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Playoffs?

In Sports on January 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm

By: Drew Marshall

After being pushed out of the playoff picture for years, quarterback Tim Tebow has put the Denver Broncos back into contention. Photo courtesy of Google images

              As this year’s NFL playoffs are set to begin, different teams are representing years of growing success, while others show signs of withering defeat. Several teams made their first playoff appearance in a few years, including the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. However, with the success of these teams, others have failed. It seems as though the continuous trials by many teams in the NFL have paid off, and these playoffs will be their opportunity to show how far they have progressed.

            There are, of course, a few teams that are regulars to the playoffs. The Steelers, Ravens and Patriots make up the strongest AFC contenders. These teams have made their presence known, and it seems that all three are strong competitors against the talent of the NFC this season. Along with these three veteran teams, inexperienced Denver has been led to the postseason behind the strong play of quarterback Tim Tebow. This will be the first trip for the Broncos since 2005, and they face the same Steelers team this year. Pittsburgh is heavily favored in the matchup, coming in with a 12-5 record, to Denver’s 8-8 mark. The AFC usually is seen as the stronger league, but the NFC will be certain to bring challenges this year.

            The NFC brings in strong contenders in the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. Both of these teams have won Super Bowls in recent years, and they are two of the top three seeds this season. The second seed belongs to newcomer San Francisco, led by running back Frank Gore and quarterback Alex Smith to a 13-3 record. The NFC will certainly challenge the perennial powerhouses of the AFC, and they may even be able to rewrite the subservient stereotype their league has experienced for some time.

            While the playoffs are enticing, the teams that failed are facing the same toils, as managers and coaches try to determine what went wrong. One team that defines this defeat is the Dallas Cowboys, who lost a season ending game to divisional rival Giants that cost them a playoff spot. Though the failure strikes deep in the franchise, owner Jerry Jones is still confident in his team’s ability and believes they would have been able to go far, if they had made the playoffs. “More often than not, when you’re in the kind of shape we are statistically, you’re doing better in the playoffs,” Jones stated.

            This postseason has the potential to change the NFL preview forever. No longer will teams such as Houston or Cincinnati be counted out because of their poor history. Teams that have historically been bad have now grown into a threat through years of rebuilding. Powerhouses are dwindling, mostly shown in the Colts’ fall from power without quarterback Peyton Manning. The NFL has proven that success cannot last forever, and each team must make decisions that will help their franchise, today and in the coming years.

Pre-Christmas giving

In Sports on December 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

By: Jordan Smith

Is Orlando Magic’s center, Dwight Howard, really leaving his team behind? Well there are no guarantees, but that is what it looks like right now.   The 6-11, 265 lb. center started his career with the Orlando magic in 2004. Ever since, he has flourished and has been known to quote on quote “take your soul to the hole,” which simply means to dribble the ball to the basket with power.

Dwight Howard and Chris Paul struggle to make decision on NBA trade. Photo courtesy of Google images

He has been a power house for the Magic, and it makes logical sense why they desperately want to keep him. Don’t let his kind, and playful nature fool you. When Howard gets the ball, he knows what to do with it and is not kind.

The Los Angeles Lakers are making it their first priority to get Howard to complete their “dream team.” Other teams such as his current team the Orlando Magic, the New Jersey Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, are trying to get him to help their team out a great deal. If you recall, Lebron went through this very same situation. And as everyone knows, his decision turned disastrous. Hopefully Howard will look at the big picture and make a wise decision.

Another big all-star player being traded is Chris Paul. The Lakers are focusing hard on Chris Paul, hoping to get Howard and win a championship. But weighing out the chances of actually getting him they retreated.

The LA Clippers took the Lakers’ spot and are trying to build a mind-blowing team. If Paul takes the Clippers’ deal, they’ll send Eric Gordon to Minnesota. With Blake Griffin and Chris Paul as teammates, the sky is the limit.

As Howard was the power player for Orlando, Paul is the game changer who will knockdown the buzzer beater or the free throw when it is needed. With Paul leaving, it will be like Kobe trying to fit Shaq’s shoes. People will push to convince Paul to go where they want him to go, but he will follow his heart and will find his right place. With all the trading and drama it will be an exiting season. We will see what will be in store for us on December 25 as they deliver presents to each other, in other words, blocks.

