17 October, 2008

Bill Bulloch remembered by Salem State

as featured on Red Skies.

Bill Bulloch Tribute

Bill Bulloch is remembered by the Salem State Community

By Nate Snow

bill.bulloch.withwifeUnder gray skies on a windy Friday October 3rd, the Salem State College athletics and training communities held a memorial service for late head athletic trainer William F. Bulloch II. The service was attended by coaches, athletes, training staff, alumni, NCAA reps, and Salem State College President Dr. Patricia Maguire Meservey. Bill, 58, lost his long battle with cancer on August 11, 2008, at home surrounded by his friends and family. He was the senior member of

SSC’s athletic department and had served as head athletic trainer since 1977. He holds the unique distinction of having worked more Salem State College athletic events than any other individual.

Director of Athletics and Women's Basketball head coach, Tim Shea, opened the service by introducing Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Reverend Arthur Gerald.

Reverend Gerald described Bulloch as "jovial" and "a good person, a good man," before passing the microphone back to Shea who then introduced Dr. Stanley P. Cahill, Executive Vice President. Cahill recalled how Bill "always had a smile on his face," and how much fun they had teasing each other when his and Bill’s alma maters, Indiana and Michigan, met. Cahill presented a memorial plaque to Assistant Athletic Trainer, Carey MacDonald. The plaque, which will hang in the athletic training room, is inscribed with one of Bill's favorite quotes, "Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, live every day as if it were your last." bill.oneill

Other speakers included former Salem State basketball player John Furlong, Salem State Sports Information Director Tom Roundy, and head Ice Hockey coach Bill O'Neil. O'Neill commented on how he has been inspired by how Bill Bulloch lived. "Salem State has lost a treasure," O’Neill said.

Bill's wife and daughter read from cards and letters that they have received from far and wide. "Bill had two families," Betty Bulloch said, "us and Salem State." Both families will always remember Bill Bulloch for all the wonderful things he has done for people's lives.

Tee-shirts are being sold in Bill's memory, with the proceeds going to benefit education in his name. For more information, contact Carey MacDonald at: cmacdonald@salemstate.edu.

25 June, 2008

Germany's Lahm plays the Lion in Euro-Cup Semifinal Victory

Few expected Turkey to make it to these semifinals, in Basel, Switzerland, against a tournament tested German team. Germany led the head-to-head battle between these two countries 11-3-3, though Turkey had won two of the last three meetings. Further, with four players suspended and five players unable to take the pitch due to injury, including starting goalie Volkan Demirel, captain Nihat Kahveci, and midfielder Arda Turan, the Turks were going to have a very hard time overcoming the odds and booking another historic victory in these European Championships. It is important to note that other than Nihat (2) and Arda (2), there was only one other Turkish player who found the back of the net before today's match, that man was Semih Senturk who also accounted for two scores.

Even after all of these statistics are taken into account the game still has to be played, as they say, and what an exciting game it turned out to be.

The Turkish team showed the world that they were not listening to all the chatter when they once again got a fortunate ball off of the crossbar, which landed on the foot of Ugur Boral before being slipped gingerly past the German keeper Jens Lehmann in the 22nd minute; a soft shot that most will admit he should have made a much better play on.

From here, it was noted that only five teams have ever come back after trailing by a single goal in the European Championships; two of these were scored in extra time, while two of those games were decided on penalty kicks.

Germany wouldn't stay down for long though, when just four minutes later (26') Lukas Podolski made a quick move and low cross that once again found the boot of Bastian Schweinsteiger for the second time of the tournament and the second time in just as many games, evening the score at one all. This score would bring both teams into the second half, where the majority of their goals had been scored. This tournament, Germany had scored five of it's eight goals in the last 45 minutes of play; while Turkey had also netted more of it's goals after halftime, coming out of the locker room and scoring six of their seven goals.

Play resumed with Germany seeming to be better rested after the half. It seemed that the untested Turkey squad was losing their legs much more quickly than their German counterparts, and this was most expressed in a dicey tackle from Sabri Sarioglu on Philipp Lahm in the corner of the penalty area at the 51st minute; the Turks were fortunate, though, when no call was made by the referees and play continued.

During one of three weather related television blackouts, Lahm got his first taste of redemption for the non-call when he made a decisive cross across the pitch. The ball was badly misjudged by Turkey's back-up keeper, Rustu Recber, and was finished into the open net with a strong header by Miroslav Klose. This goal, in the 79th minute, was a much needed lift for the German squad; and for Klose, who was the leading scorer for the team in the last World Cup but had been much of a non-factor in these European Championships.

As has been the story of this tournament, Turkey would not give up. In the 86th minute, Sabri once again opened up Lahm down the sideline and played a strong low cross towards the net. It seemed that Lehmann had it all sized up when the man dubbed 'the life-guard', Semih Senturk, came swooping in and tipped the ball past the frozen German keeper on the short post side. Once again, it seemed that Turkey was making history.

This proved to not be the case though. As the game wore down, Germany did the same to the Turkish defense. In the 90th minute of play, just as it seemed that extra-time was once again in the cards, Lahm made a slicing run through the Turkish defense, playing a quick one-two with Thomas Hitzlsperger, and found himself one on one with Rustu. He would not falter, driving a wicked shot into the top right corner, ending the Turkish dream of a European Championship final and bringing elation to the German players and fans.

This, like many of the games played during this tournament, was one for the ages and showed just how exciting this game of football can be; it clearly exemplified why the world calls it 'the beautiful game.'

Felix Hernandez goes yard, in a big way...

As a fan of an American League team, I find it extremely interesting when we are involved in inter-league play for the simple reason that I want to see pitchers hit. This disparity between leagues has always bothered me, and the other day I was rewarded with what I believe is a main point for eliminating DH.

Johan Santana is a 2-time Cy Young award winner. He has faced over 5000 poisiton players in his short, storied career. In that time he has only allowed a single grand-slam. He has been called one of the most dominant pitchers of his time.

Felix Hernandez had only been to the plate eight times before facing Santana, and had only managed one hit. He stunned many fans of the game, though, when he stepped into the batters box and eto take the Met's Santana out of the yard, blasting his first career home-run (a grand-slam at that) out of Shea Stadium.

I believe that this is the reason that pitchers should be batting all the time. I apologize to guys like David Ortiz, who could be out of a job if the DH is abolished, but I believe this would make the two leagues more level in terms of production and talent.

And it is just much more exciting to see two pitchers face off in that way, giving pitchers a real chance to help their own cause, as it were.

