Posted on 03 December 2014.
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but they are also a wonderful time for great sports action. Food, family, and your favorite sports just go together.
The Thanksgiving weekend is one of the biggest football weekends of the year, both in the NFL and college. Even though I had no rooting interest in the Thanksgiving NFL games this year, I always enjoy sitting down to watch football after a big Thanksgiving meal. And I thoroughly enjoyed rivalry week in college football, especially when Ohio State defeated that team up north this past weekend.
But Thanksgiving is just the beginning of the holiday sports season. Basketball is in full swing during the holiday season, highlighted nationally by the Christmas Day NBA slate of games and here on campus by the Wildcats’ men’s and women’s basketball teams in action. While it’s still early in the basketball season, there are plenty of key matchups that take place around the holidays.
And you can’t talk about holiday sporting events without The Granddaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl. Along with the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Rose Bowl becomes a nearly all-day spectacle on New Year’s Day. There are plenty of other college football bowl games played around the holidays as well.
So deck the halls, gather around with family, friends and good food and enjoy all the different sports events occurring during this holiday season.
Posted in Sports, Sports Columns
Posted on 01 December 2014.
If someone asked you to name the first athlete that popped into your head, which athlete would you name? Would it be a star professional athlete known for amazing athletic abilities, like LeBron James or Peyton Manning? Or would it be an athlete, professional or otherwise, who is known mostly for positive character qualities?
Chances are, you would have picked one of the former.
Nowadays, sports media focus most of their attention on the type of athlete who scores 20 points per game on the basketball court or passes for 300 yards per game on the gridiron. But what about the type of player who inspires his or her teammates in practice through hard work and competitiveness? How about those who have the gift of encouragement and use it to build their teammates up? Those types of athletes are often forgotten by media, as well as the general public.
I’m Jared Johnson, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Sojourn, and for my senior project in the convergent journalism major, I wanted to do something about this bias in sports coverage.
I partnered with the Indiana Wesleyan University Athletic Department to write feature stories about nine IWU athletes. These Wildcats are all skilled in their sport, but a majority of their impact actually comes in ways other than their athletic talents, through a variety of ways. Each athlete was recommended by their coach, and I titled my project “Stars in the Background.”
Since we are still in the fall season, I wrote a story about one athlete from each of IWU’s fall semester athletic teams. These teams are:
I excluded men’s and women’s cross country, because I am a member of the men’s cross country team, and would not have the unbiased perspective needed to write those articles.
Two of these articles, about athletes from IWU’s women’s tennis and volleyball teams, were posted on The Sojourn’s website and in print issues earlier in the semester.
The remaining seven articles will be revealed one-by-one each day through the upcoming week, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 7. Each story will be linked on The Sojourn’s Facebook page as well as The Sojourn Sports’ Twitter page.
I hope you enjoy reading about IWU’s “Stars in the Background.”
Posted in Front Page, Men's Athletics, Sports, Sports Columns, Women's Athletics
Posted on 12 November 2014.
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.
Posted in Sports, Sports Columns
Posted on 29 October 2014.
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.
Posted in Sports, Sports Columns