Lady Cats fight back

In Sports on December 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm

By: Tinsley Tullos

The Charlotte Lady Cats serve as the one of the NBA’s most loved dance teams. As recent participants in Fort Mill High School’s career day, the Lady Cats are striving to be a leading example to the youth of Charlotte. While NBA’s latest lockout may have stopped players from playing, it has not stopped these ladies from giving back to the area they love most.

As recent participants in Fort Mill High School’s career day, the Lady Cats are striving to be a leading example to the youth of Charlotte. Photo courtesy of Google images

Just last month, as teams across the region prepared for the annual Susan B. Coleman Race for a Cure on October 1, 2011, the former and current Lady Cats along with close friends and family ran the race in honor of former Lady Cat, Nicole Bills. Long time runner and competitor, Bills was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2010 and was unable to race with the girls during the 2011 race. The team held several hula hoop and bingo contests at Mortimer’s café and pub in late September in hopes of raising money for the cause. “It was good to see everyone and to raise money to beat breast cancer,” Lady Cat Lindsay said. Bills has been inducted in the hall of fame of her alma mater, Central Michigan University; “the race was truly ran for her,” her team mentions.

The Cats have also participated in events such as feeding and preparing Thanksgiving meals to over 1,000 families and serving at the Center of Hope Women’s and Children’s Shelter. The team also volunteered at the YMCA for the Youth League Kickoffs and helped raise funds for cystic fibrosis and much more.

The 2010 and 2011 NBA dance champions feel as though it is more than fair to give back to the city that has provided them with so many opportunities. With the support of the NBA foundation, these opportunities provide the cats with such positive and constructive promotions like the annual calendar shoot. The members of the team range in backgrounds from girls of faith to previous college athletes. The Lady Cats work to become a united and well-rounded team, free of drama.

The one week audition process consists of choreography, fitness tests, broadcast skills, runways and more. A panel of close to thirty judges ranges from Michael Jordan, co-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, to the local Charlotte weather man. What separates the Lady Cats from most teams is the level of diversity. Judges not only look for ability to dance, but also for a look of professionalism. If one is mediocre on the day of choreography, one might prove to have an incredible talent for broadcasting on the next day. Where one is technical or inexperienced, one may never know on what the judges base their votes.

With an assortment of backgrounds and years of experience, the Lady Cats are sure to hold high standards of diversity. Support them in their efforts at bettering the community and gear up for the Cat’s special holiday performance at the Concord Mill’s Shopping Center on December 10, 2011.  The ladies will be handing out autographed photos and calendars for that Bobcat’s fan on your Christmas list. Any girls 18 years of age may audition for the team in June of 2012. Never fear tryout butterflies because again, who is going to be the judge of you?

Celebration gone wrong

In Sports, Uncategorized on December 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm

By:Sean Crosby

 On Saturday night, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma state Cowboys went head to head to determine who would be  the 2011 Big 12 champion.  The Sooners came in as the 10th ranked team in college football with a strong (9-3) record while the Cowboys were the 3rd ranked team with an even better (11-1) record.  By the end of the game, it was pretty clear who the better team was.  The Cowboys demolished the Sooners 44-10.  What happened after the game couldn’t even be put into words.  With this being the first championship forOklahoma since 1948 and the first time beating their rival,Oklahoma, in nine years, this was definitely a game worth celebrating.  The fans were out of control from jumping and hanging on the goalposts to jumping and running on the field; chaos was just waiting to happen.

Fans celebrating gone wrong. Photo courtesy of Google images

 

The entire field was suddenly engulfed by the student body, media, coaches and players.  On top of all the commotion going on, fans were also getting injured.  Nine ambulances were needed to treat the injured fans.  At least 13 fans were injured during the celebration and two of those 13 were critically injured and needed to be transported by a helicopter.  Michael Authement, who

heads the emergency command post for Lifenet EMS, commented on what he

saw happen, “They won the game and stormed the field and ripped down the

goalposts, and some were jumping off the stands and hit the field and others got

trampled.  It was a nasty deal.”  Authement also said, “There were thousands of people stormed the field. You could not move, there were so many people.”  Some of the fans did not want to end up on the field, they just got pushed and shoved and trampled onto the field.  “A girl pushed me over a wall.  Luckily, I didn’t get injured but, I didn’t have control when I jumped off the wall, you just moved with the crowd,” Jennifer Payne, a 21 year old junior, said. Security says it took about 45 minutes to clear the fans from the field. 

