FOr 'cac and country: Widening the court could liven up NBA gameplay
On a winter afternoon in 1891, Dr. James Naismith nailed peach baskets onto 10-foot poles and had his physical education students at Springfield College shoot soccer balls into the hoop for physical exercise. He eventually developed rules for this activity and on January 20, 1862, the inaugural game of basketball was played. It ended at 1-0 when a player sunk a game-winner from 25 feet away.
Today, 25 feet is one foot and three inches beyond the three-point arc in the National Basketball Association (NBA). It is now a routine and profitable shot. Current NBA great Ray Allen has made 2,857 and counting from that range—a specialty that has earned him $70 million over his 17-year career.
Many basketball fans have suggested lengthening the distance of the arc from the basket. Making 3-pointers would become more difficult, forcing players to improve their shooting ability. In addition to showcasing excellent shooters, the extended arc would create more room in the two-point field goal area. Perimeter players would benefit from more room to dribble past their defenders, while inside players would have greater room to operate.
FOr 'cac and country: Tanking in the NBA: lose now to win big later?
News came out recently that an NBA general manager easily convinced his entire organization to tank—to lose intentionally.
“The ownership didn’t want to tread water any more than I did,” said the anonymous GM in an interview with ESPN. “They’d rather go down to the bottom with the hope of coming up, so they signed off on it. It wasn’t a fight at all. In a different season, it might not make sense, but this draft certainly makes it more appealing.”
The organization developed a three-pronged strategy to tank effectively: play young players, sit starters and trade stars. It will result in more losses, bringing the team closer to a high draft pick, while also developing the youth.
FOr 'cac and country: For better or worse, ESPN drives the conversation in sports
ESPN is a monopoly. It has a stronghold on sports and there is nowhere else to turn. Fans have no comparable product. The other options on television specialize in one sport (such as NHL Network, MLB Network), treat sports as secondary (such as CNN or local news) or offer an alternate brand that is ultimately an unsuccessful replication of ESPN.
This summer, Fox introduced the new channel Fox Sports 1 (FS1) as a rival for ESPN. Fox Sports co-presidents and Chief Operating Officers Randy Freer and Eric Shanks confidently pointed to it as “the biggest sports network launch in history...the most-watched sports event of the summer.” It showed 16.5 hours of live sports coverage to 476,000 viewers when it launched on August 17.
Over the past two months, its ratings have dropped significantly. Fox Sports Live, the equivalent of SportsCenter, receives 167,000 viewers on the most popular Saturday night slot. During that same segment, 2,934,000 people tune into SportsCenter. ESPN’s most-watched show—Saturday Night Football games—brings in four times as many viewers as Fox Sports 1’s most popular show, The Ultimate Fighter.
FOr 'cac and country: It’s time for student-athletes to receive their due compensation
The legitimacy and authority of the NCAA is under attack, but it’s going unnoticed. Two Saturdays ago, 28 football players from Northwestern, Georgia Tech and Georgia protested against the NCAA during their games by writing APU on their wristbands and towels. The National Collegiate Players Association (NCPA) orchestrated this demonstration, known as the All Players United campaign. Its stated goals are to “demonstrate unity among college athletes and fans...stand behind individual players being harmed by NCAA rules...direct a portion of over $1 billion in new TV revenue to guarantee basic protections.”
Although casual fans of college football may not know the 28 protestors, they have certainly heard of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The outgoing quarterback allegedly breached his amateur status this summer by signing autographs in exchange for cash. The NCAA was unable to confirm the allegations, but still deemed that he violated NCAA bylaw 184.108.40.206, which forbids “the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind” and suspended the quarterback for the first half of Texas A&M’s opening game.
Amateurism prohibits college athletes from being in contact with professional teams or receiving any type of benefits. In other words, the student-athlete is not allowed to earn money. This policy is in place “to ensure the students’ priority remains on obtaining a quality educational experience and that all of student-athletes are competing equitably.”
FOr 'cac and country: Summer storylines: player movement, parity
Spring final exams are inconvenient. It always coincides with the NBA and NHL playoffs, and frankly, I can’t forgo the post-season for the library.
At the end of the blue books await the Finals and Stanley Cup. Top baseball teams separate themselves from the pack while the NFL’s training camp offers pundits a valuable, and sometimes fateful, preview of the year. If you were somehow unable to keep track of sports this summer, the following recaps—void of SportsCenter’s recurring tabloids—bring you up to speed in 140 words or less.NBA
The Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 4-3 in the NBA Finals in June to earn their second straight championship. LeBron James won the Finals MVP, also for the second year in a row. Comparisons between James and Michael Jordan ensued—most of which unfairly derided James—a topic I will address in a later column.
Women's soccer rallies for victory
The women’s soccer team defeated Wesleyan 2-1 in its home opener at Pickard Field this past Saturday. The Polar Bears rallied from a 1-0 deficit midway through the first half.
