Saturday, September 21, 2013

Judge Bo by his performance, not his words

We are all aware by now of the leaked audio from Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini with some less than positive things directed toward fans and some individual reporters.
Before you all get your panties in a bunch, here’s why you should give him a break.
Besides the fact that he told all the fans to F*** off, is it really anything we haven’t heard before? You watch him on the sidelines and can almost every time find a time to say, “Earmuffs!”
First of all, this man at the time just led the Huskers to its largest comeback in school history. And what were most of you doing about an hour and a half prior? Changing the channel, or walking out of the very same gates that pronounce Husker fans as “The greatest in college football.”
Who am I to blame him for spouting off his anger in what he rightfully thought was a private environment? Who’s to say I, or you wouldn’t do the same thing? Just thinking about fair weather fans gets me fired up. Fair weather fans are the worst. No time for that.
I’m not condoning the things that he said. But I can understand why he said that. And don’t forget, we should never have heard it.
We have known since day one that this is the type of person that Bo is. He is an aggressive, fired up individual. I can’t knock him for that. Do I agree with what he said? Absolutely not. Do I want him to be replaced because of this audio? Absolutely not.
Since Bo became head coach of the Huskers, only three other schools have won more games: Alabama, Oregon and Boise State. Throw Boise State out right away, not nearly the same competition as Nebraska. And as for the other two, is there really any explanation necessary?
I know what you’ll say next: no conference titles. BUT, at least we are there. We just haven’t won it. And I am with you that needs to change soon. But why is it that every time we lose a game it is like Armageddon?
We are a culture that was spoiled by an unprecedented 60-3 run that led to crystal ball after crystal ball. We all want that dominant program back, but it comes with hard work and dedication.
And as for the low life that released this audio tape, show yourself. I want to know who you are, what you job title is, and what exactly your motive was to start this circus.
It has to be someone who is close within the University or within the Husker Sports Network. There could only be five-six people with access or knowledge of this tape.
If Bo is to lose his job, that’s what the reason should be: performance-based. Not because he spouted off after a heated football game.
I’m only a lowly college media reporter, but I’ve already heard my fair share of things that should never be put into public light. It happens. People get frustrated.
We shouldn’t judge Bo by what comes out of his mouth, but by what kind of team takes the field, and right now, that is where I have the real concern.

We shouldn’t be upset by what Bo said about us, but rather if we will even survive against the remainder of the schedule, including the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

WSC baseball struggles against #11 Minnesota State

The Wayne State College baseball struggled over the weekend, but was able to end it on a high note by splitting the 11th-ranked Minnesota State team.

WSC was able to win game two on Sunday by a 3-1 score, but dropped game one 8-1. Saturday was not much better, losing both games 15-4 and 6-0.

Game one on Sunday was a struggle for WSC as they only recorded four hits and only scored one run as MSU cruised to an 8-1 win.

The Mavericks were able to put two runs on the board in the second inning and three runs in the third and fifth innings. WSC was able to push its only run across in the sixth inning when Blake Brisson scored on a wild pitch.

Eric Schwieger was handed the loss allowing all eight runs, five of them earned with nine hits and three strikeouts.

Game two was a gem from Michael Frericks as he was able to pitch a complete game with nine strikeouts. He allowed just one run and gave up five hits. It was Frericks’ fifth consecutive win from the mound.

WSC grabbed a 2-0 lead by scoring single runs in the first two innings. Minnesota State cut the lead to 2-1 in the sixth inning, but WSC answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning to re-gain the two-run advantage and won by that score.

Saturday was a forgettable one for the Wildcats as they were swept by the Mavericks of Minnesota State.

Game one was an offensive showing by the Mavericks as they scored 15 runs and was able to enforce the ten-run mercy rule after seven innings.

Minnesota State scored three runs in the second to take the early lead. The Mavericks added two runs in the third inning to extend the lead to 5-0.
The Wildcats scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 5-3.

It was short lived, however, as the Mavericks added four runs in the next half inning to increase the lead to 9-3. MSU was able to add two more runs in the next inning to extend the lead to 11-3.
WSC was able to add a run in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 11-4, but MSU was just too much for the ‘Cats on this day. The Mavericks scored four more runs the next two innings to make the score 15-4 and end the game.

Game two was not much better for the Wildcats as they were shut out and MSU was able to score six and win 6-0.