            Head coach Mike Gundy said, “When they started piling over, I got out of there as fast as I could…it was scary.” The game in Oklahoma will be an unforgettable one with a crazy end result.  Celebrating after winning happens all the time, but, not too many games end with fans in the hospital.

Lady Cats give back

In Sports on December 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm

By: Tinsley Tullos

            The Charlotte Lady Cats serve as the one of the NBA’s most loved dance teams. As recent participants in Fort Mill High School’s career day, the Lady Cats are striving to be a leading example to the youth of Charlotte. While NBA’s latest lockout may have stopped players from playing, it has not stopped these ladies from giving back to the area they love most.

As recent participants in Fort Mill High School’s career day, the Lady Cats are striving to be a leading example to the youth of Charlotte. Photo courtesy of Google images

            Just last month, as teams across the region prepared for the annual Susan B. Coleman Race for a Cure on October 1, 2011, the former and current Lady Cats along with close friends and family ran the race in honor of former Lady Cat, Nicole Bills. Long time runner and competitor, Bills was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2010 and was unable to race with the girls during the 2011 race. The team held several hula hoop and bingo contests at Mortimer’s café and pub in late September in hopes of raising money for the cause. “It was good to see everyone and to raise money to beat breast cancer,” Lady Cat Lindsay said. Bills has been inducted in the hall of fame of her alma mater, Central Michigan University; “the race was truly ran for her,” her team mentions.

            The Cats have also participated in events such as feeding and preparing Thanksgiving meals to over 1,000 families and serving at the Center of Hope Women’s and Children’s Shelter. The team also volunteered at the YMCA for the Youth League Kickoffs and helped raise funds for cystic fibrosis and much more.

The 2010 and 2011 NBA dance champions feel as though it is more than fair to give back to the city that has provided them with so many opportunities. With the support of the NBA foundation, these opportunities provide the cats with such positive and constructive promotions like the annual calendar shoot. The members of the team range in backgrounds from girls of faith to previous college athletes. The Lady Cats work to become a united and well-rounded team, free of drama.

The one week audition process consists of choreography, fitness tests, broadcast skills, runways and more. A panel of close to thirty judges ranges from Michael Jordan, co-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, to the localCharlotteweather man. What separates the Lady Cats from most teams is the level of diversity. Judges not only look for ability to dance, but also for a look of professionalism. If one is mediocre on the day of choreography, one might prove to have an incredible talent for broadcasting on the next day. Where one is technical or inexperienced, one may never know on what the judges base their votes.

With an assortment of backgrounds and years of experience, the Lady Cats are sure to hold high standards of diversity. Support them in their efforts at bettering the community and gear up for the Cat’s special holiday performance at the Concord Mill’s Shopping Center on December 10, 2011.  The ladies will be handing out autographed photos and calendars for that Bobcat’s fan on your Christmas list. Any girls 18 years of age may audition for the team in June of 2012. Never fear tryout butterflies because again, who is going to be the judge of you?

Water vs. Sports drinks

In Sports on December 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

By: Samantha Lepore

Unlike fancy sports drinks, water is simple and does an excellent job of hydrating the body without any extra calories or additives. Photo courtesy of Google Images

Every athlete knows how important it is to hydrate before and after activity, whether you are training or in an important event. It might be necessary to carry a drink with you during the workout, but this is only needed for intense sessions. The question is, what should athletes be drinking, sports drinks or water? There are more varieties of sports drinks that are coming out every year, causing athletes to turn away from a water bottle and pick up a powerade.

            Sports drink advertisements and promotions are always claiming their drinks will hydrate you for your “maximum performance”, but is this the truth? Sports drinks contain surplus sodium. Sodium is needed in the body after exercise to replace what was lost during sweat, but what is found in sports drink is more than is needed. The excess sodium found in these drinks may be harmful to those on a medication that has a side effect of varying blood pressure, though there are sports drinks available with a less sodium. They also contain sugars, artificial coloring and calories, making it more difficult to lose weight. Sports drinks are not all that bad though. “As many experts point out, sports drinks can help maintain and restore your electrolyte balance if you’re exercising strenuously for an extended period of time in warm temperatures”, author Carol Carson says. “Strenuous” exercising is not taking your dog for a walk or taking a jog down the block, it is something very long and challenging such as a marathon. Many people who drink sports drinks do not realize that they do not need such a powerful drink.