Bowdoin outshot, outhustled and outplayed their opponent, firing 19 shots to Wesleyan’s six and recording four fewer penalties. Bowdoin also recorded four fewer penalties. The Cardinals led in only one statistical category—corner kicks—albeit barely, five to the Polar Bears’ four.
Bowdoin’s statistical dominance did not translate to the scoreboard until the end of the first half. The Cardinals scored on their first shot, with 27:56 remaining in the first half. This goal was a “wake-up call,” according to senior defender and captain Becky Stoneman.
FOr 'cac and country: Collins’ coming out shows change in time
Before this week, most people probably hadn’t heard of Jason Collins. The 7’0,” 260-pound NBA center spent his 12-year career in obscurity, playing for six different teams and never averaging more than six points per game.
But on Monday, Jason Collins became a household name. He came out as homosexual in a column in Sports Illustrated, becoming the first athlete in a major professional American sport to come out before retiring.
His story was featured as the halftime special on virtually every game this week. Even President Obama fielded questions about his coming out.
FOr 'cac and country: NAS misconstrues Bowdoin’s athletic divide
The NAS report has garnered incredible notoriety beyond our campus. Real Clear Politics compared “What Does Bowdoin Teach?” to William Buckley Jr.’s seminal “God and Man at Yale,” and Rush Limbaugh knocked Bowdoin for our lack of American history courses. Before any public figure comments on the NAS’s arguments about our sports culture, it is only right to clear up a few of its ideas.
Peter Wood and Michael Toscano, authors of the report, analyzed Bowdoin athletics based largely on the paradigm provided in William Bowen and James Shulman’s 2001 publication titled “The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values.” According to the report, it provides “a scrupulous examination” particularly on “selective institutions without big-time programs.”
When it comes to athletes, schools like Bowdoin stray from their mission statements, the authors of the report argue. The report contends that athletes create a divide in and out of the classroom that prevents the College from fulfilling the common good.
FOr 'cac and country: Heat, Penguins streaks show allure of dominance
After winning 27 games in a row, the Miami Heat finally lost.
As an Orlando Magic fan, I’m thrilled. My enemies—those who wanted to “be a part of history” by hoping the Heat would break the coveted 33-game winning streak held by the 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers—may consider this to be bad news. Those who are disappointed that the Heat could not mount a heroic comeback against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night to further cement their legacy as one of the greatest teams ever should take comfort knowing that what they are watching still stands out in the annals of history. For the first time since 1972, an NBA team won over 22 games in a row. Simultaneously, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins are riding a 14-game winning streak—just three victories from breaking their own record of 17 consecutive wins in 1992-1993. This may seem like one of those random ESPN stats, but give it some time to sink in and you may come to appreciate its implications.
Wednesday night was the first time the Heat lost since Super Bowl Sunday. The Penguins have been undefeated since February. We can appreciate both of these streaks regardless of whether the Penguins lose their next game or never lose again for one reason: sustained concentration.
FOr 'cac and country: Globetrotters get wrapped up in global politics
The Harlem Globetrotters are the most unique team in American sports. Unlike other squads, their victory is the entertainment they provide. They dazzle fans with a repertoire that ranges from showy dunks—rivaling the skill of NBA players—to fan interactions; from soaking referees with water pails to circling defenders with their dribbling.
The Globetrotters have found their niche playing over 20,000 games—the equivalent of 243 NBA seasons—in thousands of U.S. cities and in 122 countries during the course of their 87-year history.
While we have grown accustomed to the Globetrotters’ spectacular performance on the court, they continue to make national headlines off the court. Mighty Mitchell—the 11th female member of the Globetrotters—and Flight Time Lang walked across the Francis Scott Key Bridge from Virginia to Washington, D.C., dribbling and spinning pink basketballs the whole way to raise awareness for breast cancer.
FOr 'cac and country: Nemo Blizzard highlights unique challenges of collegiate road games
Away games are comprised of two components—the travel and the game itself—and a victory in the latter is usually contingent on mental preparation during the former. That is not to say that the team that spends the entire travel time visualizing the game always comes out on top, or that the game itself is entirely decided by the hours, or even days, leading up to the game. Rather, road games provide a platform of adversity for teams to demonstrate their resilience and make strides towards greatness. Bowdoin’s traveling teams persevered through the challenges brought about by Nemo this weekend, winning three out of five games. Ironically named after the Latin word for “no man,” this weekend’s legendary nor’easter affected almost every man, woman, and child of the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and eastern Canada, resulting in over 3,000 flight cancellations, 400,000 power outages at its peak, and entire road and highways bans.
FOr 'cac and country: With stricter rules, how many more Super Bowls will there be?
If quality of entertainment is rated by popularity, then Super Bowl Sunday is the greatest show on Earth. More than 155 million people, about half the U.S. population, are expected to tune in for this weekend’s festivities. Viewers will spend roughly $200 million gorging themselves on buffalo wings, chili and pizza while companies compete to capture their attention with 30-second advertisements costing $3.8 million apiece, or $130,000 per second. Waiting for Sunday, eager fans follow the media frenzy to pass the time. Unlike the quick buildup to the BCS National Championship—where three lower bowl games are played that week—there are two long weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, leaving plenty of time for the media to stir up drama and gather entertaining quips from the players.