WSC was only able to collect four hits in the game and struck out a total of 14 times.

The Wildcats will return to the diamond on Wednesday with a doubleheader with the Upper Iowa Peacocks that is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. at the Pete Chapman Complex.

WSC Softball team splits with Mary, struggles with Minot

After a hot start to the season, the Wayne State College softball team found some bumps in the road toward the end of the year, like this past weekend.

WSC was swept by Minot State on Saturday by scores of 2-0 and 7-4 in nine innings and was able to force a split with the University of Mary 2-0 and 4-0.

The Wildcats wrapped up the regular season with a split with the University of Mary by winning the first game 2-0, but was unable to win the second as the Marauders won 4-0.

The first game was scoreless until the third inning when Michelle Thille scored off of a single by Jordan King and a throwing error by the Marauders.

The score stayed 1-0 until the sixth inning when the Wildcats roared again. Sam O’ Brien was able to score off of a pinch-hit single by Tiffani Housh.

A 2-0 lead was all the advantage that Sara Scheffert as she continued to daze hitters and picked up the win on the mound. She is now 15-6 overall and finished the game with allowing six hits, striking out four and not allowing a run.

The second game was a battle of pitchers until the seventh inning.

The Mary bats suddenly came alive in the seventh inning as they scored four runs in the inning. The Wildcats were not able to answer the call in the bottom half of the inning and suffered the loss.

Cassy Miller took the loss on the mound, dropping her record to 4-2. She came in relief duty for Kelcie Bormann.
The Wildcats were unable to take down the Beavers of Minot State on Saturday, losing 2-0 and 7-4 in nine innings.

Game one was a struggle for the Wildcats as they were only able to get one hit from Kylee Simpson and were struck out 11 times.

Minot scored single runs in the first and third innings to preserve the 2-0 win.

Game two awarded fans in attendance extra softball as the two teams ended the seventh inning tied at 4. However, Minot used a three-run homer in the ninth to close out the victory.

WSC got on the board first in the second with an RBI single from Megan Hagemann scoring Lexie Loos. The Wildcats added to the lead in the third with a single from Kelcie Bormann that scored Kaiti Williams and Simpson.

In the fifth inning, the Beavers tied the score with one swing of the bat. a three-run homer knotted the game up. Minot then took the lead in the sixth to make the score 4-3.

WSC used the bottom of the seventh to pull even with Minot and force extras. Loos was able to beat out a throw to first that was able to score Vicki Nielsen.

The Wildcats had the bases loaded in the eighth inning, but was unable to push a run across to win. In the ninth, the Beavers used another three-run homer to take the lead and win the game.

The Wildcats are scheduled to play in the 2013 NSIC Conference Tournament that takes place May 2-4 in Rochester Minn.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Wildcats Stun Warriors

            After an off weekend, the Wayne State College softball team bounced back in a big way.

            The Wildcats defeated the Winona State Warriors, the top team in the conference, by 2-0 and 11-0 scores yesterday at The Pete Chapman Softball Complex.

            WSC, off of solid pitching and explosive at-bats, improved their record to 25-11 overall and 16-6 in NSIC competition.

            Kylee Simpson got things underway in game one with an RBI single that scored Megan Hagemann. It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth that WSC was able to add an insurance run off of an RBI single from Lexie Loos that scored Kaiti Williams.

            Sara Scheffert dominated the Warrior batters, only allowing three hits and striking out three.

            Game two was even more explosive from the plate from the Wildcats, as they rattled off 11 runs and was able to complete the sweep in five innings.

            WSC started off the barrage in the bottom of the second with two runs coming off of the bats of Loos and Hagemann.

            The next inning, the Wildcats pushed four more across off of RBI’s from Sam O’ Brien, Loos, Hagemann and a throwing error on the Warriors.

            The Wildcats added five more run in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 11-0. WSC started the inning with an RBI single from Williams that scored Simpson. Kelcie Bormann added an RBI that scored Vicki Nielsen.

            But it was once again Loos who had the big bat of the inning as she blasted a three-run homer, her first in her career, that made the score 11-0.

            Sara Scheffert once again shut down the Winona State hitters, with another three-hit shutout while striking out three. Scheffert improves her record to 14-5 on the season with the two wins.