            For most average people, water, a necessity for all human life, is what is needed to hydrate the body, not a fancy sports drink. It is free, simple, and performs the job it is meant to do; hydrate the human body. It can be found almost anywhere and there is an abundance of it. It contains no calories or any extra additives unnecessary in the hydrating process. Yes, there are many drinks available for retail that offer vitamins and minerals, such as fruit drinks, but as you intend it to be a healthy drink, it becomes a counteraction because of calories and sugar.

            Do not let those “impressive” sport drink advertisements fool you, they are not magic. Though they might taste better, water is the best to drink for most. It contains everything you need with no down sides, and we do not have to pay a dollar for a bottle of it; it is available everywhere to us.

Clemson in Orange Bowl

In Sports on December 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

By: Drew Marshall

Their first victory in the Orange Bowl was in 1981 for the national championship, and Clemson hopes to bring victory to the university again. Photo courtesy of Google images

As Clemson prepares for the Orange Bowl on January 4, fans and enemies speculate about their chances for victory. Coming off a blowout of Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game, Clemson is looking primed for the game against West Virginia. The Tigers hope to keep the ball rolling, as they try to bring the university its first Orange Bowl win since their national championship victory at the bowl in 1981.

            The individual players are also facing a tough matchup against a tough WVU team. Quarterback Tajh Boyd will face off against opposing quarterback Geno Smith, both of whom have thrown for more than 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. Both offenses have shown that they can score points when necessary, and it looks like the coming bowl game will be a high-scoring affair. Clemson ranks 27in the nation in scoring offense, while WVU ranks 18. However, Clemson has shown at times during the season that their offense is sometimes incapable of producing points, like in the South Carolina rivalry game.

            The way that both teams came into the game was very different. Clemson’s finish to the season was rocky at first, with a big loss to USC. However, Clemson recovered in the ACC championship. WVU had to win a few key games near the end of the season to clinch the Big East Conference. WVU defeated Cincinnati 24-21, along with a late win against Pittsburgh. Even after this, the only reason that WVU is in the Orange Bowl is because they won the tie-break over Louisville and Cincinnati, decided by the higher BCS ranking. Due to the way they got into the bowl, many people may be thinking that they are not near the caliber of a Clemson team that earned their way in. Clemson is also highly motivated, since this is their first trip to the Orange Bowl since 1981. “This is the site of our programs’ greatest moment and we’ve been wandering in the desert for a long time since.” Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney stated.

            The game is sure to bring plenty of speculation prior to kickoff. Both teams have high-powered offenses, but it will likely be the defense that decides the game. Clemson has shown that their defense has holes, while WVU has struggled to win recently, partially due to their lack of defensive protection. Both teams also come to the bowl game through different forms of qualification. WVU won in the regular-season-based Big East Conference, while Clemson won in the decisive championship game of the ACC. This game may speak for more than just these two schools, but if WVU is the best team to be in the bowl. Since they did not qualify by their own merit in a championship game, WVU will have to prove that they can hang with a high –caliber team like Clemson on January 4.

Angels make major offseason moves

In Sports on December 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm

By: Drew Marshall

                In the short offseason, the Los Angeles Angels have already established themselves as a major contender for next season. The Angels signed former Cardinal and National League MVP Albert Pujols to a 10 year deal on Thursday, worth $254 million. Caught in the swing, Los Angeles went ahead and paid $77.5 million over five years toformer Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson. Both of these high-quality players will team up in L.A this season.

The biggest offseason free-agent, Albert Pujols, signed with the Angels last week, making them a new favorite in the American League. Photo courtesy of Google images

Even with the excitement of a new deal, the St. Louis Cardinals are upset that they couldn’t keep him in town. “We are disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement to keep Albert Pujols in St. Louis,” Bill DeWitt Jr, the Cardinals chairman, stated. Reportedly, the last deal they offered the first baseman was for nine years and less than $200 million. Pujols has spent every season of his career with the Cardinals, leading them to two World Series victories in the process. Prior to the signing, which came as a surprise to many, Pujols was rumored to be speaking with the Miami Marlins, who recently signed former Met’s shortstop Jose Reyes.

            The deal comes as a shocker because of the lack of money spent by the Angels in recent seasons. The team turned its nose up at big contract deals to Carl Crawford, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia. Owner Arte Moreno, however, seemed to think it necessary to throw much more money at Pujols for the next ten years. This deal does  make the Angels a contender, though they have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. Stealing C.J. Wilson from the Rangers will lean towards their favor in postseason and regular season play, where Texas is one of their primary competitors. With these high profile deals, however, money may be spent that could be used elsewhere.

