video, live interviews and stats, whereas a paper copy of an article only gives you the story of the game, a photo and the box store. Connolly noted that reporters who are assigned to a sports game have a deadline to meet and breaking news stories to write quickly where it can be posted and on the top page of Google News for quick searching. It shows the upside that the digital media has over tabloids that can potentially change several jobs around the world.
But despite the current rise and impact of digital tabloids, Connolly believes there will be some space for physical newspapers in the near future due to the popularity it has and the connection it brings to certain people.
“I think newspaper the genre will stick around because I think people will still want a different voice.”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick brought attention to a racial issue, that most small town areas have trouble adjusting to like Elizabethtown.
Kaepernick sat for the national anthem because of the way African Americans are perceived to be wrongfully treated. His motives were not initially intended of gaining national exposure, but Kaepernick knew it was the proper platform to spark a discussion.
“We have to have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people,” Kaepernick told reporters after their preseason game in 2015. “If we have these conversations, there’s a better understanding of where both sides are coming from.“
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issued an ultimatum to his players that if they knelt during the national anthem, then they will be benched. Much like President Trump and the people who are cancelling their sunday football package, Jones strongly believes that kneeling is unpatriotic and is disrespecting the military.
“We believe that our players should stand for the national anthem,” National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said at an annual owners meeting in October . “We have about six or seven players that are involved with this protest at this point. What we try to do is deal with the underlying issue and understand what it is that they’re protesting and try to address that matter.”
Elizabethtown College is a small private school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The town hosts about 11,000 residents, where 85 percent of the students at the college are white. 2.9 percent of the students on campus are black.
Elizabethtown has had several racial incidents on their campus in the past. Most recently, an African-American student reported that someone wrote a racial slur on her door whiteboard. The college quickly resolved the issue, and reiterated their zero-tolerance policy against racial and bias related incidents.
“I have to face it every day because me and [Jamil] are the only two African-American teens in our class classes,” Jalil Pines-Elliott, who has a twin brother, Jamil, said on the pressure of being black in the Lancaster community. “But being from Philly, you’re just built with that toughness and we just have to learn to deal with it.”
Jamil and Jalil are junior basketball players at Elizabethtown. They grew up in North Philadelphia where they graduated from Germantown Friends High School. GFHS is also a mostly white school, so transitioning to their college’s atmosphere was not new to them.
“It’s almost a culture shock,” Jamil said. “We went to an all white high school, after coming from a predominantly black middle school, so we were used to seeing people who look like us.”
Both Jamil and Jalil, as well as other students of color, are involved in a program to help promote diversity. Even with their group, Jalil feels comfortable knowing that he has peers around campus that can help him in need.
“Even though this campus is predominantly white, we still have groups of friends that we can go to for support if there is ever any dangerous issues,” Jalil said. “ My experience at Elizabethtown has continued to be pleasant, but I think that there are still some things that should have changed in my three years here.”
Racial incidents are not something new on college campuses. Identity Evropa is a self-identified white supremacist group. They have been designated as a racist hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to its website, their mission is to, “spread support for white nationalism.”
The group specifically targets college students across the United States, by hanging posters around their school with a slogan, “project seige.” Millersville University, Stockton University and Elizabethtown reported the postings on their campus to local authorities. Elizabethtown’s campus security confirmed the surveillance video, that the people were not associated with the college.
“I think people on this campus should be more aware,” Jamil said. “There’s issues that color people face everyday and not a lot of people are informed of it.”
Situations like Identity Evropa is an example of what the players are trying to fix – by using popular sports platforms. The demonstrations have affected the NFL’s television ratings, to the point that the league are proposing million dollar donations to social causes and organizations, like the United Negro College Fund and Dream Corps. The incentive of course would include players to stand during the anthem.
49ers safety, Eric Reid was one of Kaepernick’s teammates that supported him when the protests began. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and former N.F.L. wide receiver Anquan Boldin, are a part of a so-called players coalition group, that was intended to help increase the conversation. Reid was a member of the group, but withdrew because of Jenkins’ change of mind to stand after the proposal was introduced.
“The Players Coalition was supposed to be formed as a group that represents N.F.L. athletes who have been silently protesting social injustices and racism,” Reid said in a Twitter post. “However, Malcolm and Anquan can no longer speak on our behalf as we don’t believe the coalition’s beliefs are in our best interests as a whole.”
Reid reassured fans that he would continue to kneel, and hopes that the league will rescind their offer that he views as a bribe.
“At no point did I say the donations were contingent on me ending my protest,” Reid said. “[Goodell] is trying to buy our silence.”
President Trump has continued to attack the league on Twitter, stating that their lack in forcing the players to stop protesting, is the reason behind their declining ratings.
Nevertheless, the conversations will likely continue across the N.F.L. and other professional sports leagues. The demonstrations by the players are even influencing the younger generation to bring attention to racial inequality. Jamil and a few of his peers from Elizabethtown, participated in the March for Racial Justice protest in Washington D.C. back in September. Thousands of supporters silently marched a mile from Lincoln Park to the United States Capitol.
“It’s just something that this country as a whole has continued to ignore,” Jamil said. “It’s staring at them right in their face.
Just when the Arena Football League were taking steps forward in building new franchises, the Cleveland Gladiators announced that they will suspend play until the 2020 season.
The surprising news came late Tuesday afternoon, after the Quicken Loans Arena released a statement that they will undergo construction in the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Gladiators.
“The Q Transformation project will bring many positive impacts and improvements for decades to come,” Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski said in a press release. “The Gladiators have established a strong level of support, but it is important for our community and the long-term future of the Q as an important community asset.”
