This Week in Sports: November begins with a bang

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Too busy watching the sweet new Into the Woods trailer on a loop to watch the new NBA season?

Too occupied with shutting down Silk Road 2.0 to check out the excellent NFL action?

Simply don’t care about sports?

Here’s what you’ve been missing.

This Week in Sports

Winter Sports

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This curling shot. I’m no religious curling fanatic, but I had to reevaluate my existence on this earth when I was presented with the beauty of that shot.

NBA Action

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LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers have started the season 1-3, including a loss to the lowly Utah Jazz and a crushing 19-point defeat by the Portland Trail Blazers, after being projected by me to be “Good. Very good.” Is it too early to start worrying about the team? Probably. Does that stop me from doing it? No. I want this team to be fun to watch, and so far, the superstar trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and LeBron are being outscored by an average of 7 points when they are all playing together. That’s not very fun.

Also on the subject of the Cavs, LeBron-lover Brian Windhorst wrote a story for ESPN detailing how LeBron is playing poorly on purpose in order to teach his teammates a lesson. What this lesson entails is still unclear…

Back to the NBA, where the Dallas Mavericks have been off to a pretty solid start, picking up wins over New Orleans and Boston. But even more solid is the rap that Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Chandler Parsons wrote and performed this week:

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Shut Out Trafficking comes to Brown this week

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The National Consortium for Academics and Sport (NCAS) has joined forces with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s End Trafficking Project to create Shut Out Trafficking, a program that seeks to educate students on ten college campuses across the country about the large prevalence of human trafficking in the United States. This week, Shut Out Trafficking will be hosting events at Brown.

According to Shut Out Trafficking at Brown’s Facebook event page, this project seeks to engage athletes in the issue of human trafficking and use athletics as a vehicle to address this critical concern head-on. The project also hopes to “implement programming designed to involve and support athletes, coaches, athletics administrators, and members of the general student body in raising awareness about and exposing the hidden injustices of human trafficking, both globally and on a domestic level.” The page also says that the goal of the project is to “empower campus communities to speak out honestly and take action against these abuses.”

There will be two events hosted this week. On Monday, November 3rd, there will be a two hour event entitled “Shut Out Trafficking in Society Through Sport” which features Dr. Richard Lapchick, a human rights activist and internationally recognized expert on sports issues, Sarah Willbanks from UNICEF USA, Sarah DeCataldo from Day One, David Cohen and Rebekah Conway Roulier from Doc Wayne, and Larkin Brown from Soccer Without Borders. The panel will take place at 6p.m. in Smitty-B Room 106.

On Thursday, November 6th, the Royce Fellowships at Brown, the Sport and Development Project at Brown, and the UNICEF Club at Brown will be screening “Not My Life,” a independent film by Robert Bilheimer that documents contemporary slavery. The event will be held at 6p.m. in Wilson 102.

Eli Wolff, the co-director of the Royce Fellowship for Sport and Society, an overseer of the Sport and Development Project at Brown, and the primary contact for this event at Brown told Blog, “We are so excited to have Dr. Lapchick on campus and to collaborate with UNICEF USA to engage the campus on this important and emerging topic. The power of sport can serve as a vehicle for education,  awareness and action in the realm of sport and human rights, development and social change.”
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Sports alert! A beginner’s guide to the baseball playoffs

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Our statisticians believe there is a roughly 100% chance the Red Sox won’t win this year’s World Series

As you probably were (not) aware of, the Major League Baseball playoffs begin tonight with a play-in game between the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics. They continue tomorrow with the other play-in game (San Francisco Giants-Pittsburgh Pirates) before the real series start on Thursday.

If none of that made any sense, fear not! Blog is here to explain things.

All you need to know about the way the playoffs work is this: five teams in each league (American and National) make it. The two worst in each league–the ones already named above–play a single game against each other to determine who goes on and who goes home. Then the remaining eight teams are paired off into four “Division Series” in which the first team to win three games wins. Then the remaining four teams are paired up in “Championship Series” in which the first team to four games wins. Then the last two teams–the winners of the American and National Leagues, respectively–play in the World Series, which is also won by the first team to four games. The winner of the World Series wins everything!

But, you ask, which team should I root for? Or, more accurately, which teams are playing? Or perhaps, most accurately, why should I care? The final question we can’t answer, besides that baseball is, uh, our national pastime.

But consider: despite all the talk about the demise of baseball, revenues are at an all-time high and local TV ratings are (generally) very strong. So other people care, which means you should too! Now, to answer the other two questions, here’s a beginners rundown of the teams competing this October:

American League

Kansas City Royals

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Sports are fun!

Two-sentence bio: The Royals are among the lovable underdogs of the year, having made their first playoffs in 29 years (29 years!!!!). Unfortunately, they’re not actually that good, having made it in despite one of the worst offenses in the league; they’ll rely on pitching and defense to advance past the play-in game and truly break their playoff-free streak.

Informed-sounding comment: “Boy, those Royals sure get going on the basepaths, don’t they?” [This is a reference to the team’s ability to steal a lot of bases.]