            The Angels have saved their salary cap space for just the right opportunity, and now they have used it on two players for long term deals. Though Pujols is considered the best player in baseball by many analysts, he is coming off one of his worst seasons. Though he is a first baseman, he will most likely spend most of his time as a designated hitter in Los Angeles. Also, at the conclusion of this deal, Pujols will be 41 years old. If Pujols shows that he cannot play well into his late thirties, the Angels would have spent money in vain. When 2015 comes around, the Angels may be wishing they had $254 million back.

NASCAR changes

In Sports on December 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm

By: Erik Proctor

            It is that crazy time of the year for NASCAR teams known as silly season, when many changes occur.

Beginning this year, NASCAR changed their rules to the 2012 season. Photo courtesy of Google images

The 2011 NASCAR season has finally come to an end.  This means crew chief changes.  Drew Blickensderfer is leaving Roush Fenway Racing.  He has left the number six team and will work for Richard Childress Racing.  He will become Jeff Burton’s crew chief in 2012.  Kenny Francis will go with Kasey Kahne to Hendrick Motorsports.  Francis will be the crew chief for the number five car.

            The silly season also includes driver changing.  Bowyer is leaving Richard Childress Racing organization and will join Michael Waltrip Racing.  Kahne is leaving Red Bull Racing and go to Hendrick Motorspots to take the number five car away from Mark Martin.  Mark Martin and Michael will drive the number 55 car.  Martin will drive the 545 car for 25 races and Waltrip will race 7 races.

            Changes will occur for some teams, as well.  One team it occurs for was Childress; his decision is to only have three full-time cup teams.  Another team affected is the number six Roush Fenway team.  This team has shut its doors at the end of the season.  Red Bull Racing has also decided to shut its doors to three racing teams.  The drivers left without a ride for next year include David Ragen, David Reutimann, J.J Yearly, David Gilland, Scott Speed and Brian Vickers.  One race shop that is adding a team to the 2012 season is Stewart-Haas Racing.  Danica Patrick will be driving the number 10 Chevrolet next year, part time.

            Sponsorships are very important to NASCAR teams because of the funding required to maintain a competitive car.  UPS will be heading to Carl Edwards as an associate sponsor.  Edwards will also add Fastenal as a sponsor.  AMP is leaving Dale Earnhardt Jr’s car is being replaced by Diet Mountain Dew.  Kahne will be sponsored by Farmer’s insurance and Quaker State Oil.  Lagono will add Dollar General Mills and Newman will add Quicken Loans as a sponsor.

            As you can see, many changes occur at the end of the NASCAR season.  It my be a crew chief, driver, team or sponsor. Teams are always looking for that competitive edge and it may come from many different areas. Sometimes these changes produce the expected results and other times these changes fall short of expectations.

South Carolina Vs. Clemson

In Sports on December 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Number 14 Conner Shaw going for a pass for the Gamecocks to make a touchdown. Photo courtesy of Google images

            This past Saturday November 27, The University of South Carolina held the rivalry game of the college football season against the Clemson Tigers. This year has made it the third time in a row that USC has beaten Clemson University, and 105 times that USC and Clemson have played against each other Three years ago the score against Clemson was 29-25, and last year’s score was 31-28 when USC beat Clemson at their home field in Death Valley. The rivalry game this year was held inColumbia,SCat the William Brice Stadium, at the home of the Gamecocks. Clemson came prepared to beat the Gamecocks but fell short of the talent they thought they had in the first quarter. Clemson never scored a point over onCarolina.

            During the second quarter Clemson caught up toCarolina, and they were tied 10 to 10 going into the third quarter. During the third quarter Conner Shaw USC’s quarterback made an awesome pass to Marcus Lattimore and scored another touchdown for the Gamecocks. Conner Shaw played a full Four quarters for the Gamecocks and helped them win the third year in a row against the Tigers. The score ended up being 31-28. Next yearCarolinais expecting to beat Clemson for the forth year in a row.Carolinahas had a great football season, only loosing two games the entire season so far. This Clemson game has brought up their self esteem so much more to help them finish out this season strong. 

All the Carolina Gamecock fans celebrated all across theUSvery proud of their team, next year the celebration will be even bigger forCarolinafans as they beat Clemson for the forth time.