16 June, 2008

Violence and Aggression in Sport

It has been said of sport, "It does not create the conditions for war, but it does maintain the possibility of those conditions, and adds its own efficiency to the other forces which produce a social order in which trails of strength are seen as part of the natural course of things" (Holt, 2000, p. 88). George Orwell (1950) once made the observation, "Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence; in other words it is war minus the shooting." Competitive sports, such as football, basketball, and baseball may involve aggressive tactics, but actual violence is considered to fall outside the boundaries of good sportsmanship. Contact sports, such as American football, ice hockey, rugby football, boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, and water polo involve certain levels of physical violence, but include restrictions and penalties for excessive and dangerous use of force. The overt physical actions that take place in sports can be described as both aggression and violence (Kerr, 2002, p. 68). These actions take place for many reasons, and can become dangerous to those participating in the sport, as well as spectators of the competition. These aspects of physical interaction between players/fans has been subdivided into two separate types of action (Brink, 1995). In describing the rugby union, Brink (1995) does a good job of highlighting the difference between the two types of aggression and violence:

Because the game is so relentless by its very nature, the borders between the permissible and the inadmissible are not always very clear-cut. Both are inherently violent. But surely the distinction between hard play and foul play lies in the resort of the latter to violence of an underhanded, malicious, treacherous kind. It is a condition of foul play that is not supposed to come to light, to be exposed, because it is not directed to the enfolding of the game but to the private goals of rage or revenge, to 'get at' a specific opponent, to 'prove' oneself. It foregrounds the individual, not the team. (p. 29)

In Brink's quote, the terms 'permissible ' and 'hard play' refer to acts of violence within the laws of rugby union. Conversely, 'inadmissible' and 'foul play' refer to acts of violence outside the laws of the game. (Kerr, 2002, p. 70) While trying to define aggression, behavior with intent to injure has been given great emphasis by some: (Tenenbaum, Sacks, Miller, Golden, & Doolin, 2000, p. 317)

Aggression is defined as the infliction of an adverse stimulus, physical, verbal, or gestural, upon one person by another. Aggression is not an attitude, but behavior and, most critically, it is committed with the intent to injure (LeUnes & Nation,1989). (Tenenbaum, Stewart, Singer, & Duda, 1997, p. 1)

Physically aggressive acts, like blocking in American Football, regular tackles in rugby, and body checks in ice hockey, can be ferociously violent actions yet be both within the rules of the games and not intended to injure. In addition, this critical element of intent to injure is controversial and not as all encompassing as Tenenbaum et al. (2000; and some others e.g., LeUnes & Nation, 1989) claim (Kerr, 2002, p. 70).

Violent and aggressive action outside the rules and regulations of game play, and the punishment regulated for such acts, is clearly apparent in the outcome of Marty McSorley's slash to Donald Brashear. Then Boston Bruin slashed then Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear with a heavy blow from his stick on the side of his face. Brashear fell to the ice and the back of his head struck the ice, causing a grade three concussion and a grand malls seizure. Brashear was not near the puck at the time McSorley's unsanctioned violent act took place. In addition to receiving a one-year ban from playing, McSorley was prosecuted in a British Colombia court and found guilty of "assaulting Donald Brashear with a weapon, a hockey stick." The guilt verdict was based on the judge's decision that "Brashear was struck as intended" (p. 70). deciding 'intent' is an clear process, it is the subjective meaning of the particular behavior to the individual concerned that is important and, therefore, the only person who really knows whether or not there was any intent to injure is the person who carried out the action (Russell, 1993; Smith, 1983). Based on an interview with McSorley, Kennedy (2000) pointed out that McSorley was aiming his blow at Brashear's shoulder to provoke a fight and that he never meant to hit Brashear in the head. "'Yes I meant to slash him,' says McSorley, 'did I mean to hurt him with my stick? No.'" (Kennedy, 2000, p. 60). Video evidence confirms that his blow first struck Brashear on the shoulder before making contact with his face. Thus, although this was an act of unsanctioned aggression, if what McSorley said is true, it was not undertaken with the intent to injure. This aspect of violence and aggression creates an atmosphere of 'I didn't mean it' actions possibly being passed over as accidental, which could be extremely dangerous and unfair to the victim of the violent/aggressive act.

In attempting to produce a satisfactory definition of aggression and violence in sport, it is necessary to take into account the special status that sanctioned aggression and violence hold in sport, which distinguishes them from aggression and violence in most other contexts (Kerr, 2002, p. 71). Another definition of aggression and violence in sports as regards to the agreement for competition is:

In general, aggression can be seen as unprovoked hostility or attacks on another person which are not sanctioned by society. However, in the sports context, the aggression is provoked in the sense that the two opposing teams have willingly agreed to compete against each other. Aggression in team contact sports is intrinsic and sanctioned, provided the plays remain permissible within the boundaries of certain rules, which act as a kind of contract in the pursuit of aggression (and violence) between consenting adults (Kerr, 1997, p. 115-116).

Kerr (2002, p. 72) goes on to argue that, "controversial as it may sound", it should be reemphasized that sanctioned violence and aggression are a necessary part of team contact sports, and those who take part know that there are risks of physical injury and sometimes even death. This is similar to participation in other types of risk sport (e.g., skiing, snowboarding, motorcycle racing; Chirivella & Martinez, 1994; Cogan & Brown, 1998; Kerr, 1991; Zuckerman, 1983) where athletes also participate in spite of the high level of risk involved (Kerr, 2002, p. 72). Perceptive sports psychologists will recognize that sanctioned aggression and violence are a primary source of players' excitement, pleasure, and satisfaction and thus a major factor in their motivation for participation (Kerr, 1997; Novak, 1976; Russell, 1993). This argument was not made to exonerate unsanctioned aggression and violence but to understand the real nature of these sports (Kerr, 2002, p. 72).

Another argument on the cause of violence and aggression in sports is that socialization (i.e.; a learned response) is to blame (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Socialization can take place through participation in sports since sports provide a microcosm for living and society. The structure of social relations in sports influences the participants' development of social skills. Researchers have striven to answer whether sports provides a positive outlet for, or teaches and reinforces, aggression (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Human beings cannot live a fulfilling life in isolation, and can have more effective and healthy lives through association with others. This means that human beings must somehow learn how to live together. Socialization can take place through participation in sports since sports provide learning environments where participants have the opportunity to learn competition, cooperation, role-playing and discipline regarding rules, regulations, and goals (Bloom & Smith, 1996). In this sense, sports can be seen as a laboratory of human experience. The structure of social relations in organized sports can give participants experience in various roles and group interaction, and contribute to the development of social characteristics that integrate them into existing larger social structures (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Unfortunately, a "win-at-all-costs" philosophy has often led to unethical and aggressive behaviors, impacting negatively and destructively on the development and well being of young athletes and of society at large. Researchers (e.g.; Arms, Russell, & Sandilands, 1979; Bredemeier, Weiss, Shields, & Cooper, 1986; Ewing, Gano-Overway, Branta, & Seefeldt, 2002; Guivernau & Duda, 2002; Terry & Jackson, 1985) have striven to answer whether sports provide a positive outlet for an instinctive drive of aggression or whether sport teaches and reinforces aggression through the highly competitive nature of many sport settings (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Proponents of instinct theory such as Freudians argue that aggression is instinctive, and that vigorous physical activities provide cathartic benefits by releasing the pent-up emotions of participants. Sloan (1979, p.23) wrote, "Catharsis or reduction of aggression level will occur either by participating in an aggressive act or vicariously through watching acts of aggression by others. Thus, they [pent-up emotions] must be relieved periodically or erupt, producing catharsis in wither case (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Minninger (1948) argued that competitive games provide a medium through which aggressive tendencies are discharged. Johnson and Hutton (1955) used the House-Tree-Person test to determine the cathartic effects of a combative sport by testing eight college wrestlers approximately three weeks before season, and again the morning after the competition. The findings revealed a cathartic effect as a result of competition (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Although aggressive behaviors may sometimes provide catharsis, an opposing view is that participating in or viewing aggressive behaviors is more likely to elicit greater amounts of aggression than to result in decreased aggression (e.g.; Bandura & Waiters, 1974; Berkowitz, 1970; Geen, Stonner, & Shope, 1975). Gelfand and Hartmann (1982) found that participation in competitive games raised boys' and girls' levels of aggression, regardless of competition outcome (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). It was found that spectators also become more aggressive after observing the event. Bloom and Smith (1996) noted that violence in hockey often spills over into violence in other social settings for spectators as well. A slight increase in hostility has also been found for non-contact and non-aggressive sports (Arms, et al., 1979; Goldstein & Arms, 1971). And, Zillman, Katcher, and Milvasky (1972) found that even vigorous physical exercise using a bicycle-ergometer could enhance aggressive tendencies (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

