NCAA men’s programs vs. women’s programs

men vs women weight rooms
Image taken from: http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2021/03/19/ncaa-womens-basketball-tournament-weight-rooms-facilitie s-unequal-orig-mg.cnn.

By: Charlie Fragrassi

As some people may know, the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament just finished up a couple weeks ago. Both men and women athletes were quarantined in different states and were playing in “bubbles” to ensure player safety. Athletes were given all the basic necessities, which included access to the weight room.

About a week into March Madness, pictures surfaced of the men’s weight room, which was spacious and had all the basic needs a weight room should have. Days later, a picture of the women’s weight room was posted to the public, and all they had was a rack of dumbbells and some yoga matts.

As you can imagine, this stirred up a ton of controversy with the NCAA and how they treat male versus female athletes. Many celebrities spoke on this matter, including Lebron James.

The NCAA received much hate for this and ultimately ended up giving the women not only a bigger weight room, but also better meals and the same amount of gear as the men’s teams were getting.

The NCAA needs to do a lot better job of treating their athletes, who bring in millions of dollars, and they need to give them a fair shot to perform as well as they are able, regardless of gender.

This is an example of how women’s sports can be treated as inferior to men’s sports. Although women’s basketball doesn’t bring in nearly as much money as the men’s teams, they should still be supplied with the necessities and equipment to stay healthy and get better, because at the end of the day they’re still athletes and they’re working hard everyday to get better at their sport.

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March Madness

By: Charles Fragrassi

If you follow college basketball, then you surely are aware of March Madness. March Madness is a 64 team tournament, with the 64 best college basketball teams. The teams are ranked one through 16 based on their record, strength of schedule, and overall talent.

This year, the teams are in a “bubble” which is a bunch of hotels where the players are quarantined and not allowed to leave to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A common part of March Madness is filling out a bracket; anyone can fill out a bracket on who you think is going to win the tournament.

If someone were to fill out a bracket and have it be perfect, they would win the Warren Buffet One Million Dollar Challenge. Warren Buffet says he would award anyone one million dollars a year for life if they were to fill out a perfect bracket. Filling out a perfect bracket is nearly impossible, in fact the odds are 1-10 billion.

March Madness is also a huge event for gamblers as the AGA (American Gambling Association) estimates 10.4 billion dollars will be gambled, while only 3% of that money will be gambled legally.

In my opinion, March Madness is one of the exciting, fun times of the year. I love filling out brackets and watching games with my friends. March Madness is expected to have record breaking numbers in viewers this year due to the fact that they couldn’t even have the tournament last year due to COVID.

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The Timberwolves’ coach change

By: Alexandra Rimbu

The MN Timberwolves lost to the New York Knicks on Sunday, Feb 21, reaching a league-worst of 7-24 this season. This loss was ultimately what caused management to fire head coach Ryan Saunders, whose replacement, Chris Finch, was named shortly after on Monday.

Saunders’s association with the Timberwolves first began in 2019 when he took an assistant job and was later named interim coach after the firing of Tom Thibodeau. Next season, he took on the job permanently, and at age 33, he became the youngest head coach in the league.

The Timberwolves went 43-94 under Saunders, in a little less than two full seasons. They finished with the third-worst record in the league last season and had the worst record so far before his firing.

CBS Sports claimed that Saunders was stuck in “an impossible situation” on some level. They went on to state there was almost “total roster upheaval during his tenure” and that more games were “lost to injury” than you could have counted. And, of course, the absence of star player Karl-Anthony Towns from a majority of the games did not help the situation.

However, with results like that, the coaching change came as no surprise. Finch was a frontrunner for numerous jobs this offseason, and Rosas, the Timberwolves president, said “Chris brings a wealth of basketball experience from his time in the NBA, G League and Internationally. He is one of the most creative basketball minds in the NBA, has success maximizing players, and I am excited to see him bring our team to the next level and beyond.”