The Gladiators finished last season at 5-9 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Tampa Bay Storm. QB Arvell Nelson had a career year by throwing for 3,084 yards, 61 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions.
Arena Football League Commissioner Scott Butera, who will be entering his third season at the helm, realizes the effect of Cleveland not playing for two years – but remains optimistic on the future of the league.
“The Gladiators are a historic AFL team and remain an important part of the AFL,” Butera said. “We remain committed to continued growth for the 2018 season and beyond.”
Two months ago, the league announced that Albany will be the newest franchise to join next season. The name has yet to be announced, but would have been the sixth team in the league before the Gladiators temporarily folded.
For an indoor football league that has lost 12 teams and only gained three (Baltimore Brigade, Washington Valor, Albany) since 2014, concerns among the fans began to rise on the future of the AFL.
“Last year we made a strategic decision by focusing on building ownership,” Butera said at media day before ArenaBowl 26 between the Tampa Bay Storm and the Philadelphia Soul. “Although we had fewer teams, we had better teams. I think in terms of the quality of play, the excitement, and the fact that so many games came down to the end, we’re really seeing the league grow.”
Butera also stated that they are in talks with other cities in bringing the 50-yard sport to their town.
“I think we’ve built the foundation so it’s just going to be all about growth,” Butera said. “The AFL has significant expansion opportunities and strategic initiatives which are currently under discussion.
“We believe the future of the AFL is very bright.”
Former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach, Pat Summitt left a legacy not just on the court, but also in the classroom.
Most Division One schools focus predominantly on athletics rather than academics for their student-athletes. Summitt always taught her players to give 100 percent, whether it was in practice or classroom assignments.
Summitt’s love and involvement in education, reminded me of how much of a role coaches play in athletes’ lives.
In ninth grade, I played junior varsity basketball at West Philadelphia High School. During the season, I constantly asked coach for help and time management skills in certain school subjects. It would always seem like he pushed me away and didn’t want to help, so I knew from that point on, he wasn’t the coach that I could get along with.
On top of not receiving much playing time, I transferred to AIM Academy, which is a private school that specializes in learning disabilities. Although the cost was a huge factor in going to a free public school at WPHS, versus paying tuition at AIM, my parents knew that it was going to be beneficial for my educational future.
I played varsity basketball from 10th grade to 12th, where my coach cared more about getting his students into college.
In 11th grade, I missed several practices and games, because I was falling behind in my classes. I never asked coach for additional help, considering I was stuck with the mindset that their only job is to win basketball games.
Coach Schwartz knew myself and another player was struggling in school. He told the rest of the team that practice was cancelled that day, and he would be staying after school to help us with our work. His care in our education, made me value how much the coaches had our backs when we felt the need to give up.
In my senior year, I learned how to balance my schoolwork and athletics. I knew that I could also go to coach Schwartz even for personal issues.
Summitt became one of the most beloved coaches in college basketball because of her ability to win games and act as a role model in young adults’ lives. One of her players mentioned that most of Summitt’s lessons were about life, self-confidence and risk taking.
Because of coach Schwartz’s dedication and committment as a teacher and a coach, he will always be my favorite coach that I have played for. He didn’t care about the games. He didn’t care about missing practices. Just as long as we receive college acceptances in the mail when we were seniors, then his job was complete.
It’s coaches like Schwartz, who we should appreciate more, and give thanks to, like the late-great Pat Summitt.
Nine seconds left; down by one; as the quietest kid on the team, who barely scored all week, made go-ahead free throws to help his team advance to the next round.
There’s five conferences that are split up between age groups and talent at the 76ers overnight basketball camp. Seven to nine year olds were in ACC, 10-12 in Metro, 13-14 in Big 10, and 15-17 were in division one or NBA. There were eight teams in Big 10, with about nine players on each team. My team, Illinois, finished the week at 4-2 as the two seed.
Masa Kirsch, 12, was my second round pick in the development draft. I picked up Kirsch after seeing the consistency in his shooting, and how beneficial he could be on defense.
In the first few games of the regular season, Kirsch was not as explosive as I envisioned him to be. He made great passes, but shied away from shooting the ball.
Understandably, some of the campers that attend the camp, want to improve on their skills more than playing in the league games. I️ wanted to find a way to turn Kirsch into the leader of the team.
Throughout the rest of the games, Kirsch played with a lot of passion, but often times would quit when he missed his shots.
During the final moments of the playoff game, we were inbounding with one shot to win it all. Since we were down by one, i told my guard, Julian, to rush down the court and either draw the foul or pass it to the center in the paint.
As time ticked down, Julian was immediately trapped at the top of the arc. He lobbed the ball in the air and it was tipped by several players. Kirsch somehow scooped the ball, and was fouled going for the layup with two seconds left.
The other team’s bench had their hands over their mouths, while my team were covering their eyes halfway.
The ref passed Kirsch the ball – he took two dribbles and made his first attempt. Our team cheered but held it just a bit because the next free throw determinedbthe game or overtime.
He took five dribbles this time, stared at the rim for three seconds, took a deep breath and shot it. The ball bounced around the rim, but rolled in to put Illinois up by one. A roar of cheers filled the gym as time expired, and we moved on to the next round of the playoffs.
We lost in the second round of the playoffs, but Kirsch coming through the clutch when his team needed him, was the highlight of our regular season.
Masa Kirsch went front being the quiet kid that didn’t want to play, to being the hero- in a game that he will remember throughout his basketball future.