            Wayne State once again takes to the home field this weekend, taking on NSIC foes Minot State and The University of Mary tomorrow and Sunday respectively, each of the doubleheaders starting at noon.

            Also, the Wayne State baseball squad will take to the field at home this weekend, with doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday with Minnesota State, each of them starting at noon.

            The WSC baseball team is ranked seventh in the NCAA Division II Central Region Rankings that were announced last Wednesday. Currently, they are 24-10 overall and 20-7 against Central Region opponents.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More Than Just A Game

Heroes in sports aren’t always the high profile athletes. Sometimes the biggest heroes come in the littlest of stature.

Nobody would ever pay hardly any attention to a spring game. Just a scrimmage in front of a few more people, 60,000 more people.

But this was more than just a spring game, it was a moment that will live on, not just in Nebraska history, but sports history in general.

The Red team, faced with a fourth and short late in the fourth quarter of Nebraska’s spring game, handed the ball off to #22, just how they would have done last season.

But this time it was different.

It was not Rex Burkhead in the Husker backfield. This player is not on scholarship, he isn’t built like a normal running back, but he is the toughest guy I know.

Jack Hoffman, a seven-year-old cancer patient, hailing from Atkinson Neb., gave everyone in the country a reminder about how special sports can be.

After receiving his responsibility on the play, little Jack Hoffman took the field, sparking the 60,174 Husker fans in attendance, and bringing emotions to many more across the country.

Lined up to Taylor Martinez’ left, Jack took the handoff, and outran all 11 Blackshirts (and his own offense) for a 69 yard touchdown that will surely linger in the minds of not just Husker fans, but everyone with any interest in sports.

As Jack cleared the goal line and scored the first touchdown of his career, he was mobbed by the entire roster, white and red players alike, and was hoisted up on the shoulders of a few players as the roar of the crowd was deafening.

And the leading rusher for the Huskers on Saturday? Jack Hoffman himself.

Every time I watch it, I get those goosebumps and my eyes start to well up as an ear-to-ear grin comes across my face. Husker fan or not, if you don’t get that same feel, I question your being as a human.

If you haven’t seen it, you NEED to see it. In the span of just hours, Jack Hoffman went from Nebraska’s little secret to Sportscenter’s top play.

All Jack ever wanted was a picture with his favorite Husker, Rex Burkhead.  Ever since meeting Burkhead, Jack has got everything he could’ve ever dreamed of, and more. Jack has been adopted not by just Burkhead, but by the entire Nebraska team.

You can hate the Huskers all you want, but for one play, I guarantee you were rooting on Jack. Even if it was just one play, for that one play you were a Husker fan.

With all the scandal and corruption found in collegiate athletics today, it makes this story that much better. It makes me that much happier seeing all of the attention that Jack has gotten between all media outlets across the country.

 Instead of being shown for 30 seconds and then moving on to the next law broken, it does my heart good to still see this moment being shown today.

I hope that Jack continues to get the attention that he so well deserves, and brings more awareness to the fight he is dealing with off the field. He didn’t quit on his touchdown run, and he darn sure won’t quit on his fight with cancer.

A normal spring game would not garner the attention of millions. A normal spring game would hardly garner my attention.

But this wasn’t a normal spring game.

Way to go Jack. You’re my hero.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

