Tag Archives: Sports

Political Trouble in the World of Sports

There have been several days of controversy and criticism since NBA player Stephen Curry suggested he would vote against accepting Trump’s invitation to the White House. When Trump heard about this development, he decided to un-invite the entire Warriors basketball team and has since sent out a number of tweets regarding both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL). The latter is the result of Trump’s comments that NFL players should be fired for taking a knee during the National Anthem and the resulting protests from NFL teams such as the Steelers.

Stephen Curry – Photo from NBA.com

The Steelers decided to remain inside of the locker room during the performance of the National Anthem. The head coach of the Steelers, Mike Tomlin, stated that he did not want the team to feel divided and that, essentially, he wanted the team to stay out of the politics going on. However, being absent during the Anthem is something of a political statement in and of itself.

Trump has stated, both at his rally in Alabama and on Twitter, that he believes anyone who does not stand up or takes a knee during the Anthem should be fired. He has also stated on Twitter that the games have been losing viewers because they are “boring” but people would keep watching if the NFL teams were loyal to the U.S. That being said, Trump is probably not the best person to give commentary on how viewership has increased or decreased for sports teams. Or in a position to really give any commentary at all. What the President has to do with a NFL game or NBA team is unknown, especially when he has more serious matters to attend to. Regardless of what Trump says, and in fact because of it, many players and teams are now making a stand and/or protesting, such as a number of players at the Jaguars and Ravens game in London. Perhaps it is time to listen to what other people have to say about why they are protesting, instead of threatening them.

eSports vs. Regular Sports

eSports should be just as respected as traditional sports. eSports athletes put just as much effort into their training as any Olympic athlete.  To compete at the highest level, eSports players practice hours a day.  They do training drills and scrimmage matches to perfect their techniques and strategies. In team eSports, watching your opponent’s past match footage gives each team a vital edge going into the big games.  Even ESPN is taking notice of the growing popularity of eSports.  If ESPN is treating eSports with respect, you should too.

eSports are competitions of skill conducted through video games.  Nearly any game can allow people to compete, but the most successful eSports games are ones that have high skill caps and reward both great strategy and great physical execution of that strategy.  eSports are a combination of physical and mental competition in the same way traditional sports are.

video games
“To compete at the highest level, eSports players practice hours a day. They do training drills and scrimmage matches to perfect their techniques and strategies.” Photo from: http://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_640x362/HT/p2/2016/04/26/Pictures/_18efe1c0-0bbc-11e6-9193-d7b8f3a11d8b.jpg

eSports are not only solo sports.  There are team based games that require as much precision and coordination as the best basketball teams.  This does not detract from the achievements of solo eSports athletes.  Many dominant fighting game competitors put in as many hours as the grandmasters of fencing.

eSports also have the advantage of accessibility.  In many cases, there are many more opportunities to play eSports at high levels than there are for more traditional sports. Many of us do not have the privilege of living in a family that can afford the costly sports training needed to compete in the highest levels of sports.  The eSports community is full of stories of teenage prodigies discovering the game that takes them all the way to the top of the competition. Barrios Gonzales from Chile, and Leonardo Perez of Mexico came from poor families, but are now making a large amount of money playing Super Smash Bros. in America. The low barrier to entry can make players’ dreams a reality.

One challenge to eSports’ growing popularity is the complexity of the games.  It is often more difficult to explain to a newbie what the rules of a game are than it is in traditional sports.  Most eSports are more complicated than putting the ball in the place, but this may change as the next generation of game designers build games with spectators in mind.  As eSports become easier to watch their popularity is sure to grow.

eSports are a growing industry.  They will never totally replace traditional sports, but that is okay.  There is a place for both in the spectrum of entertainment options.  All achievements that push the boundaries of human possibility should be recognized.

How To Use Lessons From Sports In Everyday Life

Growing up as an athlete, I learned a lot of things  differently than other kids. I played soccer with a team and my teammates were like my family. I thought of them all as my sisters and was very close with each of them. We traveled away every weekend together to go play 3 or 4 games in a weekend and be exhausted by Sunday but it was worth all the effort.

We had the same group of coaches throughout our years playing together as well. They instilled certain values in us in different ways than most kids learn these values. For example, leadership was the biggest value I took away from my soccer experience. I was captain for 6 years straight and with that came a lot of responsibility and decision making. I had to tell my teammates what we were going to wear every night for practice, traveling outfits for driving to games and jersey colors for games.

Incorporate sport lessons in other aspects of your life. Graphic from Scroll Online
Incorporate sport lessons in other aspects of your life. Graphic from Scroll Online

I also was very vocal on the field with my teammates letting them know when they were doing a good job and what we needed to improve on as a team. One year, when my team wasn’t doing as well as we had all hoped, I started to become very negative and I didn’t realize it until my coaches told me to lighten up and stay positive and optimistic. That was another lesson I learned–to stay positive, even when things aren’t going your way.