The future looks promising for the Timberwolves, and we’ll have to see if Finch lives up to everybody’s expectations.

Editor’s Note: Since this writing, the Timberwolves have yet to get their 1st win under coach Finch.

​The effects COVID-19 has had on professional sports

By: Charles Fragrassi

Image taken from: “Coronavirus: Coaches near Bench to Wear Masks as NFL Defends Return of Fans for Some Teams”

​COVID-19 has changed all of our lives forever; it changes our daily routines, grocery stores, and sporting events.

The NBA was one of the first major sports organizations to be affected by this; they responded by shutting down completely. After 4 months or so, they resumed play in a “bubble” in Walt Disney World. This was a great solution to COVID as they had zero COVID cases the rest of the season and were able to finished the season.

Major League Baseball was the next sport in season, and they too started their season three months late and had numerous precautions for COVID-19, such as there were to be zero fans in attendance, and teams were set to play against teams that were a certain amount of miles from each other to prevent traveling cross country.

MLB wasn’t as lucky as the NBA, and had people test positive from time to time. Some of the precautions were that they were not allowed to travel with the team and have access to the facilities. In order to get back to playing, they had to not have had a fever for 72 hours, and test negative twice. Although there were a few positive cases from time to time, MLB finished their season with hopes that next season will be back to normal.

As COVID cases grew more and more, there were questions about if the NFL would even have a season. The National Football League defied odds by having a season during the pandemic. Some of the precautions the NFL took were pretty much no handshakes or jersey swaps after the game, which in my opinion made no sense because they were just tackling each other for the past hour.

Players and coaches were also required to wear masks on the sideline and were strongly encouraged to social distance. They also made a requirement that only 62 players were allowed to travel at a time. Also, if any players tested positive, they were immediately placed on the COVID-19 reserve list and weren’t allowed back until it had been 10 days since symptoms first appeared, and they had to be 72 hours symptom free, with two negative tests.

Although there were a few games rescheduled due to COVID, the NFL did a pretty good job and finished the season pretty flawlessly.

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Does Jake Paul have a chance of beating Conor McGregor in a boxing match?

If you haven’t already heard about YouTube, and social media superstar, Jake Paul, challenging the notorious Conor McGregor to a boxing match, you probably aren’t very active on social media as Jake Paul’s challenge to Conor McGregor went viral.

Jake Paul is just a YouTuber who boxed another unfit YouTuber, and a former NBA player, who was only 5’9. He won both fights and thinks he can beat one of the best MMA fighters of all time.

Jake Paul rose to fame alongside his brother Logan Paul. The two brothers went famous on the old app called Vine. Then, when Vine was no longer a thing, they switched to YouTube and became some of the most popular people on the platform, and in social media as whole.

Jake recently got into boxing, and like I said before, has had two fights against two non-boxers, which he won both fights, and actually didn’t look half-bad. Supporting my opinion though, and many others’ opinions, boxing and sports experts say his chances of winning against McGregor are little to none.

Now, Conor is an MMA fighter, which is mixed martial arts, which is a combination of everything fighting such as: boxing, wrestling, jujitsu, kickboxing, and many more forms of fighting. So, Conor actually isn’t strictly a boxer as Jake is, but Conor has been boxing since he was 14, and stand up fighting (boxing) is the best part of his game; he is considered one of the best stand up MMA fighters of all time.

I’d say Jake’s chances of winning a boxing match vs. McGregor is probably around 0.5%. So, around a 1 in 200 chance of winning. My reasoning for the percentage not being lower is an old saying called the “Puncher’s Chance” which this basically means there’s always a chance you can land just one lucky punch and knock your opponent out.

By the way, I am a McGregor fan and not a Jake fan!

How the sports world reacted to the capitol protests

By: Caden Ligman

With Congress in session to count the electoral votes that would confirm Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, hundreds of Pro-Trump organizers stormed the capital building in Washington DC. Protesters broke through barriers and were soon marching around the offices of our elected officials. Something so disrespectful and violent has not happened at the Capital since the British stormed the capital in 1814.

