Monthly Archives: November 2008

Minutewomen Take Care of Wildcats

If the University of Massachusetts Minutewomen are going to be serious contenders in the Atlantic 10, they need to get consistent play from their bench players. Tonight, sophomore reserve Stephanie Lawrence was the difference. Lawrence finished with ten points, all in the second half, leading UMass to a 67-51 victory. 

The Minutewomen could not afford to come out slow like they did on Sunday. Instead, they came out firing, building a 20-7 with 11 minutes left to play in the first half behind sophomore Cerie Mosgrove and senior Stephanie Gerardot. 

  • Gerardot and Mosgrove both finished with a team high 14 points apiece. 

The second half belonged to the reserves. Senior Sakera Young was threading the needle on some beautiful back door passes for lay-ups. Young finished with 7 assists on the night. Lawrence was posting on the block, and dragging defenders out of the paint with a clutch three-pointer with nine minutes remaining, putting UMass ahead 58-43.

An alarming statistic for the Minutewomen has been turnovers the last few games. On Sunday, they turned he ball over 26 times, and tonight, 19 times. They are getting away with the sloppy play against inferior teams like Manhattan and UNH, but they can’t afford the turnovers against A-10 opponents. Tonight though, it didn’t matter.

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Ready for Some Futbol?

The story I liked least in David Maraniss’ Best American Sports Writing 2007 was “Ready for Some Futbol?” The reason I liked it least is because of the context and not the actual writing or the overall story. 

The Porter Cowboys are a high school from Brownsville, Texas, the southernmost city on the US Mexican Border. They were to face off against the Coppell Cowboys from North Texas in the State Championship Soccer Game. 

Being from the border of Mexico, many of their players and coaches are Mexican and speak Spanish. Every time they travel, their buses are boarded and searched for illegal drug shipments and immigrants. Although they are America citizens, it is an imposed rule that must be followed. 

While playing the State Championship Game, the fans of the Coppel Cowboys were yelling derogatory comments and slangs at the Porter team. They were holding up signs saying “USA, USA” and one that had Mexican cartoon Speedy Gonzales being squished by a foot saying “Crush Brownsville.” 

Ultimately, the underdog Porter Cowboys won 2-1, the first state championship in Porter history in any sport. 

However, I did not like the story because of the racial problems involved with it. It is unfortunate that high school students that are American citizens are being criticized and ridiculed because of their cultural background. 

I understand that their buses are checked for drugs and immigrants on suspicion, but isn’t that why we have border control? These young kids should not have to be detained and searched every time they go to a sporting event. 

Overall, the story was very good. It is just unfortunate that the Porter High School athletics program has to deal with these types of problems.

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The Ultimate Assist

My favorite story in David Maraniss’ Best American Sports Writing 2007 is the “Ultimate Assist.” The Ultimate Assist features semi-professional basketball player Kwame Jones’ life changing moment on December 22nd, 2001. Jones was flying from Paris to Miami on American Airlines flight 63 when shoe-bomber Richard Reid tried to blow up the plane.

The Ultimate Assist is testimony that sports journalism goes far beyond game previews, stats, and game recaps. Sports journalism is a growing field that includes personal stories, scandals, effects of weather, and legal issues. It is in a sense a new era of sports journalism as well.

At any point, a sports journalist can be faced with the task of covering an event not sports related. Nobody expected an earthquake during the 1989 World Series, but sports journalists had to capture the moment. The Motown Brawl involving the Detroit Pistons Fans and Indiana Pacers was not an event, but became the main story that journalists had to talk about.

The reason the Ultimate Assist was so effective because the main point of the story was Jones’ efforts on flight 63 and not his efforts on the basketball court. Author Jon Wertheim was able to capture Jones as a person and not as a player, which is extremely tough to do.

The way Wertheim is able to capture the moment of Jones’ coming in contact with shoe-bomber is unbelievable. “James looked down, saw a small Koran under the captive’s seat, and fixed his gaze on the wires poking out from the tongue of his black boot.” (Maraniss, 294).

The wording puts you there, letting you know exactly what Jones saw and what we would have saw.

Jones’ story became a sports story because of his background. He was not famous, but he was involved with sports and had a story.

The story was well put-together as well. It started with Jones’ background in basketball, brought you to the moment of the shoe-bomber, talked about the after effects on Jones, and then continued with his playing days. It really mixed well between sports and the story.

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