There Goes My Hero

It was 12 years ago.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was just a young eight-year-old whippersnapper, absolutely fascinated with the sport of auto racing. I understood the sport better at five-years-old than most people do at any age.
Like everyone else, I had my own allegiance. And that man was none other than Dale Earnhardt.
Kids become really emotionally attached to different things at young ages. My attachment was to Earnhardt.
How much is Earnhardt a part of my life? Well, my full name is Richard Dale Rhoden. My middle name should speak for itself.
It was the way he drove, his aggressiveness, his demeanor, the way he talked on camera, the way he carried himself, all of this other stuff. It mesmerized me. I felt like I could relate to him. But most of all, I felt like I could BE Dale Earnhardt.
And at any opportunity, I tried to be.
As you can see here, I had a box with a number three on it. I turned my bike into a replica of Earnhardt’s car. I had my own racetrack at my house I drove that bike on. I was out on my bike, pretending to be The Intimidator, and always had a Coca-Cola (the drink of Dale Earnhardt) in victory lane as I talked to the “reporter” after the race. (Look at me now, a real reporter.)
I own all sorts of memorabilia donning his persona.
I know everything there is to know about him, he was my childhood obsession.
Earnhardt was more than my favorite driver, he was my hero.
Then the day that I will never forget for the rest of my life happened.
February 18, 2001.
It was the 43rd running of the Daytona 500.
I was psyched. A new year, and more opportunites.
I watched as the black number three ducked and dived through the draft all day long. I watched as he drove his way through the big one. I watched as he ran third in the final laps of the race. I jumped up and down, screaming, begging for him to make his move, to take the lead and win his second 500.
Then it happened, the final lap.
It is a memory that is burned into my psyche.
I remember where I was, the spot I was standing in, and the thoughts racing through my mind.
I watched as Earnhardt was bumped by Sterling Marlin in the middle of turn three. I watched as his car turned to the left, and then took a hard right into the outside wall.
Chills ran up my spine and made my hair stand on end listening to Darrell Waltrip, (still does to this day) so excited for his brother, Michael Waltrip, the winner, who just so happened to drive for Earnhardt.
Then he said, “I just hope Dale’s okay. I guess he’s all right isn’t he?”
I hoped and prayed that he would be.
But he wasn’t.
I watched a few hours later as Mike Helton, NASCAR President held a press conference and uttered the four word sentence I didn’t want to hear: “We’ve lost Dale Earnhardt.”
The air was punched out of me. Tears flowed down my face. I’ll never forget: I sat in the bathtub that night and bawled. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to go to school the next day. I was just an eight-year-old kid. And my hero was gone.
This man was more than my favorite racecar driver.
And just like that, he was gone.
My parents witnessed in person Earnhardt’s last two of three victories in his career. The 1999 and 2000 Winston 500’s at Talladega Superspeedway. I watched them from my grandmother’s living room.
I didn’t get to go to my first NASCAR race until Sept. 30, 2001, around seven months after the death of my hero.
As exciting as it was, there was still that hatred and jealousy that I wasn’t there, to witness my hero take victory. Even more so today.
Mom and dad saw Earnhardt go from 18th to 1st in the final five laps for the win, and I wasn’t there.
I will probably never forgive them for their decision of leaving me with my grandma and not letting me witness the greatness of Earnhardt.
All children have different obsessions, mine just happened to be a NASCAR driver who was larger than life.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Drop The Puck

Constant aggression, high-paced action, and a will to do whatever it takes to help the team win.
No, this isn't football, not basketball and especially not baseball.
It’s a sport played on ice known as hockey.
I know that as soon as most of you read the word “Hockey,” you could very likely have given up on me. I ask you not to do that, and keep reading. By the end of this I will have you yearning to see a hockey game.
Like I said, many of you may have thrown your nose up at the mention of hockey. I’m here to ask you why that is. Why do many Americans not even give hockey a chance?
First off, you don’t like hockey because you don’t understand hockey. You've never had the opportunity to watch hockey. The only hockey many of us have seen is the 3 1/2 second highlights that are shown on Sportscenter.

Along those lines, with no actual hockey games shown on ESPN, you've probably never even watched an entire hockey game, because it’s not on “The worldwide leader in sports.” Which means many people say, “If it isn't on ESPN, it doesn't matter.”
The NHL does have a contract with the NBC Sports Group, but that means that much of the action is shown on the NBC Sports Network, which many people do not have access to.
Hockey, if given a chance, will grab the attention of 8 out of every 10 people. You can’t take a side on hockey until you have watched a game or two.
You see in other sports where, especially high profile players, will “take plays off,” or not give a full effort while on the playing surface. That doesn't happen in hockey.
 Players are flying around, running people over and sometimes getting in fistfights all for a round black puck. Hockey players do whatever it takes to win, such as having their teeth knocked out, literally.
Many of you watch football for its crushing hits (like Jadeveon Clowney vs. Michigan) or quick paced nonstop action like Chip Kelly’s offense. But you can get all of this and more in hockey.
Watching some of the best scorers in the NHL and how proficient they are at handling the puck with a stick on ice is a sight to see. Do you understand the amount of coordination and concentration it must take to do all of these things and not fall down?
Hockey even has two intermissions, which means for you an extra bathroom break or beer run.
We live in a world today where sports dominate our lives. So why not give hockey a chance? Most of you won't regret it.