Many people blame President Donald Trump for inciting these protesters after making baseless claims about voter fraud. This isn’t the beginning however, of Trump’s “conspiracy” theories about the presidential election. Months before the election took place last November, Trump repeatedly preached to his supporters that the only way he could lose the presidential race was if it was rigged.

The NBA recently has been seen as a very left-wing organization, with many of its members speaking out against our President, and many of his policies and actions. This time was no different. While this historic event was playing out, current and former NBA players spoke in interviews and took to Twitter to address the subject.

One of the sport’s biggest stars, Stephen Curry, responded to one of Trump’s tweets saying, “​There is literally a tweet for everything. Cat got your tongue today huh?” referring to Trump’s inaction to stop his supporters from storming the capital.

Similarly, former NBA star Dwane Wade tweeted out, “Black people get pulled over and don’t make it out alive. We can’t sleep in our own beds without being killed. We can’t jog without being killed. We can’t walk down the street with our hoodies up without being killed but they can do this???”

Coaches of NBA teams also spoke out in recent interviews. Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said this, in an interview Wednesday night, “I will say it, because I don’t think a lot of people want to. Can you imagine today, if those were all black people storming the Capitol, and what would have happened? That, to me, is a picture that’s worth a thousand words for all of us to see.”

Seeing this historic event play out has opened many people’s eyes to the reality of what it is like to live in America today. What is happening at the capital not only exposes the discrimination of black people in America but also exposed the true values of our president and what his real motives are. No one knows how all of this will play out, but in the words of 76ers coach Doc Rivers, “Democracy will prevail, it always does.”

Who’s ready for the 20-21 NBA season⁉

By: Khadar Greer

Here are some players to keep an eye on in this upcoming NBA season:

Rookies: The NBA has upcoming rookies like: LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, and Cole Anthony. They are all very gifted young talents that have worked very hard to get to where they are now. I cannot wait to see what they do playing against the best of the best in the NBA.

Sophomore season: We have some rookies from last year that are looking very, very good, like: Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, Tyler Herro, and Coby White. These are all great young talents that are looking really good down the road in the future. Can’t wait to see what they have in store in the 2021 season.

Returning Players: The NBA also has players coming from very career threatening injuries like: Kevin Durant coming back from a torn Achilles, John Wall coming back from tearing his ACL, DeMarcus Cousins coming back from a torn ACL, and more. They’ve all been playing so far so good in the preseason, looking very good. Can’t wait to see what they’ll actually do in the regular season.

Veterans: And we also have some veterans who could really be passing down knowledge to the upcoming generation before they retire. We have veterans like: Chris Paul, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Marc Gasol.

The face off position in lacrosse

By: Jimmy Somerville

I’m here to tell you about the sport of lacrosse; specifically, the face off in lacrosse.

The face off is basically a battle for possession of the ball, where you and your opponent line up at the midline, and place your sticks on the line. The ball is then placed in between the heads of your sticks (the head is the part of your stick where you catch and throw so the end of it).

Once the ball is set, the ref gives the cadence of “down, set, whistle.” On the whistle, you and your opponent, as quickly as possible, attempt to clamp the ball – this means to push your stick (more specifically, the head of your stick) over the ball as fast as you can.

If you get the clamp, you then pop the ball out of your stick into your stick again. If you are able to do that successfully, that means you won the face off and you got possession of the ball for you and your team.

The face off happens at the beginning of every quarter, and after every goal, so it happens quite often.

Possession in lacrosse is relatively hard to get, so the face off is very important, as having possession leads to scoring goals.

I take the face offs for my lacrosse team and I FOGO (face off get off), which means that after the face off, I get off the field.

I enjoy these competitive 1 vs. 1s for the ball, as it’s a test of quickness, hand speed, athleticism and determination.