The frustration-aggression hypothesis has been proposed to explain human aggressive behaviors, maintaining that aggression is caused by frustration (Bird & Cripe, 1986; Gill, 1986; Husman & Silva, 1984). In this view, frustration occurs due to the blocking of one's efforts to achieve goals. Critics of the frustration-aggression hypothesis have questioned whether all frustration causes aggression. Although frustration sometimes leads to aggressive behavior, a direct casual relationship between frustration and aggression cannot always be claimed (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). In sport context, the losing of a game can be an important factor eliciting frustration. Evidence cited by Martin (1976) supported the contention that competitive sport generates either catharsis or increased aggression, depending upon the outcome of the game. Martin administered the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study to 32 male undergraduate students to determine the impact of winning and losing on participants' aggression: Individual sport athletes experienced more frustration than did team athletes upon losing; yet participants of both type of sport enjoyed reduction of aggression when they won (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Further, Reyes and Lorant (2001) administered the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire to 150 8-year-old children who were beginning martial arts training. They found that only the children who were receiving judo training did not score more aggressive; those receiving other forms of martial arts training did in fact score more aggressive (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Social learning theory maintains that aggression is a behavior learned through the processes of reinforcement and modeling (Bandura, 1973; Bloom & Smith, 1996). In this view, participation in sports may teach and/or reinforce either aggression or sportsmanship. Alland (1972) observed a Pacific people, the Samai of Malaysia. Since the Samai did not express any aggressive behavior when a role model of aggression was absent, Alland concluded that aggression is not instinctive. In this view, sports can serve as a medium for teaching and reinforcing sportsmanship and moral reasoning, with aggression and unsportsmanlike behaviors occurring primarily in response to adverse and "dog-eat-dog" situations and to sport situations involving leadership (coaches, etc.) who do not discourage aggression or support sportsmanship in the participants (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Some argue that athletes tend to be more unsportsmanlike than their non-athlete counterparts, and that a long period of involvement and high degree of physical contact in sports impacts negatively on participants' moral reasoning (Bloom & Smith, 1996). Gardner and Janelle (2002) asked athletes and non-athletes to judge the legitimacy of overtly aggressive acts performed by both contact and non-contact sports participants. They found judgments legitimizing aggressive behavior to be inversely related to the respondents' moral reasoning (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Bredemeier, et al. (1986) conducted a study with 106 children at a summer sport camp and found that participation in high contact sports was associated with greater aggression and with lower levels of moral reasoning. Similarly, Belier and Stol (1995) found that high school non-athletes scored significantly higher in terms of moral reasoning than did high school athletes. Treasure (2002) argued that participating in sports with the wrong kind of coaching could have devastating lifelong impacts on a child's moral development. Guivernau and Duda (2002) interviewed 194 soccer players, 13 through 19 years of age. They found that regardless of gender, the players reported that they would be more likely to be aggressive if they thought their coaches supported such behaviors (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Both Guivernau & Duda and Stephens (2000) found players' perceived team pro-aggressive norms were the best predicator of the players' likelihood to aggress. From these studies, it can be argued that unsportsmanlike behaviors of young athletes are learned and reinforced depending upon the type of sport and leadership of coaches (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). On the other hand, Loughhead and Leith (2001) interviewed and observed hockey players (10 to 15 years of age) and their coaches, and found that, regardless of age, players' views were unrelated to coaches' views on aggression (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Conversely, research studies have revealed a positive correlation between sportsmanlike behavior and moral growth when both quality leadership environments that support behavior and growth were guaranteed. Geibink and MacKenzie (1985) used three intervention strategies (instruction and praise, modeling, and a point system) to investigate the effects on children's sportsmanship through a 22-day recreational basketball class (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). They found that with each strategy, un-sportsmanlike behavior (e.g., fighting, cheating) was reduced yet there was little increase in sportsmanship (e.g., congratulating opponent winners). The point system with contingent reinforcers was most effective in producing positive changes (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Silverman's (1998) study suggested curriculum (in particular, "Fair Play For Kids' curriculum) was effective in promoting moral development in young children enrolled in physical education.

One can assume that an athlete who experiences competitive situations under quality leaderships and healthy environments is more capable of coping with aggression-inducing situations than his or her counterparts. Thirer (1993; 1978) asked female athletes and non-female athletes to view a violent film and to complete an aggressive attitude inventory before and after viewing. Thirer found that athletes displayed a non-significant change in aggressive attitude score pre- to post-viewing whereas non-athletes showed a significant increase in their score (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). This finding supports social learning theory and implies that athletes are less vulnerable to aggression-inducing situations. Furthermore, Daniels and Thornton's (1989) study revealed that combative sports could possibly serve to reduce hostility under good leadership. Smith, Watson, Ficher, and Sung (2003) conducted a longitudinal study with 325 children aged 7 to 14. In determining whether socio-demographic variables affect trajectories of aggressive behavior in middle childhood, they found family environment and temperament variables had a greater impact than did socio-economic factors (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). It can be contended that sport participation facilitates and teaches sportsmanship and moral reasoning if quality leaderships and environments are provided.

It can be suggested that positive behavior changes in children are assured when children are positively reinforced and exposed to quality role models. Conversely, aggressive and unsportsmanlike behavior is likely to increase under the lack of good leadership, especially when young athletes are involved in highly competitive sport (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Aggression or sportsmanship can be learned and/or reinforced by significant others, the structure of sport, and the society's attitude (Terry & Jackson, 1985). Loopholes in sport rules and inconsistencies in rule application may trigger reinforcement of aggressive behavior. In addition, practices by some sports marketers are related to the use of violence for selling products (Jones, Ferguson, & Stewart, 1993). According to the findings of Russell (1986), violence may not increase box office receipts.