Staying positive has gotten me through so many things in my life that I didn’t think I would be able to get over or to see something turning out for the better for myself. Whenever I’m having a terrible day or struggling with schoolwork or something else in my life, I just think back to all of those times I was on the soccer field with my teammates, my family, and my coaches on the sidelines watching me and expecting me to be positive like they had shown me and taught me.

I’m so thankful I learned not just these two but many valuable lessons from playing soccer and other sports as well. I think it helped me grow up quicker and become a better and more positive person and equipped me to deal with hard times in my life.

Increasing School Spirit

As a university without a football team it can be difficult to find school spirit.  We don’t have football games or a traditional homecoming weekend so the next biggest sport is basketball.  Unfortunately, the basketball courts are somewhat far from campus and student housing.  This prevents people from wanting to go support the team because they either don’t have cars or simply don’t want to travel or walk that far to go to the games.

Another problem is the advertising of our sports teams.  As a previous student athlete I remember our coaches handing us tiny flyers and asking us to hand them out to people on campus, in our dorms, and our classes.  We did so but most people ended up throwing them away or forgetting about them.  No one was really interested in women’s soccer either so that was the negative side of handing out flyers.

“As a previous student athlete I remember our coaches handing us tiny flyers and asking us to hand them out to people on campus, in our dorms, and our classes.”

The university also sends out emails about upcoming athletic events but they do it as a bulk email not individual emails for each game or sport.  Most students see that header and automatically delete it because they think it’s another basic email informing them about something that doesn’t necessarily pertain to them.  If individual emails were sent out and a little more effort put into them maybe it would motivate students to want to attend the games.

Basically, the one problem that can’t be fixed about our school spirit is having football games, which do generate the most school spirit.  However, if we put more effort into advertising the events and getting the information and option of attending athletic events out there to more students more frequently and efficiently, maybe we can increase attendance rates and hopefully that will increase school spirit.

Our student athletes put in a lot of time and effort into their sport including practices, rehab, and study hall hours so when they don’t get a good turn out for the games it can be a little discouraging and frustrating.  Nonetheless, they continue working hard for their university as a student and an athlete so hopefully there will be a rise in school spirit soon.

Spring Baseball Games

Now that the weather is getting warmer and sunnier it’s a perfect time to spend the afternoons outside. One thing I love doing when it gets to be around spring time is attending our school’s baseball games.

The field is really nice and there are stands or you can bring a blanket and sit in the grass on the side of the stadium. The games are long which means you can either spend the whole day outside or you can stay for a little while and enjoy the nice day briefly.

Some may think baseball is boring but you don’t have to go just to watch the games. You can go with friends and just enjoy being outside and the baseball game can be something to occasionally look over at and a good conversation starter.

“If you haven’t been to a baseball game before you should definitely try to go to one.”

They also have concessions at the fields so you can go and enjoy those with your friends. At half time they usually do games where you can win a variety of prizes and rewards. Certain games are active where you end up getting on the field and playing something against another opponent from the crowd and whoever ends up winning gets the prize. The prizes are normally something like a t-shirt and the games are all friendly and fun. They also have games where you stay in the stands and they put the camera on you and have you dance or make a face to win prizes.

The players also have walk out songs that play right before they go up to hit. Each player has a different one and it’s fun to wait and listen to see who picked what song to get them pumped up for their turn to hit. It’s fun to sing along to the songs and there’s a variety of songs from country to rap to EDM.

Overall the spring baseball games are a lot of fun whether you like baseball or not they’re a great experience and a great way to spend a nice, sunny spring afternoon. If you haven’t been to a baseball game before you should definitely try to go to one before you graduate because you will have a great time.

Bagpipers and Maleficent

The 2014 fall homecoming weekend will commence Oct. 10-12. This will include many events for the alumni to participate in. The visiting alumni will retrieve their nametags Friday, Oct. 10 and proceed to the festivities. After some student presentations and refreshments, they’ll be watching the women’s volleyball game against High Point. Later that night, there will be a dance fest at 7:30 pm in Preston Hall. RU students will be admitted free of charge.

men in kilts with bagpipes
See the RU Highlander bagpipers perform this weekend. Graphic from Wise Geek

The events will continue with time in the game room and the showing of Disney’s Maleficent. Tours of the RU campus as well as the RU Greenhouse will also be available during the weekend. The alumni will also be given the opportunity to view the works of Alison Weld. The art exhibit will be held in the RU Art Museum at the Covington Center. At the same time the play, “Jack Goes Boating” will still be available for all, including students, to view. The performances will take place in The Hawes Studio Theatre in Porterfield Hall.