With many starters returning, football looks forward to 2013
To say that the football team wants to put the 2012 season behind it is an understatement. Last season’s 1-7 mark was the team’s worst record in a decade, since the Polar Bears finished winless in 2003. The season’s disappointing outcome reflects a season marred by major and untimely injuries. In order to ensure a significant improvement next year, the team will look to execute its newfound playing style and stay healthy.
Athlete of the Week: Ollie Koo '14
Five games into the season, junior forward Ollie Koo leads the men’s ice hockey team with five goals and five assists for a total of 10 points. He had eight points on three goals and five assists in three straight wins last week, when the Polar Bears improved to 4-0-1.
Athlete of the Season: Melissa Haskell ’13, Women’s Volleyball
Outside hitter Melissa Haskell ’13 supplied talent and drive in her best season yet, leading the volleyball team to the NCAA D-III Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history.
Athlete of the Season: Coby Horowitz ’14, men’s cross country
Last year’s male athlete of the season, junior cross-country phenom Coby Horowitz, is in the midst of another remarkable season, that has established him as one of the best runners in Bowdoin history.
Football's loss ends six-year CBB streak
Bowdoin fell to Bates 14-6 on a chilly Saturday afternoon last weekend, losing the CBB trophy for the first time in six years.
Football drops third straight game to Wesleyan
After Bowdoin scored two straight touchdowns in the first quarter of last Saturday’s game against Wesleyan, the Cardinals responded with 34 unanswered points to deliver the Polar Bears their third straight loss. Bowdoin falls to 1-5 as Wesleyan improves to 5-1, tied for second in the NESCAC.
Football falls to undefeated Bantams in fourth quarter
The Trinity football team prevented a homecoming victory for the Polar Bears with a fourth quarter rally that clinched their contested 27-10 victory. With over 2,000 fans at Whittier field, Bowdoin (1-4 NESCAC) came out strong and junior Zach Donnarumma scored the game’s first touchdown on a 21-yard run up the middle. Donnarumma finished the game with 143 yards on 25 attempts. Trinity (5-0 NESCAC), tied with Middlebury at the top of the NESCAC, tied the score less than five minutes later with a 15-yard touchdown pass. The Polar Bears were unable to answer back on the next drive as a pass by Tommy Romero '14 fell into a Bantam defender’s hands. Romero bounced back on the next possession and led Bowdoin 55 yards downfield in nine plays. Unable to convert on third down, the Polar Bears were forced to kick a field goal. Romero finished the game with 141 yards on 37 attempts and four interceptions.
Despite improvements, football still struggles
With just 5:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Hamilton quarterback found a receiver for the 41-yard touchdown that pushed the Continentals past the Polar Bears, 14-13. After that loss, Bowdoin, which—has not won in Clinton since 2002—fell to 1-3 this season. Hamilton improves to 1-3, tying Bowdoin for sixth in the NESCAC. Head Coach Dave Caputi called it the “team’s most disappointing loss of the season.” Quarterback Tommy Romero ’14 led the team with his most productive game yet. He threw for 206 yards on 18-35 and recorded 1 touchdown. However, Romero wasn’t satisfied with his performance.
Football pulls off tough first win against Tufts
The football team recorded its first victory of the season with a 17-10 triumph over Tufts on Saturday. For the first time this season, the Polar Bears led the entire game and had a longer possession than their opponents.
Football struggles against Middlebury, losing first game and starting quarterback
Tomorrow at 1 p.m., the Polar Bears have the chance to start anew at Whittier Field as they take on defending NESCAC champion Amherst. Last Saturday, the football team lost its season opener to a potent Middlebury offense 42-18 while simultaneously losing starting quarterback Grant White ’14.
Athlete of the Week: Zachary Danssaert ’14
After four games, junior forward Zachary Danssaert leads the men’s soccer team in virtually every scoring category: shots, shots on goal and goals. His greatest offensive weapon is his accuracy— he has tallied four goals in 14 shots.
In first scrimmage of the year, football loses star wide reciever
“I looked up and saw a defensive back [Jaibril Coy ’15] explode after his interception for 70 yards. He was in the end zone in a blink of an eye,” said Bryan Hurley ’15, one of the fans at the Bowdoin football team’s intrasquad scrimmage this past Sunday. Fans, players and coaches alike had the opportunity to assess the progress of the team at the preseason game.
Football team prepares for season action
In the first three games of last season, the Polar Bears’ starting quarterback Grant White ’14 threw 436 yards and 2 touchdowns at a 62.7 completion percentage. In the fourth game against NESCAC rival Hamilton, White injured his shoulder, leaving the reins of the team to backup Mac Caputi ’15.