The underlying motivation for violence in hockey has been the source of some debate (Stewart, Ferguson, & Jones, 1992). A number of social scientists have argued that hockey violence reflects cultural values; some Canadian literati maintain that hockey violence meets the need for national "release," calling it "the counterpart of Canadian self restraint" (Beardsley, 1987, p. 133). The official NHL view is that fighting is primarily spontaneous and a useful cathartic reaction to a physical game (Eitzen, 1985, p. 103). To some degree all of this may be true. Economists, however, work on the assumption that economic agents (leagues and teams) are interested in their own concerns (profit maximization), and, therefore, their behavior can be explained principally by economic factors (Stewart, Ferguson, & Jones, 1992). Indeed, Ferguson, Jones, Stewart, and LeDressay (1991) found considerable support for the hypothesis that hockey teams act as profit-maximizes. In this context, violence can be considered a "good characteristic," an attribute of the product. Another study was also done to explain why hockey fans would possibly join a crowd disturbance (Russell and Arms, 1998). This study consisted of having male ice hockey fans (N = 78) completed a battery of biographical, social, cognitive, and individual differences measures that has previously been administered piecemeal to spectators found in attendance at games. Participants' self-reported likelihood of joining in a crowd disturbance served as the dependent measure. The individual differences measures included physical aggression, anger, impulsivity, psychopathy, sensation seeking, and public self-consciousness (1998). All but public self-consciousness was positively related to subjects' likelihood of escalating a disturbance. Participants' age, number of accompanying males, the false consensus effect, number and recency of fights, and attending in anticipation of watching player fights were also related to the dependent measure (1998). The time since the participant was last in a fight and liking to watch player fights emerged as significant predicators. This study shows the promoting affect that fighting in hockey has on spectator violence.

Aggression or sportsmanship can be learned and reinforced in many different ways. multiple reasons rather than a single one influence such behaviors. Reinforcement and modeling of aggressive behaviors and/or sportsmanship but parents, coaches, referees, peers, and the media influence their reoccurrence. Young athletes need positive, appropriate and constructive role models to teach and reinforce sportsmanship and moral reasoning (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). The coach is perhaps the most significant person influencing the amount of aggressive or sportsmanlike behaviors displayed in the competitive sport context (Conan, 1980; Cratty, 1983; King, 1990; Terry & Jackson 1985). Smith (1983) reported that nine percent of hockey players (N=166) between the ages of 12 to 13 perceived their coaches as approvers of hockey violence. The role of referees has also been identified as a significant factor affecting athletes' subsequent behaviors (Lefebve, Leith, & Bredemeier, 1980). Failure of referees to correct an athlete’s aggressive behavior may reinforce and increase the probability of reoccurrence (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Parents sometimes push their children into competitive sports. They may wish to realize their personal, unfulfilled desires through their children, or to have their children exposed to excessive competition, believing it is appropriate preparation for later, adult life (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005). Pagelow (1984) noted that aggressive children tend to have aggressive parents and that parents can be strong role models of aggression. Similarly, Freishlag and Schmidke (1979) stressed the importance of parents' influences on young athletes' moral reasoning (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

The potential role of media should be recognized in moderating aggression in sports (Lefebvre, et al., 1980). The broadcaster should identify aggressive and un-sportsmanlike behaviors immediately in terms of rule regulations and sportsmanship conduct. Sullivan's (1991) study explored the impact of television commentary on viewers' perceptions and enjoyment of player hostility, including violent behavior, in the context of a less combative sport. Effects of fanship, gender, and varying levels of commentary (dramatic, neutral, no commentary) we tested. A videotape of a heated Georgetown versus Syracuse men's college basketball game provided stimulus material, with the dramatic commentary treatment contradicting the visual evidence as to which team was the aggressor (1991). Strong medium effects were reveled, with viewers of the dramatic commentary treatment perceiving Syracuse players as being significantly more hostile, in line with the manipulation. Men were more likely than women to enjoy the fighting in the game segment, but fans' perceptions of opponent hostility were as vulnerable to the biased commentary as those of non fans (1991).

Three seminal studies examined bias in commentary and its relationship to viewer responses to player hostility (Sullivan, 1991). Comisky, Bryant, and Zillman (1977) and Bryant, Comisky, and Zillman (1981) found that appreciation, including enjoyment, of heavy contact sports contests (professional hockey and professional football, respectively) is facilitated by roughness, enthusiasm, and violence of play, and that commentary alters viewer perception of rough play (Sullivan, 1991). It is important to note that the stimulus material used in these studies was game action that, regardless of intensity, reflects normative player behavior for hockey and football and is clearly within the scope of the game's rules. The third study on commentary bias (Bryant, Brown, Comsiky, & Zillman, 1982) manipulated the affective relationship between players rather than roughness of play. Bryant, et al. (1982) varied commentary to manipulate the affective relationship between tennis players, finding that increases in perceived enmity, intensity of play, and competitiveness between opponents contributes to viewer enjoyment (Sullivan, 1991).

Since television most often mediates this intense fan experience of sport (Bellamy, 1989; Eastman & Meyer, 1989), commentators serve a central role in influencing public perceptions of violence in sports contests. The chief role of commentary traditionally has been narrative in function (Sullivan, 1991). In this role, commentators use a set of descriptive narrative modes- objective, judgmental, and historical- to tell the game story (Morris & Nydahl, 1983). In its objective mode, commentary complements the camera by summarizing what has occurred in the game. In the judgmental mode, commentary assigns motivations to player and team performance and player behavior (Sullivan, 1991). Commentary that places players, teams, and game sin historical perspective typically relies on biographical material and statistical comparisons. Descriptive narration demonstrates the commentator's credibility as game expert. Commentators, for example, borrow liberally from the descriptive language of the locker-room; cued by jock jargon, viewers believe they are getting "shop talk" (Snyder & Spreitzer, 1983)

Bryant and Zillman (1983) note that rough and aggressive action would represent "human conflict at its peak, and intense conflict is the heart and soul of high drama" (p. 7). By extension, violence can be considered the ultimate in human sports conflict with increases in viewer enjoyment corresponding to increases in the likelihood of serious injury to the athletes (Sullivan, 1991). The fight fan cherished the heavyweight who delivers the knockout, the football fan idolizes the linebacker who wrecks quarterbacks, and the hockey fan cheers the defense man who uses his elbows in the corners and his fists around the goalmouth. Players' violence attests to their will to win (Sullivan, 1991). The nature of heavy contact sports, the rules that govern such sports, media attention, the lack of punitive deterrents to fighting, and American society's emphasis on outcome rather than process all contribute to players' use of violence. in contact sports, coaches and players perceive the use of intimidation and aggression as a vital ingredient to winning (Swift, 1986). In programs that emphasize win-loss records, players are more likely to use intimidation through violence (Smith, 1978; Tyler & Duthie, 1979).