The main events will include a DJ tent and RU Highlander Bagpipers performing. Along with those events there will also be a giant photo group photo of students and alumni on the Moffett lawn. That will be followed with alumni able to showcase their written novels. During the tent event, groups will gather at small tents and decorate them to show off their school spirit. Later on, the Highlander Spirit rock will be given at halftime to the winner of the competition.

RU is encouraging all alumni to travel down and enjoy the nostalgia and activities. There are also several activities to be paid for. Attending will be the graduates from the classes of 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009. Although, many events will be exclusively for the alumni classes, some will be available to everyone, which includes the dance fest. Even if you’re unable to catch some of these events, the play “Jack Goes Boating,” and the art exhibit are currently open to students that wish to attend at any time.

Highlander Festival: Once a year, and a ton of fun to boot!

The Highlander Festival is an annual event that many Radford University students look forward to attending.

Upper left: fried oreos, upper right: medallion, bottom: Moffett Quad. Photos by Annemarie Jones.

Various merchants from surrounding areas come to the festival in order to sell their products. Many of the products derive from Scottish, Irish, and Celtic culture. There was a traveling cart that sold various paraphernalia for Wiccans that had been all over the country, as well as a baked-goods cart that has a headquarters in Tennessee. Gerry Timlin, a talented folk singer with a lot of training, started coming to RU’s Highlander Festival 18 years ago and has been a main performer ever since.

Continue reading Highlander Festival: Once a year, and a ton of fun to boot!

Abuse in sports: Why Mike Rice not Bob Knight

With all the blood, sweat and tears in practice and games, athletes at the high school, collegiate and professional levels continually take mental and physical abuse from staff and coaches.

Most of the abuse is mental; coaches appear to control every aspect of athlete’s lives from how much they eat to who they see. A majority of the time players are rejected by their coaches if they don’t follow their rules and are punished, which can include sprinting for long periods of time, pushups, sit-ups and sometimes physical and emotional abuse.

Mike Rice standing with the basketball team. Image from New York Times.
Mike Rice standing with the basketball team. Image from The New York Times.

In the wake of Rutgers University scandal where now former head coach Mike Rice was fired, the commonality of this behavior leads many, as well as myself, to wonder why he was fired. Rice was terminated on Wed, April 3, after a videotape was aired that showed him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players, as well as using derogatory gay slurs. Continue reading Abuse in sports: Why Mike Rice not Bob Knight

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Participation awards

Remember when we were little and we would have competitions, and if we won there was always a big celebration, pat on the back or even an award you could take home? Or if you didn’t win, there would always be someone there to reassure you with a “you did your best” speech and that was it? This wasn’t the case for everyone, of course, because of the many educators or sports coaches who subscribe to the idea of giving participation awards to the losing party.

On paper, participation awards sound like a great idea. If we didn’t know any better, we would call it a nice thing.  It teaches our youth to accept their losses as they come and kids don’t feel so bad about themselves afterwards. On the other hand, it doesn’t leave our youth with enough incentive to try to win. Softening the losses with awards and congratulations for a good effort might not be as beneficial to them as it seems on paper. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Participation awards

Minimum support of RU athletics

When someone first starts looking at a university, they look to see if they have their desired major. However, the second thing they look at is athletics and how big that program is. Why? School spirit consumes the student body. As we all know, Radford University doesn’t have the most impressive athletic program. Yes, people do come out to the events, but it’s not the high numbers the school would hope for. The only reason people go to athletic events is free admission, the occasional free t-shirt, or the infamous Harlem Shake. If being in a YouTube video for half a second gets a turn out then what else would? It’s obviously not the hard work and dedication the athletes put in. Continue reading Minimum support of RU athletics

Overdoing athletics may cause lifelong injuries

As spring slowly arrives at Radford University, many students will be taking part in athletic activities, but sometimes the cost is much greater than a new pair of running shoes.

Athletes push themselves to the limit for their coaches and their fans. Photo by Carina Garcia.

Young baseball or softball pitchers often strain their arms and shoulders when pitching. According to Science Daily, “In most children up to age 16, bones, muscles and connective tissues are not fully developed, so it should come as no surprise that the pitching motion can lead to injury if it is performed too frequently.” Parents should encourage their kids not to overdo it, even if they’re good at the sport. Continue reading Overdoing athletics may cause lifelong injuries

Why sports are important

Throughout the semester, we are being mentally tested so often we sometimes forget about our physical health. It’s important to remember that exercise is critical to our overall well-being and health. Exercise has been shown to improve stamina, prevent disease, enhance flexibility, control body weight, develop muscles, and improve the quality of your life.

