Archive | Sports Columns

Tedeschi’s Take: Referees

When’s the last time you’ve heard someone say, “The referees called a really fair game today?”

That’s what I thought. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say that.

Referees. Blue. Ump. Zebras. Whatever nickname you use, you’re probably using it to complain.

When they make decisions that go against your team, they’re wrong even if the replay confirms their call. When they make a lot of calls, they are ruining the game by slowing it down.

Most sports fans, no matter the sport and no matter how successful their team is, think that the referees are against them. Many fans even have specific stories of how a referee’s mistake cost them a game or even a championship.

I’m guilty of referee bashing as well. Nearly every game I watch I find myself criticizing the referees at some point.

It’s the most thankless job in all of sports. Referees are dragged through the mud for bad calls and get little to no praise for making the right decisions.

But I think it’s time we give referees a break. They are people whose job is to make split second decisions that affect teams, fan bases and sometimes the entire country. And with instant replay, anyone and everyone in America can point out their mistakes. How would you perform under that pressure?

So often we make referees public enemy number one, but they’re really just professionals trying to do their job to the best of their ability. Are they going to make bad calls? Yes. Will the majority of their decisions be right? I think so.

So let’s try to be more gracious to referees. I know it’s easier said than done, but I’m going to make an effort to not criticize officiating and appreciate the good work referees do.

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Tedeschi’s Take: Loss

We often talk about the word “loss” in sports.

After every game, one team earns a win and another earns a loss, and analysts will talk about how the loss of an injured player will affect a team.

But the word takes on a deeper meaning on days like last Sunday, when St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend Edilia Arvelo died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Taveras was just 22 years old and Arvelo was 18.

“To say this is a horrible loss of a life ended too soon would be an understatement,” Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny said in a statement to the media.

Taveras’ death hit the Cardinals organization and all of Major League Baseball hard. It helped to remind me that athletes are still people. Sometimes I wrongly assume that professional athletes have perfect lives with no problems, but they suffer loss and mourn the deaths of loved ones, just like all of us.

Loss of life is always a terrible thing, but sports can help people cope. It’s amazing to see communities rally around teams to move on from tragedy, like when the city of New Orleans rallied around the Saints after Hurricane Katrina.

Tragedies help put our lives in perspective. I think sometimes we take sports too seriously.

Sports fanatics like myself tend to act like sports are a matter of life and death, but the fact is they aren’t. It’s not the end of the world when our favorite team loses a game, no matter how much it may feel like it.

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Tedeschi’s Take: Have fun!

When you watch the Indiana Wesleyan University men’s soccer team, it’s clear the team has a lot of fun playing the game.

The players demonstrated this in the team’s 5-0 win over Marian Sat., Oct. 4 with an elaborate celebration when Keaton Albert (jr) scored the first goal for the Wildcats.

After the goal, the rest of the team surrounded Albert, fell to the ground and began making pretend snow angels in the wet grass.

Albert said the team practiced the celebration beforehand, expecting to score a goal and be able to use it. Since the team was confident and prepared, they took the time to relax and have fun by choreographing the celebration.

I think it’s celebrations like this that help draw people to sports in the first place.

Some people might look at this celebration and call it unsportsmanlike or over-the-top, but the celebration was quick and in good fun. The team didn’t taunt or disrespect the opposition; they were simply enjoying Albert’s goal.

Yes, players and coaches have jobs to do and need to take their respective sports seriously.

But when it comes down to it, sports are a game.  If you’re not having fun, what’s the point?

It’s a breath of fresh air to see a team playing at a high level but still having fun doing so. I can’t wait to see what other kinds of celebrations the team pulls out for the rest of the season.

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Tedeschi’s Take: Team first

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will be playing in his final game this week, after a 20-year Hall of Fame career.

Growing up watching baseball, I hated Jeter because he played for the Yankees. But in the past few years, I have gotten over my hatred of New York and have grown to respect The Captain for the way he plays the game.

Jeter is quite possibly the greatest shortstop of all time, but does not act like it. There are countless stories of Jeter treating teammates, media and fans with respect and always being more concerned with team success than individual stats. In the ego-filled culture of professional sports, Jeter’s humility has been refreshing.

Thinking about Jeter’s career reminded me of a phrase my high school football coach would frequently tell my team: “It’s great to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

It’s a simple phrase with a simple meaning: good things happen when you put the team’s goals above yourself. As cliché as it sounds, this rang true in Jeter’s career. He worked hard and did his job, and it led to five World Series championships.

The team-first mindset is evident in Indiana Wesleyan University sports as well.

It seems that in nearly every interview I have with an IWU coach or athlete, the conversation naturally drifts straight to the team instead of the individual.

A team-first attitude will go a long way. I challenge you, IWU students, to put the team’s needs over your own, whether it’s an official IWU sport, intramurals or class group projects.

 

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