Some research has been done into whether sports do enough to deter from player and fan violence (Nagel, Southall, & O'Toole, 2004). This study was designed to identify the punishments levied for unacceptable player behaviors by the four major North American professional sport leagues from 1995 through 1999. The sample was the players from the sample leagues for the same time period. Punishment means and occurrences for identified player behaviors were calculated and league punishment occurrences were analyzed for equivalence using a Chi Square Goodness of Fit Test (2004). Results indicated that the most common league punishment occurrences were responses to player behaviors 'Fighting' and 'Intimidation'. In addition, 81% of Major League Baseball's responses resulted in a punishment of $0.00 (2004). The studies results strongly suggest the four major North American professional sport leagues use punishment as a public relations tool and not as a meaningful deterrent to player behaviors. Lapchick (1996) has contended that the punishment for professional athletes' violence in sports must be harsh enough to reduce and deter such violence. According to Lapchick, "Fines are useless for players making more than $1 million each year" (p. 192). Appropriate and effective ways for sanctioning athletes must be determined (Nucci & Young-Shim, 2005).

Using violent language could also encourage aggressive and violent behaviors. Wren (1991) made a strong comparison of using violent language to smoking:

Language, like tobacco, is habit forming. Some patterns of writing and speaking are addictive and may damage both the user and the others who breathe the same linguistic atmosphere. If we can see the damage being done and decide to kick the habit, we may get withdrawal symptoms and hostility or derision from other smokers. But in the end, we shall enjoy breathing fresh air (Holt, 2000, p. 102)

The language used in sports print journalism is also evident of the connection of violence and sports (Holt, 2000). Particularly since the 1985 Heysel Stadium soccer massacre, even some sports journalists have begun to view violence in sport as problematical. Dwyre (1996), for example, reflecting on a long career as a reporter of sporting events in the US, concluded: "Sportswriters tend to view sports-related violence such as fights between opposing team members, vicious boxing matches, and assaults on players as part of the game rather than an intolerable an offensive incident. Violence in sports should not be so easily tolerated" (Holt, 2000). Writing in Sports Illustrated, Wulf (1988), in similar vein, criticized the president of the US national ice-hockey league for denying that the league was prone to violence while at the same time marketing videos with titles like; "Brand New. Part 4. Hockey's Bloodiest Fights and Knockouts'. or '165 Hours of Good Quality Hockey Fights'.

Holt's (2000, p. 89) study consisted of a sample of ten per cent of the annual diet of newspaper sport reporting of the inhabitants of New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, being examined from the point of view of the most salient features of language for a period of 35 consecutive days (five calendar weeks - 1 June to 5 July). In sifting the language of the sports supplements in both newspapers (New Zealand Herald and Sunday Star Times), it was clear that many of the characteristics of journalistic style generally were present; these included: dramatization of headlines (e.g., 'Kiwis Light Up Night'); idiomatic and emotive diction (e.g., 'The game is screaming out for guidance on what has become an extremely ugly turn of events'); the blurring of the border between information and entertainment; the meshing of visual images with concept, including advertising layout; simplification or trivialization of content; and the use of clich├ęs and catch-phrases (e.g., 'on-a-roll captain finds X's Achilles heel') (2000, p. 90). The most salient or distinctive element of journalistic style for sports reporting in the present sample was found to be images of violence. This study did not concern itself with the relatively innocuous terms that have long been assimilated into the normal, basic vocabulary of sport, such as: 'to win, to beat, victory over, to defeat, to lose, etc.'. These refer to an underlying metaphor of ‘battle’, which reflects the competitive nature of sports generally, but through time, common usage and familiarity have achieved the status of 'dead' or 'frozen' metaphors that are taken more or less literally (2000, p. 90). Rather, this study was concerned with more consciously graphic images that have not (or, not yet) lost the true metaphor's relative vividness of effect.

Examination of the 35 separate sports supplements/sections revealed the images to be focused on four major metaphorical complexes. The one most frequently occurring has been simply labeled 'violence' and concerned language used to evoke related notions along a spectrum from injury to killing. All three main classes of content-words (nouns, verbs, and adjectives) are widely used, with a slight preponderance of verbs. The next most frequent complex was a 'military' metaphor, which also incorporated associated terms from semantic fields like 'hunting' or the 'cowboy Western'. In this particular word sample nouns and verbs tended to be roughly equal in number, with adjectives being largely absent, suggesting semantically a relatively equal emphasis on process and product aspects. The third most frequent key metaphor discovered was that of 'mechanization' or 'machinery'. The word usage in this sample follows the patterns of the previous sample. The final complex related closely to the machine-metaphor, but differed in that it went a step further by representing particular body parts as machine parts; what one might term a 'robotic' model (2000, p. 93). The significance of the machinification-metaphor represents an attempt to camouflage the true physical effects of violence; as Bataille noted: '(language can often substitute) the appearance of a solution for the insoluble, and a screen for violent truth.'

Bibliography/Works Cited

13 May, 2008

Women's College Softball team goes 0-25, learns sports greatest lesson...

The Rosemont College softball team just finished their season, unfortunately they failed to record a single victory finishing 0-25, and 0-20 in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference, finishing dead last. Sadly, none of the Ramblers games made it past the 5-inning 'mercy rule'. This season, as bad as it seems, isn't a far cry from the 1-23 season they posted just a year ago. "I had to start with the basics: This is a ball. This is a glove. This is a bat," Ramblers coach Joe Long (top: pictured middle) said in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer. "That first practice, I used rag balls and Wiffle balls and we still had girls jumping out of the way when I threw them a ball."

This isn't exactly a story of champions, but it is one of athletes who acted like champions. Rosemont, a 400-student, all-women, liberal-arts Catholic college nearly lost its program prior to this season when it graduated 4 seniors and 5 of its players didn't return for another season. The players who did stay played with heart and determination though.

"Quit? No, I never felt like quitting at all," said Tammy Do (top: pictured left, bottom: pitching), 21, a junior from Philadelphia PA who was 0-11 as one of two pitchers on the squad. "I couldn't be more proud."

Karen Boyle (top: pictured right), 19, a freshman infielder from Swarthmore PA, feels the same way. "It's hard to explain," Boyle said. "It has definitely made me stronger, and it helped make me realize that winning isn't everything."

"This was by far the best group of girls I've ever coached," Long said. "They stuck up for each other, and they never once got down on each other. I have never had a team bond like this. These kids have character."

This is really what sports should be all about. The games have become so much about winning, that this spectacle is hard to fathom for most sports fans, casual and die-hard alike. But it did happen and it should be remembered as a lesson for the ages. It is the real-life example of 'It's not whether you win or lose, its whether you have fun playing the game.' And isn't that the lesson we should be teaching the young athletes today?

And as for the Rosemont Ramblers hopes for next season, according to coach Long, "The goal for next year is to get past five innings." It's that simple, and it should be that easy for all athletes and coaches. Maybe we should all endure a winless season at some point in our lifetimes, it would surely make the victories that much sweeter. This season did have a bright spot after all the losses though. The Ramblers, who only have 10 girls on their squad, were awarded the 2008 Pennsylvania Athletic Conference Softball Team Sportsmanship Award. A fitting recognition for a deserving team.

06 May, 2008

To the winners go the spoils. Which Trophy is the best though?

Everyone grows up wanting to be a champion of something. Whether you have dreams of hitting that grand-slam home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series, or sinking that three-pointer to close out game seven of the NBA championships. Everyone wants to win, but which trophy is the one worth winning? Here they are, and you can decide. Be sure to vote for your choice on the poll in the right column.