So what are some ways you can incorporate exercise into your life and have fun while doing it? Continue reading Why sports are important

Rough times for NFL refs

I’ve been watching football on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights since I was about ten years old. Originally, I just wanted an excuse to eat hot dogs in the living room with my dad, and not get off the couch for hours at a stretch; these days however, I really do enjoy getting wrapped up in the drama and excitement of my favorite teams’ weekly games. Of course, since I cheer for the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, and Washington Redskins, this is not always the most satisfying or rewarding pursuit, but team loyalty can and should trump all (and for what it’s worth, none of the three have disgraced themselves yet.  In fact, the Vikings are currently leading their division, so I am a fairly happy camper, though I do always worry that new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is going to break, on account of his age and history of serious injuries. But enough about me). Continue reading Rough times for NFL refs

Men’s soccer experiences first loss against UNC Asheville

The Highlanders were in action again, looking to add to their seven consecutive home wins dating back to the 2009 season, as they welcomed the University of North Carolina at Asheville Bulldogs at the Patrick D. Cupp Stadium on the windy and frigid Saturday afternoon. Despite the cold weather, many fans, including the RU #9 club, cheered the Highlanders on in attempt to extend their home record.

Brian Gwanzura (5) and Iyiola Awosika (11). Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

The Bulldogs are a defensive team that have scored 10 goals and conceded 14, compared to the Highlanders who have netted 30 goals so far. The Highlanders were also hoping for a repeat of the 4-1 win they had last year against UNC Asheville. The heavy wind, cold weather and slick turf slowed the game pace as both teams failed to find the right flow.

UNC Asheville started off completely different than the defensive side they are known for because they did not absorb a constant attack from Radford. The Bulldogs’ goalkeeper made six saves as the Highlanders outshot Asheville 12-3. However, the Highlanders only created one notable scoring opportunity from Luis Grande, who dribbled through two defenders and hit inside the cross bar only to see the ball bounce back to the hands of the keeper.

Dario Redondo (25). Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

The Highlanders’ discontent did not end there as star striker Iyiola Awosika was unable to continue due to an injury he suffered after being pushed off the ball during the second half.

The big striker, Bryan Bartels, was a constant threat to the Highlanders’ back line throughout the game. He netted the winner in the last minute of the first overtime inside the 18 yard box.

The loss was a discouraging one for RU and its coaching staff.

“It was a spirited UNC Asheville team, and it was a good win for them,” said Head Coach Marc Reeves. “I’m hugely disappointed to lose at home, especially when we had so many chances. Our guys still have to compete better at the start of games and have to create better quality chances as opposed to hoping that something comes off.”

Welcome back readers!

Hey all,

Welcome back to another exciting season of Whim, RU’s official online magazine! If you’re new to the school or the site, we look forward to serving you and encourage you to give us feedback.

Last spring we posted an online survey and went around campus asking our readers what they like about Whim, what they don’t like and what they’d like to see this year. You asked for several changes, and we’re doing our best to deliver. Here are a few of the things you asked for and how we’re working to improve:

People around campus commented that our layout, Whim 1.6, was “blah” and “kind of sucks.” So, we scrapped it and got a completely new one. Our current theme is based on a theme called WP Smooth and is not only more user-friendly, but more appealing to the eye. One of the greatest things about the new theme is the Features box at the top of the homepage, which holds the lead story for each section each week. This creates a dominant visual element on the homepage that draws the reader’s eye in and shows the reader where to go for the biggest stories of the week. The RSS feeds are also located on the left sidebar rather than at the bottom of the homepage, making them convenient and accessible. Our site now features two banner ads at the top of the page rather than one at the bottom, as well as a square ad on the right sidebar. We also have space on the home page to support several interactive widgets to get the rest of the student body involved and entertained.

Unfortunately we don’t have enough writers or demand for sports to make it its own section, but we’re trying our best to include sports in the Life section. We’re in the works of getting a Weekly Sports Report up each week, as well as some sports technology stories in Tech. If the demand for sports increases then we’ll increase the sports content, but for now we’re doing our best to cover some Radford University and world sports.

Around 25 percent of the people we surveyed didn’t know what Whim was but would’ve read it if they knew it existed. This semester we appointed a new Marketing Manager and started rounding up members for our ‘Street Team.’ We designed new flyers, got our ad up on the TV, talked to classrooms to recruit and are working on plenty of other exciting marketing ideas. If you’re interested in joining, e-mail us at whim@radford.edu.

This is just the first of a series of notes this semester that will keep you updated on our progress and what we’re working on. Like what you see? Let us know. Don’t like what you see? Also let us know. Have any more suggestions? Send us an e-mail at whim@radford.edu, come stop by Calhoun Hall on Thursdays at 7 p.m. or just comment below.

Keep on reading,

Arielle Retting