Players to name-drop: Starting pitcher James Shields; Closer Greg Holland; Left fielder Alex Gordon [above left]; Catcher Salvador Perez.

Most fun name: Mike Moustakas (third baseman).

Uniform quality: The Royals recently brought back their baby blue shirts to great effect, making them one of the more well-dressed teams around.

Should you root for them? Probably, yeah. Everyone loves a Cinderella story.

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Imagine 250+: Ra Ra Brunonia: Brown Stadium

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Today, students and alumni alike will make the seemingly transcontinental trek up Elmgrove Avenue — clearly a made up place — to watch our beloved Brown Bears take on the Harvard Winklevi in a rousing match of hand-egg (see below and take note).

At the tailgates, middle-aged men (and women! and phes!), sipping on their b-o-u-r-b-o-n, will be far drunker than is socially acceptable, and undergrads will leave behind an aluminum mess to rival that of the People’s Climate March. At game time, however, they will all pile into what is probably only the second biggest pure concrete structure on campus to watch some good ole’ fashioned American Football.

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But what about that large-ish — seriously, the Scili puts everything in perspective — concrete structure we’re standing in during our beat-down of the Excellent Sheep from Cambridge? Brown Stadium, which no alum has paid to name after him/herself (yet), has an impressive history to it.

According to Encyclopedia Brunoniana, the stadium opened in its current location in 1925 and can actually fit up to 27,646 people. We were so excited about our new digs that in the stadium’s opening year, we decided everyone would have to come to us to play. We’re not lazy; we promise!

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Sixth Man: Volleyball

 

The "jump up and block the ball" move is just one of many possible types of "volleys"

The “jump up and block the ball” move is just one of many possible types of “volleys” at a volleyball player’s disposal

This column used to exist regularly, we swear. You can find the archives here. This year, it spontaneously rises from the dead, like Neo amidst a hailstorm of bullets from Mr. Smith. Welcome back to Sixth Man. 

Here is the problem with going to a Brown sports event: you feel like you don’t fit in. At last night’s volleyball game, the surprisingly large crowd was composed of the following members: me, the weird guy sitting behind me definitely reading my notes over my shoulder the whole fucking game, 50 or so athletes, a bored-looking 9-year-old with an iPod, and a smattering of players’ parents bickering over how to pronounce various other players’ names. This was not the ideal atmosphere to take in my first-ever Brown volleyball game, alone, but I suppose that’s what you get when you don’t have many friends and agree to cover Brown sports.

I showed up five minutes late, which, to my dismay, was just in time for the national anthem. This isn’t an ultra-relevant concern, but why do we bother with the national anthem before sports games if it’s a generic taped CD version? I say it’s live or bust. You could even bring out one of those classically trained 11-year-olds to stumble through a botched rendition who makes it even more uncomfortable for the crowd than for her. That’s what we go to sports games for, right?

Anyway, I digress. Let’s talk volleyball. Brown was off to an 0-4 start going into Tuesday’s game, which sounded a whole lot worse until I found out that Tuesday’s opponent, Providence College, was 0-7 with straight-set losses to possibly fictional colleges Gardner-Webb and Southern Utah. They were not better than expected, either. I’ll save you the suspense–Bruno picked up its first win of the year in consecutive sets, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18.!”But what do all these numbers mean???” I hear you probably (not) asking. Good question. Volleyball matches are played in intervals of 25-point sets; win three sets, and you win the match. (I think there’s something special about the fifth set, if it comes to that, but this one didn’t go that long, so who cares.)

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Sixth Man: Meet your CollegeInsider.Com tournament field!

I guess Jeremy Lin played in this tournament one time when he went to Harvard

Jeremy Lin played in this tournament one time when he went to Harvard

It’s March! It’s Madness! The sportiest of Brown students might know that yesterday was Selection Sunday, when the 68-team field was set for the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Yeah, yeah—YAWN. The real bracket came out hours before. That was the mothafuzzin’ COLLEGEINSIDER.COM TOURNAMENT bracket, featuring your very own Brown University Bears!

There’s actually a pretty decent chance you’ve heard about this game, because the athletic department has been bombarding the student body with emails about it as if there were a Beyoncé concert taking place on the Main Green, when in fact it’s actually a first-round game of the fourth-most important postseason college basketball tournament. Nonetheless, it happened, and Brown is in it. And because we know you’re already at Pizzitola for the free food from Spats and Paragon (!) and exciting basketball (…) and want to know how Brown stacks up, here is a breakdown of the entire 32-team CIT field. Note: CIT is what tournament insiders call the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, not a popular workspace for Computer Science concentrators.

BROWN: Popularly known as the “kill squad” in college basketball circles, some experts forecasted a 28-0 season from the Bears before a few tight games tripped them up on their way to a solid 15-13 finish. Widely acknowledged as the overwhelming CIT favorites.

HOLY CROSS: Brown’s first-round opponents, Holy Cross are nicknamed the Crusaders and finished 19-13. They played a game against UNH in November that was broadcast on the Live Well Network, which is kind of funny.

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