The Commissioner's Trophy is awarded each year by Major League Baseball to the team winning the World Series. The trophy was first awarded in 1967, when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox. The current trophy, which was redesigned slightly in 1999 and made by Tiffany & Co., is 24 inches tall, excluding the base, and 11 inches around. It weighs approximately 30 pounds and is made of sterling silver. The trophy features 30 gold-plated, hand-furled flags, one for each of the Major League teams, which rise above an arched silver ox baseball with latitude and longitude lines that symbolize the world. The baseball also contains 24-karat vermeil baseball stitches. The baseball itself weighs over 10 pounds. The base contains an inscription and the signature of the commissioner. It has an estimated value of $15,000. It was presented for the first time at the conclusion of the 2000 World Series, which was won by the New York Yankees. It is the only championship trophy of the Big Four that is not named after a particular person.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is the trophy awarded each year to the winning team of the National Football League's annual championship game, the Super Bowl. The trophy was originally called the "World Championship Game Trophy" in 1967, when the Super Bowl was originally named the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. It was renamed in 1970 in memory of legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi to commemorate his victories in the first two Super Bowls. Since Super Bowl XXX, it is presented to the winning team's owner on the field following the game. Previously, the trophy was presented inside the winning team's locker room. The trophy is valued at $25,000. The trophy depicts a regulation-size football in kicking position that is made entirely of sterling silver. It stands 23 inches (55 cm) tall, weighs seven pounds (3 kg), and takes approximately four months and 72 man-hours to create. The words "Vince Lombardi Trophy" and the NFL logo are engraved on the base. After the trophy is awarded, it is sent back to Tiffany & Co. to be engraved with the winning team's name, the date and final score of the Super Bowl. The winning team is rewarded the trophy afterward.

The Stanley Cup, awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) champion, is the most coveted ice hockey club championship trophy in the world. The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated by former Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892 as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, it became the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926. The Cup later became the official NHL championship prize in 1947. The Stanley Cup is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions, the oldest of which is the celebratory drinking of champagne out of the cup by the winning team. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; Cup winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. It is the only trophy in professional sports that has the name of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff engraved on it. The original bowl was made of silver and has a dimension of 18.5 cm (7.28 inches) in height and 29 cm (11.42 inches) in diameter. The current Stanley Cup is made of silver and nickel alloy. It has a height of 89.54 cm (35.25 inches) and weighs 15.5 kg (34.5 lb).

The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy is awarded to the National Basketball Association team who wins the NBA Finals at the conclusion of every basketball season. The current NBA Championship Trophy was created for the 1978 NBA Finals, replacing the previous trophy design. Originally named after Walter A. Brown, it was renamed in 1984 in honor of former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien. The trophy is made of approximately sixteen pounds of sterling silver and vermeil (with a 24 karat gold overlay) and stands about two feet tall. It is designed to look like a basketball about to enter a basketball net. The basketball itself is the same size as a regulation size NBA basketball. The trophy is created each year in the Tiffany & Co. Silver Shop. A new Larry O'Brien Trophy is made every year, and the winning team maintains permanent possession of that trophy. The trophy is engraved with the year and team name, and the trophies are often prominently displayed in the team's arena.

05 May, 2008

On Charging the Mound

For the most part, baseball is a passive aggressive sport. You focus all of your aggression and take it out on the baseball. What happens when the player is hit by the ball is something completely different though. It can be both comical and/or violent, depending on how the batter decides to react.

Every pitcher can only hope they are as lucky as this Japanese pitcher, when he beans Tony Batista. Sorry for the Japanese commentary, unless you speak Japanese in which case you're welcome.

Sometimes, it's not the pitcher that should be worried. If the batter happens to be Izzy Alcantara, maybe the catcher should be ready to defend himself.

Finally, when you think of the worst thing that can happen after you bean someone with a baseball, it would be this act by Jose Offerman. Offerman really uses all of his .373 career batting average on this one.

Just a word for the wise, be sure you know what you are getting into when you decide to charge that mound. Because, as Robin Ventura found out when he charged Hall-of-Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan in 1993, sometimes that pitcher just might be able to beat the crap out of you; even if he is in the final year of a 27 year MLB career.

Salem State Lacrosse Tournament Bound

The Salem State men's lacrosse team reaped the rewards of their hard work and determination today, when it was announced that they had received the fifth seed in this weeks Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) New England Lacrosse Championship Post-season Tournament. SSC, who posted an 8-4 record this year as an independent after returning to the varsity level for the first time since 2003, will play an opening round match at No. 4 seed Castleton (VT) State University (12-6) at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, May 7.

The winner of the SSC/CSU match will advance to the semifinal round and play at No. 1 seed Endicott College (16-3) on Saturday, May 10 at 12:00 pm. The other semifinal round match, between No. 2 seed Plymouth State University (12-5) and No. 3 seed Lasell College (9-6) will be played later that day at 3:00 pm at Endicott.

The championship match is scheduled for Sunday, May 11 at 1:00 pm at Endicott.

04 May, 2008

"Success Through Preparation, Teamwork and Leadership" with Bill Belichick

When it was announced that the mastermind behind the dynasty that is the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, was the next featured speaker in the Salem State College series, I knew that I had to be there. After realizing that the tickets had sold out quicker than any speaker before, or so it seemed, I had to join the majority of students that had missed out on what should be a once in a lifetime experience. However, as Sports Editor at The Salem State Log I was fortunate enough to find my way into the lecture, in the top balcony with the rest of the local media. In accordance with Coach Belichick's contract, there were only local credentials in attendance. This wasn't the only thing Belichick had termed into his deal. Photography was only allowed for the first five minutes of the lecture, and only from your seat.

The capacity crowd at Rockett Arena was first greeted by new president of Salem State College, President Patricia Maguire Meservey, Ph.D., R.N. She proclaimed that she 'deeply treasures' her new position as president of the college, and received a loud cheer from the crowd upon mentioning the Patriots' prefect 16-0 season. Following the president was a short video collage of the Patriots' and Coach Belichick accompanied with Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir". The video covered all the major accomplishments of Coach Belichick's career, which are numerous.

Bill Belichick is a 33 year veteran of the NFL, and is the only coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowl titles in a four-year span. In 2007, Belichick led the Patriots to the fourth perfect (no losses or ties) regular season in the NFL's 88-year history and the first since the NFL established a 16-game schedule in 1978. He has led the patriots to the Super Bowl four times in the last seven season and has produced five straight AFC East titles and six division championships in the last seven seasons. Belichick's Patriots teams own the all-time NFL records for cosecutive total victories, 21 from 2003-04, consecutive regular-season victories, 19 from 2006-07, and consecutive playoff victories, 10 from 2001-05. Belichick owns the second best postseason record in NFL history, 15-4, and is the winningest NFL head coach since 2001 at 100-29. Belichick has spent more seasons in the league than any other current NFL head coach, and in that time has been a part of five Super Bowl championship teams. His overall record of 105-40 with the Patriots gives him the most victories and the best winning percentage of any head coach in franchise history.