A FOGO is nowadays almost always a position on high school lacrosse teams, college lacrosse teams and pro teams. It is a very unique and interesting position that is also very fun and competitive. I hope to earn a scholarship for lacrosse being a FOGO.

Here are two pictures of me taking a face off (I have the orange helmet):

The 2020 World Series

By: Caden Ligman

So far, 2020 has been a series of unfortunate events. Since March, the pandemic has affected everyone’s lives and we have lost many things, including sports. However, by the end of the summer, all major sports leagues in the U.S. were able to return. Leagues such as the NBA and the NHL thrived under the new COVID protocols, reporting very few cases throughout the season.

MLB on the other hand struggled with 104 cases being reported among players during the regular season alone. Despite all of the struggles, MLB finally concluded their unusual season after game 6 of the World Series, on October 27.

The 2020 World Series was played between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers won the 7 game series after winning game 6 and going up on the Rays, 4 games to 2.

Game 6 however, seemed to be going in the favor of the Rays. Their starting pitcher, Blake Snell, was hot through six innings; throwing 9 strikeouts and only allowing two hits and one earned run. Snell looked ready to dominate the rest of the game.

Then, in the sixth inning, Ray’s head coach Kevin Kash pulled Snell from the game, replacing him with Nic Anderson. This decision proved to be quite controversial, and was evidently the turning point for the Rays in game 6. Nick Anderson immediately gave up a run and was pulled shortly after.

The Dodgers winning the World Series during these unusual times was exciting, however, the biggest headline of the night came from Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

Late into game 6, he was mysteriously pulled from the game. It later emerged that he had actually tested positive for COVID-19. Turner was isolated immediately after he was pulled, however, after the game, he was seen on live TV celebrating with his teammates out on the field.

This carelessness, by the players and coaches in the Dodgers organization, capped off a roller coast of a season for the MLB: 43 regular season games cancelled, and 104 positive cases in players (by far the most of any of the major sports leagues).

Hopefully, MLB can walk into the 2021 season more prepared.

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USAG’s culture of abuse

By: Elizabeth Woxland

For over two decades, over 370 gymnasts (primarily minors) encountered sexual abuse “by gym owners, coaches, and staff working for gymnastics programs across the country,” according to an interview in ‘Vice’. Throughout those years, USAG silenced the gymnasts and continued to ignore the reports of molestation, specifically by a USAG doctor, Larry Nassar, who is now named in hundreds of lawsuits for engaging in sexual abuse.

Over 265 women came out to the public, addressing the abuse they faced, which became one of the largest sexual abuse scandals in sports history. This scandal led to the questioning of USAG’s way of training their gymnasts.

After the first allegations of sexual abuse were brought to the attention of USAG, Nassar continued to work for many months after. Maggie Nichols, the athlete who took part in the first allegation, was secretly taken out of the public eye for representing USAG. Many believe Nichols would’ve competed in the 2016 Olympics if she didn’t come forward with her sexual abuse. Nichols’s specific situation was detailed in the Netflix movie ‘Athlete A’ and she was also  interviewed by NBC.

Other abuse scandals started to arise after the sexual abuse scandal was brought to the public. Bela and Martha Karolyi are head coaches for USAG, and are now facing backlash for their abusive way of coaching.

The training that the girls in USAG have is now being criticized for a toxic culture and unsafe way of training. The average competitive gymnast for USAG trains year round for as much as 12 hours a day.

It was a very regular thing for girls injuries to be overlooked. In a ‘PE’ article they state: “Nine out of every 10 gymnasts we interviewed said that they had continued to train on injuries that resulted in broken bones or surgery or that they had resumed training without getting clearance from a doctor.” Think of the so-called “inspiring moment” when Kerri Strugg broke her leg on her first vault, and her coaches convinced her to still do a second vault.

This goes to show the toxic culture of winning at all costs in the mindset of USAG coaches and
trainers.