Category Archives: Sports

How one of my players at the Sixers Camp went from being the shy one to a hero

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.

A Bad Attitude Can Ruin An Athlete

If you were a coach and got to pick an attribute for your star player to have, what would it be? Many basketball coaches would say, “I want someone tall, like 6-foot-8.” Soccer coaches would say something like, “I want someone really fast who can out run everybody.” Football coaches would say something like, “I want someone who is a freak in the weight room and can bench an insane amount.” If I were a coach, no matter what sport it was, none of those things would matter to me. One attribute that can take a star player in high school to a nobody in college is attitude.

 

I have seen so many great athletes let their poor attitudes take a toll on their performances. For example, there was a young man in high school who was extremely good at soccer and basketball in high school. They only problem was his attitude. He would always show up to practice late and even sometimes have the guts to not show up. Even though he was the star player of the team, the coach would make him run as a consequence for not being there or being late. He would run and not say anything about it. During practice, if he did something wrong and the coach would point it out, he always had an excuse or would argue with the coach. During basketball games, if he got the ball stolen from him, he would just stand there and watch the opposing player go down the court and score and never hustle back to play defense. If his team was even down by two goals in soccer or more than 15 points in basketball he would shut down and put his head down.

 

Attitude is a major key in being an athlete and being involved in sports. Most people don’t realize that but only see people by their athletic abilities. Having a good attitude will enable someone to become better at the game. Someone who has a good attitude and some sort of athletic ability is able to be coached unlike someone who thinks they are the best at the game and likes to continue in their bad habits.

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.

Another Player Lost

Over the past couple years, we, as fans of baseball, have had some of the most successful and the players who had a whole career still in front of them taken from this world and moved into “The Field of Dreams”. Most recently, Major League Baseball lost one of the most historic pitchers in recent memory. Roy Halladay passed away last week and left the country in shock. Jose Fernandez died in 2016 when he was involved with a boat crash and Yordano Ventura was another player who passed away within the last year. While these are only three names, there are many young players and veterans of the game who have been dying too young.

Every fan of baseball will remember where they were when they heard that “Doc” Roy Halladay, 40 years old, crashed off the coast of Florida and has passed away. The ace of the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies and one of the few pitchers who has thrown two no-hitters in the same season. One of those no-hitters came in the NLDS where the Phillies were playing the San Francisco Giants. It was reported that Halladay was attempting to do barrel rolls and he had lost control of the plane. Halladay leaves behind his wife of 19 years and two children.

Yordano Ventura was another pitcher who died on January 22, 2017. He was 25 years old and had a very bad car accident in the Dominican Republic, where he called home. While going around a turn in his custom-built Jeep. It overturned, and he was presumed dead on the site. He was found not under the influence. This comes very upsetting because Ventura was coming off his best season and a World Series win for the Kansas City Royals.

For Jose Fernandez, this is a player just starting his career and showing a lot of promise for the Miami Marlins. He was 24 years old and died on September 25, 2016, Fernandez crashed his boat off the coast of Miami Beach and was killed along with a couple of friends who were on the boat. After the toxicology report came out, it was found that he was highly intoxicated and had cocaine in his system. Although Fernandez wasn’t driving the boat but unfortunately, he should be held responsible. It is very sad that this had happened to him because he had many more years going for him.

Players die every year. But, some die way too soon, and it makes fans of the sport wonder, what is it that is leading some of these players to death. I feel that it might be the amount of money each player gets paid. Let’s talk about Jose Fernandez first. Since he wasn’t off arbitration from the Marlins, he was being paid 2.8 million dollars. That is a lot of money for a 24-year-old to handle. It almost seems like it would make some players feel like they are invincible. It is a shame that we lose so many young players year after year. Let’s hope this is not a trend and the amount of players dying each year starts to dwindle.

A League of Their Own: Still Work to Do

I’ve decided to keep with the sports movie theme. This week I got the chance to watch another baseball movie. This movie focuses on social change and quite frankly girl power. Great social change has happened throughout many decades in American history. One of the biggest social changes came when World War Two began. Men were shipped overseas leaving women at home to take the place of men in the workforce. Women also had to be a wife or mother at the same time. In the movie A League of Their Own directed by Penny Marshall great social change occurs in sports and along the home front because of WWII.

Some of this social change occurred in sports, especially baseball, because there were no men home to play the sport. Most men were fighting in Europe or the Pacific because of the draft. A League of Their Own is based off of a true story of women stepping up for others as well, but on the home front. This was an opportunity to show the country that women could be athletic. It was also a way for these women to help the war effort. They kept America’s pastime alive in a time when a true American sport was needed.

This is also a time when women were for the first time seen in a primary household role. Many women became the breadwinners and leaders of the family but they were also expected to be the “pretty” and “sexual”. Thus creating a double standard. A prime example of this is seen in the movie when the Rockford Peaches go to a charm and beauty school. They are taught or reminded how to sit, seat, and walk. Also, the head of the school lines all the young women up to assess their beauty. Some are beyond pleasing for the head of the school, others she tells to “thin and separate the eyebrows, there should be two.” Additionally, the players in this league were expected to still be primped and pretty during games even though they were athletes. The uniforms were not common to baseball either. The ladies wore short-skirted outfits. Many complained they could not do nearly anything in them. The women in this movie were expected to be athletes and attractive and “pretty” at the same time. This is a unique social change that occurs during WWII.

In some ways this still speaks to the sexualization of female athletes that we see today with female athletes. Female athletes are portrayed by commentators as mothers and wives. This happens before their athletic ability is commented on. It is getting better, but at the same time we have along way to go.