This man is truly a football genius, but his humor is probably what makes him such a great coach. After a roaring ovation, coach Belichick commented on his apparent 'genius',

"I've been called a football genius, but I've also been called a moron by my kids; when I forget to take out the trash or I let the dogs off the leash.... So that kind of goes both ways."

Coach Belichick also offered some kind words about the City of Salem.

"We just finished the college draft last weekend and it seems like, in those later rounds, your always looking for those gems; similar to what Salem is to the state of Massachusetts.."

Take that Mass. Belichick thinks Salem is better than you. At least that's what he told us. Next, Coach Belichick reminded students to "Follow your heart, do what you love, and take a shot at it." He warned that years from now the things that you want most will only be yours if you get out there and make it happen. He says that you have to "Give it a chance to work out."

Next, Coach touched on the old cliche, "There's no 'i' in team; but there is an 'i' in win." The 'i', he says, stands for 'individuals'. He says that "if you want to win, then every one has to do their job, and go out there and out perform the competition..."

In the Belichick dictionary, under 'Leadership', it reads 'Attitude'. Attitude is the number one quality of leadership according to Coach Belichick. A leader does the following things:
1. He does his job.
2. He puts the team first.
3. He works hard.
4. He pays attention to the details, trying to get everything right.

A perfect mold for a perfect player, according to Belichick. Coach goes on to talk about Troy Brown and his leadership on the Patriots. He says that Troy is a quiet captain, but he just goes out there and 'does his job'. A leader in Belichick's book. The Coach admits that his weekly meetings with the Captains, where they 'talk about things that are important for winning', are the most helpful thing that he has done here in New England. Something that he admits he did not do while he was a coach for the Cleveland Browns. These meetings allow him and his coaches to let the captains know what the coaching staff needs from the team, but it also allows the captains to let the coaches know what the team expects from them. The captains then convey what needs to be done to the rest of the team, acting as liaisons to the coaches who are too busy to meet with every player about every problem. This is just one of the ways that the organization tries to be better prepared to do the best job possible.

A funny moment with Coach Belichick followed, when speaking about discipline he spoke about how sometimes you need to punish the whole team instead of just punishing just one player to make a larger statement. "When a player goes out there and makes a mistake, the team can suffer from that mistake. Conversely, when a player goes out there and successfully executes a play, the whole team benefits from that." He recalled a time on the practice field, when he was a defensive coordinator with the New York Giants, and the line continued jumping offsides. He started out by talking with the team, telling them how bad it was for the team to get the offsides calls. When that didn't work, he pulled guys out separately to tell them about it. He said he'd 'yell at 'em, and swear at 'em' and that didn't work either. Coach Belichick finally found his solution to the problem,

"If we jumped offsides, then the whole defense would just run a lap all the way around the field. And while they were running that lap, all the guys that didn't jump offsides were letting the guy who jumped know about it. And it really helped take care of the offsides problem, not that we don't jump offside, but I'll tell ya there's not a lot of it; and whenever it happens, they're running."

This was just the first comical story that Coach Belichick would share with the crowd. Next he recalled a time during training camp, where Matt Light kept asking for a night off for the team during August practices. Belichick says that he looked at Matt like "You gotta be kiddin' me!", which garners laughter from the crowd. He believes that training camp is the time where you need to be working everyday to be ready for the late game situations. This is where you build your stamina. He jokes with Light though, and says "You don't get something for nothing." Belichick challenged Matt Light, having him stand down field and catch a punt. If he catches it, then they get the night off; if he misses it then they will double the number of sprints they have to do that day. "To make a long story short, there was a lot of team building that went on in that next minute or so," he said, "Troy Brown was showing him how to shield the sun from his eyes, and Kevin Faulk was teaching him about rotation. Well, Light caught it." This was met with another booming applause from the crowd, but this story wasn't over yet. Next year, Vince Wilfork was the one who had to catch the punt. He caught it. So this past year, Wilfork was made to do it again; but this time he had to hold a football in his hand and catch the punt. "We won 18 straight games last year," Belichick said, "but when Wilfork caught that punt, that was one of the high points of the entire season." Even pro's like the New England Patriots know how to have fun. Belichick went on to say this though;

"When you are in charge of a group of people, like a team, first thing you do is put down some ground rules. And if they don't do it, then you immediately know that this guy is not part of the team, and that this guy is going to be a problem."

Belichick says that everyone should have the attitude that Randy Moss brought to New England. He came to the head coach and said to him, "Just tell me what I gotta do." Belichick called it the 'Randy Moss Attitude'. So thats what it is from now on, add it to the Belichick dictionary. The coach went on to talk about how football has changed in his long time with football. He talked about changes in formations and technology along his career. 'It's like that in every other job too," he reminds the crowd, "the landscape is gunna change." He says that learning to change and adapt is vital to making it in the work place, as well as on the football field.

Next, Coach Belichick spoke about a specific play that had received a lot of coverage the past season. It was a double-reverse pass ran against the Pittsburgh Steelers; where Brady lateral passed the ball to Moss, who dropped it (which he was not supposed to do) and picked it up and passed lateral passed it back to Brady, who found Jabar Gaffney deep into the Steelers end zone. "We initially put that play in against the Ravens," coach said, "so we called it 'raven'" he finished tapping his shoulder to emphasize how clearly things need to be stated in the football world. He says that they had been working on this play in practice and it had been going pretty good, but they realized that the play would work better if they flipped it over. So they practiced it until they had it right, and when they ran it in a game, it worked just as they had planned. 'Practice makes perfect' is the idea here.

This is where the evening got monumental. Coach Belichick began to break down practice and game films with the crowd at Salem State. "I know this is a little unconventional. Not like what President Clinton or President Bush or all those guys did," he claimed. He started with some punt coverage formations. A 'picket fence' move that he describes is supposed to trap the ball deep in the zone, before it gets to the goal line. He shows this play a few times through in practice films, then he shows it during game situations against the Redskins, the Chargers, and the Jets where it is clear that practicing the play makes it easier and more likely to happen during a game.

"Practice preparation become game reality."

The next video cues up, showing a bunch of large men jogging slowly around a football practice field. "Tell me what you think happened here." Belichick says evoking more laughter from from the crowd. Then he shows the clips of Light and Wilfork catching the punts at the training camp practices; the catch by Wilfork with the ball in his hand created the loudest cheer, and the biggest celebration from the Patriots on the practice film. This was priceless stuff for a fan of the organization.

Next, he showed the 'raven' play. He started breaking it down in the game film, rewinding constantly with his hand-held remote to make sure everyone sees what he is talking about. It went like this;

"Moss drops back, so it's a lateral, and Gaffney lined up right here is gunna go down and fake like he is going to block. See, this adds a lot of draw to the play when Moss drops it. We were planning on having him run around right over here for a little but and then throw it back but it all happened too fast. Nice perfect throw (from Moss to Brady)." Followed by loud applause from the crowd when Gaffney caught Brady's touchdown bomb.

Then Coach Belichick went back to practice, noting that they had been practicing the play from the other side of the field. The Patriot defense covers the play well the whole time, making Brady find other options than the Gaffney deep out. "Because the defense has seen it too many times," says Belichick. Finally, Coach Belichick runs the Steelers tape again, with the final result of Jabar Gaffney striding into the end zone in front of the trash talking Anthony Smith, who had "guaranteed" a victory over the Patriots and he wasn't sorry he had. "There's our boy Smitty," joked Coach Belichick, showing that he does take some offense to the trash talk that goes on in the game.

After this Coach Belichick mentioned Super Bowl XXXVI, where the Patriots team chose to be announced as a team. Which has become common practice for both teams in the Super Bowl.

To end the evening, Belichick fielded six questions that were previously submitted by Salem State students and one from faculty/staff. They went as follows:

1) Who is the most talent athlete you have ever worked with? Why?
- Lawrence Taylor. "Coming out of college, at North Carolina, he could run the 40 in 4.6. That's real good for a guy his size." Brady would have to be the best football player though.

2) After things didn't work out in Cleveland, were you ever worried that people might think of you as a defensive coordinator not a head coach?
- "I didn't get into football to be a head coach. I just love coaching."

3) How much of your success is attributed to you knowing someone rather than knowing something; in other words, how does "it's not what you know, it's who you know" pertain to your career?
- Belichick agrees with this statement. "Relationships that are based on respect are going to be the most meaningful to you."

4) What was the purpose of drafting Jerod Mayo in the first round of this years NFL Draft, and coach please don't tell us that you couldn't pass on the Mayo.
- "We just try to do what is best for our football team." Belichick refers to the incoming rookie as a '4 down player' who is very 'versitle'.

5) Does your uncanny ability to breakdown offenses stem from your patience on the golf course?
- "Definitely not. You obviously haven't seen me golf."

6) Has the media ever tried to get you to say things that would compromise your image as a head coach?
- Coach Belichick says that he meets with the media six times a week, "everyday but Thursday', and that he has ' a lot of respect for what they do.' He sees the media as the connection between the team and the fans.

7) What do you predict for the 2008-09 season?
- "We just try and keep short-term focus." He says that there is no need to think about the future. Training camp comes first, then they take it one game at a time.

That was the perfect way for Coach Belichick to end this amazing and exciting evening with probably the smartest football mind ever involved in the game. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so grateful to have been there for it.

I would just like to thank Jim Glynn of College Relations at Salem State College for allowing
me the credentials.

02 May, 2008

Football's Future at Salem State College

Salem State College has been making leaps and bounds in the past few years. It has added new dorms on Central Campus, acquired new parking for commuter students off of Canal Street, and has begun construction on new athletic fields behind the new dorms. All of these additions have greatly improved student life on campus, but some associated with the college still feel something is missing.

"What's Homecoming Weekend without a football game?" is the question asked by Salem State College Trustee Howard Wayne as he spearheads the campaign to create a Viking's Football team. This is a question that has been echoed across Salem State for years, and though it is well received, it seems to be no closer to reality. The process, which could involve the widening of Alumni Field, the expanding of the current field house, and the possible construction of a private training facility, is in the early stages of planning but would ultimately cost the school 'millions of dollars' to complete according to Salem State College Athletic Director and Women's basketball head coach Tim Shea.

AD Shea sees an on campus field as the right way to have a team. "The best programs are the ones that play on campus," Mr. Shea said. This feeling is evident presently in the construction of a baseball field on Central Campus to bring the Viking's baseball team on school grounds. In the past, they have had to share a field with Salem High school and play their games at Palmer Cove field in Salem's 'Point' neighborhood. Mr. Shea went on to say, "If we are going to add a program, we would like to do it in a way that they have a reasonable chance for success." This success would come at great expenses to the school.

On top of the renovations and constructions, a football team would require an initial $200,000 for equipment (blocking sleds, uniforms, pads, helmets...) as well as $65,000 annually for training supplies and regular team upgrades. These costs do not include the salaries for the staff that would need to be hired to make the team successful. The staff would have to include coaches (more than any team currently on campus), a personal equipment manager, a team secretary, and possibly more janitorial and training staffers to accommodate a team of 80-90 players (the lacrosse team currently has the most players per team, with around 30).

This influx of athletes also creates a problem in what AD Shea called "gender equity." This is the need for the College to keep a balance of men's and women's programs. Creating a football team would require Salem State to improve it's women's athletic programs also, to keep the two on an even keel. This can been seen in the Viking's lacrosse programs. Since the Men's Lacrosse team has been promoted to Division III status, the athletic department has brought back the Women's Club Lacrosse program to balance the scales, a football team would need the same counter element (Women's Hockey is one of the possible additions). The addition of a football team will ultimately require a recommendation from then school's new president Dr. Patricia Maguire Meservey, with advice from her staff and the Board of Trustees, to move forward. "I'm real passionate about the idea," said Trustee Wayne, "I feel football is the natural unifier for current students and our Alumni."

27 April, 2008

Life in the Fast Lane

Catching up with the fast
est person in Salem State Track history

"I just tried to run as fast as I could and do what I had to do," said Eddie Bynum III aka Da Flash, after successfully defending his NCAA Division 3 indoor 55m dash title by posting a record time of 6.25 seconds. "It's a great feeling to come out on top again. I know my family and coaches are really proud." Bynum says "it feels good" to be successful so close to home. "Going back to [Lynn English] high school and meeting with some of my old teachers, and them reading about what I have accomplished feels good," he said. "It feels good getting the recognition of those that are in your community." Those close to Bynum have always influenced him, and his athletic family can be credited with his decision to run track. "I started running track in my junior year of high school," Bynum said, "Some of my immediate family members participated in track and were relatively good, so I was curious how good I would be." Good would be an understatement while describing the career Bynum has had at Salem State.

Da Flash is a four-time All-American and two-time National Champion. No other SSC sprinter has even captured one National Championship. In his senior season Bynum came out of the blocks quickly, qualifying for the national championship in the first meet. He would go on to defend his New England, Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC), and All-Alliance championships this winter, before closing it all out with his second D3 National Title. Bynum has won the NEC and MASCAC titles three times, as well as holding some titles in the indoor 200m race.

SSC sprint coach Jeff Rockwood, who head coach Dennis Floyd credits with bringing Eddie's talents to the highest level, said, "He looked better than he ever has," when referring to Bynum's title defense. "Eddie has established a quiet confidence and gained tremendous respect from his opponents. It's not a surprise he was able to defend all his titles, because he was so focused, relaxed, and driven." This mindset is visible in everything that Bynum does. Outside of track, Da Flash likes to "relax and chill" with his friends and family. He also enjoys playing basketball, video games, and watching Justice League cartoons, where he found his nickname. Even though he is very laid back, Bynum's drive can't be questioned; when you take into account that he has been running with a bone fracture in his lower back all year. He recalls "enduring through pain during races."

Hopefully the pain goes away for Eddie Bynum III aka Da Flash, becuase he plans to keep running after college. He plans to "try to qualify for the Olympic trials" or "run track professionally" at some time. If his focus, drive, and determination remain intact, then Da Flash's success in